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Old 07-26-2010, 10:12 AM   #1
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Unhappy being pushed to test

I belong to a large dojo with a lot of female beginners but no advanced female students. I think it's a combination of women being turned off by rougher throws once they get past the 6 month mark, more advanced women stopping to have kids, and lack of higher-ranked women in the dojo to act as senpai/mentors/role models.

My sensei is happy that so many women have started, but he's getting frustrated by how quickly they vanish. He's decided to push a few of the female mid-rank students through their belts faster hoping that having a few 1st kyu/shodan women around the dojo might encourage the newbies to stick around.

As one of these women, I'm torn between being flattered that he thinks I'm worth the effort it takes to move me through the ranks faster, and being frustrated that I'm being pushed through tests faster than I feel I'm ready. Although I can perform the techniques for each test, I'm not happy with the quality at which I'm performing them, and so even though I'm passing I don't feel I'm at the level I should be for my rank.

I've tried politely bringing this up with my sensei, but he's stubborn (me: "I don't feel I'm ready for this test", him: "well then practice until you are ready"). Should I just ignore my inner perfectionist and accept that there are a wide variety of skills at each rank? Should I get my butt on the mat every single day and train until I'm sore because I know I'm testing whether or not I want to? Should I put my foot down and refuse? I don't understand dojo politics at all, so I'm just looking for advice on how normal this is, and how much say I get in putting my needs before those of the dojo.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:03 AM   #2
David Maidment
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

The dojo seems like a nice place to train, but for this one issue (but correct me if I'm wrong). It also seems like it could be nice to be a mentor to beginners, as your sensei hopes.

Personally, I would just take the tests when sensei suggests that I'm ready and put up with the fact that I don't feel happy with the grade I've been awarded. It's what I do every time I train. I'm currently sankyu, could easily pass the nikyu test and I suppose the next two to shodan would be much of the same. I'm nowhere near happy with what has been requested of me for the grade I've been awarded. In my head I'm somewhere at the gokyu or yonkyu level. So I just turn up, train, test when I'm asked to and ignore all the rest.

"Never escalate a battle unless forced to do so by your enemy" - Zordon
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:10 AM   #3
Janet Rosen
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

Each of us who is part of a dojo does have a responsibility to the dojo community... BUT ultimately each of us trains for his or her own self, growth, and joy. If you are merely being challenged to take your training a bit outside your comfort level, I think your instructor is doing his job. Normal training, though, involves periods of challenge and growth and period of plateau; the latter are also needed in order to integrate things learned in the last growth period. If you are always subject to external pressure raherbtham being given breathing space to define your own training goals then it probably. feels like a grind .... and not fun ... so why train?You might try explaining to your instructor that he risks losing another student if he doesn't back off.

Janet Rosen
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:11 AM   #4
Marc Abrams
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

It sounds like there are two separate "problems."

1) Rougher throwing: The more advanced one becomes, the less "roughness" should be applied when throwing. I cannot think of a reasonable explanation as to why roughness should be "introduced" as you get more advanced. Connection with the uke, moving smoother, faster and with less tension will make the uke move faster in a throw. The significant difference should be that the uke should "take" the ukemi better because of the higher level of the nage's execution.

2) Testing when you are not ready: Some people are reluctant to take exams. The teacher should work WITH the student to properly prepare and encourage the student's progress so that the testing experience becomes more tolerable, enjoyable and meaningful for everybody. This balancing act is different for each student. Blanket approaches typically fail because each of us are different people. If part of advancing in Aikido is to become better connected with ourselves and with those around us, I think it would be logical to expect that this "personalized" experience becomes the norm as the teacher advances.

Ultimately it is your call. Listen to lots of advice and you will likely find that the advice that strikes you at some deep place in your soul will guide you appropriately.

Good Luck!

Marc Abrams
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:11 AM   #5
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

Hi. I think my sensei is a bit sad that we don't have a large female population either. At most.... we have four females on the mat and three of them are always gone for various reasons (college, not training consistently, busy, lazy, etc) Whenever a prospective female comes around, sensei gets all excited. I am the lowest ranking (5th kyu) of the four females. The other three are 1st kyu or above. However, since they aren't there, there really isn't a presence of higher ranking females. Sometimes I wish there were more females in the dojo, but it doesn't really bother me. My sensei has never put pressure on me to test just to be a higher ranking female though. I honestly don't know if having higher ranking females in your dojo would make a difference or not. It could though. Maybe a new person would think "Well if she can get to shodan, maybe I can too." In the end though, I would think that they will either stay or go on their own whether there is a higher ranking female around or not.

If you really aren't comfortable in testing, I would have a heart to heart conversation with your sensei and let him know how you feel. I know I want to feel like I deserve the rank I am. On the other hand, is it possible you are ready and you are just tough on yourself? If that is the case, he is just getting rid of the time requirement aspect of the rank. Your other options are to train until you feel more comfortable or just not show up on testing day (which I don't really advocate, but I have jokingly threatened to do when I tested last).

As for the rougher throws... are they actually rougher throws or are they just not being babied and are ctually being taken down to the mat instead of to just the point they are being taken off balance? Perhaps more ukemi practice should be addressed to make them feel more comfortable. Like Marc said, although I am thrown more vigorously then I was when I started a year ago, I find the throws to become more soft (when working with someone more experienced). Their techniques are easy to follow, more efficient and because of that, my ukemi is more able to neutralize the throw. Most of the time, my landings are rather soft. When working with a beginner, such as myself this isn't always the case though. Another issue may be that they are being thrown beyond what they can handle, so nage should slow down to a point that they can keep up and take care of themselves.

Sorry you are in that position. Best of luck and keep us informed.

Last edited by ninjaqutie : 07-26-2010 at 11:19 AM.

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Old 07-26-2010, 12:08 PM   #6
Eric Winters
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

Hello,

I think you should do a couple of things you suggested. You should come in and train more to try to feel more comfortable with your skill level. ( If your body can handle it.) Also if your instructor is good and you trust him, you should listen to him when he thinks you are ready to test.

Best,

Eric
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Old 07-26-2010, 12:39 PM   #7
Keith Larman
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

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The more advanced one becomes, the less "roughness" should be applied when throwing. I cannot think of a reasonable explanation as to why roughness should be "introduced" as you get more advanced.
I'm in agreement fully with this, but to recount a recent experience. I was encouraging one of the kids I train to come to more advanced classes. Geez, she's probably better described as a young adult now, wow, time flies, but I digress. She came a few times but stopped coming to the "adult advanced" class. She was eminently qualified, perfectly capable of keeping up, but she stopped coming. I talked with her privately later and she told me she was afraid of the harder, rougher throws. That surprised me as I didn't really see them that way. But... I started to realize she had been in kids or beginning classes for most of her training. And while she had trained in more advanced throws, it was the overall intensity level of the training that was scaring her. Or maybe more accurately, it wasn't that anything was more rough or hard, but that it was more intimidating and faster paced than she was used to. Comfort levels. So it was her fear more than anything. She was in her comfort zone working with the kids and teenagers and was intimidated about having to step up the practice into a higher level of intensity, speed and power.

So now I'm trying to push the intensity a bit with her in my classes with her to get her feeling more comfortable taking the ukemi. She has the ability to take a faster, more "robust" ukemi from a bigger throw. She just needs the practice and confidence in herself to relax into it. Most of us have had the experience of getting hurt doing a big fall not because of the roughness of the fall, but because of us being tentative or unsure of our ukemi. That's sometimes the bigger hurdle.

Just fwiw.

And to the OP... Most sensei ask you to test because they think you're perfectly able to take the test. And most would consider it a responsibility of a good sensei to push the students when they need a little push.

but I ain't there and can't know what's really going on. So I could be posting like one of our local profuse posters and whistling out my hind quarters hoping I'm sounding good. Lord knows I don't want to sound like him, so best of luck and I hope you can work it out.

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Old 07-26-2010, 12:47 PM   #8
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

So what's your REAL objection? What's the worst that can happen if you test and pass or test and fail?

Obviously your instructor wouldn't be suggesting/pushing you unless they felt you were talented enough. Sometimes we are our own biggest critic. Hence your perfectionism...you have to whole life to try and reach perfection...my suggestion is that you don't let this one speed bump prevent you from that pursuit.

I get the feeling just being rougher isn't the real issue..or you will never test and should probably find another dojo. Fear I think is your real test and that is going to find you at whatever you choose to do. Be the perfectionist and pass the test the first time!

Stay Cut,

The Hebrew Hammer
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Old 07-26-2010, 01:18 PM   #9
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

Just to clarify since a few people are getting hung up on it....

I probably made a bad word choice with "rougher." Our dojo is quite soft - and as such for their first few months beginners are normally pushed just to the point of being off balance and are allowed to fall at their own pace. Some of them don't seem to want to get past this point. I've had people use every ounce of strength in their body to try to stand upright during a kaiten-nage because they are only comfortable rolling from a static standing position. I simply meant that at some point you have to transition from static practice to more dynamic practice where you don't always get to choose when and where you're falling. As a beginner some of your rolls and jumping breakfalls are pretty rough on your body - no matter how soft and skilled your partner is.

We've had several women either hit the mat badly or repeatedly bang the same spot on their anatomy when taking ukemi, and never show for practice again. Since women have different centers of gravity and different levels of upper body strength than men, I'm guessing that we should probably be taking slightly different ukemi....but with only male instructors this has never been raised in class (but that's a whole other kettle of fish).
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Old 07-26-2010, 01:27 PM   #10
Keith Larman
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

Well, that's what I was getting at. The problem isn't that the practice is rougher, but that some are hesitant to push outside their comfort zones. If it is any consolation, that is problem many new students face. The paradox is that you have to "go for it" and in doing so it becomes less an issue. It is the hesitation that makes for injuries. Once you start to simply take the fall you find that it is vastly easier to take them when your partner gives you some energy.

I will occasionally teach classes where my sole goal is teaching better ukemi. Pushing newer students to relax and take a good fall. It is critical practice and you *have* to get past it to get anywhere in your training.

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Old 07-26-2010, 04:55 PM   #11
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

Quote:
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It is the hesitation that makes for injuries. Once you start to simply take the fall you find that it is vastly easier to take them when your partner gives you some energy.
Totally agree with you here. The more energy that is given to me, the less work I have to do. When techniques are done really slow, you can get there yourself. When they are done with oomph, I find I magically am where I need to be most times. It is that half paced "I don't want to hurt you" or "I'm not sure what I'm doing" stuff that makes my ukemi a bit less fluid (not that my ukemi is considered fluid at any given moment..... )

Every person I know who has been injured (or injured their partner) during ukemi was from them being afraid of the landing and tensing up or they just plain went into panic mode. I think this is something that really needs to be addressed. There have been several times in aikido where my ukemi has been less then ideal and I didn't know what I was doing, but because I am able to relax and go with the flow more or less, I have ended up alright (so far). Which leads to your next statement....

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Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Pushing newer students to relax and take a good fall. It is critical practice and you *have* to get past it to get anywhere in your training.
Couldn't say that any better. You have to get over your fear of falling in an art where falling is a major part of the art. If they can't get over the fear of falling, then perhaps aikido isn't for them. I think people don't realize just how useful ukemi is and how it is one thing in the art that you will more then likely use at one point in your life.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:43 PM   #12
raul rodrigo
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

My advice would be to trust your teacher and take the test. He wouldn't ask you to test if he didn't think you would pass. At worst, you will pass with a performance you feel is unsatisfactory. But that's happened to me every single time I've tested, and I'm nidan with 14 years of training. I'm always a little behind where I hope to be in my training, and that's all right. The important thing is to train.
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Old 07-29-2010, 05:25 AM   #13
Amir Krause
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

Given your story so far

I must ask - when will you have the quality for the test?

I can not recall a single veteran in our dojo who felt he deserves his last or prior to last ranking. All continuously try to postpone their rankings (maybe next fall/summer/ another few months in a repetitive manner) and tell Sensei their level is far from sufficient for their ranks.

On the other hand, if Sensei lowered his standards, it was not by much, and it definitely was not due to financial considerations. If anything, it could have been trying to get closer to the Japanese concept of the Shodan as the first stepping stone, and not a destination almost impossible to achieve.

At some point he even got to putting me and a friend on an unannounced test (as in "congratulations, the presentation you gave today was a test and you are now Nidan") for the previous rank.

We will always have much more to improve. Talking to Sensei he tells me how his techniques are so far from perfect and says he may have one or two passable techniques, and he is so far ahead of me...

Amir
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Old 07-30-2010, 11:58 AM   #14
RED
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

In my opinion. If you trust your sensei and he thinks you are ready to test, continue to trust him. It is his school after all. If you don't trust his judgment, I'd find another school. I can't imagine a good student teacher relationship where you don't completely trust your teachers judgment as teacher.

MM
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Old 07-31-2010, 02:17 PM   #15
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

I train at an overcrowded dojo, so I don't personally care that a large percentage stays to 4th kyu and injures out, mostly because they never figured out on their own how to roll without hurting their shoulders. But a smaller dojo is definitely going to have retention problems if it doesn't actively teach ukemi as a part of class, and those issues could be with men or women.

I'm a woman and I was taught to fall by men, and have male ukemi role models and do just fine, so I don't think this is about women having a different center of gravity or whatever. But women do differ from men in two important ways:

1. Women are socialized to assume that the problem with their ukemi is innate (my neck is too short, my thighs are too fat, my ukemi isn't very good...), whereas men are socialized to assume that they can troubleshoot and fix problems like this (I can fix my computer and I can fix the way I fall...)

2. Women are more risk averse, generally, then men. If a man falls badly a few times, he learns from each bad fall how to fall better. Women prefer to withdraw from things that hurt them. I learned how to do better breakfalls by figuring out how not to land on my kidneys, but I am not feminine in this way.

Ukemi drills in class would really help both of these specific feminine mindsets. I used to be a sculpture teacher, and found that I could never get my female students to use the table saw. But when I created a short assignment that involved everyone using the saw, and explained how to do it safely, then it became a non-issue and of course the women were often safer and had better judgment at it then the men.

As to the testing thing, nobody on this forum can tell whether you are ready or not, but you should generally test for yourself and to your own expectations (provided they are high enough). You're acting as a role model no matter your rank.
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Old 07-31-2010, 07:32 PM   #16
RED
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

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I train at an overcrowded dojo, so I don't personally care that a large percentage stays to 4th kyu and injures out, mostly because they never figured out on their own how to roll without hurting their shoulders. But a smaller dojo is definitely going to have retention problems if it doesn't actively teach ukemi as a part of class, and those issues could be with men or women.

I'm a woman and I was taught to fall by men, and have male ukemi role models and do just fine, so I don't think this is about women having a different center of gravity or whatever. But women do differ from men in two important ways:

1. Women are socialized to assume that the problem with their ukemi is innate (my neck is too short, my thighs are too fat, my ukemi isn't very good...), whereas men are socialized to assume that they can troubleshoot and fix problems like this (I can fix my computer and I can fix the way I fall...)

2. Women are more risk averse, generally, then men. If a man falls badly a few times, he learns from each bad fall how to fall better. Women prefer to withdraw from things that hurt them. I learned how to do better breakfalls by figuring out how not to land on my kidneys, but I am not feminine in this way.

Ukemi drills in class would really help both of these specific feminine mindsets. I used to be a sculpture teacher, and found that I could never get my female students to use the table saw. But when I created a short assignment that involved everyone using the saw, and explained how to do it safely, then it became a non-issue and of course the women were often safer and had better judgment at it then the men.

As to the testing thing, nobody on this forum can tell whether you are ready or not, but you should generally test for yourself and to your own expectations (provided they are high enough). You're acting as a role model no matter your rank.
I've never dealt with some of these "female" problems you speak of. If my ukemi sucks I just assume I'll work it out and proceed as required.
I've actually known one to many men who baby their shoulders when uke. In my experience babying anything guarantees your injury.
One thing men can't comprehend is how much it hurts when some one accidentally kneels on your "side-boob bulge" when doing a seated pin.

MM
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:46 AM   #17
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

Quote:
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I've never dealt with some of these "female" problems you speak of.
Individual anecdotes don't invalidate a generalization. Not saying it's the case with OP, but perhaps it's worth looking at.
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Old 08-02-2010, 11:43 AM   #18
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Individual anecdotes don't invalidate a generalization. Not saying it's the case with OP, but perhaps it's worth looking at.
I am not a fan of generalization. Often times I find they come from a place of assumption instead of actual experience. I'm not here to invalidate the generalization, I'd rather erase it all together.

A female student who is a serious student of martial arts I think would more typically not fit into this generalization. You sort of walk in knowing that it will take physical and mental demands.

LOL I already have a hard enough time getting newbie male students to grab or attack me let alone give an honest atemi to me,(A 5'2" girl) let alone have to deal with women who also have the predisposition that girls are more "fragile" physically and mentally.

There is only one adult-female student in my school, me! (there is a female Sensei however.) so when the newbie male students refuse to give honest attack and choose to "baby" their movements for me, I feel inclined to demonstrate that I in fact did earn my rank. It isn't always easy convincing young strong males that they have to respect a 5'2" female on the mat.(for some reason they tend to think that babying women IS respecting them. They don't seem to understand that in this context it is in fact insulting.)

So with this obstacle, I tend to be highly critical when females go along with the idea that female students need to be taught or treated more sensitive. I don't want to be treated "sensitive-like" or have a different "teaching style" adapted for me, the opposite in fact. I don't want special treatment from the teachers or students because I'm more "fragile" mentally or physically.I know I am expected to keep up with par, and I wouldn't have it any other way. My opinion, martial arts is a physically demanding thing, thus it is inclined to be a boys club, so as a woman you need to suck it up and train if you want to join that club.

I sympathize with the OP in trying to retain female students. Sometimes martial arts are boys clubs, and that is never (in most cases) the Sensei's intention for his school.

Last edited by RED : 08-02-2010 at 11:58 AM.

MM
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:07 PM   #19
Mark Gibbons
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
...
There is only one adult-female student in my school, me! (there is a female Sensei however.) so when the newbie male students refuse to give honest attack and choose to "baby" their movements for me, I feel inclined to demonstrate that I in fact did earn my rank. It isn't always easy convincing young strong males that they have to respect a 5'2" female on the mat.(for some reason they tend to think that babying women IS respecting them. They don't seem to understand that in this context it is in fact insulting.)
...
.
Interesting problem for beginners. Attack honestly and get wiped out for "challenging" and being resistant, most folks learn to avoid this style quickly. Give the wimpy attacks that seem to be expected and get an emotional reaction from someone demonstrating their rank. Giving the desired attack, in my experience, at an aikido dojo is much harder than doing the waza. I don't see how beginners can be expected to do it.
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:12 PM   #20
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

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Interesting problem for beginners. Attack honestly and get wiped out for "challenging" and being resistant, most folks learn to avoid this style quickly. Give the wimpy attacks that seem to be expected and get an emotional reaction from someone demonstrating their rank. Giving the desired attack, in my experience, at an aikido dojo is much harder than doing the waza. I don't see how beginners can be expected to do it.
The insult comes when they verbalize that they are not willing to strike a girl. A slow on point strike is what I think is reasonable for a new student, which is followed by a slow response by nage. I don't considering practicing slow to be "babying". I consider an unwillingness to make contact, or an unwillingness to allow your uke to fall down to be insulting to the uke. Often times it is easier to get hurt when the nage is trying to "let you down to the mat" refusing to let you fall.. Which increases frustration. I'll be honest, I get angry when some one hurts me by doing something I've asked them not to. I find it disrespectful to not honor your training partner's instructions. Regardless of rank, I listen to how an uke wishes to be thrown and how a nage wishes to be attacked.

Last edited by RED : 08-02-2010 at 01:15 PM.

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Old 08-02-2010, 02:42 PM   #21
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

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Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
The insult comes when they verbalize that they are not willing to strike a girl. A slow on point strike is what I think is reasonable for a new student, which is followed by a slow response by nage. I don't considering practicing slow to be "babying". I consider an unwillingness to make contact, or an unwillingness to allow your uke to fall down to be insulting to the uke. Often times it is easier to get hurt when the nage is trying to "let you down to the mat" refusing to let you fall.. Which increases frustration. I'll be honest, I get angry when some one hurts me by doing something I've asked them not to. I find it disrespectful to not honor your training partner's instructions. Regardless of rank, I listen to how an uke wishes to be thrown and how a nage wishes to be attacked.
Thanks for explaining. I had a somewhat different picture in mine. I sometimes get treated that way, I frequently have to beg beginning ukes to hit me. And yes, I also hate being caught on the way to fall. It's dangerous for uke, and really weird to grab someone with a black or brown belt assuming they can't fall. Beginners have issues, that's a symptom.

As for insulting you or not doing what you ask and making you angry, I'll repeat myself. Appropriate ukemi is really difficult for some people. Getting upset with someone because something is difficult for them doesn't seem like it would help either of you.

Or you may just live in a culture and hang out where folks don't want to hit women.

Mark
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Old 08-02-2010, 03:02 PM   #22
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

Quote:
Mark Gibbons wrote: View Post
Thanks for explaining. I had a somewhat different picture in mine. I sometimes get treated that way, I frequently have to beg beginning ukes to hit me. And yes, I also hate being caught on the way to fall. It's dangerous for uke, and really weird to grab someone with a black or brown belt assuming they can't fall. Beginners have issues, that's a symptom.

As for insulting you or not doing what you ask and making you angry, I'll repeat myself. Appropriate ukemi is really difficult for some people. Getting upset with someone because something is difficult for them doesn't seem like it would help either of you.

Or you may just live in a culture and hang out where folks don't want to hit women.

Mark
I'd like to point out that this issue is a rare annoyance for me..I have a good relationship with all the regular students of the dojo and we respect each other...but the annoyance comes from newbie's and is annoying enough for me to get a chip on my shoulder.

It's the south.. the good ol' boy chivalry gets annoying after awhile.

There are some boys that don't know me,(they are new), but they are fully aware that I'm a higher rank than them, so it is a little rude to assume I need "their instruction", and assume that I need "their" help taking ukemi, or the mat will some how hurt me. They don't treat other men like that; other men who are lower ranked than me...so after a while I'll have to assume it is them "trying to be nice to the girl".

I only get mad if I'm injured due to some one ignoring my wishes to say, let go of me when I fall. I tend to repeat myself by saying "I don't need help to the mat, you are going to injure me." And if I am injured, I'm obviously irritated.

Don't expect special treatment. I train with male students, I train as hard as them. MY only point really is that altering your teaching or training style for a woman is really an insult more than it is a help. And if the newbies annoying me stick around long enough they learn this fact...then everything is cool.

Last edited by RED : 08-02-2010 at 03:08 PM.

MM
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Old 08-02-2010, 03:19 PM   #23
David Board
Dojo: Aikido of Reno
Location: Reno/NV
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
I'd like to point out that this issue is a rare annoyance for me..I have a good relationship with all the regular students of the dojo and we respect each other...but the annoyance comes from newbie's and is annoying enough for me to get a chip on my shoulder.

It's the south.. the good ol' boy chivalry gets annoying after awhile.

There are some boys that don't know me,(they are new), but they are fully aware that I'm a higher rank than them, so it is a little rude to assume I need "their instruction", and assume that I need "their" help taking ukemi, or the mat will some how hurt me. They don't treat other men like that; other men who are lower ranked than me...so after a while I'll have to assume it is them "trying to be nice to the girl".

I only get mad if I'm injured due to some one ignoring my wishes to say, let go of me when I fall. I tend to repeat myself by saying "I don't need help to the mat, you are going to injure me." And if I am injured, I'm obviously irritated.

Don't expect special treatment. I train with male students, I train as hard as them. MY only point really is that altering your teaching or training style for a woman is really an insult more than it is a help. And if the newbies annoying me stick around long enough they learn this fact...then everything is cool.
I expect special treatment. I'm tall and skinny. I'm inexperienced but have a high level of endurance. I'm male. I have a 7 year old in the class (during the family practice). I'm approaching middle age. My shoulders are flexible. My wrists are not. I can put my feet behind my head but can't touch my toes.

A good nage needs to treat me appropriately or the techniques won't work and/or they might injure me. A good teacher needs to consider these things while teaching me. Some of them they can perceive instantly. Some of them they can glean from putting me into categories. Some times these categories may mislead them but we can work through that.

Hopefully I treat others as special cases as well and I adapt to who they are and what they are doing.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:38 PM   #24
RED
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

Quote:
David Board wrote: View Post
I expect special treatment. I'm tall and skinny. I'm inexperienced but have a high level of endurance. I'm male. I have a 7 year old in the class (during the family practice). I'm approaching middle age. My shoulders are flexible. My wrists are not. I can put my feet behind my head but can't touch my toes.

.
Being a woman is not a handicap. Nor is it a sign of inexperience or enfeeblement. Are you suggesting that being a woman is the same a handicap, like having stiff wrists? That my partner need to adapt to the fact that I am female?

You are right, I expected to be treated as I am: Young, flexible, healthy and capable.

MM
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Old 08-02-2010, 10:47 PM   #25
David Board
Dojo: Aikido of Reno
Location: Reno/NV
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Re: Unhappy being pushed to test

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Being a woman is not a handicap. Nor is it a sign of inexperience or enfeeblement. Are you suggesting that being a woman is the same a handicap, like having stiff wrists? That my partner need to adapt to the fact that I am female?

You are right, I expected to be treated as I am: Young, flexible, healthy and capable.
No, being a women is the same as being skinny or tall. An attribute. Women typically have a set of physical attributes in common. Women's hips are different then men's hips. The angle of the femur is different. Female spines are different then male spines. This changes how you move. This changes how I should respond to you.

Just as my height changes how people should respond to me. I have watched multiple times as nages are forced to adapt to my height. Sidesteps are modified to include a slight backwards angle. As nage, I have to change how I do some techniques. My height changes how a technique is performed in subtle and not so subtle ways.

Now there is no doubt that attributes can mislead. When people see me put my legs behind my head they assume I have the flexibility of a Yogi (if they know my wife is yoga teacher the assumption is reinforced) but I can not touch my toes. In fact, I can not even sit at 90 degrees with my legs out straight. As an aside my wife informs me that this peculiarity is associated with males and that she has yet to encounter a women with this mix of flexibility but several males.

I have no doubt that you are a better at Aikido than I am. I have no doubt that you can take better Ukemi than I can. I have no doubt that you could take more than I could dish out. If we were to meet on the mat I would treat you as my better and try to learn from you. I would treat you as are young, flexible, healthy, capable and female. Not because I need baby you but because I want to give you my best.
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