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The unspoken contract
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When two people pair up to train there is an unspoken contract. This is needed as both persons are offering their bodies to the other so that techniques can be learned. We are gifted by our training partner with the use of their body to practice. This is sacred and a gift beyond value. Ego has no place in this training.
There are two parts to this contract, one by the senior or most skilled and the other by the junior or less skilled partner. The senior training partner contracts to not train harder or faster then the junior partner wishes or is able to train. In addition it is the senior partners obligation to make the junior partner feel willing and comfortable in telling the senior person how hard or fast they are willing to train.
The junior partner is obligated to clearly tell the senior partner just how hard or fast they are willing to train.
If both agree to go at speed it is their choice but should always remember that the possibility of injury greatly increases when training i speed is increased. Injuries will not go away, Even if you think you have healed it is still there and later in life will so inform you. You'll know what a bad idea it was to let this happen.
Both partners always have the right to say no and choose to train with another person. It is never right that a senior person intimidates a junior one and if such behavior is seen should be immediately corrected. The violator deserves to have an even more skilled person teach him/her proper behavior. That lesson may not be pleasant.
I think this "contract" needs to be much more widely understood.

Posted on: 2009/12/8 13:44
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Ed Martin aka Papa-san
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Re: The unspoken contract
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Yep, a very important point for all of us, we need good teamwork in order to enable both sides to grow

Posted on: 2009/12/8 16:29
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Re: The unspoken contract
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Isn't it also an obligation for the senior partner to let the junior know how to practice (and to also feel the practice) of a harder way than the junior partner wishes or is willing to train. Some may not be willing to feel this, however this is budo and you need to feel it.

Posted on: 2009/12/9 5:28
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Re: The unspoken contract
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All that happens when the senior partner pushes training on the less skilled that is not wanted is to drive that person out of the art. Most of us have obligations to care for a family, we have jobs to go to, we dare not train in a way that almost guarantees injury. What we do is not a sport, it is very effective self defence. So no, it is NOT the seniors obligation to beat up a less skilled person, our job is to bring them along so they can be better, not show them how good we are. That is ego and it doesn't belong in the dojo.

Posted on: 2009/12/9 10:55
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Re: The unspoken contract
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Quote:

Papa-san wrote:
All that happens when the senior partner pushes training on the less skilled that is not wanted is to drive that person out of the art.


Keep 'em in, no matter what?

I seem to recall tales of hatsumi doing nothing but throwing people around for their first year of training. (Mostly) they stuck around. If someone training in a martial art is too afraid of getting hurt, it's in their best interest to go do something else

Posted on: 2009/12/9 14:31
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Re: The unspoken contract
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Quote:

benkyoka wrote:
I seem to recall tales of hatsumi doing nothing but throwing people around for their first year of training. (Mostly) they stuck around. If someone training in a martial art is too afraid of getting hurt, it's in their best interest to go do something else


And how many people were injured then? How many of these shihan are carrying around bad knees, backs and other injuries?

If tori has good technique and uke has good ukemi then training can be a lot harder and more intense with little risk. I personally don’t want to train with someone who looks like they are going to injure me.

Quote:

benkyoka wrote:
I seem to recall tales of hatsumi


Sorry are we talking about Hatsumi-sensei or some chick you know? I would have thought sensei deserved a bit more respect?

Posted on: 2009/12/9 16:29
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Re: The unspoken contract
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Quote:
BujinkanBrisbane wrote:
And how many people were injured then? How many of these shihan are carrying around bad knees, backs and other injuries?


How many of those same Shihan do you believe would have preferred to have the mediocre skills displayed by so many in the Bujinkan? The Shihan I have talked to said when you are young or capable then train as such. Do you think they would not have trained that way or just been better prepared for it?

Do you think Hatsumi sensei would have preferred Takamatsu sensei go easy on him looking back on it?

Quote:
If tori has good technique and uke has good ukemi then training can be a lot harder and more intense with little risk. I personally don’t want to train with someone who looks like they are going to injure me.


Isn't that the point? You are suppose to step your game up. I don't condone looking for trouble. We all can still agree that every time you train in class there is a risk of injury. That is what awareness and sensitivity is for.

If your answer is 'Yes' to the questions in the first section then why do you train in other martial sports hoping to improve your skills? You can get hurt doing those as well. You also get people with those same looks and emotional states. When you are faced with that kind of opponent do you just quit your judo tournament? I would hate to see your record in tournament competition.

Oh, and if you are not doing your Bujinkan ukemi which you should have learned properly in your tournaments then you shouldn't be competing because there are other things to work on.

I mostly hear Bujinkan members talk about why we should not push ourselves. I hardly ever hear any saying the opposite yet in the same breath they talk about how dangerous and serious it is. That logic doesn't make sense. If it is serious then shouldn't the training be serious as well? There should be moments when this is taught or at least tested.

It seems the Bujinkan has a large population of "Herbivore men". I read about the term on an online newspaper about Japan.

Posted on: 2009/12/9 17:39
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Re: The unspoken contract
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I am also training at the University of Queensland Judo Club and Garra BJJ club.

Quote:

I personally don’t want to train with someone who looks like they are going to injure me.


This statement still applies .... I really really don't want to train with someone who looks like they are going to injure me. The most likely candidates have white belts around their waists.

Quote:

jwills79 wrote:
why do you train in other martial sports hoping to improve your skills?


I don't train in kakutogi to "improve my skills". I do it because I enjoy it a lot.

Quote:

jwills79 wrote:
You can get hurt doing those as well.


I can get hurt driving my car to training. I can minimise the risk of both by taking care.

Anyway I have felt more in danger of being injured in Taijutsu or even Aikido than in Judo, BJJ, boxing or MMA.

Quote:

jwills79 wrote:
When you are faced with that kind of opponent do you just quit your judo tournament? I would hate to see your record in tournament competition.


The stress of competition is huge but I don't feel in danger of injury. At the same time in competition or randori I tap if I'm in an armlock, I don't block ippon throws by landing on my head or extending my arm out in front against seioi-nage etc - I'm a club and veteran player so I'm happy to take a fall for a good ippon rather than try to land on my head as if I'm fighting for the Olympic gold medal.

My competition record is improving - my last comp was four wins and two losses (both losses against the same guy). My best result to date was taking gold in the Australian Masters Games in the 30 - 39 group.

What's your competition record?

Who do you train with again?

Posted on: 2009/12/9 21:42
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Re: The unspoken contract
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This is the very attitude I'm talking about! Don't we learn anything from the experience of others? Is it being a "man" to train in a way that WILL injure your training partner? That is pure ego and BS!!! As a person gains skill they will themselves choose to train more intensely. The level of intensity must remain their choice not yours. To force this intensity on them before they are ready for it only causes the injury that can and should be avoided. Being responsible for another's injury in training does not make you either skilled or a "man"!! I think it does the opposite, you are neither skilled or a "man". "Train anyone?" --- If we expect the benefits of this art to help those who need it then the answer is YES!!! As long as their "heart" is in the right place. Mere physical skills is only the beginning of our art, there is so much more and it is life changing. Hopefully if you have the maturity to understand that you'll lose your egocentric view of who can train in this art.

Posted on: 2009/12/9 22:48
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Re: The unspoken contract
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I think there are good points on both sides. It's true that we're not practicing ballet and that the senior Japanese Shihan trained quite hard with Hatsumi-sensei in the beginning but there are a few things that I think should be considered:

1. The Japanese Shihans' movement being what it is doesn't neccessarily correlate with how hard they were thrown and hit. It might have more to do with constant and intimate exposure to and focused attention from someone as skilled as Hastumi-sensei.

2. There are plenty of people who trained hard in the past who are no longer training because of the resulting damage.

3. Just because someone is senior to someone else doesn't mean they're skilled enough, aware enough or sensitive enough to inflict unexpected pain in a safe way. I can't even count the number of green belts I've overheard talking like masters to more junior green belts. Same goes for black belts. Our art seems to allow (if not breed) delusion, which makes unilateral decisions on training intensity dangerous.

4. An "I'll decide how much pain you experience" attitude might be appropriate to a master/disciple relationship, but there are very few if any real masters below the Japanese Shihan, and students (especially paying students) are not disciples. A teacher/student relationship is very different from a master/disciple relationship.

I'm not saying there shouldn't be any pain during training, only that I agree with Ed in that I think it should all be agreed upon ahead of time and that it's the more senior person's duty to care for the safety of the more junior person.

Posted on: 2009/12/10 0:39
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