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  • Is my sensei trying to sabotage me?

    I'm getting a complex from my second iai teacher. On the day before the shodan exam, she made me come to her house, in heavy, heavy rains, knowing that I would have to come by bike, and practice in a humid, sweltering dojo for 7 hours, with no supervision. There were a few times that collapsing seemed almost inevitable, but if I took even a quick breather, she was equally quick to look up from talking with some guests, and chastize me for not practicing.

    This sensei recently decided that I should study jo. Thinking that it might be pleasant, I concurred. After one lesson, she signed me up for a shodan exam. I demurred. She insisted. I said, no thank you. She persisted. I said, please no. She put her foot down. last weekend, I was packed off to jodo seminar in a nearby onsen town. Three of us went there on Saturday and Sunday, to attend 8 hour practices, where we were the absolutely worst people there. We had only had a few hours of training with a jo, and we couldn't even do most of the kihon, let alone the kata. The shinsa was one week away by this time.

    After the seminar concluded, the three of us had a meeting, and decided that it was far too early to take the shodan shinsa. We politely asked the sensei tobe excused. She refused point blank. All three of us had business on the day of the exam, or at least I do, the other two coul dbe making it up. She arranged a special sitting of the exam for us. One of the other people cancelled on that too, he said he had to go to Tokyo. The other one said she'd do it to be my partner, but she didn't want to take the exam itself. I said I didn't want to take it either. The sensei accepted the other two people's excuses, but she told me I must take the exam, in no uncertain terms.

    Having done jodo only 7 times so far, I felt destined to fail miserably. With 14 practices a week for the past 2 months, living on 4 pieces of toast a day, and 5 hours sleep, how could I possibly learn jo? I did the exam today, after a long, 6 hour practice. It was awful. I blanked in the middle of the kata, and almost collapsed. I did yon honme wrong too. Yes, it was a small mistake, but still, it was wrong.

    I'm starting to think this woman is out to get me. This is twice now that I've ended up making an arse out of myself, largely because of her practice schedules or demands. People who have seen my iaidou outside this woman's dojo, or had seen it before the day of the shinsa, thought it was pretty good. However, I know have a reputation for doing crappy iai, and even worse jodo! I'm the inept foreigner, the one who collapses in practices, in the middle of a kata.

    I've cut school club from my schedule, but with the next free day almost a month away (I have work and practices or embu, or taikai every single day until June 21 or so), it seems like too little too late.

    How the heck can I get it through to this woman that I'm going to end up in the hospital if this continues? I was in the best 8 at my kendo shodan shinsa. My reputation has gone steadily downhill since I joined this woman's dojo. It's frustrating.

    This post has been fermenting for a few weeks now, forgive the length. I'm only interested in good advice, not accusations of being a weakling. If you think I'm weak, come over here and take on my schedule, 35 hours of work, 35 - 40 hours of budo. . . and I have to bike to them all.

    c

  • #2
    Well,

    Nobody can tell you (especially you) to do what you don't want to.
    Sentences like "she made me come to her house" or "she told me I must take the exam" are just not your style.

    Differently from koryu (which is their way or the highway), gendai budo does not demand you to follow orders blindly.

    That souded pretty obvious. I shoud stop writing obvious replies.

    - Alexandre

    Comment


    • #3
      How did this get posted twice? I would remember typing that twice. My apologies.

      As for 'she made me take the exam', it's perfectly true. If I hadn't showed up at that exam, it would have been a very, very bad social situation. I'm guessing you've never lived in Japan, Alex. Not to be rude, but if I didn't come to her house before the exam, she had the power to make sure I didn't pass.

      c

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      • #4
        In fact I never lived in Japan. Just been around every now and then.

        The thing is, would you really mind the bad social outcome of it? Or, even better, would you really mind not passing the grading?

        These are not rhetorical (spelling?) questions, please note.

        Cheers, and regards

        - Alexandre

        Comment


        • #5
          I would not mind not passing the grading, but I would mind the fact that the sensei would be angry with me, and she would tell other senseis about my 'outrageous' behaviour. I'm very sensitive about the fact that I am a foreigner, and whatever I do in this budo community sets a precedent for people who come after me. Thus, I try to be very well behaved and very serious.

          Disobeying a sensei would unravel, in one act, all the things I've worked so hard to accomplish. That's why I wouldn't do it.

          c

          Comment


          • #6
            Awful thing.

            Maybe you could start feigning diseases.

            - Alexandre

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            • #7
              are you staying there or leaving ? after you leave do you even care what they think?

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              • #8
                Inouye, it is that kind of attitude that makes me absolutely detest you. Re-read what I have written, only pay attention this time.

                I do not care what my senseis think about me specifically, but it does matter to me to break that stupid stereotype of the 'frivolous gaijin'. I have worked very hard to gain this level of trust, in hopes that it will benefit others who come after me, allowing other non-Japanese people to study kendo more easily in Sendai.

                Also, my senseis may not have world famous names, or big trophies on their walls, but they're good teachers. I want to be able to study with them again, if possible. Some people never outlive their usefulness, and as any good Machiavellian knows, it is best to keep yourself in good standing with useful people.

                c

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