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Old 07-10-2003, 01:44 AM   #1
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Ego vs Compliments

i recently received quite a glowing compliment from a visitor (a higher ranking dan grade) and although excited and proud of the words that he spoke, i can't help but feel undeserving, or perhaps moreso, i just don't know how to have taken the comment.

i was asked, quietly and to the side of the mat, how long i had been training and the visiting sensei seemed surprised at my response, he then told me that from what he had seen, he would've ranked me as green belt. i thanked him for his kind words and left it as that.

i looked into the organisation that he belonged to, and of their grading syllabus, and their green belt is in fact, 3rd kyu. a rank i would be undeserving of for circa a year and a half, to two years in my current dojo.

by no means do i have any plans to leave my current dojo, etc. but as stated, i am excited and proud at being complimented in such a way. a few close aikidoka friends of mine know as they asked why i was looking so shocked, but my query is this;

to tell my sensei or to not? and if so, how to actually discuss these things with not only himself, but anyone, without seeming egotistical. if an inherent trait of aikido could/would/should be dispelling ego and promoting humility, what is the correct manner for dealing with compliments and turning them into constructive training criticisms, as opposed to simple praise and the resulting pride.

thanks.
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Old 07-10-2003, 02:03 AM   #2
PeterR
 
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A visitor is just that - enjoy the compliment but in the end its your teacher that determines your level.

If you do talk to your teacher about it be very tactful and don't expect too much.

Worse Case Scenerio:

[Student]Well sensei X thinks I should be X kyu.

[Teacher]Then go study with sensei X.

I know patience is difficult but if you are really good, consistently, your teacher will see that by himself. Besides its not supposed to be about rank, right?

Last edited by PeterR : 07-10-2003 at 02:07 AM.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-10-2003, 02:12 AM   #3
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i would never have phrased in such a blunt manner. more wanting to share the comment with my sensei, without it appearing in a "such and such thinks i should be such and such" way.

more just sharing an experience just as he recounts endless aikido-tales. besides, would it not indirectly be a compliment of his teaching, perhaps?

should i just keep quiet, and keep the compliment to myself? (and of course, without question, and with no need to iterate - keep on training!)

thanks.
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Old 07-10-2003, 04:17 AM   #4
mj
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Quote:
() wrote:
should i just keep quiet, and keep the compliment to myself?
Yes. As the compliment was an aside, treat it as such.

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Old 07-10-2003, 04:51 AM   #5
justinm
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Hi Anonymous,

A few thoughts on this:

The visitor was impressed by your ability given your hours training. Good. Stay at your dojo, it is obviously good for you and you are progressing well. No problem sharing this with your sensei as it is a compliment to both of you.

Someone with your skill level is a 3rd kyu in the visitors dojo. Fine. Might be 7th kyu in another. Not relevant. If you find this difficult to balance in your head, ignore the implied rank and just share the compliment.

Some people find it difficult to take compliments. You thanked him - that's good. Nothing wrong in getting and accepting compliments. You are concerned about seeming egotistical but false humility has no special place in aikido. You are what you are. Accept the compliment, smile, and then move on.

So, well done, now get back to training )

Justin

Justin McCarthy
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Old 07-10-2003, 08:07 AM   #6
MikeE
 
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I would always prefer having people think I am under-ranked than over-ranked. Take it for what it is worth, get back on the mat and train.

In Aiki,

Mike Ellefson
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Old 07-10-2003, 08:11 AM   #7
SeiserL
 
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IMHO, accept all compliments as a statement of the giver's perception, never of our skill level, with a kind "thank you". Keep it to yourself and get back to keeping your mind on your training. If you are being brought up slowly it may be an indication of the quality your Sensei accepts. Never be in a hurry for rank, it interferes with training.

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 07-10-2003, 09:25 AM   #8
Jeff Tibbetts
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I think that there is some good advice here. I would add that I think it may be very easy to offend your own sensei if you're not careful. I doubt it would, but I could see how this could be a challenge to his or her perception. It's almost as if someone is saying that they noticed something that your own sensei didn't, which is difficult to believe if you train with them for hours and hours each week. I do agree, however, that it could be perceived as a compliment to both of you, but I can't think of a good way that I would bring this up that won't make you look egptistical.

If the Nightingale doesn't sing-
wait
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Old 07-10-2003, 09:54 AM   #9
Lyle Bogin
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I prefer to share moments like this with my wife, rather than my sensei.

"The martial arts progress from the complex to the simple."
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Old 07-10-2003, 10:17 AM   #10
mengsin
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What matters most is the confidence in yourself and what can do. The rank is secondly. Cheers

mengsin
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Old 07-10-2003, 11:28 AM   #11
Kevin Wilbanks
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I don't think you should have even told us about it. Going on to make a thing out of it with your sensei or anyone at your dojo will make you look like a major weenie.

Even if you are as good as a 3rd kyu, it's nothing to go trumpeting from the rooftops about. Most people consider 1st Dan only a beginning, and I don't know of any yudansha who go around bragging about how good they are or how many compliments they've garnered.

In my view, compliments are like gifts: a special event between the involved parties. However, if the event is bragged about or lorded over others in any way afterwards, what is special about it quickly becomes spoiled.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 07-10-2003 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 07-10-2003, 12:30 PM   #12
Lyle Bogin
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Let's all brag about how we never would be so foolish as to brag.

"The martial arts progress from the complex to the simple."
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Old 07-10-2003, 12:47 PM   #13
Goye
 
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Cool

Congratulations ,...keep it in your mind and heart if the visitor Sensei said that,.. you deserve that,.. but,.. forget about the grading,.. every thing has it´s own time,... and as said before!!!,... go back to the mat!!!

César Martínez
Satori Dojo
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Old 07-10-2003, 12:57 PM   #14
Dave Miller
 
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The thing that you gotta keep in mind about this sensei's comment is that their system might not have as many kyu ranks as yours. In our dojo, we have only 5 kyu ranks with the top three wearing a brown belt. Systems with more ranks are going to progress differently from systems with fewer ranks.

As has been said, don't make more of the compliment than simpy, "Hay, you're doing pretty good for the amount of time you've put in" and simply move on and keep training.

DAVE

If you're working too hard, you're doing it wrong.
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Old 07-10-2003, 08:03 PM   #15
Largo
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OP- I could honestly think of no good way to talk about it, or any good result of sharing that information. What would you expect to occur after sharing that with your instructor?
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Old 07-11-2003, 10:07 PM   #16
Kevin Wilbanks
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Quote:
Lyle Bogin wrote:
Let's all brag about how we never would be so foolish as to brag.
Be my guest. Afterwards, consider some adult continuing education courses in critical thinking and reading comprehension. I did nothing of the kind.
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Old 07-11-2003, 10:58 PM   #17
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This clearly means that you need to challenge your Sensei to a duel.
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Old 07-12-2003, 08:16 AM   #18
mike lee
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no spirit

I would never take a "compliment" from a complete unknown, a stranger, a visitor, a peer or even another instructor very seriously.

My teacher never compliments me on anything — he only criticizes me. If he says nothing it either means that he doesn't think that I'm training seriously, or it's his way of extending a compliment. It's for me to decipher which is which.

What kind of martial artist needs a compliment anyway?

It's all in your head, and most of the heads I meet these days are soft.

P.S. Compliments can be the ideal sucker-punch.

Last edited by mike lee : 07-12-2003 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 07-12-2003, 12:23 PM   #19
Dave Miller
 
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Re: no spirit

Quote:
Mike Lee (mike lee) wrote:
I would never take a "compliment" from a complete unknown, a stranger, a visitor, a peer or even another instructor very seriously.

My teacher never compliments me on anything — he only criticizes me. If he says nothing it either means that he doesn't think that I'm training seriously, or it's his way of extending a compliment. It's for me to decipher which is which.

What kind of martial artist needs a compliment anyway?

It's all in your head, and most of the heads I meet these days are soft.

P.S. Compliments can be the ideal sucker-punch.
I had some coaches in high school that chose to relate to us that way as players. Some folks thrive in that environment but I don't. I, for one, am the "kind of martial artist [who] needs a compliment" from time to time. However, you are right, IMHO, in suggesting that the source of the compliment is quite important and must be considered before accepting it at face value.

DAVE

If you're working too hard, you're doing it wrong.
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Old 07-12-2003, 08:44 PM   #20
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Aleksey, you ROCK!
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Old 07-16-2003, 05:30 PM   #21
Lan Powers
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Talking

I liked the post about the compliment being a gift between you and the one giving it.......

Lan
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Old 07-17-2003, 01:05 AM   #22
mike lee
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jive talkin'

Quote:
I liked the post about the compliment being a gift between you and the one giving it.......
Yes. It's soooo touchy-feely and all that.
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Old 07-17-2003, 08:27 AM   #23
Ron Tisdale
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Compliments? I was glad when one of my instructors finally stopped finding amusement in my poor attempts at aikido...I still haven't figured out if the joke is just no longer funny, or if I'm just not a joke anymore...

Ron


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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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