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Old 12-10-2004, 11:26 AM   #26
Sita Nanthavong
 
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Re: How do you keep your cool?

Quote:
John Boswell wrote:

SO... when meet with an obstinant punk who's not being a good uke, how do you keep your cool? I'd like to calm down and chill, but this isn't the first time this has happened for me and I'm looking for advice to stop it... aside from "keep training" which I plan to do regardless.

Tips? Suggestions? I'm all ears.
I have a similar situation, only the guy's not a punk and I'm actually the smallest in my class. lol This guy is super limber and he's very new, not even a year, yet, and he's not connected to his center. When I try to do techniques such as nikkyo, it hurst me more than it hurts him, I think. lol

I've learned to forget about making the technique work and work on form, instead. I'm not going to use excessive force or raise a ruckus or get frustrated... it's very "un-aiki". My sensei knows this and he's okay with it.

It's superfrustrating, though, when we do irimi nage or kokyu nage and the guy doesn't blend. He waits until I actually hit him and then he goes down. Ugh!!! So, I just raise my arm over him and skip the whole contact thing.

Best luck with you and your guy!!
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Old 12-10-2004, 08:44 PM   #27
Charles Hill
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Re: How do you keep your cool?

Quote:
John Boswell wrote:
When your uke's arm goes limp as a rag and he just stands there with no expression like he could care less what you are trying to do.... THAT is frustrating.
John has a variety of interesting problems with this guy, but this is the one that interests me the most. I am convinced that in Aikido practice, it takes two to make good technique and if one person is not moving correctly the technique cannot be good. For example, I feel that in kotegaeshi, uke must have some extension in his arm or the technique will not work. Also, without that extension, nage`s hand which was to do the kotegaeshi can easily strike uke`s face/body making the kotegaeshi a moot point. I feel that the reason I do kotegaeshi is because I cannot strike uke who is extending his arm to keep me from striking.

What I find frustrating is how often I practice with people who ignore atemi. In my current dojo situation, I feel that I cannot hit "for real." So, I either put up with a bad situation or I refuse to train with some people.

John, I feel your pain!

Charles Hill
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Old 12-10-2004, 09:28 PM   #28
aikidoc
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Re: How do you keep your cool?

OK. Time for the sensei to chime in here.

A little history. This young man has come a long way in taking any ukemi. Very rarely do I ever day one state to anyone that I'm concerned a student is simply not going to cut it and should maybe consider another art. In this young man's case, I did make such a statement to senior students since he was horribly uncoordinated day one. His rolls for the first month or more looked like a crash and burn and after about 2 months is he now becoming actually capable of taking a forward roll without collapsing into a heap like a dish rag. And that's the problem. He is a dish rag from a joint perspective-he in fact scares the hell out of me when he is being locked out. He does not feel pain until the point a joint is about to dislocate.

Being overly flexible he has difficulty with connecting any of his body parts to any of his other body parts not alone his center. As an uke, he even challenges me to break his balance and take him down. However, I do and it can be done but the technique has to be precise with a lot of extension and quick before he can recover (he does so easily due to flexiblity). If I stop any of the energy he can recover.

I have been working on him to get him to connect with his center and have been pointing out to him the risks he is incurring by not doing so as well as his suki. Since he can recover easily and disconnects when he does get taken down it is scary because he usually goes down hard due to the fact he has to be taken to a no recovery point. Due to his lack of body connection it is a point where he cannot take the fall as safely as he should. At this point, although he falls hard, he has been able to slap out and not get injured.

He has been a challenge even for the senior students to take down. This can be a good thing for the senior students since he has obviously challenged them to the point of frustration. Sometimes I like to challenge the senior students to not rely on me working everything out for them. It's sort of like here's an attack and now I want you to figure out a technique you've never done before using the principles of aikido you've learned (tai sabaki, etc.).

It is time however to intervene more aggressively, as George points out it is my responsibility. The reason it is time to intervene is the frustration level has escalated since the same type of event happened with another student the next night with jo dori. The young man locked down and changed the dynamics of the attack (he was uke) causing frustration with another senior student who simply did a leg sweep and dumped him on his ass. It looks like it is time for a week of classes or more if necessary on musubi and ukemi. The young man has his moments and does give a fair attack and respond-however, not consistently. I think he wants to challenge the senior students subconsciously. However, if I continue to let him do so he will likely get injured which is not tolerated by me. Especially if it is done out of frustration.

Since gradual improvement and intermittent shards of improvement were occurring, I let this continue with verbal instruction to the young man to stop his behavior. However, I may have let this go on too long since the frustration level has risen. My responsibility of course. I do like students to try and work out such difficulties, however, I am not willing to do so at the risk of injury to a less senior student.

After last night's frustration response (actually after John's experience-we had a small class last night), I had already decided to fix the problem more directly. I did want to see where this thread went before I commented.
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Old 12-10-2004, 09:36 PM   #29
aikidoc
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Talking Re: How do you keep your cool?

As a side point to Charles' comment, I love to point out the openings for atemi (as George well knows I am interested in atemi waza). However, I can't really let the student feel the opening as he would in real situation. Occasionally, I will deliver a rather aggressive surface slap or finger flick (kind of like snapping a towel) to remind them-just enough to sting a bit but not hard enough to do any damage. It keeps them honest.
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Old 12-11-2004, 10:47 AM   #30
John Boswell
 
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Re: How do you keep your cool?

Sensei,

Sorry to hear class was small and frustrations are spreading. I feel, hearing you say that, that this thread might be partly to blame as classmates might have read what I said and took my side in a personal way. I didn't mean for it to escalate.

On the other hand, more ukemi waza might be a good thing all around! As for my missing the last part of the week, I was just plain exhausted and that would have manifested in further frustration on my part. Better to take a quick break and recover than bring my troubles to the mat.

I did learn a lot from this thread. "Listening" or reading what others have said here made me realize your comment of :" the technique has to be precise with a lot of extension and quick before he can recover " is dead on and I saw that earlier and even more so now. But DANG my temper!! Sheesh!

Just slap me the next time I go "judo" on somebody, okay? (... but gimme a three step headstart towards the door. )

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Old 12-11-2004, 12:04 PM   #31
Janet Rosen
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Re: How do you keep your cool?

Just to say that I thank both instructor and sr student for being open participants in the thread, as it is a rare and valuable opportunty in sharing ideas and problemsolving for ALL of us, and in a IRL rather than theoretical situation.
Great use of aikiweb!

Janet Rosen
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Old 12-11-2004, 10:42 PM   #32
Aiki Teacher
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Wink Re: How do you keep your cool?

John and fellows in the post,
The young man in question does have very poor connection, to be expected. He is new. He often tries to resist techniques when they are being done on him. I have worked with the young man many times and I often have to hold back to keep form hurting the young man. I never relish hurting anyone. Being a teacher, I have learned that with teanagers you can't take anything personally from them sometimes they are just immature and it is not directed at you! Where is this going?

As I said I have had the same experience when working with this fellow. I stay calm when I feel him lock down I take him they way he wants to go. Of course he ends up asking how he got thrown. Then I can explain what happened!

The other night we had the same problem again with him locking down on an attack. I held back to keep from hurting him, he locked down again on his second attack. His third attack however I opened up a little more and he went down. Sensei was then able to explain to him that he needs to remain better connected and not resist to the point that he gets injured.

Basically Bos, sensei is going to talk with him about his ukimi, but for you my friend, I understand your frustration. Maybe you need to avoid "him" for a few sessions until we get this worked out (but still come to class). Sensei and myself are working on this with him. I am sure that his behavior is not personally directed at you. Heck, he tries to lock me down and I am a shodan. But again for you, breathe relax and remember he is just a kid, and the situation will be taken care of!

Last edited by Aiki Teacher : 12-11-2004 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 12-11-2004, 11:41 PM   #33
CNYMike
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Re: How do you keep your cool?

Quote:
John Boswell wrote:
..... when meet with an obstinant punk who's not being a good uke, how do you keep your cool? I'd like to calm down and chill, but this isn't the first time this has happened for me and I'm looking for advice to stop it... aside from "keep training" which I plan to do regardless.

Tips? Suggestions? I'm all ears.
In addition to all the other points that has been raised, a couple of things I've learned which apply to all systems that get heavily into locking and throwing, and this includes Aikido:

1. The Devil is in the Details When it comes to joint locks and throws, all techniques have little fine points and details that you have to get. In other words, if you have to do A, B, C, and D to get a technique to work and you get A, B, and D, it won't work. If anything, Aikido may be more sensitive to this sort of thing because you can hold your uke up just by having too much tension in your upper body! So when someone doesn't fall down like you expect them too, it is possible you are missing something. But on top of that ....

2. Some people just can't be moved easily if at all. Even without an attitude, they are just bery good at setting themselves just so, and that makes factor 1 more pronounced. We have a gentleman like that in Kali, who's my senior in fact; if you muff a technique with him, he probably won't go over. (Sadly, I lost my temper with him back in the Spring, which was not only poor behavior but disrepectful on my part because the gentleman in question is my senior in Kali. Not only did I deserve the talking-to I got from him in the changing room, but I was so upset I considered quitting martial arts altogether. What's the point of 20 years of training if all you get out of it is a swelled head?)

Now, if this uke actually has a negative attitude, that's another matter. But that's in addition to the two factors I have mentioned. In your situation, I would conisder that I was messing up the technique somehow and ask my instructor for help. If he still didn't go over .... take your turns as nage and then feed him the attack and don't sweat it.
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Old 12-12-2004, 02:47 AM   #34
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Re: How do you keep your cool?

We have a young lad like this in our club. He`s 18 now, joined us at 15, in the first year or so he was very much like the lad you are describing, to a point he is still like it today, but he has changed a lot. He is so flexible and disconnected, in the early days it was difficult to move him, he wanted to lock you down because that`s what 15 year olds want to do, they want to show the world that they are cool and hot, and you know nowt. Nikkyo was extremely difficult, sankyo nigh on impossible and ikkyo pins just had no effect what so ever.

Now, he still maintains a high degree of flexibility, techniques only work if you do them correctly, but they do work, I can move him, quite easily now, I can apply any lock, pin or throw because I have figured out how is body moves. It`s all down to balance, connection, distance , moving and extension, even if he`s a limp rag, it doesn`t negate the extension, because I don`t rely on him, I create it.

I do point out openings when they are there, I do stress that he shouldn`t allow himself to take the pins as far as he can because not everyone does it in a controlled manner, or to the level that they are feeling the stretch as they pin, so he is likely to get injured on a seminar someday if he isn`t careful. But one of the key factors in his change is the fact that we have continued to work with him, as he has grown older, he come to respect things that he didn`t know or understand 3 years ago, but that may just have been the fact that his nose occasionally got flattened with a "stray" atemi .

If he still wants to train, work with him, it will be valuable to you all.

regards

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 12-12-2004, 09:24 PM   #35
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: How do you keep your cool?

I would try what your Sensei has suggested.

Lyle Laizure
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Old 12-13-2004, 09:33 AM   #36
gasman
 
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Re: How do you keep your cool?

To the original post:

If a newbie resists my technique, I usually switch technique to go in the direction that he/she is resisting. Or I will demonstrate an atemi to show him/her that their present position is a bad position. Just to give a demonstration to that person what aiki is about. It takes some time before some newbies lose their life long imprented idea of WINNING.

Ive got one guy now who used to train some gongfu style. He is incredibly apt at grounding himself and resisting my every move, even if I change direction. Thankfully he has understood the concept of our training, but I ask him every once in a while to resist so I can learn.

Most important is to not let your aiki pride get in the way. Very often you will experience that people with less aikido experience than you will have certain qualities you still havent achieved. It is not a hindrance, it is a challenge.
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Old 12-13-2004, 11:01 AM   #37
MitchMZ
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Re: How do you keep your cool?

I try and do the technique better, and getting angry only makes it harder to do this.
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Old 12-13-2004, 12:08 PM   #38
kironin
 
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Re: How do you keep your cool?

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
OK. Time for the sensei to chime in here.
A little history. This young man has come a long way in taking any ukemi. Very rarely do I ever day one state to anyone that I'm concerned a student is simply not going to cut it and should maybe consider another art. In this young man's case, I did make such a statement to senior students since he was horribly uncoordinated day one. His rolls for the first month or more looked like a crash and burn and after about 2 months is he now becoming actually capable of taking a forward roll without collapsing into a heap like a dish rag. And that's the problem. He is a dish rag from a joint perspective-he in fact scares the hell out of me when he is being locked out. He does not feel pain until the point a joint is about to dislocate. ...

Boy, I can relate to this a great deal! For the last year, I have had a 17 year old that was horribly uncoordinated. In the first few months, he did pretty much is as you described. Crash and burn everytime. was a total dish rag. Attacks totally limp, unable to follow, etc.
On top of that, he is close to deaf with a severe speech impediment (we had his name wrong for weeks). It was not clear how much he understood and his answers were next to unintelligable. His parents were in total denial about all this.

Needless to say, other students found him extremely frustrating to work with. I really had my doubts about the wisdom of letting him continue in fairness to the other students. With the communication problems, it was not clear how intelligent he was and it was not clear that he would be ever able to pick up what we were doing to any reasonable degree. Most of the time, I became his partner to let the other students try to practice the lesson without the extra burden he presented, but that's compromise at best because it took away time from paying attention to other students.

Even after months of instruction, I still found myself grimacing every time I saw him take a fall or attempt a roll. Something had to snap given the crashes he took, but I guess because of the flexibility and youth it never has though it looked simply awful.

Sometime ago, his rolls started to look something like rolls, his ability to follow in a technique actually started to happen and I had him and another student start practicing for their first test. Last weekend at a seminar we had, I could throw him around in a series of techniques and took pretty decent ukemi, one after the other. He retained enough at the end of the morning to throw me around with an actual lead and recognizable form of the sequence of techniques we had been learning. You give him the japanese term loud enough and he actually does the right technique. I expect he will do a decent performance on his test this week. It seems he has made a significant step forward in progress though it took most of the year to see any evidence of it.

His attitude in general is quite a bit better. I think given his initial demeanor and from what his parents have said that he was definitely picked on by other kids. His initial behavior in class could be disruptive at times. That has not happended in quite a while. My other students can actual practice with him now and any tensions/frustrations have long since melted away.

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Old 12-13-2004, 02:48 PM   #39
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Re: How do you keep your cool?

Quote:
John Boswell wrote:

Well, seeing as I have zero patience... I did my best but eventually lost my cool and just CHUNKED his butt on the ground! Technique went right out the window, harmony was totally absent, blending was nothing but all energy sending him down!
Ever consider that perhaps you did *exactly* the right thing? Maybe this aikido thing isn't all lightness and twee?

Because apart from the emotional spinning / attachment (which is a different issue and not my place to comment on).....what's the problem?

*shrugs*

He resisted. You 'chunked him' him. Immovable object meets irresistible force.

Good Aikido.

As for how to deal with it in the future -

(1) Talk to him and explain *exactly* what / why you are doing. Tell him it's not combat, but an exploration

OR

(2) Don't tell him and chunk him again. Try to figure out why that's working and the other thing isn't. Is it an issue of force, distraction, imminent threat of pain? Then use that to 'move' him 'gently'

All easy to write. Harder to do.

My $0.02
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Old 12-14-2004, 09:36 AM   #40
John Boswell
 
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Re: How do you keep your cool?

Quote:
He resisted. You 'chunked him' him. Immovable object meets irresistible force.

Good Aikido.


OH... how I wish I could agree with you on this one. And in some respects, I do and like the thought of getting to agree.

On the other hand, in the process of this thread, I've come to understand where my "technique" was never there in the first place. Not to mention the fact that my reaction wasn't appropriate for the mat.

SURE... unmoveable object meeting irrestible force would be good aikido, but only minus the emotion. Had I not lost my cool... had I NOT wanted to literally break a bone or two to "teach him a lesson," then there would have been no problem.

BUT I LIKE WHAT YOU SAID! Hadn't thought of like that at all... good stuff! Thanks, Bob!

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Old 12-14-2004, 10:36 AM   #41
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Re: How do you keep your cool?

Quote:
John Boswell wrote:


On the other hand, in the process of this thread, I've come to understand where my "technique" was never there in the first place. Not to mention the fact that my reaction wasn't appropriate for the mat.
Well, now we're getting into 'emotional morality'. As I see it -

You were angry, so you acted angry. Naturally.

Whether it was appropriate or not I leave up to you.

But AFAIK, nothing wrong with acting angry, as long as you're mindful of it. The bodily sensations it causes, the thoughts it stirs up etc. Getting really familiar with a habit eventually gives you choice of whether to indulge it or not. Otherwise, there's that choiceless, automatic 'click whir'.

As I see it - hurting someone (without conscious choice) and not hurting someone (without conscious choice) are both forms of compulsive behaviour.Neither compulsion by itself is good.

Personally, I think one of the problems in aikido is that we are taught to 'play nice' while seething underneath. How's that old quote go? 'Warriors choose peace, others are condemned to it".

There's something to be said for 'truth in combat' / standing up for yourself / confronting reality. Even when it's ugly.

As always - IMHO. YMMV. Just a different take from us aikiOrc / judothug crossbreeds.

Now - put your hand out so we can rap your wrist :-)

Edit: I am of course ignoring the other chap in all of this - a flaw in my logic. Eye for an eye leaves us all blind? So I'll leave to you the decision / point of no return of when "I'm not my brother's keeper" should occur.

Last edited by bob_stra : 12-14-2004 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 12-15-2004, 11:52 AM   #42
Michael Neal
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Re: How do you keep your cool?

anger is a legitimate human emotion that in itself is not bad, it has a biological purpose. However, to let anger completely control you can lead to bad things happening.
So to react out of anger is not bad, to overeact out of anger would be.
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Old 12-15-2004, 12:26 PM   #43
John Boswell
 
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Re: How do you keep your cool?

Quote:
Michael Neal wrote:
anger is a legitimate human emotion that in itself is not bad, it has a biological purpose. However, to let anger completely control you can lead to bad things happening.
So to react out of anger is not bad, to overeact out of anger would be.
In my continued analysis of the incident, I did find something in myself that gave me a little ray of hope. As I was acting out my anger, I entered irimi on the uke to throw him down, but in the process I fell myself.

I looked back on what I did wrong that caused me to lose my balance and I realized... the uke was dangerously close to a nearby wall. This particular wall has mirrors that are not as secure as they should or could be. ALSO, there were other students practicing nearby and they too could have been in danger of having this kid thrown on them.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I understood I was overreacting out of anger and pulled my energy back in an attempt to not truly injure the uke or others nearby. Had I done the technique I started FULLY... and properly, he would have slapped out into the mirrored wall with his feet swinging out and possibly hitting nearby classmates. BUT... instead, I took the fall myself and he just dropped down instead of down and out.

Excellent point, Mr. Neal. You're absolutly right.

And thanks!

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Old 12-20-2004, 05:36 PM   #44
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Re: How do you keep your cool?

To keep my cool I do this...

I put an ice cube down my pants, I really forget about getting angry after that!
It really keeps my cool

(Just trying to lighten things up)

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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