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Old 03-11-2003, 08:47 AM   #1
Kung Fu Liane
Location: Jersey
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 64
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Confused students intimidating others

Hi,

i have noticed a problem in the dojo i train at. there is one student who has been there for about three years who is disliked by many of the other students. the main reason for this is that instead of pointing out other people's mistakes, he chooses to be agressive, and many people find him intimidating. as an example, the other week, i make a mistake in a movement, and he started kicking my back leg, which i chose to ignore and continued the exercise, then half way thru he grabbed me, stood up and with his face a few inches from mine, and with his arm across my throat he told me off for doing the movement incorrectly.

the worst thing of all was i nearly reacted to his agression, i actually felt my foot twitch as if i were about to kick him. probably the only thing that prevented me from hurting him was the fact that i hate confrontations of that nature.

other students have told me about similar incidents during training, and they try to avoid partnering him in class. he seems to pick on the girls, and guys who are smaller build than him, particularly myself and a friend of mine. also he is openly rude to our teacher, calling him by his christian name, despite being repeatedly told not to.

i don't want to cause trouble at my dojo, but i don't feel that i can continue my training in an environment where there is an agressive student. i also feel that i have a responsibility towards the junior members of the dojo, to protect them from being harmed or from driving them away from the dojo. i would like to talk to my teacheer about it, but i don't know how well it would be received. does anyone have any idea as to how i can best phrase this to my teacher, without causing trouble?

thanx,

-Liane

Aikido: a martial art which allows you to defeat your enemy without hurting him, unless of course he doesn't know how to breakfall in which case he will shatter every bone in his body when he lands. Also known as Origami with people
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Old 03-11-2003, 09:08 AM   #2
MattRice
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
Location: Maryland
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 123
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Hi Liane

be advised that said dude might read this, and recognize himself, thus making you a target for more, um...loving attention.

You need to talk to your teacher, if the situation is really as you describe, it is obviously not a healthy addition to your environment. Your teacher should be very concerned about this, as it reflects her/his instruction (like it or not).

As to how to approach your teacher...dunno. Maybe, take a friend who feels the same way so it doen't look like you're just whining. It depends on the character of your instructor what will happen and what is the right approach.

Above all, take care of yourself and others if you can. Jerks aren't worth getting hurt over.

Matt
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Old 03-11-2003, 09:18 AM   #3
Edward
Location: Bangkok
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 803
Thailand
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well, I guess there is at least one of these jerks in each dojo, sometimes more. A dojo, imho, is a mirror of the outside world, on a smaller scale. You will find all kinds of people and characters. Most of us come to the dojo just to learn how to interact and confront such situations. That's why I don't think it's a good idea to complain to the Sensei about this, it sounds to me a little to dependant. In the countrary, you should deal with your feelings to such rude uncivilized individuals and try to use aikido principles to settle the situation.

Even though such jerks do not desrve to be in an aikido dojo, however, their presence is so invaluable in terms of teaching the other students practical lessons of aikido in the real world.
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Old 03-11-2003, 09:20 AM   #4
Greg Jennings
Dojo: S&G BJJ
Location: Springboro, OH
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 1,125
United_States
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Re: students intimidating others

Quote:
Liane Guillou (Kung Fu Liane) wrote:
<SNIP> i don't want to cause trouble at my dojo, but i don't feel that i can continue my training in an environment where there is an agressive student. i also feel that i have a responsibility towards the junior members of the dojo, to protect them from being harmed or from driving them away from the dojo. i would like to talk to my teacheer about it, but i don't know how well it would be received. does anyone have any idea as to how i can best phrase this to my teacher, without causing trouble?
Liane,

I like to train as tough as anyone but the guy sounds like an anal sphincter with delusions of being a person.

Just to get to the brass tacks, it sounds like you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by talking to your instructor.

I'd approach the teacher in private and tell him that you're very uncomfortable with the guy and that many of the other students have said the same to you.

Another tack you might take is to meet with the other members of the dojo and arrange an intervention with the guy. As a group, politely tell him to straighten up, or none of you will train with him.

Or, you could buy me a plane ticket to Jersey and I'll take care of him for you....

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 03-11-2003, 09:42 AM   #5
ikkainogakusei
Location: All over CA
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 137
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Re: students intimidating others

Hi Liane

Guh, this guy sounds like he's a ripe one. I'm sorry to hear that you've got such a crappy practicioner in your dojo. As much as it might seem like you will be calling attention to yourself by taking some action, it might also encourage others to do the same.

As for having to engage this bully because there are also bullies in the real world...well it seems like the message many of us (including myself) is that we don't have to engage bullies as often as we think we do. Road rage, random acts of hostility, and other things are stop-able simply by not engaging. Yes, sometimes you do have to stand your ground, and sometimes you have to enter, but there are so many occasions when getting out of the way is perfectly applicable.

Maybe...just bowing out when he approaches you might be message enough. Maybe others might follow that lead. Or you could talk to the Sensei, or Dojo Sempai. Which ever is the most appropriate.

Just my 2 cents

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Old 03-11-2003, 09:53 AM   #6
Jim ashby
Dojo: Phoenix Coventry
Location: Coventry, England
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 303
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You could always change Dojo. If the Warwick Uni is the one in Coventry you could try the Phoenix. If not, go to your Sensei NOW and tell him what you experienced. If he/she does nothing that's as bad as encouraging this jerk. Get out while you can.

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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Old 03-11-2003, 10:06 AM   #7
paw
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 768
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I suggest:

1. Do not train with him, ever. No exceptions.

2. Talk to your instructor about this. If your instructor does nothing, leave the school. (Acceptable responses for your instructor would include: a) talking to this individual and explaining that type of behavor is never appropriate or b) expelling the student from the school)

Frankly, I haven't the slightest idea why someone who is openly rude, disrectful and disobediant is still allowed to train. You may want to consider contacting the University about this. At best, this individual sounds like a lawsuit just waiting to happen.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 03-11-2003, 10:08 AM   #8
Michael Owen
Dojo: Richmond Aikido Kai
Location: Richmond, VA
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 16
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Liane,

You should report this to your sensei asap. Kicking and grabbing you with his arm across your throat is beyond rudeness, it is assualt. If your sensei has a problem with you bringing this issue to him, he is not fit to teach.

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Old 03-11-2003, 10:39 AM   #9
gamma80
Dojo: Avon Kempo & Aikido Academy
Location: Avon, CT
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 32
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Eek!

ASK to train with this person next time you practice Shihonage. A well timed, incorrectly executed technique should get him out of class for six to eight weeks and give him time to reflect on his transgressions.

Chris

remember, lots of torque on the elbow!
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Old 03-11-2003, 12:39 PM   #10
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 788
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It sounds bad to me. From what you say, the Sensei probably already knows about this guy's problem behavior. After all, he is willing to accept openly displayed disrespect and disobedience from him in class. If you trust a teacher, I could see being passive about them keeping someone around who seems borderline around for reasons that aren't clear to other students, and just trust their judgement. However, this guy sounds WAY over the line, which means your Sensei is either obliviously unperceptive, apathetic, a completely unassertive wimp, or some combination thereof. I would talk to the Sensei, but without much optimism, and start looking for another place to train or activity to do. I might even give the Sensei a piece of my mind on my way out too - the situation you describe is a disgrace, and the fault is entirely with the one who is supposed to be the leader.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 03-11-2003 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 03-11-2003, 12:53 PM   #11
mj
Location: livingston, scotland
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 715
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Just leave. Find another club that suits you and within a few weeks you will revel in the atmosphere.

I disagree with the people who suggest putting up with it (you meet idiots in real life etc) because in real life we do not choose to spend our leisure time with thugs.

The rules of etiquette in Aikido are well known to all practitioners. I sincerely doubt your 'sensei' is so blind as to not notice the behaviour of his/her students. Do not bother setting yourself up for worse treatment by ignoring (encouraging) or confronting (asking for it) the aggression. It is nothing to do with you, it is a club matter.

If it makes you feel any better, which I doubt in the short term, many of us have been through things like this.

Just leave

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Old 03-11-2003, 01:04 PM   #12
Larry Feldman
Dojo: Atlanta School of Aikido
Location: Atlanta, GA
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 373
United_States
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Just a little perspective from the other side.

Strange as it may seem, your teacher may not be aware of how bad the situation is. If you bring it to his attention, at least you can feel like you did what you can to resolve the issue. It is your teachers responsibility to provide a safe, and sane practice environment.

I have always been reluctant to throw people out of class, but have done it 3 times.

In all cases it was better for the class, and easier for me - I didn't have to keep 1 eye on 'the person' and just one on the class. The only regrets I have had is not doing it sooner.
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Old 03-11-2003, 01:09 PM   #13
KaitlinCostello
 
KaitlinCostello's Avatar
Location: Commerce City, Co
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 47
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Liane,

There is no shame in bringing this matter to your instructor. No one should ever be bullied in the manner that you have described. You should not be physically assaulted for making mistakes, this in my opinion is unacceptable in any way shape or form. Being put into a choke hold and berated steps over the barrier by a mile. Remember, you do not have to practice with a person who threatens you in any way. Walk away, sit in sieza, ask to join in with another pair. Obviously this person you have encountered has an attitude which will get him no where but out the door.

Please, please, please discuss this with your instructor. I personally do not believe in "striking back" at people as has been suggested in previous posts. I believe that we're all adults and should deal with our issue in the appropriate manner. You are being threatened and harassed. This would not fly in a school, work or public environment , so then why should it be tolerated in your Dojo?

If this person threatens you for posting the thread do not hesitate to bring this to a legal matter. Your safety and wellness supercedes anything else.

Be well,

Kate

P.S- Please don't leave your Dojo for the ignorance and violence of another. It should be this Man leaving as he oviously has no understanding of what exactly aikido is about.

~~No smile is as beautiful as the one that struggles through tears.~~
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Old 03-11-2003, 01:15 PM   #14
Bud
Dojo: Aikido Philippines
Location: Manila
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 70
Philippines
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If this cretin has been training in the dojo for three years now, then I put the blame squarely on the sensei. He or she should have seen this coming years ago and dealt with it. He can't claim to not notice it and if he or she says that than maybe the sensei shouldn't be teaching at all.

I had the same type of jerk in a former dojo years ago. The guy was a real psycho. He started out as a normal guy and got weirder. The instructor should have straigthened him out but he didn't so he developed a really sick personality (but I think the student was already a bit off his rocker for some time now).

Tell your sensei what's happening and if he or she doesn't do anything about it, then move to another dojo.
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Old 03-11-2003, 01:53 PM   #15
Nacho_mx
Dojo: Federación Mexicana de Aikido
Location: Mexico City
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 188
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Quote:
Chris Jordan (gamma80) wrote:
ASK to train with this person next time you practice Shihonage. A well timed, incorrectly executed technique should get him out of class for six to eight weeks and give him time to reflect on his transgressions.

Chris

remember, lots of torque on the elbow!
Are you serious? Have you considered that Liane may be not skilled enough/willing enough to counter his aggressive technique?

3yrs experience + bad attitude vs. intimidated, angered student? I see a devastating kaeshi waza coming...

Liane, If you feel threatened, intimidated, insulted or whatever, report to the sensei during or after class. If there are other disgruntled students talk to them and then talk to your sensei (strenght in numbers, the first aikido union against unfair or agressive training practices... )

Last edited by Nacho_mx : 03-11-2003 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 03-11-2003, 03:22 PM   #16
timcraig
Dojo: Northeast Aikikai
Location: Waltham, MA
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 14
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Just put him down a couple times.

Deal with him in the same way you would deal with someone attacking you on the streeet. Use your aikido to protect yourself and your attacker. Someday he might try that nonsense on someone who won't be as forgiving as you. Better for him to learn he's being a jerk and that his bahavior is unacceptable.

You are learning a martial art after all, and nobody is going to fault you for throwing someone in aikido class.
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Old 03-11-2003, 03:29 PM   #17
cindy perkins
Dojo: AikiDog Dojo
Location: Pittsfield, New Hampshire
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 50
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I agree with those who have suggested talk to the instructor (ideally with one or more other students), then leave if necessary. From my non-aikido teaching experience, I have found it is very possible to be blind to a particular student's faults, particularly if they are rude to you, because you are bending over backward not to misperceive faults out of personal annoyance. Sad but true. Speak to your instructor in a spirit of love, assuming you are bringing him new information and that he will respond correctly. If he does not, then leave immediately; he will be no protection if the jerk decides to retaliate. Just my HO...
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Old 03-11-2003, 03:54 PM   #18
ikkainogakusei
Location: All over CA
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 137
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!!!! Do not listen to attack suggestions!!!!!

Okay this has gotten way out of hand. Please do not take the advice of anyone who tells you to inflict harm on this guy. Not only will you be lowering yourself to his level, but you'll be putting yourself in serious jeopardy.

I hadn't noticed that this dojo/club/class is at a University. If this is so, there are huge liability considerations, and if your Sensei is not listening to you, then a department chair, dean, or officer of student conduct will.

Those who are suggesting that you speak out or remove self are (IMHO) giving the wiser advice. Take it.

Last edited by ikkainogakusei : 03-11-2003 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 03-11-2003, 03:59 PM   #19
timcraig
Dojo: Northeast Aikikai
Location: Waltham, MA
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 14
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Not harm, only pain. Pain goes away when you let off the nikkyo. That's part of the beauty of aikido, you can wake someone up with the pain, but also let them walk away with you afterwards.
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Old 03-11-2003, 04:36 PM   #20
Alfonso
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 346
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forget it, stop fantasizing you folks for a second. Liane has stated she's a beginner a number of times. How do you expect her to be able to confront someone with more experience, physically stronger and on top of everything with a mean disposition?

So, the guy thinks he's cool, he can find openings, he thinks he's martial and macho.

Bullies abound in this world, and they feed off attention and fear.

If you won't talk to your instructor, just avoid the idiot. Even if you're the only available choice for partnering just bow to him and go work in a trio.

if someone asks, just say you're not comfortable taking ukemi for him, and explain your problem.

No one can force you to put yourself in his hands. Discuss this with the other folks as well, an obvious effort at ignoring him will raise flags

..this being a japanese activity ostracism seems to be appropriate..

Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 03-11-2003, 04:51 PM   #21
faramos
Dojo: University of Chicago Aikido Club
Location: Chicago
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 36
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Liane,

I'm not going to disput the fact that you don't perfer to train with this person. Nor do I disput the fact that this person may not be as aiki as any of us would like. But if you approach your sensei, I would perhaps attempt to connect with this person also. Not an outright confrontation, instead, a chance to know who they are. Often times a person or persons find an uke that is nearly unbearable and harsh. And they find is tough to connect with them based on the phsyical contact and technique alone. It may help one day top perhaps ask the question "Why do you train so intensely?" I know it's something people have asked others, and it's definitely gotten both parties to rethink their motives for their actions.

My sensei always says to his students at various times on the mat: "Do you have it down? Are there no questions about how the technique works. Okay then I guess we must all be perfect." I know deep down he knows we all have questions, and in bottling them up, we get nowhere. So I would believe that your sensei undestands the situation, and that perhaps he knows there is a conflict. Yet, as a gesture of good faith in this person, you may just want to ask them "Why?"

It has never hurt anyone I know. Over time, if the person continues, keep asking more questions about their motivations. "Are you going to accomplish anything by punching me right now on the mat?" Often times people that take these kinds of actions do not feel connected with their partners. In fact, they feel left out. So it is best to let them know that training is a fifty-fifty idea: I will train with you so long as you will train with me. So even if they train with the intent of giving you hell, keep training at your own pace, maybe even take it slower as to figure out if you can adjust to their responses.

It's fine to be upset with someone on the mat. It's fine to be reluctant with them too. Just remember to stay centered, connect with your words and respond; before connecting with your body and losing your way. Please just be patient, peaceful, and above all just make every response a Thank You.

Best In Your Training,

Frank
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Old 03-11-2003, 05:22 PM   #22
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 788
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Re: students intimidating others

Frank, did you even read the initial post?
Quote:
Liane Guillou (Kung Fu Liane) wrote:
as an example, the other week, i make a mistake in a movement, and he started kicking my back leg, which i chose to ignore and continued the exercise, then half way thru he grabbed me, stood up and with his face a few inches from mine, and with his arm across my throat he told me off for doing the movement incorrectly.
This doesn't sound like someone who needs a kind word, some TLC, and a few more weeks of chances to abuse Liane's body with no more response than smiles and thank yous. It sounds like someone who I would never let touch me again... someone who needed to be thrown out of the dojo/club long ago. I find your advice unrealistic, irresponsible, and possibly dangerous.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 03-11-2003 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 03-11-2003, 05:42 PM   #23
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 788
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In a less civilized situation, or one where continued participation is mandatory, like the military, the rest of the group gets together and throws guys like him a 'blanket party'... which it sounds like he could use. A few months of quiet time in the hospital to think about the fact that everyone else in the group participated in putting him there might have some effect, but that Mr. Rogers stuff is just wishful thinking. Fortunately, we're talking about a free society and a voluntary activity however, and giving this guy life lessons is not Liane's responsibility, so she can just leave.
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Old 03-11-2003, 06:50 PM   #24
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
Dojo: Yoshokai; looking into judo
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 434
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It's an interesting question in an aikido setting. He sounds like a complete bastard. Perhaps in his case, harmony needs to take the form of something sharp and unpleasant. (I do /not/ mean attacking him or doing something like that...I hope those people were kidding about trying to hurt him with a mangled aikido technique!) Some throws are very sharp. (In Yoshokai, we have a "step-in-thrust"...I'm sure other types exist, like that "clothesline throw"...) In the same way, sometimes the best answer is something like getting him tossed out.

I'd say talk to the sensei. At the very least, he should be able to give you some advice. If an aikido sensei can't figure out a way to deal with a jerk...
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Old 03-11-2003, 08:14 PM   #25
faramos
Dojo: University of Chicago Aikido Club
Location: Chicago
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 36
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Yes, I did read the post. And I do understand you point. I'm not Mr. Rogers and I don't always think people are Aiki. At the same time, I don't think any of us besides Ms. Guillou have the power to anything immediately except give our own individual views and experiences on the subject.

Personally, I've been punched in the nose, kicked in the abdomen, etc. by some people that "play rougher" than normal. What I've learned from all these situations it that something really doesn't sit well with people that train this way. What happens on the mat happens for a reason. Someone that trains aggressively does so for a reason. If we figure out the reason why, then we understand how to handle it.

This is a true test of Aikido. Sure the guy may be a complete bastard on the mat, what is he off the mat? Do we know why he trains this way? I don't think any of us can really say except for Ms. Guillou. To want to engage someone physically without even address who they are, that leaves makes our training incomplete. And even then what good comes from tossing or hurting someone without asking what there problem is?

Abe sensei, Saito sensei, Leynard sensei, and many others have given extensive lectures on this issue. All of which made the point that if someone violently attacking you, its being done for a reason no matter where it takes place. Ikeda sensei has even stated "Uke is never wrong." They just have a problem we don't understand. Figure out why someone has a problem, then engage the issue. Stubborn or not, a person is still entitled to an open ear, but we must be willing to listen first.

To be violent or uncommunicative before we even know what the truth behind the actions are will never help any of us grow.
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