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Old 02-02-2006, 03:50 PM   #158
L. Camejo
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Dojo: Ontario Martial Arts
Location: Mississauga, Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,423
Re: Culture of Martial Mediocrity?

Michael - What was the point of your entire argument again?

My point is that if one does not take personal responsibility for one's own training by asking serious, sometimes uncomfortable questions of oneself and one's instructor then it is very easy to contribute to the culture that is being addressed in this thread. The result is the possibility of an illusion of sincere development in the art that you are dedicating blood and sweat to because you are part of a self-supporting system that may be lacking in various quality assurance mechanisms that can gauge if you are improving in your stated goal - i.e. learning Aikido (and I mean Aikido - not just the kata, not just the randori, not just the spiritual/philosophical, but AIKIDO in its fullness).

Regarding your post above:

Michael Gallagher wrote:
Simple courtesy and respect shouldn't have anything to do with an ego trip.
It should not, but I've met too many MA Instructors and others who expect, even demand a degree of "courtesy and respect" that straddles the line of "worship and blind devotion". If a student must be so overconcerned with being "respectful" that one cannot challenge one's instructor with meaningful questions when it is obvious that he may be doing nonsense then to me the student is enabling the false role and teaching of his instructor and assisting in the culture of mediocrity. What you call respect and courtesy is the reason why a lot of McDojo exist with instructors who would not be allowed to teach or even practice MA if there were some sort of capable system of measuring performance in place. Gradings measure your understanding of certain principles in a preset manner, they are not measures of holistic skill and ability imo. It is important, expecially for instructors not to misrepresent what they are doing.

Michael Gallagher wrote:
Asking a question about how to do something is one thing. But the underlying premise should be, Look, you're here to teach me something. I'm here to learn from you. How is that worship? It isn't. And there's room for questions. But the person leading the practice is still in charge IMO. That has nothing to do with ego. It's just The Rules.
The person leading is in charge because you give them that power when in the time and place of practice. It is a social contract. This is how it is in many dojo and there is nothing really wrong with that. But if you ask a question and the answer you get is utter bull faeces then do you swallow it and say thank you Sensei or do something else? In this scenario, DIS-respect is to say - That is uttter crap!! and probably get the business end of some disciplinary action. Respect is to not say anything or react in any visible way regarding the crap you just heard, but go do some research on your own, ask some questions (of which your Sensei is one source) and see if it really is BS. If not you've learnt something about your sensei and yourself, if it is proven to be BS then you need to decide whether this is something you wish to take with you or leave until you have even more information to make a decision. The idea is you don't just take it as fact because "Sensei says so."

This thought process is important because it is often what can make the difference between a student who lives or dies when they are forced to use "something Sensei showed them" and find out at the worst of times that the technique that worked in the dojo is missing something critical in order to work. I've known more than one person who has either died or experienced grievious injury as a result of this type of scenario. A severe sense of responsibility is paramount for both student and teacher imo.

The beginner cannot determine the difference between BS and the good stuff. This thread by the very nature of its core question is designed for experienced students and instructors, not beginners who can't tell the difference.

Michael Gallagher wrote:
If you equate behaving correctly and being respectful as "worship" then I feel sorry for you. Seriously.
If you truly think this after reading this entire thread then like I said before you are totally missing my point and should really think before your next post or at least clear out those lenses.

Michael Gallagher wrote:
He's the teacher, you're the student.
Exactly! So what does this relationship mean to you exactly? One of a giver and a receiver, or of two human beings who are walking along the same path with one being further along than the other and takes the role as a guide?

Michael Gallagher wrote:
But assuming no one else has no clue as to those answers because of how they teach is not a good place to start either.
Who is assuming anything? You read much into my posts. What I speak of I do from experience.

For those who understand what I am getting at and have measures in place to address what has already been spoken of, there is no issue. The problem comes from those who know their methods will not stand up to objective evaluation mechanisms and refuse to address this. These people know themselves and have their reasons. If this is their choice, so be it. It is important for the stated student of Aikido however to be able to perceive clearly what is happening with one's own evolution in training.


--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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