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#292138 - 10/10/06 02:39 AM Students Who Say "No"
senseihonor Offline

Registered: 09/09/06
Posts: 62
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I'm new(ish) to teaching and so far have mostly been assisting my sensei in class. However, sometimes I teach classes on my own. I obviously have lots to learn about what it means to be a teacher and some suggestions on how this situation could have been handled would be appreciated.

On day after class, a blue belt asked for help on part of a kata she was stuck on. This kata was a requirement for her upcoming brown belt grading. Sensei and I showed her how to finish the kata and then he asked her to do it by herself. She replied: "No. I won't do it, and you can't make me." Sensei said nothing but gave her the "stern glare" look while she continued to refuse to do the kata. The only way she would complete the whole thing was if all 3 of us did it at the same time.

My initial reaction was to speak up and say: "dojo etiquette means you don't refuse what sensei asks of you". Or, if I had been the sensei teaching this student I might have been tempted to have her do an obscene number of push ups, THEN tell her that she doesn't refuse a sensei's request.

However, I didn't want to overstep my sensei's way of dealing with the situation. Moreover, we are not a very formal group, although I (personally) have always tried to model deep respect for all senior sensei's within our club.

Any thoughts on how this could have been handled differently?

#292139 - 10/10/06 04:50 AM Re: Students Who Say "No" [Re: senseihonor]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
I think I'd have been tempted to say "OK, so practice the Close-the-door-on-your-way-out kata"

If the sensei chose not to make too big an issue of it in class, I'd hope he had a stern talk with her later.
See how well I block your punches with my jaw!!

Supporting everyone saying "nuts to cancer"

#292140 - 10/10/06 05:34 AM Re: Students Who Say "No" [Re: senseihonor]
ThomsonsPier Offline

Registered: 06/24/04
Posts: 475
Loc: Reading, UK
That sounds a strange, and rather confrontational, reponse from her. I assume that she'll have to do the kata solo for the grading anyway..?

I'm very much an advocate of the 'my house, my rules' approach to etiquette. As you and your sensei were voluntarily giving extra time to respond to her request for help, her refusal to do as she was asked just seems plain rude. I'm not sure how I would have dealt with the situation, but mentioning a few points regarding manners may have been on my list.

War. It's fan-tastic!

#292141 - 10/10/06 05:51 AM Re: Students Who Say "No" [Re: ThomsonsPier]
crablord Offline
th3 t4sty sn4ck

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 1530
Loc: Australia, QLD, GC
I have a better one. Girl - I wont do it and you cant make me
You - Do it or your out
Girl - no
You - You can sit out for the rest of this class, refuse again and I will take your belt away from you.

Thats what I did anyway, ended up taking his belt lol
"They say the only way to kill a lion is with a rear naked choke, but I'd just kick it in the head"

#292142 - 10/10/06 07:11 AM Re: Students Who Say "No" [Re: senseihonor]
Leo_E_49 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/24/05
Posts: 4117
Loc: California
Maybe he should have asked why she didn't want to do the kata solo? Perhaps then he could deal with the cause of her problems rather than reprimand her. Punishment without understanding and reasoning benefits no one.

That said, outright refusal to do something should definitely have repercussions. She should be made to know that she is being taught as a courtesy as much as she paid for it and that inside the Dojo she must show respect for all the people in it. She should not get away stock free with addressing her instructor so indignantly.

There are mistakes on both of their parts.
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#292143 - 10/10/06 08:27 AM Re: Students Who Say "No" [Re: Leo_E_49]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
Leo, of course you're right about needing to know the reasons. I just assume the sensei present knew something or found out during a stern talk (did she ever do the kata?).

I'm puzzled that a blue belt needs to be told the reasons to perform solo or needed to be reminded of ettiquette and discipline.

Thinking over it, I might also have reminded her that if she wasn't going to do it solo infront of her sensei then she wasn't going to get any more tuition for the kata that class. I'd also have reminded her that such rudeness would have failed her in a grading.
See how well I block your punches with my jaw!!

Supporting everyone saying "nuts to cancer"

#292144 - 10/10/06 08:57 AM Re: Students Who Say "No" [Re: senseihonor]
oldman Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 5884
How old is the student?

#292145 - 10/10/06 09:09 AM Re: Students Who Say "No" [Re: oldman]
underdog Offline

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1270
Loc: Mansfield, MA U.S.A.
I'm with Oldman. I want to also know what the reason is. Is it shyness about an emerging skill that is too raw to show? Is this more innocent than defiant? Defiance should not be tolerated. Shyness can be worked with. Did she feel provoked? Basicly, I want to know if we are going after a fly with a cannon.
The older I get, the better I was!

#292146 - 10/10/06 10:48 AM Re: Students Who Say "No" [Re: oldman]
senseihonor Offline

Registered: 09/09/06
Posts: 62
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Wow! Lots of good ideas here! I'm going to lump my responses together in this post.

Oldman, the blue belt I was referring to is in her late 30's and has been around the block a couple of times regarding gradings (our belt progression starts @ white then: yellow, orange, green, blue, brown, 1st and 2nd stripes black then black belt). She needs this kata for her brown belt grading @ the end of November

I think there are several things going on with this student.
1. A lack of confidence with this particular kata.
2. She will only demonstrate her skills if she feels she is perfect @ it. For example, during her blue belt grading I was told to spar with her. She just stood there with her guard up. She was pretty tired, maybe a bit overwhelmed, and probably not at her best for thinking on her feet. Our renshi pulled me aside and said to slow things down a bit, give her a couple of strikes to wake her up, then leave obvious openings to see if she would take them. Nope. Just more standing around. After the grading while giving her some feedback about the sparring portion I pointed out to her that if someone stands in front of her leaving very obvious openings, that's her opportunity to strike. Her response? "I get bored if someone just stands there." My response? "A grading isn't about what *you* like or want to do, it's about demonstrating to your sensei's what you're supposed to know."
3. I think there is a general lack of respect for sensei's from a few of the older students at this dojo. While I think the usual sensei who teaches this class is a great person and has excellent techniques, I'm not so sure he's been equally as good at instilling a sense of respect for *everyone* in the dojo

#292147 - 10/10/06 01:06 PM Re: Students Who Say "No" [Re: senseihonor]
tkd_high_green Offline

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 1031
Loc: Vermont
I've seen a few students like that. I'm honestly amazed that she managed to make it as high as he has with that attitude though. Usually those students drop out after their first few classes. Unless you have a valid reason not to be doing something, injury, etc, you are expected to do whatever the instructor says.

Fear is understandable, and we usually work with the student to get around it. Many students have trouble performing patterns in front of everyone, or for their instructor. Even I will have trouble if my instructor is watching. I always seem to do best when I know he's focused on someone else. The attitude she seems to be showing could just be a defensive mechanism and her way of trying to keep people from seeing that fear. That seems more likely what with the way she acted with sparring. It sounds to me like she froze up, and then covered for it by making a silly excuse.

Of course this is completely different from blatent disrespect and can be difficult to determine. Some students don't know they are being disrespectful until someone points it out. Learning to deal with it is one of the more challenging things to learn when you are starting to teach. I've gotten very good at counting to 10 in Korean Some students, kids especially, are there only because their parents can't get them to behave in society and they want them to learn some discipline and respect. Oddly enough, its those same parents who stop making their kids come to class when they don't see immediate results.


If I were you, I would talk to your instructor about the situation and see what he has to say about it.


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