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Old 09-08-2007, 09:46 PM   #1
"byProxy"
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In need of an Aikido magic bullet

This letter was emailed to me by a friend asking for advice. I thought I'd post it here to get my friend better advice I did a rewrite to protect the innocent only, no content change or filter added.. Though by doing the rewrite I am sure my high school English teacher is rolling in her grave. I hope people will sincerely address this issue

I decided to take Aikido as my second martial art. I looked around for a good dojo. In my town there many Aikido schools within 50 miles of my home and I visited nearly every single one. Mind you, in my area there are no famous instructors or schools. The schools in my area are the standard fare. After several months of doing my homework, I found a school that seemed to fit what I was looking for. Basically, I looked for an Aikido school that was sincere. My requirements also required a friendly knowledgeable and skilled instructor, without a huge ego and insecurity. A school had to have welcoming students without the "I wearing a yellow belt, but you newbie, you treat me like am wearing a black belt" mentality. The instructor and students had to be opened minded. Not the Nazi or bully type. Remember, I come from a different martial art and my body memory is strong in that martial art. It will take me time, to retrain to learn Aikido. And, I did run into some Aikido schools that had issues, they really didn't fit what I was looking for. To be fair, there where a few schools I looked at I knew I wouldn't fit them. It took me sometime to find this one school. I joined it.

In here lies the rub. After several months things went fine, I was learning and there where no complaints. Then after sometime the honeymoon suddenly came to a halt, I started (not in my mind, but some of the other students' mind) getting better then the Sensei. Who was a young guy and is a multi degree black belt. I am older, slower, and have more creaks, groans, and "oh by God, that hurt, now what did I do to myself" moments. Whether this was true or not, I ignored the scuttle-butt and kept on training. Well the Sensei didn't ignore it, and it bothered him. He took it to heart, and the Pandora's box of ego was unleashed.

After several months of putting up with it, it got to me. I never experienced such nonsense in martial arts. I went to talk to him about it as a man. Nothing positive resulted from it. It was like talking to my 17 year old son who was pissed at me. He didn't hear a word I said. I really had seen how immature he was. After throwing my hands in the air and walking away, I kept on training and improving. Of course there were no ranking opportunities with less and less instruction from him as time went on. The dojo became polarized. There was one group of students deadly, and cultish-ly devoted to him who despised me and the students who thought they could learn from me. Not that I ever disrespected the Sensei by teaching in our outside of his class to his students. Some students just gravitated toward training with me and would say, "oh he is good, or his technique is very sharp and relaxed, good blending, it is different then Sensei's." Keep in mind, I don't know Aikido, I am a newbie to the art. There is more to it then looking pretty like I do, I realize it takes years to learn it. The Sensei is good, though young, in my opinion better then I. I just have a different experience that I bring to my technique that mostly is due to my age, and different background.

The class is now very polarized, and very political. I don't have experience with Aikido dojos, nor feel it is my place to resolve the issue, any magic Aikido bullets to keep the dojo from destroying itself? Granted I know how to resolve the issues in a non-Aikido way, but I want to first see if there is an Aikido fix.
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Old 09-09-2007, 12:19 AM   #2
ChrisHein
 
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Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

Sounds like a silly school. He should leave.

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Old 09-09-2007, 11:14 AM   #3
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

Sounds like a lot of aikido schools to me..... Don't get this problem as I don't pull rank on my own students.... when we do randori together, I don't get puffy when they manage to get a technique on me.... just congratulate them on learning to get the gist of it.... proves to me they are learning......
Wouldn't be doing my job if they didn't !!
Tony
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Old 09-09-2007, 12:15 PM   #4
tedehara
 
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Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
...My requirements also required a friendly knowledgeable and skilled instructor, without a huge ego and insecurity....The class is now very polarized, and very political. I don't have experience with Aikido dojos, nor feel it is my place to resolve the issue, any magic Aikido bullets to keep the dojo from destroying itself? Granted I know how to resolve the issues in a non-Aikido way, but I want to first see if there is an Aikido fix.
It sounds like this dojo no longer fulfills your initial requirements.

You wrote that you wanted to do aikido as your second martial art. While most people like to believe other martial training could imprint incorrect movements, the fact is that the founder's students started in another martial art. They did alright and there is no reason to believe you can't. It is probably that previous training that the other students detected.

There are no magic aikido bullets. You need to bite this one and leave.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
About Ki
About You
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Old 09-09-2007, 12:52 PM   #5
SeiserL
 
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Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

IMHO, if you can detach from the egos just enter and blend with the training if it still suits your purpose and intent. If you cannot detach from the egos and it no longer suits your training purpose and intent, bow politely and enter and blend with the door.

Bottom line, it is the Sensei's school and students.

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 09-10-2007, 01:14 PM   #6
Dewey
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Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
...Bottom line, it is the Sensei's school and students.
Exactly. In the end, it's the instructor's school and it is the students' choice alone with whom & where they train. If an irreconcilable personality clash arises between a student & teacher...even if the teacher is in the wrong, it's ultimately the student's choice to either stay or go. If they go, then just go...no drama. If they decide to stay, they have to also decide to accept the instructor's style, current skill level and personality quarks and just swallow their pride. Personally, I'd leave.
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Old 09-10-2007, 01:17 PM   #7
James Davis
 
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Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

One of my students has technique that is more effective than mine. He started of in our school as a 3rd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do who'd spent some years in Fast Company with the Marines. He could already hand me my head on the first night he came to the dojo. Now he has great, gentle, aikido technique and a gentler disposition than when we first met. It doesn't take long for newbies to see that he has amazing skill. When they comment on it, I just say "Yup. He's a good aikidoka, and I'm really proud."

Regarding your friend's situation, I'd say leave the dojo if it's causing that much static. If the sensei is that sensitive about someone being better than him, then I'd say that he's on a different place on the path where "winning" and "losing" still matter. I wouldn't hold it against him; I'd just move on.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 09-11-2007, 07:09 AM   #8
Angela Dunn
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Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

The way I read it is that even if your friend does leave there will still be that situation in the dojo the next time someone else comes along who can seemingly do a technique better than the Sensei, so that should not impact on his decision, the students in the class will make their minds up about the situation on the dojo.If there is fractions then they will still be there if he leaves or not, dojo implosion is in motion as it where as the Sensei involved should not have let the situation happen in the first place.

Your friend has to do whats best for him, however if there is a situation where it appears that the Sensei and him can not get on and it is impacting on the quality of the training he is recieving he has to think about whats best for him. It appears that this Sensei has a slight ego problem and if your friend has tried to talk to him about it and it has not helped their is not much else he can do. Short of is their another person in the dojo or organisation he can discuss this with and get their advice and opinion on the matter?
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Old 09-11-2007, 11:26 AM   #9
Karen Wolek
Dojo: Kingston Aikido
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Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

I think I'd like to hear the other side of the story...

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 09-11-2007, 01:22 PM   #10
DarkShodan
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Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

I think he should move to Omaha and train with us, but only if you're not as good as I am!


Victims, aren't we all.
-- Eric Draven
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Old 09-11-2007, 02:00 PM   #11
"A student in the middle"
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Angry Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

I am a student from the dojo that is being talked about, consider me a student squeezed the middle. I am in my 30s andhave been training in the dojo, I am a yudansha. Me and several other students have been following this intimately since it pertains to us. Now I want to speak about it, as I really unhappy and want to walk out of the dojo.

The situation is a freaking mess, and tensions are high. With due respect to Sensei his is being a pain about the whole thing. He got an attitude when this new student started. The new student, well it isn't his fault. He has straight up with everyone since he started, no complaints. We have never seen our Sensei act this way before, it has upset alot of us with his jealousy.

Many of us don't care if the new student leaves or stays, but what then? We have to deal with Sensei. Is he going to get jealous and act poorly to me now? Yea, you can say it's Sensei's dojo. But isn't the new guy his student too. Doesn't Sensei have a responsibility to him to the rest of us. He is the leader, he is suppose to have a moral code and to model it. I think Sensei is being an aiki-hyocrite, and handling the whole situation the wrong way! Very un-aikido like.

What about the other students who liked the new student and befriended him. Will they be outcasts? Will Sensei treat them like trash because he thinks they betrayed him? The students that sided with Sensei will be patted on the head like loyal minons. What about the rest of us who are stuck in the middle, will we be forced out because we didn't choose the right side.

Yes, it is great to hold to tradition and protocal and say it is Sensei's dojo, but Sensei has an obligation to his students doesn't he?

The issue is complicated, it really isn't about one student, it is about all of us.
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Old 09-11-2007, 02:37 PM   #12
Marie Noelle Fequiere
 
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Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

Dear "ByProxy", it seems that you are wrecking havoc in someone's school. I do not mean that you are doing it intentionally, but, sadly, this is what is happening. If your Sensei is too immature, and his ego is just too big to help him deal with this, he cannot teach you.
I suggest that you look for another school.
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Old 09-11-2007, 03:07 PM   #13
Basia Halliop
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Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

Quote:
Yes, it is great to hold to tradition and protocal and say it is Sensei's dojo, but Sensei has an obligation to his students doesn't he?
Of course he does. I think all 'it's his dojo' really means in the end is that you can't really make him change if he doesn't wish to, you can only decide if that's where you want to train or not. It's partly just practical.
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Old 09-11-2007, 05:21 PM   #14
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

You can really look at this situation and understand the difference between people and Aikido. Aikido asks of us and delivers to us the goods to shed our egos.You've got some choices: You could stay and fight the battle, you could let it wash over you, or you can continue to train and watch the dojo come to a split and then leave, which is what happened when my situation mirrored the original posters situation with a few cogent exceptions related to time in the dojo and rank in aikido (, for want of a better way to describe my place in the dojo.).
I had to leave for the sake of my spirit and for the sake of following what my spirit had in mind for me, which is to not take up shugyo (hardship training) at every step of the way in dealing with jealousy and heirarchy, but to put my training to work in a more joyful manner. It has been severe shugyo to open my own school and to traverse the politics of misunderstanding with the former dojo, but it has been freeing to the rest of my aikido practice; a practice I will follow for my entire life. For now I offer the words of my former teacher. the words I use to remind myself of the good teaching I got and also to put in place the healing for the community that is neccessary after such a public split.
"Don't stare at the hand when doing technique. Look out beyond your partner (opponent) and see the open space beyond them. Blend from there."
It is hard and heartbreaking to deal with such disappointments when we want and expect so much. But you'll be o.k., I'm sure.
It is a winding road. Stay with your practice until you can hear the wisdom of aikido help you to act 'in-tact'.
Good luck.
jen smith

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 09-11-2007 at 05:27 PM.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 09-12-2007, 11:37 AM   #15
jonreading
 
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Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

I agree with what is being posted: the dojo balance is upset and if byProxy doesn't want to train under sensei, he should leave.

The dojo is a dictatorship, for good and bad. If sensei is acting poorly, this situation only illustrates a greater problem - a poor sensei.

I would also like to hear the other side of the story on this issue before I pass judgement.
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Old 09-12-2007, 02:27 PM   #16
"Disinterested Party"
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Straight Face Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

"Time for you to leave."
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Old 09-12-2007, 04:21 PM   #17
Mary Eastland
 
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Smile Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

I have a hard time believing that after a few months you could be better than the instuctor.
Aikido takes avery long time to become strong...how can you be after just a few classes?
If this is true...I think another school with another teacher is in order.
Mary
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Old 09-12-2007, 08:14 PM   #18
heathererandolph
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Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

Keep looking
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Old 09-13-2007, 02:39 PM   #19
Aiki x
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Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

You should challenge this so called sensei in front of the class. If he loses his bottle and backs down then you probably don't have anything to learn from him. If he fights and loses you definitely don't have anything to learn from him. If he fights and wins then his ego will be appeased and if he allows you continue training at the club.
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Old 09-14-2007, 06:00 AM   #20
David Yap
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Re: In need of an Aikido magic bullet

Quote:
Neil Harrison wrote: View Post
You should challenge this so called sensei in front of the class. If he loses his bottle and backs down then you probably don't have anything to learn from him. If he fights and loses you definitely don't have anything to learn from him. If he fights and wins then his ego will be appeased and if he allows you continue training at the club.
Neil,

Are you serious? This is so unethical, challenging a sensei in his own dojo.

I have gone through a similar experience when years ago I jump-start my aikido training in another dojo. I thought I could be helpful with my dojo mates by giving some tips now and then to shorten the learning process. I didn't realize that the sensei was a full-time instructor and my being helpful to my dojo mates would jeopardize his position. Except for sensei, there was no yudansha in the class and most of his 1st Kyu students have been with him for 5 or more years. The honeymoon was over when one day some of his favorite students decided to steer clear away from me for no apparent reason. Then one day, sensei "challenged" me - a petty incident he would probably have regretted - after that I went and found a new dojo to train.

Off the topic. Aikido dojo are as just mystical as the art; for some unapparent reasons, senior students have this undying loyalty to their sensei even though they have realized the instructions are crap and they alone have the rights to criticize.

FWIW, this is the sensei's dojo. My advice is to leave.

My 2 sen

David Y
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