w [1s, 6v] A
I would like to thank everyone for your suggestions. The consensus seemed to be that I should apologize for being such a clod, make it clear that I respect and admire what he did by recognizing that he had hit a "trigger point" and leaving a situation he didn't feel he could handle. I should also ask if there was anything I could do to help in this kind of situation.
I went up to him before class this morning, and he started to apologize to me! I stopped him, and followed the advice above. He looked a little surprised and then smiled and said that he wasn't sure if he had handled the situation the right way. I gave him much reassurance and said if he needed, at any time, and as soon as he felt the need, he could just sit out until he felt like he was ready to come back.
I'm going to have a meeting with staff next week to see if there is a better way to deal with these situations, and if I should let them know right away? as soon as class is over? I have to always keep in mind that this is not a regular class at the dojo. These guys have a wide range of issues and, while I want to introduce them to Aikido, my main goal is to give them tools which they can use to enable their ability to deal with those issues. So thank you all for helping me remember this.
We did some more advanced techniques from gyaku. It is interesting that as they have to focus on more complicated movements, they are keeping more relaxed and centered, when they are relaxed and centered, more complicated movement flows more smoothly. A couple of people found that if they do that, they can successfully complete an immobilization, even if they did not do the technique exactly right. After doing one technique very nicely, one vet exclaimed "Oh, that was beautiful." and his partner said "I didn't feel a thing until I realized I was pinned."
Ah! Great strides from little steps.
(Original blog post may be found here