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Old 09-07-2004, 02:21 PM   #1
disabledaccount
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 50
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A labor-day lesson in ego...

I learned a wonderful lesson this labor day weekend during our dojo's first annual labor day intensive. The weekend involved five hours of Aikido practice followed by one hour and thirty minutes of zazen on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Needless to say it was a challenging and exhausting experience, and I am so sore today, I can hardly walk!


At any rate, on day three I had the pleasure of working with one of my home dojo's students who I respect very much, but was having some difficulty performing a set of suwari-waza ikkyo (probably due to the hindering effects of our previous workouts inducing the fore-mentioned muscle stiffness/soreness). Usually when a fellow student who is not senior to me consistently makes an error I point it out to him/her and demonstrate the rational by resisting or countering when the error appears.

Following this usual response I did just that, and proceeded to throw him harder, and more aggressively while nage, and countered him repeatedly while uke. I started to feel angry and frustrated as he apparently continued to NOT GET IT.

As my frustration peaked, Sensei approached me and indicated that he was going to demonstrate the proper technique for my training partner's benefit. I experienced a surge of pleasure as I anticipated my partner's pending re-education, and most importantly utter humiliation for his grave ikkyo error. This was going to be so cool!

I attacked Sensei with a spirited shomen-uchi and Sensei met it hard and fast. The hours of previous exertion had made my muscles slow to respond and the ensuing ikkyo was terribly painful. I tapped frantically as I felt my elbow and shoulder about to give. Sensei took his time letting me up. Something was wrong here!

Again Sensei indicated I should attack. Again I was painfully pinned. Sensei played uke for me, with disasterous results! Every time he attacked I was struck and reversed with a painful counter. Sensei shouted at me, he bellowed "Use your eyes! Use your body!", instructions which I could not understand or follow.

And then it was over. Sensei wore a grim smile. "Do you understand?", Sensei asked. I bowed low and shouted, "Hai!".

I understand that there is nothing to be gained from dominating a weaker person. I could see how difficult it was for my fellow student to learn in this manner.

It's okay to point out errors and help each other along, but if someone can't get it, punishing them won't make it any better. Belittling them won't make it better. Hurting them won't make it better. Humiliating them won't make it better.

Sometimes it's best to let the student struggle with what they are doing and leave them alone. Go along with his/her movement. Take good ukemi. Allow them to learn the gross before the fine.

Sometimes it's best to have a teacher who can see an ego getting out of control. To let that ego expand beyond it's borders. And to crush that ego at just the right moment for a piece of enlightenment to appear.

What a powerful, humbling lesson!
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Old 09-07-2004, 02:41 PM   #2
Janet Rosen
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Re: A labor-day lesson in ego...

Wow. Yeah, that's a hard lesson, but a good one.
If/when I find myself getting frustrated by a partner, I tell myself "I'm only responsible for my training, not for hers" and *usually* (heheheh) it works....

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 09-07-2004, 04:06 PM   #3
mj
Location: livingston, scotland
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Re: A labor-day lesson in ego...

You're probably lucky it wasn't nikkyo then.

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Old 09-07-2004, 09:04 PM   #4
xuzen
 
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Re: A labor-day lesson in ego...

Quote:
Bodhi Richards wrote:

I attacked Sensei with a spirited shomen-uchi and Sensei met it hard and fast. The hours of previous exertion had made my muscles slow to respond and the ensuing ikkyo was terribly painful. I tapped frantically as I felt my elbow and shoulder about to give. Sensei took his time letting me up. Something was wrong here!

Again Sensei indicated I should attack. Again I was painfully pinned. Sensei played uke for me, with disastrous results! Every time he attacked I was struck and reversed with a painful counter. Sensei shouted at me, he bellowed "Use your eyes! Use your body!", instructions which I could not understand or follow.
And then it was over. Sensei wore a grim smile. "Do you understand?", Sensei asked. I bowed low and shouted, "Hai!".

I understand that there is nothing to be gained from dominating a weaker person. I could see how difficult it was for my fellow student to learn in this manner.


It's okay to point out errors and help each other along, but if someone can't get it, punishing them won't make it any better. Belittling them won't make it better. Hurting them won't make it better. Humiliating them won't make it better.

Sometimes it's best to let the student struggle with what they are doing and leave them alone. Go along with his/her movement. Take good ukemi. Allow them to learn the gross before the fine.

Sometimes it's best to have a teacher who can see an ego getting out of control. To let that ego expand beyond it's borders. And to crush that ego at just the right moment for a piece of enlightenment to appear.

What a powerful, humbling lesson!
Dear B. Richard,

A lesson well learned. If you force someone to learn when he/she is not ready, the result are usually disastrous. If you guide and mentor gently, the result can be surprisingly wonderful. Ah, life's little idiosyncrasies.

Cheers,
Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 09-07-2004, 09:51 PM   #5
Larry Bingham
Dojo: Coos Bay Aikido
Location: Oregon
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Re: A labor-day lesson in ego...

I was so looking forward to going to that seminar and doing the meditation and weapons practice , but wife had other ideas , about what labor day weekened was for
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Old 09-07-2004, 11:47 PM   #6
Ron Aragon
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Re: A labor-day lesson in ego...

Hi, I had something similar happen to me, in a different setting, however. I am a street person, and grew up hard. I have been around the world and down the back alleys. I have a calling, however, to preach the word of GOD. So I started to attend a Bible College.

Most of the students were younger than me, and definitely less experienced. During a class on studying the books of the old testament, my teacher, a man of 67yrs, brought me up short, in such a way that, I could not deny the truth of my ego.

During class, as I look back, I always had to show how smart I was, how "discerning" etc. I also seemed to have a need to play the smart aleck as well, all of course leading to "ego". On the last day of class and the end of the semester, he pulled me aside, and said " Ron I am going to have Bob join us, because I want him as a witness". He then told me that he was sure I had had a hard life and that he was sure I was worthy of being known as an intelligent and knowledgeable and experienced person, however, I was not the only person in the class, I needed to understand that there were others who would have questions that would need answering, and also recognition.

I was stunned, and hurt, I had not realized that I had been out of line, go figure. When he asked me if I had anyting to say, I said, that I would like to think before I spoke, this was in the beginning of my, growing period, so it took me sometime to deal with such issues, and could I speak to him in the future about it. He said of course and that he was always available.

Three days later, at a school assembly, I sought him out. I asked him, "if my behavior was so bad, why did he wait until the end of the semester to tell, me, why did he not tell me sooner so I would not be such an (idiot) is a polite way to say it, ? He said and I quote " I wanted you to be convicted". I have never forgotten that lesson and I will never forget how humbling it was, when I was able to see exactly what he meant. I know right where you are coming from. Good luck, I am sure that many people will benefit from the lesson you learned, when they interact with you. I know that I always try to make sure the next guy/gal gets a chance as much as I do.
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Old 09-07-2004, 11:50 PM   #7
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 522
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Re: A labor-day lesson in ego...

Being able to take such a lesson and learn from it, instead of getting angry and defensive and ranting about the obnoxiousness of one's teacher, is a really good thing in itself and not entirely common. I haven't always done that well. I've had lessons of that kind where I had to stew for weeks before getting past the anger to the message.

Mary Kaye
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Old 09-08-2004, 06:29 AM   #8
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
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Re: A labor-day lesson in ego...

Bodhi and Ron,

Thank you for your wonderfull posts! Hopefully I 'll get to learn from you on the mat sometime...

Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 09-08-2004, 09:16 AM   #9
DarkShodan
Dojo: Shuurin Dojo - Omaha, Nebarska
Location: Omaha
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Re: A labor-day lesson in ego...

Been there done that! Not a pleasant experience, but a learning one. You seemed to learn a lot quicker than I did.

;-)

Victims, aren't we all.
-- Eric Draven
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Old 09-08-2004, 11:51 AM   #10
disabledaccount
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Re: A labor-day lesson in ego...

Quote:
Larry Bingham wrote:
I was so looking forward to going to that seminar and doing the meditation and weapons practice , but wife had other ideas , about what labor day weekened was for
Too bad you couldn't make it. Bruce and Rick came over from your dojo and seemed to enjoy the challenge. You should ask them how it went as I know for a fact that everyone in attendance learned alot about themselves through some serious Budo trials. Thoms Sensei has a way of motivating us to keep the intensity level very high in spite of our exhaustion.
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