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Old 07-11-2005, 09:20 PM   #1
aikigirl10
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BS in fellow aikidoka

Well , tonight i had a bad practice at the dojo.

Theres this dumb a** that thinks hes the fighting king of the universe , and hes never done any martial art other than aikido and hes only been in it about a year.

But anyway tonight we were partnered up for a short time. We were doing kokyu nage. Every time he was uke, he would grab my wrist so tight that i couldnt even begin to do the technique. So, finally i threw his wrist off of mine and asked sensei to come over and watch us. Surprisingly he still strangled my wrist. So i continued to do the technique (the best i could) and then when sensei put in his criticism , i got all the blame!

So from then on , i grabbed HIS wrist as tight as i could. And then he looked me in the eye and said to me, in a low whisper, with a wicked grin on his face (exact words) "You know when you grab my wrist so tight .. that stuff doesnt work with me , because i'm stronger than you"

I felt like kicking him right in his balls. Strength really doesnt matter when you've trained in multiple martial arts for your entire life. I could've put him on teh floor in tears, but of course i didnt want to make a scene. What puzzled me was that no matter what uke is doing , it seems like nage gets all the blame. I was just trying to learn the technique better , i wasnt trying to compete with him or put up with him squeezing my wrist so hard.

I thought aikido was about cooperation and learning and peace. Its guys like this that make me want to walk out of the dojo and never turn back. I never did one thing to him.

Im sorry i rambled on , i just really needed to get this off my chest. Please post with your thoughts on this or similar stories.

-paige
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Old 07-11-2005, 09:36 PM   #2
Mashu
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

That wasn't a bad practice. He gave you several things to think about and now you can see if you can sort them out.

Felicitas
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Old 07-11-2005, 09:48 PM   #3
senshincenter
 
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

I mean this in a constructive way: How about just asking him to not grab your wrist so hard so that you can get more reps in just doing the movement? Did you ask him that? If not, maybe you could also try and ask your own person, "Why not?"

At our dojo, while training is often intense, but most especially because training is often intense, both nage and uke can ask their partner to lighten up any time and for any reason. It's not only acceptable, its demanded that no deshi train beyond their safe level and/or whatever level that they are personally comfortable with (all the while accounting for other guidelines). This way, one takes responsibility for their own training - which is not an easy thing to do. I say it is not an easy thing to do because in taking responsibility for our own training we not only have to learn to become independent from someone or some thing else, we also have to learn how to reconcile our habitual ways of responding to things, people, and ideas - such that we can act according to the infinity of choices that are always before us and not fall victim to doing "the only thing we could do."

In my experience, which may be totally different from yours, folks often do not want to ask their partners to lighten up because they feel it to be a sign of weakness. For this reason, not asking folks to lighten up is often connected to making the Other a villain. In blaming some thing on someone else, we hide our own ego attachment to our own will to power. For this reason, it is often quite liberating, at very deep levels of our being, to practice asking folks to lighten up when necessary and/or when wanted (for whatever reason).

On this side of that request, such a thing seems totally impossible and/or unfounded, but once we reconcile enough of our ego to be able to ask such a thing of our training partner we will wonder why we ever had such a hard time making such a request in the first place. In time, we'll also wonder why were ever attaching issues of power and pride to form's training - which is only about a proximity to an ideal and not a measuring of our martial prowess.

Sure, you may ask such a thing of your current partner, and he may see it as a sign that you want to do "fake Aikido" or that you are "weak." However, as he hopelessly struggles to find a way of measuring his power in the utterly false and constructed reality of forms, you will go on practicing the movement more and more, and thus getting closer and closer to the ideal. In the end, you will find both the power of humility and the humility of power. He will find nothing. In fact, most likely, he will just quit when the realization that forms are nothing actually hits him like a ton of bricks.

The key here is to find a way of reconciling our habitual responses to such situations - things that are grounded in our pride, in our fears, and in our ignorance. If we can do that, such "uke" will not only be the person that we can use to refine our technique, such that strong grabs only make our technique more powerful, such "uke" will also come to teach us a whole lot more about ourselves and about our world as we are experiencing (i.e. constructing) it.

Hang in there - we've all passed through this "uke." Actually, we've all passed through lots of them. You can do it too.

Last edited by senshincenter : 07-11-2005 at 09:51 PM.

David M. Valadez
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Old 07-11-2005, 09:53 PM   #4
Amassus
 
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

Quote:
So from then on , i grabbed HIS wrist as tight as i could.
This is where you lost control. You played his game, his way. Did you try and ask the guy to go easy initially or did this situation grow worse in silent frustration?

I agree with Matthew, that this training partner has much to teach you about yourself. The partners that really cheese you off, are the ones that will challenge all the aikido ideals.

For a more practical answer, can you approach the guy and ask that he just ease off a little so you can enjoy your training a little more? Perhaps stay clear of the guy until you think you are in the right mindset to tackle the challenges he presents.

My thoughts.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 07-11-2005, 09:56 PM   #5
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

I posted at the same time as David. He says the same thing as I, only better.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 07-11-2005, 09:58 PM   #6
Zach Sarver
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

That is kinda of mean for the guy to do that, but also it was a great learning experience. If you can do a move on a guy who is hold tightly then it will be easier to do it on the street. If you couldn't do the move you should have asked the guy to loosen his grip and if he didn't tell your sensei, cause that is just disrespectful.
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Old 07-11-2005, 09:58 PM   #7
senshincenter
 
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

Not better Dean - just different.

Plus, I left out this great point that you made: "This is where you lost control. You played his game."

Well said,
dmv

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 07-11-2005, 10:01 PM   #8
DustinAcuff
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

I've had this problem a couple times with the overzealous uke. Here was my solution. Breath in, turn ki on, relax, close your eyes, do your technique as if uke was not even there, but add a good forceful kiai at the end. After a couple hard falls from you calling his bluff he will probably go back to normal. By grabbing your wrist tightly he is imposing that he is stronger. Our techniques dont give a darn if he is a 400 lbs. line man from the NFL, relax, guide, move in a circle and do the tech like he is not there and he will still go. if he tries to stop the technique then go the opposite directon in the way he is pulling and dump him. He has missed the point of both the art and of being a good uke and deserves to be made uke for a bit for enlightenment.
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Old 07-11-2005, 10:03 PM   #9
aikigirl10
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

I did actually ask the guy to lighten up , and his response was " i'm just trying to hold on'' . I continually shook my wrist several times in order to get him to loosen his grip and he would for a second but then he would go right back to strangling it. Only then , did i do the same to him.

I hate feeling this way. Im a person who gets along w/everybody. I'm the one in the family and out of my friends who is always trying to make peace if there is an argument. Now i feel like a person with bottled up hatred for people, and that is not me at all. I just want to cry.

Aikido to me used to be a place where, after school i could go to the dojo and after practice, be relieved of all my stress. Not anymore. Now i go and i come out w/more stress then i started with. These kinds of things have been going on for a while not just one night.

And my sensei is such a great person. Unfortunately all of these things usually happen behind his back. I hate it. I probably should try talking to him, but im afraid it would come off as complaining.

I dont know what to do.
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Old 07-11-2005, 10:05 PM   #10
maikerus
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

Hi Paige,

I can understand your obvious frustration. I also think that it is good that you vocalized it here. Just to let you know, we all have been there (trite, but true) and part of the process is learning that it is okay to ask your partner to lighten up, or not grip as hard, or to go with the technique. Its also okay to ask them to resist and try to get up when pinned, etc...

I would suggest saying something like "I have no idea how to do this yet, can you help me by moving your body in the direction that you remember the instructor doing it to you" and get the instructor over to show you how to do it so he can feel it. You will probably want to take uke as well to feel it and work with that.

On the other hand, the "You know when you grab my wrist so tight .. that stuff doesnt work with me , because i'm stronger than you" would be infuriating and I can see wanting to drop him crying to the mat. In my opinion the better way is to keep your cool and whenever he throws you get up effortlessly and without a hint of noticing that he had thrown you. Also a little bit childish, but there you go...another way of making the point.

Really...better just to agree with him and then get back to the technique. <wry grin>

Which brings up the "nage getting all the blame" point...everything that happens to uke happens because of something shite (or nage, if you will) does. If they push when they are supposed to pull...or pull when they are supposed to push or don't do anything at all shite still has to work with what is given to do the technique. I will often tell uke to move with it for a couple of times to help shite out to see what is supposed to happen, but there is no way you can say that uke "did something wrong". Shite's role is to deal with uke and put them where they are supposed to be. End of story. Finished. That's it. It's one of the reasons we train with multiple partners...so we can learn how to move various people.

If this guy bugs you I recognize that it might be counter-productive to train with him. On the other hand, if you can use it as an opportunity it just might make your Aikido better. It certainly won't be as much fun as training with someone you respect...but if you can get something out of every time you move on the mat and with anyone you train with then your Aikido will improve everytime you are on the mat. And that is a good thing...Something else to think about

Just my few yen,

--Michael

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Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 07-11-2005, 10:15 PM   #11
Kristian Miller-Karlsen
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

Hello Paige,

I agree with Matthew. This guy at your dojo represents a chance to sort things out. Maybe a chance to subdue your fighting/competitive/reactive mind (something we all have). My Sensei says that "uke is never wrong". He also says that if you can't do it , or if you make a mistake, that you just have to "cop it sweet".

Having said that. I believe that you are well within your rights to request, under the banner of harmonious training practices, to have your wrist held less tightly. At least in the beginning, until you can get the technique happening. Then you can start to take up the slack.

Training is a form of forging right?! When a sword is forged the metal is heated and hit with a hammer. At the dojo we should experience a bit of "heat" and get hit with a "hammer" every now and then. If we don't experience hardship sometimes then training has become too easy. If it were easy then every man and his dog would be doing it!

Good fortunes to you.
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Old 07-11-2005, 10:23 PM   #12
Roy
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

I can relate to your thread, I absolutely hate that kind of crap!! It can create alot of negative static, which can result in injury. I am not your typical Aikidoka, for one thing I weight 340 pounds, and I'm about 6'4". I am by no means delicate. But, even-thought I'm fairly robust, I still constantly get very sore wrists from people both grabbing or torquing them so f#!*% hard!! Lately I have been asserting myself a little more by insisting that uke lighten-up, and I only had one member ignore my request. As soon as I seen that this particular member was not complying with my request I stopped, and told him I no longer trusted him, and because of that mistrust, I told him, "I don't ever want to work with you again." The instructor heard this and walked over, and pulled me aside and ask what happened. The bottom line for me is this, our bodies are much to fragile a thing to leave into the hands of a disrespectful uke. And if the instructor disagrees with that, then kick him in the balls also!! Roy
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Old 07-11-2005, 10:33 PM   #13
maikerus
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

Quote:
Paige Frazier wrote:
And my sensei is such a great person. Unfortunately all of these things usually happen behind his back. I hate it. I probably should try talking to him, but im afraid it would come off as complaining.

I dont know what to do.
Ah...that's a different problem. If you can't handle it yourself and you find your self wanting to quit then you do have to talk to someone. Really.

If the thoughts and comments in this thread don't help, then I would suggest talking to a senior student and explaining what's happening and getting their thoughts and comments. (You might do this anyway). If that still doesn't help then ask them to go to the instructor with you to outline the problem.

I really hope no one will see it as whining/complaining. Instructors generally want people in their dojos to get along and when something needs to be clarified to make the dojo better they actually want you to bring it up.

My thoughts,

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 07-11-2005, 10:33 PM   #14
aikigirl10
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

Thank u roy , this is how i want to handle the situation but i dont think i have the guts to do so like you did. I just hate making a scene. Besides that im a 15 year old girl who tends to get quite emotional.
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Old 07-11-2005, 10:36 PM   #15
aikigirl10
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

Michael i also like your second post
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Old 07-11-2005, 10:42 PM   #16
PeterR
 
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

Quote:
Paige Frazier wrote:
Thank u roy , this is how i want to handle the situation but i dont think i have the guts to do so like you did. I just hate making a scene. Besides that im a 15 year old girl who tends to get quite emotional.
OK Paige;

Others are going to say this but - as a 15 year old girl you have to talk to your sensei. He or she will not hold it against you and might explain why your partner was right or wrong and what you should do about it. Some people have not so nice ideas, some just don't know they are being difficult. Making a scene is not the best way to go in these circumstances as the end result may have you looking like the unstable one with no one wanting to get near you.

If the problem persists you have to ask yourself do you need the grief.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-11-2005, 11:22 PM   #17
sisley
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

Paige,

You've had a lot of useful advice, but there are two things you mention that I particularly would like to comment on. First, you seemed upset that your teacher did not say anything to uke when you called him over. Perhaps your teacher understood and was helping you through the situation. Certainly, if I call a teacher over, I hope he/she will comment on my technique, not on what uke is doing. Second, and perhaps more importantly, I think it's a mistake to think of Aikido as a way to just go and take it easy after classes. Aikido is going to challenge you, for better or for worse, throughout its many stages. Most of the time, you'll be able to enjoy classes, especially as you advance in years, but along the way, there will be some headaches. Generally, this is when you are learning some aspect of Aikido or yourself (how do you separate them?).

Hang in there. We have all been where you are at, and we still meet situations like this from time to time. How you handle it next time is what's important.

--jimbo
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Old 07-12-2005, 12:00 AM   #18
Chris Li
 
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

Unless I'm specifically trying to teach someone how to do a certain kind of thing I try not to comment on how they are attacking. People grab as they like, and I can do it or not do it depending upon the situation. If you stick with it then the times that you can do it should increase gradually. As for the other times, well, it can be frustrating, but learning to deal with that frustration, and with difficult people, is part of the process. After all, if you can always do the technique then there's really no reason to go to class, right? Anyone can be peaceful and harmonious when surrounded with pleasant people - learning to be so when surrounded by the other ones, well, that takes training.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-12-2005, 12:46 AM   #19
xuzen
 
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
...<snip>... Anyone can be peaceful and harmonious when surrounded with pleasant people - learning to be so when surrounded by the other ones, well, that takes training.
Best,
Chris
Chris,

Wow... very well said. It is lessons that sometimes I forget. Thank you for a good reminder.

Boon.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 07-12-2005, 12:59 AM   #20
batemanb
 
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
Unless I'm specifically trying to teach someone how to do a certain kind of thing I try not to comment on how they are attacking. People grab as they like, and I can do it or not do it depending upon the situation. If you stick with it then the times that you can do it should increase gradually. As for the other times, well, it can be frustrating, but learning to deal with that frustration, and with difficult people, is part of the process. ......

Couldn't have put it better

rgds

Bryan

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Old 07-12-2005, 01:15 AM   #21
Roy
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

Hello!! people!! Just because someone is a sensei, does not automatically make them a righteous person full of wisdom, and a key to life. How does crushing a 15 year old girls wrists, equate to a lesson in life; via martial arts? Sounds like uke is an a#%hole, and if i where her father, I would find another club, one where the head instructor is concerned about the welfare of the members. Because lets face it folks, letting someone abuse you, because you don't want to look weak and/or like a complainer is simply not kosher.
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Old 07-12-2005, 01:21 AM   #22
PeterR
 
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

Sorry Roy but the sensei wasn't overdoing it another student was. The sensei is in charge and there are any number of ways of dealing with a situation which may or may not be malicious. She was advised to talk about it.

Did he crush the wrist or just hold too tight for her to do the technique? She didn't use the word crush.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-12-2005, 01:23 AM   #23
Chris Li
 
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

Quote:
Roy Leclair wrote:
Hello!! people!! Just because someone is a sensei, does not automatically make them a righteous person full of wisdom, and a key to life. How does crushing a 15 year old girls wrists, equate to a lesson in life; via martial arts? Sounds like uke is an a#%hole, and if i where her father, I would find another club, one where the head instructor is concerned about the welfare of the members. Because lets face it folks, letting someone abuse you, because you don't want to look weak and/or like a complainer is simply not kosher.
I wasn't there, of course, but it hardly sounded like abuse to me. At most there were some hurt feelings, but no more than that - certainly no "crushing" as in injury or physical hurt from the story as I read it. Check out any organized sport with 15 year olds - plenty more pressure than that.

Or maybe it would just be better if everybody just took pretty falls so that people could feel good about their technique (never mind whether or not they learn anything).

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-12-2005, 01:43 AM   #24
Bridge
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

Hi Paige,

I get a similar issue though the guys explain it very gently to me at my club. I've also done other martial arts before (so I know I could just smack 'em if I wanted), plus I do a little weights training so I'm quite strong. It can be quite frustrating at times when you're doing a technique OK, then they crank on the grip that bit more to test your technique out and it all goes wrong (or not at all).

I also get the "You're strong, but I'm stronger than you" stuff too. But I've learnt it's because the correct technique should work regardless of strength, so perhaps we're missing something. Now being a girl, perhaps you can play the humour card and ask as nice as possible for the answer?

Seems to work for me!
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Old 07-12-2005, 02:07 AM   #25
Mats Alritzson
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Re: BS in fellow aikidoka

Paige,

I think you should train with this guy until you lose your frustrations. When you train with an uncooperative uke he doesn't learn anything but you can learn a lot. You win, he lose.

I think that generally it's a good idea to train kihon in go-tai and when you train awaze to do it in ju-tai. That is, uke loosen up as you focus more on timeing and flow, and resist when you're focusing on form. But what do I know, I'm only 3rd kyu.

Also I believe your sensei thought you wanted help with *your* technique when you called for him. Everytime I can't do a technique on a resisting uke I call on the instructor and ask what *I'm* doing wrong. If I'm lucky he shows me a different variant or an applied form of the same technique.

Good luck with your training.
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