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Old 06-19-2006, 07:59 AM   #2
Nick Pagnucco
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 107
Re: A beginner with delusions of grandeur

I recently passed my 4th kyu test, and i feel that i'm in a sort of limbo stage now. There's a lot that I know and could help beginners and children with, but I"m not a sempai so I'm not supposed to say anything. Plus, sensei has been pushing me to take a little more responsibility--leading warmups, taking his ukemi, helping the kids, etc. I tend to get real smug when these opportunities come up, cause I feel that I outdo my peers. I feel that I *could* handle more responsitbility, and I *could* teach people things. I was the "sempai" at a weapons group last week at which Sensei was not present, and I could so have taught that class. But I feel the need for humility and for the lowliness i'm used to as kohai, so i don't allow myself to appear as competent as I could be. Has anyone else experienced simelar things during this transition phase? i'd be glad to know how you dealt with it.

There seem to be a few different elements here, if I'm reading you correctly. One is your level of responsibility in the dojo, and the other is the degree to which you feel confident in your technique, especially in relation to others. They're related, but not the same thing.

For the issue of technique, I'm of the opinion that 'lowliness' is not the way to go; it encourages people to bounce back and forth between lowliness and arrogance, from what I've seen. One of the biggest things I've had to learn is that I am one of the least qualified people at judging how good I am. Sometimes I think I'm good, sometimes bad, but usually completely off the mark. "Just go and train" doesn't mean stop thinking, but it means leave the relative evaluations at home.

The best way for me to get out of the lowliness/arrogance dichotomy has been to focus on progress. What am I working on next? Nowhere in that question do I ask how good I am or how much better I am than others... whats the thing that I'm progressing at right now? The only place evaluation comes into in the dojo is when you decide who to work with (i.e., senior students who you can learn from), but even then the only statement is who are the absolute best peoploe for you to learn it from... there's no need to categorize the rest of the dojo after that. Also, in my opinion, ALWAYS appear as absolutely competent as you can. However, do NOT confuse 'competent' with 'throwing hard,' 'being a jerk on ukemi,' 'explaining kokyu,' or 'I should constantly correct my partner, because I know best.'

As far as responsibilities in the dojo, ask your sensei what (s)he would like you to do. If you want to do something, ask. Quietly waiting to be noticed is a bad strategy (trust me... i've learned this from experience). Now... with that being said... you were sempai in a weapons class but didn't teach? My two questions are a) you mean everyone else were 5th kyus with less time? and b) if you were sempai, who actually did teach?
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