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Author Topic: I think I need a new dojo (Updated 10/1)  (Read 3997 times)
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Knightshade Dragon
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« on: April 20, 2010, 03:43:08 PM »

So last night's class was likely my last at the dojo I've called home for the past few years.  We have a 5th degree black belt that has a reputation for hurting students.  He broke three of my ribs during my first week back to class (coming off a 10 year hiatus), and last night damned near broke my orbital socket during a 'touch-level' practice drill.  We were supposed to be working distance and speed with no power so you can learn how to effectively move your feet, dodge, and remain in striking distance.  Obviously his idea of 'no power' and mine are very different.

He hass smashed a student in the knee, roughed up one of our readers in sparring (who had the good sense to leave the mat last night rather than spar with him), and beat two other students to the point where they quit. At the end of the day it's not the injury (or the process of explaining it to everyone I talk to for the next few days), it's the principal of the matter - at 5th Dan there are only two choices: Either he doesn't have control, or he has control and chooses not to exercise it.  At some point he is going to kill somebody, and I'm sure that I can't be a part of that.

I gave my Sensei an ultimatum - either this 5th Dan goes, or I do.

Am I in the wrong here?
« Last Edit: October 01, 2010, 03:52:48 PM by Knightshade Dragon » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2010, 03:49:30 PM »

The first rule of Fight Club is... 


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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2010, 03:52:17 PM »

hope you feel better soon and have no permanent damage. 
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2010, 03:57:21 PM »

I don't think you're out of line, it sounds like someone needed to say something.  just remember, if you need to fight it out...

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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2010, 04:05:21 PM »

I'd be more concerned that the sensei hasn't booted the guy out previously if he does have a history of injuring people in situations where he's not supposed to be.  If the sensei thinks the the guy is in the right, then you know all you need to know, and should probably go study with Mr. Miyagi.
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2010, 04:09:18 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on April 20, 2010, 03:43:08 PM

I gave my Sensei an ultimatum - either this 5th Dan goes, or I do.

Am I in the wrong here?

You are completely in the right. However, unless you are the assistant instructor or one of the Sensei's trusted pupils (or really know him very well) I would have suggested couching the ultimatum in the form of "concerns".

I.e. Sensei, I'm concerned that our 5th dan is not acting within the spirit of our martial arts. I thought higher-level students were supposed to pull people up to their level, but it seems to me he's beating them down to theirs.

And I completely agree with you. My non martial-arts friends think that all there is to a higher belt is a test of skill. They don't understand that with it comes the responsibility to teach others and inspire them to also do better.
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2010, 04:20:44 PM »

Has he not gotten any warnings? Does he apologize when these things happen or does he just sneer and shout "sho nuff!"
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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2010, 04:22:23 PM »

Quote
You are completely in the right. However, unless you are the assistant instructor or one of the Sensei's trusted pupils (or really know him very well) I would have suggested couching the ultimatum in the form of "concerns".

I.e. Sensei, I'm concerned that our 5th dan is not acting within the spirit of our martial arts. I thought higher-level students were supposed to pull people up to their level, but it seems to me he's beating them down to theirs.

And I completely agree with you. My non martial-arts friends think that all there is to a higher belt is a test of skill. They don't understand that with it comes the responsibility to teach others and inspire them to also do better.
I'm a instructor at the school.  Sadly, I have brought this to his attention several times (as have other instructors and students).  You are right - at his level there shouldn't be injuries like this, but with him it's common.  Two other instructors at his rank never hurt other students - they have self control.  
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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2010, 04:30:25 PM »

Quote from: Teggy on April 20, 2010, 04:20:44 PM

Has he not gotten any warnings? Does he apologize when these things happen or does he just sneer and shout "sho nuff!"

He'll hurt somebody, Sensei will talk with him, he'll slink off to Friday class (pretty much a 'beat each other up' class) and stop coming to Monday sparring class.  Sensei will again think "Hey, this guy is great at sparring, let's bring him in on Monday!" and then the cycle will repeat.  And no...I've never heard him apologize. 
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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2010, 04:36:40 PM »

Nunchucks will solve the issue.


Seriously though.. if they won't protect the students.. I'd be out of there.
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2010, 04:47:13 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on April 20, 2010, 04:30:25 PM

Quote from: Teggy on April 20, 2010, 04:20:44 PM

Has he not gotten any warnings? Does he apologize when these things happen or does he just sneer and shout "sho nuff!"

He'll hurt somebody, Sensei will talk with him, he'll slink off to Friday class (pretty much a 'beat each other up' class) and stop coming to Monday sparring class.  Sensei will again think "Hey, this guy is great at sparring, let's bring him in on Monday!" and then the cycle will repeat.  And no...I've never heard him apologize. 

Time to move on.  The problem really lies with the Sensei imo.
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2010, 05:00:52 PM »

Quote from: morlac on April 20, 2010, 04:47:13 PM

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on April 20, 2010, 04:30:25 PM

Quote from: Teggy on April 20, 2010, 04:20:44 PM

Has he not gotten any warnings? Does he apologize when these things happen or does he just sneer and shout "sho nuff!"

He'll hurt somebody, Sensei will talk with him, he'll slink off to Friday class (pretty much a 'beat each other up' class) and stop coming to Monday sparring class.  Sensei will again think "Hey, this guy is great at sparring, let's bring him in on Monday!" and then the cycle will repeat.  And no...I've never heard him apologize. 

Time to move on.  The problem really lies with the Sensei imo.

I think you are right.  This is the last chance for him to course correct.  If he won't, I'm done.

Looks like I'm not done developing this lovely little shiner...
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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2010, 05:15:53 PM »

The real question is, why'd you let him hit you?  Tongue
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« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2010, 05:17:31 PM »

chicks dig scars
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« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2010, 05:21:17 PM »

We had a Third Dan at the school I went to years ago that was guilty of the same behavior.
He would pull that crap on brand new students, just a bully who doesn't embrace the true meaning of martial arts.
Part of being a higher level Black Belt is understanding discretion and constraint.

Many people view martial arts training for the physical and combat training, but it is equally about mental training like willpower and discipline.

I was friends with the owner, who was a 2nd Dan and he ended up having to ask him to leave due to his behavior.

That said, I once broke someones ribs during full contact / full speed sparring. I didn't mean to do it, but sometimes that happens when you are full out.
When I first started I got knocked out by a wheel kick to the head, and definitely remember many bruises and cuts along the way.

I guess what I am saying is that when you are training, stuff can happen, but when someone shows a pattern with lack of judgement and restraint then you have an issue.
Especially when that someone is a Fifth Dan.
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« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2010, 06:00:28 PM »

The situation is completely unacceptable, and responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the head instructor or dojo owner.  For this sort of thing to occur once in awhile is accidental, what you describe is a pattern of abuse and criminal negligence.  The first time this happened he should have received a warning, the second time this happened he should have been shown the door.  It's bad enough when a lower-level student develops this sort of an attitude, but for a godan-level practitioner it's completely ridiculous.  If he is an instructor it's even worse.

For your head instructor to have ignored this for so long means that either a) he does not view it as a problem, or b) he is too weak-willed to dismiss the offending person.  Either one reflects badly on the head instructor and I would think hard about continuing to train there regardless of what he does. 

For all the years I've trained I have most often seen this type of behavior in students who are approaching shodan (black belt) level - they've learned enough to be confident and somewhat skilled, but they haven't trained long enough to have worked out their stupidity and bravado.  I saw a 1st-kyu level aikido student nearly destroy someone's shoulder because they "wanted to try a variation" on a shihonage throw.  He was extremely apologetic and embarrassed about the injury he'd caused, which was the only reason he was allowed to stay.  That was enough of a lesson for him to curb his enthusiasm for dicking around with aikido technique.  Sounds like your guy has not learned that lesson yet. 

I don't know what your level is compared to this person, if you are his junior then taking the issue to your head instructor and insisting on some sort of correction is the right course of action.  You said you're an instructor there, if you are his senior you have every right to call him out yourself and demand he knock it off. 

Seriously, this sort of thing should never happen in the dojo.  It's juvenile and dangerous and a breach of trust for the other students training there.
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« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2010, 06:29:44 PM »

I'll throw another vote in for absurdly inappropriate. At that level you shouldn't be making those kinds of mistakes. This seems to be a pattern which means either his control is simply not there, or he doesn't care. I would go with the 'doesn't care' theory at this juncture. I think you are right to go to the sensei and lay things out. This way you will figure out quickly and cleanly whether or not you should remain with that dojo or find somewhere new to train.
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« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2010, 06:57:07 PM »

Someone should offer to touch practice him and then beat the shit out of him and tell him why.
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« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2010, 07:01:24 PM »

Wow, dude, you got.. pummeled. I should take a class on basic self defense. Have your skills ever come in handy on an everyday situation?
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« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2010, 07:09:12 PM »

Quote from: SensuousLettuce on April 20, 2010, 05:15:53 PM

The real question is, why'd you let him hit you?  Tongue

he was distracted by thinking of Dead Rising 2.
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« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2010, 07:35:23 PM »

Agree with Chaz 110 percent.
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« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2010, 07:39:59 PM »

Quote
I don't know what your level is compared to this person, if you are his junior then taking the issue to your head instructor and insisting on some sort of correction is the right course of action.  You said you're an instructor there, if you are his senior you have every right to call him out yourself and demand he knock it off. 
I'm a 3rd Dan, he's a 5th Dan. 
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« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2010, 07:40:39 PM »

Quote from: PR_GMR on April 20, 2010, 07:01:24 PM

Wow, dude, you got.. pummeled. I should take a class on basic self defense. Have your skills ever come in handy on an everyday situation?

Absolutely.  It's when we are working in a 'safe' environment and supposed to be working a drill with somebody who supposedly has control that I run into problems it seems....
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« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2010, 07:55:26 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on April 20, 2010, 07:40:39 PM

Quote from: PR_GMR on April 20, 2010, 07:01:24 PM

Wow, dude, you got.. pummeled. I should take a class on basic self defense. Have your skills ever come in handy on an everyday situation?

Absolutely.  It's when we are working in a 'safe' environment and supposed to be working a drill with somebody who supposedly has control that I run into problems it seems....

Yep, totally agree. Two different animals, real life and training. But from now on I would approach this "character" as if it were real life......At least in the defensive stance.
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« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2010, 07:57:47 PM »

Do you wear protective gear in certain classes? Or does that stop when you get to a certain level or only when you are doing certain types of sparring?
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« Reply #25 on: April 20, 2010, 07:58:30 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on April 20, 2010, 07:39:59 PM

I'm a 3rd Dan, he's a 5th Dan. 

Traditionally, rank is irrelevant.  If you've been training at this dojo longer, you are his senior.  Where I'm training now there is at least one person who I've surpassed in rank and ability, but because he's been training longer he is still my senior.  Granted, that's a fairly anachronous Japanese attitude with respect to budo.  Westerners tend to go by the "who outranks who" mentality.  You also see far less of the senpai/kohai relationship in Western dojos.

If you're junior to him, as you seem to imply, then alerting the head instructor was exactly the right thing to do.
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« Reply #26 on: April 20, 2010, 08:13:52 PM »

Quote from: Teggy on April 20, 2010, 07:57:47 PM

Do you wear protective gear in certain classes? Or does that stop when you get to a certain level or only when you are doing certain types of sparring?

We wear hand gear, foot gear, headgear, mouthpiece, cup, and some folks wear shin pads.   Sadly, since this was straight to my eye, it didn't make much difference.
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« Reply #27 on: April 20, 2010, 08:14:51 PM »

Quote from: Boudreaux on April 20, 2010, 07:58:30 PM

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on April 20, 2010, 07:39:59 PM

I'm a 3rd Dan, he's a 5th Dan. 

Traditionally, rank is irrelevant.  If you've been training at this dojo longer, you are his senior.  Where I'm training now there is at least one person who I've surpassed in rank and ability, but because he's been training longer he is still my senior.  Granted, that's a fairly anachronous Japanese attitude with respect to budo.  Westerners tend to go by the "who outranks who" mentality.  You also see far less of the senpai/kohai relationship in Western dojos.

If you're junior to him, as you seem to imply, then alerting the head instructor was exactly the right thing to do.

Oh he's most certainly been at the dojo far longer than I am.  My Sensei (that owns the dojo) is the only person that outranks him there.  He's been there 30+ years.
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« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2010, 08:16:55 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on April 20, 2010, 08:13:52 PM

Quote from: Teggy on April 20, 2010, 07:57:47 PM

Do you wear protective gear in certain classes? Or does that stop when you get to a certain level or only when you are doing certain types of sparring?

We wear hand gear, foot gear, headgear, mouthpiece, cup, and some folks wear shin pads.   Sadly, since this was straight to my eye, it didn't make much difference.

Wow, that's crazy. Got to add on that face cage.
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« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2010, 08:41:44 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on April 20, 2010, 08:14:51 PM

Oh he's most certainly been at the dojo far longer than I am.  My Sensei (that owns the dojo) is the only person that outranks him there.  He's been there 30+ years.

So basically, he's just a jackass.  That's unfortunate.  If he and your sensei go back that far, I'm beginning to see why nothing has been done.
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« Reply #30 on: April 20, 2010, 08:47:49 PM »

Quote from: Boudreaux on April 20, 2010, 06:00:28 PM

Seriously, this sort of thing should never happen in the dojo.  It's juvenile and dangerous and a breach of trust for the other students training there.

+1.  Students need to be able to trust their instructors so they can develop.  This situation prevents that.  Unfortunately it sounds like this guy was here a long time before you and will be there after you leave. 
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« Reply #31 on: April 20, 2010, 08:59:27 PM »

It's your own dang fault for coming at him with

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« Reply #32 on: April 20, 2010, 09:04:08 PM »

Sometimes I'm proud of hep, and other times I just back away slowly.
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« Reply #33 on: April 20, 2010, 09:29:16 PM »

sorry...just watched Bruno again this past weekend. 
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« Reply #34 on: April 20, 2010, 10:00:59 PM »

Wow, that sucks. I only started TKD about a year and a half ago, but I can't imagine that being allowed in our school. Obviously there is more leway for the advanced belts in their practice, or if they're doing MMA, but in that sort of training situation it shouldn't happen, and that can't make other students at the school feel welcome or safe. I don't think I've ever seen any of our people get seriously hurt. I'm very thankful that while my school seems to be more serious for testing than other schools in the area (which seem shocked we actually fail people, which is sad) it is an extremely friendly and positive environment and all of the instructors are great at testing us to the level that they make their point, but without ever really hurting anyone.
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« Reply #35 on: April 20, 2010, 10:28:59 PM »

If the sensai refuses to properly address this issue, then unfortunately you should move on..... and proceed to the nearest police precinct to file assault charges against the jerk.  Seriously, this guy is a bully at a very criminal level and hes going continue to injure people whether you stay or go. Im sure theres probably a waiver people sign to cover these situations but there a major difference between an accident and a beat down.  If this is habitual as you say, then waiver or not, he is assaulting people and needs to be brought under control.  If the police are not an option then I heartly recommend a blanket party.
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« Reply #36 on: April 20, 2010, 10:35:34 PM »

While you may be able to demonstrate a pattern, you're going to have a hell of a time proving intent, and stepping into a sparring situation means that you are accepting a foreseeable risk, just as if you get hit by a foul ball by going to a baseball game.  I don't see the cops doing squat without an obvious act or statement of intent.  (IANAFL).
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« Reply #37 on: April 20, 2010, 11:42:11 PM »

Quote from: Isgrimnur on April 20, 2010, 10:35:34 PM

While you may be able to demonstrate a pattern, you're going to have a hell of a time proving intent, and stepping into a sparring situation means that you are accepting a foreseeable risk, just as if you get hit by a foul ball by going to a baseball game.  I don't see the cops doing squat without an obvious act or statement of intent.  (IANAFL).

if you are sitting behind the fence and there is a big hole in the fence and the ball hits you in the eye... what then?

if you are "touch" sparring and one of the participants has a history of "mistakes"  what then?

the sensei is the fence...
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« Reply #38 on: April 21, 2010, 01:23:30 AM »

Knowing something and being able to prove it are two different things.  I highly doubt there's a paper record of past complaints and disciplinary actions on file.  The sensei may be the fence, but the sensei is not an inanimate object that can be documented as being the direct cause of the problem. 
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« Reply #39 on: April 21, 2010, 05:37:43 AM »

I'm the student in question at this school. I had come back from a year 7 hiatus, and was starting at white belt. I went to orange belt, and about 2 weeks before the review, I meet the 5th dan. We practice sparring, which is essentially, "tag". I managed to hit him several times in the groin, with fairly good control - nothing more than 1-inch in. He proceeds to lay a series of 4 solid kicks to my knee (anything except groin below the waist is never allowed) until I can no longer stand. I spend the next year working in a knee brace. It's only now, after 2 years, that I can even sit in meditation without pain.

He is a thug, plain and simple. I am a pacifist but a martial artist. The two do not conflict. I walked off the mat the other night rather than start a fight, get injured, or start an argument. In this I feel that I was practicing karate-do at its pinnacle. When I go in tomorrow, I hope to have good news from my sensei. If not, I too, will be looking for a new dojo.

One of the best things about this has been the opportunity to train with a colleague and friend for the past 2 years. I mean, how awesome is it to kick a black belt in the face, and have him smile in gratitude (he taught me the inverted roundhouse, that has become my favorite sparring tool).

Arigato, Sensei Ron.
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