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Old 05-14-2010, 11:50 AM   #1
Thomas Osborn
Dojo: Aikido of Northampton
Location: Holyoke, MA
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 108
I Really Need Some Advice

5/12-14/10 w&f [0s, 8v] A Seven of these guys have been with me three weeks, and will be here three more. I started them off with a continuous, flowing kana henko [enter & turn], then had them doing a form of "sticky hands". It took a few tries, but as they got the flow of these movements they began to see how the whole dynamic of relax, center, movement from the hips and use of momentum, really fostered control and enabled technique. We then went to a fairly complicated technique from gyaku homni using sankyo and requiring smooth, flowing motion to work. I then used the same technique, but with two different standing pins.
Even the stiffest, most awkward guy is moving smoother. And everyone is consciously taking that deep breath and "setteling" to center. Also, because I can do some more advanced techniques, I'm having more fun myself.

I have a situation though, that I would like some advice on. During this technique, one of the guys apparently hit a trigger point and felt he was loosing his temper. He did recognise this, and felt he had to leave class. He is one of the people showing a lot of progress and I would really like him to stay with the class. I know that sometimes, especially when parterning with someone, usually young, who has a particularly "heavy" technique, I start to loose it. I find I have to step back, sometimes I can just take a couple of deep breaths but I often have to sit on the sideline for a while. To some degree I understand what is happening with him, and I appreciate the control he is showing, but can I approach him with out coming across as patronizing or belitteling? And how best to do this?

In the past you all, my senseis out there, have given me good advice. This time I could really use some help.

(Original blog post may be found here.)
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Old 05-14-2010, 12:47 PM   #2
Janet Rosen
Janet Rosen's Avatar
Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 4,339
Re: I Really Need Some Advice

I think his ability to recognize it and remove himself was outstanding! Perhaps the next step, after positive feedback for that, is asking him what he thinks he can do in order to find a way to stay in the room (which I think is the logical next step) AND how he thinks you can best support him in it - in other words, leave control of the process to him.

Janet Rosen
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 05-14-2010, 08:38 PM   #3
Dojo: Aiki Shoshinkan, Aiki Kenkyukai
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 813
Re: I Really Need Some Advice

1. Tell him its great he was able to recognise the situation and control himself.
2. Tell him everyone is different and you'll meet saints and jerks along the way.
3. Tell him doing it in the dojo, is one step to doing it outside.
4. The purpose of aikido is to find harmony of one self and others regardless if they are saints or jerks, in the dojo or outside.
5. Therefore practising it with this purpose in mind will help him achieve the control he needs.

Personally I think loosing it in the dojo is unacceptable. Since you've established the reason for training the moment you step in. But going any further along this line will sound preachy. So hope you manage to convince him.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 05-14-2010, 10:52 PM   #4
dps's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,415
Re: I Really Need Some Advice

His anger may be related to something(s) other than what is going on in class.

Do these vets receive counseling or is counseling available for them?

I think that unless you are a professional counselor, you may be getting into an area where you need help from one in conjunction with your program for you students.


Last edited by dps : 05-14-2010 at 10:56 PM.

Go ahead, tread on me.
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Old 05-15-2010, 08:01 AM   #5
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
Location: Wisconsin
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,224
Re: I Really Need Some Advice

Onegaishimasu. It sounds like you rushed into advanced technique. Lots of us do that, even after years of teaching sometimes we forget and then we need to relearn the lesson of pacing new students. I hope you keep an "aikido notebook" and continually write down lessons that appear on your aikido journey.

In gassho,


- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 05-15-2010, 01:42 PM   #6
JW's Avatar
Location: San Diego CA USA
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 561
Re: I Really Need Some Advice

Thomas Osborn wrote: View Post
To some degree I understand what is happening with him, and I appreciate the control he is showing, but can I approach him with out coming across as patronizing or belitteling? And how best to do this?
Maybe start by thanking him for exercising control. I would hope that would never be considered patronizing or belitteling. Then saying you've had to do similar would be natural too. Certainly I hope you can let him know how much you appreciate his participation.
Good luck!
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