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Old 04-15-2007, 09:18 AM   #26
RoyK
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Re: "We don't do that here"

Quote:
Anthony Wong wrote: View Post
Anywhat do you say, Jews have their own fighting way and their fighting way has our Aiki skills. Anyway, Krav Maga, Kappap, Haganah, whatever Jews fighting.
Just a small correction - Krav maga, Kappap etc are Israeli fighting methods, not Jewish. (I've heard of only one art claiming to be a traditional Jewish martial art, "Abir", but I know nothing about it)

I guess this distinction relates to the issue at hand - is Aikido a Shinto art or a Japanese art.

Well, if I already started a post I might as well finish it. My humble perspective:

I think of Aikido as belonging to a school of thought or ethics rather than to a religion. While all or most techniques adhere to certain values, there's no technique calling on the Kami for strength or something like that, so I don't see how it relates to shinto directly.
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Old 04-15-2007, 09:40 AM   #27
KamiKaze_Evolution
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Re: "We don't do that here"

Quote:
Roy Klein wrote: View Post
Just a small correction - Krav maga, Kappap etc are Israeli fighting methods, not Jewish. (I've heard of only one art claiming to be a traditional Jewish martial art, "Abir", but I know nothing about it)

I guess this distinction relates to the issue at hand - is Aikido a Shinto art or a Japanese art.

Well, if I already started a post I might as well finish it. My humble perspective:

I think of Aikido as belonging to a school of thought or ethics rather than to a religion. While all or most techniques adhere to certain values, there's no technique calling on the Kami for strength or something like that, so I don't see how it relates to shinto directly.
Thanks for a lot Israeli brother

KamiKaze
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Old 04-15-2007, 09:55 AM   #28
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Bryan Bateman wrote: View Post
From what I understand, O Sensei didn`t force his shinto ideals on his students.
If he had, the list of requirements for shodan might include invading Mongolia.

Michael Hacker
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Old 04-15-2007, 10:28 AM   #29
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Nathan Gidney wrote: View Post
I hate it when my kohai try to talk to me in japanese or call me 'Gidney san.' I'm an American, in an American dojo and I consider it rude. I'm fine with Senpai, but if you need to address me by my name, call me Mr. Gidney, or just Nathan.
So, why are "senpai" and "kohai" okay? I would argue that they are even more inappropriate in an American dojo than "Gidney-san".

Josh Reyer

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Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
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Old 04-15-2007, 11:45 AM   #30
ChrisMoses
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Re: "We don't do that here"

Quote:
Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
i'm not a follower of Shinto either.....never was, never will be.

until i step on the mat.

without Shinto, O'Sensei would've never created Aikido; carrying a Shinto shrine in your heart, and bowing to O'Sensei go hand in hand. i wouldn't bow to O'Sensei off the mat, so i wouldn't clap off the mat either.

i should clarify; i meant saying "onegaishimas" and "arigato gozaimasta" ; they say it in english in our dojo.
Here's some take it or leave it advice, chill out and spend some time thinking about why you do things, and possibly how doing the *exact* same thing in one culture may not actually carry the same meaning in another. From this and some of your other posts, you sound like you're pretty convinced that the way you were taught to do things in Japan is the one and only way to do things. Let me assure you that isn't the case even in Japan. The first Aikido dojo I trained in had very close ties to OSensei (my teachers were direct students of one of OSensei's last uchideshi). We didn't clap at all, and when their teacher visited us, he didn't clap during the beginning bow either. I trained at an Aikikai dojo briefly who clapped twice, another dojo where you bowed once, clapped once, bowed again, clapped again, another where you bowed twice, then clapped twice, another where you bowed once to begin, then two times followed by four claps... See where I'm going here? In the sword line I study we have a very specific zarei bow in process which is WAY more specific than I have seen in any Aikido dojo, and yet because we train in an Aikido dojo's space, we add the four claps that they do even though in our line in Japan, they don't clap at all. It's just a bow, and the important part is what happens inside *you* during that bow.

The same thing goes for using Japanese in the dojo, there's no magic around the words, "onigaeshimasu" or phrase "domo arigato gozaimashita"... It's just a part of Japanese culture, you'd say the same thing if you were playing racket-ball with someone. I find it's actually easier to just go on autopilot and start spewing the Japanese phrases than it is to really speak to someone, "Hey, thanks for training with me." I feel the same thing whether I say, "onegaeshimasu" or "Yo, shall we play?"

If your shinto starts and ends on the mat, then you're just pretending anyway, so you might as well leave it in Japan...

Chris Moses
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Old 04-15-2007, 12:14 PM   #31
Qatana
 
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Re: "We don't do that here"

My sesei's sensei was a direct student of OSensei. He doesn't clap, and while they say "onegaishimasu" at their dojo, we don't. We also don't go out in the middle of the night and stand under waterfalls.
We do, however, talk with the Kami.

Q
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Old 04-15-2007, 12:18 PM   #32
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Re: "We don't do that here"

If aikido conflicts with your spiritual beliefs then you may not be doing aikido. To give hand clapping any more significance than just tradition when you do not believe in shintoism may suggest examining your spiritual beliefs. O Sensei never suggested becoming bhuddist or practicing shintoism to learn aikido. From what I have read he practiced his beliefs and expected others to practice their own.
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Old 04-15-2007, 05:42 PM   #33
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Anthony Wong wrote: View Post
What are intentions of funakogi and furitama for? Some senseis still lead up those excersice, it is mistake if student don't do those.
My basic (read limited) understanding is that they are exercises for active and passive breathing, to help develop kokyu ryoku and body movement, I don`t see how these are related to clapping with the rei. There are a couple of old threads on here somwhere from Shaun Ravens with some in depth explanations of them. A bit long for my short attention span, so I never really absorbed them, more likely my loss. Maybe one day I`ll get through them.

As far as practicing funakogi and furitama, the dojo I`m practicing here right now, do them at weekend classes during the warm up, but don`t do them during the weekday class warm ups. They do do them as a paired exercise during class sometimes though. When I lived in Tokyo, every class did them during warm up, as did they at Hombu dojo whenever I was there. The dojo I practice in in England only does them when I put them in the warm up (which I don`t do every time), or when I do the paired exercise during normal class.

Is it a mistake not to do them? I don`t think a mistake per se, but I do see more advantages to doing them than leaving them out.

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 04-15-2007, 06:59 PM   #34
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Re: "We don't do that here"

I practiced at New England Aikikai for a few years, and now I sometimes practice at Aikido Tekkojuku of Boston, which is near Union & Inman Squares in Somerville. In both places, people use, or used to use, the Japanese terms for most things, but we don't clap at the bowing-in durring a regular class. We do clap at New Year's practice and some other special memorial-type practices, so it's there, it's just not an everyday thing. I don't know if they still do the New Year's practice at NEA.

You might want to visit one or both of these places. I'm curious where you are training now. Feel free to email me if you have any questions about dojos in the Cambridge-Somerville end of town, I think I've trained at all of them.
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:40 PM   #35
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Jamey Johnston wrote: View Post
So you follow Shinto... but only when you're on the mats? This is going to sound harsh, but wouldn't that be like claiming to be Christian/Muslim/Jewish only when you are in church/mosque/temple......I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with you Luc about the necessity to, in some way, follow Shinto.
when i was visiting Dubai, i was not allowed in a mosque unless i wore the proper attire, took my shoes off, etc. for the brief moments i was in there, i had to adhere to customs of Islam.

i see no difference between that and adhering to Shinto customs to study Aikido.

Quote:
Jamey Johnston wrote: View Post
Now if you feel it is necessary for your practice, then it is necessary... for you. That's how you are interpreting your Aikido
my Sensei has denied me the right to practice Aikido the way i want to practice it.

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Jamey Johnston wrote: View Post
just don't make the mistake of trying to define my Aikido for me.
.
since a dojo is not democractic, the only choice i have is to convince my Sensei that clapping is necessary. that's an insane gesture, one i won't do, but there's a difference between winning my right to clap, and trying to define anyone else's Aikido.

how many books are written connecting Aikido to the kotodama?

Last edited by Luc X Saroufim : 04-15-2007 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:45 PM   #36
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Amelia Smith wrote: View Post
You might want to visit one or both of these places. I'm curious where you are training now. Feel free to email me if you have any questions about dojos in the Cambridge-Somerville end of town, I think I've trained at all of them.
thanks Amelia, will do.
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Old 04-15-2007, 09:04 PM   #37
DonMagee
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Re: "We don't do that here"

I am not a religious person. I feel I would be disrespecting a culture to pretend to adhere to a custom I felt was silly. I'd stay away from places that required me to.

- Don
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Old 04-15-2007, 09:05 PM   #38
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
my Sensei has denied me the right to practice Aikido the way i want to practice it. since a dojo is not democractic, the only choice i have is to convince my Sensei that clapping is necessary.
I'm sorry but if one comes to my dojo to practice then they will be practicing my Aikido (or my system's method as expressed through me), if you want to practice your Aikido open your own dojo or find one that operates the way you like.

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Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
like i just mentioned, i don't feel that my Aikido is my own anymore. i have to follow my Sensei's Aikido in order not to be disrespectful, and that's not fair.
Of course it's fair, what the Sensei says goes, if you don't like it there is always a choice. It sounds like you are not at all happy with your current training situation. Personally I think for you to want to change the type of practice at your dojo to include clapping because it is something you personally like does not respect the feelings of your Sensei or your dojo mates who may be quite content with the way they train now and have trained before you ever appeared.

You're right, the dojo is not a democracy and in more cases than not the individual ego must submit to the group dynamic (sounds like a Geico commercial ) if the group is unwilling to accommodate the needs of the one. The alternative is to leave and find a group more in line with your needs. Your Sensei is not denying you anything, he is teaching the way he knows best. You are the one using your own free will to leave your abode and go to his class and not be happy. It is the choice you have made.

Ueshiba M. was quite clear in not requiring his own Aikido students to follow his religious beliefs, I find it quite interesting that you are requiring this of your dojo mates and Sensei to "respect O-Sensei" when O-Sensei himself did not require this. If this is the case then you are not even following O-Sensei's example (though you claim to respect him so much) because you are operating in direct contrast to what he did and said when alive.

Just my thoughts.
LC

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Old 04-15-2007, 09:34 PM   #39
Janet Rosen
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Kent Enfield wrote: View Post
No.

It'd be like claiming to Christian/Muslim/Jewish, but only when you go to the YMCA.

And never going to church/mosque/temple.
That is beatiful and oh so apt. thank you.

Janet Rosen
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Old 04-15-2007, 10:52 PM   #40
Just Jamey
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
when i was visiting Dubai, i was not allowed in a mosque unless i wore the proper attire, took my shoes off, etc. for the brief moments i was in there, i had to adhere to customs of Islam.

i see no difference between that and adhering to Shinto customs to study Aikido.
The difference is that your initial post wasn't only about following customs; you were implying that we need to practice Shinto with the comment: "...Shinto is also something you carry in your heart and with your spirit, especially if you train in Aikido", and that "if you don't clap, you're simply bowing to O'Sensei as a sign of respect, but you're not getting in touch with Aikido's Shinto roots.". Neither of these statements are truth, just opinion. Also, blindly following a set of customs is not practicing a religion, nor is it getting in touch with the religion.

If I accompany my girlfriend to her church, then I will bow my head with the rest of the congregation, when they pray. Not because I'm following Christianity, but out of respect for their way of doing things and to not be a disruptive presence.
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Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
my Sensei has denied me the right to practice Aikido the way i want to practice it.
It is your choice to enter your Sensei's "house" as it were. Part of your dojo practice is to respect the rules of the "house". No one forces you to practice Aikido at that dojo. Even if it's the only dojo for 100 miles, no one forces you to train there.
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Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
since a dojo is not democractic, the only choice i have is to convince my Sensei that clapping is necessary. that's an insane gesture, one i won't do, but there's a difference between winning my right to clap, and trying to define anyone else's Aikido.
You and I do agree on the first part. Clapping; however, is only necessary for you. A person has no right to clap in a dojo that chooses not to practice that custom. In my opinion, clapping in this instance would not be a harmonious action, just a disruptive one. It would be an action of the ego to clap because of a misguided belief that it is the only proper way to practice.

Others have already pointed out the O Sensei did not require any sort of obedience to his religious observance during practice. Who are you or I to demand it of others?

If you are so all fired up about clapping, then practice clapping in a non-physical, non-disruptive manner. Focus on what the clapping does for your mindset/spirit. When the time comes to bow practice that mindset. However, if you are all riled up that the dojo won't clap their hands because that's "the right way to do it", then you nned to look at why you are clapping in the first place.
Quote:
Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
how many books are written connecting Aikido to the kotodama?
I'm going to guess it is the same number of books that mention O Sensei never requiring any religious dogma...

Thanks for the conversation. I think that about covers it for my part.
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Old 04-15-2007, 10:53 PM   #41
Just Jamey
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Kent Enfield wrote: View Post
No.

It'd be like claiming to Christian/Muslim/Jewish, but only when you go to the YMCA.

And never going to church/mosque/temple.
Janet beat me to this. Much more apt comparision than mine.
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Old 04-16-2007, 12:33 PM   #42
jonreading
 
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Re: "We don't do that here"

1. I clap out of tradition; my instructor claps, my instructor's instructor claps, etc. I do not presume to alter that tradition without a clear understanding of what omitting the clap (heh heh) from class will impact. Some day, I may be comfortable altering my style of teaching, but until that day comes, class is taught in the manner in which I learned aikido.
2. I firmly believe class is more easily taught using traditional Japanese terminology. To me, it is easier to teach, "kotegaishi," then, "outward wrist twist #1." Of course, the translated Japanese is sometimes that simple, for example, "ikkajo." However, I almost prefer English to terribly butchered Japanese...

In any case, you are describing a dojo environment in which you are dissatisfied. You may [privately] politely express your dissatisfaction to you instructor, and he (or she) may elaborate on their decisions to omit clapping or to use English in lieu of Japanese. A dojo is not a democracy, I believe my instructor called class, "a benevolent dictatorship." Your new dojo is not obligated to meet your training demands, nor should you construct false expectations about what you demand from your dojo. If you truly can't bear to train at the dojo, I think you've answered your own questions.

As a side note, I remember leaving a dojo when I found out students do not brand themselves with an hot iron cauldron upon reaching shodan. Sissys.
[note: just kidding]
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Old 04-16-2007, 12:59 PM   #43
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Re: "We don't do that here"

Sorry Luc, but I am having a hard time feeling your pain. An Aikiweb dojo search shows 16 matches within 19 miles of Boston. Gleason himself is only 8 miles away. Me thinks you should appreciate how fortunate that is. If it was me I'd probably visit all of them several times before deciding on where to study. The proper teacher/student relationship is very symbiotic. It is also essential for correct transmission of budo. If you don't "feel" that then you really should move on. It would be best for everyone.
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Old 04-16-2007, 03:39 PM   #44
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Re: "We don't do that here"

Quote:
So, why are "senpai" and "kohai" okay? I would argue that they are even more inappropriate in an American dojo than "Gidney-san".
It just irks me more than the other two.

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Old 04-16-2007, 03:52 PM   #45
Ron Tisdale
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Re: "We don't do that here"

Eight miles??? The guy who wrote the book you are quoting from is EIGHT MILES away, and that's too far???

Dude, I'm sorry...but man, you can ride your bike that far! I used to run five miles to the YMCA, lift weights for 2 hours, then run five miles back!! Granted, you couldn't tell from looking at me now...and that was when I was in my late teens early 20s. But still...you need to get out more.

Best,
Ron

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Old 04-16-2007, 03:56 PM   #46
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Eight miles??? The guy who wrote the book you are quoting from is EIGHT MILES away, and that's too far???
I, too, get a kick out of how far is "too far" to some people. Hell, I used to drive 3 hours (one way) to get to the Iwama dojo on weekends.

Of course, the initial commute to my current dojo was a bit further than that... (~10,000 miles?)

Michael Hacker
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:17 PM   #47
Luc X Saroufim
 
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Larry Camejo wrote: View Post
I'm sorry but if one comes to my dojo to practice then they will be practicing my Aikido (or my system's method as expressed through me), if you want to practice your Aikido open your own dojo or find one that operates the way you like.
hopefully i will one day. allow me to ask you: what is the difference between a Sensei and a student?

authority? a deed? technical skill? where is the line drawn? there are no words to describe the answer, and there is no line. yet i capitalize the word "Sensei, " even when used in an improper form.

there is a difference, and there always will be. the relationship is spiritual, because it's based on faith. i will learn from you, and will not question you. if that's not religion, what is?

the common denominator of *anyone's* Aikido is Shinto. the numerator can be whatever you want it to be.
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:20 PM   #48
Luc X Saroufim
 
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Eight miles??? The guy who wrote the book you are quoting from is EIGHT MILES away, and that's too far???
there's no way i can make it to class on time, because no train goes there. i need to go to a dojo with train access. i've done all the necessary dojo searches and visited the ones i was interested in.
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Old 04-16-2007, 08:36 PM   #49
Aristeia
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Re: "We don't do that here"

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Luc Saroufim wrote: View Post
hopefully i will one day. allow me to ask you: what is the difference between a Sensei and a student?

authority? a deed? technical skill? where is the line drawn? there are no words to describe the answer, and there is no line. yet i capitalize the word "Sensei, " even when used in an improper form.

there is a difference, and there always will be. the relationship is spiritual, because it's based on faith. i will learn from you, and will not question you. if that's not religion, what is?

the common denominator of *anyone's* Aikido is Shinto. the numerator can be whatever you want it to be.
Rubbish. There has been no shinto at the dojos I've trained in. There's no need for it. O'Sensei himself said that his art was different to his religion. If nothing else this thread should be telling you that your beleifs on this topic are.....out of the ordinary. Which means you can't really complain about your sensei doing what they should be doing in your mind, given your mind is clearly different to everyone elses (on this topic)

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 04-16-2007, 09:11 PM   #50
Shipley
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Re: "We don't do that here"

Eight miles takes me 20 minutes on a bike if I'm in a hurry. Where I teach now it is almost that far, and I bike there most of the time (excepting right now, since I have a snapped achilles tendon).

I'm not sure how dedicated you are to training, but if my dream sensei was 8 miles away, I'd be there many times a week.

I clap to start and end class. When I visit a dojo that does not, I also do not. When I visit a Shinto shrine (which I do a few times a year) and train at a dojo there, I do misogi, chinkon, and chohai each morning. I am not Shinto, but respect the right of the person running the dojo to say what is best for the training.

Respect is everything in martial arts. Without it we cannot train sincerely. Without sincerity, what is the point?

I clap twice at the beginning and ending of class as an exercise in focusing. One clap to clear my thoughts of outside influences, one to focus on my training (and symmetrically opposite at the end of class). The clap is a nice reminder to do that, but is hardly necessary if that is already in your mind.

You asked the difference between a sensei and a student. A sensei has convinced several people that he has something to teach them. A student has much to learn. Most good sensei that I have met are also students.

Coming into a dojo and trying to teach the sensei how to behave feels a bit like showing up with a full cup.

Best wishes for finding a dojo that helps you empty your cup.

Paul
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