Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.
What is it that we are training for? I look at these things as test of my own ability to stay calm and non-reactive. That fact that the other guy is a butt head is simply not my problem. What's the upset here? This guy has some ego issues going on and he's running them on you... It's not your problem until you buy into them. Now you have ego issues going on. You've allowed someone to push your buttons and get you pissed off.
How will you approach the same issues in your life? If your partner in your relationship has a bad day and pushes some of your buttons, will you push back? Most folks do of course so it's no big failure... but then most folks end up divorced as well.
What do you do when it's a co-worker? Get into a pissing match? Management will notice of course... What happens when that guy gets promoted and now he's your boss?
I did some training years ago for some serious juvenile delinquents. These kids were on their last chance before big time adult jail. One of the things I said to them was that Aikido is about freedom. How can you live non-reactively, control your own life... Some of these kids went through life totally reactively. Someone "disses" them and they feel that they have to shoot them in response. I pointed out to them that living this way, you aren't free; you are letting everyone else determine your actions.
I think the first step in ones training is to start acting better than the other guy. That takes some work since it's a lot easier to give in to those impulses when you get disrespected. Later you can shoot for getting to the point at which you don't even get mad. That's harder. Ultimately, why not try for the state at which you don't even notice that the guy is being a butt (that's the real hard one and not many get there)?
On these "pecking order" issues, I always remember Funakoshi's statement that "if it's not important enough to die over, you shouldn't be fighting". All this pushing and pushing back etc is just incipient fighting. Might as well practice letting it be beneath your notice.