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Old 08-30-2006, 07:05 PM   #1
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
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Dealing with a jerk...

The other day we were doing a knife takeaway and I had a partner who seriously resisted my doing the technique. I noticed when he was doing the technique, he was so tense and jerky that he actually hit himself in the head a couple of times. He went on to start making a point of grabbing the knife with the other hand and "cutting" me with it if I didn't do the technique fast enough or to his liking.

He then went on to start lecturing me about how to do the technique, including complaints about how much I was twisting his wrist - insisting that he was not being tense or resistant, when he clearly was. When I realized I was actually starting to get into an argument with the guy, I decided to stop training with him. I was in the process of thanking him and going to the edge of the mat to wait for the next round, refusing to train with him further, when the clap came, and a potential scene/incident was avoided.

This is not someone with any rank or authority at the dojo, so far as I know. Definitely not part of the teaching staff or dan ranked. In case this isn't obvious from a description of his behavior.

I saw two major problems with what he was doing. Foremost, he was assuming the role of authority and teacher in someone else's class without the instructor's consent or mine. Secondarily, all the smart-ass stuff he was doing to demonstrate how badly I was doing the technique was a violation of the parameters of the training scenario. This was just ordinary practice and I was trying to work out the technique - not reality testing. All of his gotcha nonsense was predicated on the assumption that I would not use atemi - punch him in the face, snap his knee or instep, etc... As a higher ranking sensei here has often said, without atemi, any technique is resistable.

Anyway, I'm curious as to how others would deal with such a fellow at their dojo - both what they would do, and what is considered proper at their school. I think I know what the senseis at this school will say, but I'll be checking with them next time I get the chance anyway.
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Old 08-30-2006, 07:50 PM   #2
John Matsushima
 
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

I've had the same experience on more than one occasion. It is even worse when someone with the coveted black skirt feels it is their responsibility to teach you.
I have learned that many times, these types of people don't know that they are being too stiff, overly resisting, and they are not trying to be malicious. This made me look at the way that I myself sometimes "correct" people and make the same mistakes. So with these people, I simply ask them to loosen up a little bit to help me do the technique. Sometimes, though, they say something like "Well, I am doing this because you are not doing the technique right". I ask them to please try to go along with me anyway, that I just want to try it this way for now. If they continue to be overly resistant and uncooperative, then I choose not to practice with them anymore.

People with "gotcha" theories don't understand one important thing. Any technique done by anybody, I don't care if it is o sensei himself, can be stopped because I know what's going to happen! Also, like you mentioned, it is done without real atemi and in slow motion. Sure, I could change the technique and do something else, but then I wouldn't be practicing the technique we are supposed to be doing.

I thought once, maybe I'll try to act like this guy when I am practicing with this yon-dan and see how he handles it. Well, he almost broke my arm and wrist. I didn't want to take this approach with Mr. Jerk, though, because it was too dangerous.

So, in short, I either ask for their cooperation, or practice with someone else.

Good luck!

-John Matsushima

My blog on Japanese culture
http://onecorneroftheplanetinjapan.blogspot.jp/
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Old 08-30-2006, 08:04 PM   #3
Aristeia
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

I think there's a middle way. You don't necessarily have to ask them to just go along with the technique - that will rankle with many. But my rule of thumb was always - don't block my technique unless you have some real and very specific advice about what I'm doing wrong. (unless we are overtly resistance testing). Just like I'd prefer not to tell uke to move in a certain way unless I could demonstrate why it was in their best interest to do so, I would try not to resist technique unless that led to a pointer that could make the technique better.

Just standing there and resisting with a "dude it ain't working" mentality is an invitation to to go to the rest of your toolbox imo.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-30-2006, 08:38 PM   #4
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

patience, grasshopper, patience.
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Old 08-30-2006, 09:01 PM   #5
DonMagee
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

I know you are trying to work a single technique, but my advice is to just change the technique. Make it work by just changing to something he is not resisting. Blend with him. It will make you better.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 08-30-2006, 09:01 PM   #6
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

Michael's advice is I think good one. There's no point in giving advice unless there's an intellectual realization that the other guy can use to improve his aikido across the board -- because he now sees something that he couldn't see before. I don't go with the "it has to be shown, and ONLY shown" approach, although showing first is often the way to get the intellect working. I'm quite happy also to see people doing variations on things the teacher shows, especially if they know what they're doing, as long as we're all clear on what kind of things we're trying to learn. I think this is still a major stumbling block: even in Abe sensei's dojo more than 50% of the students (mostly all casual) need to be seriously educated about what they're supposed to be learning. Once that's down pat, even just on an intellectual level, all sorts of nice training scenarios emerge, based on this common understanding.
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Old 08-30-2006, 09:59 PM   #7
DCP
 
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

I kinda like the passive-aggressive approach to this problem. It goes like this:

"Excuse me, Sensei. My partner has illustrated problems with my technique. Would you please demonstrate on him so I can see how to do it properly?"

I think this expands learning for everyone.

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.
- Aesop
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Old 08-30-2006, 10:03 PM   #8
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

Nice Daniel.
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Old 08-30-2006, 10:12 PM   #9
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

It was shihonage. He started by not letting me get under, then rolling out of it, though I was still succeeding about half the time. When I slowed down to try to figure out new angles and postures that might work against his resistance and rollouts, he started switching the knife to his other hand and mock stabbing me with it. When I tried to switch to other techniques, he resisted those and grabbed the knife and mock cut me with it every chance he got. I got tired of that, and that's when he went into lecture/argument mode.

Overall, my impression was not that he had any particular point or points about what I was doing, or even a desire to help me in any way. I think he was just trying to dominate and school me for egoistic purposes.

My question was more about the norms and behavior standards of others and their places of training. For instance, I'm wondering if in some dojos, I would be allowed to beat on him to make the technique work if I chose - I know at this one you are allowed to if someone pulls that kind of stuff during a test, but I don't think so during training. I'm sure I would not get in trouble for refusing to train with him there, but are there some dojo where you are required to just lump it in that situation? Inform the sensei about the person's misbehavior? etc...
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Old 08-30-2006, 10:24 PM   #10
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
For instance, I'm wondering if in some dojos, I would be allowed to beat on him to make the technique work if I chose
Well, that's what dojos are for. I like having big burly son's as students cuz they really like to "resist" the old man.
Seriously though, I wouldn't worry about it much. You are there to learn, so learn what you can from his resitance. Just keep at it. You do change partners regularly in your dojo don't you? So you probably only have to spend a maximum of 10 minutes, twice a week, with the guy.
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Old 08-30-2006, 10:26 PM   #11
Roman Kremianski
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

This is why I avoid giving advice even to lower-ranking people then me. Even with the best of intents, you can still be seen as an asshole by some.
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Old 08-30-2006, 10:40 PM   #12
Gernot Hassenpflug
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote:
This is why I avoid giving advice even to lower-ranking people then me. Even with the best of intents, you can still be seen as an asshole by some.
...some of us thrive on that...

I try to get people to at least stand in a way that starts to get some sort of 6-direction feel to it. When they can feel that themselves, plus the effect on me as uke, then they can continue, occupied by simply trying to keep that feeling whatever they are doing. No more teaching needed with words. And when I come up against my seniors, then I just laugh as my stuff fails to work properly...
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Old 08-30-2006, 11:08 PM   #13
aikidoc
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

I don't know what the attack was but sometimes you just gotta hit them and dump them on their egoistic a$$ to keep them honest.

Personally, there is a safety risk for the uke resisting as well as not practicing something shown. Working with people like that is frustrating. When they know what you are going to do it is somewhat easy to counter the move. One thing I found works nicely with shihonage is to lock your thumbs across the wrist. If they fight, it hurts their wrist.
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Old 08-30-2006, 11:14 PM   #14
ESimmons
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Smile Re: Dealing with a jerk...

Sometimes the best thing to do is to talk directly to the person you have a problem with.
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Old 08-31-2006, 12:19 AM   #15
shadowedge
 
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

Quote:
Eric Simmons wrote:
Sometimes the best thing to do is to talk directly to the person you have a problem with.
how true. if this guy understands your sentiments, it might even turn out beneficial for the both of you.

The only thing that bothers me, is that this guy might be the closed minded type. from the way you describe him, seems like the guy has (imo) pride issues.

Whenever a fellow trainee needs corrections, I give them a slight nuge in the right direction. If that persistingly doesnt work, I ask for sensei's help, that way if im off as well, I get corrected along with my parter.

My sensei always keeps an eye out for students with ego problems and stays close to them. I guess bringing this to the senei's attention would be a good thing if it'll turn out a good learning experience for both of you. But do this only if your talk with the guy didn't improve the situation.

Good luck bro!
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Old 08-31-2006, 01:11 AM   #16
Mike Hamer
 
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

Ive never had to deal with this type of situation while training, our dojo is fairly small in size, and everyone there seems to get along nicley.

To speak ill of anything is against the nature of Aikido
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Old 08-31-2006, 01:18 AM   #17
mjchip
Dojo: Aikido Jinsei Dojo
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

IMO, it's the teacher's job to deal with situations such as this one. As I see this going on after I've demonstrated a basic form, I'll usually go over to the pair of students and bow to the one who was doing the resisting (providing incorrect resistance = too much resistance for the partner or the wrong kind of resistance which can be lack of commitment, resisting to put oneself in a martially inferior position, etc.). I will then verify that the person's ukemi feels correct and will pay close attention to how they do their half of the form with me and how they did it with the person they were working out with. If they pull the same stunt with me I'll let them know what they are doing is wrong (usually nonverbally or in a very terse manner). If they miraculously start taking good ukemi for me, I'll usually say something like "Yes, that is how your half of the form should look. Now go do that with your partner and stop resisting stupidly." Works most of the time without a lot of impact. Sometimes it takes a little more......

BTW, This really doesn't happen often in my dojo as all of my students know that I'm to be the ONLY one teaching during class. Their job is simply to shut-up and train.

In closing, in the event that your teacher doesn't see what's going on, get his/her attention and let them solve the problem.

Regards,

Mark

Last edited by mjchip : 08-31-2006 at 01:23 AM.
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Old 08-31-2006, 01:32 AM   #18
eyrie
 
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

Was this person a rank beginner or someone who has obviously had some sort of training? Was he part of the dojo or a guest?

Ignatius
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Old 08-31-2006, 08:02 AM   #19
Nick Simpson
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

I think you handled the situation really well Kevin, no ones ego got bruised, no one got hurt and there arent any bad feelings. Dont train with that individual again, no big deal, it's him who is losing out on a good training partner, not you.

To answer the question, theres a few options open in this situation:

1) Refuse to train with them (politely)

2) Tell/ask them not to do what they are doing/ask what they are trying to teach you.

3) Tell them that in your dojo only sensei/sempai teach.

4) Tell sensei (I wouldnt do this unless it was a major issue, no one likes a snitch).

5) Depending on your dojo protocol you could employ Henka waza to take them down and show them the error of their ways.

6) You could beat on them (In my wilder, younger days I employed this method alot and while it works at the time it's not the best solution and these days as a sempai and assistant instructor It's my job to look after people, not hurt them, though if someone is being a real jerk I know I have my sensei's backing).

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 08-31-2006, 08:22 AM   #20
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

Hmmm, well, I have been instructed that the proper way to stop someone who was rushing in too much and too open on yokomenuchi was to "pop them once". The partner was a brown belt, and male, so in that case, I followed instruction. End of problem. On the few occations where *I* was the jerk, I've had seniors simply throw the tar out of me. Again, end of problem.

I think though, it's case by case. The first time I did nage waza using the jo, I asked my partners (both with pretty good ukemi) to take it easy, and let me learn...but this was after class training, and they decided to go for broke. Well, they still got thrown, but the ukemi wasn't pretty...I don't think that will happen again. My main concern was would this get someone hurt, but too much of my concern was probably will I look like a fool if I can't throw them. The instructor there said "hey, they're at a high enough level...If that's what they want, give it to them."

Conversely, if I got caught beating up on someone who obviously couldn't take the ukemi...I think some long jiyu waza sessions as uke would be liberally applied. I've seen that...not going there...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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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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Old 08-31-2006, 08:32 AM   #21
roninroshi
 
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

Sensei should be watching and taking care of the problem...a light fingerflick to his face and rapidly change direction...turn it into Sankyo and gently take him down..w/a smile...he is showing you (with out knowing it) a number of way's to deal w/flowing waza that you may otherwise never learn.
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Old 08-31-2006, 10:04 AM   #22
mjchip
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Hmmm, well, I have been instructed that the proper way to stop someone who was rushing in too much and too open on yokomenuchi was to "pop them once". The partner was a brown belt, and male, so in that case, I followed instruction. End of problem. On the few occations where *I* was the jerk, I've had seniors simply throw the tar out of me. Again, end of problem.

<snip>

Conversely, if I got caught beating up on someone who obviously couldn't take the ukemi...I think some long jiyu waza sessions as uke would be liberally applied. I've seen that...not going there...

Best,
Ron
Yup, pretty much the way I was taught.

Regards,

Mark

P.S. Ron, next time you get up to Massachusetts, look us up: www.aikidojinseidojo.com. I'd love to train with you.
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Old 08-31-2006, 10:18 AM   #23
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

Would love to, and it may happen sooner than I thought...I look forward to sharing some mat time.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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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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Old 08-31-2006, 10:32 AM   #24
mjchip
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Would love to, and it may happen sooner than I thought...I look forward to sharing some mat time.

Best,
Ron
I'll PM you my cell #. Give me a call when you get out my way and we can train.

Mark
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Old 08-31-2006, 10:43 AM   #25
Nick P.
 
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Re: Dealing with a jerk...

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
Anyway, I'm curious as to how others would deal with such a fellow at their dojo - both what they would do, and what is considered proper at their school. I think I know what the senseis at this school will say, but I'll be checking with them next time I get the chance anyway.
1-Put on blank stare
2-Slightly nod head in mock acceptance
3-Keep doing exactly as you were doing

There is no doubt they are doing many things wrong, and perhaps even you were doing something wrong (in their eyes), but in the end all they want to hear and see from you is "Of course! You are so right! How could I be so wrong!" followed by you doing exactly as they suggested (neither of which are likely to happen). Of course all you want to do is either thrown them with authority or prompt them to say "I am sorry, I was wrong and you were right."

Hope you learned something of value from the whole exchange; whenever it happens to me I am reminded of how much more work on self control I have yet to do.

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