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Hayate
23rd June 2000, 12:34
Hello again!

I know i get on your nerves with all these things i am telling you but what can i do???? :-))))
When i first started Aikido (about 2 years ago) everything in the Dojo looked just fine,but as time went by, and started to see and realise some facts, my "perfect" image for my Sensei started to collapse.I know i must not speak for my Sensei like this, but enough is enough,his is an 5th Dan Aikikai...he has excellent skills and knowledge but the bad thing(s) is that he is BORED,he hardly gives a lesson per week , he is always putting a black belt instead of him to teach,well that is ok for me because i am still learning but what about the others that rank higher than me?We need to learn new things,we need to move a step forward, the other thing and most terrible is that he only cares about Money,i can no longer see him as a Sensei but as an Account,a book-keeper,he turned Aikido into Business and this is something i can not tolerate.Who am i to say what Aikido is,who am i to say what the essense of Aikido is,i rank 3 Kyu but i DO KNOW that Aikido is not business,i DO KNOW that Aikido is a way of living,it is NOT just the techniques it's far more than that,it is love,compassion.
I expect more from my Sensei i know he knows many things but he keeps them for himself in order to be sure that he always knows something more than the others.He hasn't realised that sharing knowledge is a way of staying immortal.I believe my Sensei lost the true meaning of Aikido,he lost his DO...
I will not stop Aikido,i will never do that, i will keep on practising and waiting for better days to come, i believe that things are going to get better...

What do i do?

Hayate Takahashi.

-------------------------
Bushi No Nasake

Ruediger
23rd June 2000, 13:20
Originally posted by Hayate

I will not stop Aikido,i will never do that, i will keep on practising and waiting for better days to come, i believe that things are going to get better...

What do i do?

Hayate Takahashi.

-------------------------
Bushi No Nasake



[/B]

"Never stop aikido" may be true for now, but how will you know what happens in 5 or maybe 50 years?
A friend of mine went to japan two years ago, it was his first trip and he was full of expectations. He is a nidan in Wado-Ryu Karate and he started also training in Iaido and Aikido. He expected much more then just a friendly welcome, but... he was nothing more (but also nothing less) then any other member of the Wado-Ryu class. He was disappointed when he came back to germany and he quit Iaido and also Aikido. He still practice Wado-Ryu, but not in the same manner as before.
What i try to say is, maybe you're right and your sensei is only interested in making money, if so, you are free to leave. But maybe you expect a sensei in a manner you think a sensei should be, if so, you will be disappointed again and again until you accept that also a sensei is just human.
But, hey... maybe i'm wrong..:)

Best Regards

Ruediger Meier

szczepan
23rd June 2000, 14:16
You are expecting far too much from others.They are only humans like you, not gods.If you don't like you sensei find another.looking for a right teacher is part of DO.

regardz

Cameron Wheeler
23rd June 2000, 16:52
once you started the journey you must try to compleat it.
apart from that I dont have any advice except there are many traveling companions, choose them wisely.

DMcGowan
23rd June 2000, 17:23
Maybe your sensei is having some personal problems and the money may be the root of it all. I know sometimes a sensei gets "burn out" and needs a break. After all, him being a fifth dan, he's been at it for quite some time. I don't know, but maybe he should be encouraged go to seminars or visit other dojo and see different things, get new ideas or possibly resurface some old ones. Sometimes trying to keep the class interesting and informative is half the battle.

George Ledyard
24th June 2000, 01:17
I am a professional Aikido instructor. I also have a large bleded family (eight kids between us). As you are probably aware no one goes into this to get rich. If your Sensei was only in it for the money he'd be doing something else.

That said there are some issues that might be raised by your posting. I have had my own dojo now for about 14 years. When we first opened we had the usual group of committed, excited studens who helped me open the school. Those days were the honey moon so to speak.

A few years later I was going through a divorce which placed an immense stress on me personally. In fact I woke up each morning for a couple of months and the first thing I did was throw up. I was in tremendous anguish and didn't find that I had much support. I found out one day that one of my students had been complaining that my classes didn't seem to be as inspiring as they had been earlier. I was pretty angry actually. There were a lot of days that I didn't feel like I could get up in front of a group of students at all. Sometimes mere moments before I had to get om the mat I had been engaged in some major domestic issue and had a lot of upset going on. But every night I had to set that aside and get out there and do my best. Admittedly I wsa not as focused at that point in time. But it often was quite an acheivement to be able to hold it together and teach at all. Nor were my students more than superficially aware of what was going on with me. But I realized that to some exetent there was a "what have you done for me lately" kind of attitude on the part of some students. I was going through a bad patch and they were ready to jump ship. No one asked me how I was doing they just judged me from their own needs. Think about it.

The focus on money is an important issue that needs to be better dealt wit in the Aikido community. I know that at times I have had various students who believed that same thing about me. But picture this. Your contribution to training involves your monthly dues, the work you put into the dojo itself, and the effort you put into your training (which has direct pay back to you). In my case I have a lease that entitles me to pay $1400 every month for 5 years at a time. My yellow pages alone cost me $4500 / year. I pay a couple thousand to have brochures at a string of local Safeways. There are many other expenses as I am sure you can imagine.Then there is the pile of bills that are waiting for the money to come in from the dojo so I can actually support my family. The pressure we are talking about is substantial I can tell you. I have spent a lot of time and effort trying to put the school on a better financial footing. The exetent I succeed directly benefits the students because they continue to have the opportunity to train with a professional instructor. I can put far more effort into my training than the typical teacher who is only teaching part time and has some other job to support himself (herself). That comes down directly to the students when I instruct.

Aikido people seem to have some sort of perverse pride in the the fact that they run their dojos in an unprofessional manner. It's as if the fact that they are always marginal as businesses makes them more spiritual. But unlike the Japan of O-Senseis day when there were an array of Aikido sugar daddies who supported him and built the dojos, and fed him etc.there isn't any support network for American teachers of Aikido. The dojo needs to function well in order to enable me to devote myself to my own training and the responsibilities of instructing my students.

I have written extensively about this so that you can see that the issues you have raised have a totally differnt perspective than the one from which you as a relative newcomer to Aikido can have. When you have trained for twenty or thirty yaers you will know that during those years you have had periods of tremendous growth, great excitement, total focu. But you will also know that there have been plateaus when you weren't sure if anything was happening at all. You will get frustrated with hundreds of different issues that come up and will almost (but not quite)quit. You won't quit because there isn't anything else you have ever done that is like Aikido and you can't iamgine your life without the practice. So you will keep going on and at some point later you'll be having another peak experience and it will be worth all the strain.

If the teacher is a good one stick with him. If what he is doing doesn't speak to you find a teacher who does.Go for it!

[Edited by George Ledyard on 06-23-2000 at 07:21 PM]

MarkF
25th June 2000, 07:48
Hyate,
I think something is very amiss, here. You seem to complain that sensei doen't teach much, and has other yudansha teach classes. What about that same benefit when you are in this senior's place? What about what they take away from teaching a class?

Even those from your own dojo have different perspectives than everyone else. It may be inperceptable and you may think the classes are inferior because if this. Don't you think you owe the senior student who is teaching a little leeway here? Do you not think he has something to offer, something which may benefit the class, and you? Do you really think it easy or that they think they are performing up to expectation?

I started teaching classes when I was fifteen and ikkyu. I was so scared that students had to ask me to speak up. After a few, though, this became a challenge to me. I thought of things not covered, or things to teach which were not covered for a while. The fear became an urge. I was smitten by it, even to the point of driving myself to the dojo when I was too young to drive (OK, all you LEO, this was in the sixties: Statute of limitations is up:D ) Eventually, I ws given the key to the dojo and I held randori only sessions on Saturday. I know, I was lucky, but I also, with the dojo open more often was also able to bring in more students. That was good for the dojo, and I am sure the students appreciated when sensei was teaching. If one is dan ranked, priorities change on the spot. You are a teacher. That is something which is a form of repayment for all the training and hard work put in. Do not feel cheated when sensei doesn't teach, give the senior all the support he can get. After all, that may be you up there one day, and I am sure you will be looking for the same support.

It is possible, as George said that there may be personal problems, but let not that be your guide. Learn from others. Even if one day someone of lower rank is teaching you, take what you can get from someone who is still training as a student and think of what he may be missing by not being part of the class, but has the responsbility to the class. If Aikido is what we really think it is, this would not be a problem to anyone, or any budo for that matter, it isn't important in the "who" but in the what and how.

Take advantage and have some patience. If you think Ueshiba M. didn't, then maybe you might want to consider a change, but I would also consider changing what you study. To paraphrase a little: "Rank is nothing! Patience is everything!"

Chad Bruttomesso
26th June 2000, 04:15
This is a very interesting thread. I have to agree with Mr. Ledyard and Mr. Feigenbaum on a few points.

First, Sensei are people too. They bleed just like the rest of us (I even saw Saotome Sensei bleed once during a class), have families just like the rest of us, and basically arenít perfect. I make no claim of being perfect, above anyone else or better than. I do know that on occasion, as Mr. Ledyard pointed out, I have been unable to leave an unusually taxing personal problem off the mat while teaching. Maybe this is one reason that I still keep training, to learn to distance myself from problems. But then, why try to make Aikido something other than real life? If I am to expect my Sensei to stick by me through thick and thin then I should be there for him/her too.

Second, as Mr. Feigenbaum stated, support the person teaching the class because one day it may be you up there. Even if the person teaching is a lower rank than myself I still show them the respect and courtesies that I give my regular Sensei.

Overall, you must train in an environment that suits you. Please, before making any rash decisions, try to look at the Senseiís possible reasons for his/her behavior form their standpoint.

Thank you for your time,

Daniel Pokorny
26th June 2000, 13:19
Hayate,

Here's a novice idea, why don't you try talking with your sensei..... usually there's more than meets the eye.

Regards,

Daniel C. Pokorny

Dennis Hooker
26th June 2000, 13:59
Hayate, I wrote an article published in the May/June issue of Aikido Today Magazine. I can not reprint it here because of an agreement, but I would like for you to read it if you can find a copy. If not contact me and I will see about sending you a copy of the Article. It deals with this very subject.

Dennis Hooker
http://www.shindai.com


Originally posted by Hayate
Hello again!

When i first started Aikido (about 2 years ago) everything in the Dojo looked just fine,but as time went by, and started to see and realise some facts, my "perfect" image for my Sensei started to collapse.I know i must not speak for my Sensei like this, but enough is enough,his is an 5th Dan Aikikai...he has excellent skills and knowledge but the bad thing(s) is that he is BORED,he hardly gives a lesson per week , he is always putting a black belt instead of him to teach,well that is ok for me because i am still learning but what about the others that rank higher than me?What do i do?

Hayate Takahashi.

-------------------------
Bushi No Nasake