Thread: underestimated
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Old 11-18-2005, 08:06 AM   #15
Robert Rumpf
Dojo: Academy of Zen and the Ways
Location: Kailua, HI
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 164
Re: underestimated

I'm a 29-year-old male shodan and I've had no-kyus and people with 6th and 5th kyus (all without prior martial arts experience) "correct" me in class on even the simplest of techniques. I'd expect it would happen more often to women, especially young women, but it does happen to us guys too. Depending on my mood, I have been known to ignore it, react badly, or tell/show them how mistaken they are.

I think its something you have to get used to unless you want to be one of these people who (a) are extremely intimidating or (b) use a ton of muscle and violent joint locks to show them who must be obeyed or (c) micromanages and directs all beginners from the first moment of contact or (d) hits the rankest beginner when they screw up. That seems to be how most people cope.

Since I find all of those types of coping methods to be annoying and counterproductive, I have to tolerate this ignorance sometimes while looking for a fifth way. I think its a function of American culture that people with no knowledge in an area are often entirely comfortable criticizing or overruling those who have studied that area for a while - especially if they are older. Science gets the worst of this.

I just try not to lose my temper and do something drastic, but occasionally it does happen. For example, once a fellow, older shodan who didn't know me tried in my home dojo explaining the nikkyo ura joint lock to me and why I was going to do it wrong before I'd even had a chance to start the technique. Needless to say, his wrist probably hurt him for a week after that, but a shodan should know better. I have also been known to refuse to train with people when they have pissed me or disrespected me too much as an alternative to hurting them.

This is also a place where sensei's treatment of and training of beginners as they walk in the door is very important. Most people who are not Japanese don't learn in the Japanese style (repetition and emulation) naturally, and the verbal explanation that "this is how its going to be" to beginners by sensei would fix a lot of this nonsense. Sadly, many instructors also frown on their students providing this education. There is an etiquette, and many people take a long time to learn that etiquette because noone lets them know what it is, and they are not observant.

The fifth alternative to the above four reactions is, of course, to do all techniques perfectly, gracefully and irresistibly - I'm still working on that one.

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