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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
Village Old Timer
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Ed,
Could you clarify a little for me? Do you mean a senior student in a certain dojo, or in the Bujinkan org.?

One could be a tacit agreement between dojo members vs no agreement of non-dojo members. I might be able to agree with you if I understood your position a bit better.

Thanks

Posted on: 2010/10/22 14:20
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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I'd like to throw in the thoughts of a very low ranked student who's been in situation of getting multiple levels of advice from various sources during the same session.

I find some people can identify when I needed the advice, that is was very welcome, and thankful for, at times from my teacher, and at times from other teachers and students during seminars.

I also find many teachers and students have been highly good hearted and well intentioned and came, or as a tori-uke partner, corrected or advised me on what was being shown. Unfortunately, many times this has been when I *needed* to figure it out on my own for whatever reason. When this happens, I try to thank them earnestly, not take it offensively and move on.

I wouldn't state one way it's universally ok or not ok, I've had it help and hinder me.

Papa-san:
Quote:
We do not have the right to impose advice on someone who does not want it and that includes a student. Ego can be a real handicap if it runs unchecked.


RJHIII:
Quote:
Offering advice by first asking them if they want advice is still attempting to teach them, although in a round about polite way. You are still soliciting advice to them.


As a Student, if a high ranked individual, and several I know with lower rank (really it's about skill and/or knowledge yes?) came over and asked me if I'd like/welcome their advice, I'd say yes. I wouldn't feel comfortable telling them no. This could just be me not having a thick enough spine to say no to someone, but I'd hope it's more out of respect. If someone came over and asked if I'd like advice, I'd feel it very rude to say no to them.

Posted on: 2010/10/22 15:50
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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Robert, it all hangs on how sensitive you are to the student and his/her situation/attitude. Whenever I teach a seminar I am open to others adding their ideas especially if those apply to what we are doing, I have little patience with a person talking to hear themselves talk, so I do get a lot of what you are also saying and can agree with that too. We have all seen others insert themselves with no other purpose but to show "their knowledge" which may very likely be flawed when that is the attitude it comes from. We've also seen other ranked people criticize an instructor when he/she is teaching something and that is really the wrong way to go!!! Any addition to a class should actually enhance what is being taught. In a large group the instructor can't always get to every training pair and such action is then helpful to the student. If I offer help when I see something that will aid what the person is doing, they have the right to say no and I will not feel disrespected, that is their right of choice. They are, after all responsible for their own training, all a good instructor ever does is help them find what is already in them, with a lot less time and use of their other valuable limited resources then otherwise. That is, in my opinion the job of the instructor. The task of an instructor, again in my opinion, is only that "aid", it is never to make themselves seem so "great" or "skilled" or "powerful" and so forth. The training environment is all about the student and what they learn, it is never about the "instructor". There is no place for "ego" in the training hall.

Posted on: 2010/10/22 20:58
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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Ed,
It's not clear about what you mean when you use senior student.

If you do a seminar there is a tacit agreement that you will dispense advice to those that are there. For them to show up basically means please teach me something otherwise they shouldn't be there.

I have seen you in Japan going around and asking people if they want advice, I was training with someone and you came over and politely asked. I said no, but my training partner said sure which took time away from my training anyway. Which did annoy me a bit, but you were polite and the guy didn't want to appear rude by telling you no. That was basically the only reason he agreed to take the advice.

If people are a part of the same dojo there is a tacit agreement that the sempai of the dojo will give advice to kohai. But, they are all from the same dojo. People in the same org aren't a part of the same dojo. There isn't a tacit agreement through the org for dispensing advice from senior representatives. There is a separation albeit a small one from some people's point of view.

An instructor is only an instructor to his dojo, and is in charge of only his classes. He is only expected to give advice to his dojo and classes (including his seminars)not other dojos or other students irregardless of their being in the same org.

I recently had a chance to do a seminar in the UP of Michigan. I had a great time and had tons of delicious food including great oatmeal cookies. At the seminar (the first one I have done)I was able and made it a point to demonstrate on everyone, and at points demonstrating on everyone one after another in a rapid fire manner.

If people had a question they asked, if they struggled I merely demonstrated on them again and said nothing. At times I broke down what I was showing in simple terms and moved on to the next thing. I even had some do the technique I was showing on me and acted as their uke. It was a personal interaction and advice was given with tacit and implicit agreement. But, they were there to learn or experience something from me. The seniors in their dojo helped their kohai a bit as well, but they were a part of the "same" dojo. They were obligated to give advice when needed.

However, if I went to my teacher's dojo I have only agreed to receive advice from my sempai and teacher and others a part of "that" dojo and not from the visitors ( unless they are my training partner) regardless of their rank.

If I visited a different teacher's dojo in a non-teaching role I would welcome the advice from the teacher and the senior students in "that" dojo, since by being there I have tacitly agreed to it. I wouldn't give advice about anything there (beyond normal conversations between training partners).

Is that a bit clearer, the distinction I'm trying to make Ed?
Do you think you should visit another dojo, and ask people in "that" dojo if they want advice given that you "are" the visitor?

Posted on: 2010/10/22 23:24
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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Robert,
Good article. The author seems to be capable of maturity and healthy self-critique.

That's the kind of stuff you might learn if your budo practice is about self-improvement and not about self-aggrandizement.

Papasan wrote: "There is no place for "ego" in the training hall."

Respectfully:
Superficial stuff like the above looks great on a bumper-sticker or a motivational poster with a yoda riding a unicorn but it has no currency if all members of a practice transaction don't honor it.

I say that because, based Mr. Martin's posts, it still seems to me that his position is that it's everyone else's responsibility to supply the humility.

I would also state that this seems to be pervasive in the Bujinkan and that Mr. Martin should not be singled-out.




Posted on: 2010/10/22 23:49
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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Pete,

That is a great blog, although it is primarily about kendo it does speak volumes about martial arts.

www.kenshi247.net is one of my favorite blogs.

Posted on: 2010/10/22 23:56
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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I can give an honest opinion on the feeling of the seminars that Papa-san gives every month as I've been at every one of them for the past 3 years (has it been that long already?)

I've learned and continue to learn many things from Ed Martin. But, I am also fortunate enough to learn from some of the other talented instructors that attend his seminars. The feeling is of commradery, not totalitarian. When someone other than Papa-san comes up with a good idea, it is shared with everyone else so that we can all benefit from it. No egos are available to injure. Perhaps that particular technique did not work for me with my particular body or lower skill level, but at least I had the opportunity to experience it.

This may be a horrible metaphore, but the people at Ed's seminars, or anywhere else I train, are like tubes of paint. With all the different tubes, I am able to get many different colors on my pallete with which to paint. Maybe, some colors I don't use very often. But they are there shoule I choose to use them. The more colors we have, the more vibrant painting we can create.

I have always found that to be one of the strengths of the Bujinkan -- the fact that we have so many different colors to choose.

Posted on: 2010/10/23 2:44
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
Village Old Timer
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Not to be rude or anything, but we don't really need to make this thread an Ed Martin thread.

Your example above is an example of a tacit/implicit agreement within the dojo.

It doesn't demonstrate anything to do with the article or the rest of this thread, however to keep it on track should instructors from different schools give unsolicited advice to students in your dojo? Either unsolicited advice given as politely as Ed does or merely given it?



Posted on: 2010/10/23 9:33
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
Village Old Timer
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One thing I have learned from the Japanese is that even when they speak english pretty well, they do not offer to do so because they do not thing they are good enough (much of the time). In doing so they observe a lot more and can come off more helpful in the process when they do choose to get involved.
Especially in our art, where we train to enhance our living skills, we should attempt to have some sense of feeling intent and need on another's part. When we see someone struggling with a technique and having that dumbfounded look in their face - we can offer help when think we have help to offer. When they are hell bent to do what they are doing - we should get out of the way. When someone offers help - and they are hell bent to do so - we should offer thanks and then get out of their reach if we "Vant to be left alone!".

Observe and Adapt!

Marty

Posted on: 2010/10/23 11:09
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Re: An article with solid advice across arts
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Never fear, I have no intention of making any thread an "Ed Martin thread". Someone had seemed to imply a lack of humility involving Mr. Martin and that is simply not true.

But back to the topic. I was trying to get the point across that I hear helpful tips from people throughout the day and I appreciate each one of them as it gives me another chance to learn something new. If someone were purposefully running around contradicting the instructor and attempting to undermine the teaching, that would be a different story. But I do welcome input that might help me grasp a little more of this art.

I'm usually willing to try different ways of doing techniques, unless I think I'll hurt myself with it. Sometimes its something of value, sometimes its not. Either way, it gives me the chance to learn. Weather I succeed or not?


Posted on: 2010/10/23 11:34
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