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Old 06-30-2015, 03:43 AM   #1
Location: Adelaide
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 202
Question Being rejected from training

How does your Dojo deal with applications from people to join that are not good candidates for Aikido?

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Old 06-30-2015, 06:29 AM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 716
Re: Being rejected from training

Check your spelling. I believe you meant "martial arts" instead of "marital arts."
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Old 06-30-2015, 06:53 AM   #3
Location: Adelaide
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 202
Re: Being rejected from training

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Old 07-05-2015, 03:49 AM   #4
Dojo: Ren Shin Kan
Location: Birmingham
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 362
United Kingdom
Re: Being rejected from training

If Aikido is for all and a way of promoting harmonious relationships between people of all races, creeds and genders no-one should be rejected from training.

It is the instructors responsibility to adapt the students behaviour (of course in cooperation with the student) through training.
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Old 07-05-2015, 04:07 AM   #5
Dojo: Ellis Schools of Traditional Aikido
Location: Bracknell
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 657
Re: Being rejected from training

This is a strange question to me, I have been teaching since 1957 and I have never known of anyone to ever be rejected as ``unsuitable `` , how would the teacher make that assessment ?? - some beginners are shy and others have a little bit of attitude which is soon corrected, if a student is unsuitable ? they will soon leave of their own accord.

Henry Ellis
Co-author ` Positive Aikido `
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Old 07-05-2015, 08:11 AM   #6
Dojo: Open Sky Aikikai
Location: Durham, NC
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 430
Re: Being rejected from training

My understanding, people did need letters of recommendation in the early days to train with Ueshiba. The privilege of training was maybe more explicit then. Ueshiba's rules for practice do talk about obeying the instructor and not using the techniques for evil purposes.

OTOH Dokka talk about Many paths to the top of the mountain, but only one summit, and that everyone has an inner divinity that can be nurtured.

I agree with Sensei Ellis. People may come for the wrong reasons, but they stay for the right ones, or leave of their own accord.

It sounds like this wasn't refusing to allow someone to start so much as throwing someone out who had been training for a brief while. Someone unsafe on the mat for whatever reason...I don't know what I would do, as I haven't been there yet. I do mention Taiji to people whose general health or chronic injuries cannot handle Aikido.

I did have a mother once surprise me with her three kids (all under 10) show up ready to get on the mat in a small class set up for penitentiary guards. I was young, and the guys I was teaching were okay with this, but I did politely stand my ground about the kids coming back - I had no background in teaching kids, no time to devote to it (I was a full time student) and a very good karate school down the road did have a very extensive kids program.
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:30 AM   #7
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South
Location: Johnson City, TN
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,209
Re: Being rejected from training

I am somewhat confused by this article, especially considering its closely timed publication following the transgender thread in which several posts indicated that all students should be welcomed into the dojo environment.

Students will, over time, answer this question for themselves. I have not yet experienced a situation where a student has persistently trained for an extended period of time while being a poor fit for the dojo. I view my role as the instructor is to make sure that decision remains with the student and while in deliberation the student does not jeopardize the safely or welfare of the dojo.

While arguably a broad category, being a jerk is still a subjective perspective. Everyone knows New England Patriots fans are the biggest jerks around... unless you're a Pats fan. I remember training with a young women that was a terrible partner in almost every way. Turns out she was a violent rape survivor and the class was a way to re-introduce her to touching men. Guess who was the jerk that day?

We all train for different reasons. Some instructors are great at reading prospective students and can guess who will come back and who will not. Some instructors are good and guessing who will be a problem and sometimes for what reasons. In these cases, we can be helpful in sharing our experience with new students to facilitate the decision-making process (i.e. "You want a physical component in your training. We are not oriented to physical conditioning so you may find American boxing is a better fit for your training needs.") I would not call that "rejection," but we are expressing an "educated guess" that there are better training opportunities elsewhere; right, wrong or indifferent.

To be clear, I happen to feel that dojos should have some ability to selectively choose who can train. If aikido is a skill my students possess, I feel its fair to let them dictate with whom they share their skills. I try to make those decisions consistent and inclusive, but that means some people are better suited in other dojos or other arts. We can be helpful pointing people in the right direction even if that direction is not through our doors.

I am not sure I would classify a student who can beat me up as someone with whom I do not want to train. Nor would I define someone who wanted to use a martial art in sport fighting a jerk. There are lots of people in the world that can hand me my lunch - I would rather consider them friends from whom I can learn. Maybe it's the way I read the article, but if you substitute the classic aikido villian for a much more realistic poor student, some of your points lose their luster.

Jon Reading
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