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Anonymous
10-20-2004, 10:42 AM
HI all

I have been training since Febuary this year 3 times a week. A couple of months ago grading came up in general conversation with sensei after class. I was told by sensei that I am more than ready for my first grading yet it is now the middle of September nearly 8 months and I still have not been graded. I am feeling kinda fed up. I am unsure whether to ask sensei whether I am to be graded or not. I feel that either I am really crap or sensei has forgotten about me. After all I am training to achieve goals that I have set my self and feel that I am not getting anywhere.

Could I have some honest opinions please.

suren
10-20-2004, 02:42 PM
I don't know why you haven't been graded, but I would definitely remind sensei about that. Maybe you are training in a big dojo where it's difficult to keep track of studen't attendance, or maybe your sensei pays little attension to grading overall. In any case I would ask him to grade me if I'm ready. In the worst case he will say you are not ready yet.
In my case sensei told me the day I were to be graded and I felt kinda not enthusiastic about it because that means less experienced guys will now train with most experienced ones and after the test I'm not the least experienced anymore :)) That sucks! I'm just an egoist, you see.

Pauliina Lievonen
10-20-2004, 02:53 PM
Have there been gradings after that conversation? In our dojo, we only have gradings maybe three times a year, and it could easily happen that someone takes their first grading after 8 months or even more. If there have been gradings in the meantime, it would indeed sound more like your sensei maybe forgot about you, or changed his mind for whatever reason.

Maybe you could sound out a sempai first about how gradings are generally done at your dojo? At some places it's not considered appropriate to ask to be graded, but that varies from dojo to dojo.

kvaak
Pauliina

Bronson
10-20-2004, 03:01 PM
Maybe you could sound out a sempai first about how gradings are generally done at your dojo? At some places it's not considered appropriate to ask to be graded, but that varies from dojo to dojo.

I'd agree Pauliina. In our paricular dojo we don't ask to grade. If we did we would probably be passed over for that grading cycle. The closest we can really get is asking what we should work on to be included in the next round of grading.
Conversely I know there're instructors in our association who want their students to ask. Find out from a sempai how it works in your dojo and proceed from there.

Bronson

suren
10-20-2004, 03:12 PM
In our paricular dojo we don't ask to grade. If we did we would probably be passed over for that grading cycle.
Bronson
Unfortunately this trick to postpone a grading would not work with my sensei :D He allowes us to ask any question and he is disappointed only when we don't get his answers.

Neil Mick
10-20-2004, 05:50 PM
HI all

I have been training since Febuary this year 3 times a week. A couple of months ago grading came up in general conversation with sensei after class. I was told by sensei that I am more than ready for my first grading yet it is now the middle of September nearly 8 months and I still have not been graded. I am feeling kinda fed up. I am unsure whether to ask sensei whether I am to be graded or not. I feel that either I am really crap or sensei has forgotten about me. After all I am training to achieve goals that I have set my self and feel that I am not getting anywhere.

Could I have some honest opinions please.

Speaking from 20+ years as an Aikidoist: rank is not some gold-star you get for doing your time, and dedication. Rank is awarded because Sensei thinks you're ready to accept the new challenges and responsibilities, that that ranking demands.

It's not even a measure of proficiency. I've trained with some yudansha who, I felt: barely deserved 4th kyu (of course, I kept my opinions to myself...who am I, to question that person's Sensei, in her/his choice?).

My advice to you? it depends upon your Sensei. If he's approachable to discussion about it: talk about your feelings of frustration in being told you're ready to test, and then having to wait 8 months.

At all costs, tho: do NOT approach your Sensei with the attitude that "I did my time: now gimme my kyu." Traditionally, the time to test is solely the decision of the Sensei, and to suggest otherwise is very, very poor etiquette.

BUT; to go to Sensei and talk about your feelings of frustration over being told you're ready, and then left alone...well, IMO: that IS a legitimate point.

One thing, tho: rank is not an indicator of achieving "goals" in Aikido. Setting goals (e.g., can I improve my tenkan? can I learn all 13 kumitachi bokken katas? Can I perform a breakfall without feeling pain?) is your own, personal quest, and is an internal process. Sensei/other doka can help you get closer to your goals, but rank, in relation to your goals, means nothing.

Hope that this helps.

Anonymous
10-20-2004, 06:02 PM
Well thanks for getting back and giving me your honest opinions. I am reluctant to ask for the simple reason that I myself would feel that I was being disrespectful to my sensei.

My daughter who also attends the club but at an earlier time has allready been awarded her yellow belt and she only does 2 hrs a week and has been attending for less time than me. I think I will just wait and see what happens. I have kinda got addicted to aikido and am not the kinda person to quit so maybe I need approach this from another angle and try to get the grading question brought up again.

Thanks again everyone I have really appreciated all of your comments.

wxyzabc
10-20-2004, 09:32 PM
Hey I know exactly how you feel. At my first dojo in Japan I wasn`t allowed to grade for 5th que for about a year...and I saw totally incompetent Japanese grading after maybe a month...or even people who hardly came to training (I was there all the time) be allowed to take higher grades :( in the end though the colour of your belt means nothing and dedication in training clearly shows on the mat. They can`t take your ability away from you :)

My situation was different but my advise would be to subtly ask the Sensei which techniques you will need to concentrate on for your first test...what he thinks you might need to work on. This could only help and wouldn`t be taken as being disrespectful i`m sure.

Good luck

Lee

PeterR
10-20-2004, 09:57 PM
Hey I know exactly how you feel. At my first dojo in Japan I wasn`t allowed to grade for 5th que for about a year...and I saw totally incompetent Japanese grading after maybe a month...or even people who hardly came to training (I was there all the time) be allowed to take higher grades
Frustrating isn't it. Depends on the place but it is expected in many places that foreigners will leave and others will see and judge their Aikido. The local Japanese will remain local.

Anony: talk to your sensei direct. Don't refer to what others have done (that doesn't matter) talk about what you think you are ready for and remind him of the conversation. He may be under the impression that grading isn't important to you.

Rocky Izumi
11-09-2004, 10:53 PM
Sometimes I forget.

Sometimes we are just too busy.

Sometimes I think someone is ready to grade and they show me that they are not.

The fact that you had to ask this question shows me that you are not ready to grade.

kaishaku
11-10-2004, 01:58 AM
I've been confused about testing, myself. It was mentioned once or twice, but here I am, still unranked.

Then again, I guess the fact that I'm contemplating it shows that I'm not ready to grade.

PeterR
11-10-2004, 02:20 AM
Sometimes I forget.

Sometimes we are just too busy.

Sometimes I think someone is ready to grade and they show me that they are not.

The fact that you had to ask this question shows me that you are not ready to grade.
Really and how do you know its not one of the first two possibilities.

We are talking about someone so fresh to Aikido that he has yet to grade asking a reasonable question. If he is not doing something right than he should be told what it is.

I think as we advance up the kyu and dan grades we should understand more of what is necessary technically but all this person is left with is confusion.

JJF
11-10-2004, 02:46 AM
...The fact that you had to ask this question shows me that you are not ready to grade...

I think that's a very harsh attitude. In my opinion It's fair to be curious about the way things work, and it's also quite okay to feel the need for an evaluation. Especially for the early kyu grades some kind of appreciation of your progress is often need for people to stay in the game. Heck that's what they were created for.

That whole 'If you have to ask you are not ready' attitude has a a bit of a 'holier than thou' ring to it in my ears. It's so easy to speak of the virtues of patience once you have reached the destination yourself.

Before I get flamed - Yes I know that no grade is a destination in itself - only a step on an everlasting path - but especially the first steps in aikido need to be celebrated so that the student will begin to build the confidence so needed to progress further. Artificial confidence ? yes maybe, but when someone take something this difficult upon them to learn, then I believe they deserve some encouragement.

I think we should lighten up and answer the questions in stead of putting him down. And any dojo where you are not allowed to ask questions and discuss the issues that concern you is in my book a misguided place. I'm not saying that everything is open for debate but if there is no written rule about an issue so common as gradings, then at least you should be allowed to discuss it.

Just my 2 cents.

Now let's all go practice...

villrg0a
11-10-2004, 03:50 AM
At our dojo, we believe in time-in-grade. When you have completed your time, you will be tested 3X. If at first you failed, you still have 2 more chances left. If after the final you still failed, then you have to wait for the next period.

Regards!

gstevens
11-10-2004, 10:41 AM
First, I am not a yudansha, I am a 4th Kyu... So I have taken two tests in 10 months.

Ranking....I have been thinking about this for some time. Especially lately as we have just started out test prep month at my Dojo.

Testing or demonstrating (as I have heard that some Dojos do, but never experienced), seems to me to hold a couple of purposes that were not apparent to me when I started Aikido.

The first purpose for me is an even more intense focus than I normally have. I get a feeling that I have to be able to do techniques as well as I possibly can. Normally I put a lot of effort into my aikido, (I am there training as hard as I can every day that the dojo is open during the week), but around test time I train even harder, focus even harder, and generally train with one or two of my Sempai that I am going to have as Uke on my test. AND ONLY on those techniques on my test.

This focus on a limited (Remember I am still in the kyu ranks) number of techniques, is amazing. I can feel each of them change daily during the test prep month. The techniques that I start with, even if they were on the last test, feel nothing like the techniques that I end with. It is truly amazing!

The other thing that happens is that I begin to see the areas that I can't quite make work yet, (damn that nikyo hand change in the air!). This FOCUS, and Intensity on part of the whole of physical Aikido coupled with the little added stress that is doing the techniques in front of your sempai and kohai is very effective, I feel, in helping to grind the techniques for me, (I am no where near polishing them yet, still working on getting the slag ground off to find the metal underneath!).

For someone that generally is good at tests in the outside world, and rarely puts any thought into them, the tests in Aikido are very important to me, I worry and have anxiety about them well beyond anything else that I have done in outside the dojo.

Part of this stress, or anxiety for me is the thought that; I am going to be graded by someone, my sensei, that is awesome at the art. I know that he is going to see all the holes, and all the mistakes, some of which I am not even aware of yet. Also that the grading of the individual is really a grading of the whole dojo, did we all do our best as a community to make sure that the person being tested really is the best that we could help her be? When I have not tested, I have held my breath on the line, while the person testing did a technique which I knew they found difficult, and felt the release of everyone's breath around me when the test taker did it well.

As one of my Sempai said, "Don't we all feel that we are given a rank that we then have to grow into?"

The things that scare me most about going up the rank ladder are the ways that those that are your juniors look to you for advice, knowledge and support, when you KNOW you don't have perfect aikido, that you are doing things you know are not quite right, and hoping like hell that they don't see them and make your mistakes their mistakes....

Sorry if this was a little off topic...
Guy
:do:

Rocky Izumi
11-10-2004, 01:20 PM
Sorry, didn't mean to sound like I was flaming anyone. The fact that the question is asked tells me that the person still has some questions about their ability in relation to the ability of others in the dojo. Furthermore, it tells me that the person is not sure about what is being recognized in the grading. The person must find out those things by 1) asking, 2) watching, 3) thinking, 4) reading, 5) deciding for themselves.

You can never solve a koan by focusing on the koan. You will understand it when you are enlightened. If you keep asking the question that the koan poses, you will never solve it. Ignore the question but keep it in the back of your mind and your everyday practice or living will answer the question for you as long as you live your life in a way that revolves around the question rather than trying to grasp it. It is like trying to get a mule into the corrall. pull the mule by its harness and it will never be put in. Ignore the mule and walk into the corrall and start doing your other work and it will come join you.

Like the rest of Aikido, if you make grading a competition with yourself or others in the dojo, or even your child, you will never succeed or succeed with great difficulty. Try not competing with yourself. Learned that lesson in trying to improve my golf game. I got away from competing with others and playing my own game. I lost it competing with myself and the course. I do much better when I just concentrate on my swings, stance, weight distribution, focusing on the ball, holding my stance, etc.

Again, I apologize if anyone took offense at the way I write. I am told that I do this often and make people feel that I am angry at them. If I am angry at anyone, I don't pay attention to their questions but rather ignore them. I only answer questions for those that deserve an answer.

Rocky Izumi
11-10-2004, 01:28 PM
Really and how do you know its not one of the first two possibilities.

We are talking about someone so fresh to Aikido that he has yet to grade asking a reasonable question. If he is not doing something right than he should be told what it is.

I think as we advance up the kyu and dan grades we should understand more of what is necessary technically but all this person is left with is confusion.

The first lesson in Budo is to learn to learn by observing rather than asking. If we become too lazy to find things out by observation and thinking, then we lose our abilities to learn by ourselves. A person who is thinking about testing fo Gokkyu should have about 1 to 2 years of experience in the dojo behind them if they are of the age to be able to learn through observation. Actually, I find that children are much better learners by observation than adults. Had a young 8 year old who was watching her father practice a while back. I watched after class when the two of them were playing together. The daughter was correcting the father on his technique. She didn't practice Aikido but was a great observer. I didn't even realize she was observing. I thought she was just playing her video game. She did a very good ushiro ryokatatori kotegaeshi on her father and corrected his feet movements. He looked at me and I just shrugged. She did it better than I could have.

Rock

Nick P.
11-10-2004, 02:37 PM
The fact that you had to ask this question shows me that you are not ready to grade.

I could not agree more.

Show up. Practice. Go home. Repeat.

If your Sensei spontaneously gave everyone 3 ranks higher than they are now, it would change nothing.

Goals are good to have, but one of them should be to stop pursuing goals.

Good luck, though.

PS- I am in the opposite position; my Sensei wants me to test, but I am hesitant / reluctant / ambivelant. And for what it is worth, it's over a year overdue for shodan. Maybe I am just lazy.....

mj
11-10-2004, 05:48 PM
February to November deserves a grade, especially (no offence) a beginner.

Some of you, I am sure, would prefer the death penalty for disobediance from the poor person...who is not a poor man or poor woman coz he is anonymous.

er...she

Nick P.
11-10-2004, 09:38 PM
February to November deserves a grade, especially (no offence) a beginner.


I agree: February 2004 to November 2005 does deserve a grade.

Now you must excuse me while I sue my Sensei for not grading me for shodan with 5.5 years of training...'cuz I deserve it.

;)

Nick P.
11-10-2004, 09:44 PM
An apology on my part: I re-read the original post, and here is some advice.

Ask a senior student or the Sensei WHEN are tests normally done: once or twice a year at particular times of the year, or in "batches" of ready students?

That would go a long way in clarifying several points. And if you Sensei says "Your more than ready.", perhaps in their mind you are already on your way to the next kyu. Maybe he is even going to skip you forward one rank!

I still stand by my posts, though.

Rocky Izumi
11-10-2004, 10:11 PM
I still stand by my posts, though.

Ah so you do Plum Flower Post Kung Fu!

;)

anonymous
11-29-2004, 05:43 PM
he he I did'nt think this post was still going.

I still appreciate everyones input and I dont take any offence at any of the advice. Not even the riddles ( if you asked then you r not ready) I have decided that rank means absolutly nothing, it's the taking part, learning and sharing that is important. Not forgetting making friends. So lets not argue anymore remember we are all learning budo to become better persons.

Best wishes to all of you.

Jeanne Shepard
11-29-2004, 07:45 PM
I vote for just asking what the test policy is.

Jeanne :p

Rocky Izumi
11-30-2004, 09:58 PM
he he I did'nt think this post was still going.

I still appreciate everyones input and I dont take any offence at any of the advice. Not even the riddles ( if you asked then you r not ready)
Damned those Zen koans, eh?

Rock :D

early rub up
01-05-2006, 11:25 AM
just give your sensei a gentle reminder with a boken he'll soon remember

Edwin Neal
01-10-2006, 05:45 PM
in my experience:

it is considered rude to ask sensei about testing directly ie "your" testing, general questions about testing are ok.

testing is somewhat of a formality ie sensei feels that you are at that level thus it is recognition of your growth.

talk of failing a test is ridiculous this indicates that sensei has no grasp of your abilities.

in some schools testing is merely economic ie lots of kyu ranks, stripes on belt, more tests means more testing fees...

there is also no standard or standard curriculum from school to school ie in some you do the time you get the belt, in others you have to demonstrate barely any thing to attain rank , in others it is incredible the amount of stuff you must know and demonstrate...

in conclusion dont worry about it just practice colored belts are for sissys ;) if you practice you will get better thats what matters

humbly ...
edwin

RebeccaM
01-10-2006, 08:22 PM
How does the testing work at your dojo? At both the dojos I've trained at you yourself signed up for the kyu tests. At my dojo in Seattle, Sensei will sometimes prod people who've been training for a long time to take a test, usually at the level he decides you're ready for. I'm not sure if that happens in Boulder. I think people just grade when they feel like it, until they're ready to enter the yudansha ranks. Tests for shodan and above are invite only and the invite comes when Sensei decides you're ready. You may feel otherwise, but it's his call.

Edwin Neal
01-11-2006, 01:41 AM
yudansha test are usually done at gasshuku ie summer camp, and are invite only usually a senior yudansha or shihan lets you know that you will be called. mudansha is usually a scheduled every 6-9 month seminar that is not quite as secretive you know the seminar is comming and if you havent tested in 6-12 months or more you will probably be called. it is as i say more of a recognition of what level you have attained... I never heard of anyone failing if you are asked the sensei thinks thats what your rank should be. you can skip ranks if it has been a while or you really do good. the testing is very broad in the number of waza and includes history, philosophy, jo and bokken, tanto, suwari, in yudansha it is even more of all these and mutlple attackers 2 or 3 simultaneous, and the dreaded "optionals" which is whatever sensei or the board ask for...
and even a teaching skit for yudansha... hope that helps...
oh and the only way not to test is to just not go to summer camp or seminars, but sometimes sensei will just drop the bomb my shihan got his godan that way sensei just announced that the shihan would demonstrate such and such and after wards announced he was promoted... i've seen the same for mudansha also. it is understood that everytime you step on the mat you are being tested... sensei is watching you...

Ron Tisdale
01-11-2006, 11:19 AM
Just an FYI...

Some organizations/schools do actually fail students for tests...both mudansha tests and yudansha tests. I myself failed my 3rd kyu test at least once. In that organization, even though your instructor may find you ready to test, that in and of itself does not mean you will pass. Even failing a test can be part of the test. Some people fail a test, then train hard every day until the next test and perform accordingly. Others fail the same test, and come in two weeks before the next one and try to cram. The results are usually pretty obvious.

I was actually given a choice. I could have just continued to train and when the local instructor felt I was ready, I would get the rank. Or, I could test again. I told the senior instructor I would be very happy to test again, and that I was unhappy with my performance. I then trained just about every available day until the next test. It went a little better... ;)

Best,
Ron

Aristeia
01-11-2006, 02:23 PM
anyone else get frustrated with the barriers that are sometimes put up to learning here? You cannot even *ask* about your own testing? You can't talk directly to sensei but must go through sempai? You can't ask questions but must only learn by observation?

Does this environment strike anyone as the most efficient way to learn?

Ron Tisdale
01-11-2006, 02:41 PM
Anyone in the dojo where I train can ask the instructor directly. About pretty much anything. Which doesn't mean that he'll have an answer, or that you'll like the answer if he does have one.

One of the problems in martial art is that when it is transplanted to a different culture, weird things can happen and traditions can get kind of twisted.

On the other hand, learning by observation is very much respected in many cultures, and can be a valuable asset in and of itself. I don't think I would let that discourage me in my chosen pursuit. Anywho, if you simply want to learn the best way to fight as quickly as possible, walk up to someone sitting down in a bar and pour a beer over their head. You'll learn a lot very quickly. ;)

Best,
Ron

Aristeia
01-11-2006, 03:22 PM
True dat. I've been thinking alot lately though about the difference between a "sensei" (a la aikido) and a "coach" (a la BJJ). I've had immense respect for my Aikido sensei down the years, no question. But my BJJ coaches have become friends very quickly and I can't say that's happened in Aikido. Although some of my students have become friends. So maybe it's not a sensei/coach dynamic but a western/japanese one. I certainly find the "friendship" based model more effective for both learning and teaching however.

Ron Tisdale
01-11-2006, 04:30 PM
I think it would be interesting to train aikido with a 'coach'...it's not something that I've done to this point.

I know I'd like training BJJ with either a coach or a Sensei...but I'm not sure my body would thank me... ;)

Best,
Ron

Aristeia
01-11-2006, 05:05 PM
I think I've been a bit more coachy to some of my students. Informal sessions in the garage outside of class prior to gradings, that kind of thing. The results were pretty good.

BJJ doesn't need to be as hard on the body as you may think.

Ron Tisdale
01-12-2006, 08:32 AM
Bad knees, early arthritis. I actually think BJJ is probably safer than aikido in many cases. Not so far to fall... ;)

Best,
Ron

Edwin Neal
01-12-2006, 11:35 AM
gotta get this in...

as I trained my sensei and senior yudansha watched me... when I was asked to test it was because they saw and felt what I could do and knew... to ask about your testing( when am I gonna be a black belt sensei?) shows that I'm probably more into colored belts than learning... I didnt prepare for months or weeks, or choreagraph a routine... I did the best I could do on the spot... this kind of testing style could be said to be a different tradition... the requirements for shodan or any grade are clearly known and are practiced all the time... the requirements up to 2nd kyu are a little lighter , and the requirements from 2nd kyu up into the dan ranks are more comprehensive... you dont fail tests... they are more a test for YOU to evaluate yourself... you wouldn't be asked to test if sensei and the yudansha didn't think your talents were at that level... no coaches, aikido is not a sport-- except for tomiki stuff but I never did that... to make students test and test and test just to collect testing fees ( some schools do that you know) is wrong... colored belts and ranks are pretty useless anyway each school is different... some use stripes on belt (stupid)... some even do camoflage belts ( gimme a break)... the old way; you start with a white belt, and if you practice long enough and hard enough, then it will turn black and you are a serious student... keep going and it eventually fades and turns white again then you're a master...

Bronson
01-12-2006, 12:24 PM
Generally agree, but with a few small exceptions.


you dont fail tests... they are more a test for YOU to evaluate yourself... you wouldn't be asked to test if sensei and the yudansha didn't think your talents were at that level...

While I agree that the sensei probably wouldn't ask you to test if you weren't capable of performing at the needed level you still need to perform. If you don't pull it out you could fail. I haven't seen many people fail in our dojo but on rare occasion it does happen (once to one of Sensei's kids).

aikido is not a sport-- except for tomiki stuff

I would probably say that Tomiki or Shodokan aikido is a martial art that has a sporting component for those that want it.

to make students test and test and test just to collect testing fees ( some schools do that you know) is wrong... Playing devils advocate here a little... Is it wrong if the sensei isn't getting any of the money? There are numerous fees and expenses that go along with running a school. Perhaps the parent organization requires a sizable yearly affiliation fee. Maybe the rent/payment/taxes/utilities/maintenance/etc. on the building is expensive. Testing fees are another way to generate income and like it or not as students we are customers and the expenses of running a business get passed on to the customers.

the old way; you start with a white belt, and if you practice long enough and hard enough, then it will turn black and you are a serious student... keep going and it eventually fades and turns white again then you're a master...

This has been shown to be myth.

Bronson

Edwin Neal
01-12-2006, 01:08 PM
if you ARE performing at that level then you ARE asked to test... so you ARE performing

as to fees ... i understand there are costs for a school, thats okay, but sometimes ... well greedy mcsensei has 36 kyu ranks and most people fail the first time you test for each rank ... etc... etc...
gimme some mo money....

there were no colored belts in "traditional schools" that is an american mcdojo thing... you just wore an obi (belt) you could tell a persons RANK(skill) by the wear on it ie if you practice you get better ...
not a myth just a cute way of saying you have to do the time on the mat (ground) to learn and improve... I love seeing shihan my age at seminars with nice shiny new belts ... my shihan puts on his tattered old black fading to grey belt .... maybe you'll notice the difference one day...

Ron Tisdale
01-12-2006, 01:38 PM
the old way; you start with a white belt, and if you practice long enough and hard enough, then it will turn black and you are a serious student... keep going and it eventually fades and turns white again then you're a master...

Hogwash. do a search on this site and you'll see plenty of references to the FACT that this is myth. There is absolutely nothing wrong with people having different traditions in different organizations. But let's not step too far into fantasy...

Best,
Ron

MaryKaye
01-12-2006, 03:10 PM
I have a lot of trouble with the "don't ask" thing, which is also in force in my home dojo. The head instructor published a newsletter article in which she said (paraphrase) "If you ask to test, that is tatamount to saying that you don't think your teachers have noticed that you are ready to test. But this is nonsense--of course they have."

The problem with saying this is that it sets up the teacher as infallible, and being human beings, teachers are not infallible. Mine has been mistaken several times about what rank a given student has, about what is on the published test critieria, and about what a given student has been taught. I wouldn't mind these mistakes so much, but they are a terrible combo with "it's rude to ask, trust us to know what we are doing."

I do care about testing, perhaps more than I should, and if I were to find out that I didn't get tested because sensei forgot what rank I had--as seemed to happen to a kohai of mine--I would be furious. "This could have been avoided if you had just been willing to accept polite questions."

This is a Japanese tradition that does not seem well suited to our American students, including me, and I wish we could lose it. I won't speak to its usefulness or otherwise at other dojo, but it does not work well for us.

Mary Kaye

Aristeia
01-12-2006, 04:22 PM
gotta get this in...

as I trained my sensei and senior yudansha watched me... when I was asked to test it was because they saw and felt what I could do and knew... to ask about your testing( when am I gonna be a black belt sensei?) shows that I'm probably more into colored belts than learning

Surely testing is part of the system because it is some way important? Otherwise it would be there. If you grant that it is important in some respect, what's wrong with asking about it? Particularly when the instructor in question has already indicated they thought you were ready and then didn't follow through. Sounds alot like something thats fallen throught he cracks and should be questioned. Or if there is an actual reason why the OP hasn't been asked to test, the question could generate a discussion that could help point him to the areas of concern.

... I didnt prepare for months or weeks, or choreagraph a routine... I did the best I could do on the spot... this kind of testing style could be said to be a different tradition... the requirements for shodan or any grade are clearly known and are practiced all the time... the requirements up to 2nd kyu are a little lighter , and the requirements from 2nd kyu up into the dan ranks are more comprehensive... you dont fail tests... they are more a test for YOU to evaluate yourself... you wouldn't be asked to test if sensei and the yudansha didn't think your talents were at that level

I go back and forwad on whether this is a good or a bad thing. I think the key is the school has to be clear which they are doing. Only allowing people to test that are clearly there, or failing those that don't. As opposed to allowing people to test because they haven't for a while but not failing them if they're not up to the mark.



... no coaches, aikido is not a sport

That's not really my point. My point is that the relationship between coach and student, and their interaction tends to be different than between sensei and student. My contention is that I think the coach/student relationship, by being less formal, is more productive.

colored belts and ranks are pretty useless anyway each school is different... some use stripes on belt (stupid)

Why is that any more stupid than having coloured belts at all? Or wearing archaic japanese clothing?

... some even do camoflage belts ( gimme a break)... the old way; you start with a white belt, and if you practice long enough and hard enough, then it will turn black and you are a serious student... keep going and it eventually fades and turns white again then you're a master... As has been pointed out this is fantasy and was never the case. Just a convenient fairy story thats been retrofitted to the belt system.

Edwin Neal
01-12-2006, 04:25 PM
come on ron its just a metaphor not literal... when i took my first test i was hoorified to learn i had to dye my nicely dingying white belt... the patina on your obi show youve put the time in on practice...
anyone can buy a black belt and say they are the grand poobah 11th dan of this or that style but its gonna look funny with that frensh shiny belt...

Edwin Neal
01-12-2006, 04:34 PM
internal consistency... we all have the testing requirements documented clearly... senseis should know what level their students are at... sounds like mary's sensei just dont take it like i feel a serious sensei or organization should but ki society is big and extended so with lots of dojos and shihans and all i'm sure there is some confusion... my sensei is the one who gives the rank so he should know... i like the on the spot testing that way You see what you got right then with out preparation... aint gonna get no prep on the street...

Bronson
01-13-2006, 12:06 AM
if you ARE performing at that level then you ARE asked to test... so you ARE performing
For many people a formal test is the most stressfull time they will ever have to perform aikido techniques. If they are unable to perform them at a reasonable level under this stress they may need more practice.
I see merit in on-the-spot testing and I see merit in formal testing. Simple fact is my Sensei wants formal tests so we do formal tests.

as to fees ... i understand there are costs for a school, thats okay, but sometimes ... well greedy mcsensei has 36 kyu ranks and most people fail the first time you test for each rank ... etc... etc...gimme some mo money....

Don't get me wrong, I agree with you. I also don't like it when I get price gouged by a mechanic, or a plumber, etc. On the flip side the sensei really shouldn't have to cover the schools expenses out of pocket. Hell, I got no problem with them making some money at it. I think this can be done fairly to both the sensei and the students.

there were no colored belts in "traditional schools" that is an american mcdojo thing...

From JudoInfo.com (http://judoinfo.com/obi.htm):
Other colored belts for students who had not yet achieved black belt originated later, when Judo began being practiced outside of Japan. Mikonosuke Kawaishi (http://judoinfo.com/kawaishi.htm) is generally regarded as the first to introduce various colored belts in Europe in 1935 when he started to teach Judo in Paris. He felt that western students would show greater progress if they had a visible system of many colored belts recognizing achievement and providing regular incentives. This system included white, yellow, orange, green, blue, and purple belts before the traditional brown and black belts.

So apparently it was a French thing and after reading his bio, I really don't think Mikonosuke Kawaishi could be considered a McSensei.

... my shihan puts on his tattered old black fading to grey belt
As does mine. He'll also replace them if they reach a point where they need replacing.

maybe you'll notice the difference one day... And maybe you'll be able to state your points without coming across like pompous, self-important ass one day...

Bronson

Edwin Neal
01-13-2006, 07:12 AM
hey bronson that last was uncalled for up until then it was blending so smoothly...

once again i must say you are asked to test because you are that level... you ARE performing at that level heck how muck more stressful can just a regular end of class randori be with sensei and all the yudansha pushing you??? bout like testing every day YO! ... over-ritualization of the testing process is like over pakaging just unnecessary... What i bet some places make you hold your bokken with the handle to this way and the blade that way so that you don't insult your senseis and shihan... or mess of with flow of ki in the dojo... just ridiculous...

Amelia Smith
01-13-2006, 10:00 AM
Some sensei never tell people when to test, and if you want to advance in rank, you have to decide for yourself (hopefully in consultation with some sempai, at least) that you are ready to test. Frankly I get a little annoyed at all these people who think that their Sensei (and therefore every Sensei) must be completely in touch with every one of their students. There's a lot of varriation among dojo cultures.

Ron Tisdale
01-13-2006, 10:27 AM
And a lot of romanticizing takes place too. Sensei are not all knowing, omnipotent beings. They are people who teach (in this case) aikido. Let's not make too much of it.

Best,
Ron

BC
01-13-2006, 01:13 PM
the old way; you start with a white belt, and if you practice long enough and hard enough, then it will turn black and you are a serious student... keep going and it eventually fades and turns white again then you're a master...

That has been proven time and again to be false.

MaryKaye
01-13-2006, 02:58 PM
If multiple people teach on multiple evenings, as is the case with our dojo, it is very hard for any one teacher to know all of the students in detail. I know our head instructor has students whom she sees no more than 5-6 times a year, and most of those are seminars. She is not able to attend every class--she has a demanding day job and a long commute.

This makes it difficult to use a model which relies on having one person who knows about all the students and is current on their level of ability. I think we've been ill-served by keeping such a model. It probably works very well if a single person is doing the teaching, but we have five.

I am not trying to diss my sensei here. I think she does a good job considering how difficult the problem is. But the Japanese model, which she feels compelled by association culture to use, is hard to adapt to our circumstances.

Mary Kaye

Aristeia
01-13-2006, 03:23 PM
hey bronson that last was uncalled for up until then it was blending so smoothly...

once again i must say you are asked to test because you are that level... you ARE performing at that level heck how muck more stressful can just a regular end of class randori be with sensei and all the yudansha pushing you??? bout like testing every day YO! ... over-ritualization of the testing process is like over pakaging just unnecessary... What i bet some places make you hold your bokken with the handle to this way and the blade that way so that you don't insult your senseis and shihan... or mess of with flow of ki in the dojo... just ridiculous...

As some have pointed out, in some circumstances the sensei in charge of rank does need to see the student in a testing enironment.
I aslo disagree that the over ritualisation is unnecessary. It serves an important function in terms of raising stress levels. This is why having a date for grading you know ahead of time is also useful. Gives the stress levels time to rise. Scheduled gradings provide the opportunity for sensei to see how students effect techniques under pressure and stress that cannot be replicated by an impromptu grading imo.

BTW, are you the same Edwin that's posting over on Bullshido?

Edwin Neal
01-13-2006, 08:52 PM
I think the more stressfull situation is to be constantly testing never sure when the real test will come ... you don't get no scheduled test on the street...

Why yes I am... Why wanna fight about it??? ;-))

Edwin Neal
01-13-2006, 10:25 PM
testing

every practice is a test
everytime you step on the mat is a test
every waza is a test
every moment is a test

O'sensei is watching you

this has been a test ;-))

deepsoup
01-14-2006, 04:32 AM
O'sensei is watching you
You're getting confused. Thats Big Brother you're thinking of.

Edwin Neal
01-14-2006, 05:14 AM
yeah they are eating popcorn and ROFL watching us...

Aristeia
01-14-2006, 04:50 PM
you misunderstand the components of the type of stress we're talking about. It's impossible to generate it every class every session, every technique. It *needs* to be out of the ordinary by it's definition. It's very easy to say "I treat every class as a test" but the fact of the matter is that because it *is* every class, it becomes mundane. It has to, you can't maintain adrenalin and nerves that consistantly.

Edwin Neal
01-14-2006, 05:45 PM
hey Michael, i think you are sort of talking about how "alive" the training is... as a general rule the level of stress ie all its components like resistance, adrenaline, novelty, aliveness, occur in a graduated way in practice. As a class or aikidoka's study progress this level is increased, and not knowing when you may be asked to test makes it out of the ordinary... ramping up the intensity of the end of class randori is another way to keep it from becoming mundane... and although mundane is probably not the best way to express it, we are training to NOT be captured by the situation... that is not let our nerves or adrenaline or fear interrupt our focus our aiki. I am a big advocate of alive training, on the mental/spiritual side we learn that a real life situation really is nothing special, or different from what we practice so we don't freeze up mentally...

Aristeia
01-14-2006, 06:18 PM
No I'm not talking about alive training. In fact talk to those who train alive all the time, BJJers, Judoka, Kickboxers etc. and many of them will tell you that tournaments generate nerves and adrenalin above and beyond their normal training. And that as a result it can affect their performance, particularly in the first few tournaments they enter. This despite the fact they train alive day in and day out.

That's what schools who have gradings as an "event" are trying to replicate.

Edwin Neal
01-14-2006, 06:36 PM
i basically agree with you mike, but i want to be a little bit picky... not at you but on the aliveness thing... Train alive all the time??? how "alive" is alive 50% resistance or more ... 100% alive would mean to the death or incapacitation of one or both partners... does 1% resistance constitute alive practice... I would characterize my typical class experience as about 25-50% resistance until the long 50% or more randori to finish class... does that constitute "alive" ... I agree totally on the performance anxiety angle you explain... I had terrible nerves on my first test and was scheduled to test after lunch... puked my guts up(but finished the test!)... my subsequent tests have been better with regards to jitters...
i enjoy your thoughts on this...

Aristeia
01-14-2006, 07:38 PM
I know what you mean Edwin but think you are taking an extreme definition of aliveness. It doesn't mean fighting to the death so much as adding in reisistance. But not just uke thinking "i'll make this harder for nage" (which is about as far as most aikido dojos go), but actually motivating both parties to dominate the other.

Let me ask you this. Don't you think it's a bit incongruous that on the one hand we tout Aikido as being the art of compassion because it allows you to "control an attacker without hurting him" and on the other hand claim that we can't spar because it would end in death or maiming?

I've given this alot of thought and unfortunately come to the conclusion that it's all but impossible to make Aikido "live" in the sense of Judo or BJJ without sacrificing some fundamentals of the art. Unlike Phrost I don't think that means we have to throw it out altogether, but if you're interested in self defence I think it should be trained alongside an alive art.

You see the beauty of arts like BJJ and Judo is that they truly *can* train full on without damaging the other person (unless they decide to). Which lets them practice in extremely realistic conditions. Aikido struggles to do that.

Which brings us back to gradings as a tool to see how we perform with the adrenlin dump. And if you accept that is one of the purposes of testing, it follows that everything should be done to make it as stressful and adrenalised as possible.

Edwin Neal
01-14-2006, 08:15 PM
on aliveness... i have a feeling that term may come to be something like KI in time everyone tossing it around, but it basically referring to different things...

well as to competition it is not the only way (nor necessarily the best) way to train even some judoka and jujutsuka train less alive than my way of training in aikido... and even folks that do want that alive practical kind of self defense practice seldom, really need to go to a very high level of resistance to gain some improvement in their skills...
as to "full on" like i picked before NO body trains full on even UFC fighters can cover up tap out just because it is vigorous training doesn't mean it has any relation to a real life or death situation or even a lesser confrontation in real life...
that crap that some aikidoka spout about it being too deadly is just as valid for judo and jj... the chokes and some other techniques are really less lethal variations of really lethal techniques you can get maimed or killed in any of these activities... we ought to start a thread to see how many people HAVE been killed or seriously injured in aikido, judo, jj classes
I agree testing is an important thing and should focus on that stressful adrenalized stuff how much do you have to do? does it really substantially increase the stress? How much stressfullness is necessary to receive an improvement in skills? TRYING to artificially induce stress is okay IF it improves your skills, but can be just what i spoke on previously EMPTY over ritualization that really adds nothing significant to the level of improvement you gain...

Aristeia
01-14-2006, 08:25 PM
Everyone who trains alive understands very well what it is. It's a nobrainer that never even occurs to them. You are confusing "alive" training with "training for the real world (tm)". Alive training is simply training where you are fighting against somoeone who has as much desire and motivation to triumph as you do. There is no uke/nage distinction going in.

It's not about vigorous or non vigourous. I've seen very vigourous training in some dojo in the sense it was high energy and high impact, but it wasn't alive.
Tapping out doesn't prevent training from being alive, it's just a means to say "were we to continue I understand I would be damaged".
Judo and BJJ never say they are too deadly to spar. Because they do spar all the time. The techniques come from other more lethal versions? Well ok if you say so - but who would know because no one trains those techs so who can actually use them.

Which is the point. Anyone that's trained in any MA understands that you don't "get" a technique just by seeing it or trying it once. You've got to drill it, practice it. If the effect of a technique is death or serious injury, you cannont actually practice it as you'd need to to "get" it. Because you run out of places to put the bodies.
So maybe art x has a lethal neck breaker, and art y has a choke that allows the other person an opportunity to concede. Maybe art x is in theory more dangerous but no one actually gains the skills cause you can't keep breaking necks. But you can apply chokes all day long so practitioners of art y, really "own" their techniques and can pull them off against someone fighting for all they're worth to avoid it. I'll take art y. And of course in teh str33t you can then make choices about what you do once you've applied the choke, making as lethal as art x in the first place.

Edwin Neal
01-14-2006, 09:19 PM
Thanks mike... i think i was less than clear in my last post judging by your comments... I do get the alive thing I just think Some people look at one thing and say thats live training and then look at something else and call it dead just beacuse you know? they don't think its any good or some thing like that.
If I am resisting and actively trying to best you then it is live, but that does not have to be "hardcore" blood and broken bones...the distinction between uke and nage is some what contrieved... there is no uke or nage... but you have to know whos turn it is to live drill that technique... we regularly practice trying to reverse or counter each other in practice... in a sense that is exactly what you should be doing/learning to do as uke...
I meant that judo and bjj are just as deadly not that they said that... most aikidoka say that as an excuse... a choke can kill whatever aikido judo or bjj... aikido came from traditional jujutsu there is really only a difference in focus not necessarily skills... we practice ground work... no i dont just mean suwari waza, although we do that to help with your core conditioning, and it really confuses "some" bjj players...
i know you don't learn just after one demo... you know we practice repetiton, drill.

"If the effect of a technique is death or serious injury, you cannont actually practice it as you'd need to to "get" it. Because you run out of places to put the bodies."

if the effect of a technique is to choke into unconsciousness, you cannot actually practice it as you'd need to to "get" it.
Because people would quickly tire of you choking them into unconsciousness... you don't have to choke someone(everyone) out to learn how to "apply"(thats another term like alive that gets bandied about too much) a choke.
alot of this is like what i used to term the real factor... how "real" do you have to practice it to gain notable improvement in skills.? you can rarely(probably never) practice "real" or 100% alive... does that mean all training that doesn't meet that impossible requirement, 99% or less, is not worthwile or giving some improvement? does it mean you can't possible learn to apply the technique??? where is the (arbitrary) cut off... this live and worthwhile and this is not???
for all techniques Nage decides the amount of hurt or lethality, but all techniques are potentially lethal...

Aristeia
01-14-2006, 09:49 PM
Have you read Matt Thornton's stuff on the "I" method?
You do need to know who's turn it is to drill the technique quite right (one of my pet hates is people who don't know when you're drilling and when you're sparring). And you can drill with progressive resistance as well which is valuable training.
But the point is, alive training means there's times when it is "no one's turn". both practitioners are just going for it. Usually this is a sparring context - there's now technique you're drilling you're just applying the sum total of your game.

The sense I get from your posts both here and on bullshido is that you think "aliveness" is not clearly defined because people aren't calling what you do alive and you think they should. The best thing to do in this case is spend a month or two on a judo or BJJ mat. Not just a session with a grappler but actually put the time in and you'll see the difference. The biggest eye opener for a lot of my Aikido guys that joined me in BJJ was the gulf between being able to drill the technique and apply it live in a sparring situation.

A choke or armbar that's locked is locked, the tap is the signal to avoid the next logical step. Up until that moment the other person is fighting back. With systems that are not alive the other person beleives they should not fight back for fear of injury from much earlier on.

Having said that, my BJJ coach John Will does talk about techniques that have developed that will give you a "mat tap" but not necessarily be as efficient delivering damage on the street.
you can rarely(probably never) practice "real" or 100% alive... does that mean all training that doesn't meet that impossible requirement, 99% or less, is not worthwile or giving some improvement? does it mean you can't possible learn to apply the technique??? where is the (arbitrary) cut off... this live and worthwhile and this is not???

This to me says you don't fully understand "aliveness". It's not about blood and cuts or using every weapon and dirty trick at your disposal. You can train within a set of understood parameters and still have it be live.
Lets put it like this. If in an Aikido class I was putting kote gaeshi on you, but it was just as likely that in the course of my attempt you'd apply the same, or a different technique on me, that would probably be alive. If I was applying kote gaeshi on you and you were trying to make it hard for me to do so but not mounting your own offence, and it was more likely that I would succeed in the end, or at worst concede that it wasn't working, scratch my head and start again, that would not be alive training.

I personally disagree that anything that is not alive is worthless, I think it has a place and a purpose. I think it's more important that people understand the limitations of this training and where possible suppliement it with something that is alive.

Aristeia
01-14-2006, 09:50 PM
all techniques are potentially lethal...

Not the ones that you cannot apply outside of drilling.

Edwin Neal
01-14-2006, 10:32 PM
hey mike, i read it and understand the difference... do classes and seminars with royce count as live? I didn't find it that much different than my normal training in aikido... i think the concept has some flaws not in practice, but in theory... i agree some places do dead practice... I do with beginners... but if you are Nage, if I try to stop your waza, counter attack, and perform my own waza with a reasonable amount of resistance based on your level, isn't it alive?

"A choke or armbar that's locked is locked, the tap is the signal to avoid the next logical step. Up until that moment the other person is fighting back. With systems that are not alive the other person beleives they should not fight back for fear of injury from much earlier on."

WHAT??? so aliveness depends on my belief that I could still keep fighting that choke, but I tap way before it is really on tight or making me see spots??? because we practice until you Know you are locked and can't keep from being choked... I have been choked out and choked other out. I know when its too late, but i do some times tap a wee bit early to save my neck... ;-))

one of my points with the alive ness thing is while i understand it and practice that way that is not always appropriate to your training partner. I dont really have to be alive with our white belts to tap them, and i do have to give them the choke for them to learn to apply it... they catch on and eventually i have to up my level of aliveness... and I was no where near alive enough for royce and the guys at those seminars, they had no trouble tapping me but were nice and gave me slack so i could practice applying , but they didn't make it so easy that i didn't work for it...
i guess i just think any training is better than no training... and even training with light resistance is worthwhile as it adds to your skill. It seems that what counts as resistance enough to satisfy the condition for alive is usually skewed by the guy who thinks its "not real enuff"...

Aristeia
01-14-2006, 11:27 PM
hey mike, i read it and understand the difference... do classes and seminars with royce count as live?

Quite possibly not. Semainars and guest appearances at classes tend to be run different and often only encompas technique transmission (i.e. drilling)

but if you are Nage, if I try to stop your waza, counter attack, and perform my own waza with a reasonable amount of resistance based on your level, isn't it alive?

Quite possibly. But even going in with the knowledge that mike is nage and Edwin is uke is a bit of a giveaway.


"A choke or armbar that's locked is locked, the tap is the signal to avoid the next logical step. Up until that moment the other person is fighting back. With systems that are not alive the other person beleives they should not fight back for fear of injury from much earlier on."

WHAT??? so aliveness depends on my belief that I could still keep fighting that choke, but I tap way before it is really on tight or making me see spots??? because we practice until you Know you are locked and can't keep from being choked... I have been choked out and choked other out. I know when its too late, but i do some times tap a wee bit early to save my neck... ;-))

You miss the point. In BJJ (for example) you fight until you know you're caught and aren't going to escape (on the basis of previous live training usually) and then tap.
In Aikido people are oftentimes bowing in with the mindset already that it would be dangerous to resist and therefore go through their dance steps.


one of my points with the alive ness thing is while i understand it and practice that way that is not always appropriate to your training partner. I dont really have to be alive with our white belts to tap them, and i do have to give them the choke for them to learn to apply it... they catch on and eventually i have to up my level of aliveness... and I was no where near alive enough for royce and the guys at those seminars, they had no trouble tapping me but were nice and gave me slack so i could practice applying , but they didn't make it so easy that i didn't work for it...

Sure, and no one's talking about smashing some newbie. We're talking about what happens between to practioners of similar level in day to day training.

i guess i just think any training is better than no training... and even training with light resistance is worthwhile as it adds to your skill. It seems that what counts as resistance enough to satisfy the condition for alive is usually skewed by the guy who thinks its "not real enuff"...

There's two issues here that I think may be being confused.
1. What is "alive" training in the Thorntonian sense
2. Is there any benefit in training that is not alive.

Now it may be that you are training at that legendary Aikido dojo that practices truly alive but I doubt it*. I think it's more likely that you are arguing that there is a benefit in doing the training you are doing, but are arguing form point 1. when you should be arguing from point 2.

* there's 2 reasons why I doubt it.
1. I've heard plenty of people that claim to do this, but never seen it. Experience tells me therefore that this is likelty to be the case in this instance.
2. I have serious doubts if Aikido can be trained in a truly alive manner and continue to be Aikido.

Edwin Neal
01-15-2006, 12:06 AM
I'm not defending my training style, but it is legendary. I do think there is some benefit in that other type of training. I guess i object to the absolute nature of the arguement...
only alive traininng gives true (fighting)skill, any thing else is worthless and gives no fighting skill...
sounds kinda like my kung fu is better than your kung fu
I do believe that alive training in aikido is possible, but not done much... again I have used my aikido rolling with bjj and judo guys and find that i can depending on my opponent use my aikido... nikkyo from the guard being easy and Very effective... ikkyo or sankyo for reversals from guard... of course how you move your body on the ground is just as important to proper execution as to standing waza.
call it ki flow or leverage or whatever you got to move and unbalance and control your opponent even on the ground...
as for Thornton god of aliveness Grandmaster of AliveFooDo... i can take most of that and make it explicitly mystical and aiki... some even sounds like aikibunny stuff...

"Aliveness is about the freedom to use whatever works in the moment. Right action at right time. Which is another name for true compassion. A freedom that is only fully felt when one is completely immersed in the present moment of now, and free of the burden of beliefs, which manifest as thoughts. A clear mind fully aware of reality as it is now, and operating with absolute synchronicity within time and space, that is the real beginning of Aliveness."

I take back the aikibunny thing... i like aikibunnies... and I like the quote... I think some people practice Live aikido (not necessarily all the time) and most probably don't, while the former may be more efficient (ie take less time, produce a more practical combat athelete), I think the latter will produce at least some practical results over a longer period of time... its not a race for everyone...

Aristeia
01-15-2006, 12:51 AM
We basicaly agree in that absolutes are bad. The problem with someone like Phrost is that he doesn't get that for some of us there are reasons for training that go beyond ass kickery, and that therefore arts like Aikido have something of real value to offer many people, whatever the drawbacks in the training methods.

I do think as a whole, Aikidoka could probably be a bit more forthcoming to new students about what the art is and is not good for. there are a fair few people wandering around in hakama's with an inflated view of their martial ability.

As for the "my kung fu is better than yours" thing; it's taken as being self evident in many circles that such discussions are "bad". should that really be the case? This attitude came about for noble reasons. To encourage people to be open to other approaches. Which is great. But to listen to some people (not necessarily you) you'd think as soon as somebody labels something a martial art and gives it a name, you must give it respect and assume it's "another path up the same mountain". Logic tells us that it is more than possible that there are arts out there that cannot do what they claim they can and that we should be able to discuss that in a robust way in the name of truth.

Edwin Neal
01-15-2006, 01:25 AM
I just think it seems to be extreme one side vs. extreme other side... i like mine a little more medium well
I've been running this other thread on Aikido mc dojo s and saying that the ultra conservative highly ritualized are becoming a problem... I have no problem with soft aikido, but don't tell people you can throw a ki ball out your ass...
with the term alive I see it becoming like a mystical mantra type thing for all the combat atheletics... then dudes start opening gyms and sell their brand of alive jujutsu... and some suckers will get bilked ... I don't think that will be as big a problem as you have the competition clause ie put up or get whupped... aikidoka have the non competitive card they play which lets Mcdojos keep scamming people...
yeah if a guy walks in and says he wants to learn to be a good fighter ie UFC then I tell him this is not quite that high intensity, but it can give some skill that may be helpful in that endeavor... most people aren't looking for that level of performance and intensity...
I am waiting to see what develops in atlanta... i am interested in going and probably getting my ass whupped but it sounds like a good time... maryland is also a good possibility as is NYC, or nashville.
If I may ask what is your thing Aikido or mostly bjj...

Aristeia
01-15-2006, 02:07 AM
I don't draw a link between high ritual and ki ball aikido necessarily. I've seen some hard asses that are all about the etiquette and ritual. I also tend to think in the modern age of internet and accessibility of information, if anyone walks into a Mcdojo and doesn't educate themselves enough to be aware of warning signs then bad luck to them. Because you'll never be able to police it beyond that level.

Never seen "alive" used as a marketing gimmick and woud be surprised if I ever did. People that are into alive training don't need it. And yes the competition thing is a great leveller - in alive arts, the mat doesn't lie.

My background is primarily aikido, 13 years of practice. To be honest if someone walked into my dojo looking to become a UFC type fighter I would tell them absoultely they've come to the wrong place. Anything else would be wasting their time (and mine).
I am now focusing more on BJJ and will probably do that exclusively for the next couple of years (maybe a bit of judo thrown in). I like to think I have a balanced view of both approaches which tends to be unfortunately rare in internet battles (although there's more and more BJJing Aikidoka popping up which is for the good of everyone I think)

Edwin Neal
01-15-2006, 02:30 AM
i think crosstraining (retrofitting is probably more accurate) is imperative to stop the mcdojos and drift toward a watered down aikido... remember Osensei and the other old timers had a huge background in judo/jujutsu... most students today have aikido as their only experience, and alot of senseis are the same... add in some mysticism(which i like) and a heavy dose of ritual and you get some of the "problems" , and drift from the path that we see in dojos today...GJJ is straight from the japanese jujutsu... they just do it with their own flair, but its still jujutsu... the same stuff my sensei did and teaches... is there some drift in the judo jj world? of course but i think less than in aikido...
keep trying to integrate your aikido into your whole package, its worth it... for me it was harder to get some of the ground work than integrating my locks and things into my game...
why don't we let this thread die now since we are way off topic and seem to be the only ones talkin...
sound like we have similar backgrounds i have about 15 yrs aikido and a dabbling of other things mostly japanese, some JKD/WCKF, and Arnis... my main thing now is I would like to up my grappling, but time and distance make it tough... but I do what I can...
it was good discussing it with you... I was starting to feel like the put upon aikidoka on BSD...

Aristeia
01-15-2006, 03:05 AM
good luck with your journey.

Counsel
02-07-2006, 11:34 AM
It's not even a measure of proficiency.

This may seem ... blasphemous, but...

Why not?

C