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Old 01-31-2007, 04:16 AM   #1
Brad Allen
Location: Melbourne
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I'm back... and a little cornfused

Well, first time back on the mats in about 4 years. It was harder because this class happened to be all white belts (I've gotten a yellow belt from three schools but had to move on). I offered the teacher that I could attend the beginner's classes, but he said I was too advanced.

In this class, the techniques were slightly different than what I was used to, but I started catching on by the end a little.

What was strange was at one point he stopped me and my nage, and told me that I should tap earlier or I might get hurt. I was taught to only tap when you felt pain--I did not feel anything, so no tap.

At the end of the class, I was a bit confused because he said I am welcome to any class, but I need to relax more or I might get injured when I work with the higher belts.

I'm not sure what I am missing, because in my other classes in the States, I worked full-on with all belt levels, even with 5th dans, and they never said anything like this.

Since I don't know this teacher, I'm a little put off, thinking maybe he thinks I'm a jerk or something. Any clue what he was talking about? I might ask him Saturday to clarify.

Other than that, I rather enjoyed the class. A lot more atemi than I am used to, and he went into counters to counters. (He is 3rd dan Akaiki)

Anyway, just sharing an experience--I appreciate any comments, thanks!
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Old 01-31-2007, 05:29 AM   #2
SeiserL
 
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Welcome back.

Welcome to my world, confused.

IMHO, different styles/schools/instructors have different ways. Don't expect the world to be consistent and don't take that personally.

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 01-31-2007, 05:40 AM   #3
crbateman
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Relax, Brad, and let go of what you remember from the past. The important things will stay with you on their own. Try not to think too much, and allow yourself to buy into the methodology that your current teacher uses.

On the other hand, if what you are doing now is so different from before, and you were more comfortable in that situation, perhaps you should (or should have) find a situation better suited to your tastes. Only you know how important this is for you. But I would suggest you give your present training a little more time to grow on you.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 01-31-2007, 05:56 AM   #4
Amir Krause
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Sounds like you should stay with the beginner class for a while longer, until you get a better understanding of the way they perform in this school.

There is a lot of good sense in tapping before it hurts, it would prevent injury much better then the other way around. But, at least the way we treat it, is to only tap once you know the technique will work. For me, this may mean rather early on when practicing an advanced student (or not at all if he misses) or quite a bit later with a beginner who still needs to work on the mechanics of the technique. In any case, I try to tap or roll away before any power is applied in the lock, I am no longer young and I do wish to keep my joints safer. And if I sense a lot of power is applied without control, I would immediately comment on this to the tori and ask him to work lighter (I have some advantage over you as one of the veteran student).

Amir
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Old 01-31-2007, 06:09 AM   #5
stelios
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Same here, I almost never tap honestly as I can handle an enourmous ammount of joint strain. Yet, I do tap because my nage does not know how much pain I can handle and if he applies the same strain to his next uke he might involunatrily cause some damage. Whenever I feel that the average joint would hurt I tell myself to tap.
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Old 01-31-2007, 07:18 AM   #6
Ron Tisdale
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Tapping is not a contest. Follow the guidelines of that dojo as you get to know them and they get to know you. Then as everyone adjusts to each other, do what works in that situation.

I don't think (from you have said) that the teacher is being a jerk. I think he is looking out for you, and the harmony of his dojo. But do what feels right...if another place suits you better, go there.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 01-31-2007, 08:44 AM   #7
Brion Toss
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Of course, you also want to make sure that this isn't one of those (fortunately rare) dojo's where people take turns tanking for each other. Does nage get to the takedown honestly? Does nage exert firm control over uke all the way down? Is the pin at least on the way to a place where you would have to tap? If yes to all of those questions, then actually getting to the pain threshold is gravy. As you progress at this school, I'm sure you will find training partners who will be happy to work with you in putting on martial pins.
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Old 01-31-2007, 09:38 AM   #8
Janet Rosen
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

What I've been taught and firmly believe is that aikido is NOT about pain compliance. Yes, of course, tapping IS the main signal to "let go, it hurts!" But....
One taps out of a pin when one feels immobilized properly (if working with someone who should be able to do so) or when one feels the person is applying it in as close as correct as they are gonna get it (when working w/ newbies).
Why wait for pain? Many of us w/ flexible or hyperflexible joints won't even feel it until we've sustained severe damage. That's not why I'm uke - I'm there to give nage feedback about whether the pin is correctly applied or not.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 01-31-2007, 10:58 AM   #9
jxa127
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

We do things the same way Janet describes, for (at least) two reasons: (1) a well-applied, immobilizing pin may not hurt, and (2) even though a pin may hurt, that doesn't mean that it's working.

:-D

Regards,

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 01-31-2007, 02:07 PM   #10
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Good point Janet. There's one kid in my dojo who can bend his wrist so far forward that he can touch his fingertips to his wrist. Try doing nikkyo on him. It doesn't work (unless you twist the tension out of his arm.... then it works... )

I agree wholeheartedly that tapping isn't just for pain. Tapping can come in many forms, such as (as was said) letting nage know that you're sufficiently pinned, or as a form of politeness since nage can't spend hours wrenching on your arm to get you pinned (despite the fact that, after a long training session, uke can have a bit of a nap), and so on. Though, if your uke is squinting, crying, pounding on the mat, wimpering, and his toes are curled... that's a sure sign that he's in pain. Better let go... :P

Adults are just outdated children, and the hell with them. - Dr. Suess

It's senpai's fault. - Andy-senpai
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Old 01-31-2007, 03:01 PM   #11
Brad Allen
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Fantastic points from all, thank you! I'll stick with it a while. It is so difficult to let go what you know, even if it's just little details. We get attached to things, "stick" to things. I love what someone said the teacher is looking out for the harmony of his dojo. I'll tap earlier (I, too, have extreamly flexible wrists). I guess that's part of the practice too, blending with the new group. The reasons you guy's have given for tapping early make it easier to do so--I'll just make sure if it's a really bad pin or lock, that I just let them know that it's not quite "on", so they can learn (only white to orange belts, I suppose this would even occur.) Again, thanks for the advice!
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Old 01-31-2007, 04:35 PM   #12
Janet Rosen
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Every dojo culture is different. What has worked in a couple where I've trained, esp w/ my kohei, is before tapping point is reached and if I know for sure it isn't going where it should, quietly tell them they "don't quite have me" and, if I can feel easily where the pin is being held or pointed or whatever wrong, suggest an easy correction.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 01-31-2007, 05:48 PM   #13
Brad Allen
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
Every dojo culture is different. What has worked in a couple where I've trained, esp w/ my kohei, is before tapping point is reached and if I know for sure it isn't going where it should, quietly tell them they "don't quite have me" and, if I can feel easily where the pin is being held or pointed or whatever wrong, suggest an easy correction.
Nice way to tell them, thanks!
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Old 02-01-2007, 03:19 AM   #14
Janet Rosen
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Your very welcome! Glad you are able to return to training.

Janet Rosen
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Old 02-01-2007, 05:49 AM   #15
Michael Cardwell
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Quote:
Brad Allen wrote:
Well, first time back on the mats in about 4 years. It was harder because this class happened to be all white belts (I've gotten a yellow belt from three schools but had to move on). I offered the teacher that I could attend the beginner's classes, but he said I was too advanced.

In this class, the techniques were slightly different than what I was used to, but I started catching on by the end a little.

What was strange was at one point he stopped me and my nage, and told me that I should tap earlier or I might get hurt. I was taught to only tap when you felt pain--I did not feel anything, so no tap.

At the end of the class, I was a bit confused because he said I am welcome to any class, but I need to relax more or I might get injured when I work with the higher belts.

I'm not sure what I am missing, because in my other classes in the States, I worked full-on with all belt levels, even with 5th dans, and they never said anything like this.

Since I don't know this teacher, I'm a little put off, thinking maybe he thinks I'm a jerk or something. Any clue what he was talking about? I might ask him Saturday to clarify.

Other than that, I rather enjoyed the class. A lot more atemi than I am used to, and he went into counters to counters. (He is 3rd dan Akaiki)

Anyway, just sharing an experience--I appreciate any comments, thanks!

Brad,

I was kind of weirded out by your story as well. very different from what i've been tought.

I've always been told that when applying a pin, its a lot like tuning a radio dial. You're not really trying to break or damage, your twinking ligaments and nerves until you get just the right angle and leverage. Once you have control, you can apply pins slowly until uke taps. The only time I would worry about waiting to tap is if your nage was applying pins fast, in which case I wouldn't work with them in the future. As uke your supposed to listen to your body, and tap when you start to feel it hurt. If you tap too early, or tap when it isn't really working, your not helping your nage out. If you let the pin go until you get a nice "stretch" it helps both of you. Partner practice in every aspect.

Also the thing about getting hurt in the more advanced class is kind of strange too. Relaxation is good no matter what, but "advanced" students should in theory have more control and accept attacks in a receptive manner. Take things as they come is what I've always been told. Of course I've never been in segregated classes before. On the other hand the sensei seems to be looking out for your well being, thats always nice. Good luck, hope your training works out.

Mike
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Old 02-01-2007, 10:36 AM   #16
Ron Tisdale
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Quote:
but "advanced" students should in theory have more control and accept attacks in a receptive manner.
The thing is, every dojo has it's own culture. I've trained in dojo where the pin comes on hard and fast among the brown/black belt rank...you barely have time to tap. In that same dojo, no one would pin a beginner that way...unless they started shrimping, or forcing back into the pin, or just not tapping for not tapping sake. Then they might get pinned harder or faster. It all depends on the culture, the class, the participants, etc. If someone makes a name for themselves as being kind of stubborn...they might find themselves in a situation at certain times. In an environment like that, I would instruct a new person to tap loudly and quickly. Then as they gain more experience, and find their place in the dojo, and learn the individual quirks of their partners (as well as their partners learn theirs), everything kind of balances itself out. Even in a tough, physically martial dojo. With surprisingly few injuries.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 02-01-2007, 04:21 PM   #17
Brad Allen
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Quote:
Michael Cardwell wrote:
Brad,

I was kind of weirded out by your story as well. very different from what i've been tought.

I've always been told that when applying a pin, its a lot like tuning a radio dial. You're not really trying to break or damage, your twinking ligaments and nerves until you get just the right angle and leverage. Once you have control, you can apply pins slowly until uke taps. The only time I would worry about waiting to tap is if your nage was applying pins fast, in which case I wouldn't work with them in the future. As uke your supposed to listen to your body, and tap when you start to feel it hurt. If you tap too early, or tap when it isn't really working, your not helping your nage out. If you let the pin go until you get a nice "stretch" it helps both of you. Partner practice in every aspect.

Also the thing about getting hurt in the more advanced class is kind of strange too. Relaxation is good no matter what, but "advanced" students should in theory have more control and accept attacks in a receptive manner. Take things as they come is what I've always been told. Of course I've never been in segregated classes before. On the other hand the sensei seems to be looking out for your well being, thats always nice. Good luck, hope your training works out.

Mike
Thanks, we seem on the same wavelength about it. I'll give it another few gos--maybe it's just not a fit. There are other Aikido places in melbourne.

Just a note, I'm not in a segregated class: it was just that only white belts had happened to show up to my first class (they had had a seminar with a high ranking Aikidoka that weekend, so some high belts were probably taking that Monday off).

I have never had any wrist injury in Aikido--about a year's of practice. Believe me, when that Nikyo is on, I tab like there's bees in my hip pocket, believe me!
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Old 02-02-2007, 11:24 PM   #18
Brad Allen
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Class # 2

Well, I went back to class and it was pretty good. We focused on the jo (they had had a seminar focusing on that the weekend before).

I guess I committed a feaux paux (sp?)-- the instructor had finished demonstrating the kata, then said for us to try it. I was in the back, he was at the front of the class. I had a question, so I asked it loudly so he could hear me as he walked between the students.

Um... everyone stopped and looked at me like I crapped on the floor. He ignored my question then saundered up to me and said, "Best not to shout out questions."

Well, that made me feel real good! I guess the dojos in America aren't libraries.

I don't know... maybe I'm in the wrong place. Then again, Australians are just annoyed with Americans, so I might have to put up with it till they know me--or is what I did considered rude? He must have known I meant no disrespect--I imagine a zen master shouting back an answer, just going with it.

Well, aside from that, it went well, and several higher belts including the teacher complimented my rolls and my jo nage.

I guess I'll come to at least another class, but I just don't feel all that welcome there right now to be honest--maybe I'm just imagining things.

I'd appreciate any comments... thanks!
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Old 02-02-2007, 11:57 PM   #19
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Yelling across the mat is probably considered impolite at most dojos.

The proper way to get the instructor's attention is by getting in their line of sight, then bowing and saying onegaishimasu. Once the instructor replies and gives you the sign to speak, then you ask your question. Depending on the formality of the dojo and the rank of the instructor, you might be able to walk some ways across the mat to do this, and bow standing, or you may have to wait for them to come to you and bow on the floor. A good rule of thumb is, when in doubt, do things in the politest way you know. If things are less formal there, someone will tell you you can ease up to a less formal style. It may seem a bit tedious and stiff, but it is much better than assuming less formality and getting corrected in the other direction... or worse, not getting corrected, and being allowed to continue doing something considered rude for some time.

You should also consider carefully whether you really need to ask a question, given the situation, or whether you understand enough to go ahead and start working with what you've got. Asking too many questions can be rude in itself, as class is generally for training and not q & a sessions.

No offense, but you should know most of this from prior training. However, unless you are particularly dense or forgetful, it's not your fault. Your prior teachers have done you a disservice by not clearly instructing you in good traveling manners. I am grateful to mine in that I have never had a problem anywhere I have gone.

***

As for the tapping business, my opinion is that it is not very important one way or another. Aikido pins are mostly a formality. Most of them can be escaped from fairly easily by someone who is willing to accept a little damage and/or has experience in any kind of ground fighting. They are also very hard to get someone into, if they are a wily, struggling type, unless you have really stunned them with a hard landing or a hard atemi during the throwing/takedown process. If you want to test the limits of pins and stuggle with that whole issue, you need to look into something like Judo or BJJ. Most people with experience in competitive arts, real fights, law enforcement, etc... seem to agree that Aikido pins are suitable for temporary control only. If you really don't want them to get up, you are going to have to choke them out, tie them up, or beat them until they stop moving. Use the search function to check the archives. In my view, the pins are not the interesting part of Aikido.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 02-03-2007 at 12:01 AM.
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Old 02-02-2007, 11:57 PM   #20
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

You might want to try a few classes at the other dojos. I strated at a new dojo at the end of last summer and they are so welcoming. In your situation I'd keep showing up to see if they need to get to know you before you become part of the family, but you might also go to a class or two at another dojo. If the one you are in does not feel right, then maybe it's not. I know I felt at home from the moment I walked in the door here.
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Old 02-03-2007, 02:29 AM   #21
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Regarding the speaking out loudly across the mat, I definitely would expect that in most dojos or training situations, that would get you some weird looks at best even here in the states. I've been told and observed that the best thing to do when you don't quite understand and the instructor is walking through is to quietly get his or her attention and just do your best unti it's your turn for one-on-one.

Regarding the tapping -- my instructor here is probably in the middle of what most folks have been saying. In his method, you tap for one of two reasons: (1) you hit pain threshold; or (2) the pin or technique has been succesfully applied. An immobilzation may or may not involve pain, depending on the individual. Either way, the tap is nothing more than the cue to stop.
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Old 02-03-2007, 04:19 AM   #22
Brad Allen
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Quote:
Rosemary Wulf wrote:
You might want to try a few classes at the other dojos. I strated at a new dojo at the end of last summer and they are so welcoming. In your situation I'd keep showing up to see if they need to get to know you before you become part of the family, but you might also go to a class or two at another dojo. If the one you are in does not feel right, then maybe it's not. I know I felt at home from the moment I walked in the door here.
Yeah, I agree. I remember when I went to a couple Brazillian Jujutsu classes last month, it was very informal and they were 10 times friendlier. Maybe because they were all my age or younger. I guess I just forgot about how formal some dojos can be.

The Aikido dojos I went to before were much looser--to be fair, they were also smaller classes. Well, I'll give it another shot!

Thanks!
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Old 02-03-2007, 04:21 AM   #23
Brad Allen
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

[quote=Nicholas Corduan]Regarding the speaking out loudly across the mat, I definitely would expect that in most dojos or training situations, that would get you some weird looks at best even here in the states. QUOTE]

Yeah, you're right. The question just flew out of my mouth. I think maybe I knew it was obnoxious, and I was being passive agressive becuase they're not very friendly. I don't know, it wasn't that big a deal, but it was kinda silly.
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Old 02-03-2007, 04:24 AM   #24
Brad Allen
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Confused Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
No offense, but you should know most of this from prior training. However, unless you are particularly dense or forgetful, it's not your fault. .
Why, thanks!
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Old 02-03-2007, 04:51 PM   #25
Janet Rosen
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Re: I'm back... and a little cornfused

I can think of few situations in any country in which shouting is considered a polite or respectful form of address.

Janet Rosen
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