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Old 03-02-2009, 09:04 PM   #1
IP Hash: 28eb6b2c
Anonymous User
Unhappy Master/slave relationship and Instructor with ego


I apologize in advance if my questions have previously been answered, however I searched the forum and couldn't find any posts that fully answered them.

A brief background of myself to put my questions in context: I'm a young adult who has been doing Aikido for only 1 month now. My motivation for undertaking the martial art was naturally for self-defence, but also, as someone with a mild-mannered temperament, to improve my self-confidence.

1. How common is it to encounter an instructor (not sensei) with an ego problem? Throughout my brief time at the dojo there has been one particular instructor who has ridiculed me on numerous occasions, while employing a condescending tone when teaching. I find myself consciously avoiding any possibility of being paired with him during class and am relieved when he doesn't attend at all. The only reason I haven't left the dojo is that the sensei himself (along with most other sempai) is the diametrical opposite of this instructor. I appreciate that you're always going to encounter these kinds of people in any context, but from my limited understanding, a student's ascension to the higher ranks of Aikido is not solely based on technique, but also on their personality. Shouldn't it then be surprising that this instructor has gotten as far as he has? (I'm not sure what 'dan' rank he has obtained).

2. I feel this question is the more important of the two. Once again, I just want to reiterate that I've only been doing Aikido for 1 month, so I hope people aren't too judgemental.

I appreciate and am comfortable with the idea of lower ranking students showing respect for those that are of a higher rank. However, there have been many times when I do feel that the line from respect to submission has been crossed. For instance, during setup we are required to both sweep and wipe down the mats, and I am more than happy to help out with these tasks. But, after I've done more than my fair share, I'm constantly told to finish off for another sempai and more often than not barked at to hurry up. It is a similar scenario when packing up at the end of the class. In short, when a sempai orders me to do something, I feel intimidated and I don't have the free-will to say no. So my question is, how can this not be interpreted as an act of submission more along the lines of a master/slave relationship rather than a teacher/student relationship?

Overall, I am worried that, rather than these classes improving my self-confidence, they are having an adverse effect on my self-esteem. It seems to me that this dojo has instilled the idea that the only way to feel good about yourself is to be in control of others, which I don't think is in the spirit of Aikido.

Please help me sort this out.
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