View Full Version : Undeserving

Please visit our sponsor:

04-28-2003, 10:15 AM
Have any of you ever felt that you are undeserving of the rank that you have obtained?

I just got my shodan about last month. The exam was under Kuribayashi-shihan. Only started wearing hakama and blackbelt last week. And somehow, it feels like a ton of weight was just put on my shoulders. It didn't feel that heavy when I was progressing through the kyu ranks.

Suddenly I feel like that I don't know anything. All that I've learned feels empty. I know people say it's a new beginning, but I look down to my hakama and think to myself, "Do I really deserve this?"

E.J. Nella
04-28-2003, 10:49 AM
I felt the same way. I have also heard the same from others. So I guess it's natural to many of us. If your teacher didn't think you deserve it, you wouldn't have passed.

It is a responsibility. Right or wrong, people will look to you as an example.

I struggle with the feeling of “not knowing anything”, or not knowing enough. When I feel this way I try to remember that I do know more than I did last week, last month or a year ago. I know I can never know it all, that there is so much to learn. This is what keeps me coming back!

Congratulations and good luck!

04-28-2003, 11:08 AM
I've felt this way many times, and not just immediately after my shodan test.

In Seidokan, our rank certficates say that XXXX has practiced diligently and is ready to assume the responsibilities of XXX rank. I do better when I think of the responsibilities that go along with my rank rather than thinking of it as a privilege.

04-28-2003, 11:24 AM
Suddenly I feel like that I don't know anything. All that I've learned feels empty. I know people say it's a new beginning, but I look down to my hakama and think to myself, "Do I really deserve this?"
I am just a beginner, but I know I'd rather be learning from someone who feels like this than someone who thinks they know everything. Congratulations.

04-28-2003, 11:28 AM
Hi Iriawan,

If your instructor didn't think you were worthy of receiving a shodan s/he wouldn't have put you up for the test. I'm sure you have faith in your instructor's knowing your capability and experience.

Congratulations. Now, get back to training.

-- Jun

Greg Jennings
04-28-2003, 01:21 PM
I think it takes everyone a while before the belt "fits".

Just hang in there and keep training.

Best Regards,

04-28-2003, 01:22 PM
Seems to me that your humility speaks volumes.

Russ Qureshi
04-28-2003, 02:57 PM
Felt the same when I tested for shodan. Think about "growing into" the rank and give yourself some time. Be honest about what you do know especially if you are instructing a class. I'm hopeful that you know this already, but don't pretend when you're setting the example that's incumbant upon you to set when you enter the dojo.

Like Greg says "Hang in there, keep training."



04-28-2003, 03:14 PM
Be honest about what you do know especially if you are instructing a class.This is, for me, one of the most important things.

04-28-2003, 04:07 PM
It seems (in my experiences) that the people who are in Aikido for the long haul often don't think they are worthy of their rank, when they first get it. I know I am this way.

I just chalk it up to a good lack of ego and having a person (i.e. your instructor) be able to see you and your abilities for what they are. More often than not we do not have a true sense of our abilities and limitations. It's always nice to have someone confirm and celebrate your abilities. So, don't mourn your rank....celebrate it! Just don't get a big head.

All the Best.

04-28-2003, 05:32 PM
Besides Shodan isn't really all that high if you think about it...you got 9 more to go. :D

04-28-2003, 07:30 PM
Compliments and congratulations. Yep, gotta go with Jun, trust your Sensei. BTW, ditto.

Greg Jennings
04-28-2003, 08:07 PM
Besides Shodan isn't really all that high if you think about it...you got 9 more to go.
Actually, if it is an Aikikai dojo, there are only seven more. The official rank structure now has eight dan instead of ten.


04-28-2003, 10:01 PM
Well, congratulations Thalib! Whether you think you deserve the rank or not, it's a good excuse for your instructors to load more responsibility on you...something you might want to get used to hearing:

"Hey, you, Thalib-san, go teach them newbies ukemi while I sit in the office and eat donuts."

Have fun. ;)


04-29-2003, 04:43 AM
Whenever we test for a kyu grade we get a short personal evaluation from the grading panel afterwards. That's what really helps me more than the grade itself. I think that should be common practice even after dan-grades, since you get a much better impression of the why's and why not's behind your grade. If your teacher tells you that you have well deserved the grade in some aspects, but lack something in another area, then you know where you stand and where to go. Just getting the grade can cause speculation.

Just my thought.

Ghost Fox
04-29-2003, 06:11 AM
Thanks for the post and congradulations.

Here I thought I was the only one who felt this way. Thanks again.

04-29-2003, 07:48 AM
my teacher said when someone reach shodan, it's the new process of re-learning aikido, that is, you start all over from basics again, whether the techniques or your way of thinking towards aikido. So, don't worry if you think you don't know anything because it's just a matter of process, congrats!!

Anyway, I also join the training and saw the whole shodan grading. I think everybody is quite good. So cheer up, you're not that bad (at least i think so). So, See you in the next exam in october, hopefully our friends from pondok indah will join the grading.

Eric Joyce
04-29-2003, 09:30 AM
Congratulations on the rank. Now you are ready to learn. :)

04-29-2003, 10:46 AM
When I was at my home dojo, I was the highest ranking non-yudansha. Part of my responsibilities was to teach basics and kihon to the new students as well, I was the lead instructor for our Wednesday night class. Let's just say I had the best of all worlds. Seniority, instructor status, yet still being kyu rank did not have the burden of being "Sensei". I was in heaven and had worked hard to get to the front of the longest line. Our kyu ranked students and yudansha lined up on two different lines. "L" shaped, with the longest line being the kyu's.

Anyway, after I took my shodan test and the annoucement was made that night that I had passed, I lined up in my usual spot for our bow out. Sensei turned and said, "Oh no ... now you line up with the yudansha". I moved the "OTHER" line at which point the person next to me immediately took my spot. I looked to my right and the first thought that came to mind was "DAMN .. I'm at the end of the line again." I almost missed the call for seiza.

After-wards, I shared this with the other instructors and my sensei said that the end of the yudansha line should be everyones goal because that is when the real training begins. Of course, I thought to myself, what the heck have I been doing all these years then. Well, here I am several years later and I'm now beginning to understand that.

bottom-line is, Trust your sensei's judgement, enjoy and learn.


Get your butt to AZ. Mike is waiting for you. :)

04-29-2003, 01:39 PM
I have heard it said that Aidido really begins at shodan. Good Luck.


04-29-2003, 01:58 PM
So with all of the above written by so many people, I'd like to hear from the original poster...

What are your thoughts now, Iriawan, now that you've heard from so many people?

-- Jun

04-29-2003, 03:42 PM
I just wanted to add my on twist, I am nikyu now and stared warring a hakama I attend a satellite dojo that is 45 min form my parent dojo. in my home dojo I had no problem wearing my hakama. there I had been the highest ranking student for almost the entire time I was a student (very small school or it was anyway) but when I went to my sensei's school it was a different story I felt that I did not deserve to were the hakama I felt that it linked me to the other hakams and I do not feel that I am anywhere near any of them. but after a short while I kinda forgot that I was wearing one, then I tripped on it and remembered!


04-29-2003, 08:29 PM
So with all of the above written by so many people, I'd like to hear from the original poster...

What are your thoughts now, Iriawan, now that you've heard from so many people?

-- Jun
Thank you Akiyama-han... :)

Thank you everyone...

I would be lying if I say that there already is a change. It will take time. It's a process that has a new beginning. I'm re-learning everything. I'm still feeling an emptiness inside me.

I actually know why that emptiness exist. I realize how arrogant I am and basically I'm ashamed of it. I felt like I know a lot of things, then I realize that I have yet to know anything. When that wall of illusion was torn down, there was actually nothing.

I also realize that I'm not that good of a person. I have wronged many people in many ways. I guess I'm trying to make amends by helping others. Sometimes I get too overzealous in helping. Maybe this was a way for me to cover up for my own shortcomings, a projection.

My Sensei always say that if one stays true to the purpose, the way will be shown. My Sensei trust me more than I trust myself. Many others trust me more than I give myself credit for. I used to be able to focus and pull myself together, but lately my mind wanders about - empty - karappo. Feels like I'm losing my direction - mayoi.

There hasn't been any keiko since my last post. I will be training later on today. I'm certain that today will be a good training day and I will get +:ki: from today's training.

It's funny that I use to lecture and help people about this stuff, but in the end I'm the actual one that needs the help and the lecture. Helping others with the hope that I could help myself. It is kind of selfish.

ŠF‚³‚܁A‚Η‚€‚ΰ@‚ ‚θ‚ͺ‚Ζ‚€@‚²‚΄‚’‚ά‚·

mina-sama, doumo arigatou gozaimasu

Thank you everyone...

04-29-2003, 11:00 PM
Your sensei is great, so I doubt he would have let you get shodan so easily.

Anyway... congrats and hope you do well as a shodan.

04-30-2003, 05:23 AM
Ha ha,

a zen monk would say true knowledge is when you understand how little you know!

I think it raises an important point about training though - it is often when you are frustrated and think you are doing something wrong that you have the ability to improve. It's at these times you are assessing yourself.

I think the grading system is good for the very point you have addressed - now you have to look at yourself and say 'am I really a shodan', and when you can say yes, you will probably be looking towards your nidan.


04-30-2003, 07:03 AM
About 5 years ago I passed my shodan test. A couple of months ago I got my nidan.

At last I finally feel like a shodan!


William Boyd
04-30-2003, 11:57 AM
I know the feeling,sometimes I feel like I don't know anything about aikido. I've been training for two years now and I still goof:confused:some of the techniques.

04-30-2003, 12:13 PM
Hi William, I've been training 20 and I still goof a lot of the techniques! It's just part of learning.

To answer the original post, I think most people feel they don't deserve their rank when the get it. I felt like a fraud in my hakama for about six months. Actually, I have found that each time I've tested, that it takes about six months to actually finally attain the rank that you were just promoted to (if even then, sometimes still feel like a fraud, and a complete goof, but maybe that is just me).

take care, and train hard!