View Full Version : Changing Dojos / Relocation
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01-25-2001, 02:59 PM
I'm sure a few of us have gone through this, or will go through this. As it is right now, I may be in an upcoming situation like this. I've read that with some dojos, students from other dojos are assigned to being a white belt, it seems, regardless of experience, unless of course you're a Dan of some sort. Is this standard etiquette, does it depend on the dojo?
Depending on the timing of my possible move I will be 5th or 4th Kyu. I hate to ask if it's a "waste" because training should never be looked at that way. But if I'm staying within my current style (aikikai) and relocate to another dojo of my style, should I expect my ranks to be stripped and my training a "waste" as far as pecking order and politics go. I know this is obviously Western thought process, but should I not take anymore tests and save my testing fees if my ranks mean nothing. Or am I completely wrong and ranks transfer from dojo to dojo within your style?
Depends on the school... don't worry about the rank or the belt, just train...
01-25-2001, 03:57 PM
I currently practice Aikikai Aikido (USAF). I am pretty sure that from within the organization your rank will be recognized. But from what I have noticed when you test is under the standards of your new sensei.
Now, in my experiece I not only changed schools but styles as well. I went from an aikijutsu offshoot of Daito-ryu to my current Aikikai school. At the time, I was 5th kyu in my old school. I didn't approach the sensei in my new school if he would recognize my rank. I choose on my own after a couple classes to start over from ground one, because the basics between each style were different enough. But I did catch on quickly and I did test earlier than most students not coming from other schools.
I'm glad I did this since I feel I really have a good foundation that can now carry over to most schools. (I didn't have this from my old school).
The thing that helped with the transition the most for me was taking the time to understand why I was being taught a particular technique in a particular manner. I just kept an open mind to the fact that things are just done "differently" rather than "wrong." I was just interested in learning aikido.
As a result of the change of schools I went through, I believe my aikido is better for it. I am 5th kyu now at my school and quickly approaching 4th. I'm pretty happy where I'm at now.
Anne Marie Giri
It definitely depends on the new dojo's policies, but, from what I have seen from other people coming and going from our dojo, you can generally keep your kyu rank if you are staying within the same organization. I know at least one case where a mudansha was actually allowed to transfer her accumulated hours to the new dojo (ours). Our dojo cho recommends that if you are planning on moving and starting at another dojo (within the same organization) that you get your sensei to write a letter of introduction for you. This, I am told, is the traditional approach. But it can also help make your transition smoother in terms of meeting your new sensei and demonstrating that you still respect your old sensei and are grateful and thankful for what they have given you. You know the old saying: "don't burn your bridges."
A few thoughts!
I can't imagine a dojo making an issue over a lower kyu rank. What a waste of energy. Not saying it doesn't happen but.... The solution at 4th kyu, if you suck, is simply to not test you for third kyu until you no longer suck but that's just my way of thinking. Who knows what lurks in the minds of others?
Secondly, what kind of money are you paying that a testing fee is a big issue? I'm asking not because you might be having financial issues (different matter) but if you are being charged much more than $25 then I'd begin to wonder what I was getting for my money.
Lastly, please don't insult this Westerner by implying how impure we in the West are. The Japanese are every bit our equal at being impure, egotistical greedy bastards. Who do you think gave us rank? We seem to manage fine in everything else we do without funny colored belts. I don't see them on the tennis court, gymnasiums, bowling alleys or on basketball courts, just in martial art's dojos. Could there be a corolation?
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