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Old 02-13-2012, 11:01 AM   #1
"AikidoObsessed"
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Dead HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

I've been studying aikido for 7 months, and I get along absolutely famously with everyone in class; my sensei has even told me on more than one occasion how much everyone loves having me around. I'm very grateful for their acceptance and I really feel like I belong at the dojo.

But there's this one student who seems to have a real problem with me. I've never said or done anything to him, but it seems like every class he comes to, he just HAS to say something negative to me. Some of the things he's said to me have been completely ridiculous; he told me once that I was standing too close to him! He goes out of his way to make sure his mission is accomplished; he grabbed my sleeve once to make sure we were paired together, and then when we were out of earshot, he said something.

Either he says something negative to me, or he uses a tone with me like he thinks I'm slow and stupid. To my knowledge, he doesn't do this with anyone else, just me, and I'm really getting sick of it. I feel ill when he's at class because I don't know what he's going to say next.

If a sensei or senior student is not right next to the two of us, he seems to really have a hayday with me.

The ONLY reason I can think of as to why he's treating me this way is because of my success. I work really hard, and I'm approaching his rank rather quickly, and because I'm always at class and study, I know the names of arts better than he does.

It doesn't help, either, that everyone keeps talking about me, senseis included. They keep talking about how I'm ready for my next test (I JUST took one), and how I'll be getting my hakama soon, and how I learn fast and already know most of the arts below bb, and how everyone learns a lot from me because without enough weight underside during arts, I'll go flying across the mat. I'm grateful that everyone is so supportive, but it makes me uncomfortable that they keep talking about me. I just want to blend in.

I think it's silly to be jealous of someone who simply works hard, but it's the only thing I can think of. I plan on talking with my sensei about it, but I'd really appreciate any thoughts.
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:11 AM   #2
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Nikkyo him. A lot.

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Old 02-13-2012, 11:48 AM   #3
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Treat him as if he were a bitter medicine - rush over and ask him to train with you at the first technique of class, and then move on and enjoy the rest of the class and the other students.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:49 AM   #4
Krystal Locke
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Irimi: Ask him why he's doing that.
Tenkan: Talk to sensei about it.
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:51 AM   #5
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Don't forget atemi.

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Old 02-13-2012, 12:09 PM   #6
Keith Larman
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Oh, please, ignore the guy and move on. Not difficult. And if your sensei and others are as infatuated with you as you indicate then what's the problem? As Michael said, pair up with the guy first to get it over with and focus on your training. Why do you care what this guy thinks? If the guy is an ass he is likely an ass to others as well. If it gets too much talk with your sensei.

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Old 02-13-2012, 12:27 PM   #7
SeiserL
 
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Quote:
Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
Irimi: Ask him why he's doing that.
Tenkan: Talk to sensei about it.
IMHO, good advice.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:31 PM   #8
kewms
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

One of the things you should be learning from aikido is grace under pressure. This is an opportunity to practice.

If he is being physically abusive, then yes, you absolutely should discuss it with an instructor. At 7 months in, there's plenty that senior students can dish out that you shouldn't be expected to handle.

But verbal nastiness? Meh. Shut up and train.

Katherine
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:34 PM   #9
Chris Li
 
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

What would you do with anyone who bullied you? I see this all the time, but I never understand why adults who deal with bullies in their normal lives, or have dealt with them in the past, suddenly don't know what to do just because it's in the context of the dojo.

Best,

Chris

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Old 02-13-2012, 12:35 PM   #10
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Dojos, dance schools, even graphic art schools are like families. The new student - especially the gifted one - often has to deal with the jealousy of the senior students. Conflicts and rivalries can turn ugly if the instructor in charge is not careful to avoid inflating some student's ego, and to hurt a previously best student by suddenly relegating them to second place.
Or it may just be that the guy was born jealous genes, period. Some people are like that.
Anyway, I agree with Michael and Keith. The world is not perfect, and if you are doing so well in the dojo, just let him marinate in his own problems and move on with your training and your life.
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:34 PM   #11
Alic
Dojo: Sokushinkan Dojo, Vancouver
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Put up or shutup

Nuff said

In all seriousness, I started Aikido as a result of bullying. I've had to beg for my life once and even came close to dying, all without having done anything to deserve it. It was something I could never forget and I've always harboured a deep-seated hatred for bullies as a result.

Don't blend in, it doesn't work. You've already got the red dot on your forehead. That guy isn't going to stop until you either stop coming or take him out. Guys like him are insecure about themselves, and when confronted with their inadequacy, rather than work harder to compensate like the rest of us true budoka's, he starts to attack others, physically or emotionally. He is small minded and even smaller hearted and I do not consider him an Aikidoka.

Ignoring doesn't work either, I've tried all of the tricks and tips people give you. These guys never had any experience in this, and so they'll just give you some halfassed answer and leave it at that. Even if you become a fucking ninja and disappear from view, that jerk will hunt you down and put you down, just for his own satisfaction. Never give in and never back down, don't ignore and show him what you got.

There's usually only two ways to deal with guys like him (from my two years of experience in hell). Beat the living crap out of him till he's either half-dead or given up, and then tell him train instead of flap lips. Another way is to speak to your sensei about it and see if he can't convince the bully to follow Aikido's principle and improve himself.

This guy isn't doing as much as you to improve, and if he isn't as talented as you, then that should be a signal for him to work twice as hard to keep up. Frankly, he should be happy to have a rival now. For him to act in this way as a result of you improving just goes to show his shallowness. Usually, people like him have never experienced what it's like to be bullied around in their life, but have been wounded in some other way. However, that is not an excuse to harm others and continue the cycle of pain. Once he started to attack you verbally, he's a perp, and no longer the victim

In other words: you must confront. He will not stop, so neither should you. Show him that you will not stand being pushed around, even by a sempai, and that you are a true budoka and Aikidoka, unlike him.

P.S. I am not talented like my sempai's and even some kouhai's, so I put in twice the time they do, and it shows. My sempai's encouraged me though, and comes more regularly as a result to keep up their skills with me. Don't settle for any less, these are the kind of people that deserves to be called sempai!

Last edited by Alic : 02-13-2012 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:02 PM   #12
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Wow. Alic, I am so sorry that you had to go through all this. Your answer is very emotional, and you have plenty of reasons to react like that.
I've been in the past through a situation similar to the one described here. I never had to beg for my life like you had to but neither does the original poster. Even the teacher was against me - it was not an Aikido class -, because of some distorted information having been past down on him. I found that if I left, everybody would remember me according to this incorrect information, so I stayed and looked at everybody in the eyes. It took a fair amount of time, but one fine day, someone started to wonder if something was wrong somewhere.
The original poster is not apparently worried for his life, and I do not think that his particular situation demands such an aggressive reaction. If he does react like you suggest, he might very will find himself with a big bully label on his forehead.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:14 PM   #13
"AikidoObsessed"
IP Hash: 2d64b371
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
Nikkyo him. A lot.
Haha, thanks!
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:15 PM   #14
"AikidoObsessed"
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
Treat him as if he were a bitter medicine - rush over and ask him to train with you at the first technique of class, and then move on and enjoy the rest of the class and the other students.
I like that idea. Bitter medicine he is. Thank you!
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:16 PM   #15
"AikidoObsessed"
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Quote:
Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
Irimi: Ask him why he's doing that.
Tenkan: Talk to sensei about it.
Good idea! Thanks!
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:18 PM   #16
"AikidoObsessed"
IP Hash: 2d64b371
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
One of the things you should be learning from aikido is grace under pressure. This is an opportunity to practice.

If he is being physically abusive, then yes, you absolutely should discuss it with an instructor. At 7 months in, there's plenty that senior students can dish out that you shouldn't be expected to handle.

But verbal nastiness? Meh. Shut up and train.

Katherine
He gets physical when he can't "get me down" as my sensei likes to say. Apparently I'm really sensitive to intent, and if there isn't enough of it, it doesn't work. He usually ends up royally frustrated whenever he works with me. Thank you for the advice.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:21 PM   #17
"AikidoObsessed"
IP Hash: 2d64b371
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Quote:
Marie Noelle Fequiere wrote: View Post
Wow. Alic, I am so sorry that you had to go through all this. Your answer is very emotional, and you have plenty of reasons to react like that.
I've been in the past through a situation similar to the one described here. I never had to beg for my life like you had to but neither does the original poster. Even the teacher was against me - it was not an Aikido class -, because of some distorted information having been past down on him. I found that if I left, everybody would remember me according to this incorrect information, so I stayed and looked at everybody in the eyes. It took a fair amount of time, but one fine day, someone started to wonder if something was wrong somewhere.
The original poster is not apparently worried for his life, and I do not think that his particular situation demands such an aggressive reaction. If he does react like you suggest, he might very will find himself with a big bully label on his forehead.
Thank you Marie. My sensei wouldn't let it go that far, and neither would I, although I feel for Alic. I just want this particular student and I to get everything smoothed over. I'm not asking him to be my best friend, I just don't want him treating me like crap.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:26 PM   #18
"AikidoObsessed"
IP Hash: 2d64b371
Anonymous User
Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Quote:
Alic Xie wrote: View Post
Put up or shutup

Nuff said

In all seriousness, I started Aikido as a result of bullying. I've had to beg for my life once and even came close to dying, all without having done anything to deserve it. It was something I could never forget and I've always harboured a deep-seated hatred for bullies as a result.

Don't blend in, it doesn't work. You've already got the red dot on your forehead. That guy isn't going to stop until you either stop coming or take him out. Guys like him are insecure about themselves, and when confronted with their inadequacy, rather than work harder to compensate like the rest of us true budoka's, he starts to attack others, physically or emotionally. He is small minded and even smaller hearted and I do not consider him an Aikidoka.

Ignoring doesn't work either, I've tried all of the tricks and tips people give you. These guys never had any experience in this, and so they'll just give you some halfassed answer and leave it at that. Even if you become a fucking ninja and disappear from view, that jerk will hunt you down and put you down, just for his own satisfaction. Never give in and never back down, don't ignore and show him what you got.

There's usually only two ways to deal with guys like him (from my two years of experience in hell). Beat the living crap out of him till he's either half-dead or given up, and then tell him train instead of flap lips. Another way is to speak to your sensei about it and see if he can't convince the bully to follow Aikido's principle and improve himself.

This guy isn't doing as much as you to improve, and if he isn't as talented as you, then that should be a signal for him to work twice as hard to keep up. Frankly, he should be happy to have a rival now. For him to act in this way as a result of you improving just goes to show his shallowness. Usually, people like him have never experienced what it's like to be bullied around in their life, but have been wounded in some other way. However, that is not an excuse to harm others and continue the cycle of pain. Once he started to attack you verbally, he's a perp, and no longer the victim

In other words: you must confront. He will not stop, so neither should you. Show him that you will not stand being pushed around, even by a sempai, and that you are a true budoka and Aikidoka, unlike him.

P.S. I am not talented like my sempai's and even some kouhai's, so I put in twice the time they do, and it shows. My sempai's encouraged me though, and comes more regularly as a result to keep up their skills with me. Don't settle for any less, these are the kind of people that deserves to be called sempai!
Wow. Thanks for taking the time to write all of that, Alic. I appreciate it and I'm sorry for what you went through. I don't think he cares very much about aikido, as he doesn't come to class that much, and I also don't think he really has much drive to improve. I'm not going to let him get the best of me, though.

I think it's great that you work so hard. Keep it up! Thanks for the comment.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:28 PM   #19
"AikidoObsessed"
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Oh, please, ignore the guy and move on. Not difficult. And if your sensei and others are as infatuated with you as you indicate then what's the problem? As Michael said, pair up with the guy first to get it over with and focus on your training. Why do you care what this guy thinks? If the guy is an ass he is likely an ass to others as well. If it gets too much talk with your sensei.
Thanks, Keith. I appreciate the advice.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:30 PM   #20
"AikidoObsessed"
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
What would you do with anyone who bullied you? I see this all the time, but I never understand why adults who deal with bullies in their normal lives, or have dealt with them in the past, suddenly don't know what to do just because it's in the context of the dojo.

Best,

Chris
Thanks, Chris. You're right. It is kind of interesting, isn't it? I just want us to get along and be done with it.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:40 PM   #21
"AikidoObsessed"
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Quote:
Marie Noelle Fequiere wrote: View Post
Dojos, dance schools, even graphic art schools are like families. The new student - especially the gifted one - often has to deal with the jealousy of the senior students. Conflicts and rivalries can turn ugly if the instructor in charge is not careful to avoid inflating some student's ego, and to hurt a previously best student by suddenly relegating them to second place.
Or it may just be that the guy was born jealous genes, period. Some people are like that.
Anyway, I agree with Michael and Keith. The world is not perfect, and if you are doing so well in the dojo, just let him marinate in his own problems and move on with your training and your life.
Thank you, Marie. I'm going keep on chugging along with my happy train, definitely! I don't think my sensei is inflating my ego...at least, not intentionally; he just ends up talking about me a lot. I try not to have one, reminding myself that I just work hard. I know I'm no better than anyone else and everyone else knows that I know. I mean, I can't do a lot of things that other people can, like math. Everybody has things they're good at.

Unfortunately, this particular student is not as regular as I and some of the others are, and my instructor has had trouble with him in the past, so I don't think he's now second fiddle. I do think he has a problem with my rank, though, because before my 5th kyu test, he was fine. It was when I started climbing the ladder that he started acting up. The other students are getting pretty irritated that he's treating me this way. I'm not sure they particularly care for him, either.

Again, thanks! I'm going to talk with my sensei tonight about getting people to stop talking about me, etc.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:44 PM   #22
lbb
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Well, presumably your purpose in being there is to get the best training experience you can, which is not the same thing as "best night out with friends" or "best relaxing evening at a cafe" or something like that. The emphasis is on training, and the word "training" includes the idea that there's a goal to improve, and that you'll have to work to reach that goal. That being the case, my suggestion is to take everything with a very large grain of salt: the denigrating comments you're getting from this guy, but even more importantly, the apparent praise you're getting from everyone else.

In our dojo, it's quite common for a relatively new student to get a lot of encouragement and a lot of comments on their progress, which can sound a lot like praise, but really isn't. Seniors do this because they recognize that aikido is often very frustrating at first, and that newbies may not recognize the progress that they're making -- so, you want to call it to their attention in order to reinforce the idea that they are improving. But the bar isn't set very high for this "praise". You're recognizing that someone is making progress, that's all. At the same time, more advanced students don't seem to get a lot of praise. They're much more likely to be criticized -- not because they're doing poorly, in most cases, but because they're expected to need less in the way of propping-up, be ready for more in the way of challenge, and have the experience and knowledge to get something useful out of the criticism.

So, I'd shy away from the conclusion that this guy hates you because you're beautiful (obCulturalReference). If he appears to dislike you, it's no doubt more complicated than that. And if everyone else appears to praise you, that's probably more complicated than you think too.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:18 PM   #23
Alic
Dojo: Sokushinkan Dojo, Vancouver
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Haha, perhaps when considering that the person is still on the verbal stage, counter attacking physically would overkill, as that is escalating the violence, and not very aiki.

If he does start getting physical, by all means retaliate, as that is what you are taught: defend yourself. But I guess it's fine since you have lots of support from all your dojo-mates and teachers.

In my situation, I was essentially isolated and vulnerable, so I had to thinking in a survival sense. I guess it wasn't really sound advice to tell others to lash out, so that's something I'll have to work on during training. Gotta mellow out

... If I meet another bully again however... things are gonna end very... VERY... differently
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:19 PM   #24
kewms
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
He gets physical when he can't "get me down" as my sensei likes to say. Apparently I'm really sensitive to intent, and if there isn't enough of it, it doesn't work. He usually ends up royally frustrated whenever he works with me. Thank you for the advice.
Some people tend to disconnect after their initial attack. Such people are difficult to throw, but since they aren't actually attacking, who cares?

Without getting my hands on both of you, I wouldn't necessarily agree that *his* intent is missing. It could be yours. Or it could be both. Neither of you is really senior enough to assume that what you're doing is "right." More likely, the flaws in your ukemi directly align with the flaws in his technique.

Katherine
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:24 PM   #25
"AikidoObsessed"
IP Hash: 2d64b371
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Re: HELP! I'm being bullied in the dojo!

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Some people tend to disconnect after their initial attack. Such people are difficult to throw, but since they aren't actually attacking, who cares?

Without getting my hands on both of you, I wouldn't necessarily agree that *his* intent is missing. It could be yours. Or it could be both. Neither of you is really senior enough to assume that what you're doing is "right." More likely, the flaws in your ukemi directly align with the flaws in his technique.

Katherine
I'm just going by what my sensei says. Even he has a tough time with me sometimes. I don't know WHY I do it, I just do. All I know is that it makes this student frustrated. Thanks for the comment!
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