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Old 03-30-2002, 08:01 PM   #9
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
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Of course, in aikido it is always a matter of degree. The roles of uke and tori are in a real sense artificial, even political, rigidly demarcated for beginners and becoming progressively less well-defined as one progresses.

In your account, you refer to the persons concerned simply as yudansha and mudansha. In my experience as an instructor, such scraps tend to occur with higher kyu grades and lower dan ranks, the case I mentioned in my earlier post being 1st kyu (with a dan examination this summer) and 1st dan (with the dan examination occurring last summer). So the two were fairly equally matched in terms of age, grade, technical ability, and also physical strength. This is partly why it was pointless to let the scrap continue.

Over the past few years I have been thinking a lot about how to teach aikido, how to instruct, and I think there are several reasons why I would not allow the participants in such a scrap to fight it out without interfering. Though, as janet (aka warriorwoman) suggests, it is occasionally beneficial. This I do not deny.

(1) A playground scrap in the dojo seems to me to go against the whole purpose of aikido and training. If you lose your temper and focus entirely on how to 'get even' with your partner, you have lost the main picture. And you need to get it back, quickly. In my experience a sharp "Stop fighting!" from the instructor, followed by 'quality time' with senior yudansha, does this more quickly and effectvely than allowing the two to slug it out on their own.
(2) Such scraps affect other people in the vicinity. There is one notorious dojo in Japan where such scraps are relatively common and people trying to train nearby in comparative tranquility have the additional problem of avoiding collisions and wanton intrusions into their training space. The sensei usually wanders round as if nothing is happening.
(3) The possibility of injury, not so much to the protagonists as to other people. Though there is one dojo here where the desire to 'teach someone a lesson' during practice led to a fatal injury (by concussion from shiho-nage).
(4) I think it is the instructor's main job to train her / his yudansha properly.

Yours sincerely,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 03-30-2002 at 08:10 PM.

P A Goldsbury
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