Cohort Setting off Alarm Bells
I've been doing Aikido since 2010. My cohort includes another person who showed up at the dojo about a month later than me, a veteran, and now, my husband. We are all testing for another brown belt rank soon.
At first, the veteran and I got along very well. He was coming out of war, I was coming out of a physically abusive home as a minor and we both wanted to figure out how to defend ourselves without doing anymore violence. For a long time, I got to train way more than him. Then, I started getting injuries, and eventually fell insanely ill for about a year. I couldn't train. Now a days, we are pretty direct peers.
However, since I've come back from the dojo this year, I feel a lot has changed with my relationship with veteran. I checked with my husband (since I am still fairly frail from being chronically ill) and he agrees that veteran is using a lot more force in his throws. Another person who has been with us for 3 years doesn't like to even practice with him since he forces the throw with her. However, as they are basically at two different dojo location that doesn't crop up so much.
He smiles a lot less and has become so serious. Last practice, when we took break, he spent the entire time just slashing the air with a tanto. I was sitting on the side drinking water and started feeling insanely uneasy as he was doing this, increasingly in my space; over the years, I've come to trust my instincts when it comes to potential violence.
I don't feel like I can train with him the same way anymore. He seems like he's trying to act like my senior, giving instruction and dealing with any weak patches in his technique by just cracking my limbs. It used to be we were partners in training, giving suggestions (since often we are wrong about what we are failing at) and saying what we noticed didn't feel right. Now a days it's do this, not that.
I think he is still a good person, but I think he is going through some brown belt funk wanting to prove something. But, I don't want to spend part of my Aikido class worrying if he is going to hurt me to prove some macho b@llsh!t. Additionally, we would be going up for black belt in a year (all things going well) and I don't see this getting better then.
I know I need to say something if I want this to get better. But since we have drifted apart, I don't know how to start that conversation. Part of me also wants to talk to our chief instructor about this, since he is my mentor, to get help on how I should deal with this and he has helped me grow so much as a person since I came here. However, I that is going about it sideways and has more potential to piss off the veteran than help, even though I really want some advice.
I also have good relationships with other yudansha and am considering talking to them, as I look up to them.
Sorry for the word jumble, I just would love to hear your thoughts. If you have any questions for me, please ask and I will be happy to provide more info.