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Old 08-28-2000, 02:19 PM   #1
Yo-Jimbo
Dojo: Windward Aikido, formerly at Keewenaw Schools of Aikido (ASU)
Location: Hawaii Pacific University, formerly at Michigan Technological University
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Circle

Although there is the related question, as to whether rank can continue to go up if there is some true physical reason why certain ukemi are not safe for one. I know someone whom I think is being held at 4th kyu by the sensei until ukemi attitude improves. This person is not necessarily afraid of ukemi (although one should always be a bit afraid of injury), but even after several years seems unwilling to take it seriously as a part of training. Makes it difficult to practice with this person.
I don't want to hurt, embarass, or refuse to train with this person (actually, I do WANT to I just don't). I consider this person a friend; still, subtle remarks from myself and others have not had any effect. This person will not be able to progress very well. I'm not familiar with the tobi-ukemi by name. I do know that it certainly helps to take koshiukemi if one wants to learn various koshinage. Does one have to "land a certain way"? I don't know; but one should allow oneselves to be thrown at all. Me, I know how I'd like to land before the throw, find out how I have to land during the throw (connect those two on the way down) and critique myself once I'm on the floor. A bit of fear is always present, yet I trust myself and NAGE.
This person must find it within themself to decide to learn. The desire to help kohai is good, but I think the only thing that can work is a candid heart-to-heart. If the person listens, problem solved. If not, well, I don't have it figured out.
From a selfish standpoint, what can I do when this person wastes my training time by "bugging out" because of "fear of injury"? Not just breaking connection and refusing to roll, but actually leaving the mat. I'd prefer to work with someone who is there to learn. It would be cold (even for me) to say, "I'm here to practice with those whom want to learn." I try to always see the best in people (it is often difficult) and believe each time that "this time it will be different." All I need is an excuse...

"One does not find wisdom in another's words." -James D. Chye
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Old 08-28-2000, 04:26 PM   #2
Nick
Dojo: Aikido of Greater Atlanta
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hmm... like I stated before... if they're afraid to fall, all they can do is fall- if they don't want to be uke period, perhaps they should find a new new dojo, new art, or something else to do with their time.

-Nick

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Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 08-28-2000, 05:07 PM   #3
Shipley
Dojo: UBC Okanagan Aikido Club
Location: Kelowna
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Sometimes if you discuss the technique before starting to train you can find a mutually acceptable ukemi where you will get the feel for at least some of the technique and your uke will not feel threatened. If it is an issue that he is really sensitive about this of course wouldn't work. Even so, this is really more of a solution for you than for him, since he still isn't pushing himself to do the proper ukemi for the technique. Still, better half a donut than none at all... I must admit that I've only used this approach with those who are physically unable to take a reasonable fall from the technique, but willing to work out alternatives.

Paul
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Old 08-28-2000, 05:17 PM   #4
Nick
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Quote:
Shipley wrote:
Still, better half a donut than none at all...
Paul
However, would you rather have a stale donut or no donut at all?

-Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 08-28-2000, 05:48 PM   #5
Shipley
Dojo: UBC Okanagan Aikido Club
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Quote:
Nick wrote:
Quote:
Shipley wrote:
Still, better half a donut than none at all...
Paul
However, would you rather have a stale donut or no donut at all?

-Nick
Depends on how hungry I am!

Unfortunately it sounds like no donut at all isn't a possibility in your case unless you are willing to pointedly bow at somebody else for every technique (which is always an option, but a hard one). You're in a pretty hard spot. Have you asked your sensei what is a good way to handle it?

Paul
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Old 08-28-2000, 05:57 PM   #6
Chuck Clark
 
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This sounds kind of harsh, but...

If a student is still so filled with fear that their ukemi skills are not getting better as time goes along it seems to me that there are more problems than just poor ukemi.

If the student has been practicing for some time (9 months to a year), most likely they should be spending their time with some other activity.

At some point the teacher has an obligation to tell the person that they should not spend any more of the teacher's or dojo mates practice time on their problem.



Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 08-28-2000, 06:23 PM   #7
Nick
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Well said, Clark-sensei. As always, you've managed to put into words what I can't even put into thoughts.

Ja,

-Nick

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Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 08-28-2000, 06:30 PM   #8
Shipley
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Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote:

At some point the teacher has an obligation to tell the person that they should not spend any more of the teacher's or dojo mates practice time on their problem.
It seems this would have to be a really hard thing to do as a sensei. I've never seen it happen (though I've only been training eight years, so that is hardly representative), but it seems that there are cases where it would not only be better for the dojo, but for the individual as well. In your years of teaching Chuck, have you ever had to do this? How did you handle it (if that's not too personal)?

Paul
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Old 08-29-2000, 09:16 AM   #9
Chuck Clark
 
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Paul,

I have had to do this three times over the years. It is not an easy thing to do and is the absolute last resort after all else has failed.

I feel that as long as a student is making SOME progress and the general "learning curve" is going up over the long term I'll work with them and do whatever it takes for them to make a breakthrough. I have seen some extremely unlikely students work their way through problems and become competent aikidoka. There have been tears flowing (from everyone) in my dojo on many occasions as these folks make demonstrations for advancement.

However, we must understand that some people just don't have the tools. When the time comes to tell someone that they should try some other activity the only way it can be done is privately, gently, and by giving them the feeling that it isn't "the end of the world."

As an aside...many of us have been told that we can be or do whatever we want as long as we want it enough and work hard enough for it. I think that's the sure way to know whether you can achieve something or not, but we can't all have the tools necessary to be an astro-physicist or a world class concert pianist for two examples. We have to find and know our limits. If not we are programming our own unhappiness.


Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 08-29-2000, 09:44 AM   #10
guest1234
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Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote:
This sounds kind of harsh, but...


At some point the teacher has an obligation to tell the person that they should not spend any more of the teacher's or dojo mates practice time on their problem.


i think the attitude towards ukemi (both falling and uke's relationship to nage) is set by the existing tone and attitude of the sensei and the dojo. in my first one, it was really important; sensei stressed it during his demonstrations. the sempai stressed it during regular and beginners classes. it was stressed in the forms you signed when you joined. it was tested. and if you couldn't demonstate the level of ukemi required of the kyu in question (medical excuses aside), you didn't test/advance. period. my last dojo it really wasn't an issue, since we were very small, and i was often the only whitebelt around. My current one is currently changing it's attitude, with a re-emphasis at least on the falling part, and somewhat on the rest (good in the long run, i think). i kind of feel sorry for some of the more senior kyus now having to learn to fall---for some reason it seems harder for some of them than the beginners (perhaps because they've had a longer time to think about it, with the new beginners now it's just accepted that they WILL fall, like my first dojo). so i think instructors that do not address the problem early, but let the person keep training and advancing them, not only does the individual a diservice, but the dojo as a whole, both for the decreased quality of training their partners get, and for the tone it sets.
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