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Old 07-31-2008, 10:12 AM   #36
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Re: Instructors of low rank

Prof. Goldsbury,

Perhaps this thread doesn't quite meet Akiy's standard for instituting an anonymous forum; but I would not have posted it otherwise, so perhaps it does.

At any rate, it has generated banter, repartee, and controversy. And that's why I started it, really. I just wanted to throw a stone into the pool to watch the ripples. I didn't expect to fall in.

There are 3 classes every day on average. A morning class and 2 evening classes on weekdays; plus several classes on weekends. There are different instructors for most of those classes. The particular class I'm talking about does NOT involve the chief instructor. I believe that the main reason it happens in one class is because the instructor simply is unable to find anyone else, and because the 6th/5th Kyu person is passionate about Aikido and reliable - being attendant in nearly every class.

It has happened on more than one occasion, and, as most of the respondents in this forum have said, everyone is happy to train. No problem.

But there are awkward moments. Such as lining up before class, and the usual instructor is not present, and the Dan in attendance don't know that 6th/5th Kyu is going to be instructing... Or during class when 6th/5th Kyu interrupts a Nage and Uke to make technical observations...

It was these awkward moments that made me think of proposing this thread. The usual dojo etiquette of deference toward the higher rank is undone, and catches us momentarily off-balance. But as this discussion developed I thought of other ramifications: namely, the affect it has on the self-confidence of other Kyu; and on the ego of this person chosen to teach over them.

I haven't spoken to the instructor involved because when I started this I didn't think it was a problem. I just wanted to know what everyone thought. My first words were, "Just wondering..." But if others here think it is a problem; and can make a case that I should bring it to the instructor's attention, then I will.

Whether a reasoned judgment or a personal opinion can be made of this doesn't matter. Either is fine. But let me quote from Mark Uttecht to define how I feel, "'Acceptance' is a strong trait to develop in the dojo. The designated 'sensei' of a particular class, is simply the instructor of that class. It may be a learning experience for him/her. It is actually a learning experience for everyone."
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