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Old 03-25-2005, 06:18 AM   #1
IP Hash: 96d50232
Anonymous User
Anger on the mat

I've been training for a while, and this issue doesn't come up often, thank goodness, but it's been bothering me for a while.

How do you deal with training partners who have really bad tempers?

I know we all get frustrated sometimes, but there have been a couple of times in my training when I've seen someone explode with rage at another person, and I think it's totally inappropriate to a training situation. Once, I saw two senior students get into a fight on the mat. The person teaching (who may have actually been junior to one of them) asked them to leave the mat, and they were spoken to afterward about the incident, apologized, etc. It gave me such a bad feeling that I didn't go back to the dojo for a week, which was unusual for me at the time, but it was all settled appropriately.

The latest incident, I was more directly involved in. A student (the same rank as me) was teaching the class. He and I have never gotten along very well, and in retrospect I probably shouldn't have been going to his class, but I did. Anyway, after avoiding me for most of the class, he called me up to take ukemi. I had no idea what technique he was trying to do. I thought he was just getting started, he thought that I should have fallen already. He changed the technique, and there was a lot of anger in it, but in a normal way for him. I think that if that had been the end of it, I wouldn't have noticed.

I went on, bowed to someone else, then he came back around, angry at me for not falling for the first technique he'd done (which... well, if I'd been able to tell what the heck he was doing...), but the point is that he was quivering with rage, and I went straight into primitive flight response, left the mat, and went home. I think I may have spoken to our (very hands-off, conflict-averse) sensei at that point.

I almost did not come back to the dojo at all, and I still don't feel safe practicing with this guy. I mean, I honestly feel that I am in serious danger with him, not only from the usual careless accidents that might happen, but he's likely to explode emotionally, at me, and it's just not safe. Even when he's not especially angry, he's left quite a lot of serious injuries in his wake.

Now, part of this is an interpersonal problem, but I think that it also affects the dojo as a whole, and makes it a less safe place to practice. Others in our dojo say that this guy is just doing very energetic, enthusiastic aikido, and some people say it's just a stage he's going through (new black belt) but when we've gone to seminars people I know from other dojos have commented on the scariness of this guy's techniques/energy/practice.

So. There's not a whole lot I can do about it, but it's still bothering me. I don't want our dojo to devolve into some airy place where we lose the martial part of the art, but I also don't want people to leave because of this guy (there are others like him, I know). The sensei will not do anything about it, not only because he likes this guy, but because he just doesn't like to address this kind of problem. It's been framed as my problem, but if I look at the serious injuries we've had in the dojo in the past few years, there's a pattern with this guy at the center of it... and I don't think that's ok.

If an issue like this comes up again, how can I address if without coming off as the whiny girl? I really don't think that it's just a woman problem, but I get the impression that he's likely to get angrier at me because I'm female, or maybe it's just that the male members of the dojo read his anger differently. I would like for there to be more women in the dojo (there are a handful of others, at the moment I'm the only one who practices regularly), and this is the kind of thing that would send most women straight for the door, never to return, even though it's not sleazy in a sexual way.

Ugh. It's been months, and this is still bothering me. Any thoughts?

--Staying alive
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