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Old 06-06-2005, 04:14 PM   #16
Yo-Jimbo
Dojo: formerly Windward Aikido, formerly at Keewenaw Schools of Aikido (ASU)
Location: Formerly Hawaii Pacific University, formerly at Michigan Technological University
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 71
United_States
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Re: Beginners with delusions of grandeur...

Sometimes even kohai have grandeur hiding beneath their delusions. Letting go of one's own delusions is much harder than attributing them to others (appropriately or wrongly).
Personally, I try something along the lines of the following:
1st, when kohai makes a suggestion, I consider that the comment is something that has possibly been over looked by myself in previous training. I then examine it physically if it seems prudent to do so.
2nd, if the same suggestion still seems contrary to my understanding, I consider that I didn't even understand properly what was trying to be related and that the kernel of wisdom was effected by my preconceptions or that the lesson to be gleaned is related to the suggestion tangentially. I try to train with it in the back of my mind for future use.
3rd, if I can't reconcile my understanding with that of kohai's and the issue is pressed, I would explain as best I can the problems I have with the suggestion as it pertains to the current training. I try to infer (as subtext) that I listened carefully, but it would be wise to respect and act on the knowledge of sempai (or sensei of course) in the absence of direct counter example.
4th, if kohai still presses at this point, I just smile and practice on doing my own technique better, and remain totally mute (at least one of us has shut up at this point ). Either I am not currently ready to learn from kohai's suggestion, or it has little real merit. Which ever way is the reality, further debate isn't likely to help in the short run. Regardless, it is a great opportunity to practice "dealing with adversity" calmly under aggravating conditions.
Of course there is the flip side of this, so I watch when I'm the kohai how I push my sempai through each of these stages with my suggestions. My process for listening to sempai or sensei is similar (and rightfully practiced more often). The only differences are how far I trust to extend myself in the examination of principle and the way that I would default if I can't currently reconcile concepts.
Since I will always be burdened with my own delusions, the best process I know is to keep tearing them down and watching how I build them back up again.
Both sides of this topic are important and common. I've learned many good martial things from TKD and judo practitioners even when they had rather narrow views (not all do of course, neither are aikidojin/aikidoka immune). It is nice that such a good conversation could come out of the need for one to rant (I know the feeling).
One of my favorite jokes for keeping kohai and sempai honest with themselves:
Kohai: "So, how long have you been training?"
Sempai: "Today is my first day. *long pause, with second part sometimes much later* My first, first day in aikido was back in (for me '91)."

"One does not find wisdom in another's words." -James D. Chye
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