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Old 12-28-2000, 03:51 PM   #26
Nick
Dojo: Aikido of Greater Atlanta
Location: Atlanta, GA
Join Date: Jun 2000
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I'm 15 minutes away by car, so I leave a half hour early... I was late for the first time in my aikido "career", if you will, on account of lousy service at a restaurant and more so of slow driving parents, and though no one really commented, I was incredibly embarassed... it won't happen again. If a student has no problem wandering in at will, I think perhaps he needs to look at more than his punctuality...

Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 12-28-2000, 06:05 PM   #27
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Aikidoka2000 wrote:
Chris,
As long as you think of it in that context, then you will have difficulty seeing what
the real issue is. Think about your statement for a moment. Note the the issue was
all about you. You seem that you don't want to be treated like an 8 year old. Yet
no one mentioned that. Does keeping people accountable seem juvenile or
belittling to you?
I have nothing against accountability, what I'm talking about is treating people with respect. There are many ways to encourage accountability without treating an adult as if they were a child.

Quote:
You may see this as an issue of control, but it is not. It is an
issue to help you grow. Sometimes it is hard to see a spot on our own nose. We
need one another to tell us of these issues we each have. No one is exempt.
So if you were the teacher of a class and you were late for some reason then the students would be justified in sending you home?

Quote:

Let us take this scenario:
1. Student shows up to class 15 minutes late twice a week or more.
2. Sensei asks student to please notice the time.
3. Student says "sorry" or "yes, Sensei I will." but still is habitually late.
4. So the issue of disrupting the class is a real one, but marginal in the long run, as
the root issue is not about them so much as the student with the problem. What is
going on in that student's life that he/she is late all the time? It is a sure bet that
such an issue is presenting itself in other aspects of their life.
Well, it might be, or it might just be that they have a job that often requires overtime, or that they have some kind of personal reason that they're not comfortable sharing with you.

I've trained in many dojo where people are late (sometimes very late) for various reasons, and I've never seen it become a serious problem, either with the class or with the individual.

Frankly, if someone is late because they don't take the training seriously then they probably won't continue in the long term anyway, so sending them home probably won't make any difference other then pushing them out the door faster.

Quote:

5. It would be the easy path to let the student "off the hook" and not bother with
his issue. The hard path of compassion is to keep the student accountable for
his/her actions in the hope that the will look at the issue internally, and as you may
know, the first step in growth, is to realize where we are in need of it.
Perhaps you feel as if no one has the right to keep you accountable. If so, that
means that you are perfect and not in need of growth, yes? I think it would be
safe to assume that that statement is false for each and every one of us.
The reality of your statement , (please muse on it for your own benefit) is one of
your ego.
As I said, there are ways to keep people accountable that don't involve humiliation or treating them like children. As far as that goes, how much ego is involved in the decision that you have the right to treat someone in a humiliating manner in order to correct a "problem" that you really may know nothing about? What you're doing in that situation is placing yourself in a position above the other person, a position in which you are justified in passing judgments on their behavior and dealing out humiliating corrections. Sounds like the ego of the teacher, not the student.

Best,

Chris
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Old 12-29-2000, 08:38 AM   #28
Aikidoka2000
Dojo: SEIDOKAN
Location: Los Angeles
Join Date: Nov 2000
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Chris,
It looks as though you may be misunderstanding the entire issue.
It has nothing to do with humiliation. Who mentioned such a thing but you?
If someone feels humiliated from being held accountable, then they are as well
missing the point of being held accountable. No one can humiliate someone who
does not feel guilty about their actions.
A point: If you have a good friend who clearly is treading down the wrong path,
would you say something to your friend even though he/she may be offended and
stop being your friend? I submit to you that this is one of the very pillars of
friendship. It is one of the most uncomfortable things a friend can do, which is to
keep a friend accountable for their own actions.
In my view, to do anything less is to have sold your friend out completely.

*With respect to being late:
Of course there are exceptions, i.e., a job that runs late or a schedule issue. These
types of issues can be addressed and accommodated by the Sensei. In those
cases, the student is not really "late" but just has an altered schedule that the
Sensei is aware of. But this is not what I was referring to. I speak of student who
are habitually late, and offers one lame excuse after another. Again, the issue is
not really about being late, but what is BEHIND the action of being late. This is
what accountability addresses. I don't think being denied participation in a class
for habitual lateness is treating someone like a child. It is done every day. What
would happen if you showed up late for work each day? You indeed one day
would be "sent home" -For good. Point is, don't blame the person holding you
accountable for his/her actions. look inward so see the problem.
In friendship,
~Tomu

-When two blades cross points,
There's no need to withdraw.
The master swordsman
Is like the lotus blooming in the fire.
Such a person has inside of them
A heaven soaring spirit.
- Tozan Ryokan
4th verse on the 5 ranks
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Old 12-29-2000, 05:40 PM   #29
Chris Li
 
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Quote:
Aikidoka2000 wrote:
Chris,
It looks as though you may be misunderstanding the entire issue.
It has nothing to do with humiliation. Who mentioned such a thing but you?
If someone feels humiliated from being held accountable, then they are as well
missing the point of being held accountable. No one can humiliate someone who
does not feel guilty about their actions.
It has nothing to do with accountability, it has to do with how you treat people. And yes, it's entirely impossible to treat somebody in a humiliating manner regardless of whether or not they feel guilty about their actions.

Quote:

A point: If you have a good friend who clearly is treading down the wrong path,
would you say something to your friend even though he/she may be offended and
stop being your friend? I submit to you that this is one of the very pillars of
friendship. It is one of the most uncomfortable things a friend can do, which is to
keep a friend accountable for their own actions.
In my view, to do anything less is to have sold your friend out completely.
I never said that you should say or do nothing, I objected to your methods. As everyone knows, it's not just saying something to your friend, but what you say and how you say it. The wrong thing, or the right thing said the wrong way, will have no effect, or even worse, a negative effect.

What I say and whether I say anything at all depends on the level of the problem at hand as well. After all, we're not talking about drug addiction here.

Quote:

*With respect to being late:
Of course there are exceptions, i.e., a job that runs late or a schedule issue. These
types of issues can be addressed and accommodated by the Sensei. In those
cases, the student is not really "late" but just has an altered schedule that the
Sensei is aware of. But this is not what I was referring to. I speak of student who
are habitually late, and offers one lame excuse after another. Again, the issue is
not really about being late, but what is BEHIND the action of being late. This is
what accountability addresses. I don't think being denied participation in a class
for habitual lateness is treating someone like a child. It is done every day. What
would happen if you showed up late for work each day? You indeed one day
would be "sent home" -For good. Point is, don't blame the person holding you
accountable for his/her actions. look inward so see the problem.
In friendship,
~Tomu
I've fired people for lateness, but it's also been my experience that in almost all cases threats and denied rewards make very little difference and create a lot of ill will. I've also found that almost anybody will respond favorably if treated reasonably and respectfully.

Best,

Chris
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Old 12-29-2000, 11:16 PM   #30
crystalwizard
Dojo: Aikido of Dallas
Location: Dallas
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 123
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actualy, what it comes down to is what is important to you really.

Unless the person who is coming in late is coming in making noise, it's not much of a distraction at all. Unless your dojo is set up differently than ours, a late student has to wait to be admitted to class, they can't just walk out and cut in like they were at a dance. It really shouldn't make any difference if someone new is added into the group of students after class is started as long as you dont make a big deal of it when adding them in. Just adds one more body.
Ok so they dont get as much benifit as the rest, but they get some. Are you only willing to teach those that hang on your every word? or are you willing to teach anyone that wishes to learn in whatever capacity they have to learn with, even if that capacity is much more limited than you like?

After all...their being late didn't prevent you from starting class
It didn't make you late ending class
It didn't make anyone else have to wait for instruction
It didn't make you change your instruction for the day
It didn't make you do anything any differntly than you would have if they were on time
And it's not going to make you miss your dinner date.

Even if they are late every single time.
Even if they never show up for more than the last 15 minutes of any class ever.

and maybe they missed out on some of you lecture...that's a: their loss and b: you'll most likely say the same things again at some point in the future.
You're not responsible to make them learn, just responsible to give them the opportunity if they wish to take it and if they dont wish to take all you wish to give, that's no bad reflection on you...unless you take it personal.

(and being late to class is not quite the same as being late to work unless the peson who is late is teaching the class. No one's depending on the student to be there like they do an employee or a teacher).

[Edited by crystalwizard on December 29, 2000 at 11:22pm]

____________
Kelly Christiansen

A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror
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Old 12-31-2000, 05:24 PM   #31
Speireag
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Vermont
Location: New Hampshire
Join Date: Dec 2000
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Quote:
BC wrote:
I don't understand how the rhythm of the class is broken by a late student. In our dojo, the late student sits in seiza out of the way of the other students on the mat until given permission to bow in by the instructor.
I agree. I was rather amused by the idea that someone's practice might be disturbed by someone coming in and sitting quietly next to the mat until the instructor beckoned him onto it.

My first child is just over 2.5 years old. For the last year, he and my wife have sometimes come to the dojo when I practice. When he gets too exuberant, she takes him outdoors. After the first time he made noise, I checked with my sensei to be sure that it was all right. He assured me that it was, and said quite flatly that if his students were distracted by such a thing, then they needed to learn how to focus. He encouraged me to bring my son whenever I liked. (The other students were equally encouraging, and they all have fun with him when he runs around on the mat after class.)

Quote:
I think the bigger issue of being late is that it could be construed by the instructor as the late student showing a lack of respect for the instructor or a lack of enthusiasm for attending class (notwithstanding the reason for the tardiness, valid or not). IMHO
It is certainly the obligation of the student to explain lateness to sensei. Recently, my work schedule has been changed so that I am off duty at the instant that class starts, and class is half an hour away. This is very frustrating for me, because I miss some class and because I feel a responsibility to help clean the mat before class. My efforts to flex the schedule were not successful, and so I approached my sempai and sensei and explained the situation. They were very agreeable and said that I was still getting at least an hour on the mat, and that I should just get to class as soon as I could, safely.

I also explained briefly to the dojo at large after class one day, so that they would not think that it was willful on my part.

Thus, our communication was good: I explained that I had an unavoidable conflict, and they accepted that and gave me support in accomodating as best I could.

Let's suppose, for the sake of argument, that a teacher notices a student arriving half an hour late pretty regularly. If the teacher feels that it is a problem, it seems to me that good results are most probable if he communicates openly. He should approach the student and ask why he is arriving late. If the student's explanation is acceptable, then the discussion remove a source of irritation. If the student's explanation is not acceptable, then the teacher can teach the student why and await improved behavior.

It also seems to me that the difference of opinion between Tomu and Chris Li is illusory. Although Tomu's tone has struck me as rather strident, he has made it plain in later posts that he is discussing a situation where the student has no good reason for being late. I infer from Chris Li's posts that he is discussing a situation where a teacher sends a student home peremptorily, without offering the courtesy of inquiring as to causes before issuing edicts.

I also agree with Crystalwizard when she says that students who are habitually late either reform eventually or stop coming, and thus are not a problem in the long run. Let me add that I think it important that their example not be permitted to stand as acceptable. The disapproval should be apparent to students who care to look, so that they do not themselves offend. As always, that disapproval should be expressed courteously.

-Speireag.

Speireag Alden
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Old 01-01-2001, 10:47 AM   #32
PRapoza
Dojo: Cape Cod Aikido Kenkyukai 541 Thomas Landers Rd., East Falmouth
Location: Cape Cod, MA
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 30
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Aikido of Vermont

Hi Joshua,

Please say hi to everyone at Aikido of Vermont for me. I'm not sure if I've ever met you, I'm not so good with names. Hopefully we can train together sometime.

Paul Rapoza
http://www.aikidokenkyukai.org/usa/ma/ma.index.html
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Old 01-01-2001, 08:02 PM   #33
Gerardo A Torres
Dojo: Aikido West
Location: SF Bay Area, California
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 23
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Many dedicated aikidoka run businesses, have demanding jobs, or have become parents. Their situations sometimes demand changes in the way they attend aikido class. It is the right thing, I feel, to understand and support people in such difficult situations. However, I still believe there are people with "character flaws," like one forum member said, and the following comments about lateness are directed to them. Some of the comments I make are based on my own observations and experiences and may not seem true or relevant to other aikidoka.

* Some teachers like to start a class from a basic concept and work their way to more advance applications. Somebody who's late wouldn't know what specific concept or aspect is being studied and the teacher would have to help this student understand what's going on. This is extra work for the teacher.

* Whenever there is a small group at the beginning of a class, a teacher might decide to take advantage of the extra mat space to practice weapons. But later into the class the teacher realizes that because of latecomers the group is now twice as big as in the beginning of class. Now there is not enough space to practice weapons safely and unwanted changes have to be made.

* Whenever possible, is good to arrive at the dojo early enough to help take care of maintenance and administrative issues. It's not good enough to assume that somebody always arrives at the dojo before we do.

* When students are late, especially yudansha-level students, it sets a bad example for beginners. Beginners have less experience or insight into dojo rules and behavior, and by looking up to their seniors, they might conclude is OK to be late sometimes. This could degenerate into a bad habit.

* People who are late for Saturday/Sunday morning classes… what possible excuse can they have?

* Sometimes is hard to solely focus on our partners --we have to be aware of our surroundings too (usually to avoid bumping into other people). So whenever somebody is coming through the door, walking, or doing warm-ups around the mat area, there is a distraction. I personally find this true for a class/lecture of any nature, not just aikido.

* A person who arrives late on the mat is not at the same energy level as the rest of the class. A person who just arrived will feel disconnected and hyper compared to the rest, whose bodies are properly warmed up and whose minds are more focused and tuned with the action.

* I find there is a beautiful order in aikido training when all students participate in every aspect of the class --from initial bow to final bow--this group chemistry adds to the whole martial arts experience.

* Practicing self-discipline and being sensitive and critical of our training environment is in the nature of martial arts, and aikido is a martial art. Lateness is sometimes the result of failing to understand this.

I personally feel that aikido instruction is a privilege I am given in exchange for respect and commitment, and part of this commitment includes making a sincere effort to be on time for class.
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Old 01-01-2001, 08:30 PM   #34
Speireag
Dojo: Shobu Aikido of Vermont
Location: New Hampshire
Join Date: Dec 2000
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Gerardo, I think that your statement is comprehensive and I agree with almost all of it. I, for instance, enjoy sweeping before class, and have been missing it because of my situation at work. (It didn't occur to me until yesterday that I could do my part *after* class, which is what I'll be doing from now on.) Likewise, starting class together, warming up together, following the thread of sensei's instruction together: all of these are important and desirable.

So, please forgive me if I single draw attention to the one item which I tripped over as I read your post:

Quote:
gerardo wrote:
Many dedicated aikidoka run businesses, have demanding jobs, or have become parents. Their situations sometimes demand changes in the way they attend aikido class. It is the right thing, I feel, to understand and support people in such difficult situations.

[snip]

* People who are late for Saturday/Sunday morning classes… what possible excuse can they have?
I don't know if you have ever worked shift work, nights and weekends. I do. Although it's rare that it interferes with getting to Saturday morning class on time, sometimes it does.

If we would judge, we should investigate. Remember that we probably don't have all the facts, even if we perceive a pattern, so it is courteous and proper to inquire before we critique.

Quote:
I personally feel that aikido instruction is a privilege I am given in exchange for respect and commitment, and part of this commitment includes making a sincere effort to be on time for class.
I agree.

As an aside to Aikido students generally, when you must be late, you can treat it as an opportunity to blend in a different way. There are many ways to attract sensei's attention, bow in, and stretch out. See if you can join the class and get up to speed with the courtesy, awareness and economy of motion which you strive for as you practice. Because of my recent situation where I must choose between arriving late or not practicing, I have had the opportunity to study how to blend in this way, and I have found it a worthwhile study.

-Speireag.

Speireag Alden
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Old 01-01-2001, 11:34 PM   #35
Gerardo A Torres
Dojo: Aikido West
Location: SF Bay Area, California
Join Date: Dec 2000
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Quote:

* People who are late for Saturday/Sunday morning classes… what possible excuse can they have?

Speireag wrote:


I don't know if you have ever worked shift work, nights and weekends. I do. Although it's rare that it interferes with getting to Saturday morning class on time, sometimes it
does.
You're right, It was wrong of me to generalize like that. I guess I was thinking of specific examples when I wrote that.

Quote:

See if you can join the class and get up to speed with the courtesy, awareness and economy of motion which you strive for as you practice. Because of my recent situation where I must choose between arriving late or not practicing, I have had the opportunity to study how to blend in this way, and I have found it a worthwhile study.
I agree it is a worthwhile study. Some dojo rules are not written on stone, but ought to be perceived and adopted by students as part of their overall learning process.

I also like to work on improving the way I blend in the dojo. Like for example, if I arrive when the basic class is in progress, and I want to warm-up before the general class, I quietly go to the dressing room and do my stretches there instead of doing them right next to the mat area. Some people think is weird, but that's my own personal way of supporting a proper environment for the basics class.
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Old 01-01-2001, 11:36 PM   #36
Chris Li
 
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Quote:

* Some teachers like to start a class from a basic concept and work their way to more advance applications. Somebody who's late wouldn't know what specific concept or aspect is being studied and the teacher would have to help this student understand what's going on. This is extra work for the teacher.

* Whenever there is a small group at the beginning of a class, a teacher might decide to take advantage of the extra mat space to practice weapons. But later into the class the teacher realizes that because of latecomers the group is now twice as big as in the beginning of class. Now there is not enough space to practice weapons safely and unwanted changes have to be made.
Unwanted changes? Oh, no :-)! Heaven forbid that the teacher should learn to be flexible in their lesson planning - in my book it's part of the teacher's training to learn how to adapt the class as the situation changes. Very few (maybe none) of the classes that I've ever taught have gotten from start to finish with the plan that I started out with, even when nobody was late.

Quote:

* When students are late, especially yudansha-level students, it sets a bad example for beginners. Beginners have less experience or insight into dojo rules and behavior, and by looking up to their seniors, they might conclude is OK to be late sometimes. This could degenerate into a bad habit.
Well, maybe it is OK to be late sometimes :-). I've known shihan that were often late for class, but not too many people criticized them for it - and their students didn't seem to be filled with the bad habits that you'd expect from such a poor example.

Quote:

* People who are late for Saturday/Sunday morning classes what possible excuse can they have?
Maybe they work Friday/Saturday nights? Maybe they were working overtime until three in the morning? Maybe they were on a business trip and their plane didn't get in until after midnight? Maybe they were up nursing their sick child/wife/grandmother?

Could be any number of things.

Quote:

* Sometimes is hard to solely focus on our partners --we have to be aware of our surroundings too (usually to avoid bumping into other people). So whenever somebody is coming through the door, walking, or doing warm-ups around the mat area, there is a distraction. I personally find this true for a class/lecture of any nature, not just aikido.
Some people complained about noise during class at a dojo I used to train at - the teacher there just said that if they were being distracted then their concentration must not be very good :-). IMO, the more distractions the better, it's just more of a chance to improve my focus.

Best,

Chris
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Old 01-02-2001, 05:13 PM   #37
Richard Harnack
Dojo: Aikido Institute of Mid-America
Location: Maplewood, Missouri
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 137
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Late arrivals - rarely, occasional, often

I posted earlier that being on time for class involves arriving early enough to get changed and to be on the mats prior to the actual start of class so as to calm down from the frantic pace of the day.

However, the issue of arriving late for any reason really is dependent on the frequency of the occurence.

I have some students who are always early. On occasion they arrive later than their usual time and I find myself concerned that something may have happened to them. The reality may be they arrive at the same time as other students.

I have other students, who though they are seldom late, do cut it close. Many times they are still finishing their knot on their hakama as I clap class to start.

I have other students who will arrive within 2 minutes either side of the start time and then they rush to get caught up.

The fact that I could on any given night provide names for each and every one of them indicates to me that the frequency of "tardiness" is the main factor. Since I have managed to perfect the "parental evil eye" (those of you with children know the one, and those of you who are someone's child have probably received its' gaze at least once), I do not hesitate to use it when a person is consistently late.

That is the real issue. If one is late once a year due to unforeseen circumstances, I do not know many Senseis who would chastise them. If one does so once a month, then perhaps you need to examine why and maybe choose to do it differently.

If one is chronically late in arriving, then perhaps one needs to become better organized or look for a different schedule. Perhaps your sensei needs to have a different schedule.

However, unforeseen circumstances aside, it is the student's responsibility to make every effort to be seated in seiza prior to the start of class.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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