There are some real assholes in the dojos here. Yesterday I was so over the top angry.

At Shimpukan I was getting ready to practice when I noticed that my shinai had a huge crack in it. That's ok, I've got another one. I had a quick look at that one too, and oh wow, one of the bamboo blades was split right down the centre. So I quickly sat down and started taking them apart to make a good shinai out of parts from both broken shinai (it really sucks that I need the big handled shinai, otherwise I'd just borrow one).

So as I was taking the second shinai apart the leather grip wouldn't quite come off (the last 1cm or so), and after trying for 5 minutes to get it off, I asked Grumpy sensei (practice hadn't started yet) if he had a tool at the dojo to take it off (like pliers). For some unknown reason he got really angry, took the shinai out of my hands, sat down, and started trying to take the grip off himself, in exactly the same way as I had just done. This went on for a while, someone else asked if they could try, and Grumpy pretty much just growled at him. Then he got up and took my shinai somewhere, and put water on the handle to make it wet.

All that did was make it even harder to take off, as the leather seemed to shrink. All this time he was glaring at people and grumbling. And Kotomi was looking quite worried. He eventually managed to get the grip off, which he then put on the ground to go and do something else. I then went about getting the good bamboo blades from both shinai together and started setting it up... when Grumpy apprears again and literally grabs it out of my hands and starts trying to set it up himself. Now, I can fix shinais very well. I've broken a few in Japan now, and every time I've fixed them well.

So I'm sitting there fuming and angry. He's making a mess of it and taking way too long, talking (grumbling) in Japanese. Eventually, somehow, he went of to do some training, and I was able to fix the shinai myself. I wanted to hit someone.

And this sort of thing happens a lot, not just with Grumpy, but with other people too. At one point the strings on my men got tangled and I unthreaded them from the top of the men to set it up properly when someone came along and grabed my men and did it for me, as if I was completely stupid. Same with my hakama, Grumpy once grabbed it off me as I was folding it and proceeded to make a complete mess of it trying to show me how to fold it (he completely missed the folds that were already there, and I had to take it apart at home to refold it).

I think some people see me as a baka gajin (stupid foreigner).

And then there are people EVERYWHERE who tell me what I should do, or change, in my kendo. Don't stamp... you're not stamping enough. Move forward more... don't move forward. Hit harder... don't hit so hard. I don't mind this coming from teachers. All I say is "hai" and try to do what they told me. But when it comes from people who are at my level (or lower even), and when it conflicts with what I was taught in New Zealand, and by teachers here, I get really pissed.

But of course I'm polite about it. There is no easy way to tell people to shut up and go away in Japan. Or anywhere else for that matter.

I'm sorry if I've ever done any of these things to other people.

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