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 Post subject: Coming back on the floor
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 7:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2002 6:01 am
Posts: 2714
So every now and again we get someone who drops by the dojo to train.

Somtimes it is a high ranking somebody who is in town for a short while.
Sometimes it is one of our own students that we haven't seen for months or years.
And every now and again - it is someone who used to train Uechi someplace else many years ago and is thinking about training again.

I'm curious as to how folks who have encountered these various types of folks handle it. And specifically liability issues, if any.

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 Post subject: Face Conditioning
PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 6:36 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 1998 6:01 am
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Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Dana:

Taking your liability issue first, in many states anyone holding themselves out to have some skill and knowledge in Uechi, who drops by to train in Uechi, would have a fairly high assumption of the risk hurdle to clear if they are injured in a class. This assumes that no one is the class is acting recklessly or is intentionally trying to hurt the visitor. As a guest in your dojo, you will owe the person a duty of care, but the duty presumes reasonable conduct on your part within the confines of the activity. Someone dropping by a gym for a pickup game of basketball would have a similarly high assumption of the risk hurdle to clear if they were hurt while playing hoops. It is my understanding, however, that some states have done away with the notion of assumption of the risk, so be sure and check to see what the standard of care is in your locality, and what you need to do to act reasonably. In California, courts have found that a judo black belt failed to meet the standard of care when he was too forceful with a beginner. You can google the topic for your state, or use FindLaw to check and see if there is any case law in your locality involving martial arts instruction.

As to the experiences, pretty much had them all. Some were amusing, some were educational, some were scary, and some were simply bizarre. I have had one "master" stop my class to lecture about why he was so good and how the stripes on his belt indicated he was a very high rank and what he would teach my class if they joined his dojo. He also refused to demonstrate any kata, because I wouldn't understand his interpretation.

I have had folks who have tried to shake off the rust who discovered that arm conditioning tends to fade over the years. Others who just wanted to spar, and had no control and ended up hurting the black belts they were working with because the black belt was trying to watch out for the returnee.

I have had foreign visitors who expectations of what the class should be and my teaching style didn't exactly mesh. I have also had the mystic visitors, whose ki, chi, psychic powers apparently weren't working that evening. I have had ninjas, kung fu fighters, boxers, and any other manner of martial artist who wanted to try a class. Following up with one of these folks, I was told Uechi was too extreme a style. (We don't wear pads in my class, except for the knuckles.)

I have had folks from other styles tell me my karate is too hard, and folks from other Uechi schools wondering where the heck I get all this soft sticky technique. Most of the people who are returning want to show me what they know, and perhaps get validation for their prior training. Most of the high ranks (with the one exception noted above) just want to work out, and generally need to be cajoled into leading any part of the class.

I welcome the visitors. I think it’s great to have my San Chin checked by someone new. I love the interactions, whether they be humorous or educational. But most of all, I welcome the family. Not to wax too poetic, but there was a time when the patch on one’s gi didn’t matter to anyone doing Uechi. We were family. Uechi brothers and sisters born of hours and sweat and training on dojo, gym, patio and garage floors. We didn’t need to know too much about one another, other than we trained and we did San Chin. For many of us, the ties and bonds we have created through Uechi have also sustained us through the ups and downs of life. The truly wonderful aspects of martial arts are not so much in the infrequent use of it to defend oneself, but more in the character the training demands we polish, the spirit it demands we forge, and camaraderie it fosters among us.

This sense of family many of us still have is why most of us have a welcome mat out for anyone who has done, is doing, or would like to do Uechi. I love having visitors, and hope you will come back this way soon.

Peace
Robb in Sacramento


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:25 pm 
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Robb, thank you for such a wonderful post. Happy holidays to you and yours and hope to see you in the new year.

all the best,
Dana

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 Post subject: Great post Rob...
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2006 5:07 pm 
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Location: Mount Dora, Florida
I may use it as a lead article for the home page. :)

As part of walking into our dojo, all visitors must sign a waiver, made up by our attorney.

No big deal. I just explain our insurance policy requires all visitors (who work out that is) sign our waiver.

So far, all have signed with no problem.

If someone refused to sign it, they would not be allowed to work out.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 5:09 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 23, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 1509
Location: on the path.
That sounds fair to me, because I have a fair idea of what to expect in the typical Uechi workout.

But to the un-initiated, in any martial arts, they might think that "sign the waiver" means "we can wail on you, and you are without recourse if injured."

You have to bear in mind the mindset of people with no prior MA training. The waiver is good for the Dojo, but had I been asked to sign one when I began training, I might have been apprehensive, and passed on signing up.
Waivers come across like warnings.

Ideally, curious students could watch a class or two for free, and THEN sign the waiver if they want to begin.

For the record, I was never asked to sign a waiver. I was asked to list any medical/physical-conditions on my membership form.
That was it.

~N~

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 1:22 pm 
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The waiver is also to protect the dojo from liability. Here in DC nobody has ever paused over the waiver. We're just surrounded by liability discussions and very few people here haven't already signed 20 or so for themselves or their kids by the time they come to us.

The biggest barrier we find is time and in particular drive-time to the dojo after work. Folks want to come and train at so many different times. We offer classes 4 times a week. MTR from 8-9:30pm and Saturday from 12:00-1:30. But even with all those classes we still run into people who tell us they can only make one a week. And in my experience - most of the folks who come once a week get discouraged quickly and don't come for long. But you never know - so we invite them to join after telling them what may happen - and we see how it goes.

We require everyone, adult or child to watch a full class before they can submit an application to join. We've had a few people not join after watching class because of the level of contact they observed. And I know very well that we are not on the extreme end of the Uechi world when it comes to the contact we allow in the dojo. But that's still much more contact than some folks have ever seen.

But 99% of the Uechi black belt that come to visit call ahead of time and only rarely are they folks that nobody at the dojo has met or heard of before.

What is really my greatest concern is when a black belt of some kind who has been off the floor for a good long while shows up at a class. Because I've seen more than one of them tweak the hamstring by letting their body kick the way it remembers without first checking to see if they've still got enough stretch to do it.

So then their first workout back...they've pulled a muscle and that means they didn't have a good time...and they're gone again.

And so with the new year coming around...we'll see what comes. I hope some of our former students decide to come back and join us on the floor - and I hope we can get them warmed up and stretched out enough to avoid injuries.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:40 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 23, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 1509
Location: on the path.
Wise words. It reminds us all that the skills and abilities we work so hard to attain can atrophy quickly, and whatever belt we have requires constant, regular workouts to just maintain, never mind progress.

Even during a week or two off, say during the summer when Sensei is on vacation, or over the Holidays, we would be wise to maintain any private regimen we can, to avoid getting tight or stiff and injuring ourselves over a New Years' resolution!

~N~

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