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Old 06-23-2021, 07:22 PM   #1
"SneezyAikidoka123"
IP Hash: f40e2944
Anonymous User
Lightbulb Indecisive Neglect

I'd like to get some opinions from more experienced folks.
I live in a relatively small city and aikido is not well known around here. I've been practicing aikido for maybe almost 6 years? I've rarely missed a class and am nearly ready for shodan just before the pandemic. For me personally, the shodan is meaningless, and I have little to no desire to obtain it. I have advanced the last 3 belts together with a good friend of mine. We shared a lot together. That same good friend injured me really badly during weapons practice a year ago.

The weird part was that person apologized right away, but also told another practitioner what happened and compared my injury to the time that person got hit in the head with a baseball bat. I was hit squarely on the head from shomen, perfectly centered, with a solid piece of wood. There was indeed blood, broken skin, and a hell of a lot of headaches for months to come. The instructor helped me clean up the blood. I got no support from other aikido people. I was not able to think clearly for several weeks. Many people said I had a concussion.

Days later, I wanted to talk to the good friend about what happened. That person apologized but refused to talk to me and accused me of invading personal space. The weird part is I did not genuinely believe it was a real apology, but it felt like a way for that person to just drop the whole situation. That person talks to other people though. I told the person how I felt, and asked if we were still friends. The last few messages I got a year ago were unexpectedly defensive, and told me indirectly not to tell other people, which instantly broke my heart because I realized it was abusive behavior. The messages were trying to justify what happened and how it seemed like it was nothing. I've never heard from this person ever again and I never want to. That former good friend of mine never said a word to me or contacted me ever since then. No "how are you doing?" or Merry Christmas, or holidays, or any kind of celebration or check-ins. The person was also always overly defensive since then. I did not accuse that person of anything yet and I don't think neither did anyone else in our group..... I am beginning to think the person is unstable, and wondered if that person always have been secretly unstable.

Needless to say, our aikido instructor is very kind hearted. I told the instructor most of this and the instructor was mostly listening and understanding. The instructor was there when the accident happened. I blocked wrong and the shomen strike went right through. I can see from the instructor that the instructor was extremely conflicted on what to do next. Instructor does not want to lose either of us. However, nothing was done on the instructor's part. I originally told the instructor I was leaving for "a while" but the instructor convinced me to keep coming back for aikido.

I have no reason for revenge or wanting to "get even".
I really love aikido, its intention, and the art. And now that the pandemic is likely to go away soon or at least settle down, I am uncomfortable with going back to train in aikido. The former good friend will still be there. If I do go back, needless to say, I will never practice with that person ever again. I don't care if the instructor or other people pressure me to practice with that person, I will outright refuse, no questions or discussions allowed. Some of the injuries I sustained seem to be permanent but I am mostly back to normal after a year thanks to the pandemic. I had no support from the other aikido group members. I only had some support from the instructor. Other groups and people at work have been much more supportive of me in my recovery; I was shocked by this.

I think I want to leave, even though it will forever break my instructor's heart.

Would you fellow aikidoka go back to train in my situation? I have no where else to go for aikido. Would you consider my situation too dangerous to go back? I sometimes wonder if that person will become unstable after seeing me and want to hurt me more; I highly doubt the apologies were genuine. My other option is to do totally different activities.
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Old 06-24-2021, 12:49 AM   #2
"Anon"
IP Hash: b3569f06
Anonymous User
Re: Indecisive Neglect

Are you sure it was an accident? If not, you were the victim of a cowardly assault. The instructor must have some guilt over not providing an environment in which you could practice safely. It could be a lack of skill on the instructor's part, or as you suggested, an unstable, unpredictable student. If the student is unstable though, why would the instructor not wish to lose him?

Maybe you need to find a better teacher? Or let the police know. If you do leave, I think you should make it clear why.
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Old 06-25-2021, 02:12 PM   #3
Bernd Lehnen
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 200
Germany
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Re: Indecisive Neglect

If it was as you describe it - and I have no reason not to believe you - then something must be wrong with both your partner and your teacher.

Actually, you should always practice in such a way that even an accident is very unlikely. Well thought-out traditional kata under good guidance are just for that. As long as both sides are not able to control and stop a stroke the moment a parade fails, a good instructor would not allow you to practice like this at all. IMHO, this "accident" is the typical result of a completely wrong idea of ​​"realistic practice". It was quite foreseeable that something like this would happen one day.

This kind of people somehow have become used to live in a dangerously romanticizing dream world and instill inappropriate behaviors.
In the military, where it really counts, with good training it is paramount not to destroy your own people. So, as long as they have the choice and do not want to produce unstable neurotic fear killers, but rather form composed, reliable fighters, they will never use such instructors nor such insane drills.

Some people are just not suitable to teach any martial art. Imagine if something like this had happened in a traditional feudal dojo in peacetime, one of the old schools, then the possible consequences would have been incalculable. It could have led to a deadly feud.
This incident leads me to strongly suspect that in this dojo they lac any idea of meaningful use of real weapon. But this type of misunderstanding seems to be quite common in the aikido world.
Too bad.

Think carefully about whether you will ever go there again.
Best,
Bernd
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Old 06-26-2021, 06:28 PM   #4
Eric Jones
Join Date: Jan 2021
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Re: Indecisive Neglect

I don't think I could say it any better than Bernard. You shouldn't go back there. The teacher and the student who injured you are incompetent.
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Old 06-27-2021, 12:25 PM   #5
"SneezyAikidoka12"
IP Hash: 7b8cf9b5
Anonymous User
Post Re: Indecisive Neglect

Thanks for your responses.

I'm somewhat surprised that the instructor is getting most of the blame here but I think that makes sense.
I basically have written a message to sensei and sent it to explain exactly and directly why I'm not going back. Basically I do not feel safe to go back. I hate how so much time has passed without any attempt to resolution by the instructor. Everything I have done has gotten to no where.

That has got me thinking because in another martial arts group, there is a coach there that addresses any injuries and conflicts right away between partners during training (none of it involved me). It's sad to know that neglectful instructors have such a big influence on students.....

I guess I can expect backlash in the future if I do go back some day. As hard as it is, I will find other activities post-pandemic, or if I'm lucky, a new aikido group to join some day.

TL;DR I left my aikido group and informed Sensei in writing.
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Old 06-28-2021, 02:27 PM   #6
Ellis Amdur
 
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Re: Indecisive Neglect

I am late to this discussion, but I am confused. In the third paragraph, the original poster wrote: "I blocked wrong and the shomen strike went right through." Also: "The weird part was that person apologized right away, but also told another practitioner what happened and compared my injury to the time that person got hit in the head with a baseball bat."

So, up to now, what did uke do wrong? You two had been practicing together for years, had a knowledge of each other's capabilities. And, proper uke requires that you strike to the center. So, they properly apologized in the moment, and afterwards, described the injury in colorful language to someone else. All of which sounds pretty typical for dojos I've trained in.

I have been hit in the head (and elsewhere) with wooden weapons - I've had bones broken - and in all those cases, I, too, didn't block/counter properly. Where I am confused in your original post is that, in my experience, when I have been injured in practice, particularly as you have described, my training partner apologizes in the moment and I apologize back for not blocking or countering properly - or stop practice and get medical attention - - - -but that's, more or less, the end of it. If the injury takes awhile to heal, my training partner might check in with me when they see me next - or if I have to miss going to the dojo for awhile, they might call in and check on me, but that's it.

So, if there was no fault during the incident (and I'm basing that on your description), something went wrong afterwards. What was it? What was your (former) friend supposed to do that she/he didn't? What were people in the dojo and your teacher supposed to have done that they didn't?

Honestly, I'm not making an assumption here - but I don't understand what the fault was.

Ellis Amdur

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Old 06-28-2021, 05:03 PM   #7
"SneezyAikidoka12"
IP Hash: dfc18689
Anonymous User
Post Re: Indecisive Neglect

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
I am late to this discussion, but I am confused. In the third paragraph, the original poster wrote: "I blocked wrong and the shomen strike went right through." Also: "The weird part was that person apologized right away, but also told another practitioner what happened and compared my injury to the time that person got hit in the head with a baseball bat."

So, up to now, what did uke do wrong? You two had been practicing together for years, had a knowledge of each other's capabilities. And, proper uke requires that you strike to the center. So, they properly apologized in the moment, and afterwards, described the injury in colorful language to someone else. All of which sounds pretty typical for dojos I've trained in.

I have been hit in the head (and elsewhere) with wooden weapons - I've had bones broken - and in all those cases, I, too, didn't block/counter properly. Where I am confused in your original post is that, in my experience, when I have been injured in practice, particularly as you have described, my training partner apologizes in the moment and I apologize back for not blocking or countering properly - or stop practice and get medical attention - - - -but that's, more or less, the end of it. If the injury takes awhile to heal, my training partner might check in with me when they see me next - or if I have to miss going to the dojo for awhile, they might call in and check on me, but that's it.

So, if there was no fault during the incident (and I'm basing that on your description), something went wrong afterwards. What was it? What was your (former) friend supposed to do that she/he didn't? What were people in the dojo and your teacher supposed to have done that they didn't?
Ellis, you are right. I blocked wrong and took full damage straight head on in the skull. It was not a bounce on the head or a withheld attack. Most people would hold back or somewhat stop. Partner followed through all the way. If I was a half step closer so the wood didn't have a chance to clear itself, I think I could've legitimately turned into a vegetable and not be able to post here. I have apparently lost parts of my memory, things I don't remember I had but am too embarrassed to admit that to people I know. I do remember that the wood my partner used was not the regular one everyone else used.

This injury sadly isn't the same as a broken bone.

My reaction was originally the same as yours Ellis. Things should have been back to normal. Sensei suggested to me to try talking to the former friend, and just maybe at least express how I felt. That former friend was very defensive and shifted blame onto me. Then stonewalled. I agree it was my fault. I missed the block. I took all the damage. That person still would not talk to me at all.

I agree I should have blocked better or did something else. I don't remember exactly. I don't know what anyone was supposed to do, but no one did anything. No one talked. No one checked in, except for Sensei a couple times. Sensei thinks I'm mostly ok, but I didn't reveal the full damage. Sensei had a tough personality. It almost seems like it is ok to get badly hurt like a badge of honour.

I think I want to leave this as is and walk away. No one wants to talk about it, no one wants to acknowledge it, and no one will remember who I was or what I did. Maybe I shouldn't have said anything to anyone in the first place.
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Old 06-28-2021, 05:51 PM   #8
Ellis Amdur
 
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Re: Indecisive Neglect

Thanks for your answer, I.N. Honestly, I asked to understand. Nothing more.

I wouldn't presume to give you advice on a situation that was both physically and spiritually traumatic for you. I hope that you heal up and find a place to train fits.

Best
Ellis Amdur

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Old 06-30-2021, 03:12 AM   #9
"SneezyAiki"
IP Hash: b0868127
Anonymous User
Post Re: Indecisive Neglect

I wish to understand things better too and ideally have it resolved and my friend back. For whatever reason, nothing worked. I can't do anything more and it is already too painful. I wish no one has to go through what I went through. Aikido is still a big part of me and I still love it a lot, maybe I'll find a way by finding a new group when I move away some day.
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Old 06-30-2021, 08:15 AM   #10
Hellis
Dojo: Ellis Schools of Traditional Aikido
Location: Bracknell
Join Date: Feb 2010
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England
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Re: Indecisive Neglect

There is not much more to add as Ellis has covered this matter well.
I would add that the bokken is not a toy and the practice is not a game, Kenshiro Abbe Sensei always taught to attack centre at all times, if one received a few lumps it was always their fault, you either went down or you carried on. I remember Koybayashi visited the Hut Dojo and he invited one of the dan grades to attack him with a Bokken, the Bokken hit his head dead centre, he managed to stay on his feet, he didn't make any more mistakes.
Osensei instructed Chiba Sensei to attack him with a bokken, Chiba went through Osensei's defence and he had a short stay in hospital, Chiba was very upset and visited Osensei in hospital, where Osensei congratulated Chiba on finding an opening, that was the end of it. ( from the book by Leise Klein on the life of Chiba Sensei }
Henry Ellis
Co-author " British Aikido History " from 1955.
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Old 06-30-2021, 03:39 PM   #11
Eric Jones
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Re: Indecisive Neglect

I have nothing but contempt for that Aikido sensei and student that injured him.
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Old 07-01-2021, 06:43 AM   #12
RonRagusa
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido
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Re: Indecisive Neglect

Where is the line separating uke's honest attack of nage's center or nage's honest throw or joint lock, from recklessness that could cause serious injury or death to one's partner?

Ron

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Old 07-01-2021, 01:26 PM   #13
"SneezyAikidoka"
IP Hash: 6cdfe3e7
Anonymous User
Post Re: Indecisive Neglect

Even though I got hurt really badly, I would have been very happy to have someone visit me in the hospital. The former friend did not visit or talk to me afterwards at all. If that person did visit me, I would have forgiven, hugged, and have a laugh afterwards and I would not bother posting this here.

Honest attacks are good and are encouraged, but also please remember to visit the wounded afterwards. Do not leave them out there to suffer alone. Also please don't kill each other.
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Old 07-02-2021, 11:52 PM   #14
shizentai
Location: CA
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Re: Indecisive Neglect

Quote:
Sensei had a tough personality. It almost seems like it is ok to get badly hurt like a badge of honour.
Walk away. A dude like this gave me a hip injury years ago.
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Old 08-21-2021, 05:22 AM   #15
"PersonInMA2021"
IP Hash: a0dd4954
Anonymous User
Lightbulb Re: Indecisive Neglect

This is really heartbreaking to read about someone loving to do something together with "friends", then get badly hurt and worse disrespected. Sounds much like the MMA gyms I go to; some have good respectful practices and many do not. I go to the safer but rougher one, at least there is respect for others there. Not saying MMA is right for OP.

I say to OP to find something else, find new people, start fresh elsewhere. If you can, find something similar to aikido or something entirely different. More important to find people who will respect you and talk to you if something goes wrong. It is NOT RIGHT FOR ANYONE to get hit (accident or intentional) then expect nothing to change. Where is the intervention? What did the instructor do? Did the instructor ever have a "talk" with you and the "friend" all together in person? If too much time has passed, clearly no one seems to care and this becomes a stupidly bad situation. Make new better friends. GO AWAY.
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Old 08-27-2021, 05:28 AM   #16
"SneezyAikidoka123"
IP Hash: 9d289e1e
Anonymous User
Thumbs up Re: Indecisive Neglect

Thanks again for everyone's thoughts and responses.
Just wanted to followup and let you all know what happened:
After many several years with the group, I ended up leaving the aikido group. I made it official in writing.

I received an unexpected heartfelt message from an aikido practioneer (never hurt me or anyone). Only that person had a sincere goodbye for me and will miss me.

Sensei thought everything was ok so Sensei was surprised shocked and confused. I'm confused why Sensei is confused when I told how serious this was to me. Sensei's reply in writing respects my decision & information but Sensei sounded very offended and partially personally attacked. I'm not invulnerable!

The former friend never agreed to have a "talk" with me a year ago (super avoidant & defensive). Sometimes (usually not) we greet each other if we pass by each other in public this year. I have never fully accepted his apology because it was not sincere from the start. I know that person is sorry but the apology was so dismissive & defensive it was beyond belief. I told Sensei of this before and still seems to side with former friend with excuses.

I walked by the outdoor practice randomly twice this summer during regular practice time by accident. Guess who was there? Only Sensei, my former friend, and a black belt buddy of Sensei who sometimes comes. Another time it was just Sensei & former friend. It is super sad to see & know all the others are not there anymore. There used to be many more people. It looks self destructive. I am also still very sad for leaving, but everyone here overwhelmingly helped me see it should not be like this at all. Thank you all for this.

I am much much happier and calm elsewhere. I found a different fighting sport. It is rougher than aikido but the people are much more supportive and I found people to grow with together there.

I wish no one else has to go through this. This is not specific to aikido. I believe this to be a human issue. Please be kind & compassionate to others, even if you hurt them or have been hurt.
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Old 09-09-2021, 07:24 PM   #17
"AikidoPersonHere"
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Anonymous User
Re: Indecisive Neglect

Your instructor should have prevented that from happening and should have taken care of everything right there and then so there would not be any hard feelings on any side afterwards. Clearly that has not happened and your instructor failed to deal with it. It will eventually happen again. Find another aikido instructor and another group.
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