A note from the aforementioned (and retired) TKD person in Selkie's last post:
Mary Kuhner (and to anyone else wondering): Selkie's left out a couple of details which I feel need pointing out. (My apologies beforehand to Selkie if I'm telling too much.)
1) She's not physically strong due to certain reasons I won't get into (that's her business if she wants to divulge them), but she's already quite familiar with some of the ki techniques thanks to other sources; learning new applications for her knowledge was part of what made the other classes so much fun for her. She went to this dojo primarily to learn the jo, but also to improve her physical strength and self-confidence (which comprises a good deal of what most of us take martial arts for, unless I'm wildly mistaken). To be told that she was at fault for getting hurt did not help that confidence any. She's also since developed the impression that the more highly-ranked the person, the lousier a teacher s/he is. I can see how that would occur: some people have forgotten what it's like to be at the bottom of the food chain. That, however, does not make their actions excusable.
Side note to Peter Rehse: The one thing that cannot be assumed is that those beginning aikido -- or any martial art, for that matter -- are already physically fit. While I've no doubt she could have gotten to her feet in short order (barring severe injury, that is), the person who trampled her hair happened to do so immediately after Selkie hit the ground. She had no opportunity to stand up before that happened. I am guessing her hair *was* tied up, since for it to be ripped out violently enough to induce bleeding would mean the other's foot would have stepped on it quite close to the skull, with perhaps another inch or two making the difference between 'hair' and 'forehead'. Also, she did not stop to 'take a slower role' because, quite simply, she's new to martial arts: she trusted to the discretion of the instructors as to what was safe for her to do, since they're supposed to know better when teaching beginners. This 'mistake' could have sent her to the hospital -- or, worse yet, to the morgue. (Then they would have had to deal with me. :P) Just thought I'd clear that up.
2) Several members of the Ki Society she chose are ex-aikikai who had negative experiences at the local aikikai dojo and went in search of something else to try. Based on both their experiences and her own research, Selkie truly does not have anywhere else to train that would give her what she needs. I'd see about doing something for her myself (I'm training in a weapon-centered art right now that includes jo), but we live three hours apart, and a six-hour commute for two-hour lessons just isn't practical.
I've been in and taught enough classes to know that one should never, ever be negligent with the beginners. They have put their well-being in your hands with the trust that you will treat it responsibly. I myself have been the victim of an indifferent teacher: he preferred chatting with his top-ranked student over supervising the class once he'd given us something to practice, and I was nearly paralyzed thanks to his negligence; it took my brother screaming for the guy to notice anything. :P If nothing else, that experience fifteen years ago taught me what should *not* be done with beginners. When I learned of Selkie's experience last week, I was so angry that I was shaking, and furious enough to make the three-hour trip if only to glare at those who allowed it to happen. It should *not* have happened, period.
Bottom line: they knew she had no experience with what they asked her to do, yet they made her do it anyway, then told her her injuries were her fault. To me, that's negligence, and that's absolutely unacceptable -- especially since the dojo's founder was present.