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May 2009

52. We Shihan Sift People to Find the Humans - Part 8

"He who does not punish evil commands it to be done."  Leonardo DaVinci

I walked into the dojo and glanced across the tatami at a clump of women on the other side talking and whispering.  When they saw me the highest ranked female of the group suddenly got this guilty look on her face and the others looked scared and scattered like so many quail flushed by a bird dog before the 12 gauges open up and the hunters start smiling.

Thinking nothing of it I was later approached by one of the senior black belts who said that Ms. So & So had caused a fissure in the coherence of the players by bossing around the other females, all of whom ranked under her in kyu appointment.  After hearing the information I immediately terminated that females position in the dojo and told her to not return ............. end of story and problem or so I thought.

Within two weeks not only did the black belt who had originally told me of the issues but a second black belt also came to me.  Both had the same tale of woe ...... "She's so sorry and she didn't mean it and she doesn't want to be thrown out of the dojo and she's so sorry and she won't do it again and she promises to apologize to everyone involved and she'll do better next time and she's calling me twice a day and begging me to beg you to allow to rejoin the dojo and train again and .... and ..... and ....."; well, you get the idea.

So I relented, figuring that since I had half my senior staff in agreement that maybe I had over-reacted too quickly and that my intuition was wrong and that I was being overly judgmental and just too critical.

So, within 45 days from when I let her back on the tatami we were right back at the same juxtaposition once again except now it was worse.  This female was telling the other women in the dojo that she was the head "B" in charge and that she was #2 in the dojo and that she was sleeping with the senior black belts and that the other women had to do what she told them to do or she would have them ejected from the dojo.

She was sh-----canned immediately and then I had a conversation with the black belts about what had happened and the fact that they had allowed themselves to be duped by a crafty, devious and essentially evil person.  Looking back on it now after almost 10 years she would have been classified as having Narcisstic Personality Disorder and being a borderline psychopath.

When your intuition tells you something is wrong (or when you are presented face-to-face with clear evidence of wrong doing) and you finally figure out that something needs to be done, MAKE A DECISION AND STICK TO IT AND DON'T LOOK BACK UNLESS CONFRONTED WITH CONTRADICTORY EVIDENCE SO OVERWHELMING THAT IT SIMPLY CANNOT BE DENIED AND YOU ARE CLEARLY, CLEARLY IN THE WRONG.

Although I am normally pretty easy going and grew up with the same sets of insecurities and longing for acceptance/friends/popularity as everyone else in grade school, that set of circumstances that occured to me shortly after I opened the dojo over 10 years ago (my first on my own without working under another Sensei) was a good teaching lesson for me that taught me a lot about being proactive.  I now try my best to pass that idea on to my senior grades.

When confronted with evil BE judgemental, MAKE that hard decision, BE a "not very nice person", GO against the "politically correct" guidelines because if you don't; evil wins and what you are fighting to build will be destroyed and Budo will be lost.  You will end up with "garbage people" in your life and on your mat and as my grandmother used to teach, "If you play with sh-- then you're going to get some on you".

People won't make the hard decision either because they're afraid of what others might think of them,  "Well, you're just being judgemental and mean-spirited", or they have no self-confidence in their own ability to tell right from wrong and to act on that knowledge.  Worst yet, "people" or "pedestrians" won't even take the initiative to educate themselves and learn, preferring to sit in front of the plasma with their game-boy in hand and turn their brain into something resembling (use your imagination here).

Humans, especially those Humans who have responsibilities to themselves, their families, their jobs, their dojo and students, etc., WILL make the effort to learn and WILL make the hard choice and WILL live with the consequences if they make a mistake.

Ueshiba (and others) said that mistakes are the best teacher and that each mistake teaches us something of value and a dojo is a great place to learn this since in many, many regards it is a microcosm of the universe..

So step out there and make the decision; be a Human and not "couch-sushi".

L.F. Wilkinson Sensei
Aikibudo Kancho
Aikibudokan, Houston, TX
May 2009