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Old 01-29-2003, 03:51 PM   #1
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Unhappy dilemma

My friend hasn't been coming to class for the past few months, each time making up a new excuse: no cash, no time, too tired...etc. But I could feel something weird was going on. Yesterday I confronted her and she admitted that she wasn't going to class because she couldn't be with Sensei in the same room. She said she had witnessed him acting real vulgar and violent outside the dojo, and that she had lost all respect for him. She can't look at him the same way.
What do you think? Can an aikidoka discard Sensei's certain personality traits outside the dojo, and concentrate on his skills inside?
Would you drop aikido too, if you were in my friend's shoes?
Thing is, our Sensei is the best in the country, he's got the highest rank too.
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Old 01-29-2003, 04:03 PM   #2
shihonage
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Two points come to mind.

1) There ARE situations in life where ANYONE would be required to act vulgar and violent, in order to stand own ground in the only language that the other side can understand. It all depends on the context of how it's happening.

Acting vulgar and violent is better than hiding it all inside. All humans have this kind of balance which they need to maintain.

Maybe your instructor just caught his wife cheating on him.

Maybe some ape was towing his car and didn't listen to arguments.

Once again, depends on context.

2) How do you know that your instructor is the best in the country ?
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Old 01-29-2003, 04:07 PM   #3
diesel
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Re: dilemma

Quote:
() wrote:
Thing is, our Sensei is the best in the country, he's got the highest rank too.
Yeah, mine too...

In all seriousness.. people are not perfect. If you expect your sensei to be perfect, you probaly do not know them well enough. It's a matter of your personality and morals.

e6
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Old 01-29-2003, 04:11 PM   #4
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Hey, all the Sensei's are human, and from what I've read and heard, most of the top sensei's have a fairly dark side to them. Maybe that's what attracted them to the martial arts in the first place. Maybe your friend is making excuses and just doesn't like aikido. There is a lot of pain and mental adjustment involved, which some people don't care for, they like their comfortable rut.
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Old 01-29-2003, 04:27 PM   #5
siwilson
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Budo is a way of "Life"!

DO you feel that your Sensei is someone you can associate with all your life?

Osu!
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Old 01-29-2003, 11:21 PM   #6
MikeE
 
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A friend of mine that trained under O' Sensei once told me the O' Sensei kind of addressed this. (I'm pretty sure he was referring to O' Sensei...but even if he wasn't..it still applies)

I may not be perfect in the translation...and I will be paraphrasing, but, I believe he said something to the fact that:

If I train under a person with fantastic hand technique...but poor hygiene, what will I take with me?

I'm sure I would take the technique and not the hygiene.

Mike Ellefson
Midwest Center
For Movement &
Aikido Bukou
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Old 01-30-2003, 02:15 AM   #7
Hanna B
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Re: dilemma

Quote:
Would you drop aikido too, if you were in my friend's shoes?
If I felt the way your friend does when I was a beginner, I would probably drop aikido. Today, I would try to find another dojo. If there isn't one that I think is OK within reasonable distance... that would be a dilemma.

I do think I would take more from a teacher that I consider really good, but only to a certain extent.
Quote:
Thing is, our Sensei is the best in the country, he's got the highest rank too.
I don't suppose you have actually tried all the others? Skill are many things - technical skills (which can in itself be subdivided into many areas) and teaching skills. Neither do necessarily equal rank.

Regards
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Old 01-30-2003, 03:00 AM   #8
Edward
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Isn't it odd that the whole marketing thing about aikido concentrates on character building and creating some kind of a superhuman with an outstanding morality, humanity, and honesty...blablabla...

In the same time, we rarely find any of these traits in our instructors. In the countrary, they are mostly every thing we do not want to become, technical side apart.

I have reached the conviction some time ago that instructors are just on the mats. I do not care what they do outside. Maybe under movie influence, or books, whatever, we all would like to find a master under whom to train in the real meaning of Budo. Someone to consider as a role model. Helas, there is a great gap between reality and idealization.
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Old 01-30-2003, 04:43 AM   #9
Abasan
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The story was, even Koichi tohei and kishommaru were at odds and argued. Thats the way of mankind.

They're not saints or angels. As long as you don't revere them, you should get along well enough.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 01-30-2003, 05:00 AM   #10
Kelly Allen
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Human nature is human nature no matter how much martial art knowledge one has. You have to be comfortable with the person who instructs you weather its in martial arts or mathimatics. If finding another instructor is out of the question then it's my opinion that your friend is really not intrested in training period, and all the excuses he\she is using are just that, excuses.
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Old 01-30-2003, 08:48 AM   #11
mike lee
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weather or not

Quote:
You have to be comfortable with the person who instructs you weather its in martial arts or mathimatics.
So, do you prefer instruction during cold weather or warm weather?
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Old 01-30-2003, 09:08 AM   #12
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"If I train under a person with fantastic hand technique...but poor hygiene, what will I take with me?"

Unfortunately for me, their poor hygiene is what lingers longest... (must be my Alzheimers)
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Old 01-30-2003, 09:16 AM   #13
PeterR
 
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Re: weather or not

Quote:
Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
So, do you prefer instruction during cold weather or warm weather?

Quote:
Edward Karaa wrote:
In the same time, we rarely find any of these traits in our instructors. In the countrary, they are mostly every thing we do not want to become, technical side apart.
A bit harsh Edward or perhaps I've been lucky.

Still it all depends on where you sit between the two extremes of I want to learn some neat tricks and I am looking for a God like being to show me the true way of everything. Personally I like the Do and am glad to have found a teacher that can occaisionally nudge me in the right direction. Since the journey is essentially self driven, he is not required to be perfect, especially my vision of perfection. I mention that because those who are often most strident (I have no idea what the young lady witnessed so I talk general) have often a very strong idea of what should be what. That what often has more to do with their cultural/religious background than Aikido.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-30-2003, 10:32 AM   #14
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My compliments for your compassion.

IMHO, it is your friends choice. If they have lost respect and no longer wish to be in the same room with the instructor, then it is their right not to train there.

Worry about your own training.

Until again,

Lynn

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 01-30-2003, 12:28 PM   #15
Jeff Tibbetts
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Forgive me for saying this, but I DO think that instructors need to be something like role models. I have several reasons for thinking this, psychologically, socially, and philosophically. First off, the way that the human mind learns and interprets things is hopelessly complex. In the dojo, we undergo a sort of physical brainwashing, trying to replace our instincts with better reactions (don't block it, blend with it) and this gets put into our muscle memory. Through the process of emulating our teachers we begin to move like them, you can look up all sorts of books and such that say you can tell who someone trained with by watching them. Now, I know it's not fair but this happens in the mind as well as the body, and we begin to replace the ways that we think with more Aikido-like thoughts, such as centering, trying to keep beginner's mind, etc. Now, the mind doesn't make much of a distinction between that stuff and other things like speach patterns and even thought processes, if we are in the learning mode with someone than you are ALWAYS in learning mode with them, on some level. Now this can stop when you leave the dojo, BUT, I don't think it does for most of us. You can attach that learning mode to the dojo itself as opposed to the teacher, but is that something you want to do? I think that for many of us, Aikido is something that you take home with you, practice all the time, and you see things outside the dojo that might bring some insight into your training. Am I wrong here? I think that Aikido should be something that you do basically 24 hours a day. Assuming that this is the case, your instructors are surely thinking along the same lines, and should be held to similar standards. The fact of the matter is that we really don't know what happened in this case. If it was something as simple as the friend saw the instructor at a bar and overheard them telling a dirty joke then, yes, this is going too far to hold that against them, but I doubt that it would have even be brought up, right? I think that most everyone who posts on these boards is pretty sensible, and I don't think they would bring this up unless it was something pretty bad. Let's say that the person you're trying to copy every day was yelling racial slurs at a black man, and threatening to kick his ass! Ok, exteme case, sure, but by the argument that they can't be held accountable for their actions outside the dojo it's a perfectly suitable one. How many of us would continue with that teacher? I for one am not so quick to drop my training at the dojo doorstep untill the next time I'm there, I want to bring it with me for daily use. I would think that after 10 years of training every day in the art of harmony that I would be able to control my emotions a little bit more. The samurai have always valued coolness under pressure, and this is something that I think we should all strive to exhibit. Why would you not hold a senior and highly ranked instructor to this? I know I'm naive, so don't tell me, but this is something I feel pretty strongly about, and I'm surprised that so many of you don't care what your insructors do. Please, could a voice of experience help me to see if I'm wrong?

If the Nightingale doesn't sing-
wait
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Old 02-02-2003, 02:35 AM   #16
Kelly Allen
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Re: weather or not

Quote:
Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
So, do you prefer instruction during cold weather or warm weather?
Never was very good at spelling. And I'm from Canada! Its always cold.
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Old 02-02-2003, 02:59 AM   #17
Kelly Allen
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Jeff Tibbets wrote:

Am I wrong here? I think that Aikido should be something that you do basically 24 hours a day.

No Jeff you are not wrong! I chose Aikido for 1 health 2 the ideals 3 My instructor is a heck of a nice guy, in the dojo and out. Now I'm not perfect, but I admit when I'm wrong, and that I beleive is the essence of Aikido. Find your flaws and improve them. Those people who instruct who have questionable behaviour out of the dojo have, in my opinion, not seen the big Aikido picture. My original comment then applies. You have to be comfortable with your instructor whether it be in Aikido or Mathimatics. (Did I spell it right this time Mike?)
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Old 02-02-2003, 03:03 AM   #18
Kelly Allen
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IMHO

Quote:
Lynn Seiser (SeiserL) wrote:
My compliments for your compassion.

IMHO, it is your friends choice. If they have lost respect and no longer wish to be in the same room with the instructor, then it is their right not to train there.

Worry about your own training.

Until again,

Lynn
I have seen this IMHO in a few posts now. What does it mean?
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Old 02-02-2003, 03:04 AM   #19
Edward
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Re: Re: weather or not

Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
A bit harsh Edward or perhaps I've been lucky.
Maybe I'm too demanding of my teachers. But since I started my Budo training at the age of 15 or 16, mostly Judo and recently Aikido, I have rarely met, if ever, a teacher that I could consider as a role model both on and off the mats. I have been very lucky however to have met many excellent teachers from the technical side. What my teachers do off the mats is not my business (although I have many reservations of what some of them actually do on the mats!). But still, being a kind of idealistic person who believes what is written in the books, I still hope to meet some day a Budo master whose behaviour is consistent with his teachings.
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Old 02-02-2003, 03:25 AM   #20
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Re: Re: Re: weather or not

I also have a problem with hypocracy - if you preach you better practice. Luckily with Nariyama there isn't a whole lot of preaching. I also have yet to meet anyone who I would consider an all encompassing role model - if I did I would have serious questions about myself. As it stands there are several people who's approach to life I find admirable, enough so that I would tend to overlook certain (defined by me) flaws. It's like my end goal is an amalgm of the best of many and hopefully avoiding the worst of all. I've stated several times that I believe the Do is essentially self driven and it is far more important for me to concentrate on my own training (as Lynn pointed out) than someone else's "lack of perfection".

From the other side of the spectrum we have people saying that they are in search of a guru yet as a pre-condition have a whole spectrum of ideals that must be met. Some of those pre-conditions (gleamed from haunting this and other forums) are down right puritanical and I can't help asking "if you have all the answers why ask".
Quote:
Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
Maybe I'm too demanding of my teachers. But since I started my Budo training at the age of 15 or 16, mostly Judo and recently Aikido, I have rarely met, if ever, a teacher that I could consider as a role model both on and off the mats. I have been very lucky however to have met many excellent teachers from the technical side. What my teachers do off the mats is not my business (although I have many reservations of what some of them actually do on the mats!). But still, being a kind of idealistic person who believes what is written in the books, I still hope to meet some day a Budo master whose behaviour is consistent with his teachings.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-02-2003, 04:38 AM   #21
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Re: IMHO

Quote:
Kelly Allen wrote:
I have seen this IMHO in a few posts now. What does it mean?
In My Humble Opinion.
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Old 02-02-2003, 04:50 AM   #22
Hanna B
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Quote:
Kelly Allen wrote:
I chose Aikido for 1 health 2 the ideals 3 My instructor is a heck of a nice guy, in the dojo and out. Now I'm not perfect, but I admit when I'm wrong, and that I beleive is the essence of Aikido. Find your flaws and improve them.
Quote:
Kelly Allen wrote:
You have to be comfortable with your instructor whether it be in Aikido or Mathimatics
I don't suppose that you study maths because of the ideals? You are saying two different things here Kelly.

Most of us want to be reasonably comfortable with the people around us. That's one thing.

Some people believe in this "ideal" thing in aikido. That gives you another reason for wanting to have an aikido teacher who you can think of as a good person. I have yet to see any reasons to believe that people who do aikido are better than people who do skydiving. I think you can improve yourself through aikido, but you can do that in lots of activities.

So Unregistered (who might very well be posing the question for him/herself, not for the friend), ask yourself if you would feel OK learning maths, archery or skydiving from this person. I don't thnk aikido is any different.

Last edited by Hanna B : 02-02-2003 at 04:52 AM.
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Old 02-02-2003, 06:26 AM   #23
Edward
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Re: Re: Re: Re: weather or not

Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
As it stands there are several people who's approach to life I find admirable, enough so that I would tend to overlook certain (defined by me) flaws. I've stated several times that I believe the Do is essentially self driven and it is far more important for me to concentrate on my own training (as Lynn pointed out) than someone else's "lack of perfection".
Similarly to you, I do find admirable qualities and approach to life in many instructors. My problem is with people who preach what aikido should and should not be, but if you scrutinize their personal lives, you cannot find a trace of their preachings. There are some intructors who spend valuable time of training idly talking about aikido manners, aikido personnality, aikido honesty, humbleness, compassion... etc. And they are the exact opposite of what they preach, ironically as if they are trying to show you by example how not to become.

I agree that Do is a personal journey, and I have been following it as such. I believe that one should take from each teacher what he has best to offer and discard the rest. However, you will be easily accused of lacking in aikido spirit or budo spirit if you do not join the rest in the butt kissing rituals etc. etc.
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Old 02-05-2003, 01:02 AM   #24
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sensei means teacher, not god-like master. Also what is vulgar to one person isn't vulgar to others.

Also, it is this person's right to decide whether to train or not. If they aren't comfortable, then fine. You decide for you, they decide for them.

(on the side- when of the mats, a lot of my best martial arts teachers could be pretty crude. What do you expect from people whose livelyhood is teaching MARTIAL arts? This ain't tea ceremony folks)
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Old 02-05-2003, 09:16 AM   #25
Jeff Tibbetts
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I don't want to sound like a jerk, but I was looking through the old polls on Aikiweb and I noticed one that asked if a teacher's character matters if their technique is effective. The absolutely overwhelming answer was Yes!

the poll results

Now if this is the case, why do most of the posts in this thread support the idea that their character would not prevent you from training at their dojo if you found them to be questionable? I think part of it may have been that the question wasn't phrased the same way, that character does matter but not that much. Any thoughts or ideas? Or is there a quiet majority on this board who DOES think that character matters?

For the record I wholeheartedy agree that it's better to look to your own training and not look for flaws in others, and that you should try to manifest the Aikido ideals in your own way and not judge others; but I also concede that if I cought my teacher acting in very poor taste I may have some misgivings about his instruction. Obviously, if he bagan to lecture about moral responsibility or something I'm quite sure I'd tune out. At any rate, there is a lot going on with this issue, and I don't think it's as cut and dried as people would like to think.

If the Nightingale doesn't sing-
wait
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