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Old 01-12-2011, 10:16 AM   #1
IP Hash: 542bcc79
Anonymous User
Unhappy Is there another solution?

I feel, I should start with some background in order to get accurate advice. I am one of two senseis of a healthy sized dojo. Our students are mostly adults looking for a physical and mental activity that is a respite to the daily complications of their jobs and lives. We are not about ego, not to say there is no ego, we are fully aware our short comings. We don't have or allow personal issues to take center stage and distract the dojo. We are a place of learning and stress that. We are not a drama club. Important to know too is don't we think or teach that the sensei's are gods, super heros or know it alls, we are human. Our knowledge and skill is imperfect, then by default no one is put on a pedestal, no hero worship, no cultish dojo. It goes to reason, we know and teach, Aikido is not the next best thing to sliced bread. It has its strengths and weakness, like everything else. Nothing or anyone is perfect. We are not looking to put our dojo on the map. We are, to sum it up, happy to be a simple wall flower dojo. That mentality has brought the dojo respect and harmony in the community and in the dojo. That for us, is our goal and defines our success.

To get to the issue, knowing my background of my dojo, I recently went to a friend's Aikido class, not as a sensei. I went as a student. I went objectively, and in with a fraternal attitude. Wasn't there to bust the sensei's nuts. Didn't care to spent the whole time pointing out flaws of the dojo or students. The universal mistakes we all have in Aikido, like carrying our weight up in our chest instead down at our center, from which we should orientation movement. Something we learn and then forget to do overtime. It is easy to come into someone else's dojo and break them down. It is easy to point to out the minor faults in others and ignore the major faults you have in your own practice. I wasn't going there to do that. I went to expand my horizons.

Upon meeting the Sensei for the first time, it went off friendly. I was warmly greeted with a cordial welcoming onto the mat, that I graciously accepted. I was there to expand my experience and learn something. I changed and bow in. I stepped on the mat, bowing in wearing a white belt. Once we paired up, sensei Nice became sensei Adam Henry. It was on, he was busting my nuts right and left with personal insults and criticisms, right after he introduced me as I asked. I requested to be known as a student, and not a sensei from a different dojo. The moment the intro was over, he wasted no time pointing out to the class the most minor insignificant flaws in my technique and my poor understanding of Aikido; If I had perfect technique, I wouldn't need to go to the dojo to practice?

The verbal abuse graduated to physical. In his stacked deck of cards he was dealing out, he would set me up for a fall. He would tell the class to do a technique knowing full well, as I, the weakness in it. Following up in an abuse of his position as sensei, exploit that known weakness to his benefit. No matter how we stand there is always a lesser cross angle where we are less stable susceptible to a cross force. So, he had us individually do this exercise where we have to stand on line where one foot is in front of another foot behind it, inline. Same starting position when you are about to pace off steps, one foot in front of the other. Very difficult and awkward position, hard to stay balanced. The sensei told us to hold the position. In this position, we are highly susceptible to the slightest cross force coming off the bi-sectional or intersecting line. The solution is to move off that line, and avoid that position, but that wasn't the lesson.

Being this position for at least several minutes as he walked around inspecting the class, he comes to me. Which I suspected he would, and to capitalizes on my weak line with a force. He did just that. He applied force, causing me to losing my balance at that point, I shifted my weight and stepped of line into a natural balanced standing position regaining my balance. When he seen that, he instantly broadcasted that I failed his lesson by not withstanding the force he applied. Then with one last blow, he comment that he would never train at my dojo or style, as nothing of value is taught there. Keeping my emotions to myself, I didn't react to these and other insults at that point. I asked him politely and in a curiously manner if he could demonstrate how the exercise was done correctly? He bluntly ignored my request as he walked away to instruct a new technique that I suffered new insults. Needless to say, I got baited.

After class, he comes up to me all really nice and polite as if nothing he did was offensive. He asked me if I enjoyed the class and what did I learn? And did the class strengthen my techniques? He then invited us to dinner to chat it up. But, I was pissed. I had no intentions of play this game. My friend stood there as if this was par for the course. But my emotions as a result of this unpleasant experience took over.

I baited Adam Henry of a Sensei back on his mat. Having done Judo as a kid, I remember a few Shime wazas which I felt the need to brush up on. I said, humbly to Adam Henry sensei that I was having trouble knowing what to do when a person grabs my gi lapels from the front with two hands. Not being an ass, but in deference, asked for him for advice. He allowed me to grab his uniform in the manner I requested with two hands. The second that happened, I reset the paradigm to zero on him by applying a Tsukkomi jime. Yes, it was a teaching moment, and I hate crap like this when I am teaching. But, in my defense I proposed scenario, and requested advice, and he came off as a sensei to be able to handle it. I choked him out. Unintentionally, I haven't done the choke in years and I was piss off, and the adrenaline was flowing. My intent was to throw him off balance backward enough to where he would step back, exploiting the anatomy of the foot. At first I didn't realize the choke work so well on him. Neither did he. He didn't realize, he was out because I held him in place as he passed out for a few seconds. When he came to, after I loosed up on the choke, he proceeded to finish the lesson as if nothing happened. At that point, I let go completely his gi, and excused myself politely from the mat and left not honoring the dinner invitation. This episode was not in front of his other students, just my friend, his student. Granted knowing my background, my behavior was outside of what I represent as the sensei of my dojo, and the dojo's reputation. In my defense, I felt it was just.

Now am in hot water with the other sensei of my dojo, and my friend both whom didn't approve of me choking out my friend's instructor. It happened that push came to shove, that day, I shoved back. I was insulted. Adam Henry sensei humiliated he in his class to feed his ego. I am not saying this sensei had bad technique. The guy isn't bad sensei or anything to the contrary. I am saying what he did was poor behavior and bush-league. It is no way to treat a guest. A guest who came in friendship and an open mind.

Those facts of my experience aren't seen by my friend or the other sensei at my dojo. All they see is the recourse I took. Am now the bad guy in this situation. I know and understand the common protocol and etiquette it can be argued I didn't follow that. In hindsight, maybe I should of just did nothing and have quietly walked out, like they say I should have. Hindsight is 20/20. By the telling of my story, I might as well paint a bulls eye on my butt, I am asking for some feedback, was I wrong in my actions, or just? Was there another solution?