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Old 02-07-2006, 02:00 PM   #25
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Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,471
Re: Regarding James Smith

Clark Bateman wrote:
When one goes into a public forum and makes an ass of oneself, while letting the readers know where one is training, it reflects poorly on ones organization and dojo. He represents them, in most any sense of the word, so it follows that they have something at stake. This is after all an Aikido forum, populated by Aikido people from throughout the world, for the purposes of bettering themselves and others through a mutually respective exchange of ideas. Would any instructor want one of their students to don a gi with a dojo patch, go to a seminar outside the organization, punch out another attendee, perhaps because of their gender or their race, and then flip off the instructor? I don't think so. How is what happened here any less offensive? IMHO, they handled it properly by voicing their concerns to the offender, and then distancing themselves from him once it became apparent that he was unwilling to cooperate. I don't feel this was unreasonable of them, as they have the right to teach (or to refuse) whomever they wish, and good reputations can take a lifetime to build, but only a moment to destroy. Worth protecting, I think.
Perhaps not. Many Aikido teachers do not teach children, because they don't feel they possess the maturity to concentrate and benefit from the training. This person's childish attitude is possibly just a passing phase, and when he grows up a little, he may very well be able to objectively renew his Aikido training. I hope he does (providing somebody doesn't KILL him first...).
Perhaps this forum is a bit too real for some of us - uh? Just a general question I pose here (not aimed at Clark - Clark, your post just raised the question in my head for me).

Isn't it strange how many times Aikido, this sensei or that sensei, this dojo or that dojo, has had to be saved by this electronic community because of something that was written here? Come on, isn't that funny? How strong is a dojo if it can handle these no-nothing arrows and slings?

I tell you this, nothing anyone has ever said here has had the slightest effect on my training, my dojo, my students, etc. I've been called any number of things here, accused of any number more, even had two good things said about me, but none of it has altered one real life aspect of mine in the slightest.

As a strange set of coincidences. I now share the mat with someone that has posted on these forums for a while now. I had no idea he lived here and certainly didn't know I would be sharing the mat with him one day. We hardly agree on anything in these forums. We hardly do the same art in real life. But there we are, sharing the mat three days a week! lol We are both very nice to each other - my son loves to watch his class and he always takes the time to say hello and play with him a bit.

What about drinking and getting drunk - reflect bad on a dojo and a teacher?

I've been in some dojo where that was the norm come Friday night - still, folks line up to train there, honor those that have trained there, and/or wish they were training there.

What about the smallness of a teacher or a dojo or a federation - the smallness that is demonstrated when they show great effect from the words of some newbie? How does that reflect on a teacher?

I got a newbie going right now - rather than expecting him to represent us in an accurate light (what I like to think as a positive light), I am more prone to say that he has no idea what we are and what we do and that he cannot be expected to be anything but lame. My position has always been: New deshi are retarded. What represents the dojo then is how well it un-retards the new person.

If anyone said to me, "Well, I was talking to your newbie and he said, '...'" I'd say, "Well, he's lame and you can't believe him. And you are new too so you can't believe your lame understanding of his lameness. If you did, you'd be at least twice as lame - maybe more because lameness always has a way of increasing - just like dinosaurs found a way to give birth in Jurassic Park."

The other day, the second to newest student I have told me how he understands Aikido - he started preaching for The Dynamic Sphere Bible. I told him he certainly wouldn't find my understanding of Aikido in that Good Book - that is unless he ended every paragraph with the phrase, "...but not for Dave." I told him he should read that book like you can read a fortune cookie by ending each piece of wisdom with the words " bed," only end each "wisdom" with the words "not for Dave."

In the past, I have had students hate me, attack me, betray me, want to kill me, etc. I always saw it as part of the game - so I always stuck with them. These students are today always my most loyal and my most representative of the dojo.

When I started Senshin Center, I asked Chiba Sensei for some advice. He gave me two pieces of wisdom. One was on this very topic. He said, "When your students seem like they are not getting it, don't give up on them." Somehow that seems relevant here.


David M. Valadez
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