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Old 06-18-2007, 07:39 AM   #1
"anon student"
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dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

Just wondered what peoples thoughts are on this subject as it's currently happening in my dojo - let me explain.

A student has decided (for good reason) to start his own club and has chosen nights to teach that don't conflict with other lessons in the old club. The head of the old dojo came onto the mat and announced that this was happening and wished the student success and that they understood that his friends would want to support him. At no point was it made obvious that the students were not actually allowed to train or support their friend in his new venture. In fact, the student is welcome to train back at our dojo when he wants.

Some of the students have asked permission to train at the new club (as etiquette here states you must) and all have been told that, no, they cannot and if they do they will not be welcome back to the club. Those who have asked why have simply been told that it's personal with no further explanation forthcoming.

Many of the students are understandably upset by this as we want to support someone who is both a good friend and fellow aikido practitioner. An anonymous email was sent to the head of the dojo explaining how many of the students feel but the response was simply that no answer would be given in a public forum and that the student should make themselves known.

Well, how would you feel and how would you react to this? Is it fair to be told you cannot support a friend?
 
Old 06-19-2007, 04:34 PM   #2
tarik
 
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

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The head of the old dojo came onto the mat and announced that this was happening and wished the student success and that they understood that his friends would want to support him.

*snip content*

Some of the students have asked permission to train at the new club (as etiquette here states you must) and all have been told that, no, they cannot and if they do they will not be welcome back to the club. Those who have asked why have simply been told that it's personal with no further explanation forthcoming.
It sounded amicable at first, but apparently not entirely. Is the student welcome to visit the old dojo? I've always found it odd that teachers would try to make their students ask permission to train somewhere else, but that's just me.

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Well, how would you feel and how would you react to this? Is it fair to be told you cannot support a friend?
I'd look at it this way. You aren't being told you cannot support your friend, you're being asked to choose.

It's a pity that it's considered necessary since the new individual clearly made an effort to not conflict with the existing schedule, but perhaps this is a passive-aggressive way to discourage said students endeavor without publicly criticizing him/her. <shrug> Perhaps not.

So choose.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
 
Old 06-19-2007, 04:35 PM   #3
Angela Dunn
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

If I had been told I could not go train at a friends school I to would be asking why, getting told its personal is simply not a good enough answer IMHO. I would be a bit suspicious to the reasoning of being told no and would wonder how much of it is to do with egos and how much of it is down to the quality of the teaching and training.

In the end though I think that I would put my friend before the club and go along to his class. Surely it is better to practice at any opportunity you get to help improve your techniques etc rather than to be led astray by what appears to me, and feel free to correct me if I am wrong, by politics.

I am wondering also, just out of me being a nosy parker why is it etiquette to ask if you can go along to the friends class to train. It could be me not getting some sort of tradition of aikido or your particular branch but that to would have alarm bells ringing rather loudly.
 
Old 06-19-2007, 05:34 PM   #4
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Just wondered what peoples thoughts are on this subject as it's currently happening in my dojo - let me explain.

A student has decided (for good reason) to start his own club and has chosen nights to teach that don't conflict with other lessons in the old club. The head of the old dojo came onto the mat and announced that this was happening and wished the student success and that they understood that his friends would want to support him. At no point was it made obvious that the students were not actually allowed to train or support their friend in his new venture. In fact, the student is welcome to train back at our dojo when he wants.

Some of the students have asked permission to train at the new club (as etiquette here states you must) and all have been told that, no, they cannot and if they do they will not be welcome back to the club. Those who have asked why have simply been told that it's personal with no further explanation forthcoming.

Many of the students are understandably upset by this as we want to support someone who is both a good friend and fellow aikido practitioner. An anonymous email was sent to the head of the dojo explaining how many of the students feel but the response was simply that no answer would be given in a public forum and that the student should make themselves known.

Well, how would you feel and how would you react to this? Is it fair to be told you cannot support a friend?
Hello,

This often happens in Japan, so I wonder where you are and how closely connected is your Dojo Head to Japan.

In Japan, this is one interpretation of the vertical Master-Student relationship. If you have chosen a Master, it makes no sense to go somewhere else, unless that is part of the Master's way of teaching. So this is a consequence of the original choice. My own teacher does not like students going to break-away dojos and so I have never done so.

However, as I stated, this is one interpretation of the Master-Student relationship as it is understood here. Friends and friendships do not really affect core issue. I know very well that some foreigners find this particularly hard to accept.

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
 
Old 06-19-2007, 05:38 PM   #5
ChrisHein
 
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

This is a story that I've not only heard many times, but been a part of myself.

It might be hard but you'll have to make a choice. It is a teachers prerogative to say what is and is not allowed in his dojo. And if he says you cannot train somewhere else and with him, that's just the way it is.

If you want to badly train with the other fellow, do it, and if your current teacher kicks you out, then so be it. However if enough of you want to train with the other fellow, I'm sure the teacher will change his policy.

But don't be cowardly about it, you should all get together and ask to talk to your sensei as a group. Either he will listen to you or not, but there should be no anonymity to it, that's not the martial way.

 
Old 06-19-2007, 07:24 PM   #6
Janet Rosen
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

I agree that whether or not the actions of the original instructor are "political" or "personal" or "ego" or WHATever, it is within his rights to make his rules in his dojo. As for student response, like Chris above, I do not see sneaking out to other dojos as embodying principles, martial or other; if the instructor can openly stake out his position, it behooves a student to stake out a position.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
 
Old 06-19-2007, 07:52 PM   #7
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

I understand that the notion of "sensei's dojo, sensei's rules" is relevant here. At the same time however, your "sensei" has already tipped his hands regarding his capacity to step outside of himself (i.e. "it's personal"), and, in my opinion, no matter how Japanese he is, no matter what his rank is, no matter what his title is, no matter how many years he's trained for, no matter how spiritual he may seem to be, no matter how powerful and martial his technique appears, his Aikido can only be of a limited (lesser) quality. He may be the best bet in town, the best you've seen, so you may have to add that into your decision-making process, but you certainly shouldn't be thinking like you are at great risk of losing something special, rare, or truly advanced.

For me, a great teacher has no rules about training elsewhere, as he/she requires no rules to keep students true to themselves and to the teachings. Sure, there may have been a time when technical information was a sensitive material, but that time is long gone now. Anyone that clings to that facade now, even for cultural reasons, is merely a person trapped by their ego and/or their attachment to their self-identity. This has to be especially true places that aren't even training daily in the first place. Rules, prohibitions such as these, like all departures from the Tao, if you will, tell you that disease is already present and that your best bet is to move on to healthier ground.

The question then isn't whether you will confront your teacher or whether you should be allowed to train at both places. The question is, "The Way is set before you. Will you walk on its path or will you follow those that have strayed from it? Will you follow the masses and seek your comfort and legitimacy in their numbers or will you seek comfort and legitimacy within yourself? Will you do what is easy or will you do what is right?"

Here's another angle:

Look and see how many students will stay right where they are, how in time the sensei's "rule" will be overlooked and ignored and how training will in time continue much as it always has. Now look at that number (in comparison to those that cannot or will not have training go on as it always has). Now look at the character and spiritual quality of these folks. What do you see? Do you see the strong, the one's capable of great integrity, or do you just see the masses, the way the masses always are - more marked by ease, fear, and convenience than by anything else? Before anyone talks about warriorhood, I think these things should be observed and reflected upon. In my experience, no "warrior" I ever wanted to support me when things turn life and death has ever been found in those masses that are more than willing to have training continue as if nothing happened, as if nothing was revealed.

fwiw,
dmv

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
 
Old 06-19-2007, 08:16 PM   #8
raul rodrigo
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

Early in the infancy of my dojo, our sensei banned her students from training elsewhere for a couple of years. Her reasoning was that other dojos weren't as strict in imparting fundamentals and she didnt want her pupils picking up "bad habits." By the time the ban was lifted, her best students were around first kyu and the quality of their movement did stand out. It was her dojo, her rules.
 
Old 06-19-2007, 08:57 PM   #9
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

Been there.....in fact for all I know "Annonymous Student" could be the ex-student from our situation or one of our students that he took with him....Be that as it may... In our situation there were egos involved on both sides.....and egos got hurt on both sides...I trained at both places for a long time. You try and get people to work together but sometimes it just doesn't happen....eventually when our split happened I had to decide on one course or the other. Neither solution was good and now aikido is more fractured in our community and is less fun than it used to be....but you try and learn a lesson and keep training.....
 
Old 06-19-2007, 10:10 PM   #10
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

I can see an instructor kicking a student out for lack of commitment. I can see an instructor kicking a student out because he did not like him. I can even see an instructor refusing to train a student because of his goals.

However, if I were to train at a school where the instructor felt it was his job to tell me what to do with the time I was not training with him, I would leave. I don't care if it was O'Sensei himself. I'd tell him sorry, but he is not the instructor I'm paying for.

When I join a school, I make a commitment to follow a program. That program might be 3 nights a week, it might be 1 Saturday a week, but the program is set. If I deviate from that program I expect to be called out on it. However, those other nights are none of the instructors business. That said however, if the instructor wants to make the rule, then it is your job to weigh the decision to stay with him. If you find the rule acceptable, then stay with him, it is your dime. Just remember, as much as he is doing you a favor by teaching you, you are doing him a favor by being his student. He is not in control, not a master of you, it is a mutual agreement. I'd suspect that if all those students told him they were leaving because of his decision that he would have to either reconsider or learn a life lesson that his word is not all powerful. However such a protest would cause strain in the school, and thus it would be better just to simply leave, the act of just mentioning you might want to leave has probably bruised his ego and will cause him to regard you a less a person.

I speak as a person who had to make this decision twice. One instructor realized that we could still be friends and my cross training was not personal, the other did not. My aikido instructor asked me to choose between aikido or judo/bjj. Forced to make a choice, I picked judo/bjj. My judo instructor was threatened by bjj and asked me to make a choice between his judo club, or my bjj club. I picked bjj then found a new judo coach. Luckly my aikido instructor realized that there was nothing personal in my desire to train bjj, and now I come by to train with them and we are all good friends. I think I add as much to their training as they add to mine. My old judo coach will never speak to me again. I'm a bjj thug now.

I however still think a good hard fast rule when being asked to make an US or THEM decision is to always go with the THEM. People who ask are usually doing it for their own selfish reasons. I just hope the day never comes where both sides are asking me to choose.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
 
Old 06-19-2007, 10:59 PM   #11
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

I can think of some situations where it would make sense to tell students that they cannot train with certain other groups for technical and political reasons. I'm training with one group right now that has such a rule, and I don't have any problem with it, nor do I wish to train with the prohibited competing groups.

What I can't understand is telling someone that they cannot train in a dojo that is part of one's own organization. What's the point of being part of a group if you hate or fear the other members so much that you will not allow people to train with them? If you really object to the other person being in your organization that much then the only decision that has any integrity would be to resign from the organization. If you want to be in the same group then you should at least make some effort to overcome your differences, even if it is just letting your students participate with the other person's training.

It's amazing how much overgrown egos and petty, divisive politics there are in the so-called "art of peace." How does anyone expect to reconcile the world if they can't even reconcile their own house?

Last edited by G DiPierro : 06-19-2007 at 11:03 PM.
 
Old 06-19-2007, 11:42 PM   #12
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

mmm...so should you accept being treat like children?...freedom of choice is a natural thing and no one who has any understanding of aikido should try and deprive that from someone imho.

Of course understanding of aikido and understanding of techniques are perhaps two different things... In your situation I would be questioning seriously the integrity of the dojo head and his motives...perhaps money is an issue here?
 
Old 06-20-2007, 12:10 AM   #13
Hanna B
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Just wondered what peoples thoughts are on this subject as it's currently happening in my dojo - let me explain.

A student has decided (for good reason) to start his own club and has chosen nights to teach that don't conflict with other lessons in the old club. The head of the old dojo came onto the mat and announced that this was happening and wished the student success and that they understood that his friends would want to support him. At no point was it made obvious that the students were not actually allowed to train or support their friend in his new venture. In fact, the student is welcome to train back at our dojo when he wants.

Some of the students have asked permission to train at the new club (as etiquette here states you must) and all have been told that, no, they cannot and if they do they will not be welcome back to the club. Those who have asked why have simply been told that it's personal with no further explanation forthcoming.

Many of the students are understandably upset by this as we want to support someone who is both a good friend and fellow aikido practitioner. An anonymous email was sent to the head of the dojo explaining how many of the students feel but the response was simply that no answer would be given in a public forum and that the student should make themselves known.

Well, how would you feel and how would you react to this? Is it fair to be told you cannot support a friend?
It sounds like the "old" teacher was not completely upfront about his attitude on the issue, at the time he announced that this student was leaving and opening his own place. That, or, he changed his mind later.

I think my reaction would be similar to DonMagee's. Speaking as someone who have been told that training at other places is OK and even encouraged, but in the end got treated as not trustworthy, in a way I find it better that the teacher is honest about making his students chose.
 
Old 06-20-2007, 12:24 AM   #14
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

In the East, teacher chooses student.
In the West, student chooses teacher.

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
Dangayan Singkaw Aikido Shinzui
 
Old 06-20-2007, 01:03 AM   #15
Edward
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

As an aikido practitioner looking for maximum knowledge, I consider it as almost an obligation to practice at as many dojos and as many different styles as possible. This has probably hindered my rank advancement and it is unfortunate that most aikido teachers require or prefer exclusivity for various reasons. However, situation in aikido is still a blessing as one does have the opportunity to train anywhere that accepts you. I remember in my judo days, it was impossible to do that because competing schools would not allow members of other schools, even non competitively active ones, to train with them. Anyway, I would rather keep my freedom to select where I would like to train even if I risk being unwelcomed at my initial dojo.
 
Old 06-20-2007, 05:36 AM   #16
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

Quote:
Cito Maramba wrote: View Post
In the East, teacher chooses student.
In the West, student chooses teacher.
The best practice is somewhere in the middle.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
 
Old 06-20-2007, 09:17 AM   #17
Mike James
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

I agree with Edward. I feel that the more teachers I can train with, especially with different styles and philosophies, makes my understanding of Aikido deeper and my technique broader. I have more to draw from when executing a technique, and bring more to the mat when I train with my partners. Sharing what I've learned allows others I train with to decide if they like the diversity or not, and to incorporate it into their technique or not. If they like it ... fine. If not ... that's fine too. At least they have the option to decide without having to leave their friends and dojo in the process. That there's so much diversity of how to do the SAME technique is one of the things I love most about practicing Aikido!

masakatsu agatsu
 
Old 06-20-2007, 09:51 AM   #18
"anon student"
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

Just to answer some points... Yes the ex-student is still allowed to train at the club, he was there last night! In fact, he was the senior student on the class so sat at the top of the mat (again, this is etiquette here, everyone lines up in order of grade) although I know this isn't something he likes doing - sitting in order of grade that is.

Apparently there's a meeting been called for the students above first kyu to attend and this situation is going to be discussed on Thursday night. However it seems that it was announced on one class and then people have since been told by certain instructors in a hush hush way.

Will post back after Thursday! I hope this is all resolved nicely and they do the right thing by him.
 
Old 06-20-2007, 10:50 AM   #19
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

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Just to answer some points... Yes the ex-student is still allowed to train at the club, he was there last night! In fact, he was the senior student on the class so sat at the top of the mat (again, this is etiquette here, everyone lines up in order of grade) although I know this isn't something he likes doing - sitting in order of grade that is.

Apparently there's a meeting been called for the students above first kyu to attend and this situation is going to be discussed on Thursday night. However it seems that it was announced on one class and then people have since been told by certain instructors in a hush hush way.

Will post back after Thursday! I hope this is all resolved nicely and they do the right thing by him.
Which brings up an interesting point concerning the "banning" of a student. How would the sensei enforce such a ban? I mean suppose the student was very determined and just kept showing up for training, of course assuming he is paying the appropriate fees.. The process to prevent this could get legally complicated.
On a side note, if things are being discussed in hush-hush way it sounds like a lack of leadership on the part of the sensei.
 
Old 06-20-2007, 10:55 AM   #20
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

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Raul Rodrigo wrote: View Post
Early in the infancy of my dojo, our sensei banned her students from training elsewhere for a couple of years. Her reasoning was that other dojos weren't as strict in imparting fundamentals and she didnt want her pupils picking up "bad habits." By the time the ban was lifted, her best students were around first kyu and the quality of their movement did stand out. It was her dojo, her rules.
I can definitely understand her reasoning. I don't know that it's something that I would insist my students do, but at least she explained herself.

My sensei's rule was tht you could go wherever the heck you wanted to go to train, but that you should come back and share with him what you've learned. Now that I'm teaching, I think I'll have that rule as well.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
 
Old 06-20-2007, 11:28 AM   #21
heathererandolph
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

It does appear to be unfair for a dojo leader to prohibit other from attending your dojo. A couple questions came to my mind.

You state that the person starting the new dojo left "for good reason" does that mean you have a great deal of confidence in him or her, or that the "old" dojo has it's problems?

Also, are you happy with your training & your instructor?

I think that whatever happens, you need to consider weather you are happy with your experience in the old dojo, and if not if there is any way that could be changed.

Even if you are free to go to the new dojo, you will still need to consider which dojo you want to be affiliated with. There is also the consideration of weather the hours in the other dojo will "count."

It will probably be up to one of the heads to determine your progress and when you are ready to test. Which person do you have the most confidence in to guide your training and progress?

In my opinion, you probably will need to choose weather or not you are forced to choose. It would make sense to me to go to practice with the person who is guiding your training.

Whoever it is you decide to go with, bear in mind that not attending the new dojo head's classes does not doom this person to failure. Go only if this is the person you really want to stay with long term.

If there is some danger that your move could cause long-term bad feelings from the "old" instructor, that might be something you may want to consider. It's doubtful his actual feelings will change even if a decision is made to allow people to go. Things may be difficult to impossible if you ever want to come back.
 
Old 06-20-2007, 12:05 PM   #22
David Paul
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

My 2 cents. I think it is ridiculous that you wouldbe forced to choose. The way that I have always understood Aikido practice is that it is usually an accepted practice for a student from one dojo to visit other dojos. I have also always believed that seeing how other people teach and learning different ways to do the same techniques is a valuable part of process of lerning Aikido.

Also-I have never been a big fan of the "Sensei is God" attitude that many students tend to adopt..ie, whatever Sensei says we must do, etc. I have trained under many teachers for whom I had the utmost respect and would never do anything to disrespect them in their dojos. However-being told I cannot train somewhere else--that is simply pure nonsense, especially if I am nt given a good reason why.

At one of my former dojos I was training in Muay Thai concurrently with my Aikido practice. I didn't ask Sensei whether or not I could go and do that. It was my choice based upon my own value systems and what was important to me at that time.

I think if you want to support your friend in his or her efforts, then you should do that without fear of repercussion from your dojo or sensei. Heck-worst case scenario-you can always train somewhere else.
 
Old 06-20-2007, 10:24 PM   #23
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

Sounds like you got the short end of the Sensei stick, Anon. To illustrate, I remember telling mine that several people in our group, including some very close to him had warned me away from a dojo in a nearby city. They all agreed that there was a bad element among the leaders there, and several credible stories of tense visitor incidents were circulating. He suggested that maybe I should give them a fair chance and try them for myself anyway...
 
Old 06-21-2007, 03:07 AM   #24
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

Quote:
Don Magee wrote: View Post
However, if I were to train at a school where the instructor felt it was his job to tell me what to do with the time I was not training with him, I would leave. I don't care if it was O'Sensei himself. I'd tell him sorry, but he is not the instructor I'm paying for.
Dunno about you, but I train under a teacher in order to get the skill that they have. If that means putting up with their quirks, I'm willing to do so to a certain degree.
Ueshiba had this relationship with Takeda...Takeda was dead serious on putting the beatdown (and more) on Ueshiba for starting his own school, if the stories about what happened at the Asahi Newspaper joint are true.
Certainly Ueshiba put up with a lot of cr"$ from Takeda cuz he desperately wanted Takeda's "Aiki" skillset.

Do you want the skill or not?
If you were training under O-Sensei and he said something of the sort, if its his particular skillset you're seeking, I'd highly doubt you'd simply say, well fine I'll go somewhere else then. (Since the whole reason you came to learn from the teacher in the first place is that he has something that no one else has)

It all boils down to "what do you want" from the person in question

The way I see it there's two issues at hand here.
First a conflict of understanding.

This whole student-teacher relationship doesn't have much room for the "well I'm the customer" mentality some students have outside of Japan.

OTOH, that relationship derives from the fact that the teacher has a skillset that practically no one else has or can teach. (Something I doubt the instructor in question has, but I could be wrong)

Anyways, devoid of that skillset, the student-teacher relationship demands do break down.

Which comes back to the question...maybe that particular instructor isn't worth learning from in the first place
 
Old 06-21-2007, 03:39 AM   #25
"jeep"
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Re: dojo head bans students from training with another teacher (ex student)

Most teachers that I know would be very pleased if one of their senior students decides to set up a club. Also most of the teachers that I've trained under encourage training with other groups.
Very odd situation, because if they had truely fallen out why would the sensei allow him to train back at his old club. Maybe the new club is under a different association ?
 

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