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Old 12-06-2006, 11:54 AM   #1
Jennie P
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People I don't want to learn from

I practiced aikido at a small dojo and loved it. Then I moved across the country to a "big city" and a "big dojo" with many more members. It's a very welcoming environment and has helped make the relocation easier. However, I find that one or two of the students really grate on my nerves when they are offering tips or corrections. I'm not used to this (in myself), I had thought of myself as being very open to instruction, but when I work with these particular students, I just don't want to listen. I do want to improve, and there are several other students who manage to help me out without bringing out my secret stubborn streak.
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Old 12-06-2006, 12:14 PM   #2
mriehle
 
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

It happens to everyone. Someone rubs you the wrong way on the mat. Think of it as a personal challenge. Especially consider that you like the dojo, so this problem is a personal one between you and these other students.

So, in my experience, one of two things is happening here.

1) The "hints" are inappropriate. Either they are ill-timed, or they are just wrong. The correct response is obvious, but by no means easy. You must ask them to stop trying to help, but do so in a way which doesn't create additional friction. YMMV, but I find just making noises about trying to work out what you need to do based directly on what the instructor is teaching is your goal at the moment. Imply that you might be interested in help later, after you've worked that out. It's kind of the Aikido equivalent of "It's not you, really, it's me. I just need my space."

2) You simply don't like these people. Hey, it would be nice if we could like everyone. It would be nice if everyone could be likeable. But the truth is, some people are people you're just not going to get along with. Thing is, you can still learn from people you don't like and should make an effort to do so. There is a quote floating around out there which I have heard attributed to Saotome, Saito, Shioda and several others (maybe somebody knows who really said it?) to the effect that you should be thankful for such difficult people. They will teach you Aikido in a way no one else can if you allow them to.

These are the first steps. If they don't work you may need to ask your instructor for help in dealing with the problem. I hope not.

And the real trick is figuring out which one these people are.

BTW: I've found there is some real truth in the aforementioned quote about difficult people.

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Old 12-06-2006, 02:23 PM   #3
po_courcelles
 
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

Hi there,

I felt exactly the same in the exact same situation a few years ago...

Feels like you got stuck with the "Newbie" tag on your forehead? That's normal, people don't know you and your background so some are probably over-cautious or patronizing...I'm pretty sure they do so with good intentions, but i know what frustration it brings to you.

I eventually left the place and I finally found a place that feels more like "home" and train there now. I'm not saying that you must leave your actual Dojo, but have you visited other places? I always say that Dojo are like pants or cars: you gotta try before you buy!

Like it has been said, with time and patience, these people might end up being your favorite Uke in a near future...They sure do help you work with your self-control and Aiki attitude!

Masakatsu Agatsu!

Enjoy your training, and best of luck to you!

"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."
--- Albert Einstein
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Old 12-06-2006, 02:26 PM   #4
Roman Kremianski
Dojo: Toronto Aikikai
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

I have been in a similar position at one point. I didn't mind the actual people, they were very nice people overall, but I wasn't satisfied with their own technique to be able to take instruction from them on how to do mine. I of course never said anything because it's not my position to do so, but I can relate to your thoughts.

This is also why I don't give anyone any instruction on the mat. No matter how good you think you are, there might always be someone out there who will think your technique isn't up to scratch, and will be annoyed when you try to tell them how to best do it. There's only one person on the mat at a time that should do this, and that's the sensei!

People have different views of course...but I'm not experienced enough with Aikido yet to do things my way.

I have so far never been mad with anyone on the mat...I have had an aggressive uke or two, but I just took it as another challenge to overcome. I have heard though of inconsiderate and careless nage at seminars, but I have thankfully never encountered one.
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Old 12-06-2006, 03:24 PM   #5
crbateman
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

If you are being told something you know is wrong, just smile and ignore it. You can speak to your sensei later to make sure you have judged correctly. The ability to identify something as wrong is just as useful as knowing what is right. What is more important is that this type of thing gives you practice in dealing with people of varying personalities. Blending is important in Aikido, and may be done on many different levels, including this one. Go with the flow, and you'll get by. Let it upset you, and it will cause problems. You alone are responsible for maintaining your composure. It is not somebody else's to take away from you.
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Old 12-06-2006, 03:36 PM   #6
SeiserL
 
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

Yep, welcome to the land of being human.

There are people, even on this forum, who I have to hear the message not the messenger. I understand they have to do the same with me.

The question is, do you want to be able to listen and learn from them? If so, you have to find what it is inside you that they attach to, and let go of it.

This is the real internal secrets of Aikido: how to enter and blend, with a relaxed body and calm mind, with people who bring out the worse in us.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 12-06-2006, 03:51 PM   #7
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

The secret to receiving unwanted instruction right or wrong is to simply nod happily, say "Hai!" and then do whatever you understand to do, or whatever you are already doing.

In gassho,

Mark
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Old 12-06-2006, 04:08 PM   #8
Ian Starr
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

Hi Jennie,

I think most people can relate. "Please, no teaching, let's just train" is a very honest, to the point and perfectly acceptable response when you are feeling that way. Or maybe, "Thank you but right now I don't want any instruction, I'd just like to train". Maybe it's not your style (it's not mine very often) but it's certainly your training.

You may offend some people but that's really their problem. There is nothing wrong with being straight forward. Besides, if you stick around things tend to work themselves out over time. One way or another.

Good luck!

Ian
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Old 12-06-2006, 08:57 PM   #9
aikiSteve
Dojo: Aikido of Norfolk
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

I am now with my 7th aikido club. I have just moved so many times that i constantly had to switch schools. I found that there is ALWAYS a 3-4 month period when you start up at a new place that is frustrating.

But for some reason after these few months i would always just slide into the groove of the club. So stick with it at least 3-4 months. Do whatever they say for that period too. Heck you might learn something. Of course it won't matter because as soon as you switch clubs again, everything will be wrong again.
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Old 12-07-2006, 02:18 AM   #10
Bridge
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

Quote:
Jennie Pascal wrote:
I practiced aikido at a small dojo and loved it. Then I moved across the country to a "big city" and a "big dojo" with many more members. It's a very welcoming environment and has helped make the relocation easier. However, I find that one or two of the students really grate on my nerves when they are offering tips or corrections. I'm not used to this (in myself), I had thought of myself as being very open to instruction, but when I work with these particular students, I just don't want to listen. I do want to improve, and there are several other students who manage to help me out without bringing out my secret stubborn streak.
What is that they are doing to grate on your nerves and how are they doing it?

I've moved dojos quite a few times and every time you move, what you do is wrong. Which is fair enough.

There are loads of people that "correct" me and I appreciate it, simply as they are kind and helpful. I notice a smile goes a long way on both sides. And there's been a few who I found a bit awkward, but it turns out later, they're cool, and it's the whole adjustment period thing. And they really didn't understand why I did things a certain way at the time. They meant well and I eventually adapted to their ways. And everything is good.

Then there was one individual at one of the dojos I've been at who had the most severe case of "brown/green belt" syndrome I'd ever seen. For paired practice, I would only get one go, before he would criticise and say how wrong my technique was before demonstrating it on me and explaining (quite poorly to be honest and like I was some kind of a retard) what it was i should be doing. I absolutely hated practicing him as I never had a chance to "get" a technique before improving on it, which is important for a beginner. I tried to be nice about it and tried to take it on board (yada yada being harmonious and all that). I noticed he did this to other beginners (especially female ones) who joined the dojo later on. Anyway, I don't want to go into details, but there was an incident and he turns out to be a complete jerk. It was probably his way of making himself feel important.

So it may be just a case of people getting to know you and they genuinely mean well. Or they could genuinely be annoying.
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Old 12-07-2006, 05:44 AM   #11
stelios
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

The title of your post is: People I don't want to learn from. Then do not! Listen to you sensei and ignore all the others. Smart arses can be found anywhere. We had a couple last term but thank God they left!
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Old 12-07-2006, 08:48 AM   #12
heathererandolph
Dojo: Kokikai Aikido Boston
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

It can be a challenge training with other people. I think sometimes when your partner wants to teach you something that that is their way of focusing on your training rather than their own. Sometimes people seem to distract themselves just as they are about to make a major brake through, so it would probably be helpful to them as well to start to focus more on their own practice. I always appreciate it when someone has a particularly good suggestion for me. But, on the other hand, sometimes a partner's suggestions can get in the way of training. If your partner wants to focus on your training versus theirs the first thing you might try is to set a good example. Don't volunteer suggestions unless they ask for advice. You might want to suggest that there be a no talking rule during your practice before you start to practice with one of the "problem people." In some Aikido dojos students are told to try to practice silently for greater focus. If they agree to that that might shut them up. I suggest to try to look on the bright side, that you are learning about students and how to inspire them when you become an instructor yourself.
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Old 12-07-2006, 10:35 AM   #13
SmilingNage
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

Unless you have been studying Aikido for decades, Its better to lead people thru the technique by using your ukemi. Let them feel how uke should be reacting to the technique by providing the lead with your body movement to make up for any lacking in their application. Aikido must be experienced, not conversed in my opinion.

I make alot of sacrifices to make it class, and treasure any mat time I can get. So I often take a blunt if not a rude position on talking during training. If you want to talk, do when you are nage if you must, but dont do it when I am throwing my 4. Its nothing personal, but Train when on the mat, and gab off the mat.

Dont make me, make you, grab my wrist.
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Old 12-07-2006, 11:39 AM   #14
Jennie P
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

Hey everyone,
Thanks for your advice. It gave me plenty to think about. I don't want to switch dojos, because I love the instructors, and for the most part, I have loads of fun during practice. Plus, I've made some great, close friends. I think I'll try asking them for some time to concentrate, and let me feel it out, since that is how I learn best. It's true, and feels most in character for me, and will hopefully stall the tips. It's a little frustrating not to have lost the "new girl" tag, and everything that goes along with that, yet. Hopefully my upcoming test will help with that.
Jennie
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Old 12-08-2006, 12:52 AM   #15
PeterKang
Dojo: YMCA aikido club KL
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

I have been at the same dojo since 2000, and I have encountered a number of people who profess to teach the correct technique. One solution my girlfriend uses when she practices with such people is that she apologizes profusely to these people correcting her technique and says that their way is simply too advanced for her to understand. Sometimes its simply good self defence to seem dumb and to show humility. I think that you cannot choose the manner and direction the attacks come in. The only thing to do is to blend with the situation. Its practice... no more and no less.

Yours in aiki,

Peter
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Old 12-08-2006, 12:13 PM   #16
JAMJTX
Dojo: Aikibudo Seishinkan
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

I would say you first need to do a self check and ask why you don't want to take advice from these people.

I have been in similar situations. In some classes, there were people that I was not particularly impressed with, so any time they tried to show me what I was doing wrong, I would "listen" but ignore them.
I have been shown things wrong by people of higher rank than myself.

There are also people who want to correct you, not help you, but to show thier superiority.

Are these people respected by the rest of the class? Or do other people in the class feel the same way?

Think about it. Try to adjust your attitude towards them. If you can't, maybe the problem is with them. Then talk to Sensei. Maybe not about them specifically, but just about your problem learning from certain people.

Jim Mc Coy
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Old 12-10-2006, 02:46 AM   #17
ze'ev erlich
 
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

In many cases, a dojo is also a kind of community. It takes time to get to know people... Just like moving to a new neighborhood... good luck. Very important to talk to Sensei and senior students. Communication is so important. I think that within four to five months you will feel at home. Meanwhile you need to take things easy and try to be relaxed and enjoy learning and training.

Ze'ev from Masatake Dojo Rehovot
www.aikikai.org.il
Israeli Aikido Organiziation (Aikikai)

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Old 12-10-2006, 07:55 AM   #18
ViciousCycle
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

In a one-hour aikido class, I have more deliberate direct physical contact with non-family members than I do than the other twenty-three hours of the day combined. This means that if someone "gets on my nerves", it won't be merely a figure of speech. After all, when they grab my arm, they're causing sensations to travel through my nerves. In this sense, aikido heightens my awareness of my reactions to other people. This is different than how it is in everyday life. i.e. Often, when you decide that you don't like someone, you try to minimize contact with them, and don't have to work through what bugs you about them. But in aikido, you have to maintain contact with them (in a literal sense.) Sometimes, an odd little idiosyncrasy of someone else's body language might cause a negative reaction in me at a non-conscious level, but aikido makes me continue forward with direct contact with this person. I find this to be more instructive about my own dislikes, prejudices, etc. than any form of talk therapy.
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Old 12-10-2006, 08:36 AM   #19
Mark Freeman
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

Quote:
Tim Casady wrote:
In this sense, aikido heightens my awareness of my reactions to other people. This is different than how it is in everyday life. i.e. Often, when you decide that you don't like someone, you try to minimize contact with them, and don't have to work through what bugs you about them. But in aikido, you have to maintain contact with them (in a literal sense.) Sometimes, an odd little idiosyncrasy of someone else's body language might cause a negative reaction in me at a non-conscious level, but aikido makes me continue forward with direct contact with this person. I find this to be more instructive about my own dislikes, prejudices, etc. than any form of talk therapy.
Good points Tim,

One reason that some people don't continue their practice in aikido is that they feel 'exposed' by what you are talking about. In aikido you have to end up facing your own demons if you want to progress.
We all like to think it is the other person who is the problem, the pain to practice with, the one who doesn't quite get it. Practice with these people is challenging - what about their experience of us?
In aikido there is nowhere to hide from yourself, you will be found out. It can be a painful process facing up to aspects of ourselves that would rather remain undercover. But this should be exactly why we continue.
Aikido as self defence - from whom?

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 12-10-2006, 08:55 AM   #20
roninroshi
 
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

Back in the early 80's I trained w/a sempei w/many year's of hard Aikido training in Japan...He is now on the east coast teaching...I won't name him but he is the real deal...his advise to me was"See it their way then show them your's"...he then blasted me w/the most direct and powerful Iriminage I have ever experienced...sometime's that's what work's...
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Old 12-10-2006, 02:29 PM   #21
Mike Grant
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

To the original poster. How do you think these people feel about you? The way I see it, you don't have to like your seniors, but you do have to try it their way if you happen to be practising with them. If not, the whole system falls apart.
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Old 12-11-2006, 06:53 PM   #22
Jennie P
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

So after paying a bit more attention, I've realized that one of my 'annoying' training partners just has a larger personality, on and off the mat. He means well, but always comes off like he's giving pep talks. Now that I'm aware of what's going on, I feel like I will be able to come up with my own way of working with it. And the other senior student, I am starting to think he's just got a bit of a crush and is showing off. A bit trickier, but again, I can deal.
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Old 12-11-2006, 07:42 PM   #23
Mary Turner
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

Jennie,

I have a training partner that pushes me, literally, to try harder. He always attacks with everything he has. It was really hard at first, I HATED him. But I have learned so much from him. He is honest, does not fall if it is not right, frustrates me, has hit me when I didn't move.

I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

Mary
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Old 12-11-2006, 08:31 PM   #24
charyuop
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Re: People I don't want to learn from

Wow. It happened to me tonight...but I was the one giving the "tips". I never considered the fact that the guy might have found it offensive, hope he didn't.

We were practicing a Katate Shihonage and we are both new. I don't know why, but unlike other techniques I found very comfortable with this one and came out pretty fluid from the beginning. We usually do a 4 time nage role/4 time uke role to alternate. My uke when it was his turn ti be nage had problems with the technique. I started telling him something because in the final part of the Shihonage in the lowering my arm he would keep my elbow lifted and that hurt as hell, even keeping me from ukemi. So I started showing him what he was doing wrong. Later on I noticed that in the first part of the technique he was "forgetting" behind his arms so I told him a couple of times and then later on showed him the way he was doing it was leaving me chances to throw him instead of being thrown. Our Senpai (he was teaching tonight) came and supported my "tips" a couple of times, but for most of the time he left us working it out alone. I ended up basically being only uke and no longer nage (my choice since he needed more to practice it).
In the end he got the technique pretty well and he could throw me down easy even tho I tried to put some resistance in it. He looked satisfied by being able of doing it...it didn't even jump into my head that he might have gotten offended for being "instructed" by some beginner like he is.
I guess I owe him some apologies.

That couldn't happen with Sensei tho, when we practice he doesn't want to hear us talking one another...and maybe this is the reason.

Last edited by charyuop : 12-11-2006 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 12-12-2006, 06:44 AM   #25
Mike Grant
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Thumbs up Re: People I don't want to learn from

Quote:
Jennie Pascal wrote:
So after paying a bit more attention, I've realized that one of my 'annoying' training partners just has a larger personality, on and off the mat. He means well, but always comes off like he's giving pep talks. Now that I'm aware of what's going on, I feel like I will be able to come up with my own way of working with it. And the other senior student, I am starting to think he's just got a bit of a crush and is showing off. A bit trickier, but again, I can deal.
I think you've missed the point and are adopting a very selfish attitude. One aspect of training is what you learn yourself, and the other is ensuring that your partner has a good practice. from what you've said, you're barely of the effect of your actions on other people.

If the person is senior to you, just do it his/her way for the duration of the practice. You don't have to agree with them, like them, or even respect them. You just do it their way for the sake of harmony in the dojo and ask your questions or make your comments later if you so desire. That's the way a dojo works and the way of budo; the more 'harmony' the more training time for everybody. In return, you get to give it your best shot and your senior has to cope with it.
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