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Old 05-30-2003, 12:16 AM   #26
Daniel Blanco
Dojo: Suffolk Aikikai
Location: Patchogue
Join Date: Feb 2003
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to the ANONYOMOUS USER STOP BEING SO NASTY YOU ARE SURELY NOT A PRATICING AIKI/AIKIDO BECAUSE NO ONE IN THIS ART HAS THE HARSH ATITUDE THAT YOU DO ,SO WHO ARE YOU FOOLING.
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Old 05-30-2003, 12:17 AM   #27
Daniel Blanco
Dojo: Suffolk Aikikai
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FAKE
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Old 05-30-2003, 03:01 AM   #28
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Anon 1, thanks for this post, got me racking my brains. My experiences of the "less generous" dojos have been limited, mainly because I leave them. I practice aikido for my own personal enjoyment and so a cliquey club just leaves me cold.

However, I do think this type of dojo does provide some students with a faster route to technical competency, but only the more driven initiates and at the cost in high student turnover. Certainly once accepted the "core" can provide a very supportive and necessary edge to training for students who need that competition and peer group. I've also found it interesting that these more "gung-ho" students seem to burn out quicker and leave for their next journey in self-discovery and the martial arts, while the obsessive who remains often spends the next 10 years or so trying to unlearn some of the bad habits that took them to the rank in the first place.

So, to stop waffling, I believe for the more gifted and driven the cliquey type of dojo is more useful, but the dojo itself is a more fragile entity, normally dependant on the charisma of the main teacher and often subject to a dearth of students. The more "generous" dojo can dissipate some of it's efforts in attempting to train all equally (although even here there's normally a "core" set of practitioners) but doesn't turn out people any less competent, just perhaps at a slower rate and can bring out unexpected expertise in the more unlikely students. It's also less likely to implode through politics or change of teacher.
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Old 05-30-2003, 08:04 AM   #29
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Quote:
() wrote:
Unwanted advice:

you only have control over your attitude
My point exactly.
Quote:
So, to stop waffling, I believe for the more gifted and driven the cliquey type of dojo is more useful, but the dojo itself is a more fragile entity, normally dependant on the charisma of the main teacher and often subject to a dearth of students. The more "generous" dojo can dissipate some of it's efforts in attempting to train all equally (although even here there's normally a "core" set of practitioners) but doesn't turn out people any less competent, just perhaps at a slower rate and can bring out unexpected expertise in the more unlikely students.
Maybe so. On the unexpected deveolpment in "unlikely students" I have to agree with you. They will never be noticed in the competitive place. About the rest, I would like to agree... I would like to believe that being nice pays off. Not so sure about that, though.
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Old 05-30-2003, 05:50 PM   #30
JPT
Dojo: trad
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You do obviously not know the kind of environment I am talking about. The only way I get to practise with someone who is not sitting next to me is 1) we like each other and take eye contact at the moment the teacher ends the demonstration
That is correct, in the 5 different dojo's that I have trained in regularly the instructor's have actively encouraged the students to train with everbody. Generally if the instructor's see that 2 people are paired for the night they will split them up. That said I do remember noticing once that one of the students was going out of his way to avoid training with me. Eventually I just walk up to him & said "come on let's train" he couldn't really refuse so we trained. Maybe it was easy for me, because I was the higher grade but you could try something similiar like saying:-

"Come on lets train", "oh sorry I didn't realise you already had a partner, ok lets do it on the next technique"

or if you get lumbered with the same partner

"Come on we have already trained lets go & break somebody else up" then take your old partner with you so that you can swap saying, "we've come to break you up"

There was also another occasion where a girl requested for me not to volunteer as uke for her on her brownbelt grading. In the normal class she always had trouble doing the techniques on me because I prefer not to fall over without a good reason (i.e. the technique being done properly). Anyway I told her no because if she was assaulted out on the street, she would not be able to choose her attacker. I did uke for her at the grading, she was good & passed.

Something else that I would like to say about your situation is the fact that a lot can change in the two years. Your Aikido (although you may not believe/feel it) will have almost certainly improved. Also those people who were unpopular and are still training at the old school will also be better, thus making a better practise for both of you, if you were to train with them again. Also because of the simple fact that you have been in a different dojo for the last couple of years, I would say that you will also know some technical varations that the other students haven't seen. Which will make you more interesting (or popular) to them to practise with. I also believe that it could be worth your while going back to the original generous dojo, things will have changed there too. Now you are more technically advanced, you will be able to see if your previous assessment of their Aikido was correct. Previously you might not have had the experience to appreciate everything that they had to offer.
Quote:
Also, after an event in which I did a good performance some people suddenly started saying hello, who previously treated me like I was invisible... So this could have been the right timepoint to improve my position.

But, to what cost? I would have to learn how to be quicker than lightning in saying "onegai shimasu", and more importantly - I would need to avoid practising with some un-fancy people, as I will be judged partly by with who I practise
I'am interested in the reasons why you think these people were unpopular, I mean was it because of some character trait, or hygiene reasons or was it just because their Aikido sucked?.

The more I read your above statement the more I think you may have interpreted the situation incorrectly. Maybe the people at this dojo were a bit more stand offish than the previous dojo. One reason could be if the class was much bigger, therefore the opportunity to train with Mr popular might not occur (therefore you may assume that you are unpopular). Maybe they were staying together and not practising with others/newbie's for a reason say for forthcoming gradings ?. Did somebody say to you that they would not train with you if you practised with Mr Unpopular or was that just your own conclusion ?

regards

J


Last edited by JPT : 05-30-2003 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 06-02-2003, 07:18 AM   #31
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Jay Peatee (JPT) wrote:
That is correct, in the 5 different dojo's that I have trained in regularly the instructor's have actively encouraged the students to train with everbody. Generally if the instructor's see that 2 people are paired for the night they will split them up.
That has been true in most dojos I have trained in, too. But not in this one. I think those who created the dojo felt that they had been held back by their own teachers, and they strongly felt that the hardworking and talented should be given the priviledge of practising mainly with each other.
Quote:
I'am interested in the reasons why you think these people were unpopular, I mean was it because of some character trait, or hygiene reasons or was it just because their Aikido sucked?.
Mainly because they are not advanced enough, have been trained in the wrong style, have a slightly odd personality or because the leader of the pack decide they do not like the person and the the others follow. This is the difference it makes if the tacher does not actively encourage practising with everybody, I think. I did not see any hygiene issues in this dojo, I have on other places though.
Quote:
The more I read your above statement the more I think you may have interpreted the situation incorrectly. Maybe the people at this dojo were a bit more stand offish than the previous dojo. One reason could be if the class was much bigger, therefore the opportunity to train with Mr popular might not occur (therefore you may assume that you are unpopular). Maybe they were staying together and not practising with others/newbie's for a reason say for forthcoming gradings ?. Did somebody say to you that they would not train with you if you practised with Mr Unpopular or was that just your own conclusion ?
Well, I strongly believe the whole thing is the result where the instructors themselves very much want to choose with who they train. If I am seen practising mainly with beginners and "difficult" people, everyone would assume that I am one of these two things. And if your attitude is you practise mainly with your friends and those who give you good rides, why should you bother finding out if your first assumption was wrong?

For me personally, it was a combination of many things: one particular person who took a dislike of me (I confronted the person on the subject and got no clear explanation why, although I have some clues that I will not discuss here), but also that I did not learn how to play this specific social game. I did not show those I liked to practise with "hey, this was fun. Let's go for another ride" as I assumed you pick a new partner each technique. If they do not assume I particularly like them, why should they approach me? I did not take care of my social relations; I was used to not having to. And in the end I decided I have enough of social games outside the dojo, I do not need it on the tatami as well.

In the end, I do not think "right" and "wrong" matters so much. You must adopt to local standards, or you will have problems.
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Old 06-02-2003, 07:26 AM   #32
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I could add I spent a few years practising there, so I had tome to study the place.
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Old 06-05-2003, 04:34 PM   #33
JPT
Dojo: trad
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Fair enough, I can see from your further descriptions that I was wrong. I suppose it must all stem from the teacher's selfish type of attitude. At the end of the day it is his club & he can run it anyway he pleases. Still maybe he is also reading these threads & might think about changing the way he runs his class!

Did you think any further about going back to the first club ?. It sounds to me that you have fair bit of experience. I think it would benefit you & the students of this other class if you went back. I know you said earlier that you were not interested in what they teach. However presumably the sensei there lets the senior grades have a bit of freedom with the techniques that he shows(by that I mean lets them play/adapt or encouraging a bit of technical varity) so you will still be able to do a bit of your current stuff. Also by showing them your different style of Aikido you will learn more & have a better understanding through teaching. Plus something else that I have noticed is that when you go & train somewhere else they often explain things slightly differently, & then all of a sudden the pieces to the Aikido Jigsaw start to fit. I guess It is like having two sets of clues to a puzzle instead of one.

I know you said earlier that you know all the Aikido dojo's in your area but have you looked a bit further afield? My nearest dojo is about 20 minutes drive away, but I also regularly train at another dojo which takes just over 1 hour to drive too. Obviously it depends on your circumstances but if the instruction is good a 1 hour drive both ways is worth it.

regards

J

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Old 06-19-2003, 04:53 PM   #34
Dave Miller
 
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Re: choosing between good aikido and nice people

Quote:
anon poster (beginner of the thread) wrote:
One or two years ago, I made a decision: to only spend my time in environments that made me feel good. As a consequence, I have a problem with where to practise.
Could it be that this decision itself was in error? I have been in many environments that did not make me "feel good" but that, in retrospect, have been very good environments for personal growth. It is often those situations that are most painful that lead to the most growth in our lives. The simple fact is that you can't control anyone or anything but yourself and your attitudes towards things.

DAVE

If you're working too hard, you're doing it wrong.
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Old 06-22-2003, 03:56 AM   #35
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Re: Re: choosing between good aikido and nice people

Thread starter here.
Quote:
Dave Miller wrote:
Could it be that this decision itself was in error? I have been in many environments that did not make me "feel good" but that, in retrospect, have been very good environments for personal growth. It is often those situations that are most painful that lead to the most growth in our lives.
I can imagine people who spend time in really nasty circumstances because of what they will learn, for instance if you have a violent and mentally instable but very very good teacher. It is their choice, fine. For me, it is very difficult to see that such a decision can be judged as right or wrong! I am sure it can teach you a lot, but how can you judge those who do not want to do it?

You have times in your life when you are willing to take shit to get some good things out of it, and others when you do not. I do not think that many of us spend time in budo, rock climbing or casting being uncomfortable about the circumstances but taking it because of the belief that you will learn from painful experiences... but if you yourself want to do that, please go right ahead.
Quote:
Dave Miller wrote:
The simple fact is that you can't control anyone or anything but yourself and your attitudes towards things.
This has already been said by me, as well as by another unregistered user. Could you please elaborate on your purpose of repeating it, in this very context?

To me, it seems like many people on this thread have problems in taking the fact that good aikido, even extremely good aikido can be done in less nice environment. They have to find that it is somebodys fault, that I do not find an aikido place I want to practise at. I do not think that anything or anyone is "in error". Life moves on...
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Old 06-22-2003, 11:24 AM   #36
Dave Miller
 
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Re: Re: Re: choosing between good aikido and nice people

Quote:
Anon poster(beginner of the thread) wrote:
Thread starter here...

This [you can't control anyone but yourself] has already been said by me, as well as by another unregistered user. Could you please elaborate on your purpose of repeating it, in this very context?
To simply make the point that you're goal may in fact be unreasonable. If you go through life seeking only those things that make you feel good at the moment then you will run the risk of not only being very dissappointed (you cannot avoid everything that will make you feel "not good") but you will ultimately find that you are cheating yourself out of things that, although seeming unpleasant at the time, end up being very rich times and experiences when looked back upon.
Quote:
To me, it seems like many people on this thread have problems in taking the fact that good aikido, even extremely good aikido can be done in less nice environment. They have to find that it is somebodys fault, that I do not find an aikido place I want to practise at. I do not think that anything or anyone is "in error". Life moves on...
But that is the question that you posed, the choice between hanging out with nice people or learning good Aikido. It seems to me that you are describing a situation that is perhaps somewhat dramatized because of your desire to avoid "feeling bad" about things in your life. One simple truth of life is that life, especially growth in life, is often unpleasant. If you ask anyone who has achieved anything great or worthwhile, they will tell you that it was the result of toil and struggle and lots of unpleasantness. They will also tell you that they would not go back and change a thing if it meant not accomplishing what they did. That, my anon friend, is simply the way life works.

DAVE

If you're working too hard, you're doing it wrong.
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Old 06-22-2003, 11:44 AM   #37
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Maybe you did not see that these two things belong together: the decision to find places in which I feel good, after spending years in places in which I did not.

After my last grading test, I said to myself: so, I have become pretty good at this. Was is worth it? My answer was: no.

Your last statement is simply not true. There are many people who would undo great things they have done, if that for instance would have saved their marrige.

Peace, my friend.
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Old 06-29-2003, 10:51 AM   #38
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I LOVE YOU ALL.......long live the spirit of Aikido!! May peace on earth thrive, while hate and war fade away from our culture.

Aikidoka
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Old 07-04-2003, 08:30 AM   #39
Carl Simard
Location: Quebec City
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Anon,

Just one question about the "popularity" thing: is there a high turnover of students in this dojo ?

Let me explain. The dojo where in train is located in a college. So, it means that each semester we get a whole bunch of new students. However, most of them, will leave the dojo before then end of the semester. And only a few will stay for more than a year. Thus, the senior students aren't very inclined to socialize with new students that, in all probabilities, will not be there in a few weeks or months.

Just to give my personal experience, I don't even try anymore to remember the names of the new students. I wait a few weeks and then learn the names of the ones remaining...

So, it may certainly takes a few months for a new student to start feeling that he's part of the group. Usually, it happens after their 5th kyu test, when they have shown some commitment and seriousness in their training...

So, maybe it's similar in the "edge" dojo. It just takes time for people to "socially" integrate new members...

Last edited by Carl Simard : 07-04-2003 at 08:33 AM.
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Old 07-04-2003, 02:40 PM   #40
cindy perkins
Dojo: AikiDog Dojo
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I think this is a good and valuable question, and it has to do with what Anon is seeking and what is meant by "feeling good."

Does Anon seek pure technique? Then there may be a point in suffering through an unpleasant experience to gain skill. But does Anon seek an aikido experience that demonstrates the harmony and blending that can be the gestalt surrounding the technique? If so, the unpleasant nature of the dojo is evidence that this gestalt is absent. It is similar to the question about whether you should study with a highly skilled teacher who does immoral things outside of class. If you study aikido for self-defense, yes; if you study it in a spiritual way, for virtue, no. Do the dojo and the teacher display the qualities you seek to improve in yourself?

On "feeling good:" I think some respondents thought that attention to "feeling good" is either lazy or self-indulgent. While this may be true, it can also be a warning that something is not right. I have made some truly horrendous mistakes in my life (cult worship and the like), and often a feeling of uneasiness was my first clue that I was doing something wrong. Anon can explore within to sort out which this is.

Good luck. Aikido is a beautiful art taught by humans. Find a teacher who is right for you.
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Old 07-04-2003, 02:42 PM   #41
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A new unregistered user:

During my first year of aikido, I almost quit because of the presence of 3 very unpleasant persons, one of whom actually once refused to train with me when I asked to. I was a rather timid teenager at the time, and being bullied by them definitely made me no enjoy being at the practice. I stayed, on advice of my parents. You'll meet unpleasant people at any place and time. And it's important to learn how to deal with it. To not let it touch you personally too much. To not keep running away. I am very happy I decided to stay. Those nastyu people left the dojo within half a year or so. Their attitide was clearly not in line with the spirit of aikido (that's just my snobby explanation of why they left).

When I attended my first seminar with a shihan (after 2 years or so of training), I was appalled by the behavior of the black belts: Only looking after their fellow black belts, actively trying to ignore white belts, unless they knew them to be good or popular.

I've come to understand this behavior in the seminar environment though, as this is for many the only opportunity to practice with fellow black belts, since many train at small dojos with few black belts. I'm not sure if I agree with it though. I try (being a black belt now) to do a bit of both, both during seminars and at my regular training: Practice with beginners, with people I don't know, but I also make sure that by the end of the training session, I've also trained with some talented aikidoist, whom I feel I could learn a lot from.

One of my current teachers has told me that it is in the interest of a dojo for the talented students to try to advance themselves as much as they can, by searching out other good students to practice with. That way, after having advanced to a certain level, they can then work towards increasing the general level in their dojo. And also to work a lot with promising new students. I've seen students advance very quickly by having been personally mentored by a good aikidoist or teacher, ie training half the class with that person, teaching them outside of class times, etc. And I'm sure that without this special treatment those students would not have been as good as they are now. But it may also just be a time-lag: They may have reached the same level without that treatment, just a few years later. Then, what's the big deal. And indeed, those quickly advanced, talented students do have a positive impact on the general student level, dependent on their attitude of course.

I'm training at all sessions that are offered in my dojo: beginners and regular. That makes it much easier for me to traing with all kinds of students than someone who only practices once every two weeks: They want to get the most of that one session more desperately than I do, and thus seek out their training partners more discriminately.

I think a mix of training partners is the best for all involved: Both the group as a whole, as the individual. There are times that one practices with beginners, and there are times that one practices with people of their own or higher level. If one of the two situations clearly dominates the other, there is an imbalance, and in the end this will have a negative impact.

Bart
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