Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 07-08-2000, 06:03 PM   #1
giriasis
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 819
United_States
Offline
I am really sorry that this is so long. But, it has been resting on my mind since my class on Friday, and I will not be able to talk to any one about it until Monday. Any advice you could give me as to how to most appropriately deal with the following situation would be most appreciated.

Well, here it goes...

Just the other night in class, I had one of those very challenging experiences.

I am new to aikido. I have one year of training and half of which in an Aikikai dojo. So I am still pretty new to the dojo. Also I am just getting ready for my 5th kyu test.

The other night I was in class and we were practicing Shomenuchi iriminage which is one of my test requirements. Since it was a Friday night, the class was small, and we were divided into two groups -- one group of four and another group of three. I was in the group of three with the sempai in question and another newbie.

Now, 99% of the time I can handle when I am being corrected. In this case, I got really angry and frustrated with the more experienced student. He is still a kyu rank but I don't know which rank. I am assuming 3rd or 2nd kyu.

I usually appreciate it when a more experienced student resists a little to show me where I am doing the technique wrong. This time was some how different. It was that he just kept on stopping me and the other student in the middle of the technique and showing me what to do. I learn by getting the feel of the technique which means I like to do the technique constantly rather than being stopped each time.

More happened, he started saying to me -- "listen to me", "don't have such an attitude," "don't get angry." The thing was I was listening, however I was getting upset with him. My mind was saying just let me do the technique. I seemed to take this method of "advice" rather personally. I don't know why and the reason still plagues me.

It got to the point when it was my turn to be nage and his turn to be uke that he attacked while I was not even ready to defend my self. I was still turning myself around to get into position when I saw his hand coming towards me. When he realized I was not ready, he stopped and said in a cruel manner, "next time I will hit you." I did not say a word because I really think he was looking for an argument. I then put my self in proper hanmi, and he then attacked. I was in the middle of the technique and he then said, "you don't have to be so angry." Now even though I was upset with his attitude with me, but I know for fact that I performed the technique like I would with anyone else. Also I really felt that I had put my frustration aside for the moment.

After that, I decided to sit out and watch. At that point the sensei leading the class (not our head sensei), came over to see what was going on. (He had been working with some other students who needed more help to just learn the technique.) He then asked us to do the technique. And he said, "they both look fine to me."

Well, after that, I resumed working with them. You know, give him a second chance since the sensei's words helped to ease some tension -- at least mine. But then when it was my turn to uke for this senior student, he threw me pretty hard to the ground. My guts said he did it intentionally. Since it was the end of class and I was not in the mood to provoke or address the situation at the moment, I just sat out and watched the other group work.

I am mostly upset because I got upset and considering some of the content of what he was saying WAS useful information, it is just some how the situation got out of hand. Also, I am usually very open to criticism so I don't know why I got so upset.

As far as what to do, if you were in my situtation what would you say? Would you talk to the head instructor or just to the student himself? Should I just avoid working with this guy -- that is easy in a big class but you can't when this class was so small. I don't want to avoid the situation, but I am willing to learn how to deal with it more assertively than what I did.

Also those of you who are instructors how would you want a student to approach you about the situtation?

Thanks,
Anne Marie Giri
Aikikai Aikido
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2000, 08:37 PM   #2
Don Bluedorn
Dojo: Wolff's Den Aikido
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 1
Offline
I've never posted on a bulletin board before, but the tone of your posting sounded both sincere and concerned, so here goes. I apologize in advance if this is too long or rambling.

As an introductory note, please understand that I am not an Aikido "expert." However, I have 8 years experience in Aikido and 20 years experience in Shotokan Karate, and I've lived long enough that I've seen the scenario that you desribed a number of times.

My advice is to chalk it up as a learning experience, stop worrying about it, and move on with your training. It sounds to me like the senior student let his/her ego get out of control (which happens to most of all of us from time-to-time). That, combined with your escalating frustrutation (which also happens to most of us from time-to-time), was a volatile combination. Frankly, I think that you handled his/her "threat" to hit you much better than I would have handled it.

If the situation arises again, I'd suggest stating very on, "Thanks a lot for the advice, but I'm the type of person who learns by working all the way through a technique, so I'd really just prefer to press on for a few repetitions before discussing it." If it persists, I'd raise the response a level, stating in a calm, measured tone, "Thanks again, but I know myself well enough to realize that I've just got to work on this technique without any external feedback. No offense, but I'll just focus on your feedback instead of the technique. Thanks for understanding." If it then continues, I'd say that the person is either unusually dense, or is intentionally trying to escalate the issue. Either way, I'd just bow, thank people for their help, get a drink of water, then work in with a new group. After class, I'd mention it to the instructor.

As an instructor, I'd want the student to raise the issue with me when there were no other students around, and I'd want them to raise it with me in a calm, objective fashion. Don't cast blame, just say the situation is troubling to you and you'd appreciate the instructor's assistance in dealing with it.

I hope that this is useful to you.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2000, 09:16 PM   #3
AikiTom
Dojo: Aikido Martial Arts Center
Location: Blue Grass, IA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 84
Offline
Smile

I agree with the writer above. I've been doing aikido for 10 years and it seems 2 general types of people are attracted to it - those who are regular people wanting to learn, and those with "issues" that they end up bringing on the mat.
For instance, they may somehow feel "powerless" at home or work or in a relationship, so they come to aikido hoping to somehow learn to be "strong" but end up transferring agression onto someone on the mat because they can't get up the nerve to tell the person at home or work who's really causing their stress.
Other people have problems trusting, and therefore don't make good ukes unless they change. Some are trying to find an ideal - they have an internal image of being a warrior, or being perfect.
Your nage may be experiencing some of these issues - so his response actually may not have that much to do with you specifically.

May the force be with you!
AikiTom
"Be the change you want to see."
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2000, 06:21 PM   #4
giriasis
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 819
United_States
Offline
Smile Thanks for your replies

They are appreciated. Yeah, this definitely is a learning experience.

Also to all those who have read this, thanks for listening to my problems. Sometimes I just need to speak "out loud" to figure things out. And speaking to a couple of people and getting their response helps me put things into perspective.

Sincerely,
Anne Marie
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2000, 07:30 PM   #5
Nick
Dojo: Aikido of Greater Atlanta
Location: Atlanta, GA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 561
United_States
Offline
Don't worry about it . It's what we're here for.

That kind of attitude reminds me of a student at my old karate dojo. He was a nice guy, but when he was pissed, he would let it out... all over your body during the technique.

Basically, if it's a one night thing, let it go. If it persists, tell your sensei about it and let him talk to the sempai about it.

-Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2000, 04:11 AM   #6
Anne
Dojo: Kiel University/VfL Fosite Helgoland
Location: Helgoland, Germany
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 113
Offline
Ai symbol

I think itīs important to respect all students, no matter how long theyīve been training and to respect their way of learning, too.
When Iīm sempai and see two students having problems with a technique, I always ask if my help is wanted. I try to let them figure out themselves as much of a technique as possible because I think that helps to understand whats going on in a better way than just copying movements.

Anne

"You have to do difficult things to grow." (Shoji Nishio Sensei)
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2000, 05:05 AM   #7
Pete
"Pete"
IP Hash: 22791998
Dojo: Shinwakai Aikibudo
Location: Slough, UK
Join Date: Jun 2000
Anonymous User
Offline
Talking

Besides which, doesn't the technique need to fit to both your body and ukes?

It may be that he was 'seeing' something 'wrong' compared to how he does it rather than letting it go through to spot how your body 'fits'!!

Pete
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2000, 10:51 PM   #8
cmcginn
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 6
United_States
Offline
I think the responses, especially Don's, are excellant. I try and remind my students that there is only one teacher on the mat. While it is important for students to help each other there is a difference between helping each other and teaching. Inevitably some students cross the line and spend their time "teaching" the other students forgetting that there is a teacher on the mat and it isn't him or her. One additional thing you may do is when this situation happens, wait until the teacher is nearby and ask him or her to explain or help you understand the specific point you are working on or the item that your partner is offering instruction on. Usually the third time or so this happens in the class your partner will get the message and shut up and train. If not I would suggest that you discuss it with your teacher in a general way and ask his or her advice on how you should handle this situation in the future. You don't have to mention names. However when this question is asked of me I pay particular attention to that student's training.

  Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2000, 10:54 PM   #9
Nick
Dojo: Aikido of Greater Atlanta
Location: Atlanta, GA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 561
United_States
Offline
that reminds me of an article, I think it's on Aikiweb- called "honest practice." Really well written.

-Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2000, 11:04 PM   #10
akiy
 
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 5,835
Offline
That would be Jim Zimmerdahl's Honest Practice article. It's a really good piece.

-- Jun

Please help support AikiWeb -- become an AikiWeb Contributing Member!
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2000, 11:13 PM   #11
Nick
Dojo: Aikido of Greater Atlanta
Location: Atlanta, GA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 561
United_States
Offline
Yeah, that's it. I have that one hanging near my bed and I read it every now and then.

You should see my room- I have my sword corner with my swords, tea set, and cleaning kit (shomen included), and Aikiweb and Aikidofaw papers pinned to the walls.

-Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2000, 11:20 PM   #12
cmcginn
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 6
United_States
Offline
Thanks for the suggestion on "Honest Practice. He makes some excellant points.

One other issue is presented by Anne's post. I have seen a tendency among male students, especially newer students to assume the role of "teacher" when training with a female student. Many times I have witnessed a male student with little experience or less experience than a female student actively instruct her on how the technique ought to be done. Usually incorrectly. They learn fairly quickly that this isn't acceptable behavior in the dojo. I was wondering if some of this type of behavior may have been present in Anne's situation?



  Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2000, 11:27 PM   #13
Nick
Dojo: Aikido of Greater Atlanta
Location: Atlanta, GA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 561
United_States
Offline
I guess that goes with the whole "I'm a big bad man, I'm better than a woman cuz I'm bigger" gene that comes standard on us.

Sorry if that sounds weird... it's late and I'm tired .

-Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2000, 10:57 PM   #14
giriasis
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 819
United_States
Offline
Smile

Thanks for your replies. In regards to Anne's post, I usually love it when a real, decent sempai helps me out. It was the way he was "helping" that I had a problem with.

After finding out that this is his general attitude towards people, I now know his actions had nothing to do with me. And I even remember our sensei correcting him in other classes. I have spoken to a couple of my shodan friends in the dojo, and they just told me to stay away from him and that if things get worse, then say something to our sensei.

As far as the "big bad man" complex, that's a possibility. I think that was a part of him accusing me of getting angry. You see, I'm supposed to submit. Well, I don't submit. I grew up with two older brothers and learned not to do that a long time ago. Then again it might of just been the "big bad sempai" complex, too.

Now as a question on the side. Does a person with this attitude deserve being called a "sempai"?

Thanks again,
Anne Marie
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-19-2000, 01:41 AM   #15
Pete
"Pete"
IP Hash: 22791998
Dojo: Shinwakai Aikibudo
Location: Slough, UK
Join Date: Jun 2000
Anonymous User
Offline
Cool

My wife grew up with two older brothers and she can more than hold her own in any company!! And she can punch quite hard as a result of this!!! Comes of having to be able to 'get back' at them when they were ganging up against her I suppose!!! Also she has learnt how to be sly about it when we end up messing around play fighting!!

Love her to bits though!!!

P
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2000, 11:48 AM   #16
Anne
Dojo: Kiel University/VfL Fosite Helgoland
Location: Helgoland, Germany
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 113
Offline
Ai symbol

Quote:
cmcginn wrote:
Thanks for the suggestion on "Honest Practice. He makes some excellant points.

One other issue is presented by Anne's post. I have seen a tendency among male students, especially newer students to assume the role of "teacher" when training with a female student. Many times I have witnessed a male student with little experience or less experience than a female student actively instruct her on how the technique ought to be done. Usually incorrectly. They learn fairly quickly that this isn't acceptable behavior in the dojo. I was wondering if some of this type of behavior may have been present in Anne's situation?



Yes, I had that kind of experience with male students. Not very often and only at seminars. Just one story: our group was attending a seminar by our japanese sensei. He has a very special style, especially when it comes to jo and bokken techniques. So there are always lots of people on the mat with different aikido backgrounds. One evening we were practicing sankyo with jo. I knew the technique already, my male partner obviously didnīt. So I started to offer corrections which were accepted. Until he asked me how long I was doing aikido already. At this time, I had been training for one and a half years (8 hours/ week). He answered proudly that he had been training (with long breaks) for about three years. From this moment he tried to corect me and insisted on his movements even when they were obviously wrong and dangerous. There was nothing I could do about this so I was glad when the technique was over.

At our dojo, things like that normally donīt happen. We are a very harmonic group and good friends outside the dojo, too. Generally, there is nobody treating male or female students, especially kohei, different or without respect. I really love the atmosphere on the mat where everybody is there to learn, to help and to have fun.

Anne


"You have to do difficult things to grow." (Shoji Nishio Sensei)
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2000, 09:34 PM   #17
guest1234
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 915
Offline
Anne Marie,

yes, I'd say they are called 'sempai', even if bully or other terms might also be appropriate---and I'm sure some other terms are in this case. I've got a few like that in my new dojo, but if the definition of 'sempai' is a senior student to whom we owe respect for their experience, then sempai it is. Besides, I learned a lot from my reaction to people like that: why get upset (and i did, too) when they purposely block your technique, often through an insincere attack? I smile, thank them, and get set in hanmi to try again before they can launch a 'lesson'. I may not get much chance to practice, but no tempers flare on either side, and self control is my main goal, anyway. and without someone to bait, bullies usually start to behave themselves, or move on. If they insist on my doing something not shown by the instructor, I ask them to please demonstrate instead. By this point, the instructor usually comes over and lets them know if they are leading me astray (they usually don't miss much of what goes on on the mat). People with supersized egos are great for helping me practice the best technique of all---peaceful coexistance without surrender.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2000, 12:04 AM   #18
akiy
 
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 5,835
Offline
As Anne mentioned, I think that our training somteimes shifts from the techniques that we are working on to, basically, our own state of being.

I remember being at Nishio sensei's seminar (that's the teacher you mentioned, Anne, right?) a couple years back trying to do his jo and bokken stuff and being unable to get some of the finer movements. At that point, I started to work not just with learning the movements themselves but with the frustration of being unable to do the stuff. Frankly, the latter was a much tougher lesson to learn for me.

I think the same kind of thing happens when working with, let's just say, "those kinds of people." We've all run into them. Heck, we've all been them at one point or another in aikido or otherwise.

Me? These days I usually just "shut up and train." Or, at least I try, any way.

-- Jun

Please help support AikiWeb -- become an AikiWeb Contributing Member!
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2000, 01:49 PM   #19
Anne
Dojo: Kiel University/VfL Fosite Helgoland
Location: Helgoland, Germany
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 113
Offline
Wink

Dear Jun,

Yes, I was talking about Nishio Sensei. Well, one more interesting point: some month before this seminar my local sensei told me that I could start wearing a hakama ( I didnīt had to look at me feet anymore...), but it would have taken some time to get one and I didnīt feel ready yet. So I did the first seminar with gi only. I trained there with several people who were the kind of sempai we are talking about. All were male and wearing hakamas.
The next seminar with Nishio Sensei was some days later in another city. The local dojo planned to split the group into an advanced and a beginners class. At this time, no student in our group had been graduated because we have no opportunities for an examination. To avoid discussions I was given a spare hakama. It was really interesting to see what happened. All of the above mentioned sempai didnīt want to train with me anymore but most of the time looked straight for other people wearing only gi. No need for comments, I think.

Anne


"You have to do difficult things to grow." (Shoji Nishio Sensei)
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2000, 11:33 AM   #20
mle
Dojo: The Dojo (www.the-dojo.com
Location: Bavaria
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 78
Offline
well-meaning male/female interactions

I knew the technique already, my male partner obviously didnīt. So I started to offer corrections which were accepted. Until he asked me how long I was doing aikido already. At this time, I had been training for one and a half years (8 hours/ week). He answered proudly that he had been training (with long breaks) for about three years. From this moment he tried to corect me and insisted on his movements even when they were obviously wrong and dangerous. There was nothing I could do about this so I was glad when the technique was over.
===================
Mostly if they want to instruct, I say "show me" give them their time, then say, "let me try" and we go on from there.
And hope the instructor walks over soon...
I'm happy to learn from anyone.
My reaction to any non-instructor who want to instruct me is to (1) give them the benefit of a doubt and (2) make sure some actual technique happens and not just blabbing.
Sometimes I think there's some kind of ego thing going on wherein the person is more comfortable telling you how to do it than actually doing it.
Yes, I see more males over-instructing, but I think everyone's guilty of it sometimes.
What really bothers me is females who are conditioned not to instruct or lead, even when asked. I had to get past it, perhaps that's why it just makes me go "argh!" inside.

I have also been known to initiate technique from blabbers by insisting on attacking them and making them "show me". I tell them I can't learn from words. Just throw me. This is true for me, and it saves me some trouble.





  Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2000, 01:13 AM   #21
samurai_x
Dojo: Musubi
Location: Philippines
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 12
Offline
Smile

Anne, I've been training in AIKIDO for the last 8 yrs. and as I have observed the most effective way in teaching and especially giving out corrections is by showing the whole group or the class what are the usual mistakes and there respictive corrections rather than stopping each student you see that needs help . Let the student explore the technique first , show him/her the basics then let them try . And it's not really nice for a Sensei or a Sempai to say to the student that what he/she is doing is wrong but rather say it needs improvement or suggest that it will be much effective if he/she does it this way. Always keep in mind that every individual is unique in it's own way , so this certain technique could be easy for you to perform but difficult for others or the other way around.

One secret also in dealing w/ this kind of Sempai's is to always think positive.
Don't let him get to you.


TUOCS
MUSUBI DOJO
KI AIKIDO


  Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2000, 10:27 AM   #22
Anne
Dojo: Kiel University/VfL Fosite Helgoland
Location: Helgoland, Germany
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 113
Offline
Smile

Quote:
samurai_x wrote:
Anne, I've been training in AIKIDO for the last 8 yrs. and as I have observed the most effective way in teaching and especially giving out corrections is by showing the whole group or the class what are the usual mistakes and there respictive corrections rather than stopping each student you see that needs help . Let the student explore the technique first , show him/her the basics then let them try . And it's not really nice for a Sensei or a Sempai to say to the student that what he/she is doing is wrong but rather say it needs improvement or suggest that it will be much effective if he/she does it this way. Always keep in mind that every individual is unique in it's own way , so this certain technique could be easy for you to perform but difficult for others or the other way around.

One secret also in dealing w/ this kind of Sempai's is to always think positive.
Don't let him get to you.


TUOCS
MUSUBI DOJO
KI AIKIDO

samurai_x, this is just what I was talking about in my first posts on this topic!!!
I`m most certainly not stopping students at once if they are still trying to figure the technique out by themselves. But if they do need and WANT help, I give them some, trying to let them get as far as possible by themselves. Iīm not sensei of our class, so I cant show general problems in front of everybody and I think this is the job of our sensei. But our beginners class is very crowded so he canīt be everywhere. This is why the sempai are asked to help, too.

The last posts were about some special events on a crowded seminar where, among others, someone I did this sankyo (itīs this technique you mentioned?) with was quite happy to get some corrections (by showing it to him several times without much talking) until he found out that he had been training Aikido longer than I had.

Anne

"You have to do difficult things to grow." (Shoji Nishio Sensei)
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sensei? Sempai? Mona General 27 07-22-2008 05:17 PM
Scared Sempai Dario Rosati Training 38 11-07-2006 02:49 AM
Randori, Sempai and experiences Amir Krause General 28 06-04-2006 02:49 AM
The Original Meaning of Aikido Dirk Hanss Humor 9 09-26-2005 06:03 PM
Mean Sempai BC Humor 2 08-11-2000 08:35 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:40 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate