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Old 11-15-2006, 03:40 AM   #1
Jeff Sodeman
Dojo: San Diego Jiai Aikido
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Learning from the young

Hi all! It came to my attention today that one of the students from our youth class has been participating on AikiWeb lately. With some concern I read through his posts and threads, which was an interesting experience both for his ideas and the variety of positive and negative replies from the community.

He obviously has a lot of enthusiasm and creativity, and for those thinking he's a troll, no... he really is just an energetic 13 year old 5th kyu.

So it leaves me wondering what advice do you give? Stay quiet and keep your mind on the basics? Be careful what you say in public, it can come back to haunt you? Or maybe be creative and not afraid to communicate? Some truth in all of those things maybe, and maybe none of them the full answer.

Watching the kids do randori in class it's obvious that they do better at dealing with the unexpected in a spontaneous way that many adults. Their willingness to use trail and error to learn is also enviable (hopefully not with bullet dodging though). I think a lot of what we do in our own training is trying to unlearn some of the lessons of life so that our bodies can act more in a more natural child-like way.

I also think one of the struggles of learning something you're excited about is not knowing enough to know what questions to ask. How do you know that you don't know something?

I was once at one of my teacher's seminars, and out of the blue he asked "Does anyone have any questions? Anything at all?" In all the years I'd studied under him I'd never heard him ask that, and immediately you could tell ever person on the mat forgot every question they ever wanted to ask a shihan. Eventually we ended up with some inane ones along the lines of "what if the attacker comes at you with a pointy stick?" just to fill the silence.

Kids don't have that problem, they're full of questions. We try to avoid off-topic questions during the youth class, after all we have an agenda to teach the kids something within an hour and interruptions don't help. Now I think that those questions just build though, and find other outlets like the web.

So, tomorrow the youth instructor is out sick and I'm covering the class. I think I'll stray from the normal structured class and spend the time trying to answer any and every question they can come up with.
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Old 11-15-2006, 05:11 AM   #2
crbateman
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Re: Learning from the young

I am all for youthful energy and creativity, but there is a difference between that and impudence, irreverence and disrespect directed at those with both a collective wealth of experience and a genuine desire to be helpful. IMHO, your student crossed this line without provocation. I suggest a generous dose of humility. Personal attacks disguised as questions will not generally be met with objective responses, particularly when coming from someone who has so little experience. Still, I'm sure everyone here would wish to be helpful if things were approached with a little more maturity and tact.
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Old 11-15-2006, 07:15 AM   #3
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Learning from the young

And you should be aware that your student is already planning his trip to Philly...

He apparently wishes to take a little ukemi...

Best,
Ron (always happy to meet new faces...)

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 11-15-2006 at 07:19 AM.

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 11-15-2006, 12:08 PM   #4
Jeff Sodeman
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Re: Learning from the young

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote:
your student crossed this line without provocation.
Agreed, there's lessons to be learned by him from this and I'm in no way defending anything he said.
Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
He apparently wishes to take a little ukemi...
Who could say no to that?

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Old 11-15-2006, 12:30 PM   #5
Ian Starr
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Re: Learning from the young

"I am all for youthful energy and creativity, but there is a difference between that and impudence, irreverence and disrespect directed at those with both a collective wealth of experience and a genuine desire to be helpful. IMHO, your student crossed this line without provocation. I suggest a generous dose of humility. Personal attacks disguised as questions will not generally be met with objective responses, particularly when coming from someone who has so little experience. Still, I'm sure everyone here would wish to be helpful if things were approached with a little more maturity and tact."


He's 13 years old...

Ian
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Old 11-15-2006, 12:36 PM   #6
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Learning from the young

Never to young to learn...that's what my Dad would say...

The sooner he learns the more advantages he'll have when competing in life with others.

Best,
Ron (one reason I like aikido...there's enough competition in life already...)

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 11-15-2006, 02:14 PM   #7
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Learning from the young

Quote:
Jeff Sodeman wrote:
Hi all! It came to my attention today that one of the students from our youth class has been participating on AikiWeb lately. With some concern I read through his posts and threads, which was an interesting experience both for his ideas and the variety of positive and negative replies from the community.

So it leaves me wondering what advice do you give? Stay quiet and keep your mind on the basics? Be careful what you say in public, it can come back to haunt you? Or maybe be creative and not afraid to communicate? Some truth in all of those things maybe, and maybe none of them the full answer.
Save the posts for dramatic recitation -- at his yudansha test ...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 11-15-2006, 02:21 PM   #8
po_courcelles
 
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Re: Learning from the young

My thoughts on this:

First, i think the only error that kid has done is to not post is thread in the "Open discussions" or "Humour" section.

Second, once the thread is moved, i think the entire thread about Bin Laden should be merged with the "Do Americans lacks humour" thread...

Third and last,

Quote:
So it leaves me wondering what advice do you give? Stay quiet and keep your mind on the basics? Be careful what you say in public, it can come back to haunt you?
I would however advise him to watch what he's saying on the net. The web is no more anonymous as it was when I was 13 myself...And believe me I learned it the hard way recently (not on aikiweb though)...
Never bitch about anyone or anything on a blog...NEVER

Better for him to learm this now when there are still no consequences...

So yeah, he maybe banged his chest a little too loud, but hey, why people got so hard on him for so little?

Edit: And isn't Aikido the art of dealing with conflicts in a harmonious way instead of bashing someone down? Think about it...

Last edited by po_courcelles : 11-15-2006 at 02:24 PM.

"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."
--- Albert Einstein
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Old 11-15-2006, 02:34 PM   #9
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Learning from the young

I didn't see anyone bash him down...I saw people try to give him good advice. Problem was, he didn't seem ready for it. But he's young, he's got 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 11-15-2006, 02:40 PM   #10
po_courcelles
 
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Re: Learning from the young

Well maybe the word "bash" is a bit strong...But I do think some people quite received him with disrespect and discredit...Kinda like "Shut up kid and let the grown up talks".

"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."
--- Albert Einstein
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Old 11-15-2006, 02:50 PM   #11
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Re: Learning from the young

It would seem to me that the people who first responded to some of his posts were also on the young side of the aikidoka age spectrum, for what it's worth. Anyway, someone should explain to him that he came into this without really knowing the rules, and that none of it's personal, yet everyone coming here probably takes aikido as seriously and/or as passionately as Sean himself, and that in itself should go a long way in edifying him.
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Old 11-15-2006, 03:09 PM   #12
Brad Pruitt
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Re: Learning from the young

He is only 13 so he's got plenty of time to humble or be humbled. As do I and some of the others who responded. Maturity and tact come with experience and experience takes time. I would say age also but I don't want to admit that yet.
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Old 11-15-2006, 08:36 PM   #13
crbateman
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Re: Learning from the young

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I didn't see anyone bash him down...I saw people try to give him good advice. Problem was, he didn't seem ready for it. But he's young, he's got time.
Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, this is not a given. Every time I pick up the paper, I see they're burying some kid who thought he was all that. The sooner they learn not to be provocative, the better. And there is no age limit on courtesy.
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Old 11-16-2006, 01:05 AM   #14
Bronson
 
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Re: Learning from the young

Quote:
Brad Pruitt wrote:
Maturity and tact come with experience and experience takes time. .
Reminds me of one of my favorite sayings: Good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement.

He's a kid, he's supposed to screw up. He had some bad judgement, hopefully he learns and uses this little adventure to help him judge better in the future.

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 11-16-2006, 02:05 AM   #15
Joe Bowen
 
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Re: Learning from the young

Jeff,

I must say your post regarding your errant young student was pretty much spot on, and I think young Sean will be the better for your tutelage. I also find myself in agreement with Clark, "there is no age limit on courtesy".
There was a time when the bart simpsonesque irreverent, petulant attitudes were "cute", and maybe in very young children they may still be a bit, but passed the age of twelve, your "off the clock" as it were and no longer a child but an adolescent. That petulance changes from cute to trite.
All that being said, your response gives me hope that the young Sean is in the right environment which will foster his creativity but curb his petulance, leading to a well rounded person.

Joe
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Old 11-16-2006, 02:54 AM   #16
RoyK
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Thumbs down Re: Learning from the young

Quote:
Joseph Bowen wrote:
Jeff,

I must say your post regarding your errant young student was pretty much spot on, and I think young Sean will be the better for your tutelage. I also find myself in agreement with Clark, "there is no age limit on courtesy".
Joe
I second that!
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Old 11-16-2006, 05:22 AM   #17
markwalsh
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Re: Learning from the young

Jun - Request ages be listed under user-name so we can give due consideration....to the oldies too :-)
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Old 11-16-2006, 07:34 AM   #18
Jorge Garcia
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Re: Learning from the young

Quote:
Mark Walsh wrote:
Jun - Request ages be listed under user-name so we can give due consideration....to the oldies too :-)
I think that's a real innovative idea. It might make a world of difference if you knew the person causing all the trouble was a teenager.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 11-16-2006, 08:22 AM   #19
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Re: Learning from the young

Perhaps a "Junior poster" tag under someones name for posters below the age of 18 (16?) would give us a little more heads up when reacting to an awkward post?

If a junor posters is off track we would quickly realise one of the possible reasons (age) and attempt to bring them back into the fold vice thinking it's someone just trolling.

Maybe a kids/junior subforum for posters 18 and below to stretch their legs?

If you're hungry, keep moving.
If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

You don't own what you can't defend
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Old 11-16-2006, 01:13 PM   #20
Jeff Sodeman
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Re: Learning from the young

Just to follow up on my post, after warmups we sat down in a circle and had a 45 minute question and answer session. We probably could have gone longer but ran out of time.

I was very impressed by the quality and range of questions they had. I really enjoyed the session with them and after class a few of them thanked me saying that they'd had some questions for a while and appreciated a chance to ask them.

I think from now on we'll do this every few months.

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Old 11-17-2006, 07:06 AM   #21
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Learning from the young

Very nice Jeff! I think that will work well for you class.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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