View Full Version : Grading criteria?
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09-15-2002, 11:40 PM
Recent events at the dojo have got me thinking about testing, and those requirements needed to receive a passing grade. To those with experience on the judge's side of the process I ask, by what standard do you evaluate those that are before you? Is there an Imperical standard, and if so, how is the standard determined. Is evaluation done on a case by case basis? Is it some combination of the two, or are other methods used to determine who is, and who is not ready to advance?
I haven't been on the grading end of the mat, but at my dojo it looks like everyone who tests is advanced in rank. This used to upset me and make me wonder why I worked so hard to prepare for tests.
Lately I'm more comfortable in my knowledge that training hard is never a waste of time, that my preparation makes each test into something I can honestly be proud of, and that this sense of honesty and high standards in my practice are the rewards for taking it all seriously.
So, on that note, who cares what methods are used?
09-17-2002, 02:54 PM
"Standards", if existing at all, will vary in each dojo and also with each individual involved. The experiences I've had with testing leads me to believe that while it's true that some degree of technical proficiency must be maintained, there really is no "baseline" to standardize against. This makes sense when you consider that we are all individuals and will interpret what we see and feel a little different.
Again, I can only relate to what I’ve experienced and my views certainly do not represent anyone but myself, but it appears to me that it’s really about the persons commitment to their training, to the dojo (and fellow practitioners within), and whether the grading panel feels that the person “testing” is really doing their best. After all, you can only offer your best efforts. To standardize is to compare, and just who is it you’re willing to be compared too?
Other than the names and order of techniques to be performed, I don’t believe there can ever be any “standards” in Aikido and perhaps, that may indeed be one of its greatest strengths….
On a personal note, I’d like to see the ranking system either done away with completely, or at least receded to it’s correct meaning, that is, a personal understanding between a practitioner and their sensei(s).
09-17-2002, 03:25 PM
You know, there have been threads that discussed this at length pretty recently.
Here's one (that isn't the one I was looking for): click me (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1569)
There's more out there. I particularly remember one where someone was talking about watching a couple of 6th dan tests and being unimpressed, and how that made him (I think it was a him) about his own testing. I thought the discussion there was very interesting, and if someone remembers where that post is, can you please paste it in?
09-19-2002, 06:36 PM
...I particularly remember one where someone was talking about watching a couple of 6th dan tests and being unimpressed...
There is a 6th dan test ???
09-19-2002, 08:32 PM
oops. 6th kyu.
The national Danish Aikikai has issued a curriculum for kyu gradings and 1. to 3. dan gradings. It describes which tecniques the student should show and there is a table describing which abilities the student should be able to show at each level (eg : 'Knows the technique', 'Moves in a confident way', 'Maintains proper Maai' etc.). This is a guide though, and it is common for some dojo's to ajust the curriculum a bit.
Anyway my sensei once said that with regards to kyu gradings he could pretty much tell what grade a student should have just by the way he walked on to the mat.
What could influence the result of a grading would also be the understanding between sensei and student - as Mongo pointed out above. We never have a grading without a following oral evaluation, and that's really where the meat is, since that's when you get an idear of how your sensei think you have evolved and what you should work on.
First and foremost it's about training.
09-20-2002, 07:27 AM
In our dojo, the sensei looks at how long the student has practised and how many classes the student has attended. If our sensei also finds that the student has done "enough" progress, he tells the student that he/she is ready, and asks if he or she wants to test for a new grade. He doesn't ask people to take the test, if he thinks that they're not ready.
09-20-2002, 07:56 AM
The teacher is well aware of the students abilities, efforts, and attitude. Not only physical ability, but also the effort that is applied, and the attitude of the student are part of the grading process. From what I understand, the grading is on the individuals progress, not a comparison to others. If you are looking at someone who has a really hard time with their body, but has progressed a long way from when they first started training; then that is the benchmark that this person is being graded on. Also, you have some very physically talented people who have problems with their arrogance and attitude, who might be physically at a certain level, but who are not there yet from a maturity level.
This is just my $.02. I would love to hear what others have to say about this.
09-21-2002, 08:08 AM
I have been at the grading end of the mat for about six years now. In our association there is a syllabus which is constantly being adapted/upgraded. There are certain set pieces which must be performed on the day and there is an opportunity for techniques of one's own choice.
I cannot speak for others on the grading panel, but I look for understanding, flow and confidence. I expect the techniques to get sharper the further up the grades you go.
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