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Old 04-14-2011, 06:12 PM   #26
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Boston
Location: Peterborough, NH
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 653
Re: One more time. Ho do you tell your sensei they need help

Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
There is only one way to tell someone something: You have to talk to her. It's just that. No easy way, no shortcut, not helpfull phrases. "sensei, in my eyes, your technique is not good anymore as it used to be."
Ooh, ouch. You, anonymous, will have to decide if you're really seeing what you're seeing or if you should take some of the advice in previous posts to heart. But if you decide to talk to your sensei, you need Hugh's Helpful Hints for managing Really Difficult Conversations:
  1. Fix your mindset first: Start the conversation assuming you're wrong. Not: "Sensei, your technique sucks." But: "Sensei, I don't understand what you're showing in your Aikido these days." Most of the time, in my experience, you will find out you were wrong, or at least that your understanding was incomplete. But even if you weren't wrong, starting with this attitude makes the conversation less confrontational. You can't pretend, though. You have to really know that it's quite likely reality isn't what you think, and start from that point of view.
  2. Flag the conversation before you start: "Sensei, can I talk to you? I have something kind of awkward to bring up." That way Sensei's not blindsided and is warned to pay attention.
  3. Be specific. Some people say not to get into details, but I think you have to. "When you were showing shihonage today, it looked to me like your stance wasn't really stable. What were you doing with that?" From specifics you can go on to generalities if you need to.
  4. Be prepared to be vulnerable. You are, worst case, going in there with a can opener prying into a bunch of your Sensei's problems and issues that aren't really your business. You'd better be prepared to be a real participant in that conversation. Where are you in this story? What are your insecurities? What are the weaknesses in your aikido? You can't start this conversation and then get all defensive. Well, you can, but it won't be pretty.

Good luck with your training.

Last edited by hughrbeyer : 04-14-2011 at 06:16 PM.
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