How to deal with a difficult adult student?

Druid11

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I've been taking Isshinryu karate for a little over a year and recently my instructor asked me to help with some of the classes. I mostly help with the kids' classes and while navigating dealing with their behavior can be challenging I think there's a built-in respect in my relationships with them because I'm an adult. So even when they don't listen I don't feel like it's because they're trying to be disrespectful.

Now I don't typically help with the adult classes save for being used as the uke a lot, but adults are welcome to take the teen class which I do help with, and many of them do. My issue is dealing with a particular adult white belt and his dismissiveness towards me and quite frankly most of the other helpers, especially the female ones.

This guy is in his twenties and happens to be quite athletic. He supposedly taught himself a bunch of martial arts stuff by reading books and watching videos prior to training. I think he mostly taught himself what would be considered bad habits in our style, like really long stances, showy spinning kicks, and opening his hands while sparing but I suppose that's beside the point. My issues stem from him not listening to a damn thing I tell him. Higher rank belts "check" lower rank belts' kata (and possibly teach more of the kata) at the beginning of class. If you take two classes you still only get checked once, the other day I checked this guy in the teen/adult class and he stayed for the regular adult class (as did I) I caught him asking an instructor to check him, when I said you've already been checked for the day, his response was, "Not by an instructor." Now all the helpers are chosen by the head and instructor and he makes sure your kata is good enough that he thinks it's appropriate for you to teach it to others. So in a way, I feel like this kid is being both disrespectful to the helpers and to the head instructor when he acts like he's too good to be checked by any of them.

My issues with him sort of came to a head last week when I was in charge of watching a group of people sparring. For the kids you really need to watch them because they get too into it and hit too hard or do silly things, but typically the older teens and adults you just have to make sure the groups don't bump into each other, so my instructor had me watch the adults (I assume because he thought there would be fewer issues). We do light to moderate contact with no contact with the head. We also don't allow anyone lower than brown belt to open their hands while sparring to prevent broken fingers. I spent several rounds of sparring constantly yelling at this guy to first close his hands (his response was, "It's habit.") and then more annoyingly to not to make contact with his partners head to which he responded, "I was taping him to let him know I could have made contact." I think the fact that he has an answer for everything is what peeves me off the most. Just say, yes, when I tell you to do something then do it. He also did this weird move (I didn't see the whole things so I can't really describe it) but he wound up basically hip checking another female helper who happened to be taking the teen class. She was kind of pissed and I said I didn't see excatly what happened but don't do it again. Then later we both took the adult class and wound up being paired to spar. I usually go pretty easy on white belts, but since he ticked me off in the last class I decided not to with him. I didn't hit any harder than usual but I but I tagged him every time he made a mistake and didn't let him get anything in, basically to show him that he might be more naturally athletic, younger and faster, but that doesn't necessarily make him better. I don't think he took my point as halfway through the round he stopped turned his back on me and started watching the black belts spar. I was mad and yelled at him that he better watch the person he was sparring. He also then felt the need to stop and complain I made head contact when my hand slightly grazed his head because of the way he blocked my punch. Accidental contact is one thing, I yelled at him earlier because it was obviously intentional contact, but he still felt the need to be petulant about it.

Apparently, after class, he went to the instructor to complain that I (and apparently the other female helper he sparred) were picking on him and that he did nothing wrong. I don't know what the instructor's response was but since he hasn't spoken to me about it I imagine he doesn't think I handled it wrong. Usually, he'll come to me and say something if he thinks I didn't handle something the right way or at least the way he would like it to be handled.

Anyway, that was way longer than I really meant it to be but I guess I just needed to rant. My question is for those that are instructors or teach martial arts, is how would you deal with a student like that? I don't suppose there's really anything I can do to make him respect me, but are there tips for getting him to listen to me? I don't really care at this point how he develops as a martial artist because he obviously doesn't think I can teach him anything, so I probably can't, but my job is also to keep the other students safe and make sure they have a good experience. So advice on how best to do that is welcome.
 

DanT

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Just ignore him and let him suck. Say hi and bye, but don't offer any advise unless he asks you.

He doesn't want to learn. Just ignore him and pay attention to the students who do.
 

Bill Mattocks

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OK, so here is my perspective...and my background is similar to yours I think. I am an adult student of Isshinryu, a nidan. I've been studying for close on to ten years now.

In our small dojo, those adults who are brown belts and above are asked to help out if they can; not a requirement, just an ask. We're a low-cost, no-contract dojo and we have a lot of kids classes. Everyone is a volunteer. I happen to be able to help out with teaching the kids' classes and sometimes the adult classes, so I do.

I have had students who are more-or-less as you described. My solution to that is to speak directly to my sensei, the owner of the dojo, about it, and as soon as possible.

You won't get anywhere by arguing with the student - adult or not. You will also not get anywhere by waiting for your sensei to figure out what's going on and putting things right. You need to take action, but the action needs to be between you and your sensei.

Our sensei periodically makes general announcements to the dojo at large, and sometimes one-on-one to students who he deems need a talking to. One of the things he makes clear is that the adult instructors are volunteers, they speak with the authority of himself, and they will be respected and obeyed at all times. Any student who has a problem with an instructor is to come to him rather than arguing with an instructor.

When I have had issues with students in the past to the point where it interfered with class, I ask them to sit down. If they will NOT sit down (and I have had that happen), I stop trying to correct, teach, or otherwise interact with them for the rest of the class. I ignore them as best I can and tell our sensei about it later.

In this day and age, people, both adults and kids, seem to sometimes have issues that I've never experienced before. Behavioral issues, primarily, but also problems with attention deficit or other things I can't even identify. I've had students twirl in space staring at the ceiling (kids, not adults) and throw temper tantrums, pick on other students, yell at me, call me names, try to hit me, and even vandalize parts of the dojo. I've had them melt down in front of their parents, who sometimes absolutely ignore the behavior and refuse to do anything about it. It's life these days I guess. I try to be patient and understand that people have limitations that I am not familiar with, but best not to push them to those limits if I can help it. I try to always use praise and positive reinforcement rather than yelling and using negative reinforcement. If I cannot get a student to do what I want them to do, I ask them to sit down for the remainder of class.

I wish you the best of luck.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Just ignore him and let him suck. Say hi and bye, but don't offer any advise unless he asks you.

He doesn't want to learn. Just ignore him and pay attention to the students who do.

As long as he doesn't disrupt the class, yes, I agree. Unfortunately, sometimes these students create a negative hole around themselves and cause other students to not be able to learn properly. It's a tough one.
 

lklawson

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My question is for those that are instructors or teach martial arts, is how would you deal with a student like that?
Don't worry about it. Either he will figure it out and correct his behavior or he will self-select out of the program. I'm betting on the latter.

Just keep being "better" than he is.

Most human-to-human interactions involve some level of social dominance "ranking." He's trying to climb the social hierarchy and maybe pull you down a bit. He doesn't realize that the "normal" rules for doing so don't apply in your dojo. Different rules apply there but he's still trying to fit the old rules to it.

At most, if he won't cooperate, tell him that he can either participate and do as he's instructed or he can go sit on the side of the mat so that he doesn't distract the other students who are there to learn. Back it up with your Sensei.

He'll either learn or he won't learn and will leave. Just keep doing your thang.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Steve

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If youre interested in stopping the behavior you have a lot of options. If you would like to stop the behavior and also try to help the kid, I would recommend asking him why he's taking the classes. What's he there for? Try not to be emotional or judgemental. He may just be a dick. But maybe not.
 

Balrog

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My issues stem from him not listening to a damn thing I tell him.
This is the core issue. We went through this a while back with an adult who didn't want to be taught by a woman and didn't think he would learn anything from her. She finally had a come-to-Jesus meeting with him and explained that his attitude needed to change drastically, and that even though I had the final say on who tested, if she recommended he not test, I would agree. So if he wanted to promote, change his ways. If he didn't, stay the same and stay a White Belt forever. His choice.

He came to me and complained about it. My response was to simply ask him to repeat what she had said. He did so. I just nodded and said she's right and you're not - deal with it. He quit rather be taught by a woman.

Jerks abound in this world, ma'am, and I'm sorry you ran into this one. Keep on doing what you are doing and getting better at it, and remember this: you'll always be better than him.
 

MI_martialist

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It's not your pay grade. Bring it to a Senior who should be able to handle it and no longer interact with the student.
 

wab25

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I don't know you or the student in question. I only know what you presented in the OP. I wanted to share what I see, from the outside in order to help. There are multiple things going on here, and some you can address quickly. Some you will need assistance with. I am hoping you take this in the spirit that I mean it.

First, you have been studying for 1 year. I would not train under someone that has only studied their art for one year. From this guy's perspective, some other student, with one year of training is trying to teach him the art. He signed up, to learn from the instructor, not you. The instructor has given you some responsibilities, one is to check his kata. So, you check his kata and give him your thoughts. If he is smart, he will listen and apply. If not, you don't need to worry about it. If he can get the instructor to check his kata as well, it may not have been to insult you. It may have been to get the guy with the most experience to look at his kata, and get his perspective. Maybe he had a question because when you checked him you told him one thing, and another upper belt may have told him the opposite... so by getting the instructor to check, he is straightening things out.

My point here is to realize, that with one year of training, you are still more student than teacher. Him wanting advice and teaching, from the instructor directly, is why he is training there. As a martial artist, you should always want the attention and instruction from the highest rank you can find. Him not taking your advice and your tips... thats on him. You give the best advice you can, he does what he wants with it. Nothing here to stress or worry about.

Now, when he is sparring and not following rules... there are safety issues that need to be addressed. As the one put in charge, its on you to work with your instructor. Let him know what is happening: hands open, head contact, crazy hip checking... Your instructor will let you know what to do. Do what he tells you. If he continues, involve your instructor immediately. If he gets hurt, or hurts someone else... its your instructor and or school that will get sued.

As far as him picking up bad habits from previous book training... That is for the instructor to deal with, not a fellow student with one year of training. In other words, don't worry about it. It will only slow his progression. Same with his excuses. So long as it is not a safety issue, it will only slow him down. Not anything for you to worry about.

When he stops sparring with you, to watch the black belts, thats disrespectful to you. You said that your sparring allows light to moderate contact... if my sparring partner disrespected me like that, there would be lots of "moderate" contact as he turned away. That, or you could grab another partner if someone is available, you are there to train and should be able to train.

Don't misunderstand me here. He does have issues. But you don't need to also have his issues as well. Him getting checked also by the instructor, thats him getting the best instruction he can. Him not taking your advice and or having excuses, not your problem. You did your part, the rest is on him. The bad habits / book learning... again, not your issue, don't worry about it. The safety issues when sparring, those are your issues to worry about. Involve you instructor immediately. Him turning his back to you in sparring, looks like an invitation for "moderate" contact, not a problem for you. Don't let this guy take away from your training experience.
 

hoshin1600

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im going to be honest and chances are your not going to like it.
i am also taking your post "as is" at face value. i also want to add i am leaving gender out of the equation because this is an issue that both genders have when teaching.

first off, instructors and students are in a mutual relationship. yours is clearly disfunctional. who's fault is that?
you are the helper...yes? ok lets start with that. students join martial arts for various reasons and it is the instructors job to help them along their journey. part of that journey is about emotional growth both his and yours.
I don't typically help with the adult classes

My issues stem from him not listening to a damn thing I tell him.

when I said you've already been checked for the day, his response was, "Not by an instructor."

so he told you point blank what his problem with you is.. maybe i should remind you. you are not an instructor. you are a student, period. you have been asked to "help" with the kids and teens.
Now all the helpers are chosen by the head and instructor and he makes sure your kata is good enough that he thinks it's appropriate for you to teach it to others.
are you teaching the adult classes? you indicated that you are not. so why should you expect or even demand that he respect you as an instructor????
what have you done to show him that you are worthy of respect.
I spent several rounds of sparring constantly yelling at this guy

I was mad and yelled at him

I yelled at him earlier because it was obviously intentional contact,

why are you YELLING at student???? that is unacceptable to me. you clearly have a lot of contempt for him by these following comments
He supposedly taught himself a bunch of martial arts

I think he mostly taught himself what would be considered bad habits in our style

showy spinning kicks,

My issues stem from him not listening to a damn thing I tell him.

I said you've already been checked for the day,

I think the fact that he has an answer for everything is what peeves me off the most
your comments show a contempt and dislike of this student, and i perceived this from just one post. i am sure after working with you, he is quite clear that you feel this way toward him.

let me go thru this again..
you are not an instructor, you have only been training for a year get off any high horse your sitting on, your not that good yet. your post tells me that you feel an expectation for students to treat you like a full instructor. respect is earned!!! if you had earned his respect you would have had it. but you didnt earn it and now you are upset because he is not automatically giving it to you. you are making judgments on this person because he is not "doing it your way" your position in the dojo as you stated it, was to help with the kids class not to be giving instruction to adults,, yes he is an adult despite your feeling that he is younger than yourself.
your reaction to him in your sparring
I usually go pretty easy on white belts, but since he ticked me off in the last class I decided not to with him.
was completely uncalled for and made matters worse. unless you can pound him into the ground and actually DID IT, you destroyed all of your credibility and respect with him. if you had wiped the floor with him, at least he would have seen that maybe he is not so good and you are better than him,, but you didnt and my guess is that you cant. your attempt to be "tuff" came off poorly (perhaps even as a joke to him) and that is why he turned his back on you, because he was probably about to drop you for your behavior and decided to turn away instead.

ok are you still reading???
he is not innocent, i know that. it sounds like he has some issues, but he is not here writing a question about how to deal with his problems, so i am not addressing it.
if you want to learn to be an instructor you need to learn to have a relationship with people from where ever they are in their emotional growth. your relationship with this person is damaged now. the best you can do is take a step back and let him go his own way. you are both in this dojo and if you keep pressing the issue it will not work out. you both need a break from the other. so give him space and take deep breaths.
remember respect is earned. so be the type of person that people will respect. that is not found in kick **** karate but rather in kindness. you dont yell at students. you offer advise. if they dont want the advise, let it go. they will figure it out at their own pace. you cant force it. every dojo has a culture within it, remember that it takes some people longer to learn the culture and to fit in. dont ridicule others for things they learned outside or before they started training at your dojo. your not an authority on that outside knowledge to know if it is good or bad, its just different and it is up to each individual student to adapt and change. when you see something that is from outside only state that Isshin - Ryu does it it like this. dont pass judgement.

your teacher has students like yourself help with the classes not for the students instruction and growth but for yours.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I would not train under someone that has only studied their art for one year.

Then you would be making a mistake. A student who is relatively inexperienced can still demonstrate the basics that they have learned to someone who has not even gotten that far along. In fact, it can be more useful to both students, as the one teaching begins to absorb the principles of expressing what they have learned and understanding it more by so doing, and the student learning because they can express their difficulties to one who has only recently experienced the same thing.

Furthermore, you do what your sensei tells you, or you find another school. If your sensei says do what this person tells you to do, you do it.

From this guy's perspective, some other student, with one year of training is trying to teach him the art. He signed up, to learn from the instructor, not you.

I would like to see the contract that states that. I have never seen such a thing.

The instructor has given you some responsibilities, one is to check his kata. So, you check his kata and give him your thoughts. If he is smart, he will listen and apply. If not, you don't need to worry about it. If he can get the instructor to check his kata as well, it may not have been to insult you. It may have been to get the guy with the most experience to look at his kata, and get his perspective. Maybe he had a question because when you checked him you told him one thing, and another upper belt may have told him the opposite... so by getting the instructor to check, he is straightening things out.

Quite possible. The way to resolve that is for both people to speak to the instructor. Sooner rather than later. And if the instructor says "do what this person says," then again, do it; or leave.

My point here is to realize, that with one year of training, you are still more student than teacher. Him wanting advice and teaching, from the instructor directly, is why he is training there. As a martial artist, you should always want the attention and instruction from the highest rank you can find. Him not taking your advice and your tips... thats on him. You give the best advice you can, he does what he wants with it. Nothing here to stress or worry about.

That is false logic and bad information. In the military, does the recruit go to the General to get the straight scoop? No, the recruit relies upon his or her Drill Instructor. Furthermore, the DI may assign another recruit to pass on skills to other recruits. Does the recruit being taught then bypass the recruit teaching to ask the DI what's what? No, not if he or she is smart.

Now, when he is sparring and not following rules... there are safety issues that need to be addressed. As the one put in charge, its on you to work with your instructor. Let him know what is happening: hands open, head contact, crazy hip checking... Your instructor will let you know what to do. Do what he tells you. If he continues, involve your instructor immediately. If he gets hurt, or hurts someone else... its your instructor and or school that will get sued.

Correct. I agree with your assessment above.

As far as him picking up bad habits from previous book training... That is for the instructor to deal with, not a fellow student with one year of training. In other words, don't worry about it. It will only slow his progression. Same with his excuses. So long as it is not a safety issue, it will only slow him down. Not anything for you to worry about.

Agreed again.

When he stops sparring with you, to watch the black belts, thats disrespectful to you. You said that your sparring allows light to moderate contact... if my sparring partner disrespected me like that, there would be lots of "moderate" contact as he turned away. That, or you could grab another partner if someone is available, you are there to train and should be able to train.

Although I would never suggest intentionally damaging a student, heavy manners get attention. So I agree in theory.

Don't misunderstand me here. He does have issues. But you don't need to also have his issues as well. Him getting checked also by the instructor, thats him getting the best instruction he can. Him not taking your advice and or having excuses, not your problem. You did your part, the rest is on him. The bad habits / book learning... again, not your issue, don't worry about it. The safety issues when sparring, those are your issues to worry about. Involve you instructor immediately. Him turning his back to you in sparring, looks like an invitation for "moderate" contact, not a problem for you. Don't let this guy take away from your training experience.

Agreed with the general principle. However, if my sensei tells a student to take instruction from one of his volunteer instructors, that is what is going to happen, or that student is going to leave the dojo and not return until their attitude is left at the door with their shoes. My sensei gave us the responsibility to instruct in his dojo under his supervision because he trusts us to do it well. He makes it clear to the other students that if an instructor he appoints tells them to do something, they are to do it.

Bottom line - students sign up to learn martial arts in a particular dojo or studio, etc. They do not (to the best of my knowledge) sign up to train directly under the owner and no one else. If a student told me they only wanted to learn from the owner of the dojo, I would tell the owner that and let him make the decision. Based on my experience, I believe that student would adjust their attitude and expectations, or they would hit the bricks.

The founder of our style, I am told, would work only with the advanced students in his dojo. He relied upon his previously-trained students to work with the new students. He did not have enough hours in the day to teach basic stances and techniques over and over again; he worked on the advanced principles with students who had already absorbed and mastered the basics, and who had proven by endurance that they were going to stick around.

Since the overwhelming majority of students quit nearly immediately, it is a false expectation that the head instructor is going to personally teach the basics to each and every one of the new students. It's just not possible in most schools, not to mention a waste of the head instructor's time and effort.
 

Bill Mattocks

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your teacher has students like yourself help with the classes not for the students instruction and growth but for yours.

It is for both reasons. The head instructor typically does not have the time to personally teach the basics to each incoming student, and given that most students quit fairly early on, it is wasted effort if he or she does. Student instructors hone their skills by assisting with instruction (under supervision of course) and beginners get the basics, which can be taught by anyone who has a year's experience I would think.
 

wab25

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Then you would be making a mistake. A student who is relatively inexperienced can still demonstrate the basics that they have learned to someone who has not even gotten that far along. In fact, it can be more useful to both students, as the one teaching begins to absorb the principles of expressing what they have learned and understanding it more by so doing, and the student learning because they can express their difficulties to one who has only recently experienced the same thing.

Furthermore, you do what your sensei tells you, or you find another school. If your sensei says do what this person tells you to do, you do it.
I think I may not have been clear in my statement that I would not train under anyone that had only one year of training. To clarify, I would not take classes from a school, where the sensei (head instructor) had only one year of training. The instructors I train with / under all have many more than one year in their art. Now, that instructor may have any of his students teach me any thing he wants them to. Thats fine. As the student of the sensei, I recognize that he may have any number of reasons to have that student teach me that thing. Thats his choice in how he wants to transmit his art to me. As you say, as student, it is my responsibility to learn from that student, take their correction... However, I am still training under the sensei. I am not training under that student. My point was that this problem guy, may not have figured that out yet.

That is false logic and bad information. In the military, does the recruit go to the General to get the straight scoop? No, the recruit relies upon his or her Drill Instructor. Furthermore, the DI may assign another recruit to pass on skills to other recruits. Does the recruit being taught then bypass the recruit teaching to ask the DI what's what? No, not if he or she is smart.
Again, I was not clear. Absolutely, the student should learn all they can from their instructor, and any student that their instructor puts in charge of your teaching. However, given the opportunity to have the sensei work directly with me, I will take that as often as I can. If my instructor's sensei shows up, I would love to get his personal instruction as well. The trick here is that each art/system has their own culture around getting that attention. It may be that you need to line up in front, ask a question, volunteer to demonstrate, walk over and ask... Most of the systems I have trained in, the culture is open enough that you can say "Sensei, can you watch me do this?" They would be happy. Many times, if you get to know the instructors, hang out with them after/before class, listen to their stories, they become more approachable on the mat. In some places I have trained, if you line up in front, the instructor will see you more and give correction. Other places, where you line up is determined by rank, so you need to find another way. Many times, the visiting instructor has asked "Can someone show me how you do X kata?" If you want that instruction, volunteer to demonstrate X kata.

My whole point was not that the student should dismiss the teachings of the sensei appointed helper. It was that most martial artists also like to get instruction from the higher ranked instructors. Yes, you have to learn the proper way to do that, for each school/system. In this case, it seems like the guy had found the way to get that extra bit of instruction. Good for him.

As a side note, the better you learn the art from the lower ranking person, the more valuable instruction you will get from the upper ranked instructor.
 

Bill Mattocks

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As a side note, the better you learn the art from the lower ranking person, the more valuable instruction you will get from the upper ranked instructor.
Got it. I agree.

By the way, I learn a lot about my mistakes by teaching others. They imitate me. When I see them do something and say "Who taught you do to that?" and they look right at me, I go "oops." It's humbling.
 

wab25

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Got it. I agree.

By the way, I learn a lot about my mistakes by teaching others. They imitate me. When I see them do something and say "Who taught you do to that?" and they look right at me, I go "oops." It's humbling.
I figured it was my failing at English again. Sorry about that. I do agree with you, and find it very valuable both as a student and as an instructor, when the students teach each other.

Thanks for allowing me to clarify.
 

Gerry Seymour

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I haven't read all the responses yet, so others may have commented on some of the places where you could handle it better in the future. If not, I'll try to remember to post some growth thoughts for you. Things like this, from your perspective, are a good chance to grow as a person (and as a potential instructor in the future).

That said, if it was my school, I'd expect the helper in question (you, here) to bring it to me to be solved. If you were more advanced (senior student or associate instructor) I'd expect you to be able to handle it, perhaps asking for advice from me. But at your level, the chief instructor should nip this in the bud. That attitude, if allowed to continue, sets a norm that some other students will accept. That eventually causes problems with more people.

Then, once it was brought to me, I'd start with with @Steve suggested.
 

Steve

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I haven't read all the responses yet, so others may have commented on some of the places where you could handle it better in the future. If not, I'll try to remember to post some growth thoughts for you. Things like this, from your perspective, are a good chance to grow as a person (and as a potential instructor in the future).

That said, if it was my school, I'd expect the helper in question (you, here) to bring it to me to be solved. If you were more advanced (senior student or associate instructor) I'd expect you to be able to handle it, perhaps asking for advice from me. But at your level, the chief instructor should nip this in the bud. That attitude, if allowed to continue, sets a norm that some other students will accept. That eventually causes problems with more people.

Then, once it was brought to me, I'd start with with @Steve suggested.
I would thumbs up and agree if I could.

What isnt clear is what you want abd what he wants. If you want to just get rid of the guy that's easy enough. If you want to help him and yourself, and possibly develop some new skills, have to start by understanding what you really want and what he really wants.
 

hoshin1600

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Agreed with the general principle. However, if my sensei tells a student to take instruction from one of his volunteer instructors, that is what is going to happen, or that student is going to leave the dojo and not return until their attitude is left at the door with their shoes. My sensei gave us the responsibility to instruct in his dojo under his supervision because he trusts us to do it well. He makes it clear to the other students that if an instructor he appoints tells them to do something, they are to do it.
i understand what you are saying. i know the culture of a traditional dojo. but i think the one factor that may be over looked here is that in general she was not tasked to instruct adults only the kids and teens and this is an adult student. that makes a big difference to the "guy" and how her instruction is received.
 

Gerry Seymour

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I would thumbs up and agree if I could.

What isnt clear is what you want abd what he wants. If you want to just get rid of the guy that's easy enough. If you want to help him and yourself, and possibly develop some new skills, have to start by understanding what you really want and what he really wants.
And from what the OP posted, I could go either way. Which means I'd probably be best served by NOT following my instinct to toss the guy (figuratively, though literally has its merits, too), and go with your earlier suggestion.
 
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