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#132746 - 11/20/03 06:07 AM student dilema
Anonymous
Unregistered


This is a rather long story but please bear with me, I would really appreciate some advice.

Quite a while ago a woman in her thirties approached me about joining our club. She told me the name of her previous instructor and that she had got to purple belt (4th kyu) under him and wanted to return after a 10 year break. Her instructor is well known locally, he teaches wadoryu based sport karate. I teach wado, but have no interest in the sport side. our katas are very similar.

I told her that she was welcome to train and that if she wanted to wear the belt she had previously earned that was fine, although it may take a while to work back up to that standard. She was happy about that but said she had never actually collected her purple belt as she left training after passing but before her belt was ordered. I assumed her old club just did things differently (ours gives the belts on the day a student passes) and said I would order a new one for her, which I did.

She came to train and I was shocked that she could not remember what a forward stance was or how to kick or punch AT ALL. after two or three lessons it became apparent that she had either never been a purple belt or was a very poor one. On speaking to her more about her previous training, it became obvious that she may not have been completely truthful. She told me that on passing purple students started to learn pinan nidan and I knew her old club, like ours learns that kata for orange blet (7th kyu). I asked if I could see her previous licence and/or certificates so that our association could verify her current grade. It turned out that she had lost her licence and all certificates except her yellow belt (8th kyu) one.

Doubly suspicious now I spoke to her ex instructor who confirmed that she had only trained to yellow belt.

I told her that her old association had no record of her grading beyond yellow belt and in view of both this fact and the fact that she was really struggling to keep up with the purple belts it would be best all round if she trained in a yellow belt and was assessed at the next gradings.

She was absolutely outraged that "all that money and effort" was for nothing. I knew she was lying but rather than call her on it I said that she would be more comfortable training with the students of similar ability to herself (which is tue). She seemed to be very insecure and I suspected that that was why she lied. Although she was wrong to do so, she obviously had "issues" and I believed that by gaining confidence through training, she would become less insecure and therefore have less need to make up stories.

At her first assessment, she gave up after half an hour. At the next one she was awarded an orange belt. I was pleased for her as she had been training hard and I thought that was the end of the matter. She passed her green belt and then her blue (5th kyu).

However, three months after taking her blue belt she asked me why I had not put her in for purple belt. I explained that the average student training 3-4 hours a week takes around 6 months between 5th and 4th kyu and that she was making good progress, but not ready yet. She was very upset and then stopped training due to an ankle injury, which I know for a fact was fictitious as she confided in another student that it was an excuse because she was upset with me.

She has just re started training after 2 months off and wants to grade in January. I have just found out she has been telling at least one other student that she was ready last time (after 3 months as a 5th kyu) but that I would not let her grade. She has also been banging on to me about getting the purple belt "back" (you know, the one she never held in the first place, and I am finding it difficult to hold my tongue.

What shall I do? I can not challenge her because I will not break the confidence of the student that told me (and I know he is not lying, he just wouldn't).

She is obviously a lower standard now than when she was training regularly. I am tempted to put her in for grading and let her fail, but know that is morally wrong. I am also tempted to throw her out, but I feel that is also wrong because she is obviously mentally troubled rather than malicous. If I say she is not ready to grade, she will be complaining to other students that I am holding her back which is bad for the morale of the club.

How would other instructors handle this problem? And before anyone else says it, yes I know I have handled this badly and should have told her I knew she was lying in the first place, but I am still learning too.
Sorry again for the long post.
Sharon

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#132747 - 11/20/03 06:26 AM Re: student dilema
JohnL Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 4309
Loc: NY, NY, USA
Don't think you've done anything wrong.

I'd tell her when the test is and advise her that you don't think she's ready for it, however if she still wants to try, she's welcome.

Then judge her on how she does in the test.

If she does well, fine

If she fails, fine.

JohnL

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#132748 - 11/20/03 08:08 AM Re: student dilema
NancyP Offline
Member

Registered: 10/02/03
Posts: 119
Loc: Florida
Sharon,

I agree with John's advice. This student was not honest with you from the beginning. I, too, believe that you did nothing wrong - I believe you handled the situation very well.

I am sure the other students in your dojang have seen this student's skills, or lack thereof.

John's advice of letting her know that she's not ready but welcome to try is good. Judge her on what she is able to do - don't fail her "just because", but don't pass her "just because", either.

In my relatively short (8 years) training, I've seen too many students wear a belt, I believe they don't deserve. (For example, a 12 year-old 2nd Dan who, at the very least, doesn't know up to the blue belt poomse.)(I know, this was covered on another thread.) I busted my tail to get to where I am, and for me, personally, it lessens the belt itself.

I say, good for you about wanting to stick with the highest standards for your students. In the long run, it most definitely reflects on you, not the student.

Good luck.

NancyP

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#132749 - 11/20/03 08:47 AM Re: student dilema
xerxes Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/13/03
Posts: 515
Loc: Georgia, USA
Talk with her privately. Tell her you contacted the ex-instructor and he said she had only achieved yellow. Let her know that you know she lied. Then kick her out. An outright lie like that is an egregious breach of the instructor/student relationship. Don't tolerate it.

You can not be responsible for every person who has mental problems. It is not your fault that she is the way she is.

I have been reading this forum since about January. If one can judge a person by their forum postings(perhaps a dubious concept) then you are the finest human being that has posted here. You have shown yourself to have intelligense, grace, maturity, and compassion.Unfortunately, she is abusing that compassion.

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#132750 - 11/20/03 10:29 AM Re: student dilema
Jagman Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/03
Posts: 40
[QUOTE]Originally posted by xerxes:


I have been reading this forum since about January. If one can judge a person by their forum postings(perhaps a dubious concept) then you are the finest human being that has posted here. You have shown yourself to have intelligense, grace, maturity, and compassion.Unfortunately, she is abusing that compassion.
[/QUOTE]

You are right about your comments about Sharon, she is like you described (I am fortunate enough to be one of her students.)

I also share your point of view on the student.

I am so sorry that this is one of first posts and yet again I am putting across my strong views and coming across as angry

I feel strongly about this and it really annoys me.... those of you who know Sharon will agree that she should not have to put up with this.

Sharon has bent over backwards numerous times to help this student (like she will do for anyone because she is so lovely)and the lack of respect this student shows is absolutely disgusting. It makes me sick to my stomach!

I am not exaggerating when I say that this student is a attention-seeking, compulsive liar (I have known this person a very long time and could be considered as loosely related to her but NOT a blood relative and I do not consider us as related)

she also tried to include me in her web of lies.

I am not as nice as Sharon (not many people are) and I will not pretend to be, but I am a nice caring, patient person honestly
I know none of you will believe me but I am [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]


just to give you a better idea....

She faked an ankle injury (saying it was broken) because she was not a good enough standard to grade, and then even had the cheek to tell Sharon that she done it in her class AND THEN said she was going to apply for compensation! from Sharon!

she has done other appalling things as well

I am Sorry Sharon, but I have to give everyone a better idea about the student/situation.

-D

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#132751 - 11/20/03 03:28 PM Re: student dilema
Bossman Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 1785
Loc: Chatham Kent UK
I would take her to one side and explain fully what you know, give her back her licence money and ask her to leave.
or
If you feel you would be betraying too many confidences, teach her intensively in class in front of the others in such a way thet you aren't victimising her but she and her classmates will be under no illusion as to why she's not ready to grade.

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#132752 - 11/20/03 04:52 PM Re: student dilema
Kotetsu Offline
Member

Registered: 04/17/03
Posts: 314
Loc: Hollis, NH, USA
Though not an instructor, I'll reply anyway, cause i'm just like that. [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

I agree with John as well, you should let her go for the test. I personaly would never push a test, because i never believe i am ready(my instructors have different ideas about that, but hey). I know most people probably would not do that, but if she has some common snese, she will trust the instructor.

I would also go for Bossmans point of view, except take it a little further. Don't victimize her, but make her do more work than everyone else(i can get a little mean at times). For example: if everyone does 30 pushes, make her do 35 or 40. If she asks you why, tell her you are trying to prepare her for that test(which is true). Also, use her as an example, say you are working on katas, have her do her's and pick apart everything she did wrong so the class can se what to do right. Not only will this provide better learning for your class, but should illustrate to her how unready she really is.

Well, that's my bit. I don't claim to be knowledgable on anything(cause i'm not) so this is just advice from a student. Hope you get this problem worked out to everyones' advantage. Personally, if you would lie to your instructor, you are not dedicated enough to what you do to pursue adequately.

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#132753 - 11/21/03 02:53 AM Re: student dilema
Fighting Dwarf Offline
Member

Registered: 03/27/03
Posts: 322
Loc: UK
Sharon, I agree with everyone else - it doesn't sound like you handled the situation badly at all.

With most people, I would agree with what JohnL said. From what you and Jagman have said about this particular lady, though, I'm not so sure. She sounds like the sort of person who, when she fails, will say that you had already decided she wouldn't pass and failed deliberately just to spite her, or something like that.
I'd tell her that it's completely up to her. If she believes that she is ready to test, then you'll put her in for it and that(like Bossman and Kotetsu suggested) you'll push her a bit harder in the run up. Then when she does fail, make sure that whoever gives the grading lets her know that she's not up to standard etc. If she doesn't know the person giving the grading, it'll be less likely to come back to you as well. It sounds like she needs a good slap (metaphorically speaking [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]) to bring her back to reality, maybe failing the belt she believes she should have will do that for her.

Alternatively, give her the name of a good therapist and tell her to come back when she's normal! [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG] Unsympathetic? Me?

Good luck!
-Charlie.

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#132754 - 11/23/03 10:19 PM Re: student dilema
kiwi Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 789
Loc: Wellington New Zealand
Don't let her test. In my opinion a student should never fail a grading because the instructor should always know whether the student will pass or fail (as you do here). Putting her up to grade, when you are pretty sure she'll fail will make the situation worse. Once you get to a certain level in martial arts, at some stage youve got to put alot of time in if you wan't to move higher. If shes not willing to do that then she shouldn't be grading.

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#132755 - 11/24/03 08:22 AM Re: student dilema
kempocos Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/23/02
Posts: 516
Loc: flemington,nj,usa
I must agree with everything said about this. I would tell her flat out that belts are not paid for with money they are paid for with sweat, technique, and attitude. I would then tell her that when she is ready you will let her know. Every time she says she was a purple belt tell her she was a yellow belt according to her old instructor/orginazation. Your other students already know your character in the dojo, if it is like we hear in your posts it will take much more than her words to sway your students opinion of you. In fact not to bend to her will do more for your standing with them.

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#132756 - 11/24/03 01:01 PM Re: student dilema
Raul Perez Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 2805
Loc: Lake Ronkonkoma, NY, USA
Well Sharon seems like you got a little situation on your hands. Everyone thus far have given fairly good advice on the matter. I will just reiterate some of them with my view point twisted in.

1) You can pull her aside and tell her that you feel that she is not ready to test but she may test if she wishes. If you choose this path I suggest you get some guest instructors in to test the students and excuse yourself from grading this particular examination. In doing so she can not say that you failed her because you don't like her. The guest instructors failed her because she was not ready, end of story.

2) You can work her harder in hopes that she will quit. But I suggest you do not JUST work HER harder. You should make the classes harder in general. This way it will not seem that you are singling her out. From what you and Jagman have stated she seems to have a weak spirit. About 1 month of intense training should convince her to quit. If not she will get better and so will the other students.

3) Confront her about her purple belt lies, broken ankle fib, and her bad mouthing of everyone's favorite instructor ;D. Tell her that you do not appreciate being lied to. Adults are instructed at your dojo and it seems that she needs to mature a little more if she wishes to continue training under you. Ask her to come back when she is ready to keep her mouth shut and train hard. In doing so everything she achieves under you she has honestly earned with no excuses. If she chooses to depart, I would return all her money that she has spent at your dojo and cut your losses. You have better things to do than to babysit an overgrown toddler.

In any case the choice is yours.

My best,

Raul

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#132757 - 11/24/03 02:05 PM Re: student dilema
xerxes Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/13/03
Posts: 515
Loc: Georgia, USA
BTW, how old is she?

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#132758 - 11/24/03 02:07 PM Re: student dilema
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thanks to everyone for the advice and to Jaggers for the (rather biassed [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]) support.

I always have guest instructors in to grade my students so she could not blame me if she failed on the day.

When I am deciding who to put forward for grading I hold a mock grading during the course of a normal lesson. I base my decision on this, their previous training and the way they conduct themselves in the dojo. It is after the mock grading that I tell them my decision.

I have decided to take a little advice from each of you.

Firstly, every time she mentions "regaining my purple belt" I will point out that:
A) according to her association she was a yellow belt

B) It is irrelevant what she was or wasn't before. At her first assessment, done by guest instructors 5 months after she started training with me, with her wearing a white belt and the panel knowing she had trained before but with no clue to what level, assessed that she was orange belt standard. She has worked up from there and the only relevant thing is her standard now.

Secondly, I will make the lessons a little more intensive for everyone her grade and above to see how she copes.

Thirdly, I will assess her at her mock grading, give her my honest opinion and say it is up to her if she wants to test.

I will keep you posted, but my guess is she will either have another "injury" when the going gets tougher or she will leave because I say she is not ready and won't want to risk failing.

OR she will test, fail and leave.

Whichever way it goes, I will be suprised to see her in the dojo after Christmas.

Thanks again for all the advice and the support.
Sharon



[This message has been edited by wadowoman (edited 11-24-2003).]

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#132759 - 11/24/03 02:08 PM Re: student dilema
Anonymous
Unregistered


Sorry xerxes, I only just saw your question. She is 37.
Sharon

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#132760 - 11/25/03 04:30 PM Re: student dilema
sunspots Offline
oldtimer/newbie
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 650
Loc: Southern Oregon, USA
I think the idea of having an "outside" person do the grading is an excellent one, especially if he/she knows little or nothing of the situation. Then no claim of "bias" can be made. We sometimes do that in my system, having an instructor from another school "sit in."

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#132761 - 12/01/03 07:23 AM Re: student dilema
Anonymous
Unregistered


You won't believe what she has been up to now, I can hardly believe it myself.

She has (falsely) accused a 15 year old black belt of bullying her. She said that he punched her in the face (twice)so hard that she "had blood running down her throat and was coughing up blood for days" When asked why she said nothing at the time (this was nearly two weeks ago) she said she did not want to cause a fuss.

Knowing the sort of person she is she would have let everyone know at the time (she makes a fuss holding a bag, let alone if she is actually hit in sparring).

Nonetheless, I told her that I would speak to him (obviously with his parents because of his age) which I did. He was emphatic in his denial. I have never known him to lie and I believe him. I have to say that he is one of the most helpful students I have ever come across and certainly no bully. Whenever he spars with someone less capable I am always impressed by how helpful he is, which is why I choose him so often to spar with the lower grades.

She emailed me later (before I spoke to him, but I did not check it till later) to say that it may have been her inexperience that made her think he was "a little rough" and she would "rather forget about it"

Well, "a little rough" is so very different to her first version.

I have told her that this was the final straw and she is no longer welcome in my dojo. Upsetting me is one thing, upsetting one of my students with lies is quite another.

Problem solved [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]
Sharon

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#132762 - 12/01/03 09:51 AM Re: student dilema
dazzler Offline
Member

Registered: 09/22/03
Posts: 296
Loc: England
You can bend over backwards to help some people but they are just not worth the effort.

I'm sure your dojo will be a happier place without her, even if you are probably a little disappointed that she couldn't learn some values from her training.

D

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#132763 - 12/01/03 12:11 PM Re: student dilema
Raul Perez Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 2805
Loc: Lake Ronkonkoma, NY, USA
So when is the party? Am I invited?!

I'm glad the thorn is now removed.

Raul

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#132764 - 12/01/03 03:18 PM Re: student dilema
xerxes Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/13/03
Posts: 515
Loc: Georgia, USA
Sounds like your dojo will be better off. I'm sure Jagman will be happy.

Based on your(and Jagman's) description she sounds a bit nutty. Watch out for some kind of revenge. Probably non-physical, though.

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#132765 - 12/02/03 02:48 AM Re: student dilema
Fighting Dwarf Offline
Member

Registered: 03/27/03
Posts: 322
Loc: UK
...bunny boiler, bunny boiler...


and I was just going to offer to come and smack her around a bit for you! [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG] [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG]

Glad the problem is solved!

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#132766 - 12/02/03 02:22 PM Re: student dilema
Reiki Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 3400
Loc: MiddleEarth
Glad to hear your problem is solved however I'd caution you to be careful as she sounds like a nasty piece of work and may try something as a payback. Maybe that you smacked her about of something? or caused mental anguish... I can see a possibility of a court case or something similar occurring

Do be careful Sharon, we dont want you to wind up as another statistic.

cheers
Jane

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#132767 - 12/03/03 01:04 AM Re: student dilema
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thanks for the warning Reiki and Xerxes.

I had already thought of it because she is very small minded.

I think the "revenge" will be two fold. I think firstly she will tell anyone who listens what a bad instructor I am. Big deal, to be honest I would not want anyone that would listen to her in our club and I am not short of students I have a waiting list. My existing students would definitely back me up as would the parents of the juniors.

Secondly, she owes me quite a bit of money for training fees whilst she was allegedly having financial difficulties. This turned out to not be true. Whilst she owed the money, she bought herself a brand new laptop in addition to the computer she already had for 800 plus a very expensive digital camera. Again, this does not bother me at all. Teaching is not my primary source of income and money does not really bother me either way anyway. I would like it back, but if she chooses to keep it, it's her karma not mine.

I really can't think of anything else that she could do that she would have the guts to do.

I will watch out though, just in case.
Sharon

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#132768 - 02/27/04 09:44 AM Re: student dilema
Sampson Offline
Member

Registered: 02/24/04
Posts: 26
Loc: Ferrum Virginia USA
Re. the "Advisemeandy" situation and your obviously troubled student: Could the problem with these sorts of incidents be that people are not training for any reason other than some sort of ego boost? Insecure teenagers and reality-challenged liars are not in the dojo to help anyone else. We had a student in our dojo a few months back who was obviously mentally retarded in some way. He was hard to train with because he was taller than anyone else- all bones and angles- and did not like being grabbed. During randori or any sort of one-step drills he would clench up and throw wild, panicky techniques that often connected. Because some of our teenage students often work out with us, concerns were raised over possible injuries. Worst of all, he had a very strong dislike of our sempai, who happens to be a woman. Whenever she got tough with him and nailed him for trying to muscle her around, he would complain to other students afterwards. He was obnoxious, but everyone put up with him (and busted lips, knees in groin, etc...) for several months. Then one day during randori he slammed his knee into hers at full speed and blew her knee out. She was in a brace for almost three months and is still dealing with the damage. Everyone assumed that it was an accident, but there was something about the way that he acted afterwards that gave me the chills. He stopped comign to class a few weeks later and then had the nerve to imply that sensei was trying to cheat him by not refunding his money. We initially thought that our dojo would just have to accept his disabilities and work with his other "quirks". It's easy enough now that he's gone, but was it worth a derious injury?

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#132769 - 02/27/04 09:45 AM Re: student dilema
Sampson Offline
Member

Registered: 02/24/04
Posts: 26
Loc: Ferrum Virginia USA
oops...derious=serious

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#132770 - 02/28/04 02:29 AM Re: student dilema
kiwi Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 789
Loc: Wellington New Zealand
Insecure teenagers and reality-challenged liars are not in the dojo to help anyone else.

Does anyone else notice that whenever a proble arises, insecure teenagers need to be mentioned whether they caused the problem or not.

See post blaing insecure teenagers for the Shotkan. Jkogas, CXT flme wars (tried but can't find it, just remember getting into a big agism rant about it [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG])

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#132771 - 02/28/04 06:12 AM Re: student dilema
Anonymous
Unregistered


I must back kiwi up here.

The ex-student I am talking about in this thread was 37

Advisemeandy aka Jagman is 23


The other student I refered to who had a bad attitude when he failed a grading is 46

I have many teenage students and they don't give me any trouble.

People with a bad attitude can be any age.
Sharon

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#132772 - 02/28/04 05:55 PM Re: student dilema
Jamoni Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 1514
Loc: St. Louis, MO, USA
Sharon, I hope you have a good lawyer available. If you don't need one this go round, it still never hurts to have one. Did you document her previous misconduct? In the future I would reccomend it. I'm not an instructor, but I have done my share of firing folks and brushing off psycho customers. I doubt you've heard the last of this chick. P.S. the concept of courage does not apply to those too stupid to recognize danger.

[This message has been edited by Jamoni (edited 02-28-2004).]

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#132773 - 02/29/04 05:05 AM Re: student dilema
Anonymous
Unregistered


Jamoni

I have kept a record of her conduct and I have many witnesses to it. I also saved her emails.
Same goes for any incident like this, thanks for the warning.
Sharon

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#132774 - 02/29/04 06:32 AM Re: student dilema
Scholar Offline
Member

Registered: 03/05/03
Posts: 472
Loc: Brockton
A sociopath believes their lies. Should you teach her how to harm others when her distorted reality may cause inappropriate response to situations? If you increase pressure she may have a nervous breakdown.

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#132775 - 03/03/04 01:12 PM Re: student dilema
Yojimbo558 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/18/00
Posts: 253
Loc: Marina, Ca. USA
Hi Sharon,

This account was a perfect example of why you should never sacrifice your standards!

I've had a couple of students push for rank when they weren't ready ( although I've never had them lie about a rank they've never held ). Prior to testing, for any of my students, I hold a Pre-Test where all those going for the same rank get a chance to participate so that everyone sees where they match up against one another. I also ask for some more senior students to attend so as to provide additional feedback.

No one who's failed a pre-test gets to test & by doing it in this fashion, it has always served as to pointing to the difference in skill & proficiency between those who were ready & those who weren't.

Never give in to pressure, one of the hard things I had to do was when I went to Puerto Rico to visit one of my friends dojo's and to put on a seminar while I was there. Adalberto had a student that he said wanted to have tested for his Nidan...not having sufficient rank himself to promote him, he asked me to test him.

Julio-Sanchez is one of the nicest guys you could hope to meet...I set up a pre-test where all of the Black Belts & Brown Belts could attend so as to run a pre-test that would both measure his skill & inspire his peers & juniors.

Sadly he failed miserably, he just wasn't anywhere near ready. To the Juniors this showed that standards mattered, otherwise the rank associated with advancement means nothing. His peers later commented that he had slacked off of his training and hadn't been focusing on it & it showed. One of them confided that he was surprised that their instructor had put him up for testing.

To my friend Adalberto, I told him that I was very disappointed that he would try to send someone forward who clearly wasn't ready. I told him that while Julio-Sanchez was a great guy, he lacked the proficiency necessary to get his Nidan, let alone begin working on Sandan.

Don't sacrifice your standards.

Eric

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#132776 - 03/04/04 04:34 AM Re: student dilema
Sensei_Emad Offline
Stranger

Registered: 03/03/04
Posts: 2
Loc: Manila, Philippines
Dear Sharon,

Greetings! Im new to this group. I hope we can be friends. Im from the Philippines. [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

I just read the thread on student dilema. I am happy for you and your dojo that the crisis is over. You handled the problem very well. And special thanks to all who gave their support and share of advice.

"Most martial arts have a system of colored belts by which the students assess their level of development at that particular school. The various colored belts and/or stripes on the belt are supposed to ensure that the student maintains a sense of constantly moving forward and progressing towards the ultimate goal, the black belt. In the majority of cases, these various systems differentiate grades or levels in terms of the number of forms and the number of techniques or moves the student knows. When the student has learned a set of katas and moves, this is taken to be indicative of progress, indicating that the student is ready to be promoted to the next color belt."

That woman is a very sad case. She should have been very patient since she wanted that purple belt so badly. There are many students like her who are after the color of the belt (even if they dont deserve it)rather than focusing on becoming true martial artists. Well, that's one sad thuth.

Now that you can finally breath, you and all of us must not forget about what happened. Let it be a lesson for all of us.

I have noticed that many dojos lack something very vital to the growth and transformation of the student. Im talking about "THE SPIRIT OF THE MARTIAL ARTS".

You are all familiar with the YIN & YANG, right? These are two intertwined opposing forces that are constantly interchanging and interacting. To simplify, "Yang" represents physical side of the art, "the techniques, sparring". "Yang" represents the spiritual aspect, "martial arts philosophy, virtues, discipline, non-violence". Knowledge must be balanced to become better martial artists and better persons. (I feel so sorry for that woman).

"Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system."-Bruce Lee
[IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/wink.gif[/IMG]

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#132777 - 03/04/04 05:28 AM Re: student dilema
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hi Sensei-Emad [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

Welcome to the forum.
Sharon

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#132778 - 03/04/04 12:24 PM Re: student dilema
sunspots Offline
oldtimer/newbie
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 650
Loc: Southern Oregon, USA
I am also very much in favor of "pre-testing" as another poster mentioned above. My Sensei does it, as a way to 1) Find things a student might need to brush up on before a real test, 2) Avoid hurt feelings if someone cannot pass a test, 3)Not waste either his own or the student's time and trouble if they aren't really ready.

This practice seems to work really well, and he can informally "pretest" several students who are near each other in ability at the same time, giving individual help to each according to their needs, rather than try to prepare each (for example) Purple Belt separately for the Blue Belt test.

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#132779 - 04/02/04 02:35 PM Re: student dilema
Ogoun Offline
Member

Registered: 03/22/04
Posts: 96
Loc: Fort Myers, FL
Is it not against protocol for a student to request to be tested?

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#132780 - 04/27/04 07:18 PM Re: student dilema
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3116
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Sharon,

You describe a sad but common teaching experience. Students whose perceptions have no basis in reality. Worse her perceptions are so unfortunately warped in ~false realities~ and dillusions. You have a sad but real challenge.

It is your authority-skill being questioned. She has not learned the material. Who is the teacher? We teach ourselves but are sanctioned/recognized by the instructor(s) as ready for new material. You have serious misgivings on many levels about her. Rightly or wrongly, your job is to challenge her incorrect perceptions. If you feel you cannot correct her, let her go. Do not be surprised if she ~gets promoted~ by you if you do...

Jeff

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#132781 - 04/28/04 03:51 AM Re: student dilema
still wadowoman Offline
Improved beefier techno-prat

Registered: 04/10/04
Posts: 3420
Loc: Residence:UK- Heart:Md, USA
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Ogoun:
Is it not against protocol for a student to request to be tested?[/QUOTE]


Sorry Ogun, I missed your question before.
I think some senseis would agree with that, but I don't mind my students asking me when they will be testing. I DO mind when they think they have a better idea of their ability than I do. But every dojo has know-it-alls. Part of life's rich tapestry, lol
Sharon

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#132782 - 04/28/04 01:53 PM Re: student dilema
0goun Offline
Member

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 130
Loc: Brooklyn, NY, USA
[QUOTE]Originally posted by still wadowoman:

... but I don't mind my students asking me when they will be testing. I DO mind when they think they have a better idea of their ability than I do...
Sharon
[/QUOTE]

Students are very optimistic about their skills, and very often their self-perception may exceed their true abilities, as this case proved. Although you don't mind their asking, have you considered instituting that policy/protocol to avoid any future incidents like that. Remember, you give them an inch they'll take a yard (we still use the English system of measurement in America).

BTW, I think you handled the situation well when it arose.

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#132783 - 04/29/04 06:16 AM Re: student dilema
still wadowoman Offline
Improved beefier techno-prat

Registered: 04/10/04
Posts: 3420
Loc: Residence:UK- Heart:Md, USA
My policy is and always has been that students have a practice test two weeks before the real thing. All students are told whether I think they are ready or not.

Children grade strictly by invitation only. Adults are advised of my opinion but can choose to try the test even if I think they are not ready. This has never actually happened because most adults are happy to be guided by me.

I can see you point, but don't think I will change this policy because of one person. It has always worked fairly well in the past, and has contined to work well since she left.
Sharon

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#132784 - 05/02/04 07:20 PM Re: student dilema
Jim Offline
Member

Registered: 10/12/01
Posts: 302
Loc: Munich
Having nutters in the class is the kiss of death.

You choose who you have in your class.

She was prepared to lie...

What other moral Rubricons is she prepared to cross?

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#132785 - 05/04/04 07:53 AM Re: student dilema
ken harding Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/21/04
Posts: 721
Loc: UK
Blimey Sharon, you do have a busy old time of it.

Think you did well and showed more patience and kindness than said student deserved. I don't instruct by the way and seeing how you handled it shows me why I've a way to go yet!

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#132786 - 05/18/04 11:14 PM Re: student dilema
Anonymous
Unregistered


Sounds alot like somthing that happened at my dojo once. I have only been in Isshin-Ryu for 2 years, and atained green belt with blue stripes. I am 17 now, but was 16 at the time this happened. A girls of approximatly my age came back to the dojo after being gone for arond 2 years, wearing her green belt. She had not been practicing and was unable to do our warm-ups (30 pushups in 3 sets etc...) I was open and encouraging as I could be, but she never seemed to like having attention drawn to her inability. I tried not to ever bring up the fact that I was better at all my katas and superior in sparring to her even though I was just a yellow belt back then. The sensais always like to use me as an example of someone who worked hard and that sort of thing, and purposlly made me spar with people of much higher rank.

The gal never did appreciate the fact that they partnered me with her to try and have my hard working habits rub off on her. She left after a few months. I think it had a lot to do with the sensais never talking to her very directly. They would speak to her, but they always seemed to try and go out of their way to make her feel lesser...maybe they just didn't try as hard to train with her because she had already left once.

This older woman sounds like she has/had some confidence problems. Maybe she was never happy with what she could achieve and as a result tried less and less. I don't mean to say that wadowoman was at fault or did anything wrong, just that somtimes people's lives are more complex then others may think. I found out that the girl from my dojo went to my school, and had started doing drugs and drinking alot. Maybe she already had such habits, maybe her failur in karate compounded what irritants her life already had.
On a side note, I left the dojo recently after my sensais left. The new sensai, in my opinion, desecrates the black belt. He is rude, unethical and spends more than half of the time he talks talking about how we should respect him because he is a black belt.
I had never met a black belt that didn't comand respect from me immediatly before, but this guy completely ruined karate for me.
That seems the opposite of this thread but I wonder if anyone else had problems with a teacher before?

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#132787 - 05/23/04 08:43 PM Re: student dilema
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3116
Loc: East Coast, United States
You describe a sad situation.. a genuine tragedy. It is the person you respect, not the ranking. The ranking is merely a visual cue of the group for the person teaching that given class...

<Sigh>
Jeff

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#132788 - 07/05/04 04:42 PM Re: student dilema
Anonymous
Unregistered


thanks for trying to do what is morally right. I may be different from you, but I would tell her that she would test when I told her she was ready. If she had a problem with that, then she is welcome to leave. It it not up to her when she tests, you know when she is ready, she doesn't. I wouldn't let her get comfortable questioning you. You are the authority in the matter.

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#132789 - 07/21/04 02:05 PM Re: student dilema
Anpadh Offline
Member

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 162
Loc: Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
Sharon,

No advice to offer, really, other than what everyone before me has already said: You are the teacher, so you get to make the call. I do want to say, however, that I am glad you are an MA teacher. I hope that, when I start learning the marital arts seriously, I will have a teacher as sensitive as you.

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#132790 - 09/16/04 04:25 PM Re: student dilema
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hi Sharon,
You have done very well to keep your cool, this is indeed a difficult situation. however you are the teacher what you decide must be the final say, that is why you are Sensei, it is hard though when people try to pull on your heart strings and you want to help them but they go about it in a way which is dis-respectfull to you.

try this- why not go back to her origional instructor and ask him if he would come along to your club as a guest instructor for 1 session to teach a little sport side of wado, but don't tell your students he is coming, just let him turn up and take the class.
when he is there he can say to her (when he's going round idevidually) that he remebers her from previous and that she was a YELLOW BELT! make sure you are there also- that way she has no argument about her previous grade.

I am sure if you explain the situation to the other Sensei he will help you out.

failing that you could make her and a few others do solo demonstrations infront of the class for the requirements of the purple belt grade, like kata or something, and explain to all beforehand that it is for that level (purple belt)- if she can't do it or remember it- every one knows she is not ready and should not get the grade, at least then other students should back you up if she starts bad mouthing you again-in some places students get kicked out for much less-

however I believe you have a kind heart from what you say, which is wonderfull, so go on and give her one more chance.

good luck
Charlie.
(shotokan stylist)

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#132791 - 09/17/04 03:01 AM Re: student dilema
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
Sharon.....I have read some of the responses and did not read all of them so this may be repetitious. I will share my stand on this. Students may not question me about their testing. I refuse to talk about when or why I test them. If they are ready I will usually give them a months notice to sharpen up. If a student tells me they are ready to test, I postpone it automatically 3 months. I always tell my students they don't know my standards for a test, so how do they know they are ready? One student told me his mother said he was ready after watching a class, so I told him let his mother promote him. I am a real hard ass when it comes to testing. I want my students to be 1 grade ahead of the belt they are wearing. I lose students all the time because of the testing issue(here's a tissue is my usual answer)If they are worrying about testing, they are not focusing on their training and are doing it for the wrong reason. My Sensei said when your ready you will test. I was a brown belt for 6 years, and never said a word. So I don't tolerate any discussion on testing unless I bring it up. I just usually make a general comment that training is more important than the piece of paper and a 25 cent stripe or $4 belt. Basically "Shut up and train" is my answer.

I know this is not the nicest approach but I don't want to create Prima Donna's and always have students questioning about testing. I will not say you handled it wrong. All Sensei's have the right to do as they see fit, and I respect that. You did what you thought was right, and that is all that matters. However, I certainly wouldn't have done it the nice way. One thing I do is make the student show me what they know and do kata or have them show me what they did in the other style before I let them wear their belt. You can tell just by how they move, if they are right on. In this case when I would have noticed her lack of training I would have told her up front that she couldn't wear the belt in my school. Now, I have let students of different styles or different arts keep their belt if they can do what a normal school in their style would ask, and then tell them they will keep that belt until they catch up, like you mentioned. I would have set her straight from the beginning. Since it has gotten worse and you are in deeper now, I would ask her to stay after class, tell her she is not the judge of how she trains that you are. That you know the situation with her old school(without elaborating) and tell her that from now on its your criteria not hers that will be tested on AND if you hear anymore about testing from her, she won't test again! Once again thats my suggestion, and I know its not popular. But let me ask you a question, would you question your Sensei about testing? I never would and know what would happen if I did. Whats good for the goose.......

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#132792 - 09/17/04 03:11 AM Re: student dilema
still wadowoman Offline
Improved beefier techno-prat

Registered: 04/10/04
Posts: 3420
Loc: Residence:UK- Heart:Md, USA
Sensei Lou,

Thanks for your reply.

This issue is long since resolved (I ended up asking this student to leave as she was causing trouble, and I believe she is now training with GKR).

Although I found it very upsetting at the time, it has taught me a valuable lesson (as most bad experiences do). As you say, I thought I was doing the right thing at the time but I would not get into this situation again. Therefore, it was a good experience for me and I have learnt much from it.

Thank you again for taking the trouble to reply.
Sharon

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#132793 - 09/17/04 02:04 PM Re: student dilema
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
I'm glad it worked out for you. I am very sensitive to the treatment of women in the Martial Arts. I think you get a raw deal from the time you hit the mat, to the time you teach. Female Sensei have my utmost respect as I know what they have to go through to get there, and its way more than males. Early on you have to prove that your not a 'Barbie" on the mat, that you are there for the same reason as the guys. The arts are geared for males, and thats tough to overcome. To teach is even more difficult. Most males have the attitude "what can she do"? Then you have to prove it. Its not fair. Then, you have female students that think you will be easier on them since you are female. My daughter has faced all this, so I respect what you have to go through. You have to wonder if that student would have tried to take advantage of a male Sensei that way. Anyway, glad it worked out for you. I guess you have to get a little tougher shell the next time.

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