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

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?

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

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3119
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...


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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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
(shotokan stylist)

#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.......

#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.

#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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