PDA

View Full Version : Rank: Out with the old in with the new?


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Buck
10-19-2008, 09:57 AM
I have heard there is discussion in one style of Aikido to change out their old ranking system for a new one? They would drop the (what I call the judo ladder of rank) for a revised one with less colors, or blocks of colors for kyu ranks or something like that.

This is not an individual dojo, but the whole system from what I am told. If this is true then is kyu ranking all that important. In light of the old judo ladder system where there are no ranks before black belt.

The judo ladder system does reward, and motivate for reaching short term goals, and having an eye on the long term big prize. It helps keeps students going to the dojo. So does revising the ranking system into a different ladder or blocks really have a significance on performance. Or shouldn't students like in the old ranking system or sports work to make the "team" (performance) without incremental motivators.

O'Sensei didn't go through the judo-ladder system under his teachers. Would an Aikidoka's performance and drive improve without the baby steps ranking system, O'Sensei did fine. Is the current kyu ranking system in need of an over-haul?

Buck
10-19-2008, 11:01 AM
I think this is a better way, would losing or changing the current kyu system be better for Aikido, would it hurt it, or do nothing at all? Skip the oramentation of rank and just test, for instance.

Mark Uttech
10-19-2008, 11:46 AM
Onegaishimasu. Forwhat it's worth, O Sensei wore a white belt his whole life.

In gassho,

Mark

Flintstone
10-19-2008, 12:50 PM
Onegaishimasu. Forwhat it's worth, O Sensei wore a white belt his whole life.
Is this true? Where did you get the info?

Thanks!

Buck
10-19-2008, 01:30 PM
Ah perhaps, it is a rumor, ya hear things all the time. As I deem it as a rumor I don't feel very comfortable citing the source, ya know, no need to start a mess. Maybe I should have said figuratively X style .... and what if they changed the ranking system would that be an effective or destructive, or would there be any effect at all.

If you alter one element which I feel that hasn't much significance and was an after thought to the art does it alter the art?

ramenboy
10-19-2008, 02:36 PM
I have heard there is discussion in one style of Aikido to change out their old ranking system for a new one? They would drop the (what I call the judo ladder of rank) for a revised one with less colors, or blocks of colors for kyu ranks or something like that....

i was under the impression that most traditional aikido dojos do that already... students test for rank, but basically keep their white belt until they become yudansha.

am i missing something here?

Andrew S
10-19-2008, 03:27 PM
A lot depends on the branch of the main organisation. In my first dojo, for example, kyu grades wore belts of different colours (e.g. yellow, orange, green etc.) to denote rank. In Aikikai Australia, kyu grades wear white belts only. And in the Kobayashi Dojo group, white belts are worn up to nikyu, where they are swapped for a brown belt.
Have I found any of these systems superior or inferior? No.

Mark Uttech
10-19-2008, 06:25 PM
Is this true? Where did you get the info?

Thanks!

Onegaishimasu. In Susan Perry's book: Remembering O Sensei, on page 23,Shingenobu Okumura is quoted as saying:
"O Sensei wore a white belt all his life and he had no ranking in Aikido; he was completely above all that."

In
gassho

Mark

Nafis Zahir
10-19-2008, 07:25 PM
I think that the ranking system should be done away with. It's too distracting and is a major part of the political favoritism that has been spread throughout Aikido dojos everywhere.

Ketsan
10-19-2008, 07:27 PM
I think this is a better way, would losing or changing the current kyu system be better for Aikido, would it hurt it, or do nothing at all? Skip the oramentation of rank and just test, for instance.

Within dojo everyone knows who everyone is and who is senior to them. Occasionally n00bs will assume everyone is a beginner because everyone wears a white belt but that doesn't last long in most cases.

Ketsan
10-19-2008, 07:31 PM
I think that the ranking system should be done away with. It's too distracting and is a major part of the political favoritism that has been spread throughout Aikido dojos everywhere.

Yeah. I think you need a system that seperates teachers from students but aside from that I don't see that rank really has a function.

I think if you want to teach you should take a test and let lineage and time served do the rest.

gdandscompserv
10-19-2008, 08:26 PM
FWIW, I don't issue rank in my dojo.

mjhacker
10-20-2008, 01:47 PM
If rank is so unimportant, why talk about it at all?

Demetrio Cereijo
10-20-2008, 01:55 PM
I liked the following article by forum member D. Valadez.

Rank Gains Meaning by Being Meaningless (http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/writs/budocon/rankgainsmeaning.html)

Ron Tisdale
10-20-2008, 02:56 PM
David has had more than a few articles/post on rank which were excellent. Worth doing a search on his name.

Best,
Ron

Keith Larman
10-20-2008, 04:00 PM
I like David's article as well.

And frankly those who wring their hands about things like rank ("Our ranks are more meaningful than yours" or "I'm higher ranked than you" or "We don't have rank therefore you guys aren't as deeply humble as we are" or "I'm a 25 year old 13-th dan" or ...) seem to me to miss the point.

Rank seems to be mostly an issue (in my experience) for those who are still in the kyu ranks. But at that point we're talking about beginners, really. And in reality only 1 or 2 out of 10 will tough it out past shodan. So who really cares? Those who stick it out will usually realize that it was silly by the time they get up there into the yudansha ranges. So once you get past shodan, well, you're either into it because you're hooked and ranked becomes about as low a priority as it could possibly be. Or you're so insecure you worry about it constantly or you're so puffed up that you need to be seen as important. If you find yourself in the latter group, well, that's a symptom of personal issues IMHO and has little to do with whether an organization awards explicit ranks or not.

And one group I am familiar with has no rank other than a series of incredibly silly titles they use to refer to their instructors. Grandmaster, professor, etc. Silly, silly, silly. And I've heard these guys talk about how great they are because they're so humble... Um, okay...

Some people have high rank and can walk the walk. Others with that rank can't. Some people have no rank and can walk the walk. And many with no rank talk the talk but fall on their faces rather regularly... Over the years there have been a lot of blowhards on boards like this who turned out to be truly unimpressive when folk finally met up in person...

If you've been around long enough in any organization it ain't all that hard to figure out who's who regardless of rank and titles... So why worry about it one way or the other?

To me the entire discussion is quite silly.

Keith Larman
10-20-2008, 04:05 PM
Oh, and I should say...

My rank in one sense is truly irrelevant to me. I remember coming up where people would study for upcoming rank tests. For me, well, I just enjoyed Aikido way too much so I just kept training. And after a while I realized I was there being tested for sandan and that is the last rank in our organization that you test for. Hmmm, when did this happen?

So in a sense rank isn't all that important to me.

But that said, I prize the fact that I was awarded that rank by my sensei. That they felt I was worthy of that rank is quite an honor to me.

So does it matter? Yes and no.

And in organizations without rank there are all sorts of ways that "implicit" rank is awarded anyway. Experience, extra responsibilities, being asked to teach, etc. And people can fall into the same traps there as well.

So now that I've written all this... Go read David's article again... It hits what I feel much better than I am able to...

If rank is so unimportant, why talk about it at all?

True, true... :)

Ketsan
10-20-2008, 04:31 PM
If rank is so unimportant, why talk about it at all?

In and of itself it's unimportant, but it does have a fairly large impact on what we do.

gregg block
10-20-2008, 05:31 PM
Good. get rid of belts. do this across all styles. Then those who hide behind rank and belts can stop hiding. Let the proof be in the pudding. There's no belt ranks in boxing. yet I know more than a few boxers who would give a lot of black belts fits. Same with MMA and wrestling. You can still have a good learning plan . Just taking away some of the smoke and mirrors. IMHO

Rocky Izumi
10-21-2008, 01:44 AM
I keep telling you folks, it's not the rank that matters but the Hakama. As you practice Aikido longer and increase your Ki strong enough, you naturally fart more. You have to have that dark Hakama to hide the yellow stains on the white Gi pants.

Rock (and Roll)

Ron Tisdale
10-21-2008, 08:50 AM
:D One more point for the Rock!

Best,
Ron :D

phitruong
10-21-2008, 08:59 AM
I keep telling you folks, it's not the rank that matters but the Hakama. As you practice Aikido longer and increase your Ki strong enough, you naturally fart more. You have to have that dark Hakama to hide the yellow stains on the white Gi pants.

Rock (and Roll)

you wear gi pants underneath hakama? hmmm ...... must have missed that memo somewhere. :)

mjhacker
10-21-2008, 11:10 AM
Yeah, I'd never wear zubon under my hakama. It screws with my air flow.

Cynrod
10-21-2008, 04:56 PM
I keep telling you folks, it's not the rank that matters but the Hakama. As you practice Aikido longer and increase your Ki strong enough, you naturally fart more. You have to have that dark Hakama to hide the yellow stains on the white Gi pants.

Rock (and Roll)

Wow! That was a real blast and I never thought about that until now :D .

Jacob Clapsadle
10-21-2008, 07:38 PM
Lol I didnt know Ki was projected through the rear end like that.

Seriously, one reason ranks are helpful is that they build awareness among the students. At the dojo I belong to we use fairly traditional kyuu-dan rankings (no colors just white to black) and everyone knows who is immediately above and below them. Rank order is observed in lineups and certain excercises.

I think it helps strengthen etiquette and efficency. Ranks are a good thing as long as they don't go to people's heads- and that has more to do with the way dojo leaders run things than anything else.

Rocky Izumi
10-22-2008, 01:02 AM
you wear gi pants underneath hakama? hmmm ...... must have missed that memo somewhere. :)

Tend to go commando myself in many cases, especially at seminars because it is easier to go #1 that way, but it is useful in catching any drippings - something you have to watch for as you get older (knew a guy like that once). For me, I started wearing one (used to follow Kendo tradition before) because my daughter once noticed that as I was warming up and rolling backwards, my third leg was hanging out (unfortunately she was only about 4 at the time and she blurted it out to the entire Dojo in a large voice so that everyone noticed). I now wear my zubon under my Hakama so that doesn't happen again.

Rock

Dennis Hooker
10-22-2008, 07:15 AM
Tend to go commando myself in many cases, especially at seminars because it is easier to go #1 that way, but it is useful in catching any drippings - something you have to watch for as you get older (knew a guy like that once). For me, I started wearing one (used to follow Kendo tradition before) because my daughter once noticed that as I was warming up and rolling backwards, my third leg was hanging out (unfortunately she was only about 4 at the time and she blurted it out to the entire Dojo in a large voice so that everyone noticed). I now wear my zubon under my Hakama so that doesn't happen again.

Rock

Rock, I know it can be a problem. I have to strap it to my leg so I don't walk on it doing Suwari Waza. Oh got the shirt, Thanks!

gdandscompserv
10-22-2008, 11:09 AM
Quick, where's my boots. It's getting deep in here.:D

Mark Uttech
10-22-2008, 12:16 PM
Onegaishimasu. Ranks should be there and seen as signposts.

In gassho,

Mark

phitruong
10-22-2008, 01:15 PM
Onegaishimasu. Ranks should be there and seen as signposts.

In gassho,

Mark

what ranks would be associated with these sign posts?

http://www2.strangesigns.org:81/gallery/RoadStreetSigns/Slow_Down

http://www2.strangesigns.org:81/gallery/RoadStreetSigns/endofimprovement

:D

Gary David
10-22-2008, 01:49 PM
Forgetting how folks affect or effect the display of their rank, using a color coded belt system seems necessary for juniors and kids classes. Both the kids and their parents expect to see some evidence of progress. Given that the belt color or the rank it represents may not reflect the actual abilities of the individuals it does show movement up some scale.

gdandscompserv
10-22-2008, 02:19 PM
Forgetting how folks affect or effect the display of their rank, using a color coded belt system seems necessary for juniors and kids classes. Both the kids and their parents expect to see some evidence of progress. Given that the belt color or the rank it represents may not reflect the actual abilities of the individuals it does show movement up some scale.
It doesn't seem necessary for the kids I teach. Each to their own though.:D

Mark Uttech
10-22-2008, 04:09 PM
Onegaishimasu. Let's see, 4th kyu signpost would caution one to slow down, since 4th kyu seems to be the test no one prepares enough for.

In gassho,

Mark

Jacob Clapsadle
10-23-2008, 04:10 PM
Forgetting how folks affect or effect the display of their rank, using a color coded belt system seems necessary for juniors and kids classes. Both the kids and their parents expect to see some evidence of progress. Given that the belt color or the rank it represents may not reflect the actual abilities of the individuals it does show movement up some scale.

I agree- our dojo uses colors for kids classes but just white to black for adults.

dalen7
10-24-2008, 01:48 PM
It all depends on your point of view.
What is right for one is wrong for another.

Personally I like clear cut milestones - and kyus is a good way at gaging where you were and where you are going. (for me that is, others its not, and I respect that fully.)

Im the kind of guy that took the list of requirements for all the kyu ranks, which was kind of jumbled on paper and finally organized and categorized it systematically on paper to help me understand what is what in Aikido.

Others like just going in and just doing whatever. That is cool too...if that is what floats your boat.

If I were to teach I would be systematic...at the same time it would be a bit different as I would add kickboxing in there. (Whatever that worth...I enjoy it, what can I say, and I like the Aikido to.) But there would be rhyme and reason (according to my logic anyway) why it is done that way. :)

So thats about it...if you want out with the old and in with the new...go for it! ;)

Peace

dAlen

Mark Uttech
10-25-2008, 10:50 AM
Onegaishimasu. Playing with tradition and innovation is always playing with fire. I am always amazed and renewed when I attend a seminar and see a shihan teaching simple kihon waza. Obviously, in the kihon waza, there is something there and something more. I have a very distinct memory of watching a simple tenkan movement for five years before seeing something else in that same movement performed by the same instructor! It gives good reflection.

In gassho,

Mark

mjhacker
10-25-2008, 12:58 PM
Rank is very important... and yet completely meaningless. Such is the paradoxical nature of Budo.

We all know the reasons why it is meaningless. These have already been extensively elucidated by people far more eloquent than I.

But now I'd like to pontificate on the other side of the coin. Rank is important because it imparts responsibility. Accepting rank holds us responsible to our art, our family, and to our juniors and seniors. Responsibility is hard. It is also a catalyst for unfathomable growth.

Upon my most recent promotion, sensei asked me to take responsibility for one of the weekly classes. It scared the hell out of me, but it started a cycle of growth that has taken me out of a comfort zone and has taught me much.

To be completely honest, I think those who "refuse to test" under the guise of "humility" are actually incredibly arrogant. Not only that, they are hiding from the responsibility asked of them by their seniors and required of them by their juniors. If reading this upsets you, dig deep.

In my family, we don't do rank tests. The test is every day. Train and get promoted... or don't. It's up to you and sensei. Train for the sake of the training. But once you are promoted, we ask you to give some sort of demonstration of your practice. Often, people will voluntarily demonstrate their practice, even when they're not being promoted.

I have never celebrated on the occasion of being promoted in this family. Allow me to demonstrate my own arrogance:

- At shodan, I argued that I didn't deserve it yet. Sensei asked me, "Have you been there?" I replied, "No sir." Sensei: "Well I have. Stop arguing." Me: "Hai." Was I really so arrogant to think that I knew better than he? You betcha, I was.

- Nidan was my "huh?" promotion. I didn't feel as though I was any less clueless than I was at shodan. Now I can see the difference much more clearly. Perspective is everything. Perspective that I gained by having rank (read: responsibility) thrust upon me. I've seen that look of "huh" on many a face of folks getting promoted to nidan in my dojo. Now I have that history... that understanding of what it's like to be at that level, nidan is now a milestone that helps me categorize the learning at that stage. It's just like knowing that you learn spelling in 1st grade, grammar in 2nd grade, adding in... etc.

[Warning: I am about to say naughty words. If that bothers you... well, tough.]

- Sandan was "oh shit." I was promoted (again, without notice) at a seminar in San Jose; some folks currently on this forum were present and can attest to the fact that I did, in fact, audibly say "oh shit." Sensei grinned.

- Yondan came, once again, at a seminar, this time in Oklahoma City. I said "oh fuck." Sensei smiled and said, "Yeah, kiddo... you're in it now." I'll never forget those words.

In a sense, I came full-circle when I promoted my first shodan. He argued and refused to accept it. He asked me if he had a choice, and I said sure... take the responsiblity or GTFO. He's a well-loved, and very skilled member of the dojo, but I made it clear (and every one of my seniors would've backed me up on it) that if he refused to take the new level of responsibility asked of him, his only other option was to stop training with us. He's adapted rather well.

And now that sensei has moved away, I'm helping run the dojo. It scares the hell out of me and, quite frankly, there are times when I'd rather just hide. But I will not. I learned this responsibility and courage by accepting that which made me uncomfortable.

If you don't do Budo, what I said may make no sense. Or it may. I guess we'll see. ;-)

Joe McParland
10-25-2008, 04:21 PM
Rank is very important... and yet completely meaningless. Such is the paradoxical nature of Budo.

We all know the reasons why it is meaningless. These have already been extensively elucidated by people far more eloquent than I.

But now I'd like to pontificate on the other side of the coin. Rank is important because it imparts responsibility. Accepting rank holds us responsible to our art, our family, and to our juniors and seniors. Responsibility is hard. It is also a catalyst for unfathomable growth.

[... lots of good stuff ...]

If you don't do Budo, what I said may make no sense. Or it may. I guess we'll see. ;-)

I do appreciate what you wrote, but it seems that you've argued for the value of leadership or teaching responsibilities (read, "challenges") as a tool for growth rather than rank itself. They need not be equated.

Equating rank with abilities and responsibilities has a military feel---especially if you include the RIFs! Unwilling / Unable to accept or to perform the duties of your new rank? Too long in grade without a promotion? Boot! ;)

mjhacker
10-25-2008, 06:00 PM
I do appreciate what you wrote, but it seems that you've argued for the value of leadership or teaching responsibilities (read, "challenges") as a tool for growth rather than rank itself. They need not be equated.
I'm not arguing anything, just sharing my experience. I'm also not concerned with whether rank and responsibility "need" to be equated, but rather with the fact that, in my family, they ARE tied to each other. How you deal with things is, obviously, your business.

It doesn't matter if you call it "rank" or "house won ton soup," humans will discern and discriminate. Call it "responsibility" if you like, it's still the same thing. Even removing the notion of the dan/kyu ranking system, one still must somehow delineate where responsibility lies and at to what degree. And that doesn't even address the levels of a graded educational system.

A Senior in high school is not, by sole virtue of their scholastic "rank," greater or less than a Junior. It is merely a general indication of their progress, what they need to be working on now, and what level they should be held responsible for operating at.

Anything beyond that is human crap that we need to work through. If the notion of rank brings this ugliness to the surface, so much the better. Only when we face it can we move through it and improve ourselves. In other words, run TOWARD the uncomfortable stuff.. instead of FROM it. The worst thing you can do is to deny it.

Responsibility goes much deeper than mere responsibility to lead or teach. In my dojo, rank does not equal responsibility to teach. The path of the teacher and of the senior student are similar, but different. Seniors are not required to teach, only to be seniors and to lead by example.

In my dojo, I am responsible for every student, every visitor, every spider, every speck of dust. I will not allow someone in my dojo to kill so much as an insect in the dojo, and will very publicly educate them if I catch them doing so. If someone tweaks an ankle or a shoulder, I'm responsible to the head of my family, even if I wasn't there. But I suspect that pales in comparison to the responsibility HE holds.

There's also the responsibility that comes with being held to a higher standard of operation and action. There's not being allowed by your peers to regress or slip into BS. The responsibility of accepting rank is both wide and deep.

Equating rank with abilities and responsibilities has a military feel
I'm glad you noticed that. ;-) Not only is my teacher a former Marine, I'm former Air Force (which he would argue isn't really military anyway, but that's another conversation). It also happens that Budo has its roots in military arts. It doesn't surprise me that this connotation carries over.

Joe McParland
10-25-2008, 10:57 PM
I'm glad you noticed that. ;-) Not only is my teacher a former Marine, I'm former Air Force (which he would argue isn't really military anyway, but that's another conversation). It also happens that Budo has its roots in military arts. It doesn't surprise me that this connotation carries over.

Ha! I'm former Army myself, so I understand---and sometimes I can pick it out in a crowd ;)

I've had my own issues with rank in the aikido world. Once or twice there were issues of politics, and another time it was held like a boulder over my head. It all forced me to seriously examine what it all meant to me personally. My conclusion? Rank is what some entity---a person or an organization---thinks of me. That's not something that can be accepted or refused, it's not something I can hold, and it's not something that truly conveys between here and there. It can be pursued, but that is looking for some external validation of who knows what. So, I'll test if you want me to, wear whatever rank the organization assigns, and I'll continue to do my best to improve. No big deal.

But that's just me. I'm not currently inside a cohesive organizational unit that has a philosophy or doctrine regarding rank that binds me. I don't teach my personal point of view explicitly, but I do hope that some of the students will eventually reach that conclusion on their own. ;)

mjhacker
10-25-2008, 11:11 PM
Ha! I'm former Army myself, so I understand---and sometimes I can pick it out in a crowd ;)
Takes one to smell one, I guess. :-)

I've had my own issues with rank in the aikido world.
I can tell. :-)

Once or twice there were issues of politics, and another time it was held like a boulder over my head. It all forced me to seriously examine what it all meant to me personally. My conclusion? Rank is what some entity---a person or an organization---thinks of me. That's not something that can be accepted or refused, it's not something I can hold, and it's not something that truly conveys between here and there. It can be pursued, but that is looking for some external validation of who knows what. So, I'll test if you want me to, wear whatever rank the organization assigns, and I'll continue to do my best to improve. No big deal.
We have, indeed, had very different experiences. Then again, I dropped out of mainstream Aikido over a decade ago in favor of joining a small family with no ties to Aikikai, KnKKK, Shodokan, Yoshinkai, or any of the big Japanese groups. Thankfully, we are completely independent of Japan.

Rank is between sensei and student. The nasty human crap that you had to deal with isn't directly rank-related so much as it is human-related. The only way through it is through it. Getting rid of rank doesn't remove "politics" or manipulation.

But that's just me. I'm not currently inside a cohesive organizational unit that has a philosophy or doctrine regarding rank that binds me. I don't teach my personal point of view explicitly, but I do hope that some of the students will eventually reach that conclusion on their own. ;)
I'm part of a family, and my rank just represents my level of responsibility to the family as well as approximately where I am in our educational system. I keep saying that the most important person in the dojo is the youngest student. I'm there to pull them along in my wake.

Buck
10-26-2008, 12:04 PM
I don't know, I think there is too many levels of rank/grade. Yes, what everyone has said is true. I look at MMA, there is no rank among fighters. Boxing, wrestling, football, basketball, etc.

I think Aikido has too much rank from kyu ranks and above. I think reputation in Aikido is much more valuable. People tend to respect that more.

mjhacker
10-26-2008, 12:26 PM
Why is it that people who are "unconcerned" with rank seem to have the most to say about it?

mathewjgano
10-26-2008, 01:37 PM
Rank is very important... and yet completely meaningless. Such is the paradoxical nature of Budo.

We all know the reasons why it is meaningless. These have already been extensively elucidated by people far more eloquent than I.

But now I'd like to pontificate on the other side of the coin. Rank is important because it imparts responsibility. Accepting rank holds us responsible to our art, our family, and to our juniors and seniors. Responsibility is hard. It is also a catalyst for unfathomable growth.

Upon my most recent promotion, sensei asked me to take responsibility for one of the weekly classes. It scared the hell out of me, but it started a cycle of growth that has taken me out of a comfort zone and has taught me much.

To be completely honest, I think those who "refuse to test" under the guise of "humility" are actually incredibly arrogant. Not only that, they are hiding from the responsibility asked of them by their seniors and required of them by their juniors. If reading this upsets you, dig deep.

In my family, we don't do rank tests. The test is every day. Train and get promoted... or don't. It's up to you and sensei. Train for the sake of the training. But once you are promoted, we ask you to give some sort of demonstration of your practice. Often, people will voluntarily demonstrate their practice, even when they're not being promoted.

I have never celebrated on the occasion of being promoted in this family. Allow me to demonstrate my own arrogance:

- At shodan, I argued that I didn't deserve it yet. Sensei asked me, "Have you been there?" I replied, "No sir." Sensei: "Well I have. Stop arguing." Me: "Hai." Was I really so arrogant to think that I knew better than he? You betcha, I was.

- Nidan was my "huh?" promotion. I didn't feel as though I was any less clueless than I was at shodan. Now I can see the difference much more clearly. Perspective is everything. Perspective that I gained by having rank (read: responsibility) thrust upon me. I've seen that look of "huh" on many a face of folks getting promoted to nidan in my dojo. Now I have that history... that understanding of what it's like to be at that level, nidan is now a milestone that helps me categorize the learning at that stage. It's just like knowing that you learn spelling in 1st grade, grammar in 2nd grade, adding in... etc.

[Warning: I am about to say naughty words. If that bothers you... well, tough.]

- Sandan was "oh shit." I was promoted (again, without notice) at a seminar in San Jose; some folks currently on this forum were present and can attest to the fact that I did, in fact, audibly say "oh shit." Sensei grinned.

- Yondan came, once again, at a seminar, this time in Oklahoma City. I said "oh fuck." Sensei smiled and said, "Yeah, kiddo... you're in it now." I'll never forget those words.

In a sense, I came full-circle when I promoted my first shodan. He argued and refused to accept it. He asked me if he had a choice, and I said sure... take the responsiblity or GTFO. He's a well-loved, and very skilled member of the dojo, but I made it clear (and every one of my seniors would've backed me up on it) that if he refused to take the new level of responsibility asked of him, his only other option was to stop training with us. He's adapted rather well.

And now that sensei has moved away, I'm helping run the dojo. It scares the hell out of me and, quite frankly, there are times when I'd rather just hide. But I will not. I learned this responsibility and courage by accepting that which made me uncomfortable.

If you don't do Budo, what I said may make no sense. Or it may. I guess we'll see. ;-)
Michael,
I just wanted to say thank you for your thoughts on rank and responsibility. Reading your posts here gave me some very good food for thought.
Thanks again,
Matt

mjhacker
10-26-2008, 01:49 PM
Reading your posts here gave me some very good food for thought.
Sorry 'bout that.

mathewjgano
10-26-2008, 09:05 PM
Sorry 'bout that.

That's ok. My mind has a mind of its own.

Buck
10-26-2008, 09:31 PM
It isn't so much that I am concerned or not concerned, but instead being observant. When the fish barrel is too full with too many big fish, the barrel doesn't keep the fish in. The barrel has lost its purpose.

Getting back to basics isn't a bad thing, your play hard to make the team. You focus more on the task than the accolade. Keeping it simple- a few ranks shows you played hard and made the team. If rank on the other hand also is a matter of ornamentation that goes too far it, I think it reduces the weight and importance of the accolade. I think reducing the levels of rank vs. increasing them is a better thing. I think getting back to basics puts something real heavy behind the rank.

For me it is how I make my concerns and unconcerns. :)

Don Williams
04-16-2009, 12:21 PM
Rock, I know it can be a problem. I have to strap it to my leg so I don't walk on it doing Suwari Waza. Oh got the shirt, Thanks!

I think the discussion has diverged from the topic. :blush:

jason jordan
04-16-2009, 01:32 PM
I'm in Aikikai and I personally think rank is only good for showing tenure. You generally know a persons (minimum) time of practice by their rank.

I also think that rank has nothing to do with skill. There are sooooo many branches, teachers, styles of "Aikido" that you really can't judge someones skill by the belt.

I stayed at 3rd kyu for a very long time before I tested again.
And just yesterday I read how Koichi Tohei went from Kyu to Go dan.

Lastly I've seen 6th dan who I wouldn't train with if you paid me.

Respect
Jjo

jason jordan
04-16-2009, 01:53 PM
In my above post, I said rank has (Nothing to do with skill) I don't mean that. I meant to say, it has little to do with rank.

Sorry.

Phil Van Treese
04-16-2009, 02:35 PM
I went thru a lot for my rank. I certainly do have good memories of the people that thought enough of me to award me that rank for the hard work and dedication that went along with it----Kenji Tomiki Shihan, Hideo Ohba Shihan, Gozo Shioda Shihan, Nishimura Shihan to name a few. You can say what you want about rank, you can get it cheap too, but if you earned it then be proud of it because your instructors deemed you worthy to have the rank or else you wouldn't have it.

ninjaqutie
04-29-2009, 05:15 PM
In my dojo you are a white belt until you are a black belt. I kind of like it in the sense that rank is more modest. You just get a sense who is higher then who. At the same time, it is frustrating when need to talk to someone at a specific rank. You kind of have to hunt them out or know their last name to find their name on the rank board. When I took aikijitsu, I had ranks (white, yellow, green, purple, brown & black). It made it easier to see the hierarchy in the dojo and it helped motivate some people, but I also know that it caused jealousy and loss of humility as well. No reason for either of those.

Bottom line is, I don't really care either way. I just want to learn. :D

rachford
04-29-2009, 10:14 PM
Hey, nobody mentioned the testing fees. The small checks to the dojo and then the big checks to Japan. :rolleyes:

Carl Thompson
04-30-2009, 10:39 AM
Hey, nobody mentioned the testing fees. The small checks to the dojo and then the big checks to Japan. :rolleyes:

You know cheques are almost unheard of in Japan?

The fees you pay for gradings are an interesting point though. In some countries it's more than a month's wages to register a yudansha grading. I guess one upshot is that people in those countries tend to take their training and the people who give them gradings seriously, since it affects how much food they can put on the table, even when taking into account any programmes to help poorer countries.