View Single Post
Old 07-23-2010, 10:18 PM   #16
ninjaqutie's Avatar
Dojo: Searching for a new home
Location: Delaware (<3 still in Oregon!)
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,002
Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

Travis Patterson wrote: View Post

I am studying Aikido under the Birankai organization. The Aikido we do is extremely rough. This , I think, exemplifies what we do in the dojo. I have been training for almost a year now very rigorously. I go 4 days a week, 2 - 3 classes each day for a total of 9 - 10 hours a week. I test for 4th Kyu next month.
Like you, I also study under the Birankai organization. Like you, I also train four days a week (2 to 3 classes a day depending on whether it is the summer or winter schedule). Also, like you, I have been training a little over a year and I will also be testing for 4th kyu soon. So, in a lot of ways, I feel like I can really relate to you.

Where we differ is I do not believe the aikido in my dojo is rough. Do you get whacked in the head with the occasional bokken, poked in the eye or hit in the face? Sure, but that is part of martial arts. It would be silly to believe I wouldn’t incur any injuries what so ever. HOWEVER, if you feel like your sensei is going to break your bones, something is wrong there. I believe a little pain is necessary to learn, however, I believe that pain should be stopped once you are showing compliance or tap (or something similar). For him to say you are young and can take it is just plain irrational. If anything, he should be trying to help you preserve your body so you can train even longer! There is a difference between accidentally injuring someone and maliciously injuring someone. It sounds like my dojo is the prior and yours is unfortunately the latter

Travis Patterson wrote: View Post
My issues:

As my training has progressed over the course of the last year my Sensei has become rougher and rougher on me, far more so than anyone else at the school.
What do you mean by rougher? My sensei (and sempai) are a bit rougher with me then they did a year ago, but I would say it is proportional to my ability’s (most times anyway!). My sensei is also tougher on me at times. I think it is partly because I am one of the students who trains regularly and I look at it as a compliment. On the other hand, if your sensei is wrenching the techniques on you and is slamming you down to the mat to a point where you can’t take care of yourself, then again…. something is wrong!

Travis Patterson wrote: View Post
I welcome the skinned and swollen knees and the bruises all along my arms but it's getting to the point that I am afraid he is going to break my body. I already exhibit most of the symptoms of a separated shoulder and I hurt, literally, all the time.
Like you, because of the amount of hours I train, I am also usually sore. Like you, I also frequently have mat burn, swollen knees from a lot of suwariwaza and bruises. Sometimes I come home and just crash on the couch and don’t move until I manage to force myself to go upstairs and get ready for bed. The difference there is that I have NEVER, not once thought that I was going to get a “broken body” (not quite sure if you mean broken bones or just a worn out body…). If training makes you feel that way, then the training does seem extreme.

Travis Patterson wrote: View Post
He is a man that favors training in extremes. During the winter he begrudgingly installed a heater because people stopped coming. Similarly, I live in the desert southwest and the dojo doesn't have air conditioning. The temperature outside yesterday was about 105.
My old dojo was in an un-insulated garage, so the heater was really pointless. We kept warm in the winter by training vigorously. It sure was cold and the mats were hard, but once we got warmed up, it wasn’t so bad. Both my old dojo and my current dojo do not have AC. My old dojo was on the east coast, so we had heat and humidity to deal with. Now that I live in Oregon, I don’t have the humidity issue, but I have trained in 104 and 105 heat no problem. HOWEVER, neither of these dojo’s pushed us to the point that everyone wanted to vomit! Both of the places I have trained were strict on water though (only before and after class). So, I really tried to focus on hydrating before and after class.

Travis Patterson wrote: View Post
Every time I turn around, there is another function to attend: Dojo improvements, potlucks, garage sales and on and on. I understand that these are standard community building exercises (A stated objective of Sensei is to build a thriving community around Aikido) but I feel increasingly trapped withing that community.
I personally believe that things like this are great! I wish my dojo had more events like that. My question for you is, are you obligated to go to these? What happens if you don’t go to these? Are you punished or reprimanded? Our sensei would be upset if we didn’t go, but I know for a fact he wouldn’t look down on us or treat us horrible if we weren’t able (or wanted) to attend.

Travis Patterson wrote: View Post
At this point I'm thinking of walking away. This makes me sad and apprehensive. I have gotten a lot out or Aikido. I feel a great deal more confident in life. I have social anxiety and taking an Aikido perspective has made a world of difference……….On the other hand: I am tired of hurting all the time, not having any personal time that isn't spent doing Aikido, doing Aikido functions, or recovering from Aikido. The emphatic chanting and high-heat training don't sit well with me either.
Of course you are going to be sad to walk away. You have put a lot of effort and passion into your training. It is never easy to walk away from something. Even though it sounds like you have a bad taste in your mouth, I’m sure you also have some fond memories (or at least I hope you do) that makes walking away a bit hard. In the end, you have to do what is best for YOU! Don’t let him guilt trip you into staying just to prove that you can tough it out. That is just his attempt to bully you into staying. It sounds like you would be happier training somewhere else and I can’t blame you for that. The one thing I would say is don’t write off birankai just because of your experience with your teacher. If another organization interests you, sure try it out! If you find a dojo that is completely non affiliated with an organization, that is great too! However, I would encourage you not to pass up a school or instructor just because they are students of chiba sensei or are under the birankai umbrella. Go find a dojo where you will be happy and thrive in a non cultish, body friendly environment. Best of luck to you!!!!!!!

Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
His students, however, especially his senior students, sometimes strove to 'out-Chiba' Chiba and they were the one who exhibited cult-like behavior, as they attempted to give guru status to their sensei and interpret whatever he said as having cosmic significance. Of course, they were encouraged.
Hhhm… I find this interesting. Maybe my sensei (and a few others of chiba’s that I know are the exception here, but I have never gotten that impression. I guess a big factor here is the personality of the person who trained under chiba. Maybe it also has to do with the fact that my sensei and some of the others I know also trained under other teachers as well. I am sure that makes a difference as well.

Last edited by ninjaqutie : 07-23-2010 at 10:29 PM.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
  Reply With Quote