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Old 10-27-2006, 05:46 AM   #1
Ecosamurai
 
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Cherry-picking

Hiya,

Anyone here ever have a student come to your dojo and cherry pick techiniques from you or your instructor?

I was thinking that its a bit different from sincere students who wish to cross train and or visit another dojo just to experience something new. I'm talking about the guys who walk in the door with the attitude that what they do is better than what you do (before they've even set foot on the mat). These people are irritating enough but usually go away after a little while - once they've stroked their ego enough to confirm their original suspicion that they are actually superior to you.

Soemtimes however they stick around because they like one or two of the things you happen to do and want to learn them, and then take them away and start teaching/practicing them in their own way (usually a twisted interpretation of your original intent/methods/techniques).

What to do in such a situation? A friend of mine has just had someone like that in his dojo, if it were me I would have been reluctant to withold teaching because after all thats what we're all there for. But at the same time I wouldn't want to teach things to someoone who was obviously going to take the most shallow aspects of what I was teaching and twisting them to suit themselves.
The friend in question simply stated that in order to learn more the person would have to join our organisation, at which point they vanished. Which confirms what they were there for in the first place if you ask me.

Any thoughts?

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 10-27-2006, 06:21 AM   #2
Guillaume Erard
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Re: Cherry-picking

Some people build themselves under the supervision of one teacher or in one particular style; some others just pick randomly. It really depends what you are after.

As long as these person don't create trouble in the class and practice seriously, I see no reason to refuse to teach them. Plus they might have a few interesting things to show if they are given the opportunity.

I think if we allowed more crossing over between styles/martial arts we would make Aikido and martial arts a better community. So many people have a wrong appreciation of a discipline because they have not pacticed it.

I have in several occasions been refused to step on the mat of some dojos because I was not a member of their organisation (that will remain nameless). I did not come with an attitude, I even helped to set the mats before being told off!! Therefore, I have only seen what they did from afar, I was not given the chance to feel it. Maybe they thought I would steal their secrets and go away...

I know it's bad but I find hard to have any respect for what they are doing.
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Old 10-27-2006, 06:40 AM   #3
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: Cherry-picking

Probably should've made myself clearer.

I am not interested in refusing to teach people. When people arrive at my dojo I treat them with courtesy and respect. Recently someone visited us and I was quite happy for him to wear his hakama and show us (well me really, seeing as everyone else was busy with what I'd asked them to do) some of the things he does at his home dojo.

My concern isn't over whether or not to teach someone who is a sincere student and has at least the small amount of humility to assume that we may have something to offer. I'm talking about the people who walk into your dojo with cynicism and skepticism and rather than leaving after a few lessons because they think that you don't have anything to teach them (which is fine by me), they stick around because they've recognised that you do actually have something to teach them that they can't really learn at their home dojo. But they have no interest in really learning from you, only in taking what they see as useful to them and then leaving.

As an example I'll give you a story my sensei once told me:

A ju jitsu student was told by his sensei that their new syllabus required that they learned an iaido kata for their blue belt exam. But his teacher didn't know any iaido so he came to see my aikido teacher because he knew that my sensei also taught iaido. He came not with the intent to study iaido with my sensei, but only with the intention of taking a single kata and using it in the way that suited him best.

This student would then have been able to say "I studied Iaido with...." when all he'd learned from my teacher was just one kata.

What do you do with a person like that? Teach them and hope they have the common decency to realise that they're being rude? or refuse and you yourself seem ungracious to say the least?

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 10-27-2006, 06:44 AM   #4
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Cherry-picking

"Sometimes however they stick around because they like one or two of the things you happen to do and want to learn them, and then take them away and start teaching/practicing them in their own way (usually a twisted interpretation of your original intent/methods/techniques)." Hehe, that sounds like a conversation between senseis! I guess its a matter of degree. Seeing how many levels of teachers there are now that aikido is taught openly (though not martially in many cases, given the application its supposed philosophy has found in conflict resolution thoeries and practice), how one should control what one teaches is probably best left to the discretion of the governing body. AFAIK such bodies do not have legal sanction to stop anyone teaching "bad aikido", so all one could do if one felt strongly enough about it is to talk to the person in question about one's worries. Frankly, I wouldn't bother, unless dangerous things are being done, in which cases depending on the country some liability could acrue with the original aikido organisation. Legal action is best avoided, and if you think someone is so abnormal as to present such a future threat, then by all means stop teaching them and ask them to leave. It's very personal though, and I get the feeling that in all but the most "advanced" nations the law does not generally interfere into people's lives in such cases.

Last edited by Gernot Hassenpflug : 10-27-2006 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 10-27-2006, 07:15 AM   #5
Guillaume Erard
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Re: Cherry-picking

Mike, I got your point the first time and I gave my opinion.

My opinion is that as long as the class is not disturbed and anybody in danger, I see no problem.

Now, if they come with an attitude the answer is obvious isn't it?

For the integrity of the techniques, you've "twisted" what you've learnt (I hope) and your students will "twist" what they learn from you.

Quote:
"But they have no interest in really learning from you, only in taking what they see as useful to them and then leaving."
Do you want to pass your knowledge or do you want to be a Teacher? Is the issue really about why they are here for or is it about their attitude towards you/your art?
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Old 10-27-2006, 07:28 AM   #6
RampantWolf
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Re: Cherry-picking

How about another hypothetical...

A student comes into your dojo, sees a couple of thing he likes, learns them and then leaves to practice/teach something/somewhere else. During the next year three other students see what he is doing and actually get interested in Aikido from the small, probably badly executed, examples that he has shown them. They come to your dojo and like what they see becoming serious Aikido students.

From your teaching you've lost one 'cherry picker' and gained three students

You can never tell what follow-on effect your actions will have further down the track, and realistically they will probably be no more of a blip on your teaching reputation than the student who studies seriously for 6 months before losing interest and moving on.

If it's stupid but works, it isn't stupid.
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Old 10-27-2006, 07:48 AM   #7
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: Cherry-picking

Quote:
Guillaume Erard wrote:
Mike, I got your point the first time and I gave my opinion.
Indeed you did, and I read your reply carefully.

Quote:
Guillaume Erard wrote:
My opinion is that as long as the class is not disturbed and anybody in danger, I see no problem.
And if it is disturbed?

Quote:
Guillaume Erard wrote:
Do you want to pass your knowledge or do you want to be a Teacher? Is the issue really about why they are here for or is it about their attitude towards you/your art?
I find your tacit insinuation that this is an issue to do with my ego to be a little insulting to be honest. I don't teach through personal choice but because I happen to be far enough from my teacher to have no other way of practicing.

The concern is that people can take things they have learned from me (or anyone else) and misrepresent them. A bit like being mis-quoted by a newspaper for the purposes of sensationalising the story. Such behaviour undermines the efforts of someone trying to pass on what they have learned IMO.

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 10-27-2006, 08:07 AM   #8
Guillaume Erard
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Re: Cherry-picking

Quote:
I find your tacit insinuation that this is an issue to do with my ego to be a little insulting to be honest.
I did not intend it that way, that is why I have put the word you/your art. I meant it in terms of formal respect to a teacher/style (which is due but should not be asked for). I don't know you so I would not make such a statement.
I just know that some people follow closely etiquette as part of their teaching process and some don't give a damn. Just wanted to know where you stood.

Quote:
And if it is disturbed?
Just like you, I would not tolerate this of course Most of us teach Aikido because of a genuine love of the discipline so there is indeed no reason to cope with troublemakers.

Unfortunately, misinterpretation is something we have to live with but that's also the beauty of practicing an art and not a system.
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Old 10-27-2006, 08:52 AM   #9
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Cherry-picking

You can't control what someone does with what you give them. So just let go.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 10-27-2006, 09:09 AM   #10
DonMagee
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Re: Cherry-picking

I cross train a lot, sometimes it's just a class, sometimes, its just a month of classes, sometimes its a seminar, sometimes a sparing session.

It's not an ego thing. I'm looking for someone to engage me in a way different then I am used to. Diversity helps breed innovation. I might see something that sparks ideas, or learn something I can use to my advantage later. Of course every instructor sees me as this cocky bjj jock (which is funny because i'm the farthest thing from a jock ever) comming in to knock his guys around and steal his students. I never talk about my training to his students unless they ask. I never talk about how I'm better. I keep my mouth shut and train for the class even if I think it is total crap. If I do think it's crap I simply tell them it's not for me and never come back. The only time I've ever been rude, or stuck up was with a guy who pushed the issue calling my training crap.

But it is not ego. I'm just trying to learn to be the best fighter I can be.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 10-27-2006, 09:34 AM   #11
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Cherry-picking

Since I am a professional instructor, far be it for me to tell someone they can't train... They'll pay dues like everyone else. After that, they'll only take out what they put in.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 10-27-2006, 09:55 AM   #12
odudog
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Re: Cherry-picking

When new people walked in the dojo and O'Sensei thought their intentions were not pure. He would immediately stop the class and switch to the dullest technique: ikkyo. Once they got tired of watching something so uninspiring and left, he would then immediately resume teaching the interesting techniques.

The true students will join your dojo and immediately pay the fees after watching ikkyo for a couple hours while the others will leave in a few minutes.
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Old 10-27-2006, 10:15 AM   #13
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: Cherry-picking

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Since I am a professional instructor, far be it for me to tell someone they can't train... They'll pay dues like everyone else. After that, they'll only take out what they put in.
Yeah think that about sums it up.

A while ago we had a guy come along who'd done aikido before, different type of aikido to us. He didn't mention it, just patiently trained and decided our stuff wasn't for him and hasn't been back since. He was a nice guy though and it was a pleasure to have him here practicing with us.

Around the same time we had someone from the same situation come in and when one of my students went to help him with a particular technique (my student had no idea he had done aikido before at this point), he said that he didn't need to be treated like a baby as he'd done aikido before.

I was left with a very nice impression of the first student but not a nice impression of the second. I happily showed them both the same techiniques and the same exercises. Neither of them however were particularly the sort of person I was referring to in the initial post of this thread.

I'm talking about the people who don't really wish to learn from you but rather simply pick the parts of what you teach that they consider to be worthwhile (which may actually be quite trivial compared to what you're actually trying to accomplish) and then go away and put your name on some list of teachers they've had thats about a mile long, whilst teaching other people (usually) a complete load of rubbish.

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 10-27-2006, 10:17 AM   #14
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: Cherry-picking

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
You can't control what someone does with what you give them. So just let go.

Best,
Ron
That of course is true but you can be aware of the sort of person who you are teaching. I believe that O Sensei had some rules about who aikido shouldbe taught to for that sort of reason.

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 10-27-2006, 10:25 AM   #15
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Cherry-picking

As did his teacher, Takeda Sensei. In fact, he was a fanatic about it...wouldn't teach heavy drinkers even. Different world, I think. There are some people (if I was teaching) that I would turn away once I was sure they weren't appropriate for what I would teach, or for working with the people in my classes. But I don't have the skills to determine these things ahead of time, at a glance. Supposedly Takeda Sensei did have that skill. Not having that skill, I might work to develop it as much as I could, by forming an assessment, then seeing over time if someone matches it. What they get from me in the meantime is a gift...given freely...how they use it is not under my control, so again...I let go.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 10-27-2006, 10:29 AM   #16
happysod
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Re: Cherry-picking

Quote:
When new people walked in the dojo and O'Sensei thought their intentions were not pure... he would then immediately resume teaching the interesting techniques.
The problem is many people claim we never teach the good techniques...and I'd be interested in your definition of pure, I'm pretty sure I'd fail it - on purpose if nothing else as I have a pet hate of subjective and arbitrary presuppositions about my moral and spiritual goals....(yes I'm one of "those people")

I'm with Erard - if they don't disturb the class, I don't mind how often they turn on up or how regularly. If they insist on any special treatment to make up for their lack of regular training or wish to change things dramatically to suit their needs, then there would be a problem.

[advert]London drop-ins welcome but all piss-taking and moaning about the training and/or instructors must be left until the pub - it's also your round first[/advert]
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Old 10-27-2006, 10:48 AM   #17
Ecosamurai
 
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Re: Cherry-picking

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
[advert]London drop-ins welcome but all piss-taking and moaning about the training and/or instructors must be left until the pub - it's also your round first[/advert]
LOL, like your ad Ian. Might take you up on it next time I'm back home in the big smoke that is London. I'll reserve my moaning for my shoulder injury though I think

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
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Old 10-27-2006, 11:02 AM   #18
odudog
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Re: Cherry-picking

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
.....I'd be interested in your definition of pure.....
By pure, I mean not there to truely learn the art. Instead the person is there to show up the Sensei or show up the art. Remember that this is the old days where dojo storming was the norm. If you wanted to steal students this is how you went about it. Takeda Sensei was finatical about making sure that there was no way that anybody could see his techniques if they didnt' pay first. O'Sensei used to make sure that there was no way that anybody could see him teaching kaeshiwaza. Both of these gentlemen went as far as plugging up holes in the dojo walls.
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Old 10-27-2006, 11:03 AM   #19
happysod
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Re: Cherry-picking

Mike, feel free anytime - but trust me, catch us on a "we haven't done ki-tests properly in a long while have we night" and you'll soon be able to join in the moaning.

edit- too many Mikes, meant Mike H.

Mike B - so pure = for profit only? Sorry, couldn't resist, but you have to admit it's an interesting take on purity

Last edited by happysod : 10-27-2006 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 10-27-2006, 12:15 PM   #20
crbateman
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Re: Cherry-picking

I have seen legitimate 6th Dans who readily shuck the hakama and wear the white obi when training outside their organization. This is very humble, and affects neither their capability to learn nor their ability to train. You do not necessarily have to enforce this if you don't want to, but you might be cautious of anyone who insists on wearing the trappings of their outside rank to practice on your mat. If that person is there as an official representative of his organization, as an invited guest, or to teach in your dojo, that's different.

I have heard of instructors who politely ask folks to practice in whites, explaining that in their dojo, the trappings are reserved for dojo members out of respect for the fact that they earned the rank there. I don't know if I'd personally go that far, however. It's just one way I've seen it handled.

Obviously, attitude is yet another thing altogether aside from attire. If somebody shows up to show off, disrupt the training, injure your students, or just generally be an ass, they should be shown the door immediately, regardless of their rank or attire.
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Old 10-27-2006, 12:48 PM   #21
kironin
 
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Re: Cherry-picking

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote:
As an example I'll give you a story my sensei once told me:

A ju jitsu student was told by his sensei that their new syllabus required that they learned an iaido kata for their blue belt exam. But his teacher didn't know any iaido so he came to see my aikido teacher because he knew that my sensei also taught iaido. He came not with the intent to study iaido with my sensei, but only with the intention of taking a single kata and using it in the way that suited him best.

This student would then have been able to say "I studied Iaido with...." when all he'd learned from my teacher was just one kata.

What do you do with a person like that? Teach them and hope they have the common decency to realise that they're being rude? or refuse and you yourself seem ungracious to say the least?
Mike

I hope his answer was a big fat NO.

I sincerely doubt that in this case they would ever get a clue about how rude they were being.

I am sort of appalled by the general attitude in this thread. I fail to see why someone has a right to take classes from me. Who cares if you seem ungracious to a-holes.

Attitude and intentions are important.

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Old 10-27-2006, 03:10 PM   #22
Aristeia
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Re: Cherry-picking

Quote:
Mike Haft wrote:
I'm talking about the people who don't really wish to learn from you but rather simply pick the parts of what you teach that they consider to be worthwhile (which may actually be quite trivial compared to what you're actually trying to accomplish)
I must confess this thread is confusing me somewhat. If someone is coming to pick the things they consider to be worthwhile - doesn't that imply there is something they want to learn from you? So what's the issue exactly? That they are not taking up absolutely everything you have to say, but critcally assessing what will make the difference for them? Is that such a bad thing? I would call it active learning and something to be enouraged. Now if they have a poor attitude on the mat, don't do the drills as requested etc. thats a problem. But it's the same problem you could have with anybody, dojo members included, and should be treated the same way. But it's an issue of attitude not cherry picking.

Having said that, when I get people from other orgs that "drop in" semi regularly to pick stuff up, I'll show them stuff but not give them undue amounts of attention and one on one time on the mat - that goes to the students who are there everyday.

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