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WilliamWessel
03-26-2003, 04:40 AM
Just trying to get a feel for the average "expertise" level of the sensei's out there.

And what about your dojo's senior members ranks?

Mark Balogh
03-26-2003, 06:23 AM
This will surprise you! No one at my dojo has rank, not even the instructor. He hates it and has dodged it for years. He held grades in Ju Jitsu before but thinks grading and more particularly rank is contrary to the way.

The problem is insurance and credibility so I may grade eventually just to get around this and come inline with the rest of my association. I wouldn't do it for want of doing it though.

batemanb
03-26-2003, 06:48 AM
Just trying to get a feel for the average "expertise" level of the sensei's out there.

And what about your dojo's senior members ranks?
I've been practicing regularly for almost 12 years and haven't yet taken shodan. Would my expertise level (not that I think I'm an expert :))therefore be less than someone who had been practicing for 6 years but has a shodan? Of course it would depend on how often we trained and practiced, or how many hours we put in in a week?

One of my Sensei's practiced regularly for more than 20 years before taking his shodan.

Wouldn't the question "How long have they been studying/ practicing Aikido" be a better way to gauge your question?

Love, light, joy and laughter

Bryan

JJF
03-26-2003, 06:54 AM
We have a 5. dan with around 20-25 years of practice as head-instructor.

Apart from that we have 4 nidan instructors and a couple of shodans.

A year ago we had one more 5. dan, but unfortunately he left the dojo.

In our 'sister' dojo a few km away they have I believe a 5. dan as well plus a 3. dan, a couple of 2. dans and a couple of shodans.

We are about 20-25 members in the dojo who practices on a regular basis.

otto
03-26-2003, 07:03 AM
Sandan (20 years + ) , and a couple of Shodans.

Around 20 regulars practicioners on the dojo.

Plus KI!.

Randy Pertiet
03-26-2003, 07:03 AM
Just trying to get a feel for the average "expertise" level of the sensei's out there.

And what about your dojo's senior members ranks?
We are very lucky at our dojo (www.aikibudo.us). Our Sensi, Jean-Luc Moreau has the following ranking:

8th Dan - Daito-Ryu Aikibudo Jujitsu Tai Sabaki

7th Dan - Judo

6th Dan - Aikikai

5th Dan - Ko-Budo

4th Dan - Shotokan Karate

4th Dan - Shito-ryu Ryu Karate

2nd Dan - Kendo

We also have two 2nd dans and several 1st dans in the club.

otto
03-26-2003, 07:07 AM
We are very lucky at our dojo (www.aikibudo.us). Our Sensi, Jean-Luc Moreau has the following ranking:

8th Dan - Daito-Ryu Aikibudo Jujitsu Tai Sabaki

7th Dan - Judo

6th Dan - Aikikai

5th Dan - Ko-Budo

4th Dan - Shotokan Karate

4th Dan - Shito-ryu Ryu Karate

2nd Dan - Kendo

We also have two 2nd dans and several 1st dans in the club.
Wow!, thats a hell of a curriculum , how old is your sensei Randy?

I would like to ask you too , what does this Aikibudo Jujitsu Tai Sabaki consist of?

Congrats on your taste to pick a sensei :D

rachmass
03-26-2003, 07:10 AM
Bryan makes an extremely good point, and I would rather be training with someone with many years of experience and a lower rank (for whatever reason) than someone with a high rank and less experience.

Experience matters!

Randy Pertiet
03-26-2003, 07:20 AM
Wow!, thats a hell of a curriculum , how old is your sensei Randy?

I would like to ask you too , what does this Aikibudo Jujitsu Tai Sabaki consist of?

Congrats on your taste to pick a sensei :D
Itís my guess that our Sensi Jean-Luc Moreau is in his early 50's with over 30+ years of experience. He studied in Japan for several years and has competed in several Olympics. He also trains Olympic judo contenders from around the world in Chicago.

Our style is a blending of Aikido, Daito-Ryu AikiJujutsu, some Judo and some Karate (just a little). Very cool!

WilliamWessel
03-26-2003, 08:40 AM
Figured I would get some replies saying that, so I'll clarify why I'm asking. There are three dojos in my area, and I know that rank really doesnt say much about what kind of training or how well the dojo is run or whatever. But just trying to get a feel for what the average is out there for the instructors.

I Believe one of the sensei's in my area is 5th dan, one is 3rd and the other dojo is run by 2-3 people around 1st and 2nd dan.

So just trying to get a feel for what is normal for a dojo to be run by. (hope that clears it up a little)

Mark Balogh
03-26-2003, 08:43 AM
Bryan makes an extremely good point, and I would rather be training with someone with many years of experience and a lower rank (for whatever reason) than someone with a high rank and less experience.

Experience matters!
Definitely. When I look at high ranking instructors, I use my eyes to rate their technique. Maybe I like their style or you can uke and feel what is going on. What have they got to offer in explanations and philosophy? I find all of this more important than grade. ;)

I love training with 60 years + instructors, the kind that you never hear about, maybe meet them on a course or at a little club. The type that have been doing it all their life in the background, the hidden gems. That is a real buzz for me as I get a lot out of it! :D

rachmass
03-26-2003, 08:46 AM
William, thanks for clarifying.

I think someone suggested you just go and observe and see what you think. Find out the length of time each has been training too, and the stylistic differences. I take it that these are all different organizations, or that the one run by the 1st or 2nd Dan might be a satelitte dojo of the 5th Dans. Where are you located? That might help get some suggestions if any of us out here in Cyberland know the senseis.

best,

Rachel

Hanna B
03-26-2003, 08:57 AM
There isn't such a thing as "normal", it all depends. I do think you'll have an overrepresentation of people whose teachers are highly ranked answering your question...

FWIW, my teacher is 5th dan with approx. 25 years of experience. I started a university dojo, so my students' instructor is a lowly nidan. The most highly ranked guys coming to my classes are third kyu.

I completely agree with Rachel: go visit them. If you are not comfortable with someones way of teaching, how many dans he has will not matter. Howeverm, when I had elaborate plans to visit all the places and ask the teachers clever questions, they always failed - I ended up where my gut feeling told me to. Not the worst way to make decisions I think, although I sometimes made bad ones.

Hanna B
03-26-2003, 08:58 AM
Oh, and my first instructor was first kyu at the time. He made a good impression, I'm still here...

Lyle Bogin
03-26-2003, 09:18 AM
Shizuo Imaizumi was awarded a 7th Dan ranking under Koichi Tohei. He retains this rank as cheif instructor of Shin Budo Kai, which he founded.

Erik Young
03-26-2003, 01:17 PM
At my dojo, our Sensei holds a 6th dan in Kokikai aikido with 25+ years of experience. Before that, he did Tae Kwan Do for 20 or so years and held a black belt (not sure of the degree). We have 8 blackbelts in the dojo who hold ranks between shodan and nidan at this time as well.

Peace,

Erik

WilliamWessel
03-26-2003, 01:19 PM
Colorado Springs, Colorado. From what I've been able to find through phone books and the various dojo search engines there is an ASU affiliated school called Pikes Peak Aikikai, there is possibly a school at the air force academy here in town (all the info i've found about it on the net has been old, and havent been able to get in contact with them yet) and there is an Aikido / Tangsoodo school http://www.aikitang.org/

Any input or info about any experiances with anyone from/in the Colorado Springs, Colorado area is much appreciated

rachmass
03-26-2003, 01:35 PM
Hi William, I've never met this teacher, but I am USAF-ER myself, and can certainly put in a good word for this organization!

Distance: Within colorado springs, CO

Address: PO Box 2601; Colorado Springs, CO 80901 (Map)

Country: United States

Instructors: Ed Peteroy, 5th dan

Phone: (719) 481-6666 (Home number)

Schedule: MWTh 5-6:15pm; Sa 10-11:15am

E-mail: C03Kevin.Haines@usafa.edu

Style: Aikikai

Affiliation: USAF East

why not give him a call or drop him a line, and go watch class and see what you think. I am sure you will get a lot of good advice from the AikiWeb participants, and maybe someone will have trained with one of the teachers in your area.

best,

Rachel

Thor's Hammer
03-26-2003, 04:35 PM
Our sensei is sometimes 6th dan, sometimes an 8th dan uchi-deshi

Marty
03-26-2003, 06:02 PM
Ok I am going to put this out there... But first I would like to say that I do not think that the art is in the rank, belt hakama or anything else. However, recently I have been promoted to the rank of ni kyu and started wearing a hakama. I noticed that I did in fact get better. Was it related to my hakama? Well yes and no. It seemed to me that I just had to be better not that I made the choice but that it was expected I was looked up too and so I was better. Of course my instructor (hi Bronson) might disagree. Does anyone else out there feel what I am saying? So I guess I would say that rank can be a major help but it is not a deciding factor (my first instructor was a fresh shodan and a 1kyu) and ya I am still here. hi to every one at home.. and to all those here in Denmark

take care

Marty

Jake McKee
03-26-2003, 07:20 PM
Ranking...

In all the different dojos that I've been to in the US and Asia, I sometimes have met someone who:

1) Likes to bring up what rank they are

2) Likes to bring up the fact that they could've tested for such and such a rank, but their morally opposed to the ranking system

I find both of those comments strange. Hey, who cares, let's just practice! Your true ability, which is not defined by rank, will show through your movement.

There are many abuses to the ranking system, such as 1 year black belt system or other such nonsense, but are those who choose not to test morally above us who test??

I can see 2 reasons for not testing:

1) You don't want any more responsibilities, such as teaching

2) Commute and expense to test aren't feasible

Personally, I have taken ukemi from shodans to 10th dans in aikido and the level of expertise does not always match the dan level. So I wouldn't base complete judgment on the dan level but for those who want to help give back what they have learned in the dojo, for those who do want to teach, maybe rank is important. The sad fact is that most people do look at a teachers dan level when deciding on joining a class or attending a seminar.

Best,

Jake McKee

www.budovideos.com

batemanb
03-27-2003, 02:22 AM
Colorado Springs, Colorado. From what I've been able to find through phone books and the various dojo search engines there is an ASU affiliated school called Pikes Peak Aikikai, there is possibly a school at the air force academy here in town (all the info i've found about it on the net has been old, and havent been able to get in contact with them yet) and there is an Aikido / Tangsoodo school http://www.aikitang.org/

Any input or info about any experiances with anyone from/in the Colorado Springs, Colorado area is much appreciated
William,

A good friend of mine moved back to the US from Japan and was (is?) training at Pikes Peak. He was a 3rd Dan when I last met him 4 or 5 years back, and a great guy to train with.

Regards

Bryan

JJF
03-27-2003, 03:27 AM
...However, recently I have been promoted to the rank of ni kyu and started wearing a hakama. I noticed that I did in fact get better....

hi to every one at home.. and to all those here in Denmark
Hi to you too Marty!

If you don't mind me asking: what exactly is your relation to Denmark ? Are you one of those guys that travel half the way around the globe to go to our easter-camp each year ? If so, we might bump into each other this year in Odense.

Oh and yes! a year ago I graded 3. kyu which in our dojo allows me to wear a hakama, and I obiously I didn't improve from one day to the other by 'magic', but the simple fact that you are wearing the darn thing forces you to move in a more correct way, and makes you feel better about the way you look. I believe that is part of the explanation. Apart from that it will be a lot easier to get to practice with the higher graded people on a camp, if your not an 'all-white'. and that of course teaches you a lot.

Just my thoughts on the matter!

Marty
03-27-2003, 07:27 AM
I am in Denmark to study for one semester at DIS. so no I did not come for aikido, tho I am still trying to train, when I have time and am not on a study tour to some other part of Denmark.

Marty

sanosuke
03-27-2003, 07:57 AM
There's no sensei in my dojo, only seniors who have learn and absorb aikido for long years..

JJF
03-27-2003, 08:27 AM
Hi Marty!

I guess you are in Copenhagen then. If one of your study tours takes you to Aarhus let me know. We have a pretty decent Aikikai dojo, and I'm sure you will be welcome to drop by.

What 'style' do you usually do ? There should be a pretty good chance of finding something close to your preferences in Denmark since we have both Ki-aikido, Iwama-ryu and aikikai (Nishio-influenced) - most of them represented in the larger cities.

If you want to do aikikai-aikido you should take a look at www.aikikai.dk - there is a poster regarding a large easter-camp with 7. dan Takao Arisoue. People from all of europe plus some from the US usually join us for a week of practice.

See you!

Greg Jennings
03-27-2003, 08:55 AM
I have two instructors. One local and one distant. Both have been training 35 years. Not because of their rank, but who they are, I consider myself incredibly fortunate to train under them.

Best Regards,

Dan Herak
03-27-2003, 10:34 AM
Although my sensei is only a shodan, I do not think a higher ranked instructor would really be any better. After receiving his shodan from ASU (when it was independent of hombu dojo), my instructor had a great opportunity. Although many martial artists claim to be one of a kind, my instructor met the Real McCoy - the head instructor of the Tokyo Police Department, who had a 6th dan (now 7th) in Judo, an 8th dan in Kendo, and dan rankings in various other martial arts. My sensei recognized a once in a lifetime opportunity and studied with this man several hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week, and received dan rankings in taihojutsu (a police martial art combining judo, jui-jutsu, boxing, kendo, jodo), kendo, iaido and ninjutsu. My instructor then created his own independent school and I am learning both aikido and taihojutsu from him.

My sensei will probably never be promoted above shodan, as he is independent of any affiliation. However, his instruction is more thought out and systematic than any I have seen elsewhere. Also, I do not think of myself necessarily as an aikido practitioner. I practice martial arts, with aikido being one of the main components. With judo, jui-jutsu, etc. in the taihojutsu curriculum, I think I see things more broadly than others who study just aikido. In fact, when I have gone to seminars, I am always taken aback that some aikido practitioners may be better than me at aikido (I am a nikyu), but seem to be totally unaware of how to deal with this or that attack which would be better addressed with a different system. Further, I simply cannot empathize with some aikidokas' difficulty with koshi waza or ukemi in general. Judo is filled with hip techniques and jui-jutsu's ukemi is five times as extensive as aikido's. Finally, there is no real free practice in aikido - tori and uke are clearly defined. Not so in kendo or judo, where those designations lose meaning. The lack of free practice is a downside to aikido that I can work through in other ways.

I do not mean to digress. But if I had simply chosen a dojo based on the rank of the sensei, I believe I would have missed a great opportunity to learn something unique. And I doubt my aikido would have been any better as a result.

Greg Jennings
03-27-2003, 10:57 AM
<SNIP>Finally, there is no real free practice in aikido - tori and uke are clearly defined. Not so in kendo or judo, where those designations lose meaning. The lack of free practice is a downside to aikido that I can work through in other ways.<SNIP>
Please be very careful when you make broad statements about "aikido". There is no one aikido.

The quoted statements are not true of some branches of aikido or of some schools within the main lines.

In our school, in addition to jiyuwaza (where the shite/tori/nage and uke roles flow back and forth), we have a mode of training in which the most senior, most sensitive students uke for the more junior. The senior student looks for and exploits any opening whatsoever in nage's technique. The junior student is also free to counter reverse if possible. It can be rough and sloppy at times, but I believe it is good training nonetheless.

Best Regards,

William Boyd
03-27-2003, 01:04 PM
Hi,all

At the dojo I attend our sensei has the rank of 5th dan. As for the sempai we have 0ne 3rd dan,2 or 3 2nd dans, and 2 or 3 1st dans.

deepsoup
03-27-2003, 02:58 PM
Yondan (JAA).
Please be very careful when you make broad statements about "aikido". There is no one aikido.

The quoted statements are not true of some branches of aikido or of some schools within the main lines.
Quite right. :)

Sean

x

aubrey bannah
03-28-2003, 02:44 AM
It is important to ask the teacher who their sensei is, nobody can progress in a vaccum.

In other threads there was a queston on why to grade or continue to grade. For me, I have seen different doorways open after gradings for many people regradless of how high the rank. My Sensei is 6th Dan. Recently he said that looking at Takeno Sensei he knows what his Aikido should be when he's 50 and at looking at Kancho Inoue Sensei what his Aikido should be in his 60's, and being Uchi Deshi to Shioda for ten yrs certainly means a vast heritage for all his students in Aikido and even other aspects of his life.

Cheers

Aubrey

GreyRonin
03-28-2003, 01:27 PM
Never asked. Or dared to. Seems disrespectful, like you're trying to see if he's qualified.

I think my Sensei/CI is well qualified, he's had 38 years of experience.

bob_stra
03-28-2003, 03:49 PM
Don't know and actually don't really care. The week I spent watching classes prior to starting told me everything I needed to know abt the instructors.

Our style is kooky anyway. We have guys with brown belt, white stripes. That's like the second belt after white. And everyone wears hakamas. Most of the time, you can't even tell who's a newbie until the action starts.

Wouldn't it be cool to train aikido in street clothes?

tedehara
03-28-2003, 07:09 PM
My sensei is a 6th dan and as far as I can tell, the longest active Aikidoist in the region. He started in Yoshinkan, went to Aikikai and ended up in the Ki Society. He's got about 45 years in Aikido.

When he's not there people have to put up with me (nidan). We also have two shodans, a 1st kyu and two beginners. More experience than people. :eek:

bob_stra
03-29-2003, 05:02 AM
I've gotta say, I'm not a big fan of the grading. <feral grin> I actually prefer folk to think I'm a clueless newbie (well, I am, but you get what I'm saying) and then suprise em.

There's probably only two real reasons (IMHO) to grade -

(1) To get access to the advance classes. I watched one today - fun!

(2) Become proficient enough to teach.

Though...who doesn't like all those prudy colours!

(Sorry, saw my first blue hakama today, so am a little colour happy ;-)