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Old 06-16-2007, 03:02 PM   #1
Brian22
 
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Confused Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

I have a teacher that will occasionally pull me out while I am practising a technique and he will perform the next technique on me before he demonstrates it to the class. I enjoy this because he moves very quickly and makes me stay focused on my ability to flow with him and really tests mu ukemi.
Recently he performed a technique on me where I had reached my limit of flexibility and I had to tap out, but he continued until I had to counter with some wrestling moves to save my elbow. After I was out of danger I began to flow with him again and he torqued my arm very aggressively as he gave a sly grin to my waiting partner.

I need advise. I don't want to disrespect the art or my teacher by using outside techniques, I don't want to challenge my teacher by fighting against him, and I definitely don't want him to stop challenging me with difficult techniques. But the last thing I would accept is being hurt because my teacher wants to get his jollies by hurting a compliant Uke.

What do you think? Was he trying to train me or was he just showing me how good he is?
All respect to my teacher, but is this common?

Last edited by Brian22 : 06-16-2007 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 06-16-2007, 04:00 PM   #2
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

Quote:
Brian Rozell wrote: View Post
I don't want to disrespect the art or my teacher by using outside techniques, I don't want to challenge my teacher by fighting against him, and I definitely don't want him to stop challenging me with difficult techniques. But the last thing I would accept is being hurt because my teacher wants to get his jollies by hurting a compliant Uke.
First, you do whatever you need to do to stay safe. If you think he is really trying to hurt you, leave. DO NOT TREAT THIS ATTITUDE AS BEING PART OF YOUR TRAINING; it isn't.

You might take a look at the issue of whether there was something you could have done to have taken better ukemi. A lot of folks get hurt accidentally or are easily hurt by those who are not careful with them because they carry too much tension.

But that said, this game of "challenge me and I'll put the hurt on you" is dangerous. a) you are cooperating as uke and b) the teacher is ostensibly more skilled than you are. So it's a no win. There's a point at which you have to say "no". If they wish to try to hurt you, offer the the option of going out to the parking lot where there are no "ukes" and "nages". The problem with doing that to the guy who runs the show is that it would usually mean you are going to have to train elsewhere.

People stay with abusive teachers for decades and have all sorts of justifications for why they do. Often it's because they want to learn what the guy knows technically. But what is really the point of training? Is it to master the techniques of the art, which I can assure you, no one in the real world cares about one iota, or is it to become the kind of person you'd like to be? Training under someone who can only manifest technique but isn't representative of the kind of person you are striving to become isn't a good idea.

There are two ways you can go with the art. You can allow the pursuit of knowledge to shape you over time, in ways that you probably can't anticipate. Or you can allow your own dysfunction to shape how you manifest the art. In other words you can choose to let the art manifest through you or you can choose to manifest yourself through the techniques of the art. All sorts of dysfunctional people have attained some level of competence in technique but have gone to the "dark side" so to speak. Their version of the art simply manifests their dysfunction. I don't think it's useful, in the long run, to place oneself in a position to learn the art from someone who isn't the kind of person one can respect for their character and integrity.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Aikido Eastside
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Old 06-16-2007, 05:14 PM   #3
Aristeia
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

this really annoys the hell out of me. I've seen other instructers continue to torque a pin after uke has started tapping - obviously thinking they are helping them with their flexibility. This is nonsense and it is arrogant for an instructor to assume he knows more about ukes limitations than uke does. The tap is sacrosanct. If you are in the class of someone who does not absolutely and universally respect the tap - go find another class imo.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 06-16-2007, 09:19 PM   #4
James Young
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Training under someone who can only manifest technique but isn't representative of the kind of person you are striving to become isn't a good idea.
This is great advice. I've seen teachers who are good technically but I haven't had any desire to have a teacher-student relationship with because of this very point. Teachers don't have to be saints or without flaw but you should be able to respect them for their character and not just position and ability.

Abusive dojos can be like abusive relationships, where both sides seem to give justification for continuing with the staus quo. However if it continues in the end it's not worth it. I understand it can be a difficult conversation to have with a sensei, but it's absolutely necessary. Good senseis and senpai know how to push you to your limits to help you grow without risking injury. Don't wait until you're seriously injured and unable to practice for several months or worse permanently. That's a no-win situation for everybody.
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Old 06-16-2007, 09:34 PM   #5
bkedelen
 
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

A tap is a tap. Even the most ruthless submission specialists know to treat your training partner the way you wish to be treated.
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Old 06-16-2007, 09:38 PM   #6
Aristeia
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

if you dont respect my tap you break the covenant by which training is possible. When you break that there is no trust and without trust there is no real training.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 06-17-2007, 01:38 AM   #7
Amir Krause
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

Hi Brian

Did you ask your teacher? It may have been a misunderstanding? He may have not heard / noticed (it happens). And in some cases it is you who actually increase the pressure on your elbow while he tries to relieve it.

Quote:
The tap is sacrosanct
A tap is a tap, but it does not necessarily mean "leave me", but rather "I am in pain and feeling close to damage". An experienced teacher can and should be able to feel your situation even without the tap.
Once Uke taps, Tori should not leave him be, in some techniques this can be very dangerous and get Uke flailing in the air with no direction. It is also a non martial habit (he taps - release instinctively). The tap signals Tori to re-evaluate the situation based on Uke announcement and change his actions accordingly (in normal training - safely stop and do not increase the pressure).

There are even exceptional cases in which a teacher should continue based on his senses rather then let go with the tap ( it might be a special situation with a student who underestimates his own ability, or because of other activities).

Amir
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Old 06-17-2007, 03:40 AM   #8
Aristeia
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

the tap is part of the agreement. I agree to let you train with my body, you agree that when I tap you release the pressure on that body. If you don't you break the agreement. I don't think you should ever second guess the tap - sometimes you may not even know why they're tapping. They may have a pre existing injury, they may be tapping cause their toe is caught in your hakama, who the hell knows. The point is the tap is the way we say "stop and stop right now". Anyone that sits there and says "I hear you telling me to stop but I don't beleive you" needs to be talked to imo. coming from an instructor, upon whom others will presumably model their behavioiur - it's unforgiveable.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 06-17-2007, 05:03 AM   #9
Aikilove
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

The tap issacrosanct! If a new student tap early (as a senior it's usually easy to notice a tap from inexperience and fear and one from physiological reasons) I always decrease pressure (It's necessary if you want to teach/instil trust in your training-partners. Trust is the basis of all training in aikido - I don't hurt you - you don't hurt me. Ever!
After I've decreased the pressure, in those cases I don't just let go, but I try to guide uke (beginner) by telling her/him to relax and ask them if it really already hurts. Then slowly I increase pressure until it does and then they know where they should really tap.
I usually use nikkyo to do this with beginners. It's essential that they know where the limit is for all to benifit from the training. The golden rule, however, is: They Tap - You Stop!

/J

Jakob Blomquist
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Old 06-17-2007, 06:13 AM   #10
Mark Uttech
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

Quote:
James Young wrote: View Post
This is great advice. I've seen teachers who are good technically but I haven't had any desire to have a teacher-student relationship with because of this very point. Teachers don't have to be saints or without flaw but you should be able to respect them for their character and not just position and ability.

Abusive dojos can be like abusive relationships, where both sides seem to give justification for continuing with the staus quo. However if it continues in the end it's not worth it. I understand it can be a difficult conversation to have with a sensei, but it's absolutely necessary. Good senseis and senpai know how to push you to your limits to help you grow without risking injury. Don't wait until you're seriously injured and unable to practice for several months or worse permanently. That's a no-win situation for everybody.
This part of aikido training really needs to be stressed. To control your uke without injuring is excellent instructor training. The evolution and continuance of aikido depends on this simple fact.

In gassho,

Mark
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Old 06-17-2007, 07:05 AM   #11
darin
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

I think if he continues to hurt you after you've tapped then you need to do whatever is necessary to protect yourself. On the flip side, you get new students or visitors who try to challenge students and instructors by resisting/trying to fight out of locks and throws. Anyway both situations are examples of insecure people worried about their ego.
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Old 06-17-2007, 10:17 AM   #12
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

O'Sensei referred to aikido as the Way of the Mountain Echo Path (see todays aikiweb quote). A path of communication with nature that we can find through his path. We emulate the ideals of communication through our structures in practice. The Tap is our most relied on tool for communicating. If the tap isn't honored, communication has been hi-jacked and someone has stepped outside of nature.
Now, there are times when Sensei does make exceptions to this rule for the growth of a student. This is also a point that needs to be communicated precisely. Not leaving you wondering WTF?

Just like in relationships rules of silence are abusive. Talking takes courage. But that is why we're here, right?

Courage,wisdom,love and friendship.-O'Sensei

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 06-17-2007, 03:17 PM   #13
Marc Abrams
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

George Sensei's response was SPOT ON. I have heard of, and have even observed more abusive teacher-student relationships in Aikido than I EVER observed in any other "hard" art or fighting sport. When a person signals someone to stop and that person does not stop, that is nothing less than a form of sadistic abuse. Teachers have no more right than anybody else to engage in this lower than whale sh*t type of behavior. I personally believe that the teacher has a higher obligation to protect the safety of students, than the obligation of students training with one another.

marc abrams
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Old 06-17-2007, 11:20 PM   #14
Brian22
 
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

It sounds like aggressive teachers behave this way sometimes in aikido classes. I would like to study Kaeshiwaza, not to one up anyone, but to at least be able to avoid the extreme pain of full nikkyo again. Any advise?

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Old 06-17-2007, 11:34 PM   #15
Aristeia
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

yes - train somewhere where you feel safe.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 06-18-2007, 08:57 AM   #16
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

Quote:
Brian Rozell wrote: View Post
It sounds like aggressive teachers behave this way sometimes in aikido classes. I would like to study Kaeshiwaza, not to one up anyone, but to at least be able to avoid the extreme pain of full nikkyo again. Any advise?

Kaeshiwaza may actaually take you deeper into the pain of Nikkyo, because it takes you deeper into everything. If you have not been practicing for several years, or in some way incorporated principles of aiki into your concious practice, then you may likely begin to fall into reversal madness; that is a place where you no longer listen to the instruction being offered and are looking for a way out. This can decend into competiton very quickly and will hinder your practice.Kaeshi is a method of advanced joining that is difficult for even the most advanced praticioner.
Having said all of that, Kaeshi is an amazing practice and if you have a trusted sempai to guide you in this practice it will open up your practice to deeper effectiveness and more sustaining, positive flow.
Good Luck in Your Journey,
Jen Smith

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 06-18-2007, 09:32 AM   #17
tarik
 
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

Quote:
Brian Rozell wrote: View Post
What do you think? Was he trying to train me or was he just showing me how good he is?
Ask him. Respectfully and without challenging him or what he did, let him know your concerns. His response will tell you what you need to know (whether or not he admits to actually showing off).

Quote:
Brian Rozell wrote: View Post
All respect to my teacher, but is this common?
As you can see from other responses, this sort of thing does happen all too often in the wrong fashion, but there are also simple misunderstandings and misjudgements.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 06-18-2007, 10:45 AM   #18
Hanna B
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

Actually, I think part of the problem with this kind of teachers is that nobody tells them their view on what they are doing. They are just human, but they have this "sensei" halo on which makes people not question what they are doing - at least not to their faces.

If you want to stay, you should talk to him about it, tell your view on it and listen to his response. If you are leaving, you are doing him a favour if you have talked about it with him. Maybe talking to him, continue training for a while and decide after that if you still want to train with him is a reasonable approach?
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Old 06-19-2007, 09:21 PM   #19
Upyu
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
A tap is a tap. Even the most ruthless submission specialists know to treat your training partner the way you wish to be treated.
Welll...i dunno about that...I know plenty of dick submission guys here in the Tokyo area
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Old 06-20-2007, 08:29 AM   #20
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

Quote:
Robert John wrote: View Post
Welll...i dunno about that...I know plenty of dick submission guys here in the Tokyo area
Do the submission guys you know call each other 'partner' or 'opponent'?

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 06-20-2007, 10:39 AM   #21
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Do the submission guys you know call each other 'partner' or 'opponent'?
I think they just call each other "dick."
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Old 06-20-2007, 01:00 PM   #22
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

Quote:
Ricky Wood wrote: View Post
I think they just call each other "dick."
Good one.

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 06-20-2007, 06:10 PM   #23
Upyu
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Do the submission guys you know call each other 'partner' or 'opponent'?
What you call each other doesnt really matter Jennifer.
Most Japanese guys are polite on the outside, (tatemae), but its the ones that say "oh lets go light" that you have to watch out for.
I remember the captain of a certain group put a neck crank on me rather severely after failing to lock any sort of submission on me for about 3-4 minutes in a five minute session. It was probably mainly due to the fact that his wife and kid were there and he felt like he had to save face.
In return I punched him from the bottom of the mount position, flipped him over, and suddenly he was all ears as to what I was doing <sigh> (plus everyone in the group was suddenly a whole lot nicer)

Unless you're on the "in" with a group here in Japan (especially in the MMA area) dont be surprised if you run into a few testosterone fueled idiots. The problem for most foreigners is that they cant pick those guys out...thinking that the politeness being exhibited is genuine

That neck crank f@#$@#ing hurt though. I had to end up seeing a semi chiro guy to get it fixed. By the by, for injuries of that sort, I highly recommend someone skilled in "Soutaihou". They manipulate your body without using any pressure or massage. Simply using the muscles natural reactions to restore full range of motion.
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Old 06-20-2007, 06:36 PM   #24
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

Quote:
Robert John wrote: View Post
What you call each other doesnt really matter Jennifer.
Most Japanese guys are polite on the outside, (tatemae), but its the ones that say "oh lets go light" that you have to watch out for.
I remember the captain of a certain group put a neck crank on me rather severely after failing to lock any sort of submission on me for about 3-4 minutes in a five minute session. It was probably mainly due to the fact that his wife and kid were there and he felt like he had to save face.
In return I punched him from the bottom of the mount position, flipped him over, and suddenly he was all ears as to what I was doing <sigh> (plus everyone in the group was suddenly a whole lot nicer)

Unless you're on the "in" with a group here in Japan (especially in the MMA area) dont be surprised if you run into a few testosterone fueled idiots. The problem for most foreigners is that they cant pick those guys out...thinking that the politeness being exhibited is genuine

That neck crank f@#$@#ing hurt though. I had to end up seeing a semi chiro guy to get it fixed. By the by, for injuries of that sort, I highly recommend someone skilled in "Soutaihou". They manipulate your body without using any pressure or massage. Simply using the muscles natural reactions to restore full range of motion.
I get what your saying. Interesting post.

I would love to say that the phenomena of 'let's go light people' who turn around and "crack you" are exclusive to the island of Japan, but alas, they are everywhere. Indeed I have found myself surrounded by 'in groups' of testosterone fueled idiots more than once in my Aikido training in America and otherwise as I live in and amongst gangs of many varieties including martial
'yakuza'. You betcha I can pick 'em out ( I even picked one up once, but that is a story for another day ). Deception lies in every form.

My jist with the question was to talk about the relationship structure in Aikido where we view the person training with us as a partner in learning and not a punching bag to demonstrate our might upon (not that all 'opponents' are punching bags, either). If the relationship structure of the school is one where partnerships are developed for learning in the tradition of non-competitive aikido, than that is the name of the game for the student and the teacher both. If the teacher views you, in some respect, as an opponent and you are not participating in that kind of game, then beware or begone.
Teachers are not equals in the dojo. We are the exemplars of conduct and we need to check ourselves and be checked about our attitudes and relationships in the context of our professed philosophy. Words and names can help establish what these relationships are. Morse code, or tapping, is one communicaton method of following through on our intention to learn together in an agreed upon fashion. We are not fighting in Aikido. In the case of a true need to fight; all social rules may go out the window because it is a matter of survivial.

By the way, you may call me Jen. And thanks for the body work tip.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 06-21-2007, 11:30 AM   #25
Mark Uttech
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Re: Aggressive sensei or high expectations?

Jennifer Smith wrote: "We are not fighting in aikido." This one thing seems to be the hardest thing to learn about the art, and the difficulty includes everyone.

In gassho,

Mark
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