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Old 12-01-2008, 04:14 PM   #1
graham butt
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Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

I was just wondering on what mistakes people here have made in the time they have been training that taught them a life lesson. I just read a thread there about bowing which brought back the memory of a row i got when i first started....

I was finished training and on my feet when i turned and bowed to my sensei, At the time i didn't think of it but looking back i know it was a mistake, I performed a standing bow to my sensei who was on his knees. I was asked afterwards by my sensei "Do you think it was appropriate for you to perform a standing half assed bow whilst i am on my knees showing a proper respectful bow"

At the time i was a 4th Kyu and thought about the situation afterwards, Me being a lower grade and uch much much lower skill level should have been on my knees bowing and looking up at my sensei. NOT the other way around!

I learned a deeper respect for my seniors after this, and took my lesson with me to the outside of the dojo.

Has anything ike this ever happened to you??

-G-
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Old 12-02-2008, 02:14 AM   #2
Eva Antonia
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

Dear Graham,

thinking of the blunder you did...I fear I did something similar at least a hundred times, and what is worse, no one ever told me how impolite it is, they are certainly always tolerant and let me get away with it. But I see what you mean and will try to improve (just take more time for the bow instead of running off).

Other mistakes - I should think about. There are lots of horrid blunders and mistakes I made out of the dojo, but just now I don't remind anything really bad on the tatami.

Best regards,

Eva
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Old 12-02-2008, 02:34 AM   #3
Enrique Antonio Reyes
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Lightbulb Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

Quote:
Graham Butt wrote: View Post
I was finished training and on my feet when i turned and bowed to my sensei, At the time i didn't think of it but looking back i know it was a mistake, I performed a standing bow to my sensei who was on his knees. I was asked afterwards by my sensei "Do you think it was appropriate for you to perform a standing half assed bow whilst i am on my knees showing a proper respectful bow"

At the time i was a 4th Kyu and thought about the situation afterwards, Me being a lower grade and uch much much lower skill level should have been on my knees bowing and looking up at my Sensei. NOT the other way around!
Honestly, I don't think you did anything wrong. It's not like you called him an idiot or something...

Things I learned...

Don't get too caught up in formality...training should be a pleasant endeavor I don't need egomaniacs to spoil my experience...

A real opponent does not hold on to your wrist and wait till you're finished applying a technique...

As I have always read in this forum. Aikido is a piece of the martial arts puzzle. Learn what is effective for you (it varies among individuals) and (if you choose) disregard the rest...

One-Aiki,

Iking
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Old 12-02-2008, 05:28 AM   #4
nekobaka
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

When it comes to bowing, I wouldn't sweat it. Bowing is not a part of western culture, it takes time to get it down. Even Japanese people new to aikido don't always follow the etiquette that they should, even though bowing is an important part of the culture. Especially now, there are very few opportunities to bow on your knees.

Mine? Don't ask your sensei what his day job is, he might be the top instructor for the region.
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Old 12-02-2008, 05:37 AM   #5
Mark Stokmans
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

Poeple that stand on etiquette in this way often have inflated ego's. Not a trait I would welcome in any aikidoka.

To me etiquette is useful in setting a social context of training which has at its core respect for each other. I am sure you did not do the bowing ting out of disrespect. Your teacher should respect the fact that you did not know you were doing anything wrong. And as for the wrongness...if you had flipped him the bird or had dropped trou, I guess he would be right.

As for getting on your knees for people....perhaps in some contexts, walks of life and/or professions that is the way to go. As for Aikido, anybody getting on his or her knees for me in the context of training session I ask to get up asap and start training.

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Old 12-02-2008, 07:28 AM   #6
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

In response to Graham's bowing example, why are people assuming the instructor has an ego problem? The assumption itself shows ego.

Parts of martial training include presence and attention to detail. Customs and etiquette may vary from dojo to dojo: you may bow a certain way, shake hands, salute, stand on your head, or do the chicken dance---who knows---but, it's generally clear when a practitioner is not fully present when doing whatever it is you do. Waking up to that is part of training.

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Old 12-02-2008, 07:42 AM   #7
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

Minor breach of protocol, to be sure. If it's the worst thing that ever happens to you, or to your Sensei, then you are both very lucky...
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:24 AM   #8
Harm-ony
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

IMHO The Dojo should make a kind of Leaflet about Rules and Ettiquette of the Dojo and put it at the first entrance of The Dojo, so every member of The Dojo can read and Remember that..
Although, The Sincere Respect from the bottom of your heart is the most worthed...

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Old 12-02-2008, 12:59 PM   #9
graham butt
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

I can guarantee the instructor in question has no ego problem, i know i made the mistake to a high instructor who i regard as my number two instructor. He has taught me many life lesson off the mat and on.
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Old 12-02-2008, 01:04 PM   #10
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

Treating people with respect is one of those "you know it when you see it" types of things. How upset can someone get if you are sincerely respectful but the movements aren't perfect? It seems like, as long as you are dealing with reasonable people, being sincerely respectful will have you covered in the etiquette department 90% of the time. The rest is just details designed to teach you to be sincerely respectful in the first place.
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Old 12-02-2008, 03:14 PM   #11
crbateman
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

It would be difficult for a teacher to blame you for that which you do not know, as it is he who is your teacher...
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Old 12-02-2008, 04:59 PM   #12
mwible
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

Quote:
Joe McParland wrote: View Post
In response to Graham's bowing example, why are people assuming the instructor has an ego problem? The assumption itself shows ego.

Parts of martial training include presence and attention to detail. Customs and etiquette may vary from dojo to dojo: you may bow a certain way, shake hands, salute, stand on your head, or do the chicken dance---who knows---but, it's generally clear when a practitioner is not fully present when doing whatever it is you do. Waking up to that is part of training.
Well said. I agree.

in aiki,

morgan

"When you bow deeply to the universe, it bows back; when you call out the name of God, it echoes inside you." - O' sensei
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Old 12-02-2008, 05:19 PM   #13
Russ Q
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

While I am sure I've breached etiquette in this fashion many times (well worded reply Joe McPharland ) the story that came to mind after reading the thread starter was something that Suganuma Sensei relayed to us during his most recent seminar in Vancouver, Canada. He was explaining that teaching on the mat, when you're not the instructor, is poor etiquette and went on with this (paraphrased) anecdote: A new shodan of his went to Hombu dojo in Tokyo to train. She was, unbeknownst to her, training with Moriteru Sensei (Waka sensei at the time) and explaining to him how he was doing the technique incorrectly. He thanked her for her correction and asked her who her sensei was.....needless to say Suganuma Sensei heard about this breach of etiquette and was very embarressed. I'm not sure if this particular student ever twigged to her breach or if she continues on blithely unaware. As an aside, Sensei's recounting of this story displayed his sense of humour and humility.
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Old 12-03-2008, 01:42 AM   #14
Mark Stokmans
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

Quote:
In response to Graham's bowing example, why are people assuming the instructor has an ego problem? The assumption itself shows ego.
The remark Graham's teacher makes according to Graham himself shows some lack of respect for his pupil which, as Clark correctly states, he should of taught better. Lack of respect in my book is an ego problem.

Quote:
"Do you think it was appropriate for you to perform a standing half assed bow whilst i am on my knees showing a proper respectful bow"
As for ego, everybody has it, ask Freud. To me showing ego is not the problem, (call it being self-conscious) being led by it, having ego determine your behavior, that is the problem. Judging others by the standards set by your ego is a problem. This is what I gather from Graham's post, and his post is all we have concerning this situation.

As for presence during training, I could not agree more.

As for Russ' anecdote I have heard it before. And it is something you run in to in many many dojo's and also during seminars quite often. Especially in seminars you run into a lot of people who, in worst case completely ignore what the teacher has shown and make you do it their way.

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Old 12-03-2008, 07:15 AM   #15
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

As for ego, everybody has it, ask Freud. To me showing ego is not the problem, (call it being self-conscious) being led by it, having ego determine your behavior, that is the problem.

This is so well put !

Thanks Mark
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:06 AM   #16
Joe McParland
 
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

Quote:
Mark Stokmans wrote: View Post
The remark Graham's teacher makes according to Graham himself shows some lack of respect for his pupil which, as Clark correctly states, he should of taught better. Lack of respect in my book is an ego problem.
The teacher's statement to Graham was the teaching. By Graham's own assessment, that teaching was well received. That is the mark of skillful teaching.

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Old 12-03-2008, 08:17 AM   #17
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

I once started driving too many miles to somewhere I didn't need to be in a heavy early-season snowstorm without snow tires. Wow, did that ever teach me a lesson for life.

Oh...wait...that wasn't the kind of lesson you were looking for, was it?
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:28 AM   #18
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Oh...wait...that wasn't the kind of lesson you were looking for, was it?
Maybe the inverse: A lesson learned outside the dojo that could be implied inside?

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Old 12-03-2008, 04:49 PM   #19
graham butt
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

He did not disrespect me, He taught me a lesson of respect, i performed a shawdy (crap) bow whilst he performed a proper bow on his knees and thanked me loudly and clearly for training. I thanked him too but standing up and mumbling a thank you.

I showed disrespct to him, i openly admit showing disrespect to him, in order for me to better myself i took his 'constructive criticism' and learned from it. Nowadays it's not a half assed bow, it's a proper bow from seiza whilst thanking loudly and clearly in japanese.
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:43 AM   #20
Mark Stokmans
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

Quote:
I showed disrespct to him, i openly admit showing disrespect to him, in order for me to better myself i took his 'constructive criticism' and learned from it. Nowadays it's not a half assed bow, it's a proper bow from seiza whilst thanking loudly and clearly in japanese.
You showed him disrespect; but did you have that respect. Did you know how to show in the proper form. Etiquette is only about proper form. It is not about real emotions or real feeling. And with all forms, this form is about technique, and it must be taught. Perhaps your teacher should wonder why you did not know, or know how to show the proper form.

Respect on the other hand, cannot be taught. It is something that is there or is not there.

To me having respect is more important than how I show it. Now before people start thinking etiquette is not practiced in our dojo, it is. I advocate etiquette as well. But I do not confuse etiquette with respect. To me it is always about the intention of the person.

The fact that you support your teacher in this thread, your loyalty to him and that you have been able to learn from him shows that respect more than how deep you bow to him or anybody, IMHO.

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Old 12-04-2008, 10:16 AM   #21
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

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IMHO.
Are you sure you did not mean to write "IMNSHO"---"In my not-so-humble opinion"?

Now, in reading that, do you assume that I am wise or that I am a wise ass?

If you assume either, then you make a mistake of ego, projecting your thoughts onto my words.

In any situation, the only ego I can actually control is my own. In Graham's situation, why would I presume to know his instructor's mind? That would be my ego out of control, coloring the truth of the situation.

Fortunately for Graham, the lesson he took away from the situation did not ultimately depend either upon the teacher's intent or upon what we believe the teacher's intent was.

Last edited by Joe McParland : 12-04-2008 at 10:19 AM. Reason: grammar, as usual ;-)

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Old 12-04-2008, 01:32 PM   #22
Mark Stokmans
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!



My not so humble opinion. I am sorry if I did not shouw enough humility towards Graham or yourself. Perhaps it is because english is not my first language that the way I express myself is somewhat lacking.

Quote:
Now, in reading that, do you assume that I am wise or that I am a wise ass?
I am not sure what the relevancy is of that question. You are trying to get me to respond in some way to get a point you are trying to make across I would guess. Perhaps I could ask you why you assume I would assume either. Perhaps it is a projection of your ego.

But you posed a question and I'll try to answer. I do not know the intent of your question, which to me is more relevant than the question itself. Given the fact that I do not know that intent I would venture to say you are neither.

I was only giving my opinion, I am not sure what humility has to do with it. In this case I would say honesty is more important than humility. Or would you like me to be humble and just not give an honest opinion? I try to do both. If I appear arrogant or aloof, please forgive me. It is not my intent.

Of course, I do not know the teachers mind, nor Grahams. But that isn't the point. I believe the point is to reach beyond appearances and find what drives people. I am less interested in their behaviour than the reason of it. To me intent is more important than consequence. Consequence is nothing more than effect. If we behave a certain way to get a certain effect than you lose touch with what is actually important.

Back on-topic: life changing lessons. I was practising Aikiken once with my teacher. I was making shomen strikes he was stepping aside and making a strike towards my head. All went well, but the energy level went up. Till at a certain moment my attack was very strong, fast and deep. He responded very quickly and struk me with the bokken onthe side of my head/face. As a consequence I had 9 stitches in my eyebrow. I am still not sure what it taught me, but I took aikiken a lot more seriously after that.

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Old 12-04-2008, 02:43 PM   #23
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

I did know what i should have done, but i didn't because i was very complacent and lazy.
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Old 12-04-2008, 04:50 PM   #24
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Re: Mistakes that taught you a lesson for life!

Quote:
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The purpose of aikido? For some, it is Masakatsu Agatsu. Graham was victorious over himself. Others who have placed themselves in Graham's situation chose to challenge and defeat the instructor instead.

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