Friday night was a quiet night. I had to work late so I was running ten minutes late. As I'm entering the dojo, two of our senior people are leaving the dojo. Those two students often look for excuses to bail on class. Although disappointed, I wasn't shocked to see them leaving.
Since another senior student showed up with me, the two of us took the mat as an open mat night. I won't bail on practice just because a class is lightly attended. Another minute or two and another student showed. Richard. Since he was planning to test at the next test we ran him through his 4th kyu test.
It seemed like he really was picking things up. Whenever possible I was showing him Sensei Mulligan's way of doing techniques. There was one way of doing a technique that the other student was showing that I majorly disagreed with. However, so as to not confuse Richard and since the other guy is higher rank than I, I kept my mouth shut on the mat. He was teaching it that way because he saw it from another instructor. I've seen it that way. I've also seen other variations. The variation he was doing requires you use a bit of strength. I'd call it a valid way of doing things but not the version I'd learn for a test.
Glad I stayed on the mat but I do have to say that I didn't even come close to breaking a sweat. I'm out of shape so that's saying something. There were three of us taking turns. Richard is still learning, so working with him is easy. The other guy never finishes a technique so working with him is no sweat either. He'll almost do a technique and then disappear. He once told me that he thought it was rude to practice with more intent(not his words but that's the gist). I find this attitude ridiculous.
There was one technique that Richard was
resisting. Although no real damage was occurring, I kept the control on
him. The senior student was suggesting I back off. I suggested that
Richard learn to take proper ukemi and keep himself safe. However, I would never crank him
bad enough to injure him during a practice regardless. I have no qualms about watching uke inflict pain on himself because he's resisting.
I might be totally wrong but in his case I think the senior student lacks confidence in his own ukemi and ends up projecting that unto others. This is why he backs off. He figures no one can handle it.
A long time ago, when I wanted to take my first breakfall. It was a late Monday night in the Salem dojo. I was taking ukemi for kotagasehi and was in class with a bunch of black belts. I was maybe a 5th kyu at the time. I stood there half bending when my nage looked at me and said, "Yes, breakfalls can look scary". My pause wasn't out of fear of getting hurt in a breakfall. I was thinking, trying to figure out how to move my body for a proper fall. Later on after many years I found out that this person didn't love breakfalls. They were putting their feelings on to me. Luckily I'm not easily suggestible. I ignored the comment and attempted a breakfall.
Because of my experiences, I don't tell new students that this is scary or it's going to hurt or whatever. In reality, I don't know what they are going to feel. I also don't back off so far that the technique is gone.
The best I can do is to try and do the best technique I can for them to feel and follow (for what their ukemi level will allow.)