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Old 12-01-2005, 03:00 AM   #1
Nick Simpson
Dojo: White Rose Aikido - Durham University
Location: Gateshead
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Am I A Bad Guy?

Not like out of a cowboy movie. But that would be cool.

Last night at one of our dojo's my sensei was teaching (in place of that dojo's sensei).There was a new student, a lady who has previously trained elsewhere abroad and is looking to train somewhere locally now. She holds the grade of fourth kyu, I believe.

Well, anyway, when my sensei is teaching, as the assistant instructor and one of the senior students it is my duty to make sure that ettiquette is followed yada yada yada.

I noticed during the start of class that she did not put any mats out while the rest of us did so. And during the end of the class she went to do the same, I gave her a few minutes in case she was going to get something from her bag or put her shoes on or whateve then join the rest of the class. But she didnt.

So I said:

' Excuse me, Are you injured? '

As she may have some injury or problem that prevented her lifting the mats. I dont know, the last thing I want to do is offend or belittle someone. Especially prospective students.

She said 'No.'

So I replied ' Well could you please put some mats away?'

And she looked a bit shocked.

I got teased alittle by some of the other seniors and felt a bit rotten but that is the level of ettiquette my sensei expects, and it's one of my roles.

Was I over the top or whatever? Should I perhaps have let it slip with it being her first session here? Any thoughts guys an gals?

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 12-01-2005, 03:07 AM   #2
PeterR
 
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

Yes Nick you are bad.

First time visitors are guests.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-01-2005, 03:07 AM   #3
PeterR
 
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

Yes Nick you are bad.

First time visitors are guests.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-01-2005, 04:20 AM   #4
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

You made a mistake in the sense of asking a first time guest in your home to take out the garbage on their way out.

In gassho
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Old 12-01-2005, 04:45 AM   #5
Karen Wolek
Dojo: Kingston Aikido
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

Was she a spectator or a visitor or a student? Maybe that dojo gives a free trial lesson? Ours doesn't, so during your first class, you are expected to help out. We are a permanent dojo, so we don't have to take out or put back any mats. But after my first class, Sensei came over and handed me a duster. Someone then explained we clean after every class...and everyone cleans.

So it depends on exactly what her status was. Most of the time, even guests from other dojo help out at the end of class.

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 12-01-2005, 05:19 AM   #6
happysod
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

Nope, not a bad guy in my book - if she was a total beginner, new to aikido etc. yep, you'd be a bully, but a 4th kyu should have enough sense to follow dojo rules. I'd have perhaps put it differently, but I'm behind the sentiment - Mark, when you're a guest don't you at least offer to do the dishes or some other chore when your hosts are clearing up?
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Old 12-01-2005, 05:28 AM   #7
Dazzler
Dojo: Templegate Dojo, bristol & Bristol North Aikido Dojo
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

My thoughts:

I'd have left it to see if she returned and watched to see if she helped next time.

Maybe she just forgot her manners under the stress / excitement of training somewhere new.

If someone had used the exact words that are quoted to me I'd probably had said "shove your mats up your ...rear".

Although I'm sure I'd have put the mats away anyway.

Do let us know if she comes back.

D
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Old 12-01-2005, 05:33 AM   #8
Tim Gerrard
 
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

I was there, I saw it all. Nick you were EVIL

Aikido doesn't work? My Aikido works, what on earth are you practicing?!
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Old 12-01-2005, 06:08 AM   #9
ruthmc
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

I'd have let it go the first time, but if she did the same after her next class I would just say to her "Can you help us put the mats away please?".

She may just have been waiting to be told what to do

Ruth
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Old 12-01-2005, 06:19 AM   #10
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

"Could you please put some mats away?" seems fine. Everything else seems a bit over the top. Sometimes people just aren't sure what to do, if they should do anything.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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Old 12-01-2005, 06:57 AM   #11
giriasis
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

I agree that you should just have asked her to help put the mats away and then explained that part of the etiquette in your dojo. Etiquette from dojo to dojo varies so please do assume that she automatically knew what to to. I think your approach was awkward and could come across as abrasive. Skip asking about an injury part and politely at the beginning of class explain the rules.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 12-01-2005, 07:39 AM   #12
Nick Simpson
Dojo: White Rose Aikido - Durham University
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

I cant believe this, I just wrote an essay replying to each of you and thanking for your views and going more in depth into my reasoning, I hit post and aikiweb tells me I cannot post because I am not logged in (when I was), I log in and it tells me 'Invalid thread address' or whatever and my post is lost in the ether of the internet. Great. That just took me like 40 minutes. Sorry guys

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 12-01-2005, 08:39 AM   #13
ian
 
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

Yes Nick you are bad

(just thought if it was said three times in a row something might happen to you).

As a 4th kyu I would have expected her to help. Everything comes down to judgement, but I think you did something that the rest wished they'd done but were too embarassed to. It's not really etiquette - it's about helping others. As an instructor I still helps put the mats in and out - basically 'cos its' quicker and we can get more training done, and also because we're all students of aikido. Regardless of the dojo I'd at least offer to help to put the mats away. Just because someone isn't obliged to do something doesn't mean they shouldn't do it.

Last edited by ian : 12-01-2005 at 08:43 AM.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 12-01-2005, 08:47 AM   #14
John Boswell
 
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

Quote:
Nick Simpson wrote:
I cant believe this, I just wrote an essay replying to each of you and thanking for your views and going more in depth into my reasoning, I hit post and aikiweb tells me I cannot post because I am not logged in (when I was), I log in and it tells me 'Invalid thread address' or whatever and my post is lost in the ether of the internet. Great. That just took me like 40 minutes. Sorry guys
Yeah... that sort of thing happens to "bad" people.

...glad I'm not you!


Just kidding, Nick! As a senior student/assistant instructor of the dojo, you were well within your rights. Personally, I probably would have given her one free ride and then ask on the next class... but that's just me.

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Old 12-01-2005, 08:52 AM   #15
Brian Vickery
Dojo: Aiki-Buken Aikido
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

Hey Nick,

...I'm not big on kicking somebody who is down, but I have to agree with the majority here, you should have just let it slide the 1st time, maybe even the 1st few times if she is just a guest. If she does end up joining the dojo, THEN woud be the appropriate time to fill her in on particular dojo etiquette.

...students should observe etiquette voluntarily, it's not something that should be forced upon them. Students that don't follow proper etiquette pay the price for that later, like not being invited to test by the sensei, or end up being ignored during training because of their disrespectful actions.

...it's like the old saying: "what goes around comes around!"

Regards,

Brian Vickery

Last edited by Brian Vickery : 12-01-2005 at 08:55 AM.

Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 12-01-2005, 09:44 AM   #16
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

I'm a guest at a lot of different dojo, and had I been your visitor,your approach wouldn't have bothered me. Sometimes as a guest I just can't figure out what to do to help, and really appreciate being told.

Certainly, by about the third or fourth class you really want to say something; having students who train regularly and don't do chores breeds resentment. I've heard from dojo where they let patterns like that get established; they are hard to break after a while, and not good for morale.

Mary Kaye
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Old 12-01-2005, 10:58 AM   #17
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

Well, it's certainly nothing to get too worried about. If she comes again, simply say "Sorry if I came off a little harsh last time," and I'm sure it'll smooth over. Heck, since psychological studies have shown that people have more positive reactions to someone who is mean and then nice compared to someone who is just always nice, she'll probably come to like you even more.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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Old 12-01-2005, 11:05 AM   #18
James Davis
 
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

Whether you outrank someone or not, IMO it's better to ask her to help in a straitforward manner than ask her if she's injured. If she were limping, and your concern had been genuine, there would have been nothing wrong with your question. It seems that your initial question was meant to catch her off guard for your subsequent request. Not fair, man, not fair.

Just apologize, and I'm sure everything will be cool.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 12-01-2005, 11:27 AM   #19
odudog
Dojo: Dale City Aikikai
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

I agree with everyone else here, you were wrong. I would have let it slide more than just once. She is looking for a home dojo so she will always be a guest. Once she does what the dojo requires to become a full member, then she should be required to pitch in. Besides, maybe she was behaving according to the rules of her previous dojo, they excuse guests from pitching in.
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Old 12-01-2005, 11:38 AM   #20
crbateman
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

A couple of thoughts here... Unfortunately, they conflict with each other.

1) Courtesy says treat her like a guest, and say nothing, as her behavior was not intended to offend.

2) Courtesy also says that when you step into somebody else's dojo, you should follow their rules. (When in Rome, do as the Romans...).

She should have had sense enough to look around, and act as the others in the class were doing. You should have exercised enough restraint to not point out that she did not have sense enough...

In the future, when guest students are on the mat, perhaps the instructor should end the class by announcing "OK, let's everybody pitch in and grab a mat...". That way, the guest will know what is expected, even if she can't see it happening right in front of her face, and yet will not feel insulted by being singled out about it.
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Old 12-01-2005, 12:01 PM   #21
justin
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

i am with clark our instructors always end with a "and the good news to is to cool down we can all put the mats away" and everyone does it, not a problem.
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Old 12-01-2005, 12:49 PM   #22
John Boswell
 
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

Quote:
Justin Thomas wrote:
i am with clark our instructors always end with a "and the good news to is to cool down we can all put the mats away" and everyone does it, not a problem.
Brilliant !

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Old 12-01-2005, 12:53 PM   #23
odudog
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

Mr. Bateman, there is a way for both of your thoughts could have been followed: 2) she could have behaved as the Romans do and pitched in 1) Nick, could then have treated her like a guest, and instructed her not to worry about it and that the regular dojo members would handle the mats. No more conflicting thoughts.
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Old 12-01-2005, 01:12 PM   #24
Nick Simpson
Dojo: White Rose Aikido - Durham University
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

Wow, thanks again for the replies guys an gals. I've had a really long day and although I should respond to everyone in my usual overly-detailed manner Im not going to, because i've had a long day and am very tired and after the fiasco that was my attempted post earlier on, I just dont have the will anymore

What I am surprised with is the spectrum of answers and attitudes, but then again, It's to be expected. It seems roughly half say yes, half say no. I'll think on some of the points and come back later/tommorrow.

Theres a few things that I dont agree with so I'll quickly get them out:

1) Thanks Brian, but thats not the way that we do things. The general consensus is that students learn ettiquette asap. Bad habits are hard to unlearn and sloppy ettiquette makes for sloppy practise. Is it not better that she is aware of the ettiquette now than to waste her time and end up being ignored/told off later?

2) James, I wasnt trying to catch her out. Thinking about it I can see how it might appear that way, and thats something I REALLY didnt intend. I asked that because I have seen people tell others to do something when the person in question is disabled or has a problem doing said thing. I really didnt want to offend her by asking her to do something that she might not physically have been able to do. But thanks for bringing that up as I can now see how that might have sounded...

3)Sorry you think that Mike, I disagree , but thats what makes the world and all its people so cool and funky isnt it? As for your 2nd post, interesting concept, very aiki, but there would be no reason for me to tell her not to observe ettiquette as it is not my place to do so

I am a bit zealous sometimes (most of the times), I agree with that, so yeah perhaps I could have let it go, but I still stand by my actions. Perhaps I will re-think my approach and just ask 'Fancy putting some mats away?'.

Well, that got longish. Thanks again

Last edited by Nick Simpson : 12-01-2005 at 01:15 PM.

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 12-01-2005, 01:18 PM   #25
AikiSean!
 
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Re: Am I A Bad Guy?

I don't think the message was wrong, but maybe the delivery was a tad off.
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