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#233497 - 02/23/06 04:57 PM Punishments from a Sensei
ShorinjiSeisan Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/05
Posts: 51
A previous Sensei of mine from the early 90's was a fairly severe disciplinarian. As time progressed, the incidents of dicipline being dealt out to his students seemed to increase.

What are your feelings regarding the practice of a Sensei who deals out punishments to adult and child students? At what point do you protest or take leave of the dojo?

The punishable offense might be from not calling when you don't make it to class, or an incident of not observing dojo protocol in or out (gashuku) of the dojo. The punishments might be include a lengthy and angry public lecture, an essay assignment, rei back and forth across the dojo for 5 minutes, reasonable calisthenics (20 each of pushups, situps, and jumping jacks), or unreasonable calisthenics (200 each of pushups, situps, and jumping jacks).

For the most part, I flew under the radar in my dojo. The only time I was punished was for being an individualist, and for not understanding/following certain implied rules. I was lectured in front of the class for 45 minutes, and I wasn't allowed to test for one year (at the time, I was for 6 months a gokkyu - green belt)

I tend to (unfairly?) look at the conduct of a sensei with this filter: What would Gichin do? Somehow, I don't see Funakoshi Sensei forcing 200 pushups out of a 45 year old man with a blown shoulder . . . do you?

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#233498 - 02/23/06 05:10 PM Re: Punishments from a Sensei [Re: ShorinjiSeisan]
McSensei Offline
Veteran

Registered: 06/15/05
Posts: 1068
Loc: Kent, England
Actually I believe that in his later years students used to complain of Funakoshi hurting them too much.

However, I guess it is up to the individual instructor to "punish" as they see fit.
If students don't like it then they go elsewhere. Simple.

Personally, I do use the exercise type punishments, but not to the extreme and they are usually given in a light-hearted way.
To stand there and berate a student for 45 minutes looks to me as if the instructor likes the sound of their own voice and could do with reeling their ego in a touch.
What were the other students doing while you got your earful, because I wouldn't be happy to pay money to stand and listen to the instructor telling someone off for 45 minutes.


Edited by McSensei (02/23/06 05:11 PM)
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#233499 - 02/23/06 07:09 PM Re: Punishments from a Sensei [Re: McSensei]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
I agree with what Mcsnsei has said.

Quote:

However, I guess it is up to the individual instructor to "punish" as they see fit.
If students don't like it then they go elsewhere. Simple.





That is simple,but maybe you should atleast talk to the instructor first.

Quote:

Personally, I do use the exercise type punishments, but not to the extreme and they are usually given in a light-hearted way.





I do the same,especially the light hearted part.

Quote:

To stand there and berate a student for 45 minutes looks to me as if the instructor likes the sound of their own voice and could do with reeling their ego in a touch.
What were the other students doing while you got your earful, because I wouldn't be happy to pay money to stand and listen to the instructor telling someone off for 45 minutes.







That seems odd to me to. 45minute lecture? Sheesh.
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#233500 - 02/23/06 07:57 PM Re: Punishments from a Sensei [Re: ShorinjiSeisan]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
when we talk about 'punishment' we are really talking about spirit (not the soul-spirit kind, the fighting-spirit kind).

Everyone seems to have different learning methods that work well for them, but not as well for others. The trick is matching how you learn best to an instructor that teaches that way.

everyone knows the stereotypical 'negative' instructors...from the nightmarish to obscene to the rediculous. image: kobra-kai.

but here are some of the different positive teaching methods I've been a part of and exposed to:

There are 'militant' style instructors, when attention to detail, show of spirited respect and 'can do' attitude is what they try to foster. not much time for thinking in class, it's just 'do this and do it EXACTLY this way'. later (after class) you can ask why. during class there are no questions and no talking. dicipline is strict but not unfair. you get hit during class, but not excessive and not out of masocism. sparing is hard and spirit is encouraged over skill/technique.
This learning method is good in the strength and spirit development, but lacking in the mind/tactics/meaning development. In that regard, it's a bit shallow and only a surface of the Art. IMO.

Another type of teaching/learning method is by allowing students to dicipline themselves. The ones who don't show a desire to learn or don't show respect or completely lack self-discipline get less attention and eventually drop out from boredom. This kind of class is a 'lead by example' model as oppossed to 'drill seargent'. It's not passive or less spirited, but the spirit comes from a different place. the drill seargent draws your spirit out by using your fear. The 'lead by example' instructor draws your spirit out with your admiration.

Another type is passive-agressive. The type that don't dicipline by giving tasks (pushups,etc) or yell or embarrass, etc. They can dicipline with a look or a few words of disapproval. even with a firm 'suggestion' you are doing something wrong can snap you into never repeating that mistake again. This attitude in the students can only come from an instructor that has the respect of the student. so the student feels he/she doesn't want to 'disappoint' their teacher. The spirit which can be drawn from this is the greater of the other two I mentioned. again, IMO. but for young pre/teenage years, sometimes the drill seargent can be a perfect fit....and later as the student develops and matures, a more 'think and feel for yourself' approach is best.

just from my point of view.
p.s. does anyone object to me moving this thread to 'Teaching and Learning' ?

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#233501 - 02/23/06 08:11 PM Re: Punishments from a Sensei [Re: Ed_Morris]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Well I have seen/had a few in my time thats for sure. One situation sticks in my mind and reminds me that many Sensei have significant problems,

it was a week long training camp, training was outdoors in Novemebr (UK, very cold), I was 17. The group of students I was with would train extra hours, it really was full on and excellent fun all round.

The grading at the end of the week and 2 students fail, juniors aged 14. Some my Sensei gets upset and seriously yells at them publicly, then this is the good bit -

Him and his Sempai and me march the 2 students out to the swimming pool, then he tells them to strip to their pants, which they do.

I tell him to stop, he doesnt and you can see the fire in his eyes, so I say thats it im off and go back to the accomodation and leave the camp.

That ended my relasionship with that dojo.............

Im not sure where I stand on punishment, apart from it achieves little, is unpleasant and only creates further problems. where does one draw the line?

Personally I try and work with students, we all work hard - but my golden rule is hey if you dont want to do something then dont,

you may wait a little time before you grade of course...........and you might ache a bit after kumite drills...........then again you might just be told to leave.............


I dont expect I will be running a large dojo any time soon!
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#233502 - 02/23/06 08:19 PM Re: Punishments from a Sensei [Re: Ed_Morris]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
Quote:

does anyone object to me moving this thread to 'Teaching and Learning' ?





I think it's a good idea.

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#233503 - 02/23/06 08:24 PM Re: Punishments from a Sensei [Re: ShorinjiSeisan]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Those punishments sound egocentrically excessive to me. However, it is his school to do as he sees fit. *I* would probably find another school, more into training and less into 45 minute harangues.
_________________________
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#233504 - 02/23/06 10:12 PM Re: Punishments from a Sensei [Re: shoshinkan]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
On the whole the use of punishment by an instructor is a mark of incompetence. The scenes that have been described are signs of people sitting around in a school and having too many people show up till they eventually believe they have the power that their students stand for.

The only role an instructor should ever have is to show the student to increase their abilities.

If the student disappoints the instructor the correct answer is to dismiss the student. If this is made clear when the student-instructor relationship begins, then there is no punishment involved, just a focused relationship.

If a student is given a task they cannot complete correctly, the instructor is likely at fault for incorrectly understanding the students abilities and not preparing them correctly.

It's a blasted shame incompetence is rewarded by obedience. In fact some of the acts mentioned, like the instructor ordering the students pants dropped should only have one moral response 1) calling the authorities to report the instructors abuse for even mentioning it and 2) taking the instructors head off when they first mention it (and believe me not in that order).

And if an adult doesn't respond in that order they should question thier right to be walking around in society.

Yes I'm being harsh, but so many of the abuses of every sort start with people not understanding their personal responsiblity every time. It's never somebody elses business, its always our own responsiblity. Not one a belt around your waist confirs, but one responsible citizenship demands.

Personally there are many times many instructors I've heard about that should never be allowed to instruct anybody. It doesn't care what somebody knows, or what they can teach. All that is important is we learn how to pick only good people to associate with.
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#233505 - 02/24/06 05:24 AM Re: Punishments from a Sensei [Re: Victor Smith]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Glad im not alone in my view of this subject, it seems that many instructors take this aspect a little to enthusistically!

Certianly i remember lots of this stuff going on when i were a lad, im glad to say that I have thought very deeply on this subject and havent followed my early instructors example.

You will be pleased to know that not long after I did train a few times in my first dojo with said instructor, accident when performing a hook kick...............sorry.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#233506 - 02/24/06 06:29 AM Re: Punishments from a Sensei [Re: shoshinkan]
Kysogkram Offline
Member

Registered: 01/01/06
Posts: 137
Loc: Denmark
At my dojo punishment is almost always dealt out in good spirits. One Sempai is quite strict and militaristic, and is very much into everyone doing everything properly and 100% every time.

You will usually be punished if you're not following the dojo kun. Things such as yawning, being late, not paying attention, standing with your arms crossed, etc. will usually get you 20 pushups .

However Sempai's attitude towards this is, that we shouldn't think of it as punishment (and therefore something negative), we should think of it as training. So when being punished we should actually be happy that we're getting an extra workout.

This may be a bit of a stretch, but I do see his point. And I do appreciate his quite hard style, as it keeps the class concentrated and gets things done. I also appreciate his ability to make us push ourselves and do our best every time.

Only thing is, that if you're having a bit of an off day, it can get annoying, since he's full on all the time, so you really gotta be in the mood for it.

Contrasting to this is another Sempai, who's just a really nice guy, sometimes too much so. He will dish out punishment as well, but he's a lot more leanient about it. Unfortunately at times this will lead to the class being a bit too loose and people are distracted, because there isn't enough discipline.

In a perfect world, punishment shouldn't be necessary, as everyone are of course 100% concentrated all the time, doing their very best every time and interested in every minute detail of their martial art.

Back in the real world there are a lot of different people coming to a dojo, some people who cant keep concentrated and are easily distracted, not everyone's interested in some of the Kihon, etc.

I think that discipline in a class with a lot of people is essential to keep the class effective, and one of the means of achieving this is punishment.

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