Given that it’s Aikido, we are not in the dojo to compete against each other and we are certainly not supposed to strong-arm each other with technique.
However, it is a very unique environment where one can view the egos of the various students.
Egos come in various forms, shapes, and sizes. The ones that I will be mentioning are the belligerent ones – well the ones who are belligerent to me anyway. There was one man who’s a former shodan back in the 70s. Fast forward a couple of months later to Bob.
From my perspective “Bob” seemed to have improving in terms of being relaxed and centered in his movements with partners. In the past he had the nasty habit – or purposeful – action of blocking out his partners movements with his 6’3″ frame. He’s big and strong physically which helps him in blocking people’s techniques out.
He’s been complying with a lot of my techniques, and seems to be (somewhat) happier with training – as oppose to before he gave off the image of an cowering vulture (I’m not kidding!). He had also toned down his critique of technique of others, whenever he was around me anyway. However, unfortunately his ego wasn’t the one that was improving, and his antics got the better of him last week on Friday when my Sensei finally got wind of his mannerism while working with a fellow shodan.
Now here’s the situation: it was a four person class, so personal attention was a given. I was working with his ex-wife nearby and could hear the entire lecture (roasting?) that my Sensei gave to him on the mat. From the little that I could hear, Sensei really laid it out to him.
I’ve seen Sensei (this one anyway) mad before – but nothing like this. He wasn’t yelling at him while seated; no he was 6 inches from “Bob’s” face, crossed-armed talking a low but the most serious voice I have ever heard him say in the 5 years that I’ve known him.
Needless to say “Bob” didn’t stay after that lecture. All the meanwhile I was working with his ex-wife in a wonderful and charming exchange. A vivid contrast to what was happening to Bob.
I hope he stays; I overheard Sensei stating that he’d like him to stay, but only if he is willing to learn. If not:
“…you are welcome to go to another school of your liking. It’s not going to hurt me if you do.” ~ Sensei