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Old 06-01-2007, 09:55 PM   #26
Jonathan
Dojo: North Winnipeg Aikikai
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Actually, I have recently posted a sign in the dojo which reads:

"When in Rome do as the Romans do."

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 06-01-2007, 10:07 PM   #27
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Yeah but you are in Winnipeg.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-01-2007, 10:32 PM   #28
PeterR
 
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Seriously - if we can't use aikiweb to vent where can we. Dealing with the problem doesn't mean we have to be happy about it or not look for other solutions. Good thread topic.

More disturbing to me (in seminars its almost expected) are visitors to your dojo assuming they have something to teach without being asked. Even worse are those that try to impose their training parameters on your club. Besides being totally annoying there are obvious safety concerns.

Both these situations happened to me in my first year of teaching in Quebec and never happened while I was teaching in Japan. I would like to think it was my experience and not the culture and I base that on the fact my students a about 50% non-Japanese and my experienced visitors about 70% non-Japanese. I am still as polite and accommodating as ever (at least I like to think so) and run a pretty relaxed class but perhaps I am more capable of projecting the limitations of patience.

The only real advice I can offer for the dojo situation is practice the "School marm look of death". It works wonders.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-02-2007, 04:36 AM   #29
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

I think there's a balance that can be found between getting outright aggressive and being too diplomatic. I've told my partners at seminars "We obviously don't agree, so just let me practice my way, ok?" and usually that works. People might be left thinking that I'm stupid for not accepting their wisdom but so far no one has actually started to argue about it.

The thing about people who like to stop your technique in a passive aggressive way seems to be, they don't really like to do it "out in the open" so when I say something about it, they stop.

On the other hand, when people are genuinely trying to help, if I say something, they'll explain what they were after, and then I can either decide to try it their way, or we agree to disagree.

kvaak
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Old 06-02-2007, 05:34 AM   #30
Mark Uttech
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Aikido classes, and aikido seminars create excited windows of 'power' opportunity. Some of us focus on our own practice and forget about others. Some of us focus on the practice of others and forget about ourself. There's a natural principle that occurred to me early on in life; watch others to see what you can learn. A student has many teachers, a teacher has one student.

In gassho,

Mark
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Old 06-02-2007, 10:56 AM   #31
Jonathan
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

"When in Winnipeg, do as the Winnipegers do."

Ah...no. Doesn't have the same classic ring to it. "Winnipegers" just sounds kinda' silly.

Quote:
I am still as polite and accommodating as ever (at least I like to think so) and run a pretty relaxed class but perhaps I am more capable of projecting the limitations of patience.
Well, as I've said, I think I have not expressed the limitations of my patience very well. I guess this is sort of my point. I haven't had good balance about this and am realizing it now more than I have in the past.

"School marm look of death"? Do I need half glasses and my hair in a bun for this one?

Quote:
In the other hand, if aikido should lead you to create the rightest response spontanously, I'm a bit surprised after 20 years you have some doubts how to react in such simple situation.
Oh, I can adapt my aikido on the fly pretty well now. The problem is that sometimes I'm a little too polite to do it.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 06-02-2007, 01:50 PM   #32
Karen Wolek
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
The only real advice I can offer for the dojo situation is practice the "School marm look of death". It works wonders.
I call it the SSOD. Sensei Stare Of Doom. My sensei is VERY good at it.

Very.

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 06-02-2007, 01:52 PM   #33
Janet Rosen
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Quote:
Karen Wolek wrote: View Post
I call it the SSOD. Sensei Stare Of Doom. My sensei is VERY good at it.

Very.
Yeah but I'll never be a sensei....and I perfected the schoolmarm stare of death before I ever bowed onto a mat!

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 06-02-2007, 02:06 PM   #34
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Yeah but I'll never be a sensei....and I perfected the schoolmarm stare of death before I ever bowed onto a mat!
Yes, but it is instictive for the female of the species.
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Old 06-03-2007, 04:30 AM   #35
RoyK
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
If I pay money to attend a seminar, it's because I feel the seminar instructor is worth the money. I don't like my seminar time dominated by someone else trying to peddle their aikido. I look for a partner who can help me figure out what the instructor demonstrates. As a partner, I view my job is to help my partner figure out what the instructor demonstrates.
I'm attending a three days seminar with Suganuma Sensei (8th dan) starting tomorrow, and this is the mind frame I'm going to try to adopt for it, thank you!

Regarding the main post: Since I'm just a 4th kyu and train in a mostly black belts group, I feel like I have a black belt in dealing with such behaviors. I'm a little depressed to hear that this is not something that goes away with time.
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Old 06-03-2007, 07:31 AM   #36
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Quote:
Jonathan Hay wrote: View Post

I think my problem is that I'm way too diplomatic, way too accommodating in dealing with these people. George L.'s advice to "start acting better than the other guy" is something I've always done -- especially with obnoxious higher-ranked aikidoka -- but doing so, it seems, often only encourages their obnoxiousness. I'm thinking now that, with certain individuals, giving as good as I'm getting is more appropriate than turning the other cheek.
Ok, so taking the "high" road isn't very enjoyable. It's fairly obvious from looking at the world in general that "goodness is it's own reward" and "crime doesn't pay" don't operate much in reality.

If you are really getting frustrated there may be some satisfaction in dropping your obnoxious partner like a stone. Or go ahead and shut him down, show him that he isn't as good as he thinks he is.

All of this can be quite satisfying, I'd be the last one to say it isn't. When I first started Aikido there was a yudansha who pretty much dominated me and everyone else in the dojo. I don't think I ever threw him without him first making it apparent that he could have stopped me. I was terrified of him and spent a lot of time trying to be on the other end of the mat. Then he went away for a while during which he had an operation. When he came back he wasn't as strong as he had been but he wanted to resume the previous relationship in which I was clearly subservient. But he was weaker and i had gotten better... One night we were doing shihonage. He went to shut me down, as usual, but I suddenly realized that I had it. It wasn't pretty but I did have it. He couldn't let go of his need to be the dominant partner and wouldn't take the fall but I completed it anyway and ripped his arm out and put him off the mat for another six weeks. After that he didn't screw around with me any more. I never felt the least bit guilty about it because he was light years better than I was and could have chosen to take the fall at any instant but his ego wouldn't let him. As far as i was concerned, he hurt himself. Anyway, it was a useful lesson for me. But it isn't my "default", I have to get pushed pretty far before you are going to see that side of me.

So possibly, it's part of your training, as Sczepan points out, to learn to stick up for yourself. But I have to say, after all these years, that it seldom improves your position much ( as much as it feels good to dish out what you are getting). Pointing out to seniors that they aren't as good as they'd like to think can actually be dangerous. They are apt to get you back by hurting you to show how superior they are (this applies even more to some teachers). It almost never improves their attitude. It also doesn't usually improve your position with the teacher who, after all, gave them the rank in the first place. So how much fun is it to go to the dojo each night knowing it's going to be a pissing contest to see who can be Alpha dog?

Best thing is to:
a) avoid training with butt heads as much as possible; if there are too many, well maybe that says something about the dojo and you should consider leaving... and
b) rather than point out that other folks aren't as good as they think by acting as badly as they are, train until they can't stop you, which is of course, what you are really there for. Train more and train harder. The problem then takes care of itself. Not only do people stop screwing around with you but this approach will enhance your place in the dojo and with your teacher.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
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Old 06-03-2007, 11:22 AM   #37
Janet Rosen
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

I always feel that "tit for tat" just reinforces their world view. I'd rather undermine it with a smile.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 06-03-2007, 05:10 PM   #38
Jonathan
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

George L.:

Thanks for the comments. The event I shared at the beginning of this thread didn't occur at my dojo, but at a seminar in another city.

I run my own dojo and so don't have to fuss with "pissing contests"...much. There have been a few instances over the years, in and out of my dojo, where aikidoka have tested my technique. Fortunately, I can count on one hand all the people who have. Unfortunately, they all got hurt, which is in large part why I'm so reluctant to "stick up for myself."

Nonetheless, there do seem to be times when "tit for tat", as Janet R. puts it, is necessary. I think the trick for me will be deciding exactly when that is. I'm not a temperamental guy, so its not my "default setting" to flash off at some boob trying to make him/herself look good at my expense. I think my present "default setting" is too far on the other end of the spectrum. Really, I guess I'm trying to find a balance in my response to jerks on the mat that hasn't been there. I think being far too nice is, in it's own way, as bad as being far too mean. And so, I'm going to adjust to a more even "setting."

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 06-03-2007, 05:38 PM   #39
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

George Ledyard"s comments are spot on. It is a good part of practice to be surprised and to practice being surprised Nothing works more on your spirit than the unknown. So these are rightly called: training lessons.

In gassho,

mark
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Old 06-03-2007, 08:42 PM   #40
Nick P.
 
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
On these "pecking order" issues, I always remember Funakoshi's statement that "if it's not important enough to die over, you shouldn't be fighting".
Thanks for that one.
Sigged (as in, now my signature).

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
When I was young and beatiful,....
You mean youger and more beautiful.
Sorry, could not resist.

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Old 06-05-2007, 02:24 PM   #41
mathewjgano
 
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Quote:
Jonathan Hay wrote: View Post
I think my problem is that I'm way too diplomatic, way too accommodating in dealing with these people. George L.'s advice to "start acting better than the other guy" is something I've always done -- especially with obnoxious higher-ranked aikidoka -- but doing so, it seems, often only encourages their obnoxiousness. I'm thinking now that, with certain individuals, giving as good as I'm getting is more appropriate than turning the other cheek.
I've often been described as "too diplomatic," the implication (as I take it) is that folks like that are too docile...the proverbial last-place finishers in life. I disagree with that assumption, though I do understand there's a grain of truth to it. In my opinion, it seems that if you're starting to be affected by things like this more than in the past, yeah a new approach is probably needed. Personally, I'm a big fan of transcending the "problem", but that doesn't mean ignoring it, like so many people seem to think...in fact my "understanding" of Aikido is essentially that we transcend a given problem by connecting with it directly. We institute change upon a situation when it's unhealthy or otherwise incorrect...again, per my "understanding." Of course, I'm sure the other fellow felt he was doing just that.
All that said, in my opinion, the way to best handle situations like that is transient. In the education field we often talk about the concept of "teachable moments." Usually it's meant to describe a diversion from the issue at hand to teach something tangential, but important in and of itself. However, I think it includes the implication that there are times which are not good to teach, even if it directly relates to the topic at hand, and that we must strive to understand these situational relationships if we desire to actually teach something meaningful.
I'm reminded of a story a sempai told me where he was training with a karateka who had come to a seminar. They were doing munetsuki sumiotoshi but the karateka kept pulling his punches so the technique wouldn't work properly. Sempai told the karateka to punch with more sincerity and he did...apparently with the intent of teaching sempai a lesson, but sempai "corner dropped" him and, while the karateka was shaken up by the experience, i'm sure he learned something useful; which was to his benefit as much as to my sempai's, if not more so. Now, I've experienced a couple situations where I've been taught in a less than pleasurable manner, and I gotta say, for a person like me who is quick to let go of most things, it took me a while to enjoy training with those personalities again, even if they were making a valid point. It's all in how you handle it I guess.
Take care,
Matt

Last edited by mathewjgano : 06-05-2007 at 02:30 PM.

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Old 06-06-2007, 03:15 AM   #42
xuzen
 
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Actually I am curious, if this problem an aikido only problem or is this problem universal in the budo world? I too have had been in similar predicament. Higher ranking belts totally shut down my techniques.

However, after taking up Judo, I do not see such problem there. You know, if in fact the higher belts will go easy on the lower belts to help them develop the flow of the technique first (think uchi-komi). I mean, they know when resistant is require (e.g. in RAN-DORI) and when 'flow with the go" is the name of the game (as in nage-komi).

My personal thought: Kihon is just a learning tools to get the correct technique. It is pointless to shut down a learner/students' progress. If you want to really test tori's technique, do it during RAN-DORI, SHIAI or JIYU-WAZA.

Back to Judo, even in RAN-DORI, it is quite difficult to launch into your favourite throw directly especially fighting someone who is more experience then oneself. You have to set it up some minor techniques or feints; what more in KATA when both partner already know each other's intention in advance.

So, in conclusion... success in shutting down tori's technique during KATA training is just plainly an EGO boosting attempt. It serves no other purpose.

Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 06-06-2007, 05:44 AM   #43
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Quote:
Xu Wenfung wrote: View Post
Kihon is just a learning tools to get the correct technique. It is pointless to shut down a learner/students' progress. If you want to really test tori's technique, do it during RAN-DORI, SHIAI or JIYU-WAZA.
...
So, in conclusion... success in shutting down tori's technique during KATA training is just plainly an EGO boosting attempt. It serves no other purpose.
IMHO, it depends the degree you shut it down and for what intent. I would agree that kihon is a learning tool, but at all levels.

If a sempai is offering resistance (shutting down) than it may be to bring kohai to the next level. Just giving the technique, other than the first few levels, does no help one learn it. There should be just enough resistance (shut down) to make them work the technique, but not enough to prevent them from finding the next level.

If it is just ego on sempai's part, then yes, I would agree it is incorrect.

Just because someone has rank (or none) and some degree (or none) of physical ability, does not mean they are right (or wrong) or have worked on themselves psychologically, philosophically, or spiritually.

Whether you agree with what some one does (or not) is not nearly as important as what you do.

Some times being "nice" isn't, and some times being a "jerk" isn't.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 06-06-2007, 06:44 AM   #44
Dazzler
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Some times being "nice" isn't, and some times being a "jerk" isn't.
Very true Lynn.

I've heard our top man say many times that an uke that just falls over no matter how badly you do a technique "is not your friend".

It comes down to uke either refusing to accept bad technique and offering constructive feedback either verbally or simply by physically not accepting the throw.

This is usually positive as long as it does not become blocking simply to prove that you are better than tori.

If anyone deploys this tactic then remember a bit of explanation should help even the newest of the new appreciate that you are trying to help and not just being awkward.

Cheers

D
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Old 06-06-2007, 08:01 AM   #45
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote: View Post
Very true Lynn.

I've heard our top man say many times that an uke that just falls over no matter how badly you do a technique "is not your friend".

It comes down to uke either refusing to accept bad technique and offering constructive feedback either verbally or simply by physically not accepting the throw.

This is usually positive as long as it does not become blocking simply to prove that you are better than tori.

If anyone deploys this tactic then remember a bit of explanation should help even the newest of the new appreciate that you are trying to help and not just being awkward.

Cheers

D
"Uke brings your death."
(i.e. death does not 'just fall over' )

Ego death, technical death, or the death of a dream. Either way, you get to wake up. Thank you, uke.

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 06-06-2007 at 08:03 AM.

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Old 06-06-2007, 01:16 PM   #46
Dan Rubin
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Quote:
Jonathan Hay wrote: View Post
No more Mr. Nice Guy. If another aikidoka (senior or otherwise) tries to challenge my technique he/she better be up to the same challenge from me (shihan excepted, of course).
Jonathan

Earlier in this thread I asked why you would return a challenge from a 5th or 6th dan, but not from a shihan. I wasn't trying to ask a snide question (although, admittedly, I can be snide without trying). I remain curious.

Is the distinction really a distinction between the instructor and a fellow student? I can understand that (although a seminar instructor might be a 5th or 6th dan).

Or is the distinction about having greater respect for a shihan? Even though a shihan might be a 6th dan?

I guess that my curiosity is really about respect and etiquette, and how you -- and I and everyone else -- decide what lines to draw and where.

Dan
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Old 06-06-2007, 04:11 PM   #47
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Quote:
Dan Rubin wrote: View Post
Or is the distinction about having greater respect for a shihan? Even though a shihan might be a 6th dan?

I guess that my curiosity is really about respect and etiquette, and how you -- and I and everyone else -- decide what lines to draw and where.

Dan
What is really being said here is... don't mess with the Japanese instructors...

George S. Ledyard
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Old 06-06-2007, 08:11 PM   #48
PeterR
 
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
What is really being said here is... don't mess with the Japanese instructors...
Or not - considering that there are non-Japanese Shihan.

Frankly I don't make the distinction either with respect to title or race and would never assume that someone else who made the distinction on the former, really meant the latter.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-06-2007, 09:51 PM   #49
Aikibu
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Poor me...I always seem to attract these types. I think it's because I am a big guy with a strong center and when you show me up You look really good! LOL No worries...Just smile and let them have thier fun with you. What goes around comes around

This one guy a very good Aikidoka spent a few years picking on me at seminars He thought it would establish him as the Alpha male on the mat. Over time the opportunity presented itself for me to show him what that really meant and after I put him on his back he just laughed at the realization of what his mindset had achived.

We have been good bros ever since.

Sensei Ledyard and Smith hit the nail on the head.

Budo is the ACT of not using the destructive ACTION even though you want to.

William Hazen Still a Nice Guy.

Last edited by Aikibu : 06-06-2007 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 06-06-2007, 11:09 PM   #50
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
Or not - considering that there are non-Japanese Shihan.

Frankly I don't make the distinction either with respect to title or race and would never assume that someone else who made the distinction on the former, really meant the latter.
Hi Peter,
I am certainly aware that there are non-Japanese Shihan. I just thought it was a bit strange that someone who didn't seem to have back-off about giving a 6th Dan a hard time, would turn around and say he wouldn't give a Shihan a hard time. What changed? The next Dan rank changes how you treat the person?

The fact is that Western Shihan are still rare, depending on ones organization. The Federation folks have been very good about putting their people forward so they quite few Shihan. In my organization there are no non-Japanese Shihan. I suspect that is more the norm. Many organization don't use the system at all, so the only folks called Shihan are the Japanese instructors.

Anyway, as far as I was concerned this was the only the comment seemed to make sense. Otherwise he was saying that he'd give someone like Harvey Konigsberg Sensei a hard time at 6th Dan, maybe even still give him a hard time at 7th Dan, but would stop doing so when he got his Shihan papers? I don't really believe that this was what was being implied. That's all.

George S. Ledyard
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A nice way to spend $25. Adam Alexander General 11 03-21-2006 09:31 PM
Nice Video about Yoseikan Dominic Toupin General 16 08-07-2005 04:32 AM
Nice Video... Roy Dean General 69 02-13-2005 12:39 AM
choosing between good aikido and nice people Unregistered Anonymous 40 07-04-2003 02:42 PM


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