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Old 10-04-2013, 04:21 PM   #1
"at a loss"
IP Hash: f537b73b
Anonymous User
When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Hi guys,

I've been training in Aikido for nearly 8 years. I've been a 1st kyu for nearly 3 years now. I have an excess of over 1200 training days. I only need 300 days to qualify for shodan testing. I've been polite and quiet about testing for a very long time...because it shouldn't really matter. But, I've had a talk with my sensei and the idea of testing popped up and it came out the reason I, and a few other students, haven't been put up to test for black belt yet is because the sensei's spouse is still a shodan. Apparently this spouse has had a total fit about the sensei raising who they consider their juniors rank up to their rank.

A few years ago I tried to help their spouse train for their nidan test. They were lazy, made excuses for not training, wasted our time by not showing up when they said they would, they were verbally abusive when they got tired(cursed us out, blamed uke etc.)...they frankly were not taking to the training experience well. In all honesty this might had been the first time they had trained since taking their shodan test, so they were admittedly out of shape. (Another issue we students have, this person never trains but teaches the lion share of the classes...he's become a locker room joke actually.)

But apparently we all have been waiting so long to test because this supposed locker room joke isn't taking to losing his "place" in the dojo well. Rank shouldn't matter that much in my opinion, not that you keep the juniors from promoting because you lost pace. IMHO.

After three failed attempts to get this person ready for nidan, sensei is saying they are going to try to just get them promoted through recommendation. This person is in their 30's and doesn't have any physical issues other than letting themselves go a bit. I was told that I and my other long suffering 1st kyu would be put up to take my test when the recommendation went through...am I wrong to find this ridiculous? Me and my class mates have spent a lot of time, money and energy in this art. We have sustained injuries and some of us have had surgeries to cope with training accidents. We have busted ourselves and are now frustrated that we had to wait in line behind the laziest Aikidoka, some one who has been honest about having no love for the art who has admitted to just being in it to appease their spouse....some one who's been verbally abusive, arrogant, and over-all have ego trips at junior's expenses. We have to wait behind this guy!

There are no other Aikido dojo anywhere near us. If I didn't love Aikido I would leave the school, but there is no where else to train. Some of my fellow students have left because what they have considered double standards in the rules between he average student and sensei's spouse. Sensei doesn't seem to get why we are upset...we've talked to them about this issue already...and been dismissed. They have been clear in that they would choose their spouse over the school any day of the week...and I respect that, I guess.
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Old 10-05-2013, 08:35 PM   #2
robin_jet_alt
Join Date: Jun 2011
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

That is absolutely ridiculous, but not unheard of. This sort of stupid politicking seems to go on a lot. If there is nowhere else to train, then I guess you will just have to bite your tongue for a while. If it helps, I was 1st kyu for 4 years before I got my shodan, although that had nothing to do with politics.
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Old 10-05-2013, 09:11 PM   #3
Chris Li
 
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Since it seems that they're upfront with the reason (and I assume that means that they're unlikely to change their stance) - you either live with it or you don't.

If you don't - then vote with your feet, after eight years you (and whoever else feels the same way) should be fine setting up a practice on your own, rank or not.

Personally, it would be a deal breaker for me...

Best,

Chris

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Old 10-05-2013, 09:21 PM   #4
Basia Halliop
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

If it's all true, it sounds quite unprofessional. Are you learning stuff, though? Enough to put up with a bunch of politics and unprofessional behaviour? Is the training and atmosphere otherwise good? Or not?

In the end it's basically your decision: for you, do the pros of continuing to train there outweigh the cons, or not.

Personally I would be inclined to just roll my eyes at the promotion politics and otherwise ignore it, but this would be the much bigger deal to me:
Quote:
some one who's been verbally abusive, arrogant, and over-all have ego trips at junior's expenses.
But everyone has different feelings for which things they can put up with and which they can't. There's not necessarily a 'right answer' - it's a personal decision for you.

(Incidentally, your math doesn't add up -- there are only 365 days in a year. But whatever, a typo, we get the general idea)

Last edited by Basia Halliop : 10-05-2013 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 10-06-2013, 01:33 AM   #5
Brian Crowley
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post

this person never trains but teaches the lion share of the classes...

the laziest Aikidoka, some one who has been honest about having no love for the art who has admitted to just being in it to appease their spouse....some one who's been verbally abusive, arrogant, and over-all have ego trips at junior's expenses.

some of us have had surgeries to cope with training accidents.

If I didn't love Aikido I would leave the school, but there is no where else to train.
Based on the limited info you provided (which I selectively cut/paste above), the place sounds toxic to me. "Looking the other way" because you feel the person has some kind of monopoly is a risky thing to your well being and that of others behind you. I suggest you evaluate other options with a creative and open mind - including other martial arts.
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Old 10-06-2013, 05:04 PM   #6
"at a loss"
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Anonymous User
Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Quote:
Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
If it's all true, it sounds quite unprofessional. Are you learning stuff, though? Enough to put up with a bunch of politics and unprofessional behaviour? Is the training and atmosphere otherwise good? Or not?

In the end it's basically your decision: for you, do the pros of continuing to train there outweigh the cons, or not.

Personally I would be inclined to just roll my eyes at the promotion politics and otherwise ignore it, but this would be the much bigger deal to me:

But everyone has different feelings for which things they can put up with and which they can't. There's not necessarily a 'right answer' - it's a personal decision for you.

(Incidentally, your math doesn't add up -- there are only 365 days in a year. But whatever, a typo, we get the general idea)
Yes sorry, not really a typo, just an under estimation of how long it has been since my 1st kyu test...maybe 4-5 years now ?? Either way, it has been a while. I had enough days to test within a year of training.

I learn stuff when the sensei teaches, and I love their classes. I learn little in the spouse's classes, because again the guy hasn't trained since passing shodan...which is many many years ago, so he pushes a lot of things that many students (including sensei) don't agree with on a technical level. But we indulge it because of the relation to sensei. I can train good when the guy just lets us train. But if he's in a bad mood it is a very tedious class involving a lot of sitting and listening to his philosophies and not training much. I think maybe if people don't train for years they partake in a lot of intellectualizing and not a lot of real practice? I don't know, either way, practice is good when he allows it or when the sensei or other instructors are teaching. But he's always there...always yelling pointers from off the mat in other people's classes...it is annoying. It was easier not to get annoyed by it all when I didn't know I was being kept from testing because of this guy! He was just the joke in the dressing room then...now the joke is sort of on the students. I've just been rolling my eyes at it all for the time being. I had no issue with testing late...just a bit dismayed to find out the reason is all. It sort of tells me that hard work doesn't matter in our school. Finding political short cuts around working hard is all that is needed to gain rank.

I'm not 100% on what choice to make. I love Aikido...I want to do it for the long haul. Just got to figure if this is a big enough sticking point to me or not.
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Old 10-06-2013, 05:06 PM   #7
"at a loss"
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Quote:
Brian Crowley wrote: View Post
Based on the limited info you provided (which I selectively cut/paste above), the place sounds toxic to me. "Looking the other way" because you feel the person has some kind of monopoly is a risky thing to your well being and that of others behind you. I suggest you evaluate other options with a creative and open mind - including other martial arts.
I just feel like maybe more options would be open to me if I could get my black belt... ?? Maybe we could just go start our own club at a college, try to get the support of our affiliation some how? Not sure.
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Old 10-06-2013, 05:11 PM   #8
sakumeikan
Dojo: Sakumeikan N.E. Aikkai .Newcastle upon Tyne.
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Yes sorry, not really a typo, just an under estimation of how long it has been since my 1st kyu test...maybe 4-5 years now ?? Either way, it has been a while. I had enough days to test within a year of training.

I learn stuff when the sensei teaches, and I love their classes. I learn little in the spouse's classes, because again the guy hasn't trained since passing shodan...which is many many years ago, so he pushes a lot of things that many students (including sensei) don't agree with on a technical level. But we indulge it because of the relation to sensei. I can train good when the guy just lets us train. But if he's in a bad mood it is a very tedious class involving a lot of sitting and listening to his philosophies and not training much. I think maybe if people don't train for years they partake in a lot of intellectualizing and not a lot of real practice? I don't know, either way, practice is good when he allows it or when the sensei or other instructors are teaching. But he's always there...always yelling pointers from off the mat in other people's classes...it is annoying. It was easier not to get annoyed by it all when I didn't know I was being kept from testing because of this guy! He was just the joke in the dressing room then...now the joke is sort of on the students. I've just been rolling my eyes at it all for the time being. I had no issue with testing late...just a bit dismayed to find out the reason is all. It sort of tells me that hard work doesn't matter in our school. Finding political short cuts around working hard is all that is needed to gain rank.

I'm not 100% on what choice to make. I love Aikido...I want to do it for the long haul. Just got to figure if this is a big enough sticking point to me or not.
Dear Mr /Mrs X,
Quite frankly this type of behaviour of your instructor is appalling.Vote with you feet, start another class somewhere. Tell you instructor [yes TELLHer ] your fed up and you do not accept this treatment.If you do not condemn it, you condone. Others might get the same treatment.Be respectful by all means , but lay it on the line. Cheers, Joe.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:24 AM   #9
philipsmith
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Totally agree with Joe.

There is no excuse for this kind of behaviour - I have seen it before and the inevitable outcome (quite rightly in my opinion) is a closed dojo; maybe not soon but eventually.

Even if this guy is promoted by recommendation then it just creates another "glass cieling"; feeds his ego and panders to his insecurities; not to mention the relationship dynamic.

Vote with your feet

Last edited by philipsmith : 10-07-2013 at 08:26 AM.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:57 AM   #10
Brian Crowley
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
I just feel like maybe more options would be open to me if I could get my black belt... ?? Maybe we could just go start our own club at a college, try to get the support of our affiliation some how? Not sure.
If you are interested in teaching perhaps you could discuss with your Sensei that you would like to start your own club at a college (or community center or whatever) and see if they will support you in that endeavor now, even before your formal promotion. ie. provide you a letter of reference vouching your qualification to teach, work with you on teaching skills, perhaps a timeline for promotion. If you are teaching on your own for a while it may also be easier for your sensei to promote you (or maybe not - some people are stuborn). You know the players & whether it is feasable and desireable to do this. For example, would they want to interfere with the way you would want to run things.

There is a concern that the promotion problem is the tip of the iceberg that has caught your attention, but there is more of problem you don't see and maybe it is best to just change direction by voting with your feet as other suggest - start your own club or join a different marital art. I'd encourage you to also visit other non-aikido schools and see what they do and what kind of people attend & teach. There are many great things to learn so you shouldn't feel Aikido is the only game worth playing.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:14 PM   #11
"at a loss"
IP Hash: f537b73b
Anonymous User
Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Yeah I don't even really wanna be a teacher. I just want to step back from crazy and continue to train in an art I sunk nearly a decade of my life into.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:45 PM   #12
Brian Crowley
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Yeah I don't even really wanna be a teacher. I just want to step back from crazy and continue to train in an art I sunk nearly a decade of my life into.
I understand & wish you the best of luck. A few final comments:

1. You mentioned other instructors you liked, maybe one of them would be willing to break away - especially if you offer to help with some of the logisitics (& maybe assistant teach).

2. If you start a new martial art you may not be totaling starting from scratch (although that can be fun too). You may find something where your experience is helpful.

3. You may also find someone who teaches Aikido if you keep scouring the net, papers, etc. I thought I had thoroughly seached for a place to learn the tai chi form only to learn somone was teaching on Sat. morninigs in the next town from me for years. I just wasn't looking in the right place !

Good luck !
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:42 PM   #13
sakumeikan
Dojo: Sakumeikan N.E. Aikkai .Newcastle upon Tyne.
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Quote:
Philip Smith wrote: View Post
Totally agree with Joe.

There is no excuse for this kind of behaviour - I have seen it before and the inevitable outcome (quite rightly in my opinion) is a closed dojo; maybe not soon but eventually.

Even if this guy is promoted by recommendation then it just creates another "glass cieling"; feeds his ego and panders to his insecurities; not to mention the relationship dynamic.

Vote with your feet
Hi Philip,
Heaven forbid!! You agree with me?? Must be my lucky day [just joking].How many times have we seen guys getting held back in terms of grades due to either Aikido politics or the TopGun Sensei has personality disorders.My own earlier Aikido career was nearly ruined by my not playing the game with a certain mutually known gentleman.No Philip , you do not win a coconut for guessing the name of the Sensei.Fortunately Mr Smith [gentleman that he was ] saved the day when I joined the U.K.A. Had the U.K.A not been in existence , I would have packed Aikido in years ago.
This guy who is writing about promotions should like Elvis 'leave the building'.Wasting his time in a dojo with that sort of environment. Hope you are keeping well.Say Hi to your Mum from Jenny and myself. Cheers, Joe.
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Old 10-10-2013, 02:39 PM   #14
philipsmith
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Hi Philip,
Heaven forbid!! You agree with me?? Must be my lucky day [just joking].How many times have we seen guys getting held back in terms of grades due to either Aikido politics or the TopGun Sensei has personality disorders.My own earlier Aikido career was nearly ruined by my not playing the game with a certain mutually known gentleman.No Philip , you do not win a coconut for guessing the name of the Sensei.Fortunately Mr Smith [gentleman that he was ] saved the day when I joined the U.K.A. Had the U.K.A not been in existence , I would have packed Aikido in years ago.
This guy who is writing about promotions should like Elvis 'leave the building'.Wasting his time in a dojo with that sort of environment. Hope you are keeping well.Say Hi to your Mum from Jenny and myself. Cheers, Joe.
Had to happen some time!!

All OK down this way Mom sends regards back - maybe see you soon!
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Old 10-11-2013, 12:11 AM   #15
Krystal Locke
Location: Phoenix, Oregon
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

You guys have to train with him. She has to live with him. Sounds like sensei has a problem. Talk to her some more. Talk to him. Put it flat out that husband is killing her dojo by holding everybody, himself, her, other students, back. Find out if he's killing more than that. If she cannot get a handle on this problem, hand sensei a card for a marriage counselor and go train elsewhere.

How does rank manifest itself in your dojo? This guy may be holding your ranks hostage, but he really cannot be holding your aikido hostage. Anything stopping you from just being a whole lot better than he is and just doing your best aikido? What happens when you go to a seminar (preferably in your dojo's association, if you have one) and other folk see that you are being sandbagged?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Hi guys,

I've been training in Aikido for nearly 8 years. I've been a 1st kyu for nearly 3 years now. I have an excess of over 1200 training days. I only need 300 days to qualify for shodan testing. I've been polite and quiet about testing for a very long time...because it shouldn't really matter. But, I've had a talk with my sensei and the idea of testing popped up and it came out the reason I, and a few other students, haven't been put up to test for black belt yet is because the sensei's spouse is still a shodan. Apparently this spouse has had a total fit about the sensei raising who they consider their juniors rank up to their rank.

A few years ago I tried to help their spouse train for their nidan test. They were lazy, made excuses for not training, wasted our time by not showing up when they said they would, they were verbally abusive when they got tired(cursed us out, blamed uke etc.)...they frankly were not taking to the training experience well. In all honesty this might had been the first time they had trained since taking their shodan test, so they were admittedly out of shape. (Another issue we students have, this person never trains but teaches the lion share of the classes...he's become a locker room joke actually.)

But apparently we all have been waiting so long to test because this supposed locker room joke isn't taking to losing his "place" in the dojo well. Rank shouldn't matter that much in my opinion, not that you keep the juniors from promoting because you lost pace. IMHO.

After three failed attempts to get this person ready for nidan, sensei is saying they are going to try to just get them promoted through recommendation. This person is in their 30's and doesn't have any physical issues other than letting themselves go a bit. I was told that I and my other long suffering 1st kyu would be put up to take my test when the recommendation went through...am I wrong to find this ridiculous? Me and my class mates have spent a lot of time, money and energy in this art. We have sustained injuries and some of us have had surgeries to cope with training accidents. We have busted ourselves and are now frustrated that we had to wait in line behind the laziest Aikidoka, some one who has been honest about having no love for the art who has admitted to just being in it to appease their spouse....some one who's been verbally abusive, arrogant, and over-all have ego trips at junior's expenses. We have to wait behind this guy!

There are no other Aikido dojo anywhere near us. If I didn't love Aikido I would leave the school, but there is no where else to train. Some of my fellow students have left because what they have considered double standards in the rules between he average student and sensei's spouse. Sensei doesn't seem to get why we are upset...we've talked to them about this issue already...and been dismissed. They have been clear in that they would choose their spouse over the school any day of the week...and I respect that, I guess.
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Old 10-11-2013, 09:20 AM   #16
Mark Mueller
Location: Louisville Kentucky
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Quote:
Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
You guys have to train with him. She has to live with him. Sounds like sensei has a problem. Talk to her some more. Talk to him. Put it flat out that husband is killing her dojo by holding everybody, himself, her, other students, back. Find out if he's killing more than that. If she cannot get a handle on this problem, hand sensei a card for a marriage counselor and go train elsewhere.

How does rank manifest itself in your dojo? This guy may be holding your ranks hostage, but he really cannot be holding your aikido hostage. Anything stopping you from just being a whole lot better than he is and just doing your best aikido? What happens when you go to a seminar (preferably in your dojo's association, if you have one) and other folk see that you are being sandbagged?
Damn Krystal! Direct, Honest and willing to enter into the conflict! Just like a good irimi....Good advice.
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Old 10-11-2013, 09:23 AM   #17
lbb
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Yeah I don't even really wanna be a teacher. I just want to step back from crazy and continue to train in an art I sunk nearly a decade of my life into.
The "nearly a decade" is sunk costs. You can't get it back, and you shouldn't base your decision to stay or go on the value of that time. Nor should you base it on the likelihood of promotion, given your messy situation. If you decide to stay, do so because you like the training -- however, even if you do decide to stay, I think it would be wise to investigate other options. If nothing else, it will give you valuable perspective.
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Old 10-11-2013, 08:21 PM   #18
Zoe S Toth
Dojo: Seidokan Aikido of South Carolina
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Hello OP!

First let me say, I think I can understand where you are coming from. Because of my high number of hours, in the years since I joined the dojo I have changed dynamics with quite a few folks. And well, it's not often a fun thing. It's even worse when there a rank difference for both you and the person.

There are a lot of good comments on this thread but I do think I can add something of worth here and that might be to offer sympathy for the husband. In my situation, I have started to teach a class a week often. However, there is someone one rank ahead of me who comes in from time to time. I used to, well hate him. He had been there so long he had gotten his last promotion for sheer time. Then I found out he's very embarrassed about it too. He feels like the 'weak link' in his rank and hates how my BF and I haven't tested yet despite us teaching and having a better technical grasp that him.

Is it the same situation? Well no. But, please do think about how this man must feel. Yes, he is acting like a douche from how you tell the story. But it's probably painful for him to have helped start a dojo and then get uprooted. It takes a great teacher to accept a student surpassing you and few people are great teachers. Sounds like he is a human who is embarrassed and has roped his wife into trying to hide it.

That being said, I think you have helped create the situation too. The lion's share of the blame is on them but by not being vocal things at your dojo have crumbled. And critically, you have noticed something yet: no one is teaching you at most classes.

And here's where I stop wish washing around and suggest something. No one is teaching you, so it means it's time for you to step up. If you want things to survive, start teaching. Go to a YMCA or community center or gym or whatever and set up a beginner's class. Rope a mate frustrated like you into helping. If you are equal in skill or close to it, maybe take turns teaching.

Yes, do try to get Sensei's blessing. But eventually, all our teachers leave. Sometimes we have to move. Sometimes they decay or fade away. And sometimes they die. And then, for an organization to go on someone must take up the reins.

Teaching to a class is fun. It's hard work. You can't rely on feelings or hand waving, you need to be able to give out concrete answers. Don't worry if they aren't perfect- but work at making them so.

Good luck,
Zoe
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Old 10-11-2013, 09:41 PM   #19
Krystal Locke
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

It isn't like that decade has no value anyway. It has still been 10 years of learning aikido, even if OP is underranked. Way better underranked than overranked. Why would OP want to get those ten years back? The next ten years are what's up for grabs.

Absolutely decide based on how the training suits, not on ranking problems. Absolutely check out other dojos, styles, arts, everything. The past should not necessarily remove any degrees of freedom....

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
The "nearly a decade" is sunk costs. You can't get it back, and you shouldn't base your decision to stay or go on the value of that time. Nor should you base it on the likelihood of promotion, given your messy situation. If you decide to stay, do so because you like the training -- however, even if you do decide to stay, I think it would be wise to investigate other options. If nothing else, it will give you valuable perspective.
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:52 PM   #20
jason v
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

If you love aikido you owe it to yourself to go were your skills will increase by teaching or helping others learn the art that you love. The environment you describe might end up poisoning you to the thing you care about in the end. Get out of this dojo and honor your art by walking down a new path.
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Old 10-14-2013, 01:41 PM   #21
"at a loss"
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Quote:
Krystal Locke wrote: View Post
You guys have to train with him. She has to live with him. Sounds like sensei has a problem. Talk to her some more. Talk to him. Put it flat out that husband is killing her dojo by holding everybody, himself, her, other students, back. Find out if he's killing more than that. If she cannot get a handle on this problem, hand sensei a card for a marriage counselor and go train elsewhere.

How does rank manifest itself in your dojo? This guy may be holding your ranks hostage, but he really cannot be holding your aikido hostage. Anything stopping you from just being a whole lot better than he is and just doing your best aikido? What happens when you go to a seminar (preferably in your dojo's association, if you have one) and other folk see that you are being sandbagged?
I don't want to get involved in their marriage at all. Not my place. I can only wish them the best with that and understand the situation they are both in.

As for training, it really is dictated by the guy's mood when we are there. He does not agree with the head instructor on most issues pertaining to technique and etiquette, so this can sometime make class feel stunted, even a bit awkward when the head instructor is there. A lot of sighing and eye rolling going on from off the mat towards him.

Other dojo and high level instructors are starting (just starting) to get a whiff of what is happening at this dojo. I'm not entirely sure what the outcome from that is. This person's absence at seminars has been noted by high ranked instructors that is. In the past we've all made light of it, or made excuses for him. But most recently it is harder to make the same excuse, 3-4 years in a row. They are getting the picture basically. But that also makes me nervous. I don't wish any negative outcome for the head instructor of this school.
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Old 10-14-2013, 01:50 PM   #22
"at a loss"
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Quote:
Zoe Toth wrote: View Post
Hello OP!

First let me say, I think I can understand where you are coming from. Because of my high number of hours, in the years since I joined the dojo I have changed dynamics with quite a few folks. And well, it's not often a fun thing. It's even worse when there a rank difference for both you and the person.

There are a lot of good comments on this thread but I do think I can add something of worth here and that might be to offer sympathy for the husband. In my situation, I have started to teach a class a week often. However, there is someone one rank ahead of me who comes in from time to time. I used to, well hate him. He had been there so long he had gotten his last promotion for sheer time. Then I found out he's very embarrassed about it too. He feels like the 'weak link' in his rank and hates how my BF and I haven't tested yet despite us teaching and having a better technical grasp that him.

Is it the same situation? Well no. But, please do think about how this man must feel. Yes, he is acting like a douche from how you tell the story. But it's probably painful for him to have helped start a dojo and then get uprooted. It takes a great teacher to accept a student surpassing you and few people are great teachers. Sounds like he is a human who is embarrassed and has roped his wife into trying to hide it.

That being said, I think you have helped create the situation too. The lion's share of the blame is on them but by not being vocal things at your dojo have crumbled. And critically, you have noticed something yet: no one is teaching you at most classes.

And here's where I stop wish washing around and suggest something. No one is teaching you, so it means it's time for you to step up. If you want things to survive, start teaching. Go to a YMCA or community center or gym or whatever and set up a beginner's class. Rope a mate frustrated like you into helping. If you are equal in skill or close to it, maybe take turns teaching.

Yes, do try to get Sensei's blessing. But eventually, all our teachers leave. Sometimes we have to move. Sometimes they decay or fade away. And sometimes they die. And then, for an organization to go on someone must take up the reins.

Teaching to a class is fun. It's hard work. You can't rely on feelings or hand waving, you need to be able to give out concrete answers. Don't worry if they aren't perfect- but work at making them so.

Good luck,
Zoe
Well, for clarification I think I can sum up exactly how this guy feels about it. This last week a MAJOR argument arose in the dojo. One of the senior students (san dan) heard that sensei was going to promote the guy by recommendation and he shrugged it off at first. However, last week the sensei's spouse was sitting around basically scoffing at all of it. He seemed quite proud of himself. He basically said he found away around the system... ??? His exact words were "What's the difference between some one who graduate from medical school with a C and someone who got an A? Nothing, they are both called Doctor." This san dan went off on him for that statement. It really pissed him off I guess. The spouse in question confided in me that he basically is trying to get sensei to kick the san dan out now, for disrespecting him in front of the students at the dojo. We really can't afford to lose the san dan, one of the few high rankers we have!

The situation is decaying quicker now than ever. Thank you for the advise, it is sound and something to be considered.
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Old 10-14-2013, 02:06 PM   #23
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Ha ha ha - that's almost funny. I have seen it before, but quite a while ago now at the shodan level. These days though, it happens higher up the grades - just the same - in almost every style., though not usually because of a spouse. I just keep my head down and ignore it. It's all garbage. From what I have seen over the years, only about half of the people who move up do so because of skill. The rest: time served, club served, people served, whatever.

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Old 10-14-2013, 03:29 PM   #24
Fred Little
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

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Anonymous User wrote: View Post
His exact words were "What's the difference between some one who graduate from medical school with a C and someone who got an A? Nothing, they are both called Doctor."
1. The correct set-up/response is: Q: "What do you call someone who graduated last in his class at (Fill in the blank) Med?" A: "Doctor." And no, I'm not going to quit my day job and go into stand-up comedy either.
2. Very few med schools give letter grades.
3. Outside the world of medicine, the only people in academia who insist on being called "Doctor" are individuals who have earned the Ed.D. and Th.D. Degrees. Everyone else laughs at them behind their backs.
4. In my experience, aikido promotions by recommendation were usually terminal promotions, and have about the same relationship to promotion by testing as an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters does to any kind of earned doctorate, medical or otherwise. For further edification on this point, search for "Dr. Stephen Colbert, D.F.A."
5. What Rupert said. While the spousal aspect is an interesting twist, almost everyone in the martial arts has experience with at least one chief instructor obsessed with keeping dan rankings in lockstep with seniority. And yes, it's always toxic.

My only advice is that you train for the training, not for the grading; consider what your broader training goals are and keep looking for a healthy alternative to your current dojo, even if it is isn't aikido or -- for that matter-- even if it isn't martial arts; don't expect sclerotic organizations that have been fostering this kind of silliness to change; do expect to be bad-mouthed behind your back as having lacked some essential quality necessary if you leave. And apparently you do lack the ability to turn off your bullshit detector at the door, which is a problem in many places, so there.

Best of luck to you.

FL

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Old 10-14-2013, 04:01 PM   #25
Keith Larman
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Re: When Sensei denies pomotion because of spouse?

Um, well, ranking issues are near the very bottom of my checklist of "is this a good place to train at". Of course if it is a swirling cesspool of intrigue and violence surrounding outrageous political bickering over rank, well, that's not exactly my idea of fun either. But that said, I train to train. If they've got stuff I want to learn and I'm learning it, hey, I'm there.

If it's important to you or if it's too distracting, go somewhere else. Just try to keep in mind why you're there in the first place. The petty crap happens everywhere, all the time, and for all sorts of reasons. You'll be lucky to find a place where there isn't some silliness going on somewhere -- it's human nature. Mix in authority, responsibilities, then all the hero worship that tends to come with martial arts and you'll likely find some issues most anywhere.

In the end what choices do you have? Leave, stay, find something else. Make a list, check it twice, and do what you need to do. It ain't rocket science... Just make sure you're staying/going for the right reasons. And that's up to you to figure out.

Best of luck...

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