On Wednesday, I had some trouble focusing in class. I'm not sure what was the matter with me; perhaps it was just an off day. I don't have many of those, so I suppose I might have been due for one. Anyway, for whatever reason I was having trouble staying on task...and I couldn't shake it off.
This went on until the end of the first class, which is the class that I usually help Sensei teach because of its size. Afterward, I felt like I was more in the zone. I was sure that I was ready for the 6:30 class.
Well, 6:30 had a lot more people in it than 5:30 did. It kind of threw me for a loop because usually 5:30 is the larger class. Not only were there more people, but there were two complete beginners that required my full attention during striking practice and one slightly more advanced student that I could tell REALLY didn't want to be there.
It was very difficult to get said student to cooperate with me, and since he was working with one of the new students, they kind of fed off of each other and ended up getting very off-task. If I wasn't watching them constantly, they would trip each other and play around, like children do. It could've been dangerous to the other students. I told them this, but they only obeyed when I was watching.
Eventually, I had to help two other students who were having notable trouble with what we were teaching (osoto gari), and leave the other two alone. I hadn't been watching these students because Sensei had been working with them and I had been working with mine. When Sensei moved on to help another pair, I noticed that the older student, whom I could tell also didn't really want to be there, was being unnecessarily rough with the younger one. When I went over and told him to be a little more gentle, he said,
"But Sensei said this is how we're supposed to do it." And then he shoved his hand into the other student's face. I could tell that the younger student didn't know what to do to block the motion, so I told him to put his hand in front of his face so that the older student wouldn't hurt him, but the older student kept on doing it, before the younger student could protect himself.
Again I told him to be gentle and not hurt his partner. I even gave him an alternative. You don't have to push your opponent's face when you're doing osoto gari. You can push their shoulder instead and still sweep them all the same. I suggested this to him and he got very distressed and said,
"But Sensei said this is how you're supposed to do it! And I want to do it how Sensei showed me!"
I didn't know what to do because I'm not Sensei, I'm Becky. When it comes down to it, I'm only a senior student. Sensei has the final say in all techniques and situations. It kind of really hurt me when my classmate wouldn't listen to me because I'm not Sensei, but I suppose it shouldn't have surprised me. He was frustrated and didn't want to be in class, so that didn't help matters, but even so, he should've been more careful and respectful of his classmate.
Since I didn't know what to do, I asked Sensei to work with them and went back to work with my other younger classmates. I'd never been confronted with a situation like that before, where my friend wouldn't listen to me. It upset me, obviously, or I wouldn't be writing about it. It was just an off-day.
Anyway, I think I did the right thing asking Sensei to work with them. I was starting to become frustrated and when that happens, I'm at risk for saying things that are counterproductive and mean. As a senior student, I want to help the little ones, so I want to encourage and build them up as much as I can. It was just an off day, I guess.
I'm sure things will go back to being fine by the next class.