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Guillaume Erard
07-17-2012, 02:18 AM
For the non French speakers, I did a quick translation in English of the open letter of Christian Tissier Shihan to the heads of French Aikido (http://www.aikido.com.fr/Lettre-ouverte-de-Christian) regarding his promotion to 8th Dan.

"Open letter to the heads of French Aikido
I have been informed that the FFAAA, the federation to which I belong, had requested my promotion to the rank of 8th Dan during the past meeting of the CSDGE (Commission SpÚcialisÚe des Dan et Grades ╔quivalents) [translator's note: governmental grading comity that sanction the Dan promotions of all members of accredited Aikido federations].

Although the grading comity of the FFAB [translator's note: the other of the two accredited French federations] is on principle agreeable to the motion, it has decided to render its agreement conditional to the solving of a past contention between the two federations in a way that is exclusively beneficial to the FFAB. This places my nomination at the center of a shocking blackmail that is totally independent of the technical and human values that such a grade is supposed to reflect.

In return, the use of this "veto power" has resulted in the suspension in the processing of all other exceptional nominations for both federations.

Therefore, in order not to be awarded a grade upon criteria others than those that it is supposed to sanction, and in order not to penalize other practitioners of value in their respective nominations, I have decided to ask Maxime Dehomme and the members of the CSDGE within my federation to withdraw their request for my promotion to the grade of 8th Dan.

July 15th 2012

Christian Tissier"

Chris Li
07-17-2012, 03:04 AM
For the non French speakers, I did a quick translation in English of the open letter of Christian Tissier Shihan to the heads of French Aikido (http://www.aikido.com.fr/Lettre-ouverte-de-Christian) regarding his promotion to 8th Dan.

That's interesting, does that mean that Dan grades in France come from the CSDGE rather than from hombu? Or do people get separate grades from both entities?

Best,

Chris

Guillaume Erard
07-17-2012, 03:37 AM
That's interesting, does that mean that Dan grades in France come from the CSDGE rather than from hombu? Or do people get separate grades from both entities?

Correct as far as I understand. Technically, Hombu is supposed to wait for a practitioner to have his/her federal grade before awarding Aikikai grades. In France it is illegal to use the word Dan if it was not given by a state-recognized commission.

JJF
07-17-2012, 04:00 AM
I have no knowledge of this specific matter nor of the way French Aikido is organized, but it is always sad when politics stands in the way of the development of Aikido - be that teachers, grades, students, organisations, dojos or any other aspect. Alas it seems to be more and more frequent once higher ranks are being discussed.

Recently a Danish person has been awarded 8th dan in Iaido (think it is Muso Shinden Ryu) which is - as far as I know - the first outside Japan, and it has been quite an unorthodox decision. 8th dan for Tissier sensei would be also quite a steppingstone forward in recognition of the globalization of Japanese Budo.

I hope the two organsiations will find a way to mend their relationship.

J°rgen Jakob

PeterR
07-17-2012, 05:10 AM
Correct as far as I understand. Technically, Hombu is supposed to wait for a practitioner to have his/her federal grade before awarding Aikikai grades. In France it is illegal to use the word Dan if it was not given by a state-recognized commission.

So what happens if I received my Dan grade from Japan or some other country where the state is not involved and move to France.

In Germany it is illegal for a scientist to call himself Dr. unless that Ph.D. was from a German university or an exception applied for and granted. I just can't fathom the thinking behind this - who comes up with these laws and why.

crbateman
07-17-2012, 05:21 AM
It is indeed a shame that well-deserved recognition should come with so many "hooks" in it. Tissier Sensei has handled this in a classy and unselfish manner. I hope that more sensible priorities will prevail.

Graham Farquhar
07-17-2012, 07:53 AM
I have always wondered about the division of aikido in france and the 2 associations, which I believe goes back a number of years. This situation is unlikely to heal any rifts. A real shame.

Guillaume Erard
07-17-2012, 08:08 AM
So what happens if I received my Dan grade from Japan or some other country where the state is not involved and move to France.
.
Precisely, you would not be recognized or allowed to mention any Dan grade. That would certainly be my case if I ever returned to France.:uch:

Graham Farquhar
07-17-2012, 08:14 AM
Follow up from my post Chris Li's excellent article an interview with Tamura Sensei part 2 gives a little indication that the split was complicated.

PeterR
07-17-2012, 08:40 AM
This is interesting - there is a Shodokan Aikido club in Paris that I am sure is outside the French Aikido system. Rogue in more ways than one.

Chuck Clark
07-17-2012, 09:48 AM
Bravo to M. Tissier. Very appropriately done. As Peter wrote, laws such as this regarding the banning of titles earned outside their jurisdiction are ridiculous. Upon verification, there should be a recognition of rightly earned degrees and titles from other countries. Pretty juvenile not to really...

** Peter, with regard to our lineage... Tam pis...Tout jours l'audace!!!!

Chris Li
07-17-2012, 10:37 AM
Follow up from my post Chris Li's excellent article an interview with Tamura Sensei part 2 gives a little indication that the split was complicated.

Just reading that section of the interview (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-07-15/profiles-of-the-founder-nobuyoshi-tamura-part-2) gave me a headache. :D

I wonder what would happen if CSDGE certified a grading but hombu declined? Or is hombu a true rubber stamp in the process?

Best,

Chris

rulemaker
07-17-2012, 12:08 PM
If Hombu awards him his 8th Dan then he is an 8th Dan the rest of the world. Who cares about french budo politics.

Cliff Judge
07-17-2012, 12:09 PM
So what happens if I received my Dan grade from Japan or some other country where the state is not involved and move to France.

In Germany it is illegal for a scientist to call himself Dr. unless that Ph.D. was from a German university or an exception applied for and granted. I just can't fathom the thinking behind this - who comes up with these laws and why.

I am not sure if this is true for France, but I have always had a suspicion that it is:

One reason I could conceive of for a country to decide to sanction and control the rankings for practitioners of foreign martial arts would be if public facilities and perhaps funding is made available to people for practicing martial arts. You might not want someone with a black belt from a belt mill to come in and say "okay, I am going to start using the gymnasium over there with the sprung floor to teach my students, I will need a couple of two-hour blocks a week." And whatever else they might demand, I am an American so my imagination does not serve me very well here.

But the point is, IF (and not sure if this is the picture in France, but I think it is something like it) the people decided to set aside a bunch of public funds for facilities for martial arts instruction, there would have to be some kind of official vetting process for people who were going to teach there. And maybe you'd want to do that INSIDE the martial arts system you were trying to support as opposed to externally.

Menisong
07-17-2012, 12:21 PM
Precisely, you would not be recognized or allowed to mention any Dan grade. That would certainly be my case if I ever returned to France.:uch:

I would be surprised if there is not a process for recognizing Dan grades earned outside France. I am sure it involves some hoop jumping and lots of paper work, but I am confident the process is there.

Dave Gallagher
07-17-2012, 12:23 PM
Quote from Chris Li:
"Just reading that section of the interview gave me a headache"

.....Yes me too but I also felt that I needed a nap after reading as well. I think I'll go back and read it on those nights I can't sleep LOl..

Chris Li
07-17-2012, 02:11 PM
If Hombu awards him his 8th Dan then he is an 8th Dan the rest of the world. Who cares about french budo politics.

As I understand it, hombu won't award him an 8th dan unless it goes through the CSDGE first. Or did I read that wrong?

Best,

Chris

danj
07-17-2012, 02:20 PM
Probably just need the English to provide an 8th dan promotion or two and the French will sort themselves out real quick ;)

Rob Watson
07-17-2012, 02:21 PM
If Hombu awards him his 8th Dan then he is an 8th Dan the rest of the world. Who cares about french budo politics.

Isn't the way it works generally anywhere is one goes through their association to submit ranks to hombu? Super shihan excepted.

Nick P.
07-17-2012, 05:34 PM
Years ago we welcomed a French student to our club for a while. Over drinks I asked her how testing was conducted in her dojo, as I was curious.

She went on to explain that both aforementioned Federations tested their students at the same time, with a board comprised of an equal number from each Federation. If I remember correctly, she stated that your testing partner was from the other Federation (and yes, this meant each Federation had to present the same number of students for testing), and that the board had to agree that either both passed their tests or both failed. Yes, this meant that sometimes you should have passed but you and your partner were failed because you partner sucked miserably, or that you passed though you sucked but your partner shinned.

With the above in mind, this all makes sense, and I am most impressed with Tissier Sensei's tact in this matter.

Dave Gallagher
07-17-2012, 05:59 PM
Tissier sensei has done the best thing but it's a shame that this situation exists. This exposes the worst of organisations and of government.

TokyoZeplin
07-17-2012, 07:47 PM
I am not sure if this is true for France, but I have always had a suspicion that it is:

One reason I could conceive of for a country to decide to sanction and control the rankings for practitioners of foreign martial arts would be if public facilities and perhaps funding is made available to people for practicing martial arts. You might not want someone with a black belt from a belt mill to come in and say "okay, I am going to start using the gymnasium over there with the sprung floor to teach my students, I will need a couple of two-hour blocks a week." And whatever else they might demand, I am an American so my imagination does not serve me very well here.

But the point is, IF (and not sure if this is the picture in France, but I think it is something like it) the people decided to set aside a bunch of public funds for facilities for martial arts instruction, there would have to be some kind of official vetting process for people who were going to teach there. And maybe you'd want to do that INSIDE the martial arts system you were trying to support as opposed to externally.

This nails it.
The reasons why titles don't automatically cross, is because standards are different in different countries. I certainly wouldn't want a "doctor" automatically being granted the ability to call himself that, and operate on patients, simply because he got a "doctor" title in some random third world country.
Whenever a title carries responsibility with it, it's important to make sure that the title also lives up to the demands of that responsibility. In the case of Martial Arts, it can be to avoid injury of students, avoid teaching hazardous moves, avoid getting leeches gaining government funding, and so forth.

George S. Ledyard
07-17-2012, 08:05 PM
Pretty juvenile not to really...
Show me the money...

Guillaume Erard
07-17-2012, 08:18 PM
Probably just need the English to provide an 8th dan promotion or two and the French will sort themselves out real quick ;)
Got me laughing out loud on that one!:D

Guillaume Erard
07-17-2012, 08:25 PM
I would be surprised if there is not a process for recognizing Dan grades earned outside France. I am sure it involves some hoop jumping and lots of paper work, but I am confident the process is there.
Yes that is true, but it really boils down to how much bending over backwards you are ready to do to get it.

That being said, I do not think that the fact that the government wanting to regulate titles and teaching credentials is necessarily a bad thing. I have seen too many dangerous things being taught to children in my time abroad by unqualified, so-called Sensei.

Also, let's not forget that Aikidoka in France are 70 000 strong primarily thanks to the generous help of the government in terms of funding and facilities. If really people wanted to get rid of the state's influence, they probably could, but it means that they would have to become real pros and loose benefits from the government's generosity. Tuitions would also get a lot more expensive as a result.

So I think that given the context, Christian Tissier's response is exemplary, but as far as the situation is concerned, things are not as simple as it seems.

Tommo
07-17-2012, 11:11 PM
I have trained with Tissier Shihan at his dojo Cercle Tissier in Paris, I find him an honest and sincere person, congrats on his decission over this matter.

JJF
07-18-2012, 02:45 AM
wow... 70.000 aikido practitioners out of a population of roughly 65 mill. That is about 0,1 procent which is quite good.

Here in DK I estimate that we have maybe - at best - on fifth of that. We have cheap access to facilities and to a certain extend help covering some expenses - although teachers are always working for free. However I do wonder what they have done in France to get such a huge number of people on the mat.

One might think Christian Tissier has a big part in this matter. Even the more sad that he is not able to be given the recognition that some obviously think he deserves.

I hope they will find a better way of doing things soon. The only good thing about being a small country with a small aikido-organisation is that we are still able to avoid most of the hassle, politics and internal discrepancies that too often follow in the wake of large organisations.

JJ

philipsmith
07-18-2012, 04:34 AM
So what happens if I received my Dan grade from Japan or some other country where the state is not involved and move to France.

.

I know of at least one person in this precise situation.

He is graded 5th Dan by Aikikai but French only recognise him as 4th dan - and he s not allowed to use his 5th Dan status on any official communication.

TokyoZeplin
07-18-2012, 05:33 AM
wow... 70.000 aikido practitioners out of a population of roughly 65 mill. That is about 0,1 procent which is quite good.

Here in DK I estimate that we have maybe - at best - on fifth of that. We have cheap access to facilities and to a certain extend help covering some expenses - although teachers are always working for free. However I do wonder what they have done in France to get such a huge number of people on the mat.

One might think Christian Tissier has a big part in this matter. Even the more sad that he is not able to be given the recognition that some obviously think he deserves.

I hope they will find a better way of doing things soon. The only good thing about being a small country with a small aikido-organisation is that we are still able to avoid most of the hassle, politics and internal discrepancies that too often follow in the wake of large organisations.

JJ

Indeed, 0,1% of the Danish population would be around 5574 people.
There's around 28 dojos in the Danish Aikido Federation (Dansk Aikido Forbund), and then maybe lets say 5 more than are other styles than Aikikai, so lets say 33 dojos in Denmark. That means that to reach a 0,1% of the population mark, each dojo would need 169 active students... I don't quite think they have that many, hah. I would venture a guess, and say the average dojo has somewhere around 40 active members? That's around 1320 members in total, in Denmark, around 0,023% of the population :S

In general, I don't think Denmark has a history of doing a lot of Martial Arts, and general knowledge of Aikido seems to be very very low.

JJF
07-18-2012, 06:39 AM
Indeed, 0,1% of the Danish population would be around 5574 people.
There's around 28 dojos in the Danish Aikido Federation (Dansk Aikido Forbund), and then maybe lets say 5 more than are other styles than Aikikai, so lets say 33 dojos in Denmark. That means that to reach a 0,1% of the population mark, each dojo would need 169 active students... I don't quite think they have that many, hah. I would venture a guess, and say the average dojo has somewhere around 40 active members? That's around 1320 members in total, in Denmark, around 0,023% of the population :S

In general, I don't think Denmark has a history of doing a lot of Martial Arts, and general knowledge of Aikido seems to be very very low.

Hmmm.. after reflecting on the matter... Actually I would think It's more like an average of about 20 person - depending on whether you count the kids-classes as well.

There is a few more dojo's though. At least four Tendoryu, one or two Yuishinkai and four ki-aikido. Probably more exist - and then some daito-ryu/Aiki-jutsu dojo's but let's leave them out of the equation.

Let's just say 10 of different style than what is gathered under Danish Aikido Federation (the aforementioned 28). In all maybe 38 dojo's with an average of 20 active students.. around 760 in all... so we are down in the vicinity of 0,014 percent. So it's closer to one tenth of what they have in France.

To the rest of you: Sorry to get so far off topic. I still wish I knew how they have managed to get such a relative good grip of the population. We might be able to learn something up here.

Now.. back to topic... It is really something for a person outside of Japan to get 8th dan. Does anybody else know of someone else? From this page:
http://www.aiki.rs/sensei_e.htm

I can see that Patrick Auge is an 8th dan, but that is Yoseikan aikido. Is it affiliated with the Aikikai?

JJ

Carsten M÷llering
07-18-2012, 06:56 AM
That's interesting, does that mean that Dan grades in France come from the CSDGE rather than from hombu? Or do people get separate grades from both entities?
Indeed there exists something special that we call here joking the "french-dan". This graduation is part of the public teaching system in France, which includes some bud˘ like aikid˘ and jűd˘.

Concerning shodan - yondan: When having passed your examination in France (and having got your "french-dan") - as a rule - your papers are immediately send to hombu, your examination is approved and d˘shu gives out your aikikai grade.
(My federation with Endo and Tissier as shihan first copied this. But we soon realized that there is no need in Germany having an special rank of our German federation an then getting approved. So now the papers are sent to hombu directly. )

Conerning godan ... I don't know how this is done. But imagine Tamura sensei and Tissier sensei as leading figures: There is no doubt about their loyalty towards hombu/aikikai/doshu. And I think that you did not hear about such special thing called "french-dan" even existed, shows, that up to now they managed to give out the rank only in total aggreement with hombu. Both, Tamura and Tissier where, and Tissier is, very close with hombu. They allways managed to not split up the system they had to live in in France from the system they come from in Japan. It worked!

(But: Does this mean, that hombu would grade Christian hachidan?! ....
This to me is the real question in all this.)

The "french-dan" is due to the public education system in France. You simply need a certain licence to teach: The "Brevet d'Etat d'Úducateur sportif (BEES)" (State Certified Sports Instructor). Only holders of this certificate may be paid for sports coaching. If you want to teach in d˘j˘, you need the first degree, if you want to conduct or represent a club you need the second degree and so on ... .

And another step back is needed to see the whole picture: In France aikid˘ can be taught in school. You can have aikid˘ just like maths or chemistry or English ... . So a certified aikid˘ teacher in france has to meet certain standards. And so the ministry of sports whatches aikid˘ teachers overall.

Please correct me!!! I'm not sure with every detail!
But I hope even with some errors this helps to better understand the situation?

Guillaume Erard
07-18-2012, 08:43 AM
Concerning shodan - yondan: When having passed your examination in France (and having got your "french-dan") - as a rule - your papers are immediately send to hombu, your examination is approved and d˘shu gives out your aikikai grade.


I am afraid I have to disagree on that point. there is nothing automatic about it since both Tissier and Tamura Sensei conducted Aikikai Dan gradings on the condition of the French grades being obtained. This was totally facilitative, left to the examining Shihan's judgement, and did not necessarily entitle the practitioners to their Aikikai equivalent grade (some got awarded lower Aikikai grades than their French grade). In fact, I would say that most French practitioners do not have their Aikikai equivalent grade.

I have tried to summarize a bit the current situation in this blog post (http://www.guillaumeerard.com/aikido/events/95-christian-tissier-shihan-s-promotion-to-8th-dan-put-on-hold) with a reproduction of Mr Tissier's letter. If anyone has additional information on this system (which I have left over ten years ago ad therefore feel a bit out of touch with), please do not hesitate to let me know.

Carsten M÷llering
07-18-2012, 10:18 AM
Thank you for clarifying!

We where connected to FFAAA via Jean Luc Subileau. He was the teacher of my sempai and my teacher. They had to do their examinations in France in front of the usual jury. This is "the surrounding" where my experiences come from.
Merci.

Menisong
07-18-2012, 11:04 AM
The only good thing about being a small country with a small aikido-organisation is that we are still able to avoid most of the hassle, politics and internal discrepancies that too often follow in the wake of large organisations.

JJ

Here is the heart of the issue really, large organizations, be it governmental, private, or what not. Big organizations bring politics to the forefront. You have to take the bad with the good.

Chris Li
07-18-2012, 11:20 AM
Here is the heart of the issue really, large organizations, be it governmental, private, or what not. Big organizations bring politics to the forefront. You have to take the bad with the good.

In my experience, small organizations have just as many problems (Hawaii is a good example).

I wonder if the value received is really worth the price paid...

Best,

Chris

Menisong
07-18-2012, 12:03 PM
In my experience, small organizations have just as many problems (Hawaii is a good example).

I wonder if the value received is really worth the price paid...

Best,

Chris

Yeah, I agree, I'll try to edit my post. It's the being part of an "organization", big or relatively small that brings in all the political, ego, etc nonsense.

Steven
07-18-2012, 03:29 PM
Just wondering out loud if this requirement also applies to other aikido organizations or just the Aikikai?

Chris Li
07-18-2012, 03:35 PM
Just wondering out loud if this requirement also applies to other aikido organizations or just the Aikikai?

From what Tamura said in this interview (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-07-15/profiles-of-the-founder-nobuyoshi-tamura-part-2) - I would guess so...

Best,

Chris

Giorgos Sardelis
07-18-2012, 05:07 PM
I believe that the situation in French Aikido will be solved in the most harmonious way.

Graham Farquhar
07-18-2012, 05:11 PM
In my experience, small organizations have just as many problems (Hawaii is a good example).

Interesting comment given that both france and Hawaii were probably the first two countries outside of Japan to establish Aikido with Mochizuki and Tohei respectively.

gregstec
07-18-2012, 05:18 PM
In my experience, small organizations have just as many problems (Hawaii is a good example).

Interesting comment given that both france and Hawaii were probably the first two countries outside of Japan to establish Aikido with Mochizuki and Tohei respectively.

The core of the problem has absolutely nothing to do with Aikido - anytime you get more than two people together, politics raises its nasty head to some extent - just the way things are, unfortunately :yuck:

Greg

Graham Farquhar
07-18-2012, 05:33 PM
Greg I couldn't agree more. Especially if something is to be gained or lost. In this situation and from an outsider's point of view it would seem that the FFAB would go from having had the senior practioner and therefore perhaps connsidered itself the prominent organisation to being subservient to Tissiers organisation due to his ranking.

hughrbeyer
07-18-2012, 07:16 PM
I believe that the situation in French Aikido will be solved in the most harmonious way.

Where's the smiley on this? It's got to be snark, right? A country where the two branches insist on only grading candidates from the two organizations in pairs, and insist on passing both or neither? They might as well pass regulations controlling the angle and volume with which they may piss on each others' shoes.

Belt_Up
07-18-2012, 07:24 PM
They might as well pass regulations controlling the angle and volume with which they may piss on each others' shoes.

I am going to steal this and use it at every opportunity.

Carl Thompson
07-18-2012, 09:58 PM
Probably just need the English to provide an 8th dan promotion or two and the French will sort themselves out real quick ;)

I get the impression that the UK has the opposite extreme: Plenty of high-ranking people with little regulation. I imagine an English 7th dan going up a grade would just highlight the dichotomy.

I know of at least one person in this precise situation.

He is graded 5th Dan by Aikikai but French only recognise him as 4th dan - and he s not allowed to use his 5th Dan status on any official communication.

If I followed the rest of the thread correctly, it seems that the French dan grade is effectively a separate qualification, connected more to the education system, public funding and privileges regarding public facilities.

I suggest addressing the French yudansha grade differently to show this. We could condense the "French Dan" into a "fran".

Your friend could be 5th dan internationally and 4th fran in France.:)

Carl

Guillaume Erard
07-18-2012, 10:45 PM
I know of at least one person in this precise situation.
He is graded 5th Dan by Aikikai but French only recognise him as 4th dan - and he s not allowed to use his 5th Dan status on any official communication.
That is pretty common indeed and it is particularly sad considering the "derogations" that exist in order to invite high-ranking foreign instructors to legally teach seminars in France...

Alex Megann
07-19-2012, 02:21 AM
Probably just need the English to provide an 8th dan promotion or two and the French will sort themselves out real quick ;)

There are a quite a few already - a quick Google reveals that Terence Bayliss, Pat Stratford, Gwynne Jones and Michael Narey are all advertised as 8th Dans...

Alex

Giorgos Sardelis
07-19-2012, 11:18 AM
I find Shihan Tissier a wonderful Person and Teacher. It would be very interesting a public, formal response by the FFAB.

By the way… by “harmonious” solution, I didn’t necessarily meant “friendly” solution. Harmony in reality has many versions.

philipsmith
07-19-2012, 02:51 PM
There are a quite a few already - a quick Google reveals that Terence Bayliss, Pat Stratford, Gwynne Jones and Michael Narey are all advertised as 8th Dans...

Alex

Rather like in France in the UK there is (at least) a dual system.

The British Aikido Board (Government backed National Governing Body) will recognise your grade/rank providing your national association agrees; with no reference to any other body.

So if someone wishes to hold a certain rank and can persuade his association (of which they are often the head) to agree to it the BAB will endorse it and issue a certificate to that effect!

At least in France there is some formal regulation - even if it can be over the top sometimes.

Hilary
07-19-2012, 07:43 PM
In every martial art the organization gets to a point where the top dogs argue about technique, pedagogy, the “system”, pecking order, what are the ranking systems, “no the foot must be turned 17 degrees to the left or it’s improper form!”, and all that. Above a certain level it’s all politics and that is why we have a bazillion different styles of martial arts. Those that lose the political battle split off and do their own thing. Been happening for centuries, and Aikido is no different from the others in this case, and why should it be.

Tissier has taken the high road and should be commended. Two divergent associations must agree, for the French government to agree, so that everybody recognizes Hombu’s assessment (more or less). Whoa nothing political there.

Mastery of the art is about skill and knowledge, above a certain level, rank is about organizational structure and control. Meh.

mrlizard123
07-20-2012, 04:31 AM
I think it's a shame he won't get to level up; he won't get any skill or attribute points so he can improve or gain any level specific powers...

Oh wait, that doesn't actually happen in real life, he'll just be the same as he would have been anyway ;)