The "control", or lack of, by some the folks teaching out there is more than a pet peeve of mine.
I've been to a lot of seminars and visited quite a number of dojos/studios/kwoons/gyms or what have you. (Yes. Mike not as much recently.) I posted some of my thoughts before about how to "safely" visit or attend a seminar before and won't rehash much of it again.
First of all, do some research about the instructor. Travel enough in the MA circles, you'll hear the stories. Pay attention. There are some good, well intentioned folks out there we can all learn from. But there are definitely some sicko's too. I don't care how talented they are... Don't go. Don't visit. If you do, stay back and be real low key and still accept you may be taking a risk. Frankly, some of these sicko's aren't interested in teaching more than they are in using someone to bolster their expansive egos and, perhaps, satisfy a dark need to hurt someone. Don't be that someone... unless you are one of those sicko's that need to be affiliated with the other sicko even if it means getting hurt or maimed...
I remember an Ellis Amdur column in Aikido Journal about the late Donn Draeger. Draeger was well respected way back when and was one of the few early "gajins" accepted into some of the traditional training halls. He obviously aroused the animosity of some of the sicko's as well... He was invited to train at an aikido dojo. The sensei invited Dreagar to be uke for a technique. This was/is generally considered an honor -- to feel the sensei's technique firsthand. Draeger was, however, not feeling quite right about it. The sensei assured him that he would do the technique slow. Draeger aquiesced. A mistake in not trusting his own intuition. The sensei performed an elbow lock with full speed, power and the dropping of weight onto Dreager's elbow. As Draeger reported to Amdur, his elbow was never the same again...
Also realize that the damage inflicted may not be just physical but psychological as well. Personally, early on in my training, I have try to develop the mindset that I will not go without a fight. I may not win but I will do my best to hurt if not take any sonofabitch with me to hell that tries to hurt me intentionally. So think about it... You take ukemi -- which by definition requires cooperation
-- for some sicko. He hurts you as a result and you didn't even put a fight. For me, that would just not be acceptable and goes against the grain that I've been polishing. If I were not hurt, I would feel compelled to fight the SOB right then and there. And, if I were not capable, there would have to be another time and place. I will simply not accept nor suffer the setback to my own spirit/mindset. ( No lectures please. This is who I am.
) My approach to avoiding this whole mess altogether is simply to do my research and to avoid training with such folks from the get go.
[This message has been edited by david (edited December 15, 2000).]