How does a bad teacher/student relationship affect your MA training? A rant!


Kiz Bell


OK, we are always hearing how the martial arts will lift one's self esteem, but has anyone had the reverse happen? I'm just coming back to the martial arts after a considerable break and not without a great deal of trepidation.

I had been training with my last dojo for a few years and everything had been going reasonably fine. My teacher, who was also head of the dojo, always did have a bit of a "flirts for techniques" policy, but I'm a pretty strong willed person and thought that I was able to handle it. We even managed to strike up a friendship of a sorts. ( Though I'd like to add at this point that I was the only female in any of his classes.)

Well, like I said, for the first few years everything was sort of OK, then quite suddenly his attitude toward me changed. He started treating me pretty badly, being rude to me, refusing to teach me in class etc etc. When I asked him about this he told me that nothing had changed, he had no problems with me at all. Worst of all was when I found out that he'd spread some pretty vile and reprehisible rumours about me. And not just in his dojo either, but to other instructors in the wider MA community. Thankfully, it turns out that to many people this guy's word is NOT his bond and not everyone believed what he had to say. The whole thing really destroyed my trust in anyone calling themselves a "sensei", and left a bad taste in my mouth about the whole martial arts scene. I havent trained for years, but missed my art too much to stay away forever, so here I am again.

I know this has been quite a rant and rave, but I really wanted to get it all off my chest before I really started training again. I can't talk about this to my friends 'cause they think all martial artists are loonies anyway.

I'd really like to know if anyone else has had a baaaad martial arts experience like this, or am I alone in this?

Thanx for taking the time to listen anyway

Sadly, you are not alone in having this kind of experience. Such men (or women) are NOT real "sensei." They may have the outer form, but the inside is not developed. Kind of like a doughnut.

Don't let it dissuade you from seeking out a good teacher. There are many out there, but may have to look hard. Go in, watch a class or three, talk to the how he/she relates to the students and carefully observe THEIR performance and spirit because THEY are a reflection of the teacher. Talk to them, if you can.
if its any consolation I had a similar situation with my first teacher....although he didn't do the rude bit...after I left and went out on my own teaching he also tried to spread a load of cr@p about me and even sending round his boys to make a nuisance of themeslves....but, I now have a great teacher. I had a good look around and tried working with a few people and unfortunately there are plenty of 'insecure' little ego maniacs in the martial arts world who like to think they have power over people and Yilisifu said it just right "They may have the outer form, but the inside is not developed. Kind of like a doughnut"

so go out and look you have more experience of the kind of person you don't want to study with so that should give you a frame of reference, but don't let it colour your judgement........not everyone is bad and you never know you might just find someone who is very good....
It is sad that some people go to such low levels for whatever the reason. Your old instructor is most certianly not a verry good person. I'll bet that in a few years (if he has more women students) that you hear many horror stories about him.
I would even bet that he treats people the same way in his work place.
Not all instructors are like that. My only hope is that you find a good one and that you do not let this person ruin your martial arts experence
I've since learnt that he's got quite a reputation for this. And he doesn't just do it to women and students, either. He's apparently said a lot of not-too-nice things about quite a lot of people. Well known enough for it that if I just gave his style of MA and country, but not his name people would say "oh, HIM!" lol. Well, I know better now.

Unfortunatley, he is one of the very few legitimate and qualified teachers in his style in this country (and it's something I really, really wanted to do, too). There's a lot of frauds and charletans out there, but not many genuine koryu teachers where I live. So when I left that dojo, I had to leave that art, too. I've tried practicing on my own but it's just not the same.

On a good note, I've found a new dojo teaching something similar but a bit different, and the instructors there stike me so far as real gentlemen, but so far I've only gone for a lesson or two (they only train once a week AAAUUURRGGH!!!!!) so it's too early to tell. They seem very nice, I'm just pretty wary, that's all.

ok, thanx and bye for now,
I live in a relatively small town with relatively few Martial Art options available. I found a small club which taught old style karate (very practical defence, no competition but real "no rules" deal). I won't say the style here but it is recognized as one of the most traditional systems around, having not changed anything for the sake of tournament fighting in their system.

I studied about six months and got out quite fast. My friend (a girl) and I (a man) both started at the same time. The school has two teachers, one man and one woman. At first it struck me as weird that over half the students were young women. I have been to several M.A. clubs and usually girls and women are a rarity. In about six months I got fed up with lots of "revelations" about the club. First of all, the male instructor had had sexual relationships with about half the female students! This was in itself a bit weird to me, but what actually got me out the school was that it showed in the classroom as very weird things. There were some serious jealousy issues rampant between the female students and this affected nearly all classes. You didn't notice it at first when you knew noone, but then you began to feel something was not right. A feeling that you can't just put a finger on but you know there's something "going on" as if there were an inner circle between some students you weren't part of. Then I found out about it all in a club party which continued to a disco in the late night. I left the club that day.

My friend continued for another year, until december when she quit in the club's christmas party. She found out that the female instructor was angry with her because according to rumours my friend had tried to attract both the male instructor and also one of the students, who happened to be the spouse of the female instructor. This was all completely news to my friend and came as a shock as she'd gotten to really like the club and made lots of friends there. Now she's out the club too.

BTW, nowadays the club is almost exclusively a female club. For some reason they are unable to attract much male students, even other local clubs have the exact opposite problem.

Weird stuff!

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