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#134472 - 02/27/05 08:05 PM No Win Situation
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
On another thread, there has been a discussion about how involved a Sensei should be in terms of how he gets involved in the students life outside of training. Some feel a Sensei should just teach technique and people how to fight or defend themselves. Sensei should have no say about a students behavior, or how he acts outside the dojo. Others feel the Sensei has every right to judge how a person acts because he is a reflection of the Sensei and the school. Either way, its a no win situation. In this forum, you can go on any post and see the term McDojo or McSensei. Here a Sensei gets criticized for teaching for money, and not getting into the other tenants of training. They teach for money, bottom line and give nothing but technical training. On the other hand you have others that see the Sensei as a Shepherd tending his flock, and people criticize that Sensei for being too involved, he shouldn't deal in students behaviors or how students live their lives. So if people don't want a Mc Sensei, but don't want him in their daily lives, and teach how to be a better individual either, what do they want? In the old days you shut up and trained. The term Uechi Deschi, meant serving your Sesnei as a live in student,so not only was the Sensei involved, but people had to take care of the Sensei. I wonder how many people would do that now if they had the chance. Live with the Sensei, learn all he has, but were servants as well. If they don't want a Sensei too involved with their lives, how would they feel about waiting on his every need. Back then it was an honor to be an Uechi Deschi, not so much now.

I know of a Sensei who was known for producing great fighters. But that was all he taught, he was hands off everything else, and did not burden the student with history, philosophy, code, or lineage. He often said "my job is to teach people to fight". And....the only time you got a call from Sensei was for your dues. Lets call him Sensei A. If you wanted to get better Sensei A would give you privates, which he made much more money than for monthly classes. Essentially he was a McDojo(or is it only a McDojo if the Sesnei produces poor fighters?)
One day Sensei A's Instructor came to him and told him he needed to refine his fighters, that they were thugs in the ring, technically good, but mentally horrible. Sensei A's instructor told Snesei A that if he didn't start teaching more than just fighting he would be sorry the way his students turned out. After a while Sensei A tired of his commercial school and just did privates at his house. He started to build a dojo in his garage but in the meantime, worked in the backyard. Students really didn't like training here and started to leave. Eventually Sensei A only had a handful of students and decided to retire and enjoy his life from all the money he made. He left several holding the bag. In his retirement Sensei lost his wife, his house and decided to un-retire after a 5 year abscence. He called all his students to let them know he was back. Sensei's A's instructor tried to help him out and had a get together for Sensei A. His Instrucotr called all his past students and his peers in training. No one showed up, no one. Sensei A asked his Insructor "why did he think no one came". His instructor said, that Sensei A had come full circle. His students treated him, just like he taught them. They were not taught other aspects of training, only how to fight. There is more to teach, and what you leave with your student, is what he is going to give back. If all you leave is physical training, how can you expect them to understand the philosophy of the art.

I think this really sums up the dilema between getting too involved and not involved enough. If all you teach is commercial information, in a commercial setting you get labeled as teaching for money, and then if one teaches more he gets criticized for interfering in the students life. The one thing I know for sure is you can't have it both ways. If all you want is a instructor to teach you how to fight or just technique you can't be upset that he is teaching for dollars. On the other hand, if you want more of the arts, you can not get upset if your Sensei teaches you about life, not just Martial Arts. Its a dichotomy, and a no win situation. No matter how you treat your students, someone will find the shortcoming. I wonder why it is people look for the shortcomings in a person, instead of the good he does. Especially in the MArtial Arts. I know 100's of people who train and that many Sensei. I only know 1 Sensei in all these years that I have never heard a bad word about! In 20 years, only 1 Sensei that has never been criticized by someone, and as a side note is a noted historian as well and his students all are very knowledgeable, but no one seems to have a problem with this Sensei. Yet ask about any other Sensei and you hear he is in it for the money, he doesn't care or he is too controlingwith his students. Its something that is really a quite unique. A no win situation.

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#134473 - 02/27/05 08:43 PM Re: No Win Situation
Anonymous
Unregistered


The answer is simple yet painfully difficult: dont post on the boards.

Only way to escape the bullshido of the masses. Theres always someone offended by something. Course, you knew that, didnt ya?

- Op. Skinny Ninja

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#134474 - 02/27/05 09:11 PM Re: No Win Situation
Anonymous
Unregistered


I don't necessarily think it is a "no-win" situation. Like everything else in life, it comes down to personal choices and how you want to live your life, irrespective of what other people may think or say.

Only we can make that choice - to live in the light, or hide in the dark. Either way, we are all subject to the immutable laws of nature. We can choose to accept it or ignore it. The fundamental law of "reap as you sow" is one.

If the choice is to produce fighters only, without the requisite philosophical and moral foundation, then you reap what you sow. If the choice is to build relationships and "farm individuals", then you reap as you sow.

Win or lose, it's all an illusion.

The hardest thing to do is to find the balance between the two - for love AND money. With most, it is one or the other, each being mutually exclusive of the other. But I don't think it necessarily has to be that way.

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#134475 - 02/27/05 10:01 PM Re: No Win Situation
nekogami13 V2.0 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/10/04
Posts: 2643
Loc: Texas, USA
I believe the option is up to the individual.

If you want a shepherd who teaches you martial arts, origami, the meaning of the universe and 31 different uses for a swizel stick-by all means go find one.

I personally do not need a shepherd-I am not a sheep.
If I want philosophy and ancient Asian wisdom, I will buy a fortune cookie.
My behavior outside of the dojo/kwoon/dojang does not need to be monitored-I am a responsible adult who was raised by responsible people. A good teacher should realise this and focus his shepherding energies somewhere else.

I understand some teachers do become very involved in students lives. Good for them, I commend and applaud them(seriously), but it is not something I want or need.

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#134476 - 02/27/05 10:13 PM Re: No Win Situation
Anonymous
Unregistered


My Sifu is a very cool guy.

He is an excelent teacher and Ive learned alot from him. He's produced some very good fighters (though we dont do much tournament) and he has a very deep knowledge of the arts. He's one of the few teachers Ive met who asks students what they would like to learn. He makes jokes during class and he is easy to talk to socially or if you have a problem. He pushes all his students without pushing them away, and the class regularly goes out for food after class snd occasionaly has a movie night at his or someone elses home. Some students even get lifts to and from class with him.

At the same time he never extols any philosophy other than training hard and taking care of ones self. He never tells his adult students how to behave, only how to train. When dealing with kids he advises first, "listen to your parents" He asks where we've been if we havent shown up for a while, but he never presses anyone for personal information and conversation stays on neutral subjects unless otherwise initiated by the student.

He has a perfect balance between training us and being friends with us.

I've not heard a bad word said about him by anyone.


One of my old teachers did many of the same things, but you would get the impression that you owed him for it. If people couldnt make an extra class he would guilt trip us about the effort he put in. When we went out together he expected people to still call him sensei and gave orders as though we were still in class (including banning adult students from going into the town during a weekend break to a beach training camp). He would press people about percieved problems and was unhappy if they did not want to talk. Ocassionally large portions of a class would be taken up with him extoling his views on things, which often were not shared by his students (who were rapidly cooling down), or if in a one to one conversation, the problems of other students would come up.

There was much being said about him in the changing rooms.

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#134477 - 02/28/05 03:47 AM Re: No Win Situation
Anonymous
Unregistered


In any organization, you have CEOs that walk the talk, and those who don't. MA organizations are no different.

I can see why Shonuff makes the case for maintaining professional distance; it is hard to separate the personality from the person. It is an integral part of what makes us human, and not dispassionate automatons.

I think the fundamental issue is how we relate to other people. Some students might not appreciate Sensei B (in Shonuff's example), but for others, it may be just want they need to shake them out of their dream - even if they don't know it, don't want it, or don't know they need it. Others yet, might have no preference either way. In other words, people will take things however they perceive it.

There is merit in the alternative view of who becomes the judge of what the student needs or doesn't need. I would counter that surely, teaching experience would have a large part to play in this?

I had a aikido sensei who used to stop the class midway, and then proceed to go into a lengthy discourse about something obtusely related to training attitude, liberally couched in Zen parables and philosophy. Whilst he was very diplomatic and generic enough about it, I could tell which particular individuals he was directing his monologue to. Most of the time, people just thought he was loopy and off his tree.

This used to disturb many students, who afterwards related that they had a hard time reconciling what my sensei was trying to say, yet I understood where he was coming from and exactly what he meant. The fact that we were in seiza for a good 20-30 mins didn't make it any easier. But I took this to be the lesson.

My point is, everyone's experience of the same person is different, because our perspectives are different. Whilst I am not saying that sensei is always right and we should suspend critical thinking and judgement because they are the teacher, by the same token, who are we to judge, when we do not have the breadth and depth of experience that the sensei has?

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#134478 - 02/28/05 01:14 PM Re: No Win Situation
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
Whilst I am not saying that sensei is always right and we should suspend critical thinking and judgement because they are the teacher, by the same token, who are we to judge, when we do not have the breadth and depth of experience that the sensei has?


Amen, my point exactly.

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#134479 - 03/02/05 03:36 AM Re: No Win Situation
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by senseilou:
...who are we to judge, when we do not have the breadth and depth of experience that the sensei has?
[/QUOTE]

Who is sensei to judge when he/she does not have the breadth and depth of experience that the student has?

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#134480 - 03/02/05 03:56 AM Re: No Win Situation
Anonymous
Unregistered


I'm afraid I have a very one sided view on the matter.

I believe that a Sensie should get involved in his/her student's lives because this is the traditionsal way. If students only want to learn to fight then they are not worth teaching. Martial arts that strive have always been those that promote discapline, kindness, respect and so on. I have great respect for my sensie and in my class after you start to get close to black belt you are expected to put things in yourself, for example checking the uniforms of younger or lower grade students, or taking over the lesson if the teacher is stuck in a traffic jam.

I believe that if students are not going to put the effort in and give up more of their time then they are not worth teaching. A good student should have good morals and be devoted.

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#134481 - 03/02/05 04:41 PM Re: No Win Situation
Anonymous
Unregistered


To clarify... this was actually my quote:
[QUOTE]
...who are we to judge, when we do not have the breadth and depth of experience that the sensei has?
[/QUOTE]

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Shonuff:
Who is sensei to judge when he/she does not have the breadth and depth of experience that the student has?
[/QUOTE]

Indeed.

However, if you turn up to someone else's class, you're a student, and they the teacher. Therefore you must accord them the requisite respect and adopt appropriate humilty in the process. Otherwise, you might as well take over the class, or better yet, leave, if you strongly feel that the sensei is ill-placed to judge what is best for their students, based on their experience (or lack thereof).

Otherwise, it becomes a county club with codes of conduct for their members. Although there is nothing wrong with that, I am a bit of a traditionalist at heart. Student come to learn, whatever form that lesson may take. You take with you want to want and reject what you don't. But as long as you're a student, you must behave like a student. Likewise, we hope that the teacher has the good sense to say what is necessary for that student to develop and push themselves beyond their perceived capabilities.

It is no different to an educational setting. Perhaps that is why the truancy rate is so high in schools these days. The youth of every generation go thru a rebellious, arrogant stage. They think they know better, they [think they] are "street-wise", "smart-asses", "wise-guys", and that the wrinklies know jack. There is no respect and no humility.

Is it so wrong to inject some respect and humility in today's youth (including some adults!)??? Or are we ill-fated to repeat the cycle from generation to generation?

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#134482 - 03/03/05 04:57 AM Re: No Win Situation
Anonymous
Unregistered


I couldn't have said it better myself eyrie.

Martial arts need to be taught to responsible people, not people who are going to go out and start fights. Students need to have a degree of sense of what is good and propper. Morals are a very important part of teaching martial arts and I don't think teachers should teach people martial arts without any regard for what their students will do with their talents.

We should be teaching people with respect to deal with thugs, rather than teaching thugs to victimise respectful people.

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#134483 - 03/03/05 06:47 AM Re: No Win Situation
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by eyrie:
...However, if you turn up to someone else's class, you're a student, and they the teacher. Therefore you must accord them the requisite respect and adopt appropriate humilty in the process.
[/QUOTE]

Yes, in MA training, that which the sensei teaches and is qualified to teach. In everything else, particularly matters of opinion such as life paths and behaviour, me and my MA teacher are equals.

[QUOTE]
Otherwise, you might as well take over the class, or better yet, leave, if you strongly feel that the sensei is ill-placed to judge what is best for their students, based on their experience (or lack thereof).
[/QUOTE]

As a student I may not know what works best for me in MA training, but it is my responsibility and my right to know what works best for me as an adult, and it is no one's place, save those I choose to elevate to it, to tell me how and who I should be.

Hi eyrie
Our arguments are comming circular once again. You say the MA teacher should be able to sit in judgement of the student, how he/she behaves, what he/she needs in terms of mental development. I say the MA teacher should sit in judgement of MA ability only, and I ask again what qualifies him/her to sit in judgement on anything else?

Yes one may leave if they feel this way, but I want to know why an MA teacher thinks that he/she is in anyway qualified to say to another adult, "damn your experiences, judgement and choices, I know best, you should act like this".

To put this in context I am talking only about adult students. I am talking about a teacher who decides that it is his responsibility to guide students for no other reason than that they come to his class, i.e. The teacher who does not feel the need to allow a personal bond to develop before offering such guidance, or who tries to force such bonds for the purpose of becoming a guide.

The point of my previous question: why are we assuming that an MA teacher is any wiser than a student? Ive stated several times I have no issue with children being taught and governed as children should be, but, as with any adult education system, the teacher is not their to tell grown people how they should act, grown people are allowed to vote and drive cars and drink alcohol because they are expected to know how to act. Treating them as though they dont, saying that their chosen path is incorrect is to treat them as children. I see no conflict with the idea of showing respect for a teacher or anyone else, infact I am all for respect but it must runs both ways. The teacher must have respect for the knowlsedge experience and understanding of the student as well as the student having the same respect for the teacher. The difference is I am for respect without "deference" in matters not pertaining to martial arts technique or philosophy. Respect and humility when he tells you, "lower stance", but when he tells you "change your ways" (politely, indirectly or any other way) he crosses the line... and their must be a line. Boundaries are healthy, they protect all concerned parties.

A University lecturer wont give detention if homework isnt done, as his job is not teach behaviour, it should already be understood, It is only the MA teacher who among grown men and women is afforded guru-like leadership status. If this is why one seeks out martial arts, fine...
But are people really inferior martial artists because they dont feel the need to take up oriental (or often just the teachers)philosophy as part of their lives. You are right there is nothing stopping people from ignoring some things and taking other things, but we started by discussing "controlling" the behavior of students. We grew into guiding character development in adults... This to me is naught but hubris. The self righteousnes one must have to turn to another grown adult who he doesnt know from adam and say "I know life better than you", just because he teaches martial arts - its mindblowing to me.


Many people say they do things because its tradition. Tradition is not a reason, traditions were created for specific reasons they are not a reason in themselves. Saying "I do it because its traditional" without knowing the reasons behind the tradition is the same as saying I do it because everyone else is. Thats fine if you want to be a good little programmed robot society member(as some TMA's were specifically designed to do) but for me I prefer to think about and understand the reasons behind a tradition. I dont feel the old oriental cultural structures are relevant enough in modern times for us to just swallow them and assume they are right (different debate).

You mention humility and respect, how humble is the sensei who says I know enough about who you are and about how life works that I can discount the experiences youve had and the choices youve made and tell you how you should behave. Understand that when someone tells you (discreetly or not) how to act, thats exactly what they are saying, that I (teacher) knows best.

To answer this threads topic, your way is your own, but if you want to "win", I think you will find the balanced middle road is best. As I said once before, "family" is a nice buzz-word with warm fuzzy conotations, but not every family is healthy, and not everyone wants to join. Some people are happy with the family, philosophy, behaviour patterns that they already have.

I think the movie ,187, gives a great example of two teachers, one who cares too much and one who cares too little. As always in MA, balance is the key.

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#134484 - 03/03/05 07:15 AM Re: No Win Situation
Anonymous
Unregistered


Sensies from traditional lines of martial arts will have been taught by their teachers, and thier teachers taught by the teachers before them and so the morals that they are promoting have been modified and encouraged for hundreds of years and possibly more.

I think you are right, Shonuff, in saying that teachers should not be able to force their views upon a pupil but instead they should promote general ideas like generosity, politeness or kindness.

Also I believe that teachers should be able to refuse to teach indeviduals if they are violent in nature, arrogant or completely ignorant to what the teacher tries to tell them.

They should not however go out of their way to see what they are like outside of the classes. If they are kind in class the teacher should not try to find out what they are like outside of lessons. Where I come from we call this stalking.

However in gradings where students are promoted to the next level in their martial art the teacher should be aloud to ask a student what they would do in certain situations. Eg. A man drops something in front of you without noticing and is walking off, what do you do? Give it back to him of course.

These are only my views however.

Best Regards Rk-Yong Gi Do


[This message has been edited by Rk-Yong Gi Do (edited 03-03-2005).]

[This message has been edited by Rk-Yong Gi Do (edited 03-03-2005).]

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#134485 - 03/03/05 09:01 AM Re: No Win Situation
Anonymous
Unregistered


Shonuff,

I agree, every situation is different, and balance is the key. But I was talking about kids and young adults. Fully grown adults are different. I agree with you, adults and young adults *should* know better. Some adults who should know better, unfortunately don't. But I don't say to them what I think about their behaviour and the way they treat their kids. It is not my place. But when their kid brings their baggage from home into the dojo, it becomes my problem, and the problem of every other kid in and outside of the dojo. I can't tell the parent how they should run their lives, on or off the mat, but I would most certainly have to say something (not sure what - it depends on the situation and context), if their outside life is affecting them or their child's behavior in the dojo.

[QUOTE]
why an MA teacher thinks that he/she is in anyway qualified to say to another adult, "damn your experiences, judgement and choices, I know best, you should act like this".
...
I am talking about a teacher who decides that it is his responsibility to guide students for no other reason than that they come to his class, i.e. The teacher who does not feel the need to allow a personal bond to develop before offering such guidance, or who tries to force such bonds for the purpose of becoming a guide....
[/QUOTE]

I think you are putting a rather harsh spin on how a MA teacher would approach the situation with an adult. At no time did I state, suggest or imply what you've just said. In fact, I agreed with you on this point - it would be inappropriate for the teacher to do so - under these circumstances.

[QUOTE]
why are we assuming that an MA teacher is any wiser than a student?
[/QUOTE]

I am not. At no time did I make this assumption or even a statement to that effect.

[QUOTE]
The teacher must have respect for the knowlsedge experience and understanding of the student as well as the student having the same respect for the teacher.
[/QUOTE]

No argument from me here.

[QUOTE]
The difference is I am for respect without "deference" in matters not pertaining to martial arts technique or philosophy. Respect and humility when he tells you, "lower stance", but when he tells you "change your ways" (politely, indirectly or any other way) he crosses the line...
[/QUOTE]

Ah, but isn't most MA philosophy socio-culturally biased? Is it not interwoven in the fabric of "life"? Is MA not a reflection of life and how we as MAist deal with the vissicitudes of life's journey?

For argument's sake: Kid takes MA. Goes to school one day and punches a girl in the chest coz she was "pissing him off".

Or how about this? Adult student is a known wife-basher. In the dojo, his behaviour and performance is exemplary. But when he goes home, some little thing irritates him and he goes off the handle, loses it and uses wife as punching bag.

OK, a somewhat contrived example, but plausible and not very far from the truth. Do you get "involved" at some level, or not? If yes, why and if no, why not?

Note: Both events happen outside of class. You come to know about it (either 1st or 2nd hand), or have been approached by someone voicing their concerns about such persons learning MA from you, and exhibiting violent behaviour outside of the class.

What if kid grows to become that adult in the 2nd example? Because you did nothing, said nothing about their behaviour from the beginning.

What would YOU do?

[QUOTE]
Understand that when someone tells you (discreetly or not) how to act, thats exactly what they are saying, that I (teacher) knows best.
[/QUOTE]

Is it? I don't think so. Perhaps they see something (so obvious) that the person is blind and deaf to? I agree, it is a fine line.

[QUOTE]
I dont feel the old oriental cultural structures are relevant enough in modern times for us to just swallow them and assume they are right (different debate).
[/QUOTE]

I agree, different debate, but since you brought it up... [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

It is easy for an outsider to say this is not relevant to them. I happen to be an oriental of oriental descent. So it is relevant to me. However, it would not be appropriate for me to impose my cultural influences on an external culture, and I don't. Even so, there are times and situations when the "prime directive" must be ignored. The line must be drawn between what is generally socially acceptible behaviour and what is not. Or do we ignore what is going on, and pretend it is none of our business, because it lies outside of our domain of control? Where is the budo in that?

[QUOTE]
Some people are happy with the family, philosophy, behaviour patterns that they already have.
[/QUOTE]

Yes, and ignorance is bliss for some too.

I can see your point of view though...and I agree: neither has the right to judge or interfere with each others lives outside of the dojo, unless invited to, or through familiarity. But I think it is one extreme to suggest that we all live happily in our little bubble, insulated from everything outside the dojo, or the other extreme of poking your nose in other people's lives and business outside the dojo.

As you say, balance is the key.

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#134486 - 03/03/05 01:12 PM Re: No Win Situation
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
First let me say I don't agree with any of this, so there it is. I think what this discussion is a modern look at Martial Arts. I wonder how many of Itosu's students thought that he wasn't wise on and off the mat? I wonder how many of O'Sensei students thought they were his equal, except on the mat. Can you see Funakosho's students, Okazaki's students thinking they knew as much as their Instructors, on or off the mat. What has changed is the student to teacher relationship. We are not in the old days, and things have evolved, but the relationship beteen the two has changed drastically for the worst I think. People want to be peoples equal. We are not!!!The Sensei's of the past went through different life experiences, then the students did. I feel they were indeed on a different level, mentally, physically, and spiritually. I feel not only are my Sensei physically superior, but mentally as well. One of my Sensei had a stroke and I still wouldn't take him on, and mentally, I will never be as fit.

The Martial Arts process that we go through is a different life experience. We see things others don't, many times way before something happens. I had an employer once hire me on the spot because of my Martial training. He said he loved martial artists they work well on their own(kata?)need little supervision(discipline)and strive to do things the best they could. Its the process of training that makes us different. Look at the dedication and sacrafices we do. Telling me that a couch potato, who watches American Idol and survivor and eats fritos is my equal is a laugh. So I think this whole discussion is off. Martial students bring more to the table than others who don't train. Tell me something is life as demanding as your Black Belt test? You are pushed to the edge of your being, to see how far you can push yourself, and still try to please a board of teachers. Tell me who else pushes themselves on a nightly basis. Not everyone who trains has this, but for the most part, the longer you train, the wiser you get, if you do it for real. I don't think people today, want the arts like those in the past, so the new group of people are not as dedicated and don't want to make it their lives like the old masters. But those that do I think are not on the same page as your average person. My Black Belt test made my wife sick to her stomach and she almost cried at how I was thrashed around, beaten to a pulp and pushed to the edge. The 3 hour questioning was harder than a lawyer doing it, and my wife was dying inside at what I was going through, yet it was a defining moment in my life, I was pushed way beyond what my body could do, and I made it and did well. Not everyone has the opportunity to experience this, and it makes me wiser for haven gone through it.

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#134487 - 03/08/05 04:30 AM Re: No Win Situation
Anonymous
Unregistered


Wow.

Senseilou, I have read your post, and please pardon me for saying so, but it truly does reek of arrogance.

To claim that, simply by virtue of being in the martial arts, we are better than people who are not is not only arrogant, but just plain wrong.

Now, I am not going follow the road that takes this conversation back into another cultyre 'X' number of years ago. This isnt another culture and this is today. I cannot speak to another time and another place.

I see in your post thought processes that are not only illfounded but dangerous as well, but let me clarify.

It is COMPLETELY at the discretion of the student whether or not they afford the intructor the kind of loyalty and fealty your are talking about. It is not for the instructor to expect that kind of devotion.

To speak to another point, is it not the goal of every instructor to have their student surpass them in every way? If my instructor and I ever went at it, I know I would wipe the floor with him, and there is no shame on either his or my part in saying that. I am 20 years younger and 5 times more fit than he is. It only makes sense.

I see the kind of blind allegiance you are asking for as dangerous, almost cult-like behavior.

I do not expect my students to follow me blindly or without subjective ongoing evaluation of my skill and ability, and I do not follow anyone without the same thing.

And simply because someone is more skilled in the arts does not make them more skilled in the lessons of life. The parrallels between the MA and life are far less telling than many MA would like to believe.

Contrary to popular beliefs, MA are nothing more special or elevated than anyone else. This nonsense about the all knowiing MA instructor is just that.

Nonsense.

NOw, maybe there are some out there that DO deserve this kind of loyalty, but that is something that has to be judged on an individual basis, not simply becuase someone happens to strap a black belt around their waste.

We are people, JUST LIKE everyone else. we should be judged on the same merits and afforded the same critisisms and courties.

Galen

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#134488 - 03/11/05 04:27 AM Re: No Win Situation
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by senseilou:
First let me say I don't agree with any of this, so there it is. I think what this discussion is a modern look at Martial Arts. I wonder how many of Itosu's students thought that he wasn't wise on and off the mat? I wonder how many of O'Sensei students thought they were his equal, except on the mat. Can you see Funakosho's students, Okazaki's students thinking they knew as much as their Instructors, on or off the mat. What has changed is the student to teacher relationship. We are not in the old days, and things have evolved, but the relationship beteen the two has changed drastically for the worst I think. People want to be peoples equal. We are not!!!The Sensei's of the past went through different life experiences, then the students did. I feel they were indeed on a different level, mentally, physically, and spiritually. I feel not only are my Sensei physically superior, but mentally as well. One of my Sensei had a stroke and I still wouldn't take him on, and mentally, I will never be as fit.

The Martial Arts process that we go through is a different life experience. We see things others don't, many times way before something happens. I had an employer once hire me on the spot because of my Martial training. He said he loved martial artists they work well on their own(kata?)need little supervision(discipline)and strive to do things the best they could. Its the process of training that makes us different. Look at the dedication and sacrafices we do. Telling me that a couch potato, who watches American Idol and survivor and eats fritos is my equal is a laugh. So I think this whole discussion is off. Martial students bring more to the table than others who don't train. Tell me something is life as demanding as your Black Belt test? You are pushed to the edge of your being, to see how far you can push yourself, and still try to please a board of teachers. Tell me who else pushes themselves on a nightly basis. Not everyone who trains has this, but for the most part, the longer you train, the wiser you get, if you do it for real. I don't think people today, want the arts like those in the past, so the new group of people are not as dedicated and don't want to make it their lives like the old masters. But those that do I think are not on the same page as your average person. My Black Belt test made my wife sick to her stomach and she almost cried at how I was thrashed around, beaten to a pulp and pushed to the edge. The 3 hour questioning was harder than a lawyer doing it, and my wife was dying inside at what I was going through, yet it was a defining moment in my life, I was pushed way beyond what my body could do, and I made it and did well. Not everyone has the opportunity to experience this, and it makes me wiser for haven gone through it.
[/QUOTE]


Jesse Owen.

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#134489 - 03/11/05 05:12 AM Re: No Win Situation
Anonymous
Unregistered


Do you mean Jesse Owens - hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympics?

Can you elaborate more on how this is relevant to this discussion?

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#134490 - 03/11/05 02:47 PM Re: No Win Situation
Anonymous
Unregistered


For some reason I cant seem to view posts I have made or any ones after unless I hit reply to topic and look over the topic review?

Jesse Owens proved once and for all that while the individual may be superior, no one group is greater than another. Like the survivor watching couch potato, he was underestimated by the opposition.

I was contemplating lou's viewpoint and contrasting it to others I'd heard and Mr Owens achievements came to mind. To be honest I was content to let lou's words speak for themselves but the simple symbolic response inspired me.

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#134491 - 05/10/05 11:09 AM Re: No Win Situation [Re: senseilou]
underdog Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1270
Loc: Mansfield, MA U.S.A.
Thank you Senseilou for this interesting discussion. I believe the modern capitolist age has blended the roles of the Sensei. In the good teacher you will see strong resemblance to the old world sensei for whom you worked and with whom you lived. Instead of working on Sensei's farm, we pay training fees and we teach in Sensei's school.

Since we don't live with Sensei, we actually have a life apart from the dojo. This is a great divider too. It also means that Sensei has the control, mentorship, guideing power that we vest him/her with. We are not as dependent and the authority is not automatic.

For my own life, for example, there is dojo reality. In the dojo, I know very well who my superiors are and I am careful not to disrespect them. Outside the dojo, I don't regard myself as inferior to anyone.

There are also the fee for service Sensei where there is little more connectedness than one might have with a repair person in the house. Without connectedness, it is hard to convey the traditional values learned in the study of the martial arts.

In a short term teaching encounter, such as a few years or less, families expect less in terms of the relationship with Sensei. It is also true that it would be hard to maintain the long term association without the relatedness.

For myself, I've had several different kinds of teachers.
We have a culture of many choices. Day schools, martial arts schools, religious organizations, scouts, parents, sports coaches and so on, all compete to train character into their charges. What is properly the role of Sensei?

I think there is a proper place for all the roles. The same sensei will be different things to different people and the role will shift over time with the same student. While all of your illustrations are very true, I seem to come to a different conclusion. Rather than describe it as "no win" I regard it as "more and different ways to win".
_________________________
The older I get, the better I was!

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#134492 - 05/10/05 02:41 PM Re: No Win Situation [Re: underdog]
Bushi_no_ki Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/03/05
Posts: 1667
Loc: POM, Monterey CA
A man who I respect very much, who I played football under, is at deaths door with terminal cancer. This man did not get involved in every detail in my life, but when I decided, against his advice, to play football, he pushed me as hard as I could be pushed. Therein lies where a sensei needs to be. He is involved as much as he needs to be. There is a middle ground, and for some people that still won't be good enough. Those people just need to find someone else, or not study the MA.

My Sifu is the same kind of man as coach is. He truly cares about his students, not just because we are his source of income, but because the ones who do stick around are going to be a part of something bigger. We do help teach classes. We do help when maintenance is needed on the dojo. And he doesn't go to deep in our personal lives.

When coach dies, I'm going to mourn the loss of a great coach and mentor, and a good friend.

When Sifu dies...

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#134493 - 05/10/05 05:04 PM Re: No Win Situation [Re: Bushi_no_ki]
underdog Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1270
Loc: Mansfield, MA U.S.A.
I've had my share of martial arts "teachers" including some excellent ones that positively gave me more than my money's worth. I am very pleased to have studied with them. And then I've had my Sensei- for whom I'd do just about anything.

My "Sensei" is a little less than half my age. One day, several years ago when I was in the mid-level color ranks, he was trying to teach me some stock self-defense moves against a front choke or attempted front choke in motion. Out of the clear blue, I started to cry. I did not want to cry. I wanted to learn my lessons and practice the material. After several attempts, it was obvious that it wasn't going to happen easily. Embarrassed a bit, I told Sensei what was happening to me and why I was crying. Sensei stood a respectful distance away, and listened. He let me be in control of if I wanted to move on to something else, continue with this, and if so, how fast, how intense, just the approach, whatever. I wanted to get through the whole thing. I didn't want to leave there conquored by it. He let me manage the situation my way. We worked on the choking drills. I got them, barely, but I got them before I left the dojo that day.

Sensei helped me prepare for my black belt. He has seen me through every crisis I've had since I've been a black belt. I'm sure that during some episodes of tough "martial arts life lessons", he has struggled for me as much as I have struggled with the tough lesson itself. He is SENSEI.

Thank you Sensei Cody.
_________________________
The older I get, the better I was!

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#134494 - 05/15/05 11:06 PM Re: No Win Situation [Re: underdog]
rockleewannabe Offline
Member

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 41
Loc: Canada
I think the best teacher is a good leader, show both technical prowess and the people will know you have what it takes to teach them something, show understanding, patience, compassion and determination, and they will eventually learn and respect you

if it's all about mentality, those with it already, or who are not interested in it will get bored, if it's all about skill, those with it or who are not interested in it will get bored


if you teach both at once in an interwoven lesson of life, there's no way to seperate it, each part of the lesson exists to complement the other parts of the lesson


that's what I've learned from my teaching people a little, it wasn't in martial arts, but good leaders are good leaders
_________________________
You advance in forum fighting.

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