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Old 05-07-2004, 08:09 AM   #76
Bronson
 
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Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
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Re: Emotions on the mat

It's even simpler than that. Hit the "quote" button at the bottom right hand corner of the post. Then simply delete the things between the brackets that you don't want.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 05-07-2004, 08:16 AM   #77
PeaceHeather
Dojo: hopefully Purdue Aikido Club
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Re: Emotions on the mat

Thanks, everyone.

Let's see... Peter, I'm sorry I wasn't clear before, and I'm glad that you see where I was coming from now. I do still agree with your point -- if this is the typical way a technique is taught in this dojo, then my duty as a student is to deal with it. Obviously, if it isn't typical, then things are Uncool (tm).

Paul, about the soke thing, yup. I've gotten some more information on all that, and I have no argument. About the only thing I would say is that, sadly, his aikido does seem to be pretty darn good, his students are all very cool people, and he genuinely does not seem to be running some kind of money-trip. Honestly, in my opinion, if he wants to call himself a 12th-dan enlightened boddhisattva of aikido, if it helps him sleep better at night he's welcome to it. Whatever he chooses to call himself is irrelevant to what kind of teacher he is. For what it's worth, I think he genuinely believes he's "legit". Gah, it sounds like I'm apologizing for him, and I don't mean to do that, so I'll move on now.

Jeanne -- and Gaia, and all the other women -- thank you for the encouragement you have sent my way. My suspicion, actually, is that this teacher's random outbursts are more aimed at women students than at men. I don't have a whole lot of evidence to back that suspicion up other than my intuition, a little anecdotal story from another woman, and the awareness that he only has one female student right now. All that is pretty flimsy, though. And I agree, his methods are very iffy -- my thought was, if he was to accept my dues again and take me as a member, I would only train on the night that he is not present. I trust his yudansha senseis implicitly.

Nick... "knob jockey"?? Thanks for the laugh. And I agree with the rest of your statement, too.

Thanks everyone.
Heather
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Old 05-07-2004, 08:18 AM   #78
PeaceHeather
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Re: Emotions on the mat

Quote:
angel_joanna20 wrote:
hi !
Well, I just started to train aikido.My first lesson was incredible for me.I was very nervous,I didn't understand many things.After a few lessons i started to understand some things.I hope that one day aikido will help me find my own path.
Joanna,

Welcome! Thanks for posting in this thread -- I feel like I've been taking everyone off-topic, and I started the topic!

How long have you been studying?
Heather
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Old 05-07-2004, 09:01 AM   #79
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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Re: Emotions on the mat

Quote:
PeaceHeather wrote:
I *do* have trust issues. It takes courage for me to come onto the mat. Something like what happened, however minor (in the sense that I'm a little stiff but not broken or anything), really throws me off-balance mentally and emotionally.

If you were a sensei, and had a student who was struggling with stuff like this, how would you push them in this area? How would you test them? Is this just a test gone wrong?

Heather
I think the closest experience I've had (I'm way too junior to teach aikido) is teaching public speaking to college students who are terrified of it.

The best approach I know is to set up situations in which they are as likely as possible to succeed. The pushing is then gently but firmly insisting that they try. For public speaking, I arrange a friendly audience, a familiar topic, and good speaking aids as much as possible, but I do insist that the student gives the talk and uses his/her full time. I can also help by asking leading questions when they get stuck.

The idea is to give the experience of being scared but succeeding. It's counterproductive for me to do anything that makes the talk harder when the student's already terrified. I would save that for later, when some confidence has been built up, and then start slowly--asking a more difficult question, making the setting a bit more formal, etc.

I believe I'd do the same for a fearful aikido student. At first, make the experience as safe as possible. Only as the student shows me that s/he is ready for more challenges, start to provide them. There's no rush--it's going to take a lifetime to learn aikido anyway, so weeks or months at the start won't make much difference in the long run. (A teacher who is not prepared to be patient isn't a suitable teacher for people with trust issues, or physical limitations for that matter.)

The other principle I'd use is that tests, formal or informal, are for the benefit of the student--they show the student what s/he is capable of doing. If the student's estimate of their capabilities is unrealistically low, as it often is for fearful people, the best tests are ones where the student can definitely succeed. This builds up their awareness of what they genuinely can do much faster than tests they will fail, which reinforce their sense of inability.

My sensei teaches this point when we're working on kokyu dosa (a kneeling exercise where nage tries to push uke backwards and to the side without using brute force). It is easy for a more experienced student to resist a beginner's kokyu dosa so that they fail every time, but it's not useful. Initially we're to provide no more resistance than they can handle. As they become more capable and confident, we can slightly increase it so that sometimes they don't succeed and have to stretch their technique. But (except for one demonstration where I asked to try it) I don't have to deal with my fourth dan teacher "turning into a mountain" that I can't possibly move. I get a lot more resistance from her than I did initially, but it's not stepped up to the point of inevitable failure.

Some people argue that this leads to students with unrealistically high views of their own ability, but that hasn't been my experience in working with fearful students--they are quite well aware of their weaknesses. If it does become a problem, it seems relatively easy to fix--the one demonstration of "turning into a mountain" definitely showed me that I have a lot to learn about kokyu dosa yet even though I can generally get it to work in class!

Mary Kaye
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Old 05-07-2004, 10:20 AM   #80
indomaresa
Dojo: Aiki Kenkyukai
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Re: Emotions on the mat



bravo heather, i've read the entire thread and I must say that your move to apologize to this sake guy is fantastic. That's the very essence of self-control and coolness.

I myself would probably have too much pride to do so and sought to prove myself somewhere else (this shows how immature i am). The act of watching yourself from a perspective, calmly finding the problem and then deciding the correct answer ( ignoring your ego, feelings, etc ) to eliminate your problem is amazingly self-composed.

Earlier in this thread I feel that you are someone who lives in her own head too much, but since it turns out that it gives results. I'm gonna start dusting inside too. ^^

however.. there's another perspective i wish to put in this forum.

in traditional times, when senseis are scarce, people would travel far from home and submit their life to a famous teacher, in order to learn. The sensei will became their parent, and is rightly authorized to order the students to anything. Some teachers died without imparting a single skill to their student, despite the length of time a student has been living with him; or a student would die, or be disabled for life during training. Most of the time, the students will practice the art until old age. Rarely, some student will become a legend in their own right. Like O'sensei and Sokaku Takeda.

The teachers back then has the right to the life of their student. Is it different from today? Yes.

But it shouldn't be. Martial art is about dedication and hardship, either to a teacher or to the art, Most of the time, both. People who joined martial art should be ready to get hurt or pressured, and Heather has proved that she can handle it, and fought her primal instincts tooth and nail (judging from her post, that is).

The only problem that i see here is that the sake realized his mistake, hence he didn't ask the other students to follow the technique and tried to protect himself by ousting heather from the dojo ( but you realized that already ). He's human too and is entitled to this bit of weakness.

You're the bigger man.. i mean girl here heather. Thumbs up!

that's all, anymore and I'd go on forever.

Last edited by indomaresa : 05-07-2004 at 10:27 AM.

The road is long...
The path is steep...
So hire a guide to show you the shortcuts
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Old 05-07-2004, 11:01 AM   #81
indomaresa
Dojo: Aiki Kenkyukai
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Re: Emotions on the mat

ah, about the emotions on the mat

i have a problem of not showing my emotions on my face, not even pain... when i'm doing something. Which is a problem when I started aikido. A senpai would proceed to nikkyo me until I bodily slammed him to save my arm. ( not knowing to tap when hurt ).

The biggest emotion on the mat for me would be fear of failure, which occurs everytime i am singled out, anywhere - stage fright maybe? ( and has been since I was.... I forgot when ). But this emotion rarely occurs now that I'm a senpai with years of training under my belt.

When I experience fear, sometimes a strange part of my mind would shut down and force my body to do the opposite. Like when you fear to do a jumping roll, and yet push your way to be the first in line to do it. -_-

When that didn't happen, the only emotions on the mat i feel is joy, frustration and then again... joy.

is astonishment an emotion too?.. i had plenty of those

The road is long...
The path is steep...
So hire a guide to show you the shortcuts
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Old 05-07-2004, 11:05 AM   #82
PeaceHeather
Dojo: hopefully Purdue Aikido Club
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Ai symbol Re: Emotions on the mat

Quote:
indomaresa wrote:
I myself would probably have too much pride to do so and sought to prove myself somewhere else (this shows how immature i am). The act of watching yourself from a perspective, calmly finding the problem and then deciding the correct answer ( ignoring your ego, feelings, etc ) to eliminate your problem is amazingly self-composed.
I didn't feel self-composed at all until about two days after it happened! And I won't be going back to that dojo. I do plan to prove myself somewhere else -- but now, at least, I won't have bad memories or regrets about "unfinished business" following me afterward.

Plus, I didn't ignore my ego -- and I didn't ignore my feelings. It was the hardest thing I've done in quite a while, but I've learned that "ignore" usually really means "fight with and try to push away". I had to let myself stop and listen to everything, to see all the possibilities, and to be good to myself first -- and then, be good to myself by offering to be good to this teacher.

Quote:
Earlier in this thread I feel that you are someone who lives in her own head too much, but since it turns out that it gives results. I'm gonna start dusting inside too. ^^
Oh, but I do live in my head too much. That's one of the reasons I'm interested in aikido -- I'm trying to take the things I've learned and bring them out into the world with training and practice.

Quote:
The teachers back then has the right to the life of their student. Is it different from today? Yes.

But it shouldn't be. Martial art is about dedication and hardship, either to a teacher or to the art, Most of the time, both. People who joined martial art should be ready to get hurt or pressured, and Heather has proved that she can handle it, and fought her primal instincts tooth and nail (judging from her post, that is).
I disagree. Yes, a student should dedicate themselves to a martial art, or to anything that they want to learn. But no teacher should ever have the right to overrun your own sense of trust and safety.

I agree that this was a test for me, perhaps more between me and the universe than between me and this teacher. And I do feel that I passed the test. But the reason I passed is that I *listened* to my instincts -- all of them. I didn't stay with only anger, or only fear, but likewise I didn't fool myself into believing that submission was the same as compassion. I chose, in the end, to respond to him with compassion, without giving up my understanding that what he did was wrong.

In other words, I realized I was trying to either oppose or leave my "partner". Then I stopped, found the proper way to enter, the best way to blend, and tried to redirect the energy, and guide my partner to a better understanding.. and then let go.

The result: as nervous as I was, I did enter to talk to the teacher. I did blend. I won't be able to go back to the dojo after this, but the teacher no longer thinks of me as weak, so I did redirect. And I have let go of the remaining anger, disappointment, and regret.

Quote:
He's human too and is entitled to this bit of weakness.
I still believe that a responsible teacher should not do what he did, but since his weakness no longer affects me, it doesn't matter anymore.

Peace!
Heather
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Old 05-07-2004, 03:02 PM   #83
giriasis
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Re: Emotions on the mat

Quote:
PeaceHeather wrote:
Well, squeegee-nage is one approach...

I'm about to say something that may get me a ton of flack from all of you who have offered me such support. I had to do it, though.
YES, I will give you flak! And I'm doing so because I think if he didn't say "no" that you would have gone back.

Quote:
I went back to the dojo tonight to talk to the teacher. I apologized and offered to pay the dues to officially join the dojo.
Heather, I beg you not to go back there. There is a big difference between having to face your fears and being abused. You owe nothing to this man. You have nothing to prove to this man and he holds nothing over you. You have a responsibility for you own self preservation. You have not being trained in ukemi or breakfalls and he throws your into breakfalls??!! Please don't rationalize your inituition away. We have it for a reason. Plenty of people, regardless of the Soke issue, have told you that is NOT proper treatment in a dojo. There is certain harm we consent to occur when we participate in an acitivity but this is not it.

Quote:
Now, before you all go "What?!?! let me explain. ("No, no, is too much. Let me sum up.")

Peter's post got me thinking, and shook me out of the place from which I had been thinking, reacting, and approaching this entire situation. The whole point was that he did something, probably inappropriate, and that I reacted with fear. But then I questioned him, less out of self-respect and a desire to learn than from fear -- and then he definitely responded to me inappropriately.
Please go back and read Peter's subsequent post. He was talking about a situation where a student has been taught ukemi and is recently promoted to 3rd kyu -- they are not a beginner and could no way count the number of rolls that they have done on one hand.

Quote:
I realized that I was giving him too much power in this situation, and that rather than trying to blend, I was trying to oppose, overcome, run away, prove myself right and him wrong, and so on and so on. I'm not saying that any of those reactions or desires was wrong, necessarily, but when I let myself become quiet and examine the way I was going about them, I saw that things didn't feel quite right. None of the possible approaches felt right to me inside, because none of the consequences looked like they would really lead to growth for either him or me.
We someone's boundaries have been violated and when an instructor has gone too far it is absolutely normal to get upset by and to leave the abusive situation. If you don't want to be reactionary and be proactive, then chose to protect your body. When you enter a dojo you do not surrender away your right stand up for what is right.

Quote:
Once I understood that, I understood that I couldn't just leave things as they were. I wouldn't be able to go to another dojo without having the ghost of this one following me in some way.
It is respectable to want to learn to respond to bad situations in an assertive, proactive way. I think this is what you are getting at. But this does not mean you have to continue training with. It means you can give him a phone call or write a letter explaining why you are not coming back. And then submit it to the Better Business Bureau. THAT is an assertive and proactive way to deal with an abusive or potentially abusive situation. RE-entering that situation is like going back to an abusive spouse/ boyfriend thinking "it will be better."

Quote:
I kept sitting there feeling like I had something to prove to him, and it occurred to me that maybe I needed to prove something to myself as well.
What exactly is it that you are trying to prove? To prove that you have right to stand up for yourself? That IS GOOD.

Quote:
Could it be possible that I had, in fear, jumped to a wrong conclusion about the original event itself? Could it be that I was falling into an old pattern from my days as "verbal abuse uke"? Could it be that I could go onto the mat, knowing the fear was there and face it honestly? Could I bring myself to trust this person again, if only long enough to grant him a second chance? At the very least, could I let go of the negative and allow myself to see anything positive in this person, in this situation, and respond to that instead of the negative? Could I do all those things without relinquishing my sense of self-respect and personal power?

Sitting quietly, searching deeply, I realized the answer to all these questions was yes.
If you go back and re-read what most people said, I believe we would argue that you were not jumping to conclusions. We have given you support, reinforcing the fact that beginners are not forced into situations such as this.

Quote:
The thing that hurt most about the phone call I made to question his motives was that he responded as if he believed I was somehow weak -- or at least, that's how it felt to me; I kept wanting to prove him wrong. After looking at all the possible options, I discovered that only one would really conclusively do that -- and it would also help prove to myself as well that I wasn't weak.
You are not weak for CHOOSING to object to how you were treated. You are not weak for standing up for yourself. You are STRONG!

Quote:
For me, facing fear is one of the things that aikido is about, and by offering him a second chance from the right place, I could not only face that fear -- being vulnerable on purpose is scary! -- I could better handle any of his possible reactions. After all, no matter what he said, I could take comfort in the knowledge that I had the high ground and was the bigger person.
Aikido is about facing my fears, too. But there is a line that we draw in sand. There are boundaries, as individuals, that we choose to not be violated. When all those bells and whistles go off in your head, a boundary has been violated.

Quote:
For those of you fearing for my personal safety, I'll say that he still said no. He's not going to take me back as a student. But I think he sees me now in a completely different light -- my approach made all the difference in the word to his response. Best of all, the ghost of this experience will no longer be able to follow me on my path to the next dojo.
I'm glad he said no. He's not taking you back because he discovered that you STAND UP for your SELF, and that he couldn't abuse you.

Quote:
I still think he's wrong about a few things (that I can't do aikido because of my back problems, mainly), but I no longer feel that I have anything to prove to him; I know the truth for myself, and that is enough.
Please, seek to prove things to yourself.

Quote:
I have to leave for dinner, so I'll end this post here without adding more detail. Suffice to say I've made peace with the incident tonight, and grown in a way that fits with my understanding of aikido, and that feels right to me on all levels.
I'm glad you found some closure.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 05-20-2004, 06:41 AM   #84
domidude
Dojo: Kobayashi Dojos, Hungary
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Smile Re: Emotions on the mat

I hope that one day aikido will help me find my own path.

hello angel,
i started only 6 month ago and the greatest changes i am noticing about myself are:
- better mood
- more compassion
- better soccer playing, with less injuries
- my body got harder without changing how it looks (same big belly...)
- peace and patience with myself
- more patience with my 8 year old daughter
- better sense of humor

... so i really start to beleive that aikido's spirituality is real, it is really the art of peace, there is a true harmony between the technics and the philosophy, it help me gettin rid of a lot of questionmarks in my mind, and it changed the direction of my will...

i think my instructor is great , and i like all the other people in my dojo, so it has been a lucky break for me..

on the other hand often i do not grasp the technic that is show, sometimes i am so clumsy a can not even do it, especially when i go training thinking how good i got at it lately and getting something new shown that i can not even understand...

it is a challenge without competion
it is control without force

it is perfect for me... hope it will help you, too

so, do you smile a lot in aikido class?
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Old 05-22-2004, 09:24 AM   #85
emptymind
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Re: Emotions on the mat

It's natural to fear the unkown. The hair on the back of my neck always raises whenever Sensei steps onto the mat. Don't know why, perhaps fear of the unknown. If anything it has encouraged me to continue. It's a never ending journey. Good luck.
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Old 05-22-2004, 05:21 PM   #86
Jeanne Shepard
 
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Re: Emotions on the mat

I have alot of fears on the mat, but I laugh alot too.

Jeanne
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