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Paula Lydon
12-19-2002, 10:55 PM
~~It's always seemed odd to me that I can train regularily with someone for, oh 2 to 4 years, then they get to sho-dan and, either quickly or slowly, they fade away.
~~Of course there are many different reasons for this: The blackbelt was the goal, other interests, family life, shifting into other martial arts, etc. But the percentage seems kind of high. What's the rate in your dojo? If most people stay on, why? What are you doing?
:confused:

MikeE
12-20-2002, 12:06 AM
Jeez Paula,

How many questions do you ask at one time?

udoka1
12-20-2002, 12:18 AM
my sensei and i have talked about this he seems to think that people get their black belt and think they have nothing else to learn. i wouldnt know as i have only been practicing a little over a year.

Williamross77
12-20-2002, 02:15 AM
hopfully they are all off starting dojos...

Darrell Aquino
12-20-2002, 02:24 AM
"people get their black belt and think they have nothing else to learn."

That's too bad, I always thought that once you receive a black belt it is just the beginning.

Darrell

rachmass
12-20-2002, 06:43 AM
Maybe some people perceive it as a let down. Afterall, once you reach shodan, you realize that you really know nothing (unless you are a cocksure fool), and that you are now just able to see how little you know? I know that after I received my shodan, I felt like a complete fraud. I've talked with others who have all felt that way to one degree or another. If you manage to stay with it, you get over that hump, and realize its all in the learning and we are just here for the practice and the learning that comes with it.

Sometimes I think so much importance is attached to the dan ranks that it really is a let-down for folks once they've attained that initial goal.

Just keep practicing :-)

Rachel

Ghost Fox
12-20-2002, 06:51 AM
As our dojo-cho gets older, and is on the mat less; I find myself being taught by people who have had their Shodans or Nidans for little over a year. I've been giving serious consideration to moving on to another dojo to continue my education in Aikido.

Just another POV.

rachmass
12-20-2002, 06:57 AM
Damion also raises a point (maybe it should be a separate thread?). Damion, how does it affect you, other than you obviously don't like it? Is the quality not there? Are these shodans and nidans not brought up by your teacher, and therefore just like him/her? In my home dojo, anyone who taught had a very similar body language and style to my teacher, and we were his representatives on the mat. I've been to dojos however where the students were very different than the Sensei and it was confusing to the juniors.

Please let us know how this affects you.

Best,

Rachel

Peter Goldsbury
12-20-2002, 06:59 AM
Maybe some people perceive it as a let down. Afterall, once you reach shodan, you realize that you really know nothing (unless you are a cocksure fool), and that you are now just able to see how little you know? I know that after I received my shodan, I felt like a complete fraud. I've talked with others who have all felt that way to one degree or another. If you manage to stay with it, you get over that hump, and realize its all in the learning and we are just here for the practice and the learning that comes with it.

Sometimes I think so much importance is attached to the dan ranks that it really is a let-down for folks once they've attained that initial goal.

Just keep practicing :-)

Rachel
Yes, but don't you think this is also an instructor's problem? I received my shodan after 9 years of training, with 3 different teachers, all Japanese. On receiving the rank, I was made to feel that shodan was the beginning of a lifetime commitment and I owe this realization / awareness to my teachers. But I was never made to feel a fraud, i.e., that my 9 years of kyu-grade training did not matter, or that I had reached a rank that I did not deserve. I tested and passed the test in the eyes of these teachers.

I have trained several 1st kyu students who had been stuck at that grade for too long and had become disillusioned with aikido as a result. The dan system is fraught with politics, but for some, putting on that black belt and hakama is really a sign that the aikido world also takes them seriously.

Best regards,

rachmass
12-20-2002, 07:15 AM
Mr. Goldsbury,

You raise an interesting idea about it being the teachers responsibility. Why is it that some folks feel so "validated" after receiving shodan, while others are completely humbled by it? My lineage seems to be more humbled than anything else, whereas I have met folks who feel quite the opposite. Could you please elaborate on your thoughts of this?

Regards,

Rachel

Ghost Fox
12-20-2002, 07:29 AM
Damion also raises a point (maybe it should be a separate thread?). Damion, how does it affect you, other than you obviously don't like it? Is the quality not there? Are these shodans and nidans not brought up by your teacher, and therefore just like him/her? In my home dojo, anyone who taught had a very similar body language and style to my teacher, and we were his representatives on the mat. I've been to dojos however where the students were very different than the Sensei and it was confusing to the juniors.

Please let us know how this affects you.

Best,

Rachel
I'll let Jun decide if this should be a separate thread.

For me it's a matter of continuing along the Path. I really love the people who I train with and my dojo feels like a second home to me. I often offer to lock-up after everyone just so I can bask in the quite spirit of the dojo (I got the aikido bug bad).

The Shodan & Nidan are very capable for Shodan and Nidan, but like you say they're just beginners. It's kind of like in college when I used to tutor other students in calculus & physics. As a senior student I could help them work through some of the problems they where having, but I was not a professor. I didnít have the depth of understanding to help them with the more complex & abstract problems they were facing. The tutoring process works well if there is a professor to refer to when more refinement is required.

I just need to push myself out of my comfort zone and continue to challenge myself. I just wish I didnít have to leave the nest so soon. I guess no one said the Path was easy.

Ghost Fox
12-20-2002, 07:59 AM
I think the issue is with regards to ones reference frame. When you achieve your Shodan it is a valid stage of completion, like reaching the summit of a small mountain, but now that you have reached the apex it appears that there is no where to go. After one reaches a stage of completion every direction a person moves only leads down the mountain. It is easy to become disillusioned, especially if in your mind that is all you were lead to believe there was. But if you have a teacher point up or if you happen to look beyond the clouds in front of you, you will see an even larger mountain spiraling up so high you cannot even see the Zenith. So high you are humbled and in awe before itís magnitude. Now you have two choices. You can attempt to maintain the tedious balance at the top of your mountain, too tired to continue or you can leap the chasm towards the higher mountain and begin to climb higher.

Itís interesting that the last chapter of the I-Ching by the sage Fu Hsi is not the hexagram Completion, but the hexagram Near Completion. Maybe completion is not the ideal state, but being in an endless stage of near completion. Is not life more interesting at this stage?

Sorry of all the metaphors, I tend to think in pictures.

Peace and Blessings.

Peter Goldsbury
12-20-2002, 08:09 AM
Mr. Goldsbury,

You raise an interesting idea about it being the teachers responsibility. Why is it that some folks feel so "validated" after receiving shodan, while others are completely humbled by it? My lineage seems to be more humbled than anything else, whereas I have met folks who feel quite the opposite. Could you please elaborate on your thoughts of this?

Regards,

Rachel
Hello Rachel,

Thank you for your reply to my post.

I do not see any contradiction between feeling humbled and feeling validated at one and the same time. Perhaps I had to wait so long for shodan, in order to have my commitment thoroughly tested: I do not know. What I do know, however, is that the attitude of my teachers changed after shodan. I was made to feel that I shared with them a common, lifelong endeavour. I owe this to my teachers and this is why I stated that it is the teacher's responsibility (mainly, in my opinion).

The responsibilty is not to abandon their students after shodan (as if they have grown up and do not need any more instruction), but to guide them much more actively. In my opinion, my black belts have made a commitment to me in coming to my classes over the years and undergoing my grading examinations. This 'official' relationship is one side of a very close personal relationship. So, if a person leaves a dojo after receiving shodan and there are no unusual circumstances, I would initially regard this as a failure on the instructor's part, for it is certainly a slap in the face to the instructor.

But perhaps I am old-fashioned. I do not know.

rachmass
12-20-2002, 08:24 AM
Thank you Mr. Goldsbury,

I see your point, and understand where you are coming from on this. It took me 13 years to reach shodan, due to switching styles and being a bit of a klutz, so I know how that feels with regard to showing commitment. Seven years have passes since then, and I find myself more and more committed every passing year (I have even started my own small dojo).

My teacher has always taken great measures to ensure that I was on track with regard to teaching, as he considered me (and anyone who was teaching at his dojo) his representative on the mat. He recommended me for fukushidoin a year ago, and I am very grateful for that, as it showed me his confidence in me. He has also been supportive of my efforts to start a dojo. At the same time, I feel very humble in that I see such high quality aikido out there, and know that I am nowhere near that stage of my development, even after 20 years of training. So, I have made some measure of progress, but the mountains are so great and so distant, that it can't help but make me feel humble.

It is interesting that even with the level of interest and support that I have found from my teacher, I still feel unsure. At shodan I felt terribly insecure of my aikido, and did feel like a fraud. It took about a year afterwards to start feeling more confident that I wasn't that bad. I don't think this came from my teacher, but from within. What is interesting for me to note however, that this feeling was very common among my dojo mates, as well as students I met and talked with from other dojos.

At no point after my shodan did I (or have I) felt like quitting. I owe this to my teacher as well as to this art.

On the other hand, sometimes I meet extremely arrogant folks who have reached shodan and feel they know everything. I've met people who train for six years and start a dojo, thinking they know everything. Isn't this also the teachers responsibility to instill humility into these folks?

What are your thoughts regarding this?

(I know I have gotten off track of the original post, but I am extremely interested in this conversation).

Rachel

Russ Qureshi
12-20-2002, 08:52 AM
I found my experience to be much the same as Rachel's. I didn't feel like a fraud but I sure didn't feel like the "expert" I thought I should be.... Despite my seniors gently pointing out "this is just the beginning.." and "welcome to the beginner's club..." etc, it still took well over six months for me to work it out in my head that it was alright that my form was not as crisp as I expected it should be, or that my ability to impart technique (on my night to teach Damien..)was not as profound as those teacher's I've had the pleasure to learn from. All this seems quite obvious but, I think, one must experience the post shodan "hump" and get through it to gain some perspective.

To address Peter sensei's response: I think one's experience learning from and training with Japanese Shihan is, for the most part, a blessing and very different than the North American experience (generally learning from a teacher a little farther down the line). I beleive it comes back to the NA conditioning and mindset of "achieving" and "attaining" shodan. That the black belt denotes an expertise that doesn't necessarily exist. From the little I know, the Japanese experience is much more of a conditioning to the fact that shodan is simply another step along the way and, as Peter sensei inferred, a way for the teacher (and by extension the aikido "establishment") to say: "We take your commitment seriously..." (Feel free to illuminate here Peter sensei....)

All this is speaking from my experience and from what I've seen generally.

Rachel, I agree that one must "just keep practising..." but not just keep practising. Keep practising with a sense of patience (with yourself) and a honest awareness of where you are at and what your motivations are. If you remember why you go to the dojo every day it puts rank into perspective.

Happy Holidays all!

SeiserL
12-20-2002, 09:00 AM
I too observe that many see the Shodan as the goal and once achieved, they leave. Its like a diploma from high school. They just decide not to go to college. I also agree, its sad. I feel my education started at Shodan. But then again, I see education as a process, not a destination.

Until again,

Lynn

MikeE
12-20-2002, 09:24 AM
I think the shodan and nidan are an infinitely valuable part of the the dojo.

As the dojo cho gets deeper and deeper into the art...it may sometimes become harder to relate to "beginners" just because his/her view of the art has changed. (Not in all cases, but I have seen it.)

I think your shodans and nidans help bridge that gap, so that a continuity of learning can be fostered. And since these people will one day (hopefully) start their own school, they should get their taste of teaching.

opherdonchin
12-20-2002, 11:40 AM
I try to see it this way:

If someone only comes to watch, I hope they see and learn something that will be of use to them on their path.

If they only stay a day or two, I hope the same thing.

If they only get their first kyu rank, I hope the same thing.

If they only stay until shodan, I hope the same thing.

You get the point.

Each of us will stop doing AiKiDo some day. For some of us, that will also be the end of the path because we will be dead. For others, it will just be the beginning of a new path.

Doug Mathieu
12-20-2002, 02:12 PM
Hi

I am curently at Nidan and it took me 8 years to attain Shodan.

I experienced a number of different instructors on the way to Shodan.

I notice both Peter and Rachel trained for some time before their Shodan just as I did.

I agree with their views and comments.

During my kyu training there were maybe 2 - 3 times when I might have stopped. I would say the reasons would have been mostly instructor related in that an instructor appeared indifferent or worse to my growth.

Thinking about the above I wonder if those who do stop have not trained long enough to make Aikido deeper inside of them or maybe the instructors approach made them feel let down somehow.

I was very lucky in some ways that my instructor at that time of ranking and the rest of the students made me feel that I achieved something worthy and I was an important part of the Dojo Community.

This sense of Dojo Community and your place in it may be more important than we realize.

A person has to have their own desire to train and learn but the Dojo support could be an issue not always admitted to.

rachmass
12-20-2002, 02:47 PM
Douglas makes a very interesting point on this thread, about the length of time it took to get to shodan possibly having a determining effect on whether someone stays afterwards or not. I have found sometimes that when aikido is too easy, people find no real benefit in it. I've seen folks who were able to rapidly advance, also rapidly quit. On the other hand, I know of a number of folks who advanced very rapidly and are still training (and are still excellent!).

I would be interested to hear what others have to say about that aspect.

As to dojo support, it too can be a make it or break it proposition, as if you are in an unsupportive environment, staying can be very difficult. Also, I think if you are brought up from the beginning to shodan in one dojo, the support is generally greater than if you switch (from personal observation at a couple of different dojos). Yes, I do think the support offered by the dojo and membership can be critical to a new shodan (as to any member of the dojo).

best,

Rachel

Peter Goldsbury
12-20-2002, 06:12 PM
Thank you Mr. Goldsbury,

On the other hand, sometimes I meet extremely arrogant folks who have reached shodan and feel they know everything. I've met people who train for six years and start a dojo, thinking they know everything. Isn't this also the teachers responsibility to instill humility into these folks?

What are your thoughts regarding this?

(I know I have gotten off track of the original post, but I am extremely interested in this conversation).

Rachel
Hello Rachel,

Well, when you reach the dizzy heights of 6th dan, the feelings of insecurity you had at shodan are replaced by others: like the awareness of declining physical vigour and the need to make sure that one's training compensates for this. But perhaps my earlier remarks need to be put into context. I am fortunate in belonging to an organization here with no shortage of high ranking black belts. There are at least 5 instructors of 6th dan rank and we have regular visits from people like Hiroshi Tada and Sadateru Arikawa, both 9th dan. Of course it is possible for a shodan to believe he/she has all the answers, but it is possible to test this belief here with people who have 30, 40 or 50 years of training experience. It is easier here, and equally dangerous, to take one's seemingly 'inevitable' progress for granted.

My earlier remarks about shodan and 1st kyu students being frustrated were made of a context (outside Japan) where the instructors are only one or two ranks higher and are less able to deal with their frustration. I think it is good to feel a sense of achievement on reaching shodan, but I think this is where 'learning how to learn' (see Jun's other thread) should really start and this delicate process needs equally careful guidance from the instructor: less spoon feeding, but equally careful guidance.

Best regards,

SeiserL
12-21-2002, 09:49 AM
Some people focus on the destination. Others just focus on the journey. It may be more a matter of training goals and life orientation, whether you are content or process oriented.

Perhaps we need to emphasize more the joy over just training over the rank system. But then again, many would not even start if that were the case. Even though they leave, they take something with them.

Until again,

Lynn

Until again,

Lynn

PhilJ
12-22-2002, 02:06 AM
When I made it shodan, I was certainly surprised by how elated I felt. I thought, "Man, I made it! I can have a class!"

Maybe other folks feel that, like everyone seems to concur upon. It's unfortunate, but it happens.

Thankfully, I wised up, looked back and saw some things I regretted. I came to a conlusion similar to Lynn's: it's not the journey or the destination that matter, it's ultimately both.

Sadly, you cannot force someone to be humble. I know some VERY thick-headed shodan because they have the conception they are "done" and now "teachers". You could hit 'em with a tire iron and still not get through.

The best I can do is say my piece, and try to show someone what will result from their behavior, whether through technique or anecdote. If not for their benefit, then their students', because those shodan are a danger to them.

When all else fails, I remember what my teachers have told me: When you see a monkey at the zoo, acting like a monkey, are you surprised?

locknthrow
12-22-2002, 02:27 AM
Hmmm interesting

mike lee
12-22-2002, 07:15 AM
I know some VERY thick-headed shodan because they have the conception they are "done" and now "teachers".

In some associations, one can only become a teacher after passing the 4 dan test ó before that, they are classified as "assistant instructors," even if they are the chief instructor of their own dojo. Such a system may help a to keep some egos in check.

There's even one guy on this forum who already considers himself to be a great teacher possessing extra-ordinary talent despite the fact that he isn't even shodan yet.

But such an attitude only hinders learning, and it's been my experience that such individuals are easily unbalanced. And when such an event occurs they are shocked and surprised. They just can't fathom why they were not as good as they fantasized. They attribute such events to "tricks," and fail to acknowledge the years of training it actually takes to master an art like aikido.

Egos really can inflate very easily, and one should always be aware of it. There's a big difference between being confident and being arrogant.

Bruce Baker
12-22-2002, 08:46 AM
The fact is .... most people who train four or more days a week, or insist on being tested often to rise in kyu or dan ranks are caught up in the trophy and accolades from training without integrating into their daily life.

That is to say, they see it as a finite journey that is given to them to accomplish, like most of our goals for school, or training, it is considered outside of ones normal lifestyle or complete when it becomes boring because there is no more time outside of ones personal life, or the body is slightly older without the vigor of youth.

I guess some people consider it a marriage that has not gone as they expected so they divorce themselves from that life when they change or the love affair dies down.

A real teacher, one who is never satisfied, and will grow despite formal or informal training, will find a way to practice despite infirmities, or be drawn back into their practice because of a love for it, finding a way to integrate it into their lives.

The practice should be as important as a child, given the time it needs, while you have your life that is integrated into the practice because you love it, not for trophys or accolades.

My opinion on this whole testing system is that it is not the proper way to give out rank. It is a money maker, as western way of thinking or, at least, the caste system.

Maybe I am still too trusting, or in considering the application of practice in the real world, we train to protect ourselves and others never seeking selfish gains or means in our pursuit of knowledge.

True practice is the acquisition of knowledge so that your knowledge is able to expand with or without your teachers aid. If you depend on everything you know, or are taught to be handed to you from your teacher, well ... you deserve to be disillusioned and dissappear from Aikido when you become bored.

I am terribly dissillusioned when teachers are caught up in train, train, train and they don't consider what they are doing is not just Aikido but the synthesis of many arts that have been adapted into Aikido, just as other arts are the shadow of Aikido also.

Train to enjoy the practice, and you will always find a place for practice ... even when you are felled by the distracting type of illnes that makes me dizzy, and ill during practice so I have to sit out for a couple of ten minute periods, you find a way to do the practice anyway because you love it.

There are, of course, the career changing moves that makes one move to other locations, but then I see those people doing some type of practice, and they do return to visit .

Oh well. C'est la vie!

Edward
12-22-2002, 08:49 AM
Yes, but don't you think this is also an instructor's problem? I received my shodan after 9 years of training, with 3 different teachers, all Japanese. On receiving the rank, I was made to feel that shodan was the beginning of a lifetime commitment and I owe this realization / awareness to my teachers. But I was never made to feel a fraud, i.e., that my 9 years of kyu-grade training did not matter, or that I had reached a rank that I did not deserve. I tested and passed the test in the eyes of these teachers.
I have a question here to Dr. Goldsbury. I am very surprised that it took you 9 years to reach Shodan. Have you ever felt that this is unfair, considering that university graduates in Japan are given (or gifted) nidan as a graduation present? I have always wondered why these very Japanese teachers, who themselves received their shodans in a year or less of training, impose a 5 or 7 years of regular training on their students to reach the same grade.

I have always wondered about aikido in Japan every time I met a shodan or nidan Japanese visitor whose technical level would not be enough to get 3rd kyu at our dojo.

Imho, strict requirements and long training years for shodan are essential in creating this life-long commitment to aikido, because the black belt alone cannot justify 5-7 years of training, and would thus discourage those who are seeking only the belt.

Still I find it strange to see the extremely low requirements for shodan and nidan in Japan.

Best regards,

Edward

rachmass
12-22-2002, 01:54 PM
Hi Edward,

Interesting comments to Dr. Goldsbury; I hope he writes back soon, as I enjoy hearing his thoughts on these topics.

I was wondering from your post though, about how the gradings in aikido differ from the gradings in other martial arts; e.g., in TKD, it is not at all uncommon to reach shodan in a couple of years, and only in aikido have I heard it taking upwards of 7 years or more. Don't get me wrong, I think it is a good idea to wait to test, and to mature and "season" in your aikido before testing for shodan, I am just curious as to how other MA treat the dan gradings.

best,

Rachel

(oh, thanks for the url regarding a book on the business of MA, appreciate it!)

Peter Goldsbury
12-22-2002, 06:52 PM
Hello Edward,

Here is a response to your post. There is quite a lot there, i.e, you cover a number of topics in one post, so I have broken it up somewhat.

Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:

"I have a question here to Dr. Goldsbury. I am very surprised that it took you 9 years to reach Shodan."

PAG. Well, there are a number of reasons: I studied under three different teachers, all with exacting standards, and in I was not particularly interested in grading. There was never any question, for me at least, that aikido was effective (as I discovered from the occasional street fight in London), but I never stayed long enough with the first two teachers to go far through the kyu system. Back in London, I trained very much (London University had a 10 year limit for submitting doctoral theses, so my Ph.D. went on the back burner) and obtained shodan. Even then, I spent three years at 1st kyu. As I stated elsewhere, after obtaining shodan I became one of the assistant instructors in the main dojo and perhaps this is why the shihan made me wait so long. He wanted to be sure that I would teach properly and also teach what he wanted.

Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:

"Have you ever felt that this is unfair, considering that university graduates in Japan are given (or gifted) nidan as a graduation present?"

PAG. No I have never felt it unfair. When I arrived in Japan and went on the mat at Hiroshima University, virtually none of the students could deal with me. They were astonished that I was only a shodan and this made them wonder about their own training, but the majority rationalized the fact of the gap in the usual 'Japan vs. gaikoku' way, which, of course, they had been taught to do. The more thoughtful saw that nidans and sandans were regularly demolished at my hands, but this actually upset the more conservative students. You sometimes hear dark comments about 'hinkaku' (usually translated as 'dignity') in the sumo world when foreign rekishi beat higher-ranked Japanese opponents, so I understand their prejudice. There are still people around who believe that Japanese are congenitally superior at the martial arts.

Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:

"I have always wondered why these very Japanese teachers, who themselves received their shodans in a year or less of training, impose a 5 or 7 years of regular training on their students to reach the same grade."

PAG. Well, I think you need to make a large distinction between the Aikikai Hombu, university clubs, and other dojos in Japan. An independent university federation has existed for many years and this was quite important to the spread of the Aikikai in Japan after the war. The universities were seen as an important source of students and support in other ways (by OB students after graduation). I saw these links very clearly at Hiroshima University 30th anniversary celebrations. Doshu came and the university's Taikukai and Aikido OB Kai turned out and there was a demonstration, parties etc. The demonstrations were pretty awful, but a more pleasant memory was that a group (club captain, instructors, OB's, guests like myself) later retired to a bar with Doshu and his assistants and sang karaoke songs.

Of course, the federation is controlled by the Aikikai, but the custom of allowing students to take 2nd dan on graduation has come to be accepted and will not change: there is no reason to change it. Why? Because it is a 'tatemae': everyone knows that university students can execute graceful flowing ukemi, and not much else. Those who continue aikido go to the city dojos and their aikido improves as they resume a 'normal' aikido life. Thus, in my own dojo I, also, will require 5 or 6 years of training before I give shodan and the members of the dojo know this. So, "these very Japanese teachers" have joined the mainstream,

Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:

"I have always wondered about aikido in Japan every time I met a shodan or nidan Japanese visitor whose technical level would not be enough to get 3rd kyu at our dojo."

PAG. Well Mr Fukakusa might well have been one of these students initially, but, like my own teacher, he would have gone through some more intensive training at the hands of deshi from the Aikikai. In the above paragraph, I compared university clubs to the mainstream. Of course, standards in 'mainstream' clubs vary, but I have two comments. One is that in my experience 5th dan and 6th dan standards here are pretty similar to those overseas. The other is that the Aikikai are beginning to sit up and take notice about the perceived gap in standards between Japan and the rest of the world. We have the Internet largely to thank for this, but events like Aiki Expo have also helped.

Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:

"Imho, strict requirements and long training years for shodan are essential in creating this life-long commitment to aikido, because the black belt alone cannot justify 5-7 years of training, and would thus discourage those who are seeking only the belt."

PAG. Well, Edward, I certainly agree that strict requirements are essential, but they are a necessary condition, not a sufficient condition. From my position here, I am constantly seeing students who are yudansha (right up to 3rd and 4th dan) break away from their instructors. Sometimes these departures are amicable, but this is rare. More usually they are acrimonious. As I intimated in an earlier post, students who have reached shodan in my opinion need more careful handling than the kyu grades and the departure of a yudansha should provoke much questioning, indeed soul-searching, on the part of his/her instructor. I personally believe that here relatively few yudansha leave because they think aikido is not effective: I think they leave for more personal reasons.

Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:

"Still I find it strange to see the extremely low requirements for shodan and nidan in Japan."

PAG. Well, as I stated, there is a context to this. Whether the context by itself should justify the practice, is, of course, another question.

I see this post has become rather long. Apologies.

Best regards,

Edward

PAG. And to you. Best Wishes for 2003.

Williamross77
12-22-2002, 11:19 PM
There's even one guy on this forum who already considers himself to be a great teacher possessing extra-ordinary talent despite the fact that he isn't even shodan yet.

I tried to priv-message mike lee to inquire who the kyu-rank was that concidered himself a great tallent and teacher, but you are not accepting PMes. Well I only know of myself as being kyu ranked, and i surely don't belive myself to be any great tallent or teacher in any real degree. I was under the asssumption that this forum was open to all who love the art of Aikido and their oppinions, if i am wrong, I do appologize for being left with the responsability of conducting classes, when i would much rather just attend. But if i did not there would be no practice at all where I live. Sorry if you were not refering to me, but would like to know.:straightf

mike lee
12-23-2002, 04:14 AM
Please take no offense Mr. Ross ó I was referring to the AikiWeb Forum, not this thread in particular. But you may want to ocassionally check your spelling.

Chris Li
12-23-2002, 05:59 AM
I have always wondered about aikido in Japan every time I met a shodan or nidan Japanese visitor whose technical level would not be enough to get 3rd kyu at our dojo.
It's more or less the same in Japan as it is anywhere else - someone training for a certain length of time here is the same as someone with a comparable amount of time anywhere else (not considering other factors for the moment). The rank is just a label that you hang on folks - even overseas there are no real standards, even within a single organization.
Imho, strict requirements and long training years for shodan are essential in creating this life-long commitment to aikido, because the black belt alone cannot justify 5-7 years of training, and would thus discourage those who are seeking only the belt.
I see it the other way - by making the standards strict you increase the value of the thing in question. This is a basic economic supply and demand principle. By making ranks easily available you devalue them and make training as a quest for rank less attractive.
Still I find it strange to see the extremely low requirements for shodan and nidan in Japan.
At least in Tokyo, part of the equation is that there are so many yudansha around. When you walk on the mat where I train there are a bunch of people who have been training for thirty or forty years. Twenty years of training doesn't even qualify you as one of the senior students. Whether it takes someone two years or five to get to shodan seems less of an important issue then it does in places where shodan makes you the senior guy around.

Best,

Chris

Edward
12-23-2002, 08:42 AM
Dr. Goldsbury,

Many thanks for your very interesting message.

Chris,

I have no idea how it is in Japan, but I am only talking about my experience with Japanese travellers whom I meet from time to time. They seem to be less experienced than our members of same rank. But as you say, it is a matter of length of training time, not rank. They just get their rank quicker, that's all.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all Forum members.

Cheers,

Edward

Williamross77
12-23-2002, 11:53 AM
to: Mike L. Funny as it is, i know I can't spell, years as an English major, relied on spell checker while typing, you journalists have that area cornered, as i look at words as organisims that will evolve.

please forgive the past and future blunders.