PDA

View Full Version : undeserved promotion?


Please visit our sponsor:
 

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


Unregistered
02-24-2002, 10:24 PM
Hello,

Just wondering if any of you have witnessed students pass a test when you felt they didn't have enough skills to justify the promotion. Do you think some instructors can be a bit lenient promoting students at times?

Wondering....

guest1234
02-24-2002, 11:18 PM
I have a few thoughts when watching a test:
1. I recall how it was when I tested, and have a lot of empathy for mistakes and positive wishes for the one testing
2. I know I am not nearly as advanced as the one grading, and keep in mind I miss things, or do not know exactly what he is looking for
3. I assume a test grade is at least in part determined by what the sensei sees in the student earlier that day in class (or week/month/year) and not on only one moment in time

That said, yes, I've seen it happen on some yudansha and kyu tests I watched (on students not from my own dojo), but took into account rules 1 through 3, and figured I was wrong. I have not seen it happen on kyu tests in my 'home' dojo, and I think that is due to rule #3 being better utilized by me in my 'grading' of performance.

I will say, however, that I have seen more than one student at various ranks that I wonder how they got there, and I can only assume that some senseis promote at one time or another based on 'time in grade'. But it is their right to do so, and I don't waste too much time or energy on others' rank.

Edward
02-25-2002, 12:09 AM
It happens quite too often in Aikido. It is frustrating, but due to the very nature of Aikido. Tests are decided basically on minimum training hours, not on skills at most dojos.

However, as you said, I see sometimes students whose technic is inferior to their rank. But since I am not the only one to see that, and since people tend to talk about what they see, then it's fine with me. I personally prefer to be in the opposite situation where others believe that my technique is better than what is expected for my rank.

Cheers,
Edward

guest1234
02-25-2002, 12:27 AM
Hey, Edward, you take a cynical pill today or what;) ?

I'd say most dojo's have minimum class hours for test qualification, but not that they promote once someone reaches the minimum. Even those that I think made it on 'time in grade' I think probably were way past the minimum when they got promoted. But I've not been everywhere:confused:

Edward
02-25-2002, 01:39 AM
Cynical, me? No way :)

Well, most of the dojos I know judge the students by their performance in the class, and of course finishing the minimum required hours. The test itself is just a formality. Some sort of a demonstration which gives the participants the rush of adrenaline needed from time to time, since there is no competition.
Unless the student does really really bad during the test, it is unlikely that he will fail.

Of course Shodan ++ tests are a different story, but still...

However, I have devised a way to deal with these undeserving students. I just train very very seriously and hardly when we are partnered together. Usually they will try to avoid me like pest in the future.

Cheers,
Edward

Tim Griffiths
02-25-2002, 02:38 AM
Who cares what other people's gradings look like?

It all evens out by 5th - 6th dan anyway.

Tim

ian
02-25-2002, 07:11 AM
I think the reason for awarding grades at Kyu level is slightly different to that at Dan grade.

I've often seen Kyu grades been awarded where the ability wasn't sufficient. However I believe this is usually to encourage someone (especially younger people) who have been working particularly hard or a long time, but still cannot do it well.

To me these gradings are a way of putting the techniques in a formal order and helping people to think - yes, I CAN do these techniques 'cos I graded for them. This is particularly important in Aikido, where no-one ever feels they have mastered a technique. If gradings help to encourage people to advance, I think that's OK.

However, Dan gradings (and 1st kyu) are more about what that grade would mean to other students (i.e. it gives them authority) and therefore I would not think that such gradings be awarded lightly.

Ian

Unregistered
02-25-2002, 03:36 PM
Another consideration; the Kyu tests are more a teaching reference for some sensei than 'skill tests'. The fact is as mudansha you're less than a beginner, what do you expect. The basics MUST be in place by shodan, so yeah the tests are serious, however.. if you have trained diligently for a certain period of time, and still can't show a clue about certain particular techniques, then there's something missing .. in the instruction! So, kyu tests are a reality check for sensei, and sometimes the answer is evident and there's no need to frustrate the student with a failure on their test. It'll be corrected soon enough.
here's some anonymous advice don't sweat any other persons tests than your own ;)

somebody somewhere
02-25-2002, 03:40 PM
I have seen people at seminars and thought "how the heck did you get to be a (brown belt, whatever)" also. But then, it kind of depends on what the instructor's or organizations' concept of rank is. USAF dojos seem to require quite a bit of time and/or knowledge for a given kyu rank compared with, say, what I've heard about Hombu. So a 2th kyu from one place may not equal a 2th kyu from some other place.

Also agree with Anne in that I am not the best judge, and might be focusing on what I think is expertise (say its precise technique) and missing or neglecting some other aspect (flow, responsive flexibility, good ukemi, whatever).

And I've heard of Dan promotions (esp above nidan) being primarily political, more to do with what you have done for aikido or your sensei, than one's technical ability.

I suppose there might be some corruption and favoritism out there, but I haven't seen it, not with rank promotion, at least.

guest1234
02-25-2002, 04:36 PM
It's Colleen, actually, don't think Anne would appreciate the mistake in identity:rolleyes: ...

I wouldn't take the comparison in ranks across dojo/affiliation lines, it just gets too complicated: one dojo I was in required suwariwaza, weapons and breakfalls by 6th kyu, others much later...too hard to judge. No, my 'should-sensei-be-drug-tested?' comparisons are from students within the same dojo, at the same rank, but no where near the same ability (sometimes more time in grade in the less capable individual) based on months (over a year) of observation. But, again, I'm sure he had a reason... and it doesn't affect me, anyway, so it's just a little bit of wonder for slow afternoons:confused:

Reuben
03-03-2002, 10:14 PM
Most definitely.

There are tons of 2nd dans here who don't somehow meet the standard. My Sensei is a very lenient one and if you ask for a test, he will give it to you though he'll give hints on whether he thinks u're ready. But if u insist, he'll upgrade you and i have not seen someone being failed.

I know of a 2nd dan who could not differentiate between san shu and sankyo although the teacher explained what it meant in English. My sensei was just sitting there hoping he would realise his mistake but he went on for 5 mins performing sankyo before he decided enough was enough. And I don't think it's right to consider ikkyo, nikyo and sankyo as three techniques. But ok this may be due to nerves or misunderstanding, but when it came to the jiyu waza, it was totally horrible. They are supposed to deal with 2 attackers and he constantly was being open to attack from the other one and you could see the ukes politely waiting for him to respond. one time i even caught the guy looking around for his other uke! My sensei also got fedup and told the ukes to attack harder, the guy being tested got flustered and ended up being 'hit' several times if not the ukes pretending to miss through his 'deft' techniques.

I don't mean to degrade the guy but I think you should only take the test when u reach the standard. in my case, it would be when my sensei says, 'hey Reuben, are u taking the upcoming test?' :)

However due to certain local politics here that i dare not mention, many ppl are given political dan grades even though they may not have reached the level of mastery required. So that's my 2 cents.

erikmenzel
03-04-2002, 04:56 AM
Simply ask why does it matter anyway??
[list=1]
Is it important for you to know what rank other people claim?
Is it important to you to compare your own rank to that of others?
[/list=1]

Ghost Fox
03-04-2002, 06:54 AM
Originally posted by erikknoops
Simply ask why does it matter anyway??


It matters because, like other Aikidoka, I have dedicated thousands of hours to my art. Literally, my blood, sweet and tears have been offered to the mat, in exchange for a glimpse into what is Aikido. I go to sleep with wazas on the brain, and I visualize perfect Randoris during meditation practice.

Because people like that cheapen the art. Because as an Aikidoka that person becomes representative of Aikido and of our school.

Because I love Aikido, and I want to make sure it retains it standing as budo, and not become a black belt factory like Tiger Shuman's Karate.

For the simple love of the game.

:triangle: :circle: :square:

Richard Harnack
03-04-2002, 10:14 AM
There is an underlying invalid assumption about kyu testing - that there is an "objective standard" to which everyone's kyu test can be compared.

The least standard is to set minimum number of hours of training. However, it is up to the student to practice and train while on the mat during these hours.

As an instructor, I know what constitutes a "fair" exam in comparision to an "excellent" exam, and I generally encourage, cajole, hint at, brow beat, my students to challenge their abilities in their training. However, a "fair" exam still passes, though they may sit in rank a while longer before their next exam. An "excellent" exam passes and sometimes is "jumped" a rank because of their skillfulness.

In terms of dan exams, anyone who seriously thinks nidan is a high rank has never taken a sandan exam. As to "politics" being involved in the higher ranks, this is somewhat true. However, if the person does not do anything in their organization to further promote their organization, they cannot really complain about not being elevated past their current rank. I am aware of some highly regarded sensei who are happy at their present rank and seek only to perfect their techniques. To such, peer recognition sometimes comes, sometimes not, they really don't care. Neither should their students.

In sum, there are no objective standards, only practice.

Jim ashby
03-04-2002, 10:51 AM
Hi, just interested to know what a Sandan exam consists of in your organisation.
Have fun,

Erik
03-04-2002, 12:30 PM
Originally posted by Reuben
I know of a 2nd dan who could not differentiate between san shu and sankyo although the teacher explained what it meant in English.

I'm afraid I would need that one in English too. What is san shu?

Anyways, this thread furthers my belief that we should just do away with rank.

Axiom
03-04-2002, 04:49 PM
I, for one, do not think that ranks are of any real importance. In aikido, as in all things, I'm simply interested in learning and perfecting what I've learned. I've passed up opportunities to test because I simply am not interested in having a shiny new belt, and a somewhat meaningless rank. Within my dojo, the regulars were all well aware of the abilities of their peers, regardless of what belt rank they wore. The only use for the rankings could be for interdojo seminars, but as previously noted, every dojo has their own standards of ranking. It is nice to be able to tell who is probably your sempai/kohai, but beyond that it creates unnecessary hassle. I've seen a 1st kyu lead a class just as capably as a nidan, and I've had 2nd kyu's who were infinitely better at teaching the techniques than their sandan counterparts, who were only good at DOING them.

Ranks are useful as a system of motivation for people who are not truly interested in what they're doing. Thats why they show up in workplaces, schools, etc. Numerous activities don't even bother with belts and complex ranking systems that you must be tested for(ballet, boxing, wrestling, the list is quite long) in which people are self motivated and get very good at their art.

Just my thoughts,
Alexander Magidow

JJF
03-05-2002, 06:13 AM
Originally posted by Axiom
Ranks are useful as a system of motivation for people who are not truly interested in what they're doing. Thats why they show up in workplaces, schools, etc. Numerous activities don't even bother with belts and complex ranking systems that you must be tested for(ballet, boxing, wrestling, the list is quite long) in which people are self motivated and get very good at their art.
Hi Alex! I agree with you insofar as Aikido being about learning and discovering rather than obtaining a rank. However I don't believe that ranks are only motivational for those who are week in their faith. In my opinion there is NOTHING wrong with having a desire to test for a new rank. It just shouldn't be the reason why one practices the art. And don't fool yourself into believing that there are no 'milestones' in those activities you mention. In boxing and wresteling practice contains fights and I am very sure that winning is far more inspirering than loosing. There is beyond any doubt a ranking among the members of a boxing club. With ballet I am quite sure that ego's are built along with the muscletone. Getting the good parts in shows - getting accepted as a student of a specific teacher - getting good reviews - getting ones name in neon. Aspirations and desires are an integral part of every humanbeing.

I believe kyu-ranking in aikido is a good way to trace your progress, provided your sensei evaluates your effort instead of just handing out ranks. I go to a grading and I get a personal talk with the three highest ranking senseis in my dojo. They point out what I do good and what I should work on until the next grading. That is a great tool. Kind of like an employe evaluation at work. Helps to change your focus and challenge your view upon practicing.

With regards to dan-ranking then I believe they are great guides as well. One should be aware of the ever increasing level of responsebility that comes with the grade, and one should strive to obtain the qualifications for the next grade - not the grade itself.

Just a point of view from a guy wiht an upcomming grading ;)

Brian H
03-05-2002, 09:17 AM
The only tests that really mean anything are 6th kyu and shodan. The rest are just steps. I'm not a gifted athlete by any stretch of the imagination, so when I test I don't think I'm being graded for my embodiment of O'Sensei's vision of Aikido. I have never been asked to demonstrate anything I wasn't expected to know and all the post test feedback I have been given has always centered of "this is what you need to do to move on and improve." The things I struggle with now (timing, distance, posture, flow) are things that I was struggling with my first class and will be at my last. I have never heard anyone at my dojo bad mouth someone after a kyu test, although many have had frustrating ones. I think we all understand that if it was easy it wouldn't be a test and sometimes people just get an "A" for effort and a good idea of their own strengths and weaknesses.

Bruce Baker
03-14-2002, 08:31 AM
I think we all have seen some type of testing that promoted someone despite many mistakes, or poor judgement on either the viewer, the judge, or the applicant ... that is a give in.

After many thosands of hours of practice, I have yet to see the entire class that recognizes the difference between getting a promotion for a color belt in the dojo, and becoming a better person for it? Silly HUH?

But that is the general opinion of those seeking the magical black belt? The higher the kyu or dan grading, the more knowledge that person has, so it stands to reason, the more proficient that person is? Maybe ... and maybe not?

Take some time to watch a large seminar sometime, from the sidelines. Many of the advanced teachers suddenly become human ... working on weak points that they have trouble ironing out, getting help from other instructors? The eternal battle of thought verses deed become manifest in action. That is the struggle even O'Sensei talks about as he writes and gives interviews in his retirement years.

The neat thing about Aikido is that we relate it to weapons, to action, to motion ... giving it form and substance that has reality. Many of the Kata found in Karate was mimic'd and taught because it was traditional, without proper explanation, giving it the hollow knowledge. A knowledge that is parallel in promoting ranks without proper display application and knowledge? Still, teachers would promote students who could properly mimic them, and show some type of improvement that encompassed usage of movement found in newer, and newer Kata's.

In many ways the physical forms of Aikido can be mimic'd. I do believe we should have the basic understanding of what we are doing, and how it works. But as far as colored belts? I still believe that is merely a money item that was originally intended to be a confidence builder? Don't sweat the small stuff in the kyu ratings, it will either work itself out or not.

Your focus should be on how it works, why it works, and the reason we move the body parts in this manner? When you see this, the opportunity to see variations, strike points, and be the master of the technique will become apparent.

Belts are very pretty in the dojo, but a piece of black cloth is still a piece of cloth, a decoration on the person who wears it. What is the make up of that person?

Sometimes, that is why sensei's nudge, and push, and sometimes overlook some minor errors in testing, at least in kyu ranks?

Jorx
04-01-2002, 04:00 AM
:o
My faaather always says that a belt is to hold up your pants...
:o
My sensei always says that belt doesn't make a master.

And why be mad when you see someone who does so much worse on the exam than you and still gets the grade? You should be proud of yourself!

Man it felt good when on my last kyu exam after really giving my best (and being totally exhausted), the Estonian chief instructor pointed at us and said (way to go Pärnu (it's my city and there were 2 of us)):p

We'll see what my 3rd kyu test brings (in 1,5 months) ;)

Jorgen
Estonian Aikikai

P.S. True - what was said about 6th kyu and 1st dan exam... (maybe even exclude the shodan?)
Others are just some points in the continuos flow...

jimbaker
04-01-2002, 03:36 PM
Just to keep things going, what do you think of demotions? I know of one Shihan who used to demote students who displeased him.

JIM

Bruce Baker
04-02-2002, 06:37 AM
Demotions? Isn't that like the little train engine that couldn't? Chugging forward while slipping down the hill? TOOOOT TOOOT!!

I have seen it happen in Karate, but not yet in Aikido ... of course those with swelled heads from wearing hakama's at third kyu get reawakened when they come to LBI seminars, they are suddenly level with all white belts without their prized possession. (Ages 20 to 35 years old on average.) Older people are just happy to be on the mat, at any age, any rank.

Yeah. Maybe if there is lack of proper spirit, ignoring of basic movements, or even the overconfidence that is leaning toward haphazard use of technique to the point of injury to others ... a little back slide might not be a bad thing.

I don't mean just for the kyu ranks either.

Of course, there are usually underlying problems that a few personal conversations with sensei will address to the correction of problems, but some little trains need to be derailed or crash at the bottom of the hill before they get what other people are trying to tell them?

Lyle Bogin
04-02-2002, 08:43 AM
Another person's rank is simply a fact.

Fact: This fellow is wearing blue pants.

Fact: This fellow has a black belt.

Your own rank has meaning, but you should not expect anyone else to care.

I (me, Lyle) have trained in the past in arts with no rank, and no certification. I sincerely hope that I have the opportunity to earn a black belt for myself. It's true meaning in relation to others: when someone else asks "do you have a black belt" I can say "yes".

And I'm wearing blue pants.

jimbaker
04-02-2002, 08:46 AM
It's happened in the USAF-West, but only to Yudansha.

Jim

jimbaker
04-02-2002, 08:49 AM
Demotions, I meant. Lyle's note popped between mine and Bruce's.
JIM

guest1234
04-08-2002, 12:57 AM
Senior students at my first dojo said our sensei had (and would) demote on kyu tests... I wasn't there long enough to see it myself, but did witness him not pass a kyu student (in a school with 12 kyu tests, it was an 11th kyu test). Since she and I were testing for the same level, he had us test with different ukes with our backs to each other, so I can't say what her test looked like. I did start to question my own actions when he kept repeating certain commands, so I think there were some definate problems she was having... still, there is no doubt in my military mind he'd demote anyone not meeting at least their current level standards. And in many ways, I think that is a good thing.

Richard Harnack
04-08-2002, 09:46 AM
1. Demotions are not necessary if the person tested actually passed the test and continued training. In fact, I wonder about instructors who feel the "need" to demote students.

2. It is up to the student to "earn" their rank after the test through continued training.

3. It is normal for skills honed for an exam to fall off some afterward. A good aikidoka (student or instructor) recognizes this and continues training anyway.

4. Colleen, your instructor must have been superhuman in their observational powers to be able to watch two exams literally back to back and be able to give equal treatment to both examinees. I find it difficult enough to watch with complete attention one examinee to make certain that I am being fair.

5. Lastly, comments from the instructor during an exam are often designed to see if the examinee can take instruction under pressure and make corrections then. At least that is what I intend it to be.

To summarize, those who continue their training after an exam demonstrate their committment. Rank is never "given" but earned by continued practice. Showing up in Life and Aikido is only 10% of the equation, the other 90% is practice and doing.

guest1234
04-08-2002, 11:46 AM
Well, to be really fair to that sensei, it was a very low level test, but that is why, I think, he kept asking us to do things over: he watch each of us, then wanted to spend more time watching her, and thought she'd question what she was doing with his repeated requests and try something different. He was lucky I didn't try something different (or I guess I was lucky :) ).

One thing was sure, at that dojo you didn't expect to slack off after each test. But you also didn't expect to leave after class without cleaning the dojo top to bottom. He expected a lot, and the ones who stayed gave it.

It is sad to see the surge in attendance before each test cycle, and the sudden drop after that I've seen in other dojos... we joke here that when a certain few folks show up, testing must be right around the corner... and it is. From the places I've been, a drop in practice, intensity, and skill is common only when it is accepted.

Ghost Fox
04-10-2002, 08:33 AM
How do you feel about people being coming back to the dojo at their previous rank after being out for a few years?

Do you think they should take it upon themselves to demote themselves or should sensei demote them or should they not be demoted at all?

I'm just wondering because I took off from aikido for about a year due to work (I was a Sankyu) and when I came back to the dojo I demoted myself back to white belt (Hachikyu). Once I got back into the swing of things and worked very hard, I zoomed through my testing (Now an Ikkyu).

I've seen people come back to the dojo after being away for a few years and walk on the mat with their previous rank (Sankyu, Nikyu, etc...) and they look terrible (It would be a different story if they looked good.). I think they set a poor example to the lower ranking students and for people coming to see what Aikido has to offer. They come back on the mat and expect to be treated with the respect their rank gives them, but they have trouble with the simplest waza.

I'm just venting because one of these people recently took their Nikyu exam after being off the mat for a few years, having come back for only 6 month. Her exam was good for maybe a Gokyu rank, but all her Ukes took it easy on her (Most of them where her friends). I remember being put through the ringer for my Nikyu exam, and sweat pouring from my body. Her exam was a cakewalk.

Is it fair that two people testing for the same rank be judged by a different set of criteria? Some of the lower ranking students look up to me and ask me is that a fair example of a Nikyu exam? What do I say? That most of the Yudansha on the testing committee are her friend, and they felt that since she has been in the dojo for a long time (even if not practicing) they should give her a Nikyu. That they should work hard because their Nikyu exam won't be that easy? How do they stay motivated?

I just guess that's dojo politics. Thanks for letting me vent.:(


:triangle: :circle: :square:

Richard Harnack
04-10-2002, 10:21 AM
Originally posted by Ghost Fox
How do you feel about people being coming back to the dojo at their previous rank after being out for a few years?
...
I'm just venting because one of these people recently took their Nikyu exam after being off the mat for a few years, having come back for only 6 month. Her exam was good for maybe a Gokyu rank, but all her Ukes took it easy on her (Most of them where her friends). I remember being put through the ringer for my Nikyu exam, and sweat pouring from my body. Her exam was a cakewalk.
...
Is it fair that two people testing for the same rank be judged by a different set of criteria?

Damion -
I usually take people back at their last earned rank. I also inform them that I expect them to come through the beginner's class to get back in shape and up on their ukemi before I will allow them back in the intermediate and advanced classes.

If this woman tested for her nikkyu and was awarded it, although she did not work as hard as you did, I would suggest that you not be concerned. The proof will be in how long it takes the two of you to get to Ikkyu and how well you both do. If she does not do anything to improve her skills prior to the Ikkyu exam, it will be obvious.

I strongly suggest to you that you seek her out as a training partner for the following reasons:
1) Step outside of yourself. A good way to do this is to train with her and come to understand her perspective (she may be feeling a little insecure about her exam herself);
2) You both stand to benefit from training together, she from your intensity and you from her ease;
and,
3) The examining board may have been aware of things about her that are not your business to know.

Good luck.

Tim Griffiths
04-10-2002, 10:28 AM
Originally posted by Ghost Fox
How do you feel about people being coming back to the dojo at their previous rank after being out for a few years?

I feel great about it.I'm glad they're back.


Do you think they should take it upon themselves to demote themselves or should sensei demote them or should they not be demoted at all?

It's not their job. They don't promote themselves - they don't demote themselves. If sensei wants to - fine. It comes down to this:

Students do not have the right to decide what their rank should be.

I've seen people come back to the dojo after being away for a few years and walk on the mat with their previous rank (Sankyu, Nikyu, etc...) and they look terrible (It would be a different story if they looked good.). I think they set a poor example to the lower ranking students and for people coming to see what Aikido has to offer. They come back on the mat and expect to be treated with the respect their rank gives them, but they have trouble with the simplest waza

They are still sempai, and deserve respect because of this. As you said, you zoomed back up through the ranks - If someone really comes back to practice properly, in my experience they quickly improve.


I'm just venting because one of these people recently took their Nikyu exam after being off the mat for a few years, having come back for only 6 month. Her exam was good for maybe a Gokyu rank, but all her Ukes took it easy on her (Most of them where her friends). I remember being put through the ringer for my Nikyu exam, and sweat pouring from my body. Her exam was a cakewalk.

So? Does that make your Nikkyu rank less worthy? In what way does it matter?


Is it fair that two people testing for the same rank be judged by a different set of criteria?

By definition its not fair. It's not supposed to be fair. The question is - is it appropriate?


Some of the lower ranking students look up to me and ask me is that a fair example of a Nikyu exam? What do I say? That most of the Yudansha on the testing committee are her friend, and they felt that since she has been in the dojo for a long time (even if not practicing) they should give her a Nikyu. That they should work hard because their Nikyu exam won't be that easy? How do they stay motivated?

You can say "That was her test. It wasn't the same as my test, and your test will be different again. Keep practicing".


I just guess that's dojo politics. Thanks for letting me vent.:(

Anytime...

Tim

guest1234
04-10-2002, 11:58 AM
To yourself you can think 'what the hell was sensei thinking', to kohai a more diplomatic response is some of the above, or 'tests help an individual measure his or her own progress, based on where they start and their inherent skills and ability to learn, not tell you who is better than someone else. You have XYZ as a base, and ABC as your strong point and skills, so he'll probably expect you to demonstrate DEF abilities.' That gives them an answer that refocuses on where they should be worrying (their progress) and perhaps even answers what they are probably asking (what the hell was sensei thinking).

I think if I were coming back after a break in training, I'd ask my sensei what level he wanted me to start at. Even beginners catch on pretty quickly to who has rank, and who has skill, and where the two may not match exactly. So I don't think it confuses us too much. She may even have wanted to start lower and was asked not to, you never know. I've seen more than one female who had a rank (or more:eek: ) less demonstrated ability than her male counterparts, and I sometimes fear instructors use that to encourage more women to join/stay.

Ghost Fox
04-10-2002, 12:24 PM
Originally posted by Richard Harnack


I strongly suggest to you that you seek her out as a training partner for the following reasons:
1) Step outside of yourself. A good way to do this is to train with her and come to understand her perspective (she may be feeling a little insecure about her exam herself);
2) You both stand to benefit from training together, she from your intensity and you from her ease;
and,
3) The examining board may have been aware of things about her that are not your business to know.

Good luck.

Thanks for the great advice your years of Aiki experience clearly show. I will grudgingly accept your suggestions because I know you are right in the long run.

:triangle: :circle: :square:

Abasan
04-11-2002, 09:18 AM
Even beginners catch on pretty quickly to who has rank, and who has skill, and where the two may not match exactly by CA

- Rank does not equate to skill -


and I sometimes fear instructors use that to encourage more women to join/stay. by CA

- More chicks = More guys = More money? -

The examining board may have been aware of things about her that are not your business to know.

- Examining board is God. (ever seen the pass rate of a CFA exam?) -

Literally, my blood, sweet and tears have been offered to the mat, in exchange for a glimpse into what is Aikido. I go to sleep with wazas on the brain - by GhostFox

- Hi! I'm an Aikido junkie. Hit me... -

Heh heh... sorry. Couldn't resist with all the free time I have tonite. :D

The Summator Strikes Back!

Richard Harnack
04-11-2002, 02:13 PM
is better than not accepting.

Enjoy your continued training.

Arianah
05-23-2002, 09:38 PM
Originally posted by ca
To yourself you can think 'what the hell was sensei thinking', to kohai a more diplomatic response is some of the above, or 'tests help an individual measure his or her own progress, based on where they start and their inherent skills and ability to learn, not tell you who is better than someone else. You have XYZ as a base, and ABC as your strong point and skills, so he'll probably expect you to demonstrate DEF abilities.' That gives them an answer that refocuses on where they should be worrying (their progress) and perhaps even answers what they are probably asking (what the hell was sensei thinking).
Curious (again! :p)
To instructors: When you grade your students, do you grade them based on what they can do or how much they've improved? Do you grade and say, "Well, that student is certainly performing at a level that befits the expectation of a (insert rank here)" and award the rank. Or will you also grade with a "Well, that student is still struggling with some of the things that a (insert rank here) should know, but s/he has worked so hard . . ." approach? Is it how good or how much better than before? (I don't think that I can think of another way to say that . . . well I could, I suppose. ;))

Sarah

guest1234
05-23-2002, 10:41 PM
Testing is like a tea ceremony---it will never be the same, each time is unique. Different nage. Different ukes. Different basic ability and improvement in nage. Different mood in sensei. The list is endless. Anyone who expects tests to graded against an absolute scale is in for major confusion and perhaps disappointment. Same rank for different skills---unfair? No. If rank were based solely on a set of quantifiable and absolute criteria, no variation allowed, well then, what would be the point of not progressing via competition? In a way, each test would then be a competition between the test nage, and other students of the same rank. Like scoring a gymnastics meet. The whole point is to look at your own progress, not the rest of the dojo. Nothing in life is absolutely uniform... why insit that testing be? Life is too short to worry about someone else's rank.

Richard Harnack
05-24-2002, 11:29 AM
Originally posted by Arianah

Curious (again! :p)
To instructors: When you grade your students, do you grade them based on what they can do or how much they've improved? Do you grade and say, "Well, that student is certainly performing at a level that befits the expectation of a (insert rank here)" and award the rank. Or will you also grade with a "Well, that student is still struggling with some of the things that a (insert rank here) should know, but s/he has worked so hard . . ." approach? Is it how good or how much better than before? (I don't think that I can think of another way to say that . . . well I could, I suppose. ;))

Sarah

Sarah -
1. There are stated requirements for the Kyu and early Dan ranks which every student must meet.

2. Having said that, how well each student meets them is a function of their training, inherent abilities, etc.

3. No two students could ever be graded the "same". This is true in all of the martial arts as well as education in general. It is a fallacy to think that there are "objective" standards "out there". We each carry the standard within ourselves.

4. Improvement over one's prior skill levels counts a lot more than how many techniques one shows. I have seen some Aikidoka demonstrate dozens of techniques which they did rather poorly. I have also seen Aikidoka demonstrate a single technique extremely well, while doing others not as well. Which one is "better"? Neither, from my perspective.

Lastly, as I have said many times (so many that my wife found an old picture of me doing a demonstration and made a poster using these words), rank accounts for very little, training is everything. I would rather have the "klutzy" student who continued training regularly, than the "brilliant" student who shows up occasionally.

Good luck in improving your understanding.

Unregistered
06-07-2002, 10:23 AM
I was (am) one such student.

Though I try to own all aspects of my training, we do not learn aikido in a vaccuum, and we must test with partners.

I froze a bit suring the test and instead of letting me work it out in silence and continueing the attack, my uke decided to talk me through the test, no I am not kidding - showing all present how he was a good instructor. (1 rank ahead of me).

I passed the test, but was accused of cheating - what a combo.

I quit as a result of this and other issues. This was the crowning point. No integrity. Looking back I should have simply bowed out and ended the test myself.

For 6h kyu, sure, anything else, no.

Niadh
06-07-2002, 09:48 PM
Not to preach, but who really cares about rank? I mean, you know, or don't, what your abilities are and can explore your aikido. Don't worry aout how yours compares to someone elses. Worry about what you can do to improve in you. Whether in technique, observation, stretching, etc. I still feel that a belt should be for holding up your pants (or closed your jacket). But I know that all do not agree. Okay, that is why not all are me and I am not all.
"If your eyes are focused on the goal, how can you see to progress?"

Leave promotions and demotions ( i can't beleive in such) up to your instructor. That's part of their job
Niadh

Edward
06-07-2002, 11:52 PM
It's always quite amusing to read from people who don't care about rank, and who use their belts just to hold their gi together.

In some cases, I noticed that lack of self-confidence in one's abilities and fear of tests and failure in them are the real reasons behind this disinterested attitude. These people must be burning inside from envy of their friends taking up the tests.

I think that in a system where every one wears colored belts, wearing a white belt is a sign of arrogance. The most hypocrit of all are some yudansha who wear white belts under their hakama. It's true that O sensei did wear a white belt, and he always said he was still a beginner in aikido. But trying to compare themselves to Osensei is really fake humbleness.

Unregistered
06-08-2002, 03:56 AM
I haven't seen much of these cases that Edward pointed out. White belt is much more practical and that's it.

We don't want to SHOW our humbleness. Anyhow gi (and hakama too in my opinion) are used because of practical and traditional values. Coloured belts do not hold practical nor traditional values.

But that was off topic.

Just for the record:
In Estonia ppl get kyu grades fairly lightly. I've seen 1st kyus who are as good as some 4th kyus. But I do not care really...

paw
06-08-2002, 05:50 AM
In the Aikido Journal Bulletin Board there is a thread (with something like 300 replies) that discussed ranking and related issues.

Regards,

Paul

erikmenzel
06-08-2002, 06:08 AM
Originally posted by Edward
It's always quite amusing to read from people who don't care about rank, and who use their belts just to hold their gi together.

Most often people who make the kind of remarks as you did see their belt as an egoextension. Some are even unaware of this anyway.

In some cases, I noticed that lack of self-confidence in one's abilities and fear of tests and failure in them are the real reasons behind this disinterested attitude. These people must be burning inside from envy of their friends taking up the tests.

Does happen sometimes, but those people arent the rule. Beside having those reasons around already indicates something is rotten in the atmosphere and in the way the insecure people are treated and respected.
Could also reflect that their fellow aikido students have to inflated heads anyway.

I think that in a system where every one wears colored belts, wearing a white belt is a sign of arrogance. The most hypocrit of all are some yudansha who wear white belts under their hakama. It's true that O sensei did wear a white belt, and he always said he was still a beginner in aikido. But trying to compare themselves to Osensei is really fake humbleness.

Maybe your playing the devils advocate again, sure hope, cause this sounds more like your own insecurity needing signs and acknowledge of achievement. Your insecurity needing signs from others to confirm your own place in the pecking order.
Some people just want to be judged by their skill, ability and experience, not by their race, religion or belt. If this makes other people feel unconfortable, so be it. Be warned that those people will also judge you on your skill, abilities and experience and not on the belt you wear or the other claims you think you might have. I can understand that to some this will be scary. No safety net for your ego.

It is so easy to judge people who are not willing to play according to the rules your own ego might need.

BTW, maybe you can guess the color of my belt.

Sorry for the rant!

guest1234
06-08-2002, 07:22 AM
Edward,

I think you misunderstand: most are not saying testing is not important (it is very important in my opinion), but rather that RANK is not. To me, rank is too arbitrary to really mean much to anyone other than the person holding it and the person who awarded it. I'm sorry if that seems unfair to you, that others don't hold your rank in the esteem you feel it deserves, but when I train with someone I don't know (seminars, different dojo, new student, etc) I never ask their rank---my opinion of their attitude and skill is based on what I experience while training with them.

So, no one is saying 'don't test', no one is putting you down for testing or wanting to improve yourself (note: this is different from wanting to 'make rank'). But several of us are saying that someone's rank is totally unimportant to us. You do not strike me as someone so shallow to be training for the rank.

Edward
06-08-2002, 10:43 AM
Well, the funny thing is that I agree with you Colleen, as I do agree partly with Mr. Knoops eventhough he does seems to form a hasty opinion about people just from reading a few posts, and his insulting remarks which contrast so much with the image he's trying to show of himself. I wonder if I should put him on my ignore list.

The point I'm trying to make is that rank is important. Not the most important aspect of aikido: I can name at least 10 aspects which are more important. It's not the reason why I do aikido, certainly not. But it is important. And I'm sure those who deny this fact, and pretend that ranking has absolutely no importance for them, are just hypocrits, perhaps just like our friend Mr. knoops.

erikmenzel
06-08-2002, 11:48 AM
Originally posted by Edward
I do agree partly with Mr. Knoops eventhough he does seems to form a hasty opinion about people just from reading a few posts, and his insulting remarks which contrast so much with the image he's trying to show of himself. I wonder if I should put him on my ignore list.

If you feel offended or insulted by my post please accept my humble apoligies for this for it was not my intention. My intention was to simply voice an opinion that differs from yours.

But it is important. And I'm sure those who deny this fact, and pretend that ranking has absolutely no importance for them, are just hypocrits, perhaps just like our friend Mr. knoops.

Nobody likes to be called a hypocrit (twice).
:grr:

Erik
06-08-2002, 01:44 PM
No one should ever be called a hypocrit. It's very unbecoming and reflects poorly on both of you. I'm ashamed.

The word is hypocrite.

Chris Li
06-08-2002, 06:26 PM
Originally posted by Edward
I think that in a system where every one wears colored belts, wearing a white belt is a sign of arrogance. The most hypocrit of all are some yudansha who wear white belts under their hakama. It's true that O sensei did wear a white belt, and he always said he was still a beginner in aikido. But trying to compare themselves to Osensei is really fake humbleness.

Hmm, I train (and have trained) under an 8th dan, two 7th dans, and a 6th dan who all wear white belts (one of them a long time student of M. Ueshiba). I don't know whether this is "fake humbleness" or not, but I've never found them arrogant - quite the opposite, in fact.

Moriteru Ueshiba also wears a white belt, but then I suppose that he can do what he likes :) .

Best,

Chris

Miguel Cuevas
06-08-2002, 08:12 PM
Not wanting to stray off the topic much, but I just recently witnessed my first test ever, a 5th kyu test at that. There were four canidates and they did great by my estimation, and they all passed. Then again I am a rookie in this art:D . Some of the canidates were really excited to recieve their new belts, while others took it nonchalantly. It was a perfect example of what both Mr. Knoops and CA were both refering to, in which case I must say I agree with both. People do things for a near infinite number of reasons and I believe that trying to figure out a person's motivations for wearing a white belt all the time or for parading around in their higher ranking belts is pretty much an excercise in futility. Let people do their own thing without being too judgemental, that's what I say ;) .


Personally, I love the sense of accomplishment that having a colored belt conveys, and when I finally test and if I pass and I get one, I'm going to do a tap dance kata of joy all up and down my dojo! That doesn't mean I think I'm better than anyone, or that I'm letting my over inflated ego have its way with me, I'm just exceptionally proud of my accomplishment; nothing more, nothing less. I practice with all the dedication I can muster to reflect my pride in being an aikidoka, regardless of my rank. That pride would be diminished considerably if I believed I didn't deserve my rank.

On a side note, one of the students who took the 5th kyu test was blind, and to be honest about it, I kind of thought he was going to pass regardless of how he did. Fail the blind guy for poor technique? Not going to happen, I said. After he did his first technique (better than I have ever done it, I might add), I knew instantly that he deserved it. His uke for the test, by the way, was one of our dojo's sensei's, who is also blind. I wonder what their opinions are on the whole colored belt thing? Just a thought.

Niadh
06-08-2002, 09:14 PM
Originally posted by Edward
It's always quite amusing to read from people who don't care about rank, and who use their belts just to hold their gi together.

In some cases, I noticed that lack of self-confidence in one's abilities and fear of tests and failure in them are the real reasons behind this disinterested attitude. These people must be burning inside from envy of their friends taking up the tests.

I think that in a system where every one wears colored belts, wearing a white belt is a sign of arrogance. The most hypocrit of all are some yudansha who wear white belts under their hakama. It's true that O sensei did wear a white belt, and he always said he was still a beginner in aikido. But trying to compare themselves to Osensei is really fake humbleness.
Well, I here your words, but their meaning is deaf to me. I do not lack self confidence. I have been training for many years now, enjoy Aikido, and feel that I can learn something form anyone, NO MATTER WHAT RANK. so therefore rank does not matter to me. I have studied under Senseis of many different skills, often changing in the time of my study. Much as my skill has changed over the years. I test, I enjoy testing, and I celebrate the advancement of friends with them. I teach, I enjoy teaching, and I learn whenever I can from whomever I can. You state that Mr Knopp (?) makes a judgement call from a few posts, but is that not what you did after my post?

I could agree that to wear a white belt to show that you are above colored belts in a system that usescolored belts could be rude. I also KNOW that all systems do not, and I will do as asked by the person I am training under at a given time. Whether that traingin be long term or a seminar. But I will train with the same skill no matter the color of my belt or the rank I hold, or the style(s) in which I hold it. I expect that would be true of everyone here. So therefore I stand by my statements earlier.

Since the question asked was what do you think of "undesereved" promotions, I felt I should answer with my belief. If you are not theione granting the promotion, your are not the one to determine what is and is not deserved. Period.
To do otherwise would be a sign of extreme arrogance.
Niadh

guest1234
06-08-2002, 10:41 PM
Miguel,

I wish I could video that 'kata of joy dance'... I bet it will be something to behold;) ...

The blind student's test wound really interesting, especially with a blind uke... that must have really been something to watch, I wish I had been there... out of curiosity, were all the attacks grabs, or were there strikes? Did uke start with a sound to help nage orient himself, or how did they establish orientation for uke to attack?

PeterR
06-09-2002, 12:08 AM
Now boys. This is one of those topics where it is too easy to subscribe motives to those that feel differently.

The Shodokan system is fairly highly structured so if you don't test, there is a portion of every class where you practice the same stuff year in year out. Yuck. I want my next promotion exam not because I get to write whatever rank on my forehead but I want to start working on the next group of techniques. Ah well, I suppose patience is a virtue.

I've said before that I think kyu grades are an exellent measure of progress in the beginning of our journey and do think testing when the time is right is important. Rank hunting on the other hand is evil ;).

Still when someone proclaims they are not interested in testing or that rank has no meaning I must admit I am pretty quick to ask myself what they really mean. If they start talking about ego I immediately begin to smell the "holier than thou" attitude. Like Chris I know several seriously advanced students of our little thing that have reverted to white belts. Reminding oneself of "beginners mind" is the reason often given and somehow for 7th, 8th Dans to do so sounds right - for Shodan (beginning level) to do so sounds pretentious.

Let's just say that test when your sensei tells you to, where what the dojo requires, and don't worry about those around you.

erikmenzel
06-09-2002, 05:22 AM
Originally posted by PeterR
This is one of those topics where it is too easy to subscribe motives to those that feel differently.

You are absolutly right. Mea culpa.

The Shodokan system is fairly highly structured so if you don't test, there is a portion of every class where you practice the same stuff year in year out. Yuck. I want my next promotion exam not because I get to write whatever rank on my forehead but I want to start working on the next group of techniques. Ah well, I suppose patience is a virtue.

At our school we just train what we train, only thing taken into account is the level of skill of the people present.


I've said before that I think kyu grades are an exellent measure of progress in the beginning of our journey and do think testing when the time is right is important. Rank hunting on the other hand is evil ;).

Testing is no problem, but why should there be rank attached?? What is wrong with a test, recieving a simple menkyo stating what you have done??

Still when someone proclaims they are not interested in testing or that rank has no meaning I must admit I am pretty quick to ask myself what they really mean. If they start talking about ego I immediately begin to smell the "holier than thou" attitude. Like Chris I know several seriously advanced students of our little thing that have reverted to white belts. Reminding oneself of "beginners mind" is the reason often given and somehow for 7th, 8th Dans to do so sounds right - for Shodan (beginning level) to do so sounds pretentious.

Yet other examples exist. At our club everybody wears a white belt. Beginners wear a white belt, advanced students wear a white belt, teachers wear a white belt. Nobody thinks about it, nobody attaches any value to it. The belt is used because it is part of your training uniform.
A side effect is that students dont understand the value other people attach to the color of their belt. Quite often people come back from seminars being shocked by the bad manners, the sloppy technique and the inflated ego of some blackbelts they met.

Let's just say that test when your sensei tells you to, where what the dojo requires, and don't worry about those around you.

In our dojo testing when sensei tells you to means you are not judging your own abilities right and sensei thinks you have waited to long already to do the test.

As a side note: At our school a lot of the serious students see doing a test more as being able to demonstrate for sensei and fellow students their own progress and regard tests sometimes as a gift toward sensei and the fellow students who helped them get that far. IME these tests are conducted very very seriously.

Chris Li
06-09-2002, 07:46 AM
Originally posted by erikknoops
Testing is no problem, but why should there be rank attached?? What is wrong with a test, recieving a simple menkyo stating what you have done??

That's just rank by another name. There are plenty of places with menkyo systems that have just as many problems with who got what menkyo when as the kyu-dan places. Is there really a difference between "I am a shodan in Billy-Bob Ryu" and "I am a hiden mokuroku in Billy-Bob Ryu"?


Yet other examples exist. At our club everybody wears a white belt. Beginners wear a white belt, advanced students wear a white belt, teachers wear a white belt. Nobody thinks about it, nobody attaches any value to it. The belt is used because it is part of your training uniform.
A side effect is that students dont understand the value other people attach to the color of their belt. Quite often people come back from seminars being shocked by the bad manners, the sloppy technique and the inflated ego of some blackbelts they met.

The belt is just a strip of cloth, it doesn't cause the problem - people cause the problem. The same type of status problems exist in every human society, in every human endeavor, whether there is a formal ranking system or not. It even happens among animal groups.

My personal experience is this - if the central figure in the group (usually the chief instructor) places excessive importance on some kind of status system, whether it be rank or menkyo, then the general population will follow along and problems are likely to occur. OTOH, if that central figure de-emphasizes the heirarchical importance of those types of sytems then problems will be less likely to occur, with very little relation to whether or not a ranking system is actually in place.

In short, IMO rank-related problems have very little to do with whether or not there is a ranking system, but have everything to do with the attitudes of the central figures of a particular group.


In our dojo testing when sensei tells you to means you are not judging your own abilities right and sensei thinks you have waited to long already to do the test.

Of course, this varies according to the local customs. Some places the teachers decide, some places they expect the students to decide for themselves. I haven't seen any large advantages of one system over the other.

Best,

Chris

SeiserL
06-13-2002, 09:57 AM
I must admit, I have seen people obtain rank that I personally would not have given it to. But then again, some people may feel that way about me. But, it wasn't and isn't up to me. Its up to the person in charge. They have the right to promote who they want on whatever basis they want.

I tend not to take other's promotion/rank (or my own) too seriously. I think that thinking about rank/testing takes away from the training. Just show up, suit up (whatever color the belt), and train. There rest comes of its own.

If I don't accept my Sensei's ability to promote as he sees fit, perhaps I shouldn't be training under him. Or, I should look at my own ego.

But then again, I would not have promoted me either. Its so hard to turn down a gift offered to an old man.

Until again,

Lynn

henry brown
06-13-2002, 03:00 PM
I really hate the way that promotion tests are called "tests". I would really favor if people used a word like "recital". A test is an event where the intent is often to find out what you don't know, whereas a recital is an opportunity to show-off what you do know.

I was recently at my kids' piano recital, where there were a group of children of various ages and expertise. Each child was assigned some pieces a month or two in advance (it least it seemed that long after hearing them over and over), just as aikido students know what will be required of them at each 'test'. No one gave the little kids "11th kyu" in piano, or the older kids "shodan". Still, it was pretty clear from their performances where each child stood.

So, I don't think ranks are particularly useful in terms of measuring an individual's technical expertise. I think they do have some meaning as some sort of combination of technical know-how and dojo reponsibilities. Someone at 1st or 2nd kyu should be prepared to help introduce newer students to dojo etiquette as well as technique. Dan ranks should have teaching and dojo responsibilities.

davidmartin
07-12-2002, 04:21 AM
I'm interested that the subject of demotions has come, since it is one that I have some personal experience of. When I started training I was very much motivated by gradings and belt colour. I think this is almost inevitable with students new to Aikido. However, after 4 years of diligent and hard training I reached the rank of 1st Kyu, and believed that I had overcome my focus on grade and belt colour. Then... I decided (due to orgainsational politics) to move organisation, and train elsewhere. There was a penalty however... I was demoted all the way back to novice, since my new organisation refused to accept grades from elsewhere.

Now, this was a choice I made myself, but it was very hard to accept, and I realised that I was not quite as "pure of spirit" as I thought :). Anyway, I persevered, trained hard, and eventually (after 18 Months), regained my grade of 1st Kyu.

I think I have learnt 2 main things from this..

If you are devoted to your training, you will overcome your natural competitive, ego driven motivations.

If you can honestly say that you train purely "for the love of the art" then you are in a VERY small minority.

All of us suffer from the human foibles of vanity and ego, but the true measure of our commitment to Aikido, is in how we strive to overcome these weakness, and always seek to practice with an open and pure heart.

Dave

Unregistered
07-12-2002, 09:03 AM
What really gets me is the fact that people actually think they're doing some kind of test. Unless the "event" includes a written exam, you're not really testing, you're demonstrating what you've learned (or not).....

Prevent a young person from joining a gang, help the elderly, volunteer your time for a just cause...... these are tests of character and spirit. Not how well you dance around a mat with a partner.....

Think about it.

Arianah
07-12-2002, 01:10 PM
What really gets me is the fact that people actually think they're doing some kind of test. Unless the "event" includes a written exam, you're not really testing, you're demonstrating what you've learned (or not).....
A written exam is a demonstration of what you have or have not learned, just demonstrating a different kind of knowledge. I guess I don't see what you mean here . . .:confused:

Sarah

Unregistered
07-12-2002, 05:56 PM
It is a test, and there's not only the demonstration, there's the challenge of being under public scrutiny.. I don't know I've observed people who stress out under the test when everyone knows they can perform the technique , but with the added pressure it becomes a challenge.
maybe writing is harder for you, therefore it is a "test" vs. demonstrating. Lucky you (maybe not)

Unregistered
07-12-2002, 05:57 PM
What I don't know could fill the rest of the universe...

Unregistered
07-12-2002, 07:22 PM
Have nothing to say cool quck thingy!

batemanb
07-30-2002, 02:09 AM
I'm interested that the subject of demotions has come, since it is one that I have some personal experience of. When I started training I was very much motivated by gradings and belt colour. I think this is almost inevitable with students new to Aikido. However, after 4 years of diligent and hard training I reached the rank of 1st Kyu, and believed that I had overcome my focus on grade and belt colour. Then... I decided (due to orgainsational politics) to move organisation, and train elsewhere. There was a penalty however... I was demoted all the way back to novice, since my new organisation refused to accept grades from elsewhere.

Now, this was a choice I made myself, but it was very hard to accept, and I realised that I was not quite as "pure of spirit" as I thought :). Anyway, I persevered, trained hard, and eventually (after 18 Months), regained my grade of 1st Kyu.

I think I have learnt 2 main things from this..

If you are devoted to your training, you will overcome your natural competitive, ego driven motivations.

If you can honestly say that you train purely "for the love of the art" then you are in a VERY small minority.

All of us suffer from the human foibles of vanity and ego, but the true measure of our commitment to Aikido, is in how we strive to overcome these weakness, and always seek to practice with an open and pure heart.

Dave
I too have had a similar experience to Dave. I trained for nine years or so back in the UK, in a dojo that focused on the training more than the grading (didn`t say test:D ). As a result of this I had never been bothered about what colour my belt was (or so I thought). I took four tests during that time and was graded ikkyu when I moved on.

When I arrived in Japan, I went straight to the Aikikai Hombu and joined up, only to be told that my ikkyu was not recognised because my UK dojo was not Aikikai, I would have to start again from the beginning. As someone who who thought they weren`t bothered about grades, I was surprised when I found myself resenting this. I had worked hard for nine years to get where I was and it was being wiped away without a thought. I festered on it for three or four weeks, even contemplated giving up completely before I came to the conclusion that it was only disappointment. Losing the grade did not make my aikido any worse, did not change my ability (what little there was anyways :D ), it really is all about my training, not my grade, I made the choice to carry on. As it turned out, I moved apartments shortly after and quite by chance found myself living about 3 minutes away from a local dojo, which was a lot more convenient than the 40 minute trip to Hombu. I went to visit and signed up immediately and have been training regularly ever since. After nine months, I took my first grading and was bumped to nikkyu. OK, that`s not the grade I had before I came here, but do I really care, not any more (I think?:confused: ), guess I`ll just have to keep training to find out.

Ben_t_shodan
08-20-2002, 12:26 AM
Hello,

Just wondering if any of you have witnessed students pass a test when you felt they didn't have enough skills to justify the promotion. Do you think some instructors can be a bit lenient promoting students at times?

Wondering....
I remember in 1994 at a camp that I watched a Shodan test, it was not... Um.. up to par so to say.;) I saw one of out high ranking instructors lay down and take a nap less than half way through the test.:eek:

and the scary part was, he passed! :confused:

thank you,

Ben

Unregistered
08-30-2002, 09:43 AM
"As soon as you concern yourself with the "good" and "bad" of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with, and criticizing others weaken and defeat you." -Morihei Ueshiba Sensei

aikigreg
09-03-2002, 03:25 PM
Not to put too fine a point on it, but my comment would be to keep in mind that as each dojo tests differently, different techniques are likely stressed. So while my iriminage might be pretty good, and at a level above my current rank, my kotegaeshi might not be up to your par. (I know mine isn't, partially due to a slight handicap). That doesn't mean I haven't earned my rank.

And as far as belt goes, I prefer white belts for three reasons:

1. it matches my gi color - instant coordination!

2. It (partially) removes some of the internal competition inherent to most martial arts, and that Aikido largely tries to avoid. I'm appreciative of that fact.

3. I find it nice to be able to practice, learn, and grow without having to pay attention to where I am exactly on the totem pole. If I give it a lot of conscious thought I know where I stand, but in the day-to-day workings of the dojo it's not obvious and my attention is on better things.

My suggestion: Pay attention to yourself and your uke. Help them, train diligently, and forget about the rest as much as is possible.

stoker
09-04-2002, 09:22 AM
You also have to remember that some people test poorly but have demonstrated their abilities and knowledge in the past. On my Judo Shodan test I drew a blank on the name of the second part of the three parts of a throw -- I took me a full thirty seconds of patomime with a series of frantic waza and saying the words as I went before I said the right word. I did not even realize I said it!

Felt like real moron about that.

Also remember that being tired at the end of a test can also cause problems. A friend in a Jiu Jitsu test was running on empty after two hours of heavy physical activity and 'reacted'. The testing black belt wanted a technique to block his right jab. Tori did a strong palm strike to the sternum that sent the black belt first horizontal and then a hard brakfall from about five and a half feet. The BB was expecting a block and a pulled punch and not to have his rib cage rattled. He did end the test shorting after that :-)

Bruce Baker
09-15-2002, 07:14 PM
I see that there are many of you who have seen grading inadequeces.

I know that most teachers who review the innitiate who is testing with a particular set of requirements in mind. Even if some of the students do not see this, most good instructors will point out key things that instructors are looking for at the different test grades. The same goes for practice in different styles of Aikido. I could go on for a couple of pages, but then that would be telling tales out of class, wouldn't it ... and take away some of the magic of practice. So, take heart, eventually you will either find the fine details, or be instructed in them so you too can sit and critique the performance of others. Kindly and without being judgemental, of course. As far as instructors wearing white belts, maybe you should have more classes in street clothes ... this too levels the playing field and makes you aware of using Aikido in other dimensions than the dojo. Most of the teachers I know, enjoy teaching, but also enjoy being part of the class too.

Niadh
04-29-2004, 10:10 PM
Let's just say that test when your sensei tells you to, where what the dojo requires, and don't worry about those around you.
Peter,
It is amazing how one person can put in so few words what another needs 3 paragraphs to try to say.
Thank you
Niadh

Mark Uttech
05-01-2004, 04:09 AM
[B]What is a colored belt to a blind person?