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Old 10-16-2002, 12:56 AM   #32
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hmmm. anonymous coward again. interesting extrapolation of perspectives, giancarlo.

you assume that this person was unwelcome from day one, and that he is a recent transplant. incorrect. there was a great deal of affection and welcome from the dojo to this person. for the first year, while i was still friendly with this person, i enjoyed training with him. only a couple of accidents, one hospital visit the first year. ok, it could happen to anyone. adaptation could take awhile.

second year, people began to feel wary of him. he trashed beginners, and would on one hand verbally emphasize how important training safely meant, but words would not match his actions. more injuries. complaints to sensei. sensei speaks to him respectfully. he says ok, but his actions again don't match his words.

i get curious about his old dojo. find out about a seminar his old sensei is holding, and offer to go with him to train at the old dojo. go there and train with his dojomates and his sensei. funny, i'm treated with kindness, openness and respect. my training is, even after only a couple of years, enough to hold my own with his dojomates. lo and behold! they're wary of him too! none of them welcome him back. when he needs help putting on his hakama for the first time no one volunteers to help him. he has to ask several times before a yudansha reluctantly shows him.

so it ain't that he trained at a "macho" dojo before. i certainly held my own there, and never felt scared of the way they were training, nor of his sensei, who was kind enough to throw me in offering a correction once, so i felt how he blended with me and rolled neatly out of the throw; he did not behave in any of the ways i saw this person behave, so he is not emulating his previous sensei. certainly his dojomates did not miss him.

as for efficacy of his technique, and whether or not my dojo has something to learn from him on that level, well, he's been hurt more often than anyone else training with him. *he's been one of the people in the hospital, more than once*. how is that a reflection of technical expertise? how is that anything other than self-blindness? shouldn't a really well-trained martial artist, as a first rule, be able to protect themselves from harm as the priority, above and beyond trashing anybody else? people are disgusted with him! he talks a big game, is first to show how It's Done(tm), even with sensei watching (essentially teaching when teacher is right there, usually a big no-no in our dojo), barks at people when they aren't doing exactly what he thinks they should be doing, and then when people are hurt shows no concern for their recovery, no desire to understand what might have gone wrong, and no desire to listen when people try to respectfully communicate with him.

sorry, maybe i didn't make it clear that the dojo gave him a few years worth of patience before no one showed up when he taught. that happened after he hurt somebody while he was teaching and then made dismissive jokes about the injury instead of evaluating how bad it was. hairline bone fracture, later diagnosis concluded. can you really claim that somebody with this lack of self-control, lack of understanding self-limits (in the sense of himself getting hurt!), and lack of connection with others is anything other than a violent thug? of course at this point there is an overwhelming lack of respect for his aikido. hard, fast and out of control is not synonymous with competence or superiority. training with him is like handling a live grenade with the pin pulled out. i don't think the grenade really has the advantage of the situation when it's going to self-destruct too.

we've shown this guy years worth of patience. we're running out of ukes. the reason senior people left is for various individual scenarios, but they got fundamentally fed up too. i don't want to risk being a parapeligic, i heard more than once. it is a communication problem, i agree. how else can we try to say it? people have said politely, no thank you, i'm not up to training that way tonight. how about we go slowly? didn't work, he speeds up on the second throw. people took him aside after class, said, hey, you know, that's a cool way you have falling -- how do you practice that -- and he showed off that fall so hard and so fast (throwing himself, no nage) that he tore his own joints apart. (one of the times he went to the hospital). like watching oil and water separate over time, people came to avoid training with him. and it still has not come to a head, but it's like water building behind a dam. am i going to have to explode in a big tantrum the next time i have to take someone to the hospital to see some response?

my real dilemma is this:

how do we get past all this history, all these reasons not to trust this person, back to some form of reciprocally satisfactory situation? it would be sheer folly to ignore all this evidence. and yet, you are correct that we do not trust or respect this person, and that isolation is exacerbating the problem. while he may very well have something to teach us, the price may be too damned high. we are locked in our perspectives and that is not very aiki at all.

maybe i should visit another dojo for awhile with no explanation and see if there is a magic perspective that will suddenly solve the situation. at least my frustration will diminish, and maybe that's all that i should care about anymore.
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