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Old 12-20-2001, 10:29 AM   #1
abarnhar
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Unhappy Partner Difficulties

At the dojo last night, I paired up with an individual, whom I have never worked with before. After the standard instruction by our Sensei, we proceeded to begin practice. Throughout practice, he would offer advice that was contrary to what Sensei had just instructed. He also threw blows at me when I was the uke, and make contact with them.

This behavior was extremely distracting to my practice, and very disturbing. Would it be appropriate for me to approach my Sensei with this complaint, or should I accept the distractions and try to work through the practice?

Thanks!
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Old 12-20-2001, 10:58 AM   #2
shihonage
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Re: Partner Difficulties

Quote:
Originally posted by abarnhar

This behavior was extremely distracting to my practice, and very disturbing. Would it be appropriate for me to approach my Sensei with this complaint, or should I accept the distractions and try to work through the practice?
Stuff happens. Adapt.
(Edited to maintain the G-rating).

Last edited by shihonage : 12-20-2001 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 12-20-2001, 11:05 AM   #3
davoravo
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I remember the first time I trained at a dojo where it was common practice to hit uke; upset me at first but it sure woke me up! See the positive that you can take out of this experience and use it. He may have thought you weren't maintaining your awareness.

As for the advice: your partner may have judged your level (incorrectly?) and tried to offer help that was more specific to you.

On the other hand you are under no obligation to listen to any instruction except from your sensei - a lot of mid kyu grades chatter endless bad advice and it's better to ignore it and silence them with a good nikkyo.

David McNamara
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Old 12-20-2001, 01:12 PM   #4
abarnhar
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David,
Thanks for your post. It answered a lot of the issue for me.

Shihonage,
Your post was neither appropriate or helpful. Maybe you can choose your words in a more intellegent style next time.
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Old 12-20-2001, 02:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by abarnhar
Shihonage,
Your post was neither appropriate or helpful. Maybe you can choose your words in a more intellegent style next time.
Its the difference between a cartoon and an oil painting. An oil painting uses a lot of paint to get an idea across the cartoon does the same with a minimal number of lines. A skill by no means trivial.

Shihonage is the cartoon of version of some good advice. Advice which David also touched on in his first paragraph.

We train with different partners just so we learn to adapt. You have a partner that makes your training uncomfortable - well don't cry about it - use it, learn from it. This isn't ballroom dancing.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-20-2001, 03:58 PM   #6
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I see my role as uke as time to a)improve my sensitivity to my partner/work on awareness/timing, and B) (MOST IMPORTANT) give my partner what he needs to fill his role as nage. So if I had a partner who was using what seemed to be excessive or overly aggressive atemi, I'd ask why. Do I need to do something different? I'd also appreciate it if I got hit, in my first dojo the first thing you said if hit was 'thank you' for the pointing out of flaws in your ukemi (sensitivity and timing keeps your face out of nage's reach).

Some uke's (not to be sexist, but the bigger ones, so often big guys---but I've seen women do it too) think their role is to charge full steam into nage, ignoring good maai and abandoning all responsibility for self protection. They tend to run into the hand I put up to keep their 200 pounds from careening into my 100 pounds. Most learn by the third time they fall down, some never do. So if you have significant mass, you might want to look at your vector in these situations.

Lastly, he could just be a jerk, or a nice guy having a bad day. I detest those who insist on teaching what they don't know, and that may be a clue that his aggression was just more of that ego coming through. In that case, your sensei sees it, he will either correct it or not as he sees fit. Consider the ego driven students as a chance to practice working with the socially impaired, or avoid them as you see fit. They have control over them acting like a jerk, you have control over how that affects you.
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Old 12-20-2001, 07:02 PM   #7
mj
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Re: Partner Difficulties

Quote:
Originally posted by abarnhar
... he would offer advice that was contrary to what Sensei had just instructed. He also threw blows at me when I was the uke, and make contact with them.

This behavior was extremely distracting to my practice, and very disturbing. Would it be appropriate for me to approach my Sensei with this complaint, or should I accept the distractions and try to work through the practice?

Thanks!
I would say practice with this individual at every opportunity!

I understand you have been, in some way, offended by some of the answers here

Don't worry about it
This person may possibly be the best partner you could have, for a long time.

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Old 12-21-2001, 06:56 AM   #8
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Partner Difficulties

Quote:
Originally posted by abarnhar
At the dojo last night, I paired up with an individual, whom I have never worked with before. After the standard instruction by our Sensei, we proceeded to begin practice. Throughout practice, he would offer advice that was contrary to what Sensei had just instructed. He also threw blows at me when I was the uke, and make contact with them.

This behavior was extremely distracting to my practice, and very disturbing. Would it be appropriate for me to approach my Sensei with this complaint, or should I accept the distractions and try to work through the practice?

Thanks!
I think all the advice you have received from other posts is very sound. But I am curious. Did you work with the same partner for the entire practice?

Whenever I instruct anywhere, I ALWAYS require a change of partners with each change of technique, sometimes during the same technique. I usually reckon on about 15 minutes per technique for a general class, especially if I am a visiting instructor, so someone would practise with around six different partners during a 90-minute training session. Sometimes, I intervene and decide myself who should train with whom for a particular technique.

I have always done this and have found by experience that it is much better than training with the same partner for a 90-minute class.

As I said, I am curious. Comments? Opinions?

Best wishes to all for 2002!

P A Goldsbury
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Old 12-21-2001, 10:25 AM   #9
abarnhar
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We typically have hour long practices, and almost never switch partners. We also work on one technique the entire time.
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Old 12-21-2001, 10:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by abarnhar
We typically have hour long practices, and almost never switch partners. We also work on one technique the entire time.
Personally I would talk to the sensei about that rather than the individual. If you change partners every 10 minutes - no problem.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-21-2001, 10:51 AM   #11
abarnhar
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I'll see what he thinks about it.

Thanks for the input!
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Old 12-21-2001, 05:49 PM   #12
Peter Goldsbury
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Quote:
Originally posted by abarnhar
We typically have hour long practices, and almost never switch partners. We also work on one technique the entire time.
Wow. I don't think I have practised in this way in my entire aikido career.

Of course, it depends on numbers in a class and the relative levels of technical ability, but I have found it is not good for dojo morale to have people train with the same partners for the entire practice, even less good doing the same technique as well. Since the technique should work, no matter who is your partner, the best way to do this, in my opinion, is to train with the entire dojo population. This also tends to discourage the bad habits of training excessively with preferred partners, or avoiding non-preferred, partners.

We sometimes have workshop-style training in a group of up to six persons, where each member of the group shows a particular technique, or variation of the main technique. But we always change partners with each change of technique.

Best Regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 01-09-2002, 06:34 PM   #13
Jon Hicks
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I also believe you should train with a different partner with each technique. Everyone`s Ki is different. It`s a great way to learn how people use their energy.
For example; a small older woman projects ki quite differently than a huge muscle man. It can really help in your understanding of Aikido.
As far as the partner who insists on teaching you. I just politely ask "are you the teacher"? I only do this if I don`t feel like being patient with that person. I consider it a form of Irimi Most of the time I just switch partners.

Take care
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Old 01-09-2002, 06:41 PM   #14
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As far as the partner who insists on teaching you. I just politely ask "are you the teacher"? I only do this if I don`t feel like being patient with that person. I consider it a form of Irimi Most of the time I just switch partners.

Speaking of patience, I have not yet seen the thread where the other partner complains "they always ignore my advice."

I wonder why.
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Old 01-09-2002, 09:48 PM   #15
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Because those that just absolutely have to 'teach' in order to hear their own voice, don't really care what their partner is doing, nor are they any more likely to notice they are being ignored than they are to notice their advice is not wanted, or that they are contradicting the sensei. They don't CARE about their partner, they care about their own ego. And an ego that size can't conceive of someone not wanting/following their 'teaching'.
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Old 01-10-2002, 11:41 AM   #16
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Because those that just absolutely have to 'teach' in order to hear their own voice, don't really care what their partner is doing, nor are they any more likely to notice they are being ignored than they are to notice their advice is not wanted, or that they are contradicting the sensei. They don't CARE about their partner, they care about their own ego. And an ego that size can't conceive of someone not wanting/following their 'teaching'.

Ouch.

Here is a fun experiment to try. Take the greenest "student" in your school, slap a skirt on them, and have them teach an intro class to some new prospects. The normal "teacher" will put on a white belt and join the class as a "student".

Observe the normal teacher making valuable suggestions to their partners, and observe the generally resentful and unappreciative responses.

[Insert your own conclusion here. 10 bonus points for excluding the word ego.]
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Old 01-10-2002, 03:34 PM   #17
Brian Vickery
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Re: Partner Difficulties

Quote:
Originally posted by abarnhar
At the dojo last night, I paired up with an individual, whom I have never worked with before. After the standard instruction by our Sensei, we proceeded to begin practice. Throughout practice, he would offer advice that was contrary to what Sensei had just instructed. ...
Hi Adam!

There's a name for what you partner was doing, it's called "Shadow Teaching". This happens in every dojo and seminar I've ever been to, so it's just something that you eventually get used to. But that doesn't mean you have to like it, or that this an acceptable behavior.

A few years ago, Aikido Today Magazine printed a really good article on this very subject, it's in issue #54 and it's titled appropriately enough: "Shadow Teaching" by D. Kundan.

Every so often I post a copy of this article on the dojo bulletin board when I notice students doing this....works like a charm everytime! If you can get your hands on this issue of ATM, you might want to do the same and see what happens!

Regards,

Brian Vickery

"The highest level of technique to achieve is that of having NO technique!"
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Old 01-10-2002, 04:27 PM   #18
guest1234
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Quote:
Originally posted by [Censored]
[b]

Ouch.

Here is a fun experiment to try. Take the greenest "student" in your school, slap a skirt on them, and have them teach an intro class to some new prospects. The normal "teacher" will put on a white belt and join the class as a "student".

Observe the normal teacher making valuable suggestions to their partners, and observe the generally resentful and unappreciative responses.

[Insert your own conclusion here. 10 bonus points for excluding the word ego.]
Actually, I have found that the good teachers, when they are students in other classes, do not indulge in mat teaching. As I've said before, those who do this generally are no where near as good as they think they are. So, while the 6th dans don't feel compelled to talk their partners to death, the 6th kyus through shodan do...wonder why that is ...might it be that 10 point word?
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Old 01-10-2002, 04:31 PM   #19
Erik
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Quote:
Originally posted by [Censored]
Here is a fun experiment to try. Take the greenest "student" in your school, slap a skirt on them, and have them teach an intro class to some new prospects. The normal "teacher" will put on a white belt and join the class as a "student".

Observe the normal teacher making valuable suggestions to their partners, and observe the generally resentful and unappreciative responses.
I think you've got this one wrong. Beginners often take any advice they can grasp and hold on to. Good, bad, awful, they don't care.

Erik's modification:

One part intermediate student who can handle most falls.
One part sensei in new white belt and poor fitting gi.
One part dojo where no one knows sensei.

Enjoy!
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Old 01-10-2002, 06:16 PM   #20
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As I've said before, those who do this generally are no where near as good as they think they are. So, while the 6th dans don't feel compelled to talk their partners to death, the 6th kyus through shodan do...

I welcome the practice partner who tries to talk me to death. 90% of their advice is tedious nonsense, and 9% of the remainder is redundant, but that last 1% makes it all worthwhile.

Everyone wants to be correct, but not at the terrible expense of being corrected.

wonder why that is ...might it be that 10 point word?

There is no Aikido without ego. Put down your box of fortune cookies and Try Again.

Erik's modification:

One part intermediate student who can handle most falls.
One part sensei in new white belt and poor fitting gi.
One part dojo where no one knows sensei.


Good. Let's also have the sensei add in a few Bruce Lee-style yelps after each throw. Those poor people won't know who to worship
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Old 01-10-2002, 06:37 PM   #21
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One will learn anyway...

We have a saying, "Gold is still gold, even when it comes out of a pig's mouth".

One will learn, one way of another. One will learn from good teachers, and one will also learn from bad teachers. There is always a lesson to be learned in every situation.

Think about this, and learn it well.
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Old 01-10-2002, 08:27 PM   #22
guest1234
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Quote:
Originally posted by [Censored]
[b]

Everyone wants to be correct, but not at the terrible expense of being corrected.

Instructors are there to correct. Students are there to train.

I would just prefer to do what the sensei is showing, rather than what the partner is rambling about...call me old-fashioned, but I come to class to practice what is shown. I nearly laughed out loud at a seminar where a black belt from a style not that of the instructor was loudly insisting I do the technique his way, rather than the way it was shown. The 7th Dan instructor walked over, let him finish, then looked straight at me and said 'you were right' and walked on.

You obviously like to teach your partners, I would prefer people shut up and train. We each have our own way of learning. Yours is not wrong, but it is not the only way.
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Old 01-10-2002, 11:30 PM   #23
Edward
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Hi All,

I have posted my opinion somewhere earlier but I will post it again.

The Germans say: " Wenn Reden ist Silber, Schweigen ist Gold". Meaning if Talking is made of silver, silence is made of gold.

I believe Sempais have the obligation to teach their partners in 2 cases:

1. The partner specifically asks for help.
2. The partner does not know what to do at all and would block the practice if not instructed what to do. (If Sensei is nearby, let him do the job).

In any other case, it is very impolite towards the teacher to start teaching your partner. If you really think that your partner is doing wrong, and you feel so benevolently compelled to correct his technique, when it's your turn to be Nage, just do the technique as correctly and as slowly as possible, and your partner will learn it from your action better than from your words. Or better call the Sensei and ask him if the technique is correct or not, and he will be very happy to explain it to both of you.

If you don't believe me, perhaps you would believe Osensei. I don't have the exact quote right now, but I will post it in a few hours. He says something like: Aikido cannot be grasped by words, so shut up and practice!

Cheers,
Edward
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Old 01-11-2002, 01:48 AM   #24
Edward
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Here are the actual verses of Osensei.

Aiki cannot be exhausted
By words written or spoken
Without dabbling in idle talk
Understand through practice


Cheers,
Edward
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Old 01-11-2002, 07:52 AM   #25
Arianah
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Quote:
Aiki cannot be exhausted
By words written or spoken
Without dabbling in idle talk
Understand through practice
Hmm . . . I wonder if O'Sensei would disapprove of a forum where all we do is try to pick apart the concepts of Aiki with words written or spoken.

Arianah
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