How to deal with a difficult adult student?

JR 137

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I appreciate everyone's comments and suggestions. I thought I'd just make myself a little clearer on a couple points. I don't see myself as an instructor by any means, and I wouldn't even describe what I do (especially in the teen class) as teaching. I will teach the younger kids basic things but the instructors actually teach all the classes. Checking kata happens in the first 15 minutes or so of class and that's really the only thing I "teach" and I only check those on katas that I am authorized by the instructor to check and if there is some question about the kata that I'm not 100% confident I know the answer too I talk to the instructor. It's just not possible for the instructor to watch everyone's kata every class there are too many students. If they did that would be all that was done in the class. After checking I'm just helping, I make sure the kids are paying attention and not doing anything dangerous. I do circulate around the class (as does the instructor) if the other students have questions I answer them assuming once again I know the answer and if I don't I once again refer to the instructor. I'll help other students that are having trouble with a technique but I wouldn't say I teach them. By in large, I'm a hall monitor in the teen class, I walk around making sure everyone's actually practicing the techniques, make sure they're being safe, and say encouraging things. I also do administrative things like take attendance and hand out information. I don't teach, I help the class run more smoothly (and not me personally but the helpers in general).

I don't think it's unreasonable for the student to take advice from another student that's been around longer than he has. Heck, I take advice from students that have been around shorter amounts of time than I have. If someone sees that I do something when I spar that creates an exploitable pattern and they give me the heads up I'm doing it, for example, I thank them no matter what color their belt is. My dojo has a very chill friendly family vibe, especially amongst the adult students. There's not a ton of ego and we all like to help each other. Somethings come easier to some people so I've helped brown belts with things that came easier to me and white belts have helped me with things that came easier to them, no one is really hung up on rank. It's more of a "Hey, if you do X it works better." There is an expectation that you treat everyone with respect. We call each other Mr. X and Ms. Y on the floor, you bow and shake hands with anyone you've worked with.

And I point out that he has self-taught himself certain things because when it's mentioned (and not just by me) to him that we don't do X a certain way (a stance that's too long, ect) the response is from him is, "It's a habit." But he doesn't seem to be willing to break those habits. And to be frank, I don't really care if he takes my advice about his stance or his kata. The only time I really care if he listens to me is when I'm monitoring the sparring groups. In that case, I'm acting as a referee. In general, the only time I expect to be listened to without question is when it comes to safety. And I don't think that's an unreasonable expectation when part of the reason I'm there is to be a second set of eyes for the instructor to make sure everyone stays safe.

I also may have been a bit a bit hyperbolic when I said I yelled at him. More correctly I yelled to him, the room gets loud when a bunch of people are sparring and then wearing headgear on top of it and I have to be loud to be heard. I didn't even single him out the first couple times, I just made general warnings to watch head contact and close hands, when he continued I did specify him by name. My tone probably was a bit sharp when I told him not to turn his back on me but he was being rude and I didn't much feel like being overly polite.

After tonight I think whatever issues he has listening to the helpers is a bit beyond me anyway. I wasn't helping tonight but I came in a bit early to warm up and caught the tail end of the teen class that he was in. They were sparring and first the helper was reminding him to close his hands, he stopped and said he did it out of "habit." She explained that the rule was to protect him and keep him from getting his fingers broken, he rolled his eyes. Then later he was sparring a teen girl (higher ranked than he) when he stopped took out his mouthpiece and began telling her all the things she was doing wrong. The instructor (though not the head instructor, who wasn't there) stepped in at that point and told to put his mouthpiece back in and finish the round. She then pulled him aside and spoke to him. I don't think that went over very well since he seemed rather sullen during the adult class (though he still did have ton of advice for his partner during the adult class as well) and after class I was cleaning up he was putting his shoes on and I wished him a happy thanksgiving I didn't get a response he just walked away from me.
Some of these things are reasons why beginners arent allowed to spar with contact - doing unsafe things out of habit, not complying with the rules due to not knowing them or thinking theyre not reasonable, etc.

I get why some schools allow students to put gear on and spar at white belt, but IMO its a far better idea on paper than it is in practice. Free sparring requires a student to actually show respect rather than give lip service to it. Just like I said previously, respect is earned and not automatically given. This student has clearly shown he isnt demonstrating the respect hes supposed to show.

Granted, few students have this issue, and fewer have this issue to this students extent.
 

hoshin1600

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I appreciate everyone's comments and suggestions. I thought I'd just make myself a little clearer on a couple points. I don't see myself as an instructor by any means, and I wouldn't even describe what I do (especially in the teen class) as teaching. I will teach the younger kids basic things but the instructors actually teach all the classes. Checking kata happens in the first 15 minutes or so of class and that's really the only thing I "teach" and I only check those on katas that I am authorized by the instructor to check and if there is some question about the kata that I'm not 100% confident I know the answer too I talk to the instructor. It's just not possible for the instructor to watch everyone's kata every class there are too many students. If they did that would be all that was done in the class. After checking I'm just helping, I make sure the kids are paying attention and not doing anything dangerous. I do circulate around the class (as does the instructor) if the other students have questions I answer them assuming once again I know the answer and if I don't I once again refer to the instructor. I'll help other students that are having trouble with a technique but I wouldn't say I teach them. By in large, I'm a hall monitor in the teen class, I walk around making sure everyone's actually practicing the techniques, make sure they're being safe, and say encouraging things. I also do administrative things like take attendance and hand out information. I don't teach, I help the class run more smoothly (and not me personally but the helpers in general).

I don't think it's unreasonable for the student to take advice from another student that's been around longer than he has. Heck, I take advice from students that have been around shorter amounts of time than I have. If someone sees that I do something when I spar that creates an exploitable pattern and they give me the heads up I'm doing it, for example, I thank them no matter what color their belt is. My dojo has a very chill friendly family vibe, especially amongst the adult students. There's not a ton of ego and we all like to help each other. Somethings come easier to some people so I've helped brown belts with things that came easier to me and white belts have helped me with things that came easier to them, no one is really hung up on rank. It's more of a "Hey, if you do X it works better." There is an expectation that you treat everyone with respect. We call each other Mr. X and Ms. Y on the floor, you bow and shake hands with anyone you've worked with.

And I point out that he has self-taught himself certain things because when it's mentioned (and not just by me) to him that we don't do X a certain way (a stance that's too long, ect) the response is from him is, "It's a habit." But he doesn't seem to be willing to break those habits. And to be frank, I don't really care if he takes my advice about his stance or his kata. The only time I really care if he listens to me is when I'm monitoring the sparring groups. In that case, I'm acting as a referee. In general, the only time I expect to be listened to without question is when it comes to safety. And I don't think that's an unreasonable expectation when part of the reason I'm there is to be a second set of eyes for the instructor to make sure everyone stays safe.

I also may have been a bit a bit hyperbolic when I said I yelled at him. More correctly I yelled to him, the room gets loud when a bunch of people are sparring and then wearing headgear on top of it and I have to be loud to be heard. I didn't even single him out the first couple times, I just made general warnings to watch head contact and close hands, when he continued I did specify him by name. My tone probably was a bit sharp when I told him not to turn his back on me but he was being rude and I didn't much feel like being overly polite.

After tonight I think whatever issues he has listening to the helpers is a bit beyond me anyway. I wasn't helping tonight but I came in a bit early to warm up and caught the tail end of the teen class that he was in. They were sparring and first the helper was reminding him to close his hands, he stopped and said he did it out of "habit." She explained that the rule was to protect him and keep him from getting his fingers broken, he rolled his eyes. Then later he was sparring a teen girl (higher ranked than he) when he stopped took out his mouthpiece and began telling her all the things she was doing wrong. The instructor (though not the head instructor, who wasn't there) stepped in at that point and told to put his mouthpiece back in and finish the round. She then pulled him aside and spoke to him. I don't think that went over very well since he seemed rather sullen during the adult class (though he still did have ton of advice for his partner during the adult class as well) and after class I was cleaning up he was putting his shoes on and I wished him a happy thanksgiving I didn't get a response he just walked away from me.

This second post seems more muted while the first was more rant..that's ok. Ranting can be good. The question I have and maybe one you should be looking at yourself is, why does this person get under your skin so much? What is it about this person that causes you to feel the way you do? If you can figure that out you will have your answer to how to deal with difficult people.
And the other guy will figure out his own issues or he will go away.
 
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Druid11

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Some of these things are reasons why beginners arent allowed to spar with contact - doing unsafe things out of habit, not complying with the rules due to not knowing them or thinking theyre not reasonable, etc.

I get why some schools allow students to put gear on and spar at white belt, but IMO its a far better idea on paper than it is in practice. Free sparring requires a student to actually show respect rather than give lip service to it. Just like I said previously, respect is earned and not automatically given. This student has clearly shown he isnt demonstrating the respect hes supposed to show.

Granted, few students have this issue, and fewer have this issue to this students extent.

We do have a sparring authorization process where new students are taught how we spar and the student demonstrates that they can comply with the rules. So at some point, he managed to follow the rules and not fall into "habit." I will say I don't think he's wildly dangerous at least to other students. He doesn't (at least from what I've seen) throw too hard, but the head contact thing is worrisome. I guarantee he's going to get a finger caught in someone else's gear or gi and get it broken though if he doesn't start closing his hands though. I've yet to see him try the hip check move again so I'm guessing the instructor told him that I was correct in saying it was illegal in our brand of sparring.

This second post seems more muted while the first was more rant..that's ok. Ranting can be good. The question I have and maybe one you should be looking at yourself is, why does this person get under your skin so much? What is it about this person that causes you to feel the way you do? If you can figure that out you will have your answer to how to deal with difficult people.
And the other guy will figure out his own issues or he will go away.

My OP did wind up being more of a rant than I really meant it to be and probably it more than should have been. But it was a little cathartic. I agree that respect in someone's abilities needs to be earned, but I disagree that respectful behavior needs to be earned. In the real world, I deal with all sorts of people, many of whom I don't like. I work with people I don't like; I work with people I think are lazy or not great at their jobs. I still behave in a respectful manner towards them. Or perhaps a better word is courtesy. I behave in a courteous and polite manner towards them. I think that's why this kid irks me, is that he acts a bit like he's too good to display the courtesy that's common behavior around the dojo to his fellow students. Rudeness bugs me and I find him to be rude. And since the dojo is my little corner of the world where people are almost always polite and courteous I think the fact that rudeness has invaded it bugs me more than it otherwise might. And I also have a large amount of respect towards my head instructor, and part of me feels like when this guy isn't respectful of the system in which dojo runs that he's being disrespectful of our instructor since he designed the system, and that also really bothers me. Does that make any sense?

I don't know if I came across like I expect this guy to have respect for me because I help. I don't really. I expect him to behave in a respectful manner towards me and the other students. He can think whatever he wants about me and my abilities. And I'm far from the world greatest martial artist. If I give him advice he's free to ignore it, but I expect him to be polite about it.
 

Gerry Seymour

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This second post seems more muted while the first was more rant..that's ok. Ranting can be good. The question I have and maybe one you should be looking at yourself is, why does this person get under your skin so much? What is it about this person that causes you to feel the way you do? If you can figure that out you will have your answer to how to deal with difficult people.
And the other guy will figure out his own issues or he will go away.
To the OP: This was the gist of what I was going to suggest. While there's definitely a problem for the student in question, there's a chance here for you to learn for yourself. Instead of this being a problem, let it be another new thing to work on in your MA training. How you respond to this guy affects both his response (to a lesser extent), how others perceive the situation (to a moderate extent), and how you feel about the situation and yourself in it (to a greater extent).
 

JR 137

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To the OP: This was the gist of what I was going to suggest. While there's definitely a problem for the student in question, there's a chance here for you to learn for yourself. Instead of this being a problem, let it be another new thing to work on in your MA training. How you respond to this guy affects both his response (to a lesser extent), how others perceive the situation (to a moderate extent), and how you feel about the situation and yourself in it (to a greater extent).
Well said. Thats what I was thinking, but you put it better than I did.
 

Anarax

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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.

If I give someone directions on the best driving route and they don't take it I don't get offended. People are complex and have their own motivations for doing things, sometimes that can be misinterpreted as disrespectful. I'm speaking from experience, try and see it from their point of view. Him wanting to have the instructor inspect his form is perfectly fine, it's doesn't sound like he approached the instructor to see his form just to disrespect you.

Implying that his disrespect stems from or is motivated by sexism is a bit presumptuous. Maybe he doesn't like someone with a year experience yelling at him and telling him what to do.

With all due respect, you're a "helper" with a year experience. I'm not belittling your role, but I think some perspective will help bring some clarity to your problem. Your instructor should've handled this matter. Having to deal with students like this is something your instructor should have taught you before giving you the responsibility.
 

Gerry Seymour

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If I give someone directions on the best driving route and they don't take it I don't get offended. People are complex and have their own motivations for doing things, sometimes that can be misinterpreted as disrespectful. I'm speaking from experience, try and see it from their point of view. Him wanting to have the instructor inspect his form is perfectly fine, it's doesn't sound like he approached the instructor to see his form just to disrespect you.

Implying that his disrespect stems from or is motivated by sexism is a bit presumptuous. Maybe he doesn't like someone with a year experience yelling at him and telling him what to do.

With all due respect, you're a "helper" with a year experience. I'm not belittling your role, but I think some perspective will help bring some clarity to your problem. Your instructor should've handled this matter. Having to deal with students like this is something your instructor should have taught you before giving you the responsibility.
The gist of your post is true enough, but refusing to make corrections that are given to the group and individually, then turning his back and walking away - thats attitude, and does show disrespect (the latter shows active disrespect, rather than a lack of respect).
 
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Druid11

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If I give someone directions on the best driving route and they don't take it I don't get offended. People are complex and have their own motivations for doing things, sometimes that can be misinterpreted as disrespectful. I'm speaking from experience, try and see it from their point of view. Him wanting to have the instructor inspect his form is perfectly fine, it's doesn't sound like he approached the instructor to see his form just to disrespect you.

Implying that his disrespect stems from or is motivated by sexism is a bit presumptuous. Maybe he doesn't like someone with a year experience yelling at him and telling him what to do.

With all due respect, you're a "helper" with a year experience. I'm not belittling your role, but I think some perspective will help bring some clarity to your problem. Your instructor should've handled this matter. Having to deal with students like this is something your instructor should have taught you before giving you the responsibility.

Checking means something fairly specific in our dojo. It means a higher ranked belt who has been authorized to check watches the kata, gives feedback corrects any mistakes and possibly teaches more of the kata, and this happens once a day no matter how many classes you take in that day. Going up to an instructor and saying, "I have a question about the kata," or "Or could you watch my kata because I think I'm having trouble with a section," is totally cool. They might do it after class not to take class time, but I none of the instructors would say no. When this guy asked to be checked, he was telling the instructor no one had looked at his kata at all and no one had given him any new moves. The kids try and pull this sometimes because they want to be further in the kata than their friends. I'm not sure exactly what this guys motivation was, either he didn't think I taught him enough new material or he assumed I taught him wrong or something else, I don't know. Either way, it felt a bit disrespectful to imply that our interaction never happened and that I hadn't done my job in the last class. And no one is guaranteed to be checked by the instructor every class except black belts (because no one else can), though when the class is a bit smaller the instructor will often check the entire class or if there is one person they specifically want to see their kata for some reason they will check them first before anyone else gets a chance to. It wasn't that he wanted an instructor to watch his kata that bothered me, it was that he thought he was special and that the rules of how the dojo runs didn't apply to him.

I honestly don't know if this guy's problem is that I'm a woman or that I'm older than him or something else (though I'm in my early thirties it's not like I could be his mom or anything). I have noticed that he seems to have less of a problem with the male helpers, but to be fair most of them (but not all) are a rank or two above me. I have personally witnessed him be rude to the other similar ranked female helpers and the incident the other night happened was when a female instructor was teaching. I don't know if that's just coincidence or something else.

I've had conversations with my instructor about how to deal with difficult or defiant children, but since it's not typically an issue (before this guy) with the adults we've never discussed it. And to be perfectly honest if this guy has such an issue being told what to do by someone of my rank, then all he really has to do is come to the adult class and not the teen class. There usually aren't helpers at all and he's more likely to be checked by an instructor (though not guaranteed).
 
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lklawson

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I also may have been a bit a bit hyperbolic when I said I yelled at him. More correctly I yelled to him, the room gets loud when a bunch of people are sparring and then wearing headgear on top of it and I have to be loud to be heard. I didn't even single him out the first couple times, I just made general warnings to watch head contact and close hands, when he continued I did specify him by name. My tone probably was a bit sharp when I told him not to turn his back on me but he was being rude and I didn't much feel like being overly polite.

After tonight I think whatever issues he has listening to the helpers is a bit beyond me anyway. I wasn't helping tonight but I came in a bit early to warm up and caught the tail end of the teen class that he was in. They were sparring and first the helper was reminding him to close his hands, he stopped and said he did it out of "habit." She explained that the rule was to protect him and keep him from getting his fingers broken, he rolled his eyes. Then later he was sparring a teen girl (higher ranked than he) when he stopped took out his mouthpiece and began telling her all the things she was doing wrong. The instructor (though not the head instructor, who wasn't there) stepped in at that point and told to put his mouthpiece back in and finish the round. She then pulled him aside and spoke to him. I don't think that went over very well since he seemed rather sullen during the adult class (though he still did have ton of advice for his partner during the adult class as well) and after class I was cleaning up he was putting his shoes on and I wished him a happy thanksgiving I didn't get a response he just walked away from me.
So it still sounds as if he's young and full of beans. That's not uncommon for young men.

Again, just keep doing your thang. Be better. If it pisses you off that much, don't spar with him and generally avoid him. If he's really as unskilled and bloviating as you write then soon enough he'll have a reputation for it in the club. No one but upper belts will work with him and everyone else will avoid him. Again, he'll either figure out that he's not as hot-stuff as he thinks and to STFU and listen instead of thinking he can teach, or... his ego won't suffer it and he'll leave.

In any case, it's not something you have to worry overmuch about. Just keep being better than you were before. If he irritates you when sparring, just ignore his advice and don't bother giving any because you know he'll ignore it. If he REALLY irritates you, just avoid him as much as you are permitted to do so.

He is NOT your problem. Don't make it so that he is.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

JR 137

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Checking means something fairly specific in our dojo. It means a higher ranked belt who has been authorized to check watches the kata, gives feedback corrects any mistakes and possibly teaches more of the kata, and this happens once a day no matter how many classes you take in that day. Going up to an instructor and saying, "I have a question about the kata," or "Or could you watch my kata because I think I'm having trouble with a section," is totally cool. They might do it after class not to take class time, but I none of the instructors would say no. When this guy asked to be checked, he was telling the instructor no one had looked at his kata at all and no one had given him any new moves. The kids try and pull this sometimes because they want to be further in the kata than their friends. I'm not sure exactly what this guys motivation was, either he didn't think I taught him enough new material or he assumed I taught him wrong or something else, I don't know. Either way, it felt a bit disrespectful to imply that our interaction never happened and that I hadn't done my job in the last class. And no one is guaranteed to be checked by the instructor every class except black belts (because no one else can), though when the class is a bit smaller the instructor will often check the entire class or if there is one person they specifically want to see their kata for some reason they will check them first before anyone else gets a chance to. It wasn't that he wanted an instructor to watch his kata that bothered me, it was that he thought he was special and that the rules of how the dojo runs didn't apply to him.

I honestly don't know if this guy's problem is that I'm a woman or that I'm older than him or something else (though I'm in my early thirties it's not like I could be his mom or anything). I have noticed that he seems to have less of a problem with the male helpers, but to be fair most of them (but not all) are a rank or two above me. I have personally witnessed him be rude to the other similar ranked female helpers and the incident the other night happened was when a female instructor was teaching. I don't know if that's just coincidence or something else.

I've had conversations with my instructor about how to deal with difficult or defiant children, but since it's not typically an issue (before this guy) with the adults we've never discussed it. And to be perfectly honest if this guy has such an issue being told what to do by someone of my rank, then all he really has to do is come to the adult class and not the teen class. There usually aren't helpers at all and he's more likely to be checked by an instructor (though not guaranteed).
It seems that one way or another itll work itself out. Either hell eventually understand how the dojo works or hell leave. I wouldnt give it the energy youre giving it. Say what you need to say in a minimal and civil manner and go on doing your own thing. If he gets rude, walk away and let the CI know before it escalates. Going back and forth with him isnt worth your time and energy.
 

lklawson

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I honestly don't know if this guy's problem is that I'm a woman or that I'm older than him or something else (though I'm in my early thirties it's not like I could be his mom or anything). I have noticed that he seems to have less of a problem with the male helpers, but to be fair most of them (but not all) are a rank or two above me. I have personally witnessed him be rude to the other similar ranked female helpers and the incident the other night happened was when a female instructor was teaching. I don't know if that's just coincidence or something else.
You are taking this personally. I know it feels personal, but it isn't.

If everything is as you have written, then he's just young and full of beans. He needs his butt handed to him a few times and to have a couple of years added to his life to sort it out.

I know it feels insulting, but he's not being specific to you. It's everyone.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

lklawson

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I guarantee he's going to get a finger caught in someone else's gear or gi and get it broken though if he doesn't start closing his hands though.
Sometimes you have to let them burn themselves on the hot stove.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

JR 137

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Sometimes you have to let them burn themselves on the hot stove.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
That reminds me of a part in Jeff Foxworthys early stand up routine. He was talking about baby proofing his house, and it was along these lines...

No need to secure things down. Let that there TV fall on his head once or twice and hell get it. And if he dont learn that lesson, he sure as hell aint going to learn it any other way either.
 

Anarax

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The gist of your post is true enough, but refusing to make corrections that are given to the group and individually, then turning his back and walking away - thats attitude, and does show disrespect (the latter shows active disrespect, rather than a lack of respect).

Him turning his back is disrespectful, but not everything she mentioned was disrespectful. She seems to have a disdain(somewhat justified) for him, thus it's easy to interpret most if not all things he does as disrespectful, even when it's not. Yelling at him will only worsen the situation, not improve it.
 

Anarax

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Checking means something fairly specific in our dojo. It means a higher ranked belt who has been authorized to check watches the kata, gives feedback corrects any mistakes and possibly teaches more of the kata, and this happens once a day no matter how many classes you take in that day. Going up to an instructor and saying, "I have a question about the kata," or "Or could you watch my kata because I think I'm having trouble with a section," is totally cool. They might do it after class not to take class time, but I none of the instructors would say no. When this guy asked to be checked, he was telling the instructor no one had looked at his kata at all and no one had given him any new moves. The kids try and pull this sometimes because they want to be further in the kata than their friends. I'm not sure exactly what this guys motivation was, either he didn't think I taught him enough new material or he assumed I taught him wrong or something else, I don't know. Either way, it felt a bit disrespectful to imply that our interaction never happened and that I hadn't done my job in the last class. And no one is guaranteed to be checked by the instructor every class except black belts (because no one else can), though when the class is a bit smaller the instructor will often check the entire class or if there is one person they specifically want to see their kata for some reason they will check them first before anyone else gets a chance to. It wasn't that he wanted an instructor to watch his kata that bothered me, it was that he thought he was special and that the rules of how the dojo runs didn't apply to him.

I honestly don't know if this guy's problem is that I'm a woman or that I'm older than him or something else (though I'm in my early thirties it's not like I could be his mom or anything). I have noticed that he seems to have less of a problem with the male helpers, but to be fair most of them (but not all) are a rank or two above me. I have personally witnessed him be rude to the other similar ranked female helpers and the incident the other night happened was when a female instructor was teaching. I don't know if that's just coincidence or something else.

I've had conversations with my instructor about how to deal with difficult or defiant children, but since it's not typically an issue (before this guy) with the adults we've never discussed it. And to be perfectly honest if this guy has such an issue being told what to do by someone of my rank, then all he really has to do is come to the adult class and not the teen class. There usually aren't helpers at all and he's more likely to be checked by an instructor (though not guaranteed).

Are you sure he completely understands the dynamics of checking and the role of helpers? A lot if it might stem from ignorance
 

Gerry Seymour

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Him turning his back is disrespectful, but not everything she mentioned was disrespectful. She seems to have a disdain(somewhat justified) for him, thus it's easy to interpret most if not all things he does as disrespectful, even when it's not. Yelling at him will only worsen the situation, not improve it.
Agreed. The yelling she later explained, and I'd imagine under emotions (as with most of us) she gets louder and the pitch raises, so it comes across differently than just talking over the noise.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Are you sure he completely understands the dynamics of checking and the role of helpers? A lot if it might stem from ignorance
That was my point earlier. There are times I catch myself assuming a new person understands the point of something, or the roles of everyone in the room.
 

Brian King

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Druid11,
Thank you for starting this thread! This has been an enjoyable thread to read (sorry to take enjoyment at your bad experience Druid11) but some really good replies and discussions and a great part of that is thanks to your follow up posts and the tone of them Druid11. Hat tip to you and all.

What a wonderful opportunity you are being given and experiencing. It is the difficult times, the difficult people, and the difficult circumstances that often teach the deepest more valuable lessons. What was a simple routine kata check and lesson maybe evolved into a valuable life lesson/mirror into your own psyche?

How to deal with difficult students? A couple of things come to mind. The first is to adjust your own perspective if possible to keep things from getting personal and to try to make the circumstance (no matter how unpleasant) a win for you and hopefully the others involved. Realize that some lessons are for you and some are for others, for example, your Kata check with this young man was supposed to be a lesson for him yet is turning out to be a lesson for you. (WIN)

Something else that helps me deal with difficult people is to remember is that EVERYONE is fighting a battle of some kind and remembering this I try to give them some grace- even should disciplining or beating them be needed at the time. In the case of this thread, it sounds like the young man has women authority issues. That battle is going to be tough for him and life will be much more unpleasant until he learns to adjust his attitude. You might be able to help with this and might not. That is OK, it is his battle not yours.

A quiet private word is often more effective that public yelling. Women have the reputation for being more in touch with their emotions in our societies. A yelling woman can be seen as out of control emotionally while a yelling male is seen as angry and possibly out of control. Yelling can get attention but it is almost never positive attention.

Did you know that a male turning his back on a female during an argument/conflict is often a subconscious protective tool. That when heart rate raises to a high level and the sympathetic nervous system activates humans will want to fight, flee, or freeze. Their body and brain go into chemical responses and reactions will often go to auto-programming. For males this sympathetic nervous system need to fight will be very powerful, but rather than fight they turn and avoid the conflict. It is a safety to keep from fighting and injuring the other person. It often has to be trained out of military recruits. They will avoid until their heart rate decreases and the para-sympathetic nervous system re-activates. During a hard sparring, where the young man is not allowed to use his physical strength, where another student is deliberately trying to publically humiliate him could I think bring about this sort of reaction. Now maybe the young man turning his back was deliberate and meant to be disrespectful. OK, then the lesson was for you to learn. For example, how did it make you feel, what emotions did it bring up, how did you deal with those emotions at that very second then how did you deal with them later? Did you want to kick the back of his head in or stomp his knee- if so how did that feel and where did it come from. Were you embarrassed or self-conscious?

For many it is often a tool to give a little beating while sparring and training. For the student who hits others too hard or throws aggressively, there is a temptation for some to return the same medicine. For some shown disrespect to pound the respect into the ungrateful disrespectful offender. I would caution against this. It can work and has worked in the past but I suspect that more often it gave the lesson that it is OK to hit harder and throw aggressively but that they could not yet. That it is OK to beat deliberately on lower ranks for their own good. An instructor/helper needs to be mindful of the lessons caught (by the person being taught, those others that might be observing the interaction, and the one giving the lesson). I have found that lighthearted smiling while denying the other of scoring, winning gets their emotions and efforts raised. Their emptions rise; there effort increases often-gaining control of them. While this is happening inside of them, they see and feel me enjoying the playing and interaction. This playfulness often gets the lesson inside that there might be a different way than they are used to using. It gives them something to puzzle on, to contemplate, and to work on. Especially when even while playing you can put some honesty into the contact.

Kindest Regards
Brian King
 
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