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Old 08-12-2020, 04:30 PM   #1
"Heartbroken"
IP Hash: 64e9679a
Anonymous User
Unhappy How did this happen? (Aikido broke my heart)

Hello!

I've been training for a long time, pushing twenty years. Now since there's been a pandemic, I've been granted a respite from the dojo...not quite something I thought I'd ever hear myself say.

I'm hoping that some of you could give me some sort of advice on how to continue or what I should do as this has been weighing so heavily on me.

Some background:
For the duration of my training, I have trained under one sensei. I was their uchi deshi for a year. I have trained under them between five to nine hours a week, every week since I joined. I admired them, loved their style, and was brought into their inner circle. This dojo was like family to me. Sure, there were some problems but what practitioner doesn't hit some bumps in the road during their training? I taught at this dojo. I gave so much of myself to this dojo. And I felt like I had a place where I belonged.

Now, several years back I was hurt very badly on the mat under my sensei's supervision. I had discussed this particular practitioner multiple times to my sensei (as I had with another who had been harassing and hurting me for years) and nothing was done about it. I'd watch these two people drive other people out of the dojo and drive people to tears. I cried over this. I received multiple small injuries from these people and had to put up with them making fun of me on the mat. Now, we're at a small dojo and they were older, and higher ranked than I was so there was little I could do besides confront them off the mat (which made things worse on the mat). My sensei knew this. They told me and others that I needed to toughen up. So I did, biting back tears many times on the mat.

Well, the injury I was worried someone else would sustain from one of these two happened. I got hurt badly and couldn't use my arm for nearly a year. The man threw me harder and faster than I could ever hope to fall, and I was one of the fastest at the dojo. I brought this up to my teacher and nothing was done, again. Not even an apology. They agreed that it was my fault I got hurt. Worse, it got back to me from my husband who also trains and my mother that my teacher said I deserved to be knocked down a peg and that this injury was good for me, to teach me to be frightened. Unfortunately, this was not out of character but it broke my heart.

From there, things got worse. My sensei verbally berated my husband to my face on multiple occasions very nearly accusing him of grooming me even though we met when I was in my twenties and he's hardly older than I. The last year, every time I go to the dojo it seems to get worse. When I leave to go home, I'm mocked by everyone. They take their lead from the sensei, of course. When I stay, people try to take their aggression out on me and I can't stop them (I'm a small woman).

There have been multiple occasions over the last three years (since I married) where I have left the dojo fuming or ready to cry. The breaking point came this year when I communicated I would be taking one month off to mourn some heavy losses in my life right before the pandemic started. My teacher told people in the community that I had quit. I don't know why that was the final straw for me, but it was.

What am I supposed to do? I don't want to go back ever again. The whole community in my organization seems polluted now. I went from dreaming of opening a dojo to feeling like I'd vomit if I ever went back into one. I never, ever thought I would grow to hate the place I devoted so many years of my life to.

How can I train again when I can never trust my sensei? Do I go back and deal with the fear when things reopen or do I call it quits for now? I know my safety is not a priority on that mat and I'm terribly afraid of being punished when I do return (which happened before with my arm). Any advice on this situation at all would be welcome. Thank you all for reading.
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Old 08-13-2020, 12:09 AM   #2
"reply"
IP Hash: ecd346bc
Anonymous User
Re: How did this happen? (Aikido broke my heart)

Why would you want to go back there? They sound like jerks.
Besides it's clear they don't want you around, so you would have to be getting something amazingly good out of it to make it worth your while, right?
And if both arms are working now you can cut your losses, and still have a chance to find another group in your future. But if they get to do permanent damage you're going to probably stop training forever.
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Old 08-13-2020, 02:34 AM   #3
"Gandalf"
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Re: How did this happen? (Aikido broke my heart)

This sounds very familiar: "I'd watch these two people drive other people out of the dojo and drive people to tears."

I too had a loyal dedication to a certain dojo for well over a decade, when "two people" came in and started mangling people and exploiting training protocol to the point where training with them was a complete waste of time. They would either stiffen up and resist, forcing nage to become the aggressor and then complaining that he's too aggressive, or give half-assed attacks with the goal of reversing the technique they know is coming. As nage, one of them in particular had a punitive attitude manifested in his technique.

Long story short, they were a catalyst for why I ended up switching to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Such a refreshing lack of bullshit in that system. Either you can do something, or you can't. Ranks actually correspond to real skill. Techniques are taught literally, not figuratively, not as an allegory or a metaphor. Sparring lets you play all kinds of games - like the games those two clowns played in Aikido - but with honest and immediate feedback.

If you're really fed up with the bullshit, consider changing to BJJ and doing that for a couple of years. It will make you see Aikido from a more practical perspective, and will also give you a real chance to teach a lesson to some of the Aikido bullies - despite you being small-framed.

Even if you don't want to switch systems, you still have to switch dojos - because right now you're in a cult that's gone toxic.
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Old 08-14-2020, 07:21 AM   #4
sorokod
Join Date: Sep 2008
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Re: How did this happen? (Aikido broke my heart)

You can't be responsible for other people's actions but you should be responsible for your own.

Look at yourself in a mirror and ask the following no-trivial and non-rhetorical question "Do I want to continue to be bullied?"

If you say no, then walk away from all that and rebuild. Otherwise, well otherwise you will need to own that too.

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Old 08-14-2020, 11:18 AM   #5
Steven
 
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Dojo: Aikido Yoshinkan Sacramento - Seikeikan Dojo
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Re: How did this happen? (Aikido broke my heart)

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
my husband who also trains
Seems to me you have the answer. You have a training partner at home. You don't need this instructor or dojo to train.
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Old 08-16-2020, 12:38 AM   #6
zivk
 
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Re: How did this happen? (Aikido broke my heart)

It is pretty clear that you're suffering in your current dojo. From my perspective, Aikido training can and should be challenging and demanding physically at times. But, on the other hand, there should be mutual growth in the dojo, people should help each other to get better. If you are being bullied, ridiculed and brought to tears in your current dojo, and sensei does not put an abrupt stop to the abusive behavior in the dojo, then it's simply not a place that will encourage your growth.
It's time for you to leave this dojo and move on. Go and find yourself another and better Aikido dojo, where your experience and dedication will be well appreciated.
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Old 08-16-2020, 06:53 PM   #7
Walter Martindale
Location: Edmonton, AB
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Re: How did this happen? (Aikido broke my heart)

Yup. Leave. Take hubby with you. Both of you take up Gandalf's (above) suggestion and take up BJJ. I got roughed up pretty easily by a BJJ black belt when I had a shodan in judo and a few years of aikido under the 'belt' so to speak. Now far too old to play those games. If the BJJ takes and you learn a few tricks perhaps, as suggested, you could visit "will you take me back?" and lay a beating on the induhviduals who are currently driving you away.
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Old 09-07-2020, 09:57 AM   #8
PuppyDoggie
Location: Halifax
Join Date: Apr 2017
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Re: How did this happen? (Aikido broke my heart)

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post

How can I train again when I can never trust my sensei? Do I go back and deal with the fear when things reopen or do I call it quits for now? I know my safety is not a priority on that mat and I'm terribly afraid of being punished when I do return (which happened before with my arm). Any advice on this situation at all would be welcome.
1) For anything that I have ever done (aikido and other activities) and what I have always taught others is to always have reasonable safety as top priority. It does not sound like they value safety at that dojo, your arm has been damaged previously, you don't feel safe there, you have brought this up before with no changes made, so therefore I don't think you should practice there anymore for your own sake. Find another dojo to practice in (or organize a separate smaller different group to train with?)

2) to me it sounds like you already tried to deal with the fears and problems already with no results. People generally don't change (much, if at all), I wouldn't expect others to change based on what you said already.

3) is it possible that there are grudges against you that you may not be aware of?

Lastly, you are important, and practicing safely is always #1. Practice can be intense and fast with care and safety still in mind at all times!

Last edited by PuppyDoggie : 09-07-2020 at 09:58 AM. Reason: missing one word for correct grammar
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Old 09-09-2020, 05:26 AM   #9
Peter Goldsbury
 
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Re: How did this happen? (Aikido broke my heart)

This sounds like a truly awful dojo and I am surprised you have not left already. Or are you posting here to test the waters for a decision already taken? Leave. You have a training partner, but I suggest you do BJJ for a while and then open your own dojo. You need to do something like BJJ to knock any pseudo-spirituality out of your budo training. This will be of value if and when you return to aikido. Eventually, you should teach the art, especially to children. They are young, flexible, ask questions, and can see any BS.

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Kokusai Dojo,
Hiroshima,
Japan
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Old 09-27-2021, 11:03 PM   #10
Win
Dojo: Aikido Team Udon Thani
Location: Udon Thani
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Thailand
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Re: How did this happen? (Aikido broke my heart)

I read a lot of excuses, blaming, taking zero responsibility for oneself, and self victimazation in this post.

you feel everybody was unfair, and bullied you. why stay?? i feel your teacher must have been desperate with you, making sincere efforts to toughen you a little bit, which you took for another round of unfair bullying.
in the end all the teachers and all aikidokas in your dojo were against you. i find it difficult to condemn a whole dojo its students and teachers, based on only hearing one side of the story..

This comment of you tops the cake though.... "i am just a small woman".
it means you view yourself as weak and unable to spiritually stand up against other people bigger and other gender then you. it is also your way of getting our sympathy and understanding.

It is demeaning of small women and women in general. i know enough "small women" in dojos who have razorshark teeth and brains that can knock you out, with REASON AND LOGIC and who dont pull the "i am just a small woman" card.

ATTITUDE.

Time to rethink yourself, to think more positive about also other people around you, instead of blaming them and seeing yourself as a victim.
you.are.not.

Last edited by Win : 09-27-2021 at 11:05 PM. Reason: spelling misstake
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Old 09-28-2021, 01:37 AM   #11
shizentai
Location: CA
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Re: How did this happen? (Aikido broke my heart)

Found the Sensei

Quote:
Herwin Walravens wrote: View Post
I read a lot of excuses, blaming, taking zero responsibility for oneself, and self victimazation in this post.

you feel everybody was unfair, and bullied you. why stay?? i feel your teacher must have been desperate with you, making sincere efforts to toughen you a little bit, which you took for another round of unfair bullying.
in the end all the teachers and all aikidokas in your dojo were against you. i find it difficult to condemn a whole dojo its students and teachers, based on only hearing one side of the story..

This comment of you tops the cake though.... "i am just a small woman".
it means you view yourself as weak and unable to spiritually stand up against other people bigger and other gender then you. it is also your way of getting our sympathy and understanding.

It is demeaning of small women and women in general. i know enough "small women" in dojos who have razorshark teeth and brains that can knock you out, with REASON AND LOGIC and who dont pull the "i am just a small woman" card.

ATTITUDE.

Time to rethink yourself, to think more positive about also other people around you, instead of blaming them and seeing yourself as a victim.
you.are.not.
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Old 09-28-2021, 04:05 AM   #12
Win
Dojo: Aikido Team Udon Thani
Location: Udon Thani
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Re: How did this happen? (Aikido broke my heart)

Quote:
Aleksey Nikolaevich wrote: View Post
Found the Sensei
lol.

you chose a teacher and a dojo that you think are good and beneficial and that you want to learn from. i know i did...

THE MOMENT that you feel different and start to feel the teacher doesnt teach what you feel is what you expect or is beneficial for you, YOU SHOULD LEAVE. i know i did...

That is only logical and fair towards yourself AND TO YOUR TEACHER.

sticking around for years while feeling abused is UNFAIR TO YOURSELF AND UNFAIR TO YOUR TEACHER and fellow aikidokas of that dojo.

Love It Or Leave It (and continue your journey to a place that suits you better.)

Like myself, i started aikido in one dojo, until i felt "it was missing something" or felt my aikido didnt evolve.
why should i stay? i would be grateful for time spend, and the lessons of that teacher, and find another dojo and teacher. my changing a dojo or teacher doesnt say anything about the teacher, only about my personal aikido journey. Mind you, OSensei tried a lot of styles teachers and dojos!

By staying for years and years and feeling abused she created problems for herself AND for her dojo, teacher, and fellow aikidoka.

In any abusive situation the ONLY good advice is get the hell out...

Why would i judge that teacher, i dont know his side of the story. FACT is, it seems he has a lot of students. Most likely all his other students think he is a fine teacher.

Anyone can advice her to change dojo, or practice another martial art, but it is wishful thinking that in another dojo or martial art, her problems are suddenly vanished.
as long as she is "just a small woman" to herself, and to her environment, there will be problems like this. Her teacher seems to me he cared and wanted her to make a bit more "tough". Thats okay, we are practising a martial art, not a social hugging club...

As for you, do you think it is wise to judge a teacher based on one student's story? how if its your teacher who is publicly attacked by one unhappy fellow aikidoka.

Respect yourself, dont let yourself be abused, respect your teacher, if you cant, you should go and not stick around.

Last edited by Win : 09-28-2021 at 04:12 AM.
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Old 09-28-2021, 04:24 AM   #13
Win
Dojo: Aikido Team Udon Thani
Location: Udon Thani
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Thailand
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Re: How did this happen? (Aikido broke my heart)

my simple advice to her is, grow up, rethink yourself. dont blame others, take responsibility for yourself and your actions. be an adult. think why are you staying in an abusive situation? look deep inside yourself, not to other people. dont think only about yourselves but also about the other people and their viewpoint, most likely they are not doing "it" ""on purpose" and most likely they are as unhappy just like you with the whole situation.
best is, to "move on" ...
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Old 10-01-2021, 05:07 AM   #14
"RandomWanderer31"
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Post Re: How did this happen? (Aikido broke my heart)

I think people here still fail to realize just how much women are still being picked on (especially smaller women). I have personally seen it in a few limited martial arts, including aikido. Defending them has gotten me alienated from the group and scoffed at by others.

Nothing good will come from you staying in your current group.

This is scary but you must find a new group to practice with. Join a new group. Find another place. Or find something else. This is my one and only advice, leave your current group and never look back. You will get hurt again and nothing will change so YOU need to make the change yourself. You have to remember that people will not change their ways for you. I had to learn that the long hard way.
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