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Old 06-18-2007, 05:05 PM   #1
Joseph Madden
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Straight Face What to do with a senior student...

who has a reputation for brutality(or sadism). I recently had the misfortune of finding out that a senior that I defended as "hard" and not sadistic or cruel was, in the words of a junior, "out to get me" in one particular class and as a result I ended up extremely disappointed with this individual after taking his uke during said class(It was a shomenuchi tenchi nage at speed with a foot sweep for good measure).He nearly knocked me out as I had never taken this technique from him before in the past. Now, I've taken my share of blows in the past as we all have and I expect to take more in the future. But to have a level of trust and what I thought as friendship thrown aside by this senior made me extremely angry and suffice it to say it was possibly the worst class I've ever experienced. No words were exchanged and I did not commit the cardinal sin of leaving the class. His reputation seems to me to be now well founded. I have decided to no longer take any of this seniors classes because he can no longer be trusted. What a shame. How do you deal with this kind of student?
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Old 06-18-2007, 05:27 PM   #2
crbateman
 
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

Generally speaking, you don't. Although it might be tempting to see him get a taste of his own medicine, you probably can't dish it out yourself. You might mention it to him off the mat in a nice way, if for no other reason than to be able to say "Yes" when someone asks you if you tried to talk to him. Bottom line is that it is the instructor's responsibility to correct this behavior, assuming he doesn't agree with it. Unless his activities are clearly evident to the instructor, there will probably not be anything done until there is an injury, and I hope that it is a minor one. Your other alternative if the temper and tempo don't suit you is to look for another place to train. There is no penalty box in Aikido.

Last edited by crbateman : 06-18-2007 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 06-18-2007, 06:04 PM   #3
charyuop
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

Gladly I have never been in such a situation.
However if Senpai shoots too hard for my level and capability I would ask him to slow the pace. If that is not enough I would just start evading his blows and not receiving them. At that point your Sensei will wonder why and you can explain the blows are too hard for you at this point to receive them and learn something.
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Old 06-18-2007, 06:18 PM   #4
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

I had a situation with a Sempai when I started. Sensei ended it promptly without having to be told.

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 06-18-2007, 07:34 PM   #5
Janet Rosen
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

I would certainly want to know whether or not the instructor was aware/condoned this behavior or not.
Some dojos, like some workplaces, have a passive-agressive structure in place, where virtually anything is permitted by the instructor. I wouldn't like that as it means that any crap a senior student wants to dish out will in fact be condoned, even if the instructor models better behavior herself.
Some dojos, the sr student is teaching when the instructor isn't there, so absent feedback the instructor may genuinely not know.

Janet Rosen
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Old 06-18-2007, 07:37 PM   #6
Joseph Madden
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Straight Face Re: What to do with a senior student...

You've given me food for thought.Since I am a shodan going for nidan grading in November, I still feel its best to stay clear of this particular senior to keep myself from having something hyperextended or dislocated etc until after the test. Like I said earlier, it wasn't so much taking my lumps, as it was the level of vindictiveness that bothered me. Some people (juniors included) just think that the dojo has replaced the local bar as the place for taking out their frustrations.When my sensei returns from a trip to Germany, this seniors need to be in class will diminish( this senior was only taking over this particular class for a short period).
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Old 06-18-2007, 08:10 PM   #7
aikidoc
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

The senior instructor should be aware of his or her behavior. To not deal with it is putting the dojo at risk as well as the students. Abusive behavior in any form should not be tolerated. It is irresponsible to put someone's livelihood in jeopardy with a possible devastating injury.
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Old 06-18-2007, 08:44 PM   #8
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

I once bowed off the mat for similar reasons, during a seminar no less. I considered it an act of self defense.

No maim no shame.

If way to the better there be, it exacts a full look at the worst.

- Thomas Hardy
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Old 06-18-2007, 09:35 PM   #9
Aikibu
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

Kick his butt...

There are many ways to do it on the mat or off verbally or physically...

Abuse of power must be dealt with directly...

Being "nice" about it or bowing off the mat in my experiance does not stop the behaviour and is not really Aikido...He should be confronted directly.

Also by the way If he has a history of this kind of behaviour... Why hasn't the Sensei booted him out of the Dojo after kicking his butt???

William Hazen
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Old 06-18-2007, 11:52 PM   #10
tarik
 
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

Quote:
Joseph Madden wrote: View Post
How do you deal with this kind of student?
If that's what it really is, there never is justification for abusive conduct. We seem to make even the simple stuff so complicated; perhaps because we're studying resolving violence, we lose site of the trees at times.

1. Confront him/her, politely or otherwise.

2. Escalate to the dojo-cho.

3. Escalate to the police.

Somewhere in there you might consider leaving as well.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 06-19-2007, 02:58 AM   #11
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

You don't deal with him, you deal with yourself.

Be eager to train with him. Protect yourself and learn. As you get better, you can dish it back out to him. Learn what he does, learn how to do it, and take note.

You are training in the martial arts, you should expect and except people like this. Look at it as an opportunity to improve yourself, and face your fear (one of the reasons you might wish to study a martial art). You only hurt yourself by not training with this fellow, and falling victim to your fear. Your ego is in the way, put it in check, and maybe your Aikido will open up.

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Old 06-19-2007, 10:34 AM   #12
Joseph Madden
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

In my original post I stated the technique performed was tenchi nage. I meant to say kokyu nage. My bad. Perhaps I will continue to train with this senior in the future( once he gets over what ever it is he's fighting). With regards to my ego, I have very little of it where the dojo is concerned. The sempai/kohai relationship I've developed with this senior over the years is so strong that anytime he teaches class, he will pick me over his other juniors. It was this relationship that was damaged by a specific vindictiveness on his part. You don't work that close with someone for 5 years and not know the difference. With regards to my sensei not knowing about this seniors rep, he knows. But because so few students are willing to work with him, he rarely gets the opportunity to train and therefore no one gets hurt. He has caused injury to his fellow seniors in the past as well and now they avoid him.

Last edited by Joseph Madden : 06-19-2007 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 06-19-2007, 10:47 AM   #13
Aikibu
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

Quote:
Joseph Madden wrote: View Post
This was about someone I trusted with my life in the dojo trying to hurt me. You establish a sempai/kohai relationship over 5 years, you know the difference.
Well then you should know what to do....

William Hazen
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Old 06-19-2007, 10:58 AM   #14
Joseph Madden
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

Osu.
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Old 06-19-2007, 11:34 AM   #15
Qatana
 
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

[quote=Joseph Madden;181305]( once he gets over what ever it is he's fighting).]

Have you considered that this may not happen as long as people refuse to train with him? That the less support he feels from his dojomates the angrier and more out-of-control he may become?
It is the times that my behavioral responses are at their worst that I most appreciate my dojo-mates and sensei for the incredible support I feel from them. If they had turned away from me as soon as some anger crept into my technique I'd have quit training before my first test. Granted it would be very difficult for teeny little me to damage all but two dojo members, I have been corrected for unecessary brutality in my intent.
I make it a point to spend time with "angry" people. Not a single one of them is aware of how angry they are and how it manifests in their behavior. I *Know* I am angry and my greatest goal in training is to let the anger be whatever it is,without letting it get in my way, or that of my training partners, and thence with all my interactions.

Q
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Old 06-19-2007, 12:54 PM   #16
tarik
 
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote: View Post
Have you considered that this may not happen as long as people refuse to train with him? That the less support he feels from his dojomates the angrier and more out-of-control he may become?
Perhaps. It is certainly the case that none of us are in the situation, yet we have reports of someone who has been misbehaving long enough that they have a reputation, and from someone who claims to have trusted them in the past.

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote: View Post
It is the times that my behavioral responses are at their worst that I most appreciate my dojo-mates and sensei for the incredible support I feel from them. If they had turned away from me as soon as some anger crept into my technique I'd have quit training before my first test.
See above about the reputation. It's too bad that the dojo-cho allowed this to escalate to the point that it becomes an issue. I have an opinion about that too. Doing the right thing is not always to keep your mouth shut and let things take their course.

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote: View Post
I make it a point to spend time with "angry" people. Not a single one of them is aware of how angry they are and how it manifests in their behavior. I *Know* I am angry and my greatest goal in training is to let the anger be whatever it is,without letting it get in my way, or that of my training partners, and thence with all my interactions.
I am pretty comfortable with my ability to protect myself from errant partners and so I don't avoid them, but I no longer particularly seek them out either unless they are a junior in need of correction or I genuinely see an injury as imminent. I used to have fun challenging myself and my own self control against such people and sadly, occasionally still find entertainment in dealing with them.

I find your ability to evaluate your partners internal awareness impressive and fascinating. It's a skill I've been working on for years that remains unreliable.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 06-19-2007, 01:19 PM   #17
Qatana
 
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

I don't know, Tarik, its just something in the way they yell....

Q
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"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 06-19-2007, 01:58 PM   #18
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

Let me add some context that Joe (the original poster) left out. This was not a case of two partners working on a technique. The senior in question was leading the class and called Joe out to be his uke while he demonstrated the technique to be worked on. Now in our dojo (an I believe in many dojo), and uke called out in front to assist in demonstrating a technique has no idea of what technique will be applied against his attack. They are told to attack a certain way and then perform ukemi as required. Had the senior done a standard technique there would have been little problem. It was the combination of full speed an an improvised addition (foot sweep) that caused the issue to emerge.

I have spoken to Joe about this and understand fully where he is coming from. I'm a little surprised at some of the comments received thus far. On this board whenever I have read in past about a sensei or shihan being unduly harsh on their ukes there have been howls of outrage against the abuse of power etc. But here in this case (a very similar circumstance IMO) we have people saying its uke's fault and that we should try and work with this type of behaviour.

What am I missing?

Dan
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Old 06-19-2007, 02:30 PM   #19
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

I would tell the person the moment it happens that I was uncomfortable with that level of contact without warning. And if they want to continue on that level that I would suggest a new partner, or switching from kata to sparing.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 06-19-2007, 03:50 PM   #20
Joseph Madden
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Grr! Re: What to do with a senior student...

I'm very appreciative of the responses thus far. I've worked in the security field in the last few years and have had many an opportunity to work with angry people and have managed to diffuse some situations without resorting to physical technique. I like to think that my training at the dojo has given me the ability to do so thus far. We are all taught that kamae is the first step all students take and our sensei has told us repeatedly that if your kamae is good, people will understand what you mean and what you can do. This fellow student knows me. He has seemed appreciative in the past. I have no problem with being hit ot taking a hard fall. Its happened. I understand the mentality of spare the rod, spoil the child. But as I stated before, this senior does not take a lot of classes anymore, so the chance to train with him will be sporadic
at best.Osu.
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Old 06-19-2007, 10:39 PM   #21
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

Of course the senior is wrong - for too too many reasons to list here. The senpai/kohai model works so long as there is compassion downward and respect upward. If either is gone, the dynamic is reduced to ego-trips and cycles of abuse being perpetuated (often reinforced by ones going back to childhood).

However, for me, there's a deeper issue here, and it is related to the fact that most folks in Aikido know of this stuff, participate in this stuff, have had this stuff happen to them, etc., and they don't ever come to realize that one is training in a sick (or insane) place.

Okay - maybe one can write off the disease on the individual alone, but even then one should look for what Lynn related. If one doesn't see at least see that, one is not in a place of the Way. One is in sick place, full of disease and insanity. Move on now before the disease gets you too.

In an art where reconciliation of the ego is key to progress, the training area must be observed to see if it harbors or produces the diseases of the ego. In this sense, a dojo is like a soil. You have to ask if this is good soil or not. You have to accept what you find. If a dojo only reinforces, or allows the reinforcement of ego-generated insanities, it is an unhealthy/poor soil. It must be judged as incapable of supporting a true practice in Aikido.

There are places that train harder, more martial, and don't even come close to this kind of ego-bull. So please don't write this off as "martial" training. That's the point to notice - isn't it? As the more martial something is, the more lethal something is, the more strict the governance and the higher the expectations that one training safely and with great awareness for the limitations of everyone involved. Could you imagine this kind of bull on a shooting range? In other words, there are places out there where this kind of things would never happen, where pigs would fly before this kind of thing would happen, and chances are they are training way harder and with way more lethal/martial technique. Look around, see clearly, and move on. Turn away from the "path" of the masses that does not see disease for what it is simply because everyone else is doing it.

dmv

Last edited by senshincenter : 06-19-2007 at 10:45 PM.

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Old 06-19-2007, 11:26 PM   #22
wxyzabc
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

Hya

Joseph..sadly many people in aikido are selfish and wish to remain the "top dog" in their little fish bowl.

I`ve encountered this many times...its usually one of two things...either the other guy is insecure in his aikido and wants to prove that he is better...and usually proves he isn`t by really having to force a technique or make it painful.

Or sometimes if you are progressing some "teachers" will try and impede your progress by making it really difficult for you or being really "hard" in the hope that you will respond likewise and start forcing and shouldering your techniques. I`ve come across it in so many places...of course this is not always true but it does seem to be the trend when I`ve encountered the situation.

What to do?...use it as motivation to improve yourself...do the opposite to them....if they dont understand aikido then they need to be taught by example imho...grades mean nothing at the end of the day...its only something someone has been kind enough to give you at one time or another

Regards

Lee
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Old 06-21-2007, 04:47 PM   #23
Lyle Bogin
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

I don't train with people I don't like to train with.

For a while this limitation would bug me, but after trying to go back on my original instincts and having caused myself more trouble, I trust myself to ignore the right people.
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Old 06-21-2007, 05:00 PM   #24
Luc X Saroufim
 
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

Quote:
Joseph Madden wrote: View Post
I have decided to no longer take any of this seniors classes because he can no longer be trusted. What a shame. How do you deal with this kind of student?
you are justifiably frustrated, but that's not a good enough reason to hamper your learning curve.

you have every right to tell him to take it easy. if he refuses, you also have every right to tell him you're not going to work with him. i have no shame in doing this.
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Old 06-21-2007, 05:09 PM   #25
Mark Uttech
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Re: What to do with a senior student...

Believe it or not, we learn to deal with things as we go and continue to train. The art of aikido does transform individuals and circumstances; how is does this is new every time.

In gassho,

Mark
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