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Old 07-24-2010, 09:37 PM   #26
kidoman
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

Sometimes moving on may seem difficult, but I was once in a similar situation. Moving on was the best thing I did for my Aikido. While you remain there look for some good in the bad, if that is possible. What have you learned? Don't let one dojo be the reason why you continue training or quit. Aikido is much bigger than that. and remember no one has the right to violate you physically or mentally. Maybe speak to your Sensei instead of Sempai. One on one away from the dojo.
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:03 AM   #27
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

I started off in a "hard" style of karate, went on to many years of wrestling...... I grew-up knowing "hard" through some of the best of the "hard" in those various areas. The practices would push to beyond what you thought were your limits. The one common denominator was that NONE of those teachers inflicted the kind of injuries on their students that Chiba Sensei has been known to do.

I was finishing my doctorate in San Diego and became interested in Aikido, both as a martial art and as a vehicle to "rewire" some of the nasty and violent ways that I had become accustom to responding to threats. I was working as a therapist and this "side" of me was not something that I was comfortable with anymore. I heard that a teacher of O'Sensei was teaching in San Diego so I went to observe a class. I watched the class and let saying to myself that this teacher was an abusive thug. I had NEVER seen a teacher at that level take advantage of that position and as a result, students got hurt. It struck me as disingenuous and an overt abuse of power. This teacher was Chiba Sensei.

One year later, i was in Stamford, Connecticut and started training with Imaizumi Sensei. He was also a student of O'Sensei. I was immediately sold. He lived his art. His humbleness was matched only by his effective application of Aikido contained within Kihon waza. I have been studying with him since 1988 and he has NEVER injured a student. His first student since coming to New York still studies with him and has NEVER seen him injure a student. There is a Shin Budo Kai dojo in Albuquerque that i suggest you check out. Imaizumi Sensei will be teaching a seminar there during the second weekend of September.

I have had some unpleasant first hand, second-hand, third-hand.... accounts with some of Chiba Sensei's teachers, which indicates to me that an abuser has simply passed on an abusive tradition that is NOT part of Aikido. When people some how try and justify abuse as having some role, do not walk, run. It is just a big, stinking, festering pile of bull dung. Hard training is different from abusive training. You do some some injuries from hard training from time-to-time. The injuries should be the result of accidents, pushing yourself too hard, or some other easily identifiable cause. IT SHOULD NEVER BE THE RESULT OF YOUR TEACHER BEING TOO ROUGH ON YOU.

The misogi practice that you mentioned was something that Imaizumi Sensei went through in his younger days and we do a "version" of that training during the winter time. This practice is also not abusive and totally voluntary.

I remember being your age and loving to push my body to the limits. I thrived on that kind of environment for many years. That being said, I never would train with anybody who was obviously abusive. Zero injury rate should be the goal of any training environment. The saying "No Pain, No Gain" should be replaced by "What Kind of Pain, What Kind of Gain." Gaining some machismo provado at the expense of your long-term body health is for the deluded, sheep, and/or ignorant. Train smart, hard and safe. If that cannot be assured at your dojo, leave while you still have a body without life-long legacies of bad training that will haunt you later in life.

Marc Abrams
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Old 07-25-2010, 08:50 AM   #28
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

Without first hand experience, any response given above related to the way YOU are treated is mostly hearsay.

I think the actual truth does not matter, the important thing is that You are feeling abused in a cult like organization your feelings might be based on objective facts, or on your own subjective interpretation.

It does not matter!

While you could be passing through some refinement process as Szczepan explains. I strongly doubt anyone having a successful transformation once faith in the teacher is lost.

Find a different place,
or
Stay in the same place, but for some period create some distance: train only once/twice a week, do not come to any activity aside from practice for a while.

Examine yourself after a period, see if you are developing your own independence and inner strength and then decide on your own route.

Amir
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Old 07-26-2010, 05:59 PM   #29
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

Found this and thought it touched a bit on the "cult meditation" that you mentioned

http://www.brooklynaikikai.com/training/misogi.html

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 07-27-2010, 02:42 AM   #30
Nafis Zahir
 
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Yet I have seen:
Him abusing student A.
I have then seen student A. wreck both shoulders of student B.
What did his father say to him when it happened twice?
"What are you in...some kind of Cult?"

Unfortunately, even when the abuser finds himself and realizes what a mess he has made it doesn't mean he can always fix that mess. Certain things get "wired" into people.
"I was abused by the teacher I love, so this must be the way."
It can turn into a complicated mess better left for the professionals, but as you have read here and elsewhere, the damage was far ranging. I don't have the credentials but I know "mean" when I see it.
Is there more that can be done to "re-set" the teachers he created that still abuse. Probably. But as I pointed out he is trying and there are some nice people under him as well.
Here we are though in 2010 with Travis; yet another example.
All in all this has not created quite "the legacy" the man wanted to be known for, I'm sure.

One last thing
As far the tough guy nonsense. I can compare him to some real tough men; like Cotoure or Rickson..I don't hear of them abusing people. Training accidents aside, repeatedly wrecking people who cooperate with you is not tough it's sick, needy, and actually pretty weak..

Dan
Sensei, I am in no position to argur with you. I know that you know better than I do, but I train under an instructor who trained under Chiba Sensei and I have never seen him hurt anyone. I have also trained with several other instructors and the same applies. They all train hard and when they use me for ukemi they turn it up a few notches. I am almost twice Travis age and I think that we train at a little higher level than the average Aikido school. Most of the training I've seen does not prepare the average student to defend themselves on the street. I am not saying that the training has to be mean, but it should be serious.

On another note, I have heard stories from several of O'Sensei's students about what it was like to train back in those days. Many times there were bruised, broken and bloodied. Do you think that the training was very serious or that O'Sensei was being mean? One student even got his leg broken when O'Sensei executed a Ikkyo! Powerful or mean?

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Old 07-27-2010, 02:47 AM   #31
Nafis Zahir
 
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Many ppl don't like what Chiba sensei is teaching,because they simply don't understand it. For me, sensei is one of best teachers I've ever met, and I had a chance to practice with many of O sensei students.
I agree. I'm not saying that at one time Chiba Sensei was not too rough on his students, but the level of training that I have received has been rewarding. Like I said before, I've trained with many of the Birankai Instructors and I have not any any problems or complaints.

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Old 07-27-2010, 05:30 AM   #32
Hellis
Dojo: Ellis Schools of Traditional Aikido
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

TK Chiba Sensei arrived in the UK in 1966. I left the Hut dojo in 1967 to join Chiba Sensei, I was his assistant until 1972. His technique was never rough, but yes it was hard and effective. As an early student of British Aikido from 1957 under Kenshiro Abbe Sensei I enjoyed the hard prractice, that was why I changed from Judo to Aikido. I would not have had it any other way. There is a simple answer to the original poster, if you are not happy where you are, move on. It maybe that your teacher considers that you are responding well to your training and is moving you up a gear.
The Chiba Sensei I meet today is a much more mellow man these days. I rate him in my top three teachers over the last 53 years.
Kenshiro Abbe Sensei ~ Masahilo Nakazono Sensei ~ TK Chiba Sensei.
Henry Ellis
Ellis Schools of Traditonal Aikido
http://kenshiroabbe.blogspot.com/
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Old 07-27-2010, 09:05 AM   #33
DH
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

Quote:
Nafis Zahir wrote: View Post
Sensei, I am in no position to argue with you. I know that you know better than I do, but I train under an instructor who trained under Chiba Sensei and I have never seen him hurt anyone. I have also trained with several other instructors and the same applies.
You wouldn't be arguing with me. I'm the guy who also wrote this.

Quote:
Lets, also remember that he (Chiba) ended up apologizing to all of his students for being an abuser. I teach at a dojo that is under Chiba and the teacher there (retired spec ops) is no lightwieght by any ones standards, and is a perfect.... gentleman on and off the mat. Maybe someone allowed Chiba an opportunity for growth.
From some of the recent quotes I am hearing, it sounds like it is coming from a changed man.

.......Do not allow them the arrogance (presumed or otherwise) of a position to speak for an entire art. There are a lot of good people out there working it.
Cheers
Dan
Unfortunately, you are reading here of peoples own experiences with teachers out there who continue to support the negatvie general opinion....it's probably not wise to tell each one that a) they don't know what they're talking about b) they don't know the difference between hard training an abuse.

Quote:
I am not saying that the training has to be mean, but it should be serious.
What is "serious" about cooperative training where you strike with a shomen of all things...and get cold cocked in the face?
What is serious about seeing a 157lb 1st kyu offer his elbow for a demonstration of a kata and has it wrecked for almost a year?
What is "serious" about having one shoulder....then the other torn out from cooperative training?

What is serious ...to me... is when both parties are equally capable and are sparring with attacks and counters and both are fully engaged.

There are various teachers who I hear advocating this so called "seriousness in training" but I never seem to see or hear of them doing that kind of serious training with men who are capable...and more than willing to show them what serious can do.

Again to use Randy and Rickson; they have managed careers without a lot of serious injuries...I would like to be there when someone tells them they are not serious and they just don't get what serious training really means!

Last you brought up Ueshiba
I am only aware of reports of training accidents in randori not of repetitive accidents in doing kata. Nor am I aware of a pattern of creating teachers under him who abuse.

I have heard these defensive arguments before...even from those who were damaged. As I said, they find it validating for their injuries.
Why are you defending behavior that Chiba himself has publicly apologize for and walked away from?
Dan
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Old 07-27-2010, 10:31 AM   #34
chuunen baka
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

Travis,
By posting, you have answered your own question. All you can get here is affirmation that change would be better then no change.

I've done a number of martial arts over the years, each with its own spiritual or even religious content. You have to set your own limits on what you are prepared to tolerate on the non-physical side of the art as practised in your dojo. Personally I find short periods of mediation useful but my hackles rise at anything much beyond that.

Anyway, you're young, fit, tough and keen. The martial arts world should be your oyster. Time to move on.
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Old 07-27-2010, 11:55 AM   #35
lbb
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

I'd say that it is time to move on, but to do so in a very careful and thoughtful way. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that go bad, through no fault of our own...but sometimes, also,we either choose situations that are either bad to start with, or we choose to stay in situations that are headed in the wrong direction. We can't control another person's attempts to be abusive or to create a cult or to train in ways that are harmful to others, but we can control whether we have anything to do with them. That's the part that I think you need to ponder now: what you chose then and why, and how you want to make your choices now.

A lot of things in your post make your situation sound like you really jumped into aikido with both feet, that you invested a great deal of energy into it, and also that you invested it with great expectations -- which seem to have been largely met up to a point. It's quite common for an enthusiastic beginner (not just in aikido but in many other things as well) to surf on a wave of revelations and epiphanies for quite a while. That life-changing energy sure is addictive, much like the energy of a new relationship. But just as with a new relationship, after a while you get beyond the newness phase, and the "birthday" sensation of an endless succession of new gifts goes away. Even in the most non-abusive situation in the world, this will happen. This is when the hyper-enthusiastic beginner has to ask some questions that they may not want to ask, because they may not like the answer.

If you feel that the dojo you're training at has become abusive, you definitely need to walk away. The question is whether you should proceed to walk into another dojo. Your new dojo may not be abusive, but it isn't going to take you back to that newbie-new excitement where you had a new revelation every day -- they're going to come a lot fewer and farther between, and you'll sweat harder for each one. You have to ask yourself if you're the kind of person who can sustain interest and commitment in something that doesn't have those juicy rewards all the time. Most people aren't, to be honest -- this is why martial arts training will always be a minority interest. You may not be in that minority. If that is so. better to accept the fact and simply walk away. It's not a value judgment, just the way things are.

I would also suggest -- and this may be a bit controversial, but here goes -- that you not postpone your decision until after your test. If you are going to walk away from it, be willing to walk away from it now. Don't be one of those students who develops "test tunnel vision" and doggedly trains to the test, all the while ignoring the truth that they really don't want to be there any more. The important test that you are facing now is one of integrity and self-knowledge, and it matters a lot more than 4th kyu.

Best of luck, Travis.
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:59 AM   #36
sakumeikan
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

Quote:
Travis Patterson wrote: View Post
I've lurked for a bit but now I'm at a crossroads of sorts so I made an account. This is a little on the long side, thanks in advance for reading.

First, some background:

I am studying Aikido under the Birankai organization. The Aikido we do is extreemly rough. This , I think, exemplifies what we do in the dojo. I have been training for almost a year now very rigorously. I go 4 days a week, 2 - 3 classes each day for a total of 9 - 10 hours a week. I test for 4th Kyu next month.

My issues:

As my training has progressed over the course of the last year my Sensei has become rougher and rougher on me, far more so than anyone else at the school. He tells me this is because I am a young guy (25) and can take the punishment. I was attracted to the school because I wanted something "real" and the rough nature appealed to that. I welcome the skinned and swollen knees and the bruises all along my arms but it's getting to the point that I am afraid he is going to break my body. I already exhibit most of the symptoms of a separated shoulder and I hurt, literally, all the time. I see that he has a broken body and I'm not sure whatever it is that Aikido is offering me is worth that price. He is a man that favors training in extremes. During the winter he begrudgingly installed a heater because people stopped coming. Similarly, I live in the desert southwest and the dojo doesn't have air conditioning. The temperature outside yesterday was about 105 and he had us training to the point where nearly everyone wanted to vomit (no one did!). I know that I wanted to die during the class. That was the point.

I have also been fighting my gut feeling that this is a cult. I realize that this is an ongoing point of contention for some people and I'm not trying to editorialize on the art as a whole. Moreover, I was attracted to the art because of the interesting philosophy underpinning it. That being said, there is an unsettling fanaticism in the dojo that doesn't sit well with me. Every time I turn around, there is another function to attend: Dojo improvements, potlucks, garage sales and on and on. I understand that these are standard community building exercises (A stated objective of Sensei is to build a thriving community around Aikido) but I feel increasingly trapped withing that community. The tipping point came last night, though. Sensei went to Japan to study at Ichikukai dojo some time ago and brought back the practice of misogi. For those not familiar with the practice: you sit in seiza, hold the knot of your obi and scream the syllables "to ho ka mi e mi ta me" while compressing your diaphragm each time. We did our second round of it ever last night and in the middle of it Sensei came up behind people and shoved their shoulders down with each syllable. It was dark, there was a room full of swaying people chanting a Shinto prayer, and then this. I got a really bad feeling and thought, "This is really fucked up."

At this point I'm thinking of walking away. This makes me sad and apprehensive. I have gotten a lot out or Aikido. I feel a great deal more confident in life. I have social anxiety and taking an Aikido perspective has made a world of difference. People have told me, " I can't belive how much more capable you are in life since starting Aikido." When I started, my weight was 160 lbs with 17% body fat. Today I weigh 175 with 11% body fat. I tend to over commit to things and I feel that if I walk away, for whatever reason, I will be a failure. I have heard Sensei talk of others who have left as being people who, "just don't have what it takes for the kind of training we do here."

On the other hand: I am tired of hurting all the time, not having any personal time that isn't spent doing Aikido, doing Aikido functions, or recovering from Aikido. The emphatic chanting and high-heat training don't sit well with me either.

In any case, I am in something of a feedback loop within myself and I'd like to hear anything you guys have to say just to gain some perspective on the situation.

Thanks for reading this thing. I think it helped just to type it all out.

In short: I feel like my body is being ruined and that my dojo is becoming a cult. I feel fed up and am thinking about leaving but I'm reluctant because of what I've gotten out of Aikido so far.
It seems to me that you are not using common sense.If you are finding the demands of the dojo hard why do you simply just attend less classes? As far as the meditation element is concerned again if you fancy training in this go for it , if not thats ok as well.
The social side of Aikido is ok, but again if you are attending all the pot lucks etc and your not happy the answer is simple , DONT GO to them.
Maybe you are simply overtraining.Seems to me your trying too hard.As far as damaged knees are concerned and your body feeling the stress again use COMMON SENSE.No need to put your body through the wringer .I have been doing Aikido for over 40 years with Chiba Sensei and I speak with some experience of hard training.Train sensibly not hard is the answer.
Good luck, keep in touch, hope this helps, Joe.
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Old 07-28-2010, 01:30 PM   #37
SmilingNage
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

If they are trying to hurt you on purpose, walk away. Its the only choice.
If your body hurts, reduce your training or take a few days to recover. Hit the ice packs and warm soaks regiment to get your body healed. Dont continue to be a walking wounded. Training wounded can lead to more injuries to same areas or open yourself to new ones as you try to protect or over compensate for your old injuries.

Sometimes, in certain dojos, when young bucks like yourself bite off a bit more than you can chew, seniors will come by give some lessons in hubris. I m not saying this is the case or that is right to do this. But it is the culture, the unofficial dojo pecking order, so to speak, of certain dojos. So I wonder if you made less of a "splash" during class, the problem would go away.

I can only say this, improve your ukemi should you choose to stay. That is the only way to to keep injuries from getting you. From experience, I would be the 1st on there and the last one to leave. Get in early to go over ukemi drills before class, after class do more drills or have a senior "toss" you around so you can learn the "feeling" you have to develop for self preservation and safely negotiating throws and or joint locks. Only then can learn to ride that bubble between being just in the right spot where you can take the fall or should you choose reversal.

From me to you, take a few days off let your body heal. Maybe work on some weapons, I think you will find your answers then.

Dont make me, make you, grab my wrist.
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Old 07-30-2010, 05:54 PM   #38
mathewjgano
 
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.


eh...what do you mean, Mr. Kidd?

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 07-31-2010, 10:37 AM   #39
David Yap
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

Ah...the Cobra-kai of Aikido. Why not? When there are so many volunteering to be hurt.
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Old 08-05-2010, 04:46 AM   #40
bulevardi
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

Quote:
Karolina Owczarzak wrote: View Post
And there's a fine line between "hard training" and "abuse".
Indeed. It depends aswel what you prefer personally:
- some people just want to train hard to get physically exhausted, but on a human friendly way.
- some people like a dominant teacher and like to get abused.

If there's another dojo in the neighbourhood: change.

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Old 09-13-2010, 07:52 PM   #41
donburi
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

I'm always surprised at the effect of taking a break from regular practice. On several occasions I came back on the mat only to find it ridiculously easy despite not having trained for weeks. By contrast, none of that ease could be felt while (over) training.
Try it!
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:50 PM   #42
WilliB
Dojo: Minato Aikikai
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

Just out of curiousity: Is there a U-tube clip out there that shows this T-Chiba guy doing his rough stuff? I u-tubed little for "T. Chiba" and "Birankai" but could find nothing that I wouldn´t also see in our place (standard Aikikai).
(I am NOT arguing about this! Just curious.)

As for the original poster, of course I agree with everybody else that of course he should look for another place.
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:33 AM   #43
Gorgeous George
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

Quote:
Willi Brix wrote: View Post
Just out of curiousity: Is there a U-tube clip out there that shows this T-Chiba guy doing his rough stuff? I u-tubed little for "T. Chiba" and "Birankai" but could find nothing that I wouldn´t also see in our place (standard Aikikai).
(I am NOT arguing about this! Just curious.)

As for the original poster, of course I agree with everybody else that of course he should look for another place.
Perhaps searching for T K Chiba or Chiba sensei would yield more pertinent results (although there is also a kendo teacher called Chiba sensei, apparently):

http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...t+k+chiba&aq=f

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lo5Na1x6sAc

I must confess that I haven't seen any video of Chiba Sensei breaking arms etc., and I note that he has quite a few female followers. And I guess that if you don't want to be taught aikido in a particular way, then you can always leave and find a new teacher - something i've done before.

From what little i've read, Chiba sensei is regarded as recognising peoples' limits, and training them in such a way as to push and increase them; and there are a lot of people who appreciate his teaching style.
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Old 09-14-2010, 06:33 PM   #44
Chris Farnham
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Re: I think I'm feeling burnout or worse. I am seriously considering walking away.

Most of the You Tube clips I have seen are relatively recent and feature the somewhat gentler Chiba Sensei mentioned by some on the thread. Wili, if you have ever seen Miyamoto Sensei from Hombu Dojo, he is a close follower of Chiba Sensei.
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