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Old 02-07-2006, 02:49 PM   #30
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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

Chuck Clark wrote:
Hello David,

Respectfully, we obviously trained under different Japanese teachers and in different dojo. There are quite a lot of Japanese that when faced with something they don't want to deal with they have an attitude of "shigata ganai" or that can't be helped. Of course, it's a case by case basis, but not all Japanese will let you do whatever you like in their dojo.

Your statement, "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." is interesting to me. I admit, none of the things you listed would endear someone to me and allow them to stay in my dojo. The don't have to love me, agree with some things, etc. but there is a limit. Trying to knock me out, throw me on my butt every time they get their hands on me is okay. Disagree with many things, okay...but hate, betrayal, wanting to kill you...these things won't fit in my dojo. It takes all kinds, and I suspect there's a dojo somewhere out there that they'll fit in.
Hi Chuck,

Thanks for the reply.

Well, let's be clear. I didn't say my Japanese teachers, I said my Japanese teachers in Japan (Japanese dojo). My Japanese teachers here in the States would, I think, fit in quite well with what you are describing (not assuming yours are in the States). However, from my experience, the only thing that comes close to representing what most Americans think as THE Japanese dojo are the university clubs - which take irrelevant abuse and technical ignorance to a whole other level (in my opinion). The strict dojo, where common American (mis)understandings of the warrior code of feudal Japan are alive and well, and where technical expertise is evident, is few and far between in Japan whereas Aikido is concerned (in my experience). This was my point.

Regarding your other point: Well, I fully concede it is a matter of "to each his own." A few weeks back, one student fully let me know how shocked she was when I said I would easily take back this other ex-student that had threatened me quite handily. I told her it is a mixture of Christian ethics and Machiavellian praxis. I said I must seek and learn to love my enemies - of what good does it do me to love only those that love me or to love only in philosophical settings where all things are safe and pretty? And, as I keep my friends close, it is wiser to keep any misguided self-proclaimed enemies closer. However, under both of these things, for me, is an idea that someone else has already mentioned - that Budo is about the cultivation of the Self. This, for me, assumes then (as I stated earlier) we are supposed to initiate our training in a less than perfect state. How less than perfect is a matter of capacity in regards to a teacher's willingness and/or skill. That's why, for me, I'd probably have more respect if the teacher in question just said, "Hey, I don't want to teach you," rather than, "Because you did "x" and won't do "y," I will not do "z"." If it is too much work to take an ignorant person into higher states of wisdom, or if one simply does not want to bother with such labors, in my opinion, he/she as teacher should simply just say so. Well, that's how I see things anyways - especially when I tell someone, "The dojo cannot really address your needs at this time. Please try again later for membership when either the dojo can address your needs and/or when you have less of them."

One should be polite regardless of being direct.


David M. Valadez
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