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Old 11-11-2011, 10:00 AM   #26
hughrbeyer
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

There's a limit to how much you can get into this stuff during class. You offered your idea, he countered, you're done.

But you could raise it again after class and the two of you could explore a bit. What happens if you strike a little harder? Is his block really ineffective? What happens if you do it your way? Can he really smash your face? Try it out. How else are you ever going to know?
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:44 PM   #27
Hanna B
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
Still, follow the lesson of the teacher...
It takes real effort to get such an environment in your dojo, but when you get it, it works really well. Off course this is a continuous process.
I think it is the responsibility of the teacher to make this very clear to all students. It forces students to think about what the teacher is trying to achieve so they do not distract eachother with other issues. I do correct students that correct others on aspects outside my lesson.
I have encountered people on the tatami that simply did what they wanted to work on regardless of what the teacher is doing. They undermine the entire lesson of the teacher and even worse they often start correcting others on things they work on....very bad.
*nod*

That's the dynamics of the whole dojo. How it will work out depends to a fairly large degree on how the teacher handles the issues you mention.

Very new beginners though (if the class is mixed so they're not in the beginners' class) might need some help with other issues than those the teacher mentioned, since having somewhat right position etc is a prerequisite for working on anything else in the technique.
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Old 11-11-2011, 11:58 PM   #28
Hanna B
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
I thought it's going to be dangerous if he tries that move with someone using full strength. I thought it was just a simple mistake and he'd realize it soon so I didn't say anything the first time he did that. but it turns out that he's still doing that the when it's my turn again to pair with him (we were in a group of 5 people, and I have shown how it's supposed to be done when I'm tori). that's when I said to him, "maybe it's better to control and redirect the attack like this.." he then quickly dismisses my suggestion by saying (I'm quoting) "if you'd done that, the attacker would've smashed your face".. I was thinking, how would it be possible when I'm behind him and in control of his movements?
His concepts of how to move is different. Assuming he is somewhat good in his old art, I don't think you ever will convince him of the logics of aikido without taking the discussion to really deep levels. That won't be done in a class setting. Arguing over which way to do technique is better probably is pointless. BUT he should respond to "that's not how the teacher is doing it", and adapt accordingly.

You might think that if he sees that you (and several other people in the dojo) does it in another way than he does, he should realise his way is not what is expected. That might not be so, actually. He might have missed that point when the teacher showed the move - or the teacher's version might be slightly different (better) than what the rest of the people in the dojo are doing, so that the teacher's version look OK in his eyes but what the rest of you are doing not. And so he is trying to find a solution to how that technique should be performed.

So if you want to try to help him, I suggest the version "the teacher showed it like this", instead of "it might be better if you xyz". If he argues with that, then obviously the two of you will have to ask the teacher. If he insists in doing it his way although the teacher clearly showed how he wants it done... then the guy doesn't want to learn, is behaving poorly, and surely will drop out. Pointing out to him how he constantly (if that is the case) is doing things differently from what the teacher is teaching might help him along in his process of making that decision.

Last edited by Hanna B : 11-12-2011 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 11-12-2011, 04:21 PM   #29
Basia Halliop
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

It's also possible that his criticisms of how you're doing it are valid, too. E.g., maybe you're making some mistakes in your movement or timing so it actually doesn't 100% 'work' (e.g. maybe he really can hit you), which makes him doubt that it CAN work that way. That would be entirely normal if you're not super advanced, as you're also in the process of learning. If that's a possibility it might be better to let the teacher or more advanced students do the correction and teaching, even if what you're doing is closer to what the teacher is teaching than what he is doing....

Also some people just have to take time and experience for themselves what works and doesn't work and why things are taught a certain way before they become convinced enough to want to try to learn to copy it... if at least the teacher and most advanced students are doing things solidly, then I guess in time he'll see for himself if it's something he wants to learn to do... or if he decides he doesn't want to learn to do what they do, then presumably eventually he'll leave.
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:44 AM   #30
dapidmini
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

okay, so now another problem arose concerning this particular student. if I was supposed to start a new thread to ask this then please let me know.. Sensei actually told me that he also doesn't know what he should do about this...

so we are going to have a Kyu exam this December and X is going to participate and test for 3rd kyu (brown belt) while not being able to perform yokomenuchi shihonage correctly. I don't know how he passed the previous tests.. maybe Sensei was too lenient. Sensei never fails anyone taking the Kyu exam as long as they have been training for at least 4 months before the exam. and more importantly, X comes training with his 2 children. both are not so bad, because they listen to instructions given to them. if Sensei decides to fail X while passing his children, that would make X looks so bad and I don't think Sensei would want that.

but we're going to organize our first Shihan visit in our Dojo next February. Sensei doesn't want to lose face by having an unqualified brown belt in the presence of a Shihan. being the most active 1st kyu in Dojo, Sensei wanted X to take extra class from me. how can I teach him if he's not willing to even consider my suggestions??

btw, X is actually a nice guy outside the Dojo. and he's even willing to take part in sponsoring the Shihan visit next February. so it's another reason why Sensei would want to avoid failing his kyu exam..

maybe Sensei will come up with a solution, but it never hurts to have more inputs from experienced people in case Sensei asks for an opinion.. Sensei doesn't use the Internet much, and his english is not very good. so I'm asking for your advice in Sensei's stead..
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Old 11-15-2011, 12:47 PM   #31
Janet Rosen
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

In my opinion it reflects very poorly on the teacher if a student is granted rank for reasons other than accomplishment. Let me state this very clearly: It is NOT a reflection on the student. It is a reflection on the teacher. It says he is not teaching properly.

Politics, niceness, economics....when someone is standing on the mat, training, that stuff is irrelevent.

I should state that I write this as a slow older student who has been passed along the path by many others over the years, people who were progressing more quickly than I. At times I've had to reassure those students that this was FINE - we don't all progress at the same rate and I never felt "passed over" inappropriately.

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Old 11-15-2011, 03:22 PM   #32
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
In my opinion it reflects very poorly on the teacher if a student is granted rank for reasons other than accomplishment. Let me state this very clearly: It is NOT a reflection on the student. It is a reflection on the teacher. It says he is not teaching properly.

Politics, niceness, economics....when someone is standing on the mat, training, that stuff is irrelevent.

I should state that I write this as a slow older student who has been passed along the path by many others over the years, people who were progressing more quickly than I. At times I've had to reassure those students that this was FINE - we don't all progress at the same rate and I never felt "passed over" inappropriately.
AGREED!

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Old 11-15-2011, 03:29 PM   #33
Hanna B
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

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being the most active 1st kyu in Dojo, Sensei wanted X to take extra class from me. how can I teach him if he's not willing to even consider my suggestions??
That won't work, will it. Can you tell your teacher that, in a polite manner?

The rest IMHO isn't your problem.
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Old 11-15-2011, 03:40 PM   #34
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

If he doesn't want an unqualified brown belt on the mat, then he shouldn't award the brown belt.

The face-saving way to avoid doing so would be to tell the student privately, but bluntly, that he is not ready to test. With, perhaps, a list of specific things to work on. That's the way it is handled in most dojos.

The more embarrassing way is to allow the student to test, and fail him. But that's still less embarrassing than allowing an unqualified student to represent the dojo.

Think, for a moment, about the effect of promoting this person. Do you think it will improve his attitude, or worsen it?

Katherine
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Old 11-15-2011, 03:50 PM   #35
Janet Rosen
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

I also don't understand, if the instructor can't teach it to this student, why does he think a 1st kyu can?

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Old 11-15-2011, 05:05 PM   #36
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

You never want to have people fail their tests. A better option would be for your sensei to have a word with X and suggest that he shouldn't take his test at this point in time. He could also tactfully point out that improving yokomen-uchi shihonage would help him if he wants to take the test in the future. This is what my senseis would have done in these circumstances.
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:45 PM   #37
Mario Tobias
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

If your sensei doesn't want to lose face, then I think he shouldn't recommend X for a promotion. Opportunities for promotions dont go away. But how do you know he doesnt want to lose face?
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Old 11-15-2011, 10:58 PM   #38
dapidmini
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

thanks for the replies, guys.

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Politics, niceness, economics....when someone is standing on the mat, training, that stuff is irrelevent.

I should state that I write this as a slow older student who has been passed along the path by many others over the years, people who were progressing more quickly than I. At times I've had to reassure those students that this was FINE - we don't all progress at the same rate and I never felt "passed over" inappropriately.
I think Sensei is mostly thinking about niceness and economics..

my friends also passed along before me and I have no problem with that mainly because they are not closely related to me. but I think X is different. the people who'll advance before him are his own children. more importantly, he has always been a teacher. nevermind failing a test, he's not even used to being a student. he actually told me that when I was training under him. although he also said that he is trying to overcome his ego as a teacher, but it's hard to let go of decades of mindset in a short time...

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
That won't work, will it. Can you tell your teacher that, in a polite manner?

The rest IMHO isn't your problem.
I care because I love training in this Dojo, and as I said before, I feel indebted to him so I'm concerned about him.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
If he doesn't want an unqualified brown belt on the mat, then he shouldn't award the brown belt.

The face-saving way to avoid doing so would be to tell the student privately, but bluntly, that he is not ready to test. With, perhaps, a list of specific things to work on. That's the way it is handled in most dojos.

The more embarrassing way is to allow the student to test, and fail him. But that's still less embarrassing than allowing an unqualified student to represent the dojo.

Think, for a moment, about the effect of promoting this person. Do you think it will improve his attitude, or worsen it?

Katherine
thanks Katherine, maybe I need to suggest something like this to Sensei...

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
I also don't understand, if the instructor can't teach it to this student, why does he think a 1st kyu can?
I think it's not that he can't teach him, he just doesn't have the time to do so. Sensei lives quite far from us while I live in town..
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:42 AM   #39
Hanna B
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

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I care because I love training in this Dojo, and as I said before, I feel indebted to him so I'm concerned about him.
Sure. But if your teacher creates a situation for himself it is not your job to fix it for him. It just wouldn't work.

Isn't there an implication here that if you train with this guy to prepare his grading test, and if he then performs poorly, that will also reflect badly on you?

If that is the actual problem with the situation, you could tell your teacher "sure, I could train with him but since he seldom listens to what I say I'm not sure that would amount to much good".

What does he feel about training extra with you? If neither of you are happy about it, it sounds like... not a good situation.

(Or possibly your teacher feels it is a problem that you don't really get along well, and is arranging this extra training so that you the two of you will hopefully learn to cooperate?)
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:21 AM   #40
Basia Halliop
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

Quote:
my friends also passed along before me and I have no problem with that mainly because they are not closely related to me. but I think X is different. the people who'll advance before him are his own children. more importantly, he has always been a teacher. nevermind failing a test, he's not even used to being a student.
He'll get over it. This is an adult we're talking about, yes?

I don't know, but personally I find it so hard to stay patient and reasonable with such talk. It just really frustrates me to read this. It seems both dishonest and silly. IMO, tell him he's not ready to test yet at this point, offer him extra help and support if he wants it, and leave it at that. No need to make such a huge deal about it.

If he's so emotionally delicate or volatile he can't even handle being told in a polite friendly way by his own teacher that he doesn't yet know what he needs to know, then I don't know what kind of hope for him there is in the long run anyway. Either he'll learn to deal with it (or quite possibly he's more grown up than you think he is and will actually handle it maturely) or he won't. I don't really see what's gained by manipulating standards or being dishonest like this. The strangest thing is he doesn't even seem very interested in learning from the teacher; why tiptoe around him like he's some kind of foreign dignitary? If it's this bad at 3rd kyu the situation is hardly going to get BETTER at higher ranks that people care about more (and he'll be further and further behind, too).

Is it only in Aikido that this kind of thing happens? In the rest of life, sometimes you pass tests, sometimes you don't, sometimes you get promotions, sometimes you don't, and people deal with it all the time. I give university students bad marks on quizzes and tests all the time and they don't constantly have a meltdown or blame me for being unfair or drop out of school.

I wouldn't be surprised if he's more mature than you think he is, though.

Last edited by Basia Halliop : 11-16-2011 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 11-16-2011, 11:38 AM   #41
kewms
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

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Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
If he's so emotionally delicate or volatile he can't even handle being told in a polite friendly way by his own teacher that he doesn't yet know what he needs to know, then I don't know what kind of hope for him there is in the long run anyway.
Yeah. Martial arts are hard. Get over it.

Katherine
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:00 PM   #42
Janet Rosen
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

What they just said...

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Old 11-16-2011, 04:33 PM   #43
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

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Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
You never want to have people fail their tests.
I don't understand this. Why? Are we so emotionaly damaged that we cannot accept that we didn't perform at the necessary level to grade up? A test shouldn't be so easy that a student passes without work. I am not for setting a student up to fail but I beleive a test should be a test. There should be an opportunity to pass or fail, otherwise it isn't really a test. How a student accepts disappointment is more important than how a student will accept a promotion. So why a student should never fail a test is beyond me. Perhaps you can explain this in more detail.

Lyle Laizure
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Old 11-16-2011, 06:29 PM   #44
hughrbeyer
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

I'd suggest a private, straight talk conversation with the guy. Tell him Sensei isn't satisfied with his shihonage because it doesn't fit with the way you do it in your style and that it's not really about what you or he think is best, it's about whether he's doing aikido according to your style. Tell him Sensei has asked you to work with him on this and make sure he's got it down before the test.

Then ask him if he's willing to learn this from you. Then shut up and let the awkward silence go on as long as it has to. Don't rescue him.

If he says yes, you have your agreement. If he can't give you a clear "yes", tell him and your Sensei that regretfully, you can't do it.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:13 PM   #45
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

Quote:
Lyle Laizure wrote: View Post
I don't understand this. Why? Are we so emotionaly damaged that we cannot accept that we didn't perform at the necessary level to grade up? A test shouldn't be so easy that a student passes without work. I am not for setting a student up to fail but I beleive a test should be a test. There should be an opportunity to pass or fail, otherwise it isn't really a test. How a student accepts disappointment is more important than how a student will accept a promotion. So why a student should never fail a test is beyond me. Perhaps you can explain this in more detail.
Because it reflects badly on sensei if they are putting their students up for testing when they aren't ready. When sensei allows a student to attempt a test, (s)he is essentially saying "I think this person is good enough to pass this test". If that turns out not to be the case, then it is embarrassing for everyone. I'm not saying people should pass regardless of how bad they are. I'm saying that people shouldn't be allowed to attempt the test if they are not good enough.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:35 PM   #46
Hanna B
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
Because it reflects badly on sensei if they are putting their students up for testing when they aren't ready. When sensei allows a student to attempt a test, (s)he is essentially saying "I think this person is good enough to pass this test". If that turns out not to be the case, then it is embarrassing for everyone. I'm not saying people should pass regardless of how bad they are. I'm saying that people shouldn't be allowed to attempt the test if they are not good enough.
But as already has been mentioned, nobody sees it like that in other walks of life, schools etc.

What you and many others are describing is the culture in some parts of the aikido world. Not the whole. I know someone who went to train in Japan for a couple of months, and took shodan there. In their home dojo, hardly anyone is ever failed at a test. In these Japanese dojos - a system of dojos with many teachers collected under one shihan - typically 1/3 of all students testing for shodan are failed. They was a bit shocked to find out.

IMHO it is logical to make sure the actual testing is done before the "test" when the dojo is small, so the teacher can oversee each student throughout the training process. When the person testing don't regularly train with the examinator, it makes more sense to let the test be the actual test. It also a test of the other teachers in the organisation. In failing students testing for shodan and in each case explaining why, the shihan informs the teachers what they should focus on more.

Failing 5% of students or less sounds like the harsh way for the students. If regularly 1/3 of students are failed, it is of course a disappointment but not that a big deal.

Last edited by Hanna B : 11-16-2011 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:48 PM   #47
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

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Hanna Björk wrote: View Post
But as already has been mentioned, nobody sees it like that in other walks of life, schools etc.

What you and many others are describing is the culture in some parts of the aikido world. Not the whole. I know someone who went to train in Japan for a couple of months, and took shodan there. In their home dojo, hardly anyone is ever failed at a test. In these Japanese dojos - a system of dojos with many teachers collected under one shihan - typically 1/3 of all students testing for shodan are failed. They was a bit shocked to find out.

IMHO it is logical to make sure the actual testing is done before the "test" when the dojo is small, so the teacher can oversee each student throughout the training process. When the person testing don't regularly train with the examinator, it makes more sense to let the test be the actual test. It also a test of the other teachers in the organisation. In failing students testing for shodan and in each case explaining why, the shihan informs the teachers what they should focus on more.

Failing 5% of students or less sounds like the harsh way for the students. If regularly 1/3 of students are failed, it is of course a disappointment but not that a big deal.
I definitely see your point, and I understand that there are many different ways to approach this, both inside and outside of Japan. I just want to add a few points though.

Firstly, while things are seen differently in schools etc. the system of testing is quite different. In martial arts, the idea is that you attempt the test when you are ready. In school, you are expected to attempt tests at regular intervals. I think it is reasonable to fail a test if you attempt it when you are not ready, but I can't think why you would fail it if you attempt it when you are ready.

Also, particularly when the person testing does not train with the tester, the results reflect on the person who is actually in charge of teaching. If a teacher consistently recommends students who are not ready, then it reflects very badly on them.

Obviously if you are in an environment where people regularly fail, then it is another matter.
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Old 11-16-2011, 09:22 PM   #48
Hanna B
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

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Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
Firstly, while things are seen differently in schools etc. the system of testing is quite different. In martial arts, the idea is that you attempt the test when you are ready. In school, you are expected to attempt tests at regular intervals. I think it is reasonable to fail a test if you attempt it when you are not ready, but I can't think why you would fail it if you attempt it when you are ready.
In your school of martial arts, that is obviously the case.

I'd say twice a year is regular intervals, btw.

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
Also, particularly when the person testing does not train with the tester, the results reflect on the person who is actually in charge of teaching. If a teacher consistently recommends students who are not ready, then it reflects very badly on them.
Many people have expanded on this view in this tread.

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
Obviously if you are in an environment where people regularly fail, then it is another matter.
Yes.

Here's an interview with Kobayashi Yasuo in which he explains his view on the matter. He has very obviously chosen a different approach than the most common one.

Quote:
Since I have many dojos I don't hold tests for individual schools. Instead I have all of my dojos gather together at Hombu. Three times a year I rent Hombu Dojo and hold a couple of tests at the same time. About 150 people attend each time. We hold black belt tests during the latter part of the sessions so that the lower ranks can observe them. I fail 30 to 40 percent of those taking the tests. I am quite strict. If I held tests in small dojos I would tend to create an atmosphere where students always pass. That is the reason I hold our tests at Hombu. In the beginning I regularly failed applicants about twice. This resulted in creating an atmosphere where failing two or three times is normal. So nobody has said anything about it.
But since the OP has stated the standard opinion regarding reflecting badly on the teacher etc. I guess we can assume it applies in his dojo, more or less.

If we assume the teacher is of the standard opinion, he is solving the solution by asking a senior student to help out, being unaware of the tension between these two people. They either have to work it out anyway, or speak up.

I think the second part of this thread is about the OP's agony since he is in conflict with himself, being asked to do something he finds very difficult and probably not will yield good results, and having problems speaking up about it. IMHO that is what he has to do, since not speaking up creates a situation which in his mind - and probably the rest of the training environment - reflects badly on the teacher. What he can't do is take responsability for the teacher's decisions. He can only speak up for himself.

How this other individual would handle not to be allowed to take the test, or taking it and failing, is simply not his responsability. The decisions and the consequences thereof are the teacher's responsability. If the student cares for his teacher he should provide adequate information - that's all he can do. He shouldn't try to solve his teacher's problems for him before the teacher even realised it is there, like kids of alcoholics whose role in the family it often is to amend, help out, make sure not bad things happen, make sure not bad things turn worse...
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Old 11-17-2011, 01:38 AM   #49
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote: View Post

I'd say twice a year is regular intervals, btw.

.
my point was that you aren't expected to take a test twice a year. It is just that the option is available. For example, I waited more than 4 years between testing for 1kyu and shodan. I didn't attempt it and fail it 8 times, I simply waited until I was ready. For me, that took a while due to a number of factors including health and free time etc. At school though, it is expected that you test at regular intervals.
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Old 11-17-2011, 04:38 AM   #50
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: how many back talk would you take?

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
my point was that you aren't expected to take a test twice a year. It is just that the option is available. For example, I waited more than 4 years between testing for 1kyu and shodan. I didn't attempt it and fail it 8 times, I simply waited until I was ready. For me, that took a while due to a number of factors including health and free time etc. At school though, it is expected that you test at regular intervals.
I understand what you mean by being expected to test in a "normal" school environment vs in a dojo. My dojo is small and I am able to work with students and know when they will be ready, how much struggle they will encounter on a given test and so on. I choose to put them in a situation where their limits can be pushed. Failing isn't the worst thing that can happen to a student. If the student understands this there really shouldn't be an issue. I agree there will be some degree of embarassment but if we can't overcome that, get back on the horse so to speak, then I'm not sure that we are really improving the "self" we should be in the course of our training.

Lyle Laizure
www.hinodedojo.com
Deru kugi wa uta reru
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