I'm with Lynn on that one.
I'm going to copy in something I posted on a different thread that suddenly seems relevant.
I had an interesting experience today that keeps seeming relevant to me. I'm going to sneak it in here because I really want to tell about it and I figure by this point not too many people are reading this thread.
I was visiting a dojo where nobody knows me. Because hakama are bulky to carry and because I think it's right, I wore a white belt. At ASU dojos, white belt and no hakama usually means 'not yet 5th kyu.'
I've been in different dojos in this garb and have gotten different reactions. At this dojo, everyone wanted to teach me. That's fine. I'm always happy to learn, even if learning only means learning how to swallow pride, bow, and say 'thank you.'
Still, my uke is my uke, and sometimes things were hard for one student or another. I'm not saying I was any better than them; that's just the way it was. Anyway, at one point the sensei was trying to show me something (I'm not sure: I believe he was began with helping me on something I was having trouble with, but he may have been trying to show me why it is wrong to resist) and things were hard for him. I wasn't trying to make it hard; that's just the way it was. He didn't give up though. He just kept tossing me around, changing techniques, and working with me.
Pretty soon the whole class was watching. It was pretty athletic. Sometimes it was beautiful and flowing; other times it was ugly struggles. It kept going on and on, down and up. He was having difficulty (in my judgement) because he was using a little too much force (aren't we all always doing that) and perhaps he is used to getting away with that because he is a big man and a talented aikidoka. Or maybe he was doing it on purpose.
Anyway, it was a lot of fun for me and a little bit scary not to know whether we were 'competing' or 'training.' I've rarely had the experience of trying my best to do AiKiDo while I'm really not sure whether or not that is what my partner is also going for. If I have felt that way in the past, it's always with beginners where I feel like I have the right and responsibilty to keep things slow and safe. This was definitly living on the edge, as far as I was concerend. We stopped when he noticed that he'd scratched my neck doing a head-o-toshi. After class he made a couple of comments about how 'we can be trying to make a point' and how that can get in the way sometimes. I'm not sure whether he meant him or me or both of us.
So, the really interesting thing is that after the class one of the guys I'd been working with who had trouble came up to me, took me aside, and told me two things: 1) that when I resist him, I create openings that he can exploit for other techniques, and (2) when the instructor is demonstrating with me, we are part of a team that works together for the class. I thought, for a moment, about sharing my feelings with him. Then I thought better of it, swallowed my pride, bowed, and said 'thank you.'
I'm not sure what I learned from all this, but something tells me that even if I don't know what it is, I learned a lot.