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Old 06-06-2003, 08:42 PM   #1
guest82374
Location: Glendale
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3
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how to start again

Been training 2-3x week w/a respected Japanese/American Sensei(5th dan)for 7 years. Tests periodically.(last time 2 yrs) Last rank 3rd kyu ASU,Saotome Aikikai. Technically the local sensei is one of the best in the area and attracts several dans from far distances to train weekly. I have traveled to other countries,other states and different dojos at 6am to train and gain mat time.I have participated in numerous Saotome and Ikeda seminars.I have studied tapes and practiced for hours alone.But I never get the recognition from the Sensei.I thought perhaps because of my age(late 40's)but the class sempai confides that he considers me to be training at shodan level.Witness,the sempai,although not close friends,he routine uses me for his promotion practices and often asks me to be his uke in regular practices as well.I ended up quiting because of my perceived lack of recognition and affimation from sensei. This is a difficult hurdle to overcome.I know it is ego and perhaps a therapist could help.Should I go back with an additude adjustment or try a different dojo?
Thanks,
Scott
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Old 06-06-2003, 09:15 PM   #2
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 837
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Hi Scott,

Is it that you are not getting recognition or is it that you are not getting feedback at all from your teacher? This would indicate two very different problems with different solutions.

Charles
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Old 06-06-2003, 09:34 PM   #3
guest82374
Location: Glendale
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3
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Charles,

I problably am placing too much on recognition/affirmation from sensei.I try to rationalize without sterotyping that it is because of his Japanese, read:less emotive,supportive background. But I balance it out by feedback from other black belts at seminars incredulous that I wasn't wearing a hakama.By the same token,that is a great compliment and a tribute too his training and I don't want a hakama because of tenure.I and I'm sure others have trained at seminars with supposed higher ranked aikidoka and questioned the ranking system and felt awkward. I just read Matsuoka Sensei,Seagal's ex-sempai has a dojo in Culver City,L.A. that I am considering checking out.
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Old 06-06-2003, 09:46 PM   #4
guest82374
Location: Glendale
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Charles,

I problably am placing too much on recognition/affirmation from sensei.I try to rationalize without sterotyping that it is because of his Japanese, read:less emotive,supportive background. But I balance it out by feedback from other black belts at seminars incredulous that I wasn't wearing a hakama.By the same token,that is a great compliment and a tribute too his training and I don't want a hakama because of tenure.I and I'm sure others have trained at seminars with supposed higher ranked aikidoka and questioned the ranking system and felt awkward. I just read Matsuoka Sensei,Seagal's ex-sempai has a dojo in Culver City,L.A. that I am considering checking out.
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Old 06-06-2003, 10:29 PM   #5
Abasan
Dojo: Aiki Shoshinkan, Aiki Kenkyukai
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 813
Malaysia
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Why bother with recognition when your aikido is good? In the class you'll still learn the same techniques as with everybody else, and there ain't any 'secret' techniques that you won't discover on the mat on your own one time or rather.

I suppose it is your ego that's wanting. But thats ok... cause you recognise it. And if you can ask yourself about moral adjustment, you already halfway there.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 06-07-2003, 11:39 AM   #6
Alfonso
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 346
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Why havent you tested in the last 2 years? Unless I understood incorrectly you haven't changed organizations, and AFAIK the requirements for testing after 3kyu have a 6 month min. time requirement.

Did you decide to stop testing at some point?
Or did you stop 2 years ago?

Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 06-07-2003, 06:46 PM   #7
SeiserL
 
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Dojo: Roswell Budokan, Kyushinkan Dojo, Aikido World Alliance
Location: Roswell, GA USA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,715
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As a therapist, I would first ask if you have discussed this with your Sensei? Next, if you are progressing and enjoy the training, I would suggest you drop the ego and get back on the mat.

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 06-08-2003, 07:05 AM   #8
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
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does it matter?

Let's see, 2.5x per week for seven years equals a total of 910 training days. According to the USAF testing requirements for the Eastern Region, you would need a minimum (and remember, this is a minimum, and often it is quite a bit longer) of 1140 training days to be eligible to test for shodan (60 to 5th, 80 to 4th, 100 to 3rd, 200 to 2nd, 300 to 1st, and 400 to shodan), in addition you would need to have attended a number of major seminars. So, 910 training days is still not at shodan eligibility in some organizations.

Actually, I would be pretty turned off as a teacher if someone quit because I hadn't allowed them to test, and figure I was right in my assesment about not having them test. It would require an attitude adjustment.

Sorry to be harsh, but I found your post rather petty. Lots of us have not tested for shodan by seven years, OR received recognition from our teachers. Why are we training? Is it for the external validation of others, or for our benefit? Doesn't our benefit also benefit others (those around us, and in extension, wider society)?

That said, I understand this need for being validated very thoroughly, but found that my teachers lack of promoting me usually had a root cause in my behavior. Once I rectified that, things started to get substantially better in terms of how I approached my practice.

Dont fret it; enjoy the practice, and feel good when you get the odd comment about how strong your aikido is; and then work harder!

all the best (honestly),

Rachel
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Old 06-08-2003, 08:18 AM   #9
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
Location: Three Lakes WI/ Mishima Japan
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 837
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Scott,

Can you be more specific on what you mean by "recognition" and "affirmation?" I understood your post to mean that it wasn't about rank, that your remark about being shodan level, technically, was just to show that you feel you are doing well in your progress. After reading Rachel's post, I reread your original post, and now I'm not sure.

I'm sure that Rachel's heart was in the right place in making suggestions, but I got the feeling that Scott has tried not to "fret it" and to "enjoy" his practice. I think more specific suggestions or stories of how we have had similar problems would be more helpful. I, personally, am not exactly clear on what Scott is having problems with and the situation he is finding himself in.

For example, it is very common for teachers in Japan to virtually ignore students for a period of time. They wait to see what kind of attitude and commitment the student has before making any real effort in guiding a student directly. This is where the sempai/kohai system comes in. The teacher has sempai look after the student so that in the period of the teacher ignoring him/her, the student is still getting very good instruction.

I have also seen many times, non-Japanese teachers and practioners overdo the Japanese way by a large degree. It could be that Scott's instructor uses this method of ignoring students but way overdoes it in an attempt to be more Japanese. But then again, maybe not. The more info we have from Scott, the easier it would be to give advice and opinions.

Charles
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Old 06-13-2003, 08:20 AM   #10
jxa127
Dojo: Itten Dojo -- Mechanicsburg, PA
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 420
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Scott,

Personally, I'm not sure anybody's advice is going to help you. None of us are in your exact situation.

You're an adult. Figure out what you need, and if you're not getting it at your current dojo, then go to another one. Follow your heart and be true to yourself.

I know I've been through times when I felt that my sensei had it out for me and other times when he ignored me. Over time, both situations stopped bothering me. When he's really pushing me, I'm grateful for the individual attention. When he's ignoring me, I'm glad I'm doing well enough at that time to not need it. Once or twice, he's said or done something that upset me (for one reason or another) and I talked with him about it, resolved the issue and moved on feeling a lot better.

In my opinion, the only difference between you and the instructor is that he or she has a set of skills and experience with aikido that you don't have. Otherwise, the instructor is simply another adult. Treat him or her with respect, but don't be awed.

Regards,

-Drew

----
-Drew Ames
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