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11-19-2004, 02:16 PM
Sensei thinks I should be promoted, but I don't see any reason for it. I am not a wealty person and black belt ranks are expensive. I am running a small group and not a professional aikido teacher. I only started because people were pestering me to teach and to have some place close to train. How can I get out of this or delay it for as long as possible?
11-19-2004, 04:06 PM
Hi anony-mouse !
Have a talk with your sensei to find out what the issue is about needing the promotion. If it is for the dojo you are teaching, maybe your dojo members who pestered you to teach can help you with the cost. They will be helping you with your preparation for shodan testing anyhow, and will have some time to raise the money most likely. It may be that there is some rumbling about the dojo not being legit or something. (which is, of course, ridiculous, as you started at the request of your students and presumably with the OK of your head sensei)
e ya later
Sensei thinks I should be promoted, but I don't see any reason for it....
This is what needs to be addressed.
11-22-2004, 07:28 AM
Sensei thinks I should be promoted, but I don't see any reason for it. I am not a wealthy person and black belt ranks are expensive. I am running a small group and not a professional aikido teacher. I only started because people were pestering me to teach and to have some place close to train. How can I get out of this or delay it for as long as possible?
A word of caution: I do not think you should pick and choose what your sensei asks you to do or when. You may not see any reason for it, and you should not follow blindly, but you should follow blindly. Know what I mean?
As to the cost: Consider it a "pay-it-forward" investment that those before you also made.
My 2 cents.
11-22-2004, 07:36 AM
word of caution: I do not think you should pick and choose what your sensei asks you to do or when. You may not see any reason for it, and you should not follow blindly, but you should follow blindly. Know what I mean?
Nope, don't know what you mean - I deal with adults and I expect each and every one of them to show rudimentary reasoning skills and backbone. If I want someone to do something which is against their wishes, I should at least have the courtesy to provide my reasoning.
11-22-2004, 07:43 AM
A word of caution if you move style (your grade is Aikikai and you go to a Shodokan dojo) then you'll have to start at white and built it all up again. However, I know that where I train we'd run a grading and let you pass several grades at once so your first grading may see you from kyu-less to 3rd kyu or something like that.
I've yet to see an Aikido dojo in the UK that didn't welcome people from other styles. I'm sure there must be one but I haven't found it! Which is good right?...
Certainly if you are in York, feel free to come and train. We have a few folks for the army as well...
11-22-2004, 09:23 AM
If I want someone to do something which is against their wishes, I should at least have the courtesy to provide my reasoning.
Agreed. Then what? You decide if their reasons are valid or not, and they do the same. Is not everyone right back where they started? The teacher has made a request/decision and the student should....have the right to veto?
Now of course we are not talking about
Sensei: "I want to to do shikko for an hour on broken glass."
And I think we agree that there is a line to be drawn somewhere, but some things (like being told to test, told to teach class, told to go to a seminar) I believe comes down to a question of trust.
I trust that my Sensei has my best interests at heart. If I suspect (or am told flat out) that I should attend every possible seminar because she wants to bankrupt me, or wants me to teach classes so I can fail miserably, I should consider leaving.
But if I trust my Sensei, and her/his years of experience, why would I refuse? I can debate it with friends/fellow students all I like, and if I should feel comfortable discussing the sticky points with the Sensei. Question all I like, but not refuse.
Think of O-Sensei's students who were told, by him, to go and teach in whatever part of the world. I somehow doubt they said "I don't see any reason for it, and I do not agree." Or maybe they did.
11-22-2004, 09:50 AM
The teacher has made a request/decision and the student should....have the right to veto? a student always has the right of veto, its called leaving the dojo, just as conversely the sensei has the right to not teach someone.
Grading can be an intensely personal problem for some people and if you factor in the costs that anon is worried about I'd be less sanguine about the "sensei = right" without more discussion. We don't actually know the relationship between the two and perhaps there are valid reasons for the sensei to want the grading to occur, but the level of worry that posting the original query rang with me meant I was unhappy with your reply.
11-22-2004, 12:01 PM
Reading the original post again, I realize I did not answer the original question. Ooops.
"How can I get out of this or delay it for as long as possible?"
(not complete, but a good start)
1-Tell your sensei you do not want to test. Hope he drops the issue and doesn't ask again.
2-Tell your sensei you do not want to test. He insists, you agree on a time far, far off, and hope he drops it.
3-Tell your sensei you do not want to test. He insists, you refuse, you both agree it is best that you leave.
4-Tell your sensei you do not want to test. He insists, you refuse, you continue to learn under him (assuming you still attend his classes) with neither of you ever mentionning testing again.
And Ian (as well as anyone else reading, including anon.)
I did not intend my post to be flippant or un-caring, and apologize if it came across that way. I see now that I did not detect the level of worry that Ian did. In fact, I perceived the original post to be on the rather confident side, and was looking for opinions.
I hope she\he got some good ones out of all this.
And anon: May I ask what course of action you are planning on?
11-22-2004, 01:21 PM
Always a good debate. To test or not to test, that is the question. I usually notice a couple of other points that dominate this debate, but hopefully, they may help you:
1. Testing is personal... There's always a reason why not to test. We've all heard them and you won't be the first or last person with adverse feelings about testing. Testing is usually requisite for advancement in organized martial arts, and it is advantageous if the need ever arises to change associations or present credentials to a third party.
2. Your instructor has commented that you should test, and with reason (whether spoken or not). That comment is not made ligthly, nor should you dismiss it lightly; voice concern in private conversation with your instructor to address a more detailed explanation of reasoning. If you do not trust your instructor to make such recommendations, you have a larger problem on your hands than testing.
3. Your position within the dojo will set a precedent for others to follow. You are the instructor and head of a group of students that will look to you for guidence and learning. Your decision will impact their training. Sometimes your position as instructor will create a conflict of interest in your training and prevent you from doing what you want because you are a role model for others.
The decision to dissent from an instructor's wishes is a serious matter. Ian hit the nail on the head when he said a student's dissent is the right to leave the dojo. Respect your instructor, question his/her motives, voice your concerns. If you still feel uncomfortable, you should explore parting company. From the flip side, as an instructor, if a student dissented from my wishes I would consider asking them to leave the dojo, depending on their reasoning for dissent. An instructor has an obligation to teach and respect his/her students; a student has the obligation to respect his/her instructor's guidence. I feel that both sides should keep up their end of the deal or part ways.
11-22-2004, 05:26 PM
If your concerns are mainly financial, why not just talk to your sensei about it?
11-24-2004, 02:39 AM
Thank you for your concerns. Will just wait and see.
11-24-2004, 08:22 AM
I've grown up in the world of Aikido, and the whole 'sempai/kohai/extreme respect for the sensei/etc' concept if pretty engrained into my head, but I also pose question to testing when YOU don't feel ready. You must realize that everyone takes there own time to feel ready and some people need to be pushed and some people need to be left alone until they are ready. Your Sensei is likely right about you being ready, and you can trust that, however if you don't, know that your Sensei is human and will understand if you need to talk about it. My parents are Aikido instructors but they're also my parents, that's how I know that instructors are people too. :) You shouldn't oppose testing completely, but it's perfectly okay to say that you are concernerd about the money, or that you don't feel ready. As I recently said in another thread, if you're just not sure, smile and trust your Sensei. :)
11-25-2004, 10:10 PM
This is an exerpt from something I wrote about 10 years ago. It is from the articles on this website:
"A test or ranking is not just for the person taking the rank test. It is as much for the rest of the Dojo, the Sensei, and newbies who don't know the people in the Dojo.
There are several reasons for testing. One of these reasons is to show newer people what they need to learn, to provide a standard for them. Another is to show the Sensei how you perform under stress. Another is to give a belt rank that allows newbies to know what rank you are so that they can go to you for help. These are just a few of the reasons.
Why should someone NOT stop taking tests? Well, it becomes very embarrassing for the people who have taken rank tests to have someone who is lower ranked be technically and conceptually better than them. However, if a person hasn't taken rank when then should have, then the person does not deserve it yet since the person does not yet understand the importance of ranking for the benefit of the whole Dojo. Interesting, if a person will not take rank tests, then they don't deserve the rank yet. I have recently had to deal with this problem here in Hong Kong. The person thought they were being very humble but after looking deeply into his motivations, he realized that rather than being humble, he was being very arrogant. All those of you who are not taking rank test to remain humble, please review your motivations carefully, they may not be as pure as you think. I know since I once looked at things in the same way myself. . . ."
Look at your true motivations for not testing. The financial one is probably not really an issue as others have pointed out. Yes, being Yudansha comes with its vast set of responsibilities but you have already accepted most of those by being an instructor, so those increased responsibiilties are not really an issue either unless you are ignoring your responsibilities as an instructor. If you have that many students, I doubt if you are ignoring those responsibilities. You might feel that you are not really ready. If that is so, what are you doing instructing a class? So what issues are left? You will have to determine that for yourself and decide what you want to do based on those real motivations.
As an instructor, you have to do what is best for your students. In the short run, that matters more than your responsibility to your Sensei, even though your responsibility to your teachers is perhaps more important in the long run. Make your decision based on what you should be doing for your students. Should they be taught by a person who has a grading they should have or someone who might be hiding behind a lower rank. Should they be taught by a person who the head Sensei has approved the way they do their techniques or by someone who might not be sure if the Sensei would approve of how they do some of their techniques? Should they be taught by a person who acknowledges their responsibility to the dojo and his/her Sensei or be taught by a person who doesn't accept their responsibilities? These are all possible questions you might want to ask yourself.
I am not flaming you. I just want you to look a little deeper inside yourself for your own motivations which you might not even know right now. The questions above may not even apply to you. I don't know and cannot know from here. But, I ask them because I have faced them myself many times, in myself.
11-25-2004, 10:31 PM
Hey Rock, How are you doing? Haven't heard from you in a couple of years. (BTW, our mutual student hasn't trained in a long time) e-mail me and I'll fill you in.
When I test people, I know they are at that rank already. It's more or less just to demonstrate these skills to the rest of the dojo and whoever else is in attendance. Also, it shows that a person can do Aikido under pressure. Not the pressure of a real "on the street attack" but the pressure that is felt when someone has to speak in front of their peers which can often be more palpable. Also, it puts Aikido into the realm of daily life (speaking in front of peers can happen in a career, at a funeral, at a wedding, etc.), which I like to stress.
Your sensei is giving you a vote of confidence in my eyes. If all that is standing in the way is financial, talk to him/her.
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