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Old 03-03-2004, 06:42 PM   #4
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
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Brad Medling (ikkitosennomusha) wrote:
What got me kicked out of the dojo was that he was letting a 15 year old practice in the adult class. I feel a minor should not be allowed to participate in an adult class unless he is able to provide the same level of intensity and protect himself. Don't you? Brad Medling
I am glad that you found the post helpful.. I will say that I generally try to work folks in to their training somewhat gradually. I have had some of my kids move from the young people's class to the adult classes when they were fifteen or sixteen. They weren't yet ready for full out adult power but they knew a lot and the adults respected them, even looked to them for assistance in their techniques (these boys had trained for six to sevenb years at this point). So I would say that we would expect to go easier on them. I don't think it hurts your training to have partners with whom you have to "go soft". I trained for years in a dojo in which I was by far the largest person on the mat (by 75 lbs at least). I simply adjusted my techniques so that I didn't feel any resistance at all. If I did I knew that the technique would not have worked on someone my own size.

That said, the other problem of feeling as if your teacher isn't fully competent is a difficult one. I had some students who trained with me move out of town and they joined a dojo which trained very differently from the way we did. I heard later that they were something of a problem for the teachjer at that school because they were always testing everything. I contacted them and was fairly severe with them in explaining that this wasn't approriate. This teacher had spent 25 or 30 years earning the right to open that school. In that school, the teacher has the right to define what is taught and the way it is taught. It is not appropriate to train there and then second guess everything the teacher is doing, even if you suspect your are right. I told my ex-students that if they stayed there they had to be supportive of that teacher. They have since changed schools, which is the proper way to handle that kind of situation.

When you find that you can't respect the teacher it is necessary to leave and find training with a teacher whom you do respect. It is as simple as that. This may even mean changing arts if that is what it takes. It is not appropraite at every school to test your teacher. You need to find one where that is ok. I expect my own students to test me if they think they can hit me or stop my technqique. That is for my own training, not theirs. I need to know that they aren't just giving it to me.

But there are some very good schools around that would not accept that kind if interaction. There are certainly schools at which the martial aside of Aikido is not stressed and the uke is expected to develop sensitivity by moving with the partner's technique. These folks are more interested in the "moving meditation" side of the art than the application side.

There are also schools run by people who do see themselves as martial artists but whose egoes wouldn't handle having a student test them. If they were stopped on a technique, the next technique would be done to hurt or injure the student so that everybody would know that the Sensei was the superior one. I certainly wasn't trained that way and wouldn't train anywhere where that was the norm but I know of places like that.

I don't know what association you have now but I would recommed getting with a group whose teacher you respect, one who doesn't have a problem with you questioning how techniques work and who won't feel the need to restore honor to the school by maiming you when you are strong with them. That's the course I would recommend.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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