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Old 07-30-2008, 03:55 PM   #26
mickeygelum
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Re: Instructors of low rank

Just out of curiosity, could your Sensei have been testing all of you?

Has your Sensei inquired, of you or others, about that period of instruction?

What was the reaction of everyone else?

It was not uncommon for Stevens Shihan to put a kyu-rank in front of the class, namely me, and direct them on what to address, then the higher kyu-ranks and dan-grades would give constructive criticism. To observe the student instructing, is self-evaluation of communication. Are your students understanding what you are teaching them?

Your original post appeared to be more emotion-laden, I apologize for the mis-interpretation.

Train well,

Mickey

Last edited by mickeygelum : 07-30-2008 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 07-30-2008, 04:04 PM   #27
Mark Uttech
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Re: Instructors of low rank

'Acceptance' is a strong trait to develop in the dojo. The designated 'sensei' of a particular class, is simply the instructor of that class. It may be a learning experience for him/her. It is actually a learning experience for everyone.

In gassho,

Mark

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Old 07-30-2008, 05:30 PM   #28
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Re: Instructors of low rank

I agree with Peter Goldsbury. There isn't sufficient contextual information given for anyone here to provide anything other than a personal opinion.

However, irrespective of your instructor's motivations and reasoning for allowing a lower-rank to "take" the class, the generally appropriate response would be to "just shut up and train".

Ignatius
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Old 07-30-2008, 06:24 PM   #29
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Re: Instructors of low rank

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
However, irrespective of your instructor's motivations and reasoning for allowing a lower-rank to "take" the class, the generally appropriate response would be to "just shut up and train".
......or simply go home to have a beer?

Nagababa

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Old 07-30-2008, 07:19 PM   #30
eyrie
 
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Re: Instructors of low rank

... usually AFTER - along with any whingin' and bitchin'... um.. I mean "discussion and feedback"

Ignatius
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Old 07-30-2008, 09:19 PM   #31
Nick P.
 
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Follow the appointed instructor. Period.

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
5th kyu shouldn't teach a class, if there are other students with 1 and 2nd kyu around, that's for sure. It was clearly wrong decision of chief instructor.Such situation is not good for a dojo from pedagogical and technical point of view. Particularly it harms this poor guy, who had to teach a class.
If such mistake is repeated, it will lead to a real disaster.
With respect, I disagree. Part of any keiko is to follow instructions; teacher says do irimi-nage, you dont stand there and say "No, kote-gaeshi would work best." (of course you may think that, just dont do that).

I personally know of a 6th dan who teachs, by his own admission, a student who is his senior in years of training and ability though not in rank. Shihan said teach class, so the 6th dan student does as he is told.

Beer: agree, but after, not instead of, training.

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Old 07-31-2008, 01:48 AM   #32
RoyK
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Re: Instructors of low rank

Quote:
Joe McParland wrote: View Post
Spoken and heard freely here in a supportive forum where your opinion and your understanding behind it, at whatever level, are valued.

How ironic.
The difference is that you don't pay to read other people's form posts, and you can always choose not to read (or skimp through) long posts.
I had to sit through one class where a kyu ranked student lectured more than 50% of the class's time, and of course you don't get to argue back, or press the ignore button. You just have to sit in seiza, and take it with a smile. Well I guess that's sort of a mental practice too.
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Old 07-31-2008, 03:40 AM   #33
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Instructors of low rank

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Hi Professor Goldsbury,

Actually, it's just a matter of convenience. For a number of reasons, such as time constraints and inability to make contact, other instructors cannot be scheduled.
Please help me provide enough information for a reasoned judgment. What questions do you have?
One of the problems in an anonymous forum such as this is that the information given should not allow anyone to know who you are. Which is fine. The down side is that the information given sometimes does not really allow any one to make a reasoned judgment. In this case, one extreme is 'Shut up and train'; 'Find another dojo,' is the other.

The chief instructor is boss in his/her own dojo, but it would be very odd if the chief instructor consistently and systematically passed over all the senior ranks and asked the lowest ranked student to teach. I know that if I did this in my own dojo when I was absent, the members would quickly start looking for another dojo.

Hence my question: if it is of concern to you, have you talked to the instructor? If it is not of any concern, well, I was curious why you bothered to start the thread.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 07-31-2008, 09:37 AM   #34
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Re: Instructors of low rank

Quote:
Roy Klein wrote: View Post
The difference is that you don't pay to read other people's form posts, and you can always choose not to read (or skimp through) long posts.
I had to sit through one class where a kyu ranked student lectured more than 50% of the class's time, and of course you don't get to argue back, or press the ignore button. You just have to sit in seiza, and take it with a smile. Well I guess that's sort of a mental practice too.
You can stand on your head right now, right where you are!

... or you can want to stand on you head and be aggravated that you shouldn't, couldn't, wouldn't be allowed to, or whatever else.

But if you find for whatever the reason that this isn't the time or place to stand on your head, then is it really worth the aggravation to dwell on wanting to be in a situation other than the one you are in?

If that's the practice that day, then that's the practice. Are you in or out? If you want to know why it was that way, then chat with the boss who created the situation. The conversation will likely be more refreshing than carrying around the question and the resentment.

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Old 07-31-2008, 10:01 AM   #35
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Re: Instructors of low rank

Some talented 5th kyus have more ability then udansha.

Some shodans have been shodans for 20 years.

Some magnificent Aikidoka refuse to test.

Some Sandans will die sandans for political reasons.

Some 6th, 7th and 8th dans really arn't that good.

Testing is testing, teaching is teaching, and rank is not all it's cracked up to be.

If a teacher has something to offer you, it really doesn't matter if they don't have any black belts, or 10.

Equally if they don't have anything to offer you, it doesn't matter if it's the highest ranking Aikidoka in the world, they won't teach you anything.

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Old 07-31-2008, 10:12 AM   #36
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Re: Instructors of low rank

Prof. Goldsbury,

Perhaps this thread doesn't quite meet Akiy's standard for instituting an anonymous forum; but I would not have posted it otherwise, so perhaps it does.

At any rate, it has generated banter, repartee, and controversy. And that's why I started it, really. I just wanted to throw a stone into the pool to watch the ripples. I didn't expect to fall in.

There are 3 classes every day on average. A morning class and 2 evening classes on weekdays; plus several classes on weekends. There are different instructors for most of those classes. The particular class I'm talking about does NOT involve the chief instructor. I believe that the main reason it happens in one class is because the instructor simply is unable to find anyone else, and because the 6th/5th Kyu person is passionate about Aikido and reliable - being attendant in nearly every class.

It has happened on more than one occasion, and, as most of the respondents in this forum have said, everyone is happy to train. No problem.

But there are awkward moments. Such as lining up before class, and the usual instructor is not present, and the Dan in attendance don't know that 6th/5th Kyu is going to be instructing... Or during class when 6th/5th Kyu interrupts a Nage and Uke to make technical observations...

It was these awkward moments that made me think of proposing this thread. The usual dojo etiquette of deference toward the higher rank is undone, and catches us momentarily off-balance. But as this discussion developed I thought of other ramifications: namely, the affect it has on the self-confidence of other Kyu; and on the ego of this person chosen to teach over them.

I haven't spoken to the instructor involved because when I started this I didn't think it was a problem. I just wanted to know what everyone thought. My first words were, "Just wondering..." But if others here think it is a problem; and can make a case that I should bring it to the instructor's attention, then I will.

Whether a reasoned judgment or a personal opinion can be made of this doesn't matter. Either is fine. But let me quote from Mark Uttecht to define how I feel, "'Acceptance' is a strong trait to develop in the dojo. The designated 'sensei' of a particular class, is simply the instructor of that class. It may be a learning experience for him/her. It is actually a learning experience for everyone."
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Old 07-31-2008, 11:28 AM   #37
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Re: Follow the appointed instructor. Period.

Quote:
Nick Pittson wrote: View Post
With respect, I disagree. Part of any keiko is to follow instructions; teacher says do irimi-nage, you dont stand there and say "No, kote-gaeshi would work best." (of course you may think that, just dont do that).

I personally know of a 6th dan who teachs, by his own admission, a student who is his senior in years of training and ability though not in rank. Shihan said teach class, so the 6th dan student does as he is told.

Beer: agree, but after, not instead of, training.
Hello Nick,
In this case we have 5th kyu 'instructor' This guy don't even know how to walk correctly, everything what he does is wrong even if he is very gifted and has black belt in judo/tkd/MMA whatever....
So you can't compare it to the relation shihan-6th dan instructor.
Believe me a beer is the only option in such situation.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 07-31-2008, 11:50 AM   #38
Nick P.
 
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Re: Instructors of low rank

Sorry, still dont agree Szczepan.

The head teacher chose him over everyone else; the relation between shihan and 6th dan is the same as the one mentioned by the original post, that is to say, the one(s) between teacher and student(s). Perhaps you and I might not LIKE it, but who are we QUESTION or DOUBT it? Remember, we too are the students of the teacher, so to say the teacher is incorrect is to say we know better than the teacher (again, we might think that, but I for one would never voice that opinion aloud).

Personally, I would rather attend class given by anyone, even un-ranked and THEN drink my beer than to simply go drink beer with no class at all....if there was no other choice in the matter.

>note< Hard liquor is equally acceptable

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Old 07-31-2008, 12:10 PM   #39
lifeafter2am
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Re: Instructors of low rank

Quote:
Chris Hein wrote: View Post
Some talented 5th kyus have more ability then udansha.

Some shodans have been shodans for 20 years.

Some magnificent Aikidoka refuse to test.

Some Sandans will die sandans for political reasons.

Some 6th, 7th and 8th dans really arn't that good.

Testing is testing, teaching is teaching, and rank is not all it's cracked up to be.

If a teacher has something to offer you, it really doesn't matter if they don't have any black belts, or 10.

Equally if they don't have anything to offer you, it doesn't matter if it's the highest ranking Aikidoka in the world, they won't teach you anything.
Well stated!

"The mind is everything. What you think you become." - Siddhattha Gotama Buddha
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Old 07-31-2008, 12:57 PM   #40
Daniel Blanco
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Re: Instructors of low rank

respectfully the highest ranking student should be teaching the class, thats the purpose of having a ranking system.
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Old 07-31-2008, 01:11 PM   #41
lifeafter2am
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Re: Instructors of low rank

Quote:
Daniel Blanco wrote: View Post
respectfully the highest ranking student should be teaching the class, thats the purpose of having a ranking system.
Although normally I would agree, again, rank does not translate to skill. Although it should in a perfect world, it does not in the real world.


"The mind is everything. What you think you become." - Siddhattha Gotama Buddha
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Old 07-31-2008, 01:26 PM   #42
Nick P.
 
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Re: Instructors of low rank

Riddle me this.

What is the difference between the head instructor...

-Cancelling class
-Asking his teacher to teach class
-Asking a visiting sensei to teach class
-Asking a visiting sensei from another art to teach class
-Asking the most senior student to teach class
-Asking the most junior student to teach class
-Asking a randomly selected student to teach class

Answer: none.

You trust your teacher to do the right thing as they see fit, or dont you? If you dont, why would you continue to show up for class and learn from them? This concept supersedes any and all rules we might think do or dont apply. It is a fundamental pillar of not just Aikido training, but all learning.

The input and control you have, as the student, is simple: show up to learn, or not.

Now, where is that drink we spoke of earlier. I could really use it about now...

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Old 07-31-2008, 02:47 PM   #43
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Re: Instructors of low rank

Quote:
Daniel Blanco wrote: View Post
respectfully the highest ranking student should be teaching the class, thats the purpose of having a ranking system.
That is a very bold statement. Perhaps it would best be restated as "that's one possible purpose of having a ranking system."

In order to test an nine-year-old child for a kyu test, I asked him to run the class, from bowing in, running warm ups, basic exercises, ukemi, and then demonstrating his techniques---picking an uke from the line, demonstrating as nage and as uke---and then asking the class to practice with a clap of his hands. He joined the practice then, and I wondered about. I kept close watch on him and the time, letting him know quietly when it was time to send the students back to the line and to demonstrate the next technique.

The students range from 8 to a bit over 40. Everybody is comfortable with this and enjoys it because that's what I teach them.

If I don't have a varied warm-up in mind, I'll ask for a volunteer. It's hard sometimes to catch which kid's hand goes up first! I'll generally ask students to demonstrate techniques to their peers when they're getting close to test time and the technique is one from their own requirements. They're free to pick a peer or even to pick me as an uke for their demonstration---no problem. After all, when I demonstrate, I'll pick an uke, perform the technique from different angles so everybody has a fair idea of what's happening, and then give my uke a chance to toss me around a bit with that technique.

An interesting exchange happened once during a warm up: A child was leading and went off track from the typical order of wrist stretching sequence. The child's mother interrupted him suggesting the "proper order" and left the child a bit confused and on the spot. I interjected: "There is no fixed proper warm up in aikido. As you progress and work with different instructors, you'll see that everyone does things different ways. Always respect and follow who is at the front, regardless of what you think you know."

[That's not to say that if a kid gets lost that the audience won't give hints about what to do next. There are also plenty of occasions to remind the children to respect their elders and their ranking peers, etc. That was just one relevant example.]

So, what am I doing wrong?

I think Ron Ragusa recently wrote an AikiWeb blog entry about knowledge getting in the way of learning. I recommend everyone giving it a view.

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Old 07-31-2008, 02:59 PM   #44
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Re: Instructors of low rank

maybe the answer is for you to step up and offer to teach since you're higher ranked.

your instructor might be relieved that someone more knowledgeable is making the effort.
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Old 07-31-2008, 03:10 PM   #45
Lan Powers
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Re: Instructors of low rank

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
maybe the answer is for you to step up and offer to teach since you're higher ranked.

your instructor might be relieved that someone more knowledgeable is making the effort.
Privately, perhaps, but DON'T pipe up and offer to take his place in public.
I'd just train....
Lan

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Old 07-31-2008, 03:41 PM   #46
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Re: Instructors of low rank

If I specifically asked someone to teach class in our absense I would want that person to teach....I don't care who else showed up...
Mary
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Old 07-31-2008, 05:43 PM   #47
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Re: Instructors of low rank

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
I believe that the main reason it happens in one class is because the instructor simply is unable to find anyone else, and because the 6th/5th Kyu person is passionate about Aikido and reliable - being attendant in nearly every class..... But there are awkward moments. Such as lining up before class, and the usual instructor is not present, and the Dan in attendance don't know that 6th/5th Kyu is going to be instructing...
I don't get it... the instructor can't find anyone else besides this person, but higher ranking students are turning up to the class??? You bring up the rank hierarchy, but it seems to me that if none of the senior ranking people turning up know what's going on, it suggests to me either a communication issue within the ranks of your hierarchy or that the senior ranks aren't actively involved in the dojo operations, or something else is happening within your dojo that is hierarchically, organizationally or even culturally dysfunctional.

Quote:
Or during class when 6th/5th Kyu interrupts a Nage and Uke to make technical observations... It was these awkward moments that made me think of proposing this thread. The usual dojo etiquette of deference toward the higher rank is undone, and catches us momentarily off-balance. But as this discussion developed I thought of other ramifications: namely, the affect it has on the self-confidence of other Kyu; and on the ego of this person chosen to teach over them.
Let's leave the (perceived) ego issue aside for the moment... because, IF it were the case, I would consider this a management failure on the part of the instructor and the hierarchy of your dojo. I don't know what the specifics are, and why a low-rank kyu grade is allowed to take the class unsupervised. But if your senior ranks aren't stepping up to the plate and getting involved in the administrative, operational and teaching aspects of the dojo, so much so, that the instructor cannot get anyone else besides this person to take the class, then, to me, something is very wrong. And if the senior ranks aren't taking responsibility to nurture and develop the sempai/kohai relationship, I don't think it gives them any right to "pull rank". Never mind about any dojo etiquette of deference to rank being undone. From what you're saying I don't see it happening now.

Quote:
I haven't spoken to the instructor involved because when I started this I didn't think it was a problem. I just wanted to know what everyone thought. My first words were, "Just wondering..." But if others here think it is a problem; and can make a case that I should bring it to the instructor's attention, then I will.
My question to you is, and you don't have to answer, where are you within the hierarchy and do YOU feel it is an issue? Do YOU feel strongly enough that it is an issue? Does your hierarchical rank or even personal relationship with the instructor carry any weight and influence? It doesn't matter what anyone here thinks... we're not there and we don't know what the full context or culture of your dojo situation is.

Ignatius
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Old 07-31-2008, 06:12 PM   #48
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Instructors of low rank

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Perhaps this thread doesn't quite meet Akiy's standard for instituting an anonymous forum; but I would not have posted it otherwise, so perhaps it does.

At any rate, it has generated banter, repartee, and controversy. And that's why I started it, really. I just wanted to throw a stone into the pool to watch the ripples. I didn't expect to fall in.
I see. This pretty much ends the conversation, at least from me.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 07-31-2008 at 06:15 PM.

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Old 07-31-2008, 06:19 PM   #49
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Re: Instructors of low rank

Thread moved from the Anonymous forum into the Teaching forum as I believe it falls outside of the intended aim of the Anonymous forum.

-- Jun

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Old 08-01-2008, 07:44 AM   #50
Daniel Blanco
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Re: Instructors of low rank

The rank system is in place for a REASON,
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