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Steve Mullen
02-15-2005, 11:53 AM
Im busy gearing up for my 3rd Kyu in early March and a couple of my friends (in other martial arts) think that this is too fast since i have only been a student in the art for a year and a half.

personally i would like to think that it is because i have seemed to be able to grasp the basics of aikido reasonably quickly and my sensei think im ready to progress.

do you think some organisations grade people too fast so they can have classes of high grades to look good on paper?

do you think that there should be a time period between all grades, or should it just be when the student is ready.

would love to hear what you all think

justinc
02-15-2005, 12:08 PM
I would recommend you having a read of the various Aikido FAQs as well as more general martial arts FAQs. This is a topic that comes up frequently. Groups do not necessarily hold the same idea of what a particular rank means.

ruthmc
02-15-2005, 12:10 PM
Im busy gearing up for my 3rd Kyu in early March and a couple of my friends (in other martial arts) think that this is too fast since i have only been a student in the art for a year and a half.
:D It dosen't matter what your friends think, only what your sensei thinks :D

do you think some organisations grade people too fast so they can have classes of high grades to look good on paper?
It's not unheard of. The only way to find out for sure is to train with folk from lots of different organisations.

do you think that there should be a time period between all grades, or should it just be when the student is ready.
Grading is such a complex subject that I'm still thinking about it. Fortunately I don't have to grade anybody, just help other students to train for gradings, and I'm very happy with only that level of responsibility right now :)

Steve Mullen
02-15-2005, 12:16 PM
[QUOTE=Ruth McWilliam]:D It dosen't matter what your friends think, only what your sensei thinks :D


cheers ruth. thats what i thought and i know that my sensei loves me so thats all that matters :p

Jordan Steele
02-16-2005, 08:55 AM
I know some martial arts organizations grade too fast in order to keep students motivated and paying the fees but my experience with Aikido is that students are usually graded too slowly. In my dojo, we usually have two testing days per year and if sensei thinks you're ready then you test and vice versa. Tests don't really matter a whole lot in the kyu ranks of Aikido though. It's just memorization really, quality is a natural biproduct of repeating the same movements over and over again. I know students that have never practiced a martial art in their life and have made it to 1st kyu in just over a year. Some people just get it and it's senseis job to cultivate that.

Jack Simpson
02-16-2005, 05:00 PM
When I started in aikido I already held rank in a couple of other martial arts and had been through a few tests. I decided on my own to give myself a year between kyu ranks when I started testing in aikido to allow ample time for techniques and philosophies to sink in.

Also our practice was that the student asked the sensei to test and he would either ok it or not. There wasn't any pressure to test quickly, in fact, just the opposite. As the previous poster noted, aikido ranks tend to come slower in many cases.

Now that I have a dojo, as a general rule, I tell folks off the street, with no previous experience in anything, that it will be about a year before they are ready to take their first test. It might be a bit sooner if they've studied something similar to aikido, but there's still terminology to get comfortable with, etc.

Also, since we are a "satellite dojo", I want my students to be solid when they test at the main dojo, so there won't be any questions. In the end, the kyu ranks are giving you the curriculum that you need when you test for shodan and above. Take things too quickly in the beginning and it will be readily apparent when yudansha gradings come.

Jack :ai:

maikerus
02-16-2005, 06:42 PM
I think the point about it being up to your instructor is the best one.

I personally believe that there should be a minimum number of classes as well as a minimum amount of time (months/weeks/years) between gradings. Once both prerequisites are reached then a person should be eligible for the next grading.

My few yen...

--Michael

-

jss
02-16-2005, 06:51 PM
I graded relatively quickly for my dojo, 2nd kyu in four years, average of 6.5 hours mat time a week. (Although I must add that I practiced judo from age 6 to 14.) I have the feeling I deserve that 2nd kyu, but I also think I lack some maturity. The fact that I am the youngest person (23 if you want to know) of the higher kyus probably has something to do with that as well.
Nevertheless do I think that training several years results in a 'fuller' (better words are welcome) aikido than the same amount of training in a shorter time span (although that has other advantages).
So my advice would be that it's up to your teacher to decide if you deserve the grade and up to you to decide whether you'd be comfortable receiving it.

senseimike
02-16-2005, 07:24 PM
In my dojo, we have a set hourly requirement for testing. Once the hours have been reached, it's not a guarantee that you will be tested at that time. There are many other factors that are taken into account. The student is told when they should be getting ready for testing, and usually won't ask the instructors to test. In many cases, the instructors know the outcome of the test before it's performed due to their evaluation of the individual student during regular class time.

I have seen cases where students progress very quickly through the ranks. This is usually achieved by memorization of techniques that are quickly forgotten.

I can identify with Joep Schuurkes when he talks about being a young person and being of a senior rank. I was always one of the youngest in my Sensei's class and earned my shodan at age 20. It took me 7 years to achieve that rank and that made the shodan mean more to me because I felt like I had actually earned it. In my opinion, racing through the kyu ranks and achieving yudansha levels too quickly cheapens the rank.

stuartjvnorton
02-16-2005, 07:28 PM
The thing I find strange is how a lot of people say "the rank isn't important: the skill level is", yet wait forever and a day before each grade.
Why not give people a challenge; say "I expect you to grade next whenever" and give them the incentive to train hard and progress themselves?

bryce_montgomery
02-17-2005, 12:17 AM
3rd kyu in a year and a half?...That's not too far fetched...I mean, I have a buddy in a Korean martial art that started about a year and a couple months ago and he's already to Brown Belt Senior!...

That shows that not all arts hold ranks to the same requirements and time, but I believe that if your instructor is confident in your ability then you're ready...

Bryce

SeiserL
02-17-2005, 09:22 AM
IMHO, its up to your Sensei. If they say test, test. If they say pass, pass. If they say fail, fail. No matter what your rank or when you test, focus on the training.

ian
02-17-2005, 10:50 AM
Grade as soon as you can. Grading is a way to formalise the knowledge that you have learnt. People learn in different ways and at different speeds. Because you are a higher grade doesn't mean that you are better, but it does mean that your sensei feels you have competence in the techniques required to reach that grade. Long term training over years is the only way to drill the techniques into you completely, but that isn't what a grading is testing. Usually they are asking - can you do 'this' and 'this' technique to an adequate standard.

Compare someone who practices ikkyo alone for 1 year to someone who practices 10 -20 different techniques. Which one is better? - who knows?

So, go for it and keep grading as long as your sensei feels you should.

jonreading
02-17-2005, 01:02 PM
Grading is tough. There are many aspects to evaluate, and things to consider. Your instructor should have a grasp of your development and represents the primary source to evaluate your skill. Many factors affect testing, some are not visible to your fellow students...

To be sure, there are some dojo that pad their ranks. I visited a dojo that tests every 2 weeks. I find this to be excessive. Testing burdens students, instructors, and the dojo administration; it should be used prudently and timely.

ASU has time requirements to act as general guidelines in development. This gives me the ability to compare student particpation against a benchmark, but also gives me a rule to back up my decisions.

In general, your rank should adequately reflect your skill, spirit, and knowledge of aikido. It should not reflect poorly on you, your instructor, or your dojo.

bcole23
02-17-2005, 01:53 PM
My opinion:
I've seen dojos where the testing requirements are learning certain techniques and once you can do those techniques, you're ok to test.

I have gone to these dojos and uke'd for the resident udansha and found that, while their technique is technically sound, they are severly lacking in the "intangibles", and thus, their technique quickly falls apart. It's clear that they do not understand openings and the reasons why you do certain things. Not that I'm any expert in the matter though.

These intangibles are the things that training for a long time and with many different partners gives you. Learning the techniques and how they work from a purely mechanical point of view can take any person only a year or two. I feel that this would not qualify then for shodan however. The depth of Aikido comes from blending, timing, distance, etc. which in themselves are not techniques and are difficult to teach. They must be learned through practice practice and more practice. It has been said that there are innumberable techniques in Aikido and this is due to the dynamic aspect of the art.

This isn't to say that one cannot have an innate ability in this regard, but in my experience, it is an exception and not the norm.

Your sensei is the person who should decide whether or not you're ready to test, but you can also gauge where you think you are. I feel that senseis that were trained in more of a 'traditional' atmosphere tend to have the more in-depth ability to really gauge where people are. If you feel that you're going to quickly then talk to your sensei.

Note that I've also trained with people who've only been in 2 to 3 years that are really very good and have skill beyond their rank. The opposite holds true also.

Lyle Laizure
02-26-2005, 07:57 PM
do you think some organisations grade people too fast so they can have classes of high grades to look good on paper?
Yes.
do you think that there should be a time period between all grades, or should it just be when the student is ready.
Yes and no.

In the organization I belong to there is a minimum hour requirement for kyu ranks for testing and an hour/time in grade for yudansha testing. I think the hours and time in grade go to ensure that you are promoting quality. I think also that hours and time in grade can hold back quality as some students cannot attend class as often as others.

I wouldn't worry about it though. If your sensei is telling you to test then it is time to test.

Clayton Drescher
02-26-2005, 11:07 PM
I did 3rd kyu in about a year and a half, and I didnt feel ready for it at the time...but after the test I felt a alot better about my aikido. So, now as I'm becoming comfortable with my 3rd kyu self....I'll be testing for 2nd kyu in late March.

Part of the quick advancement, in my dojo at least, is that we've got lots of black belts, and lots of new people that joined in the past few months. So we've got most people at the high and low ends of the rank spectrum. I'm guessing my sensei is trying to advance of few of us more experienced whitebelts to fill out the middle so we can have a little better balance among the ranks. Also, I've been here a year and a half and other than my 3rd kyu test have not seen kyu-tests higher than 4th kyu. Maybe having the new people see a mid-level kyu test will help them see what to expect in the future.

Best,
CD

Nick Simpson
03-11-2005, 06:36 AM
Stop being such a sissy Steve. Just get up tommorrow like you dont care and kick some but what?

Peter Seth
03-11-2005, 07:00 AM
Good Luck everyone!
JUST DO IT!
Consolidate your efforts then re-learn them at your new level.
Say Hi to WR peeps for me.
Pete :)

Hardware
03-29-2005, 11:29 PM
I've been training for 17 months, 2-3 times a week. As a group, our dojo tested for our 5th kyu last fall (the others in the dojo had been training for a year before I started).

A few weeks ago Sensei told me that on our upcoming grading, I would test to "jump" a kyu.

This past Sunday, I did the 4th kyu grading with the other 5th kyu ranks. Later on in the testing I took ukemi for the 3rd kyu folks grading for 2nd kyu. After all the regularly scheduled testing was finished I was called onto the mat and two uke were designated. The biggest difference I found was that they came at me with pretty much full force and full speed (they were higher ranked kyu's).

I just found out that apparently I passed. I don't know if I've moved up too fast - I never asked for this - Sensei approached me. This was after consultation with the other senior sensei's in the association, many of whom have seen me train at one point or another.

The bottom line, trust your Sensei (assuming he's competent and reputable).

(I don't think I will ever be as nervous as I was for the two weeks leading up to this last grading - am I ever GLAD it's over)

Ki No Nagare
03-30-2005, 05:37 PM
Hmmm....may sound strange to a lot of you aikidoka's out there....

but in my dojo......we never take a test.....when you have progressed enough you will get the grade........

He is very picky about who goes up or not....because he wants that the level of his students have to be very high...

what are your opinions about this?

samurai_kenshin
03-30-2005, 07:00 PM
at my dojo my sensei has certain lengths of time before you can take your test. I'll be working on my shikyu test soon. Soon sensie will ask me if i'm ready. If I say no, I can have as much time as i need to get ready. If I say yes, I set up a time to test and she either passes or fails me. Generally people know when they're ready so sensei rarely fails anyone. Incidentally the most failed test is shikyu *trembles* (Only 33 training days left!)

siwilson
03-30-2005, 07:19 PM
Hmmm....may sound strange to a lot of you aikidoka's out there....

but in my dojo......we never take a test.....when you have progressed enough you will get the grade........

He is very picky about who goes up or not....because he wants that the level of his students have to be very high...

what are your opinions about this?

You asked so... :)

I think he should test you if he is picky!

AaronFrancher
03-31-2005, 12:35 AM
That is a very important question that has caused me many sleepless nights because of a few students. But I have come to the conclusion that if you believe you're ready and your instructor does as well, then you should be eligable to test for advancement. However, if there is doubt in either mind, I believe more one-on-one practice would be beneficial before reconsidering the advancement.

Tony Hudspith
03-31-2005, 10:53 AM
Hi
It took me 2.5 years to get to 1st Dan with Sensei John Emmerson 5th dan but that was because I was training 5 times a week at a high tempo. If you train once a month it's obvious you'll take longer. It's all about what you feel inside yourself, if you feel like you're rushing it don't grade if you don't then do!!!!! Hold your head up high and say you're doing Aikido because you want to not because of the grade you wear.
Listen to your Sensei, this is someone who has the experience to know what's good and what's not. And besides, you've already said you're Sensei loves you anyway.
Keep training hard and good luck for the future my friend.
Tony
:D

Ki No Nagare
03-31-2005, 12:22 PM
You asked so... :)

I think he should test you if he is picky!


Why would he test me if he knows I am worthy of my kyu?

And I can assure you...when you eventually get a new grade...you are more than worth it.....it may take a while longer than testing once a year....because we must also know things from 1th kyu when we are 5th kyu...

And he expects that when you are shodan.....you will have your own school.....so you must have enough skill and knowledge to do that....

It is not that I think testing isn't necessary or anything....I just never done it.....

Hardware
03-31-2005, 03:57 PM
My understanding is that in our association one has to be a sandan before they can run their own dojo. Shodan's can teach, but it's under the supervision, or auspices (at the very least) of a sandan.

As much as I dread testing in the period leading up to it, I think testing is important for grading. Yes it's stressful, but that's kind of the idea. The way it's done here, six or seven senior black belts from different dojos observe. This ensures the testing is impartial and not the opinion of one sensei thinking that one of his students is ready to be promoted. This maintains a consistent standard.

fatebass21
04-04-2005, 11:14 AM
If you feel that you are moving too fast why not tell your Sensei that you would like to devote more time and effort to learning the techniques that you feel you are lacking in.

Nick Simpson
04-05-2005, 10:49 AM
Some excellent points of view from everyone so far, especially nice to see everyone coming together even though many people on this thread have a completely different approach to and system of grading and training!

I would just like to add that Steve passed his grading with both style and great attitude! It was my priviledge to be uke for him during some of it and I didnt let him off easily (god, I love hitting my friends :P ) but he kept a cool head and pulled some beautiful techniques out of the bag. Although he's only been training a year and a half he really does possess skill and (most importantly) spirit beyond his years and time on the mat. Proud to have you has a kohai bud, you deserve it! Cant wait till your second kyu now...

Tim Gerrard
04-05-2005, 01:51 PM
Still think he graded too fast.....

:D :D :D

Nick Simpson
04-06-2005, 02:17 PM
Haha. Well, we need to keep the kids in line I spose :p Nice one, soon to be skirt wearer gerrard.

TearriaSmith
05-02-2005, 11:48 PM
In my dojo we test every other month for kyu levels, but once you reach the your first kyu(brown belt), you have wait 6 months to take your black test. To fast? To slow? What do you think?

PeterR
05-03-2005, 12:25 AM
In reality Kyu grades are nothing but points in a curriculum designed to get you to a level where you can begin to learn Aikido or [insert favorite martial art here]. The amount of technical aspects you have to accumulate during the Kyu grade doesn't really allow for much in the way of internalization and frankly speaking neither does the time span usually required.

We have an hourly minimum and grade every three months. The idea is that your average off the street student should be able to grade successfully if they have those requirements - especially at the lower kyu grades. If this is not the case then perhaps ones curriculum should be re-examined.

I encourage my students to test when they are able. If they don't pass (hasn't happened yet) they know what needs to be fixed over the course of the next three months or possibly the next couple of weeks if its minor. My students travel to Honbu for grading - I don't grade them.

Anat Amitay
05-03-2005, 01:32 AM
I know someone who learned in England and they graded once every three months. On the other hand, they practiced about 5 days a week.
We have a certain amount of classes needed before each grading but also the feeling of the student. I think it's less important in the first grades, and more imporant around 2nd and 1st kyu, since then the sensei will be making a fool of him/herself if their student is not truely ready for these gradings. I know that Dan grades have a minimum of years in between them, and I guess of the number of training hours too.
just my two cents
Anat

makuchg
05-03-2005, 05:46 AM
I have training in many different dojos and one thing is certain, Sensei will determine if you should test and what is applicable. I have seen dojo's I though were "belt happy" and promoted to help keep students interested and I've seen dojos that adhere to a lengthy training regiment. I think the important factor is competency. Time does not make a student competent, practice does. 6 months or 6 years, proficiency is measured in performance and Sensei is in the best position to judge. Don't second guess your instructor if he/she says you are ready.

aikidoc
05-03-2005, 10:08 AM
"In my dojo we test every other month for kyu levels, but once you reach the your first kyu(brown belt), you have wait 6 months to take your black test. To fast? To slow? What do you think?"

How many kyu levels do you have? Our first test is 6 months and then about every 6 months until you get to 2nd kyu. It spreads out after that and you spend about a year as 1st kyu. Roughly 3.5 to 4.5 years to shodan.

Kevin Kelly
05-04-2005, 03:01 PM
"In my dojo we test every other month for kyu levels, but once you reach the your first kyu(brown belt), you have wait 6 months to take your black test. To fast? To slow? What do you think?"

How many kyu levels do you have? Our first test is 6 months and then about every 6 months until you get to 2nd kyu. It spreads out after that and you spend about a year as 1st kyu. Roughly 3.5 to 4.5 years to shodan.

We basically start at "Beginner", then are basically graduated to 7th kyu. That is the first kyu level for adults. To be eligable to test for each kyu you have to have so many training days and of course know the material. I think for us, to go from 1st kyu to shodan, you need 200 training days, plus one year at 1st kyu. But also when testing for 2nd kyu and up in our dojo, you have to wait until sensei says you are ready to test. Basically you have to be invited to test at those levels. I just made 4th kyu. I now have to put in another 60 training days and of course know the material before I can test again. But I think it is different where ever you go.

MatthewJones
05-05-2005, 12:14 PM
I have a feeling that my dojo is on the slow side compared to some. We only test once a year, although sometimes people skip early belts, I went from 5th to 3rd. Then a year later I took my 2nd. I would imagine in a year I will take 1st. It then requires 400 days from Ikkyu to Shodan which will be at least two years at my rate. So about 6.5 to 7 years for Shodan.

I'll admit that this was a sour point for me when I first started... product of my culture I guess... but as I began to train more and began to look at martial training as a lifelong learning experience I began to care less. Now I'm thinking "When I'm seventy-five years old will I care how many years it took me to get a black-belt?" Hell no! In fact I'm not going to care if I ever get a black belt, just that I am always improving and having fun.

the slayer
05-20-2005, 02:09 PM
are grading is done by so many hours on the mat for 6th kyu this is the first grading for are dojo minimum 80 hours on mat after joining kaa 5th kyu minimum 100 hours practice since previous grading 4th kyu minimum 120 hours practice since previous grading 3rd kyu is 140 hours 2nd is 160 hours 1st kyu 250 hours then shodan 200 days practice min 1yr nidan 300 days min 2 yrs sandan 400 days min 2 yrs i am doing my 4th kyu this week on tue hopefully panicking a bit now. any other dojos do it this way also in the dojo only have white belts get black when shodan.

Kevin Kelly
05-24-2005, 02:02 PM
In our dojo, 3rd kyu and up wear hakama. I guess to designate who is sempai. Kyu levels are white belts but with a little strip of colored tape so you can kind of get an idea of where people are at in their training.

Stefan Stenudd
05-24-2005, 03:48 PM
In our dojo, 3rd kyu and up wear hakama. I guess to designate who is sempai.
Also in Sweden, most dojos have 3rd kyu as a requirement for hakama. Normally, that grade takes about two years to reach.

Regarding the word sempai, I understand it as something relative: I have a sempai, but can still be somebody else's sempai. It's a senior to junior thing: sempai and kohai. It's not titles.
It's the same with sensei, teacher. It's not something you call yourself, but others call you, when appropriate.

Mark Uttech
06-08-2005, 02:49 PM
time spent building a practice is pretty important.

Steven Tame
06-27-2005, 02:50 PM
In Hombu Dojo we have a set number of practice days before you can take each kyu grade. From starting you can take 5th kyu after 30 days and then the intervals get bigger 40,50,50,60 and then 70 for the shodan test. Students decide by themselves when they want to test. Kyu gradings are once a month and dan grades once every two months so technically you could become a Yudansha in just over 1 year if you are training every day.

As I side note I decided to grade for 2nd kyu this weekend coming.
Of course I already decided long before now and have been putting in the practice. I just declared my wish to test today. At that time I had a discussion with one of the Shihan's about my commitment to Aikido etc. He also explained that since 2nd kyu is the first of the more senior ranks he would like me to make Hombu my main dojo meaning that I shouldn't really mix gradings from different organisations but of course he didn't mind where I trained. That suits me anyway. Due to study I can only train at hombu for about 2-3 months a year which is when I intend to take my tests anyway.

I got my 3rd kyu after about 1 year. Most of the sensei's seem confident in my ability although they don't actually suggest testing. There are lots of Yudansha here anyway so I usually ask one of them whether they think I can pass the next test or not.

Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes after the weekend.

Nick Simpson
06-27-2005, 05:26 PM
Edit: I swear there were two posts about what constitues yudansha here a second ago??? :confused:

Nick Simpson
07-01-2005, 05:45 AM
Good luck this weekend Steven, tell us how it went!

Emma Willox
07-08-2005, 07:07 AM
I don't think that 3rd Kyu in a year and a half is to fast as long as your ready. I did something along those lines with the last style I trained in. Whareas with the style I'm in at the moment they only hold gradings once a year, which means you have plenty of time to prefect the movements and locks.

Terry Lane
07-28-2005, 11:48 AM
Well there is the other end of this situation where grading is at the discretion of the association and one is invited (or not ) to test at no particular interval. Took me 7.5 years to get to third kyu (6hrs training per week) and although in the year and a half since then I have been practicing 2nd kyu techniques, I have no indication that I'll be asked to grade again.
With the range of criteria that present themselves in response to this type of question, I agree with some of the previous posts that one should enjoy the day to day training. No matter whether you grade fast or slow, by time put in, or by ability or any orther yardstick, someone in another setting, dojo, or group may have the same rank name as you with a very different meaning attached.

Sonja2012
07-29-2005, 02:30 AM
On the one hand I believe that testing people too fast does not help them at all and will make things more difficult for the student later on. I know someone who often tests people way too early (IMNSHO), the students not even knowing all the entries for their techniques in the test (not because of nerves but because they simply didnīt know and he had to actually talk them through it during the test...). I think testing too fast places too much importance on belt colours and tests and makes people forget that they simply train to get better.

On the other hand, look whoīs talking :) . I tested pretty much every six months (minimum time between kyu tests required in our organisation, we start at 6th kyu) and am preparing for my shodan test now after the minimum time of 1 year of being 1st kyu. So I was pretty fast for our organisation and have come accross people who thought that I tested too fast. True, I sure was eager to test, but I also practiced a lot and I never asked to be tested. However, I always knew my techniques and my sensei is known for placing a lot of importance on principles and not giving belts away for free.

I feel that a lot of people say that the great thing about aikido is that everybody can take their time and do aikido/test in the speed that suits them, but at the same time that only seems to be true for the people who take long. People who test fast are often met with suspicion and possibly envy.

I think the issue of testing is a complex thing.
Also, getting ready for my shodan test, I wonder if we simply place too much importance on kyu testing. I donīt mean to belittle kyu grades (after all I am one myself), but the first test where one has to really show something (and in our organisation: usually the first test where one gets tested by a board of three people who probably have never met you - therefore making it more "objective" in a a way) is the test for shodan. If someone got tested too fast through the kyu levels, then that person would just have to wait longer to get to shodan. The shodan test kind of levels it out. And as shodan IMHO is the beginning of real learning, everything before that is maybe not so "important" (no offence meant). I dunno, havenīt thought this through and would like to hear what others think about this.

siwilson
07-29-2005, 05:24 AM
BTW, too fast may be 20 years if you train once every month. A year may be right if you train every day for 8 hours.

To turn this around a little, what do think is a good time to regrade to a Dan grade in a new school or style? It took me 18 months of 2 or 3 times a week, but I have heard of people doing it in 5 or 6 classes!!!!!!!!

:yuck:

Dazzler
07-29-2005, 07:04 AM
BTW, too fast may be 20 years if you train once every month. A year may be right if you train every day for 8 hours.

To turn this around a little, what do think is a good time to regrade to a Dan grade in a new school or style? It took me 18 months of 2 or 3 times a week, but I have heard of people doing it in 5 or 6 classes!!!!!!!!

:yuck:

Hi Si

I think you've answered your question with you're first statement.

It depends on the quality of the shodan and the extent of the variations.

We've just accepted someones shodan grading by regrading them after about 5 months. Training maybe 4 classes a week plus courses.

There are still somethings to work on but at shodan who is perfect...come to that who is perfect at any grade?

I get visitations from shodans from all sorts of places - currently I've got a yoshinkan hombu trained female shodan and an aussie takemusu shodan.

Both were very different in style to us...but both have enjoyed their practice and wear their existing black belts in the class.

To me its not a big deal what someone else has graded them at - Its just important that they can satisfy our grading criteria before we officially accept their grade.

On the other hand - I've had 'shodans' or higher come in that ended up being helped by beginners ...and students arrive that were given their dan grade as a goodbye present from previous instructors.

These might as well start again.

I'd expect and hope for similar treatment elsewhere. If my style matched then recognise my grade. If it doesn't then start me off again ....assuming I still want to train.

Cheers

D

siwilson
07-29-2005, 07:20 AM
Absolutely Daren

It is quality that counts and that requires plenty of training with a good teacher. Though some have looked for the "quick" way and as said, a cross style regrading after only 5 or 6 lessons is a, errr, surprise.

Like Homer Simpson said - "Do you want the job don't right or do you want it done fast?"

:freaky:

Si

Avery Jenkins
07-29-2005, 07:50 AM
So about 6.5 to 7 years for Shodan.

I'll admit that this was a sour point for me when I first started... product of my culture I guess... but as I began to train more and began to look at martial training as a lifelong learning experience I began to care less. Now I'm thinking "When I'm seventy-five years old will I care how many years it took me to get a black-belt?" Hell no! In fact I'm not going to care if I ever get a black belt, just that I am always improving and having fun.

As the thus-far undisputed King of the Slow Mudansha, I have to throw in my own two cents. I passed 5th kyu on Jan. 12, 1991. I passed my 1st kyu about 6 months ago. Figuring that it will take me another 2-3 years to test for shodan, minus about 3 years off in the middle, that makes me about 15 years to shodan.

It's not so much that I am an Aikido Idiot, though that does no doubt play a factor. Because of family and career, I only get to the dojo a couple of times per week, and have lost some time due to various injuries.

I honestly sometimes get irritated with myself at the slow speed at which I have progressed. On the other hand, what's a belt, anyway? I train because I train, and aikido gives me something I have gotten nowhere else. If I were doing suwariwaza for the belt, I would have bailed years ago.

Right now, my only goal is that I would like to reach shodan before I turn 50 y.o., but it looks like it's going to be touch-and-go. Ah, well. Maybe I should just make sure that I make shodan before my hearing is so shot I can't hear Sensei busting my chops...

Sonja2012
07-29-2005, 10:21 AM
To turn this around a little, what do think is a good time to regrade to a Dan grade in a new school or style?

Our organisation accepts shodan up to sandan from most other organisations (at least the "big" ones such as aikikai, etc.) without them having to re-test/re-grade. So you had to re-test for shodan, then? Is that what is done in the majority of organisations?

Nick Simpson
07-29-2005, 02:48 PM
What seems to happen here is that current grade is recognised but it takes some time to be tested, for two reasons i spose: To make sure the new member is committed to the club as well as up to scratch. If they arent upto scratch then it takes longer to test for the next grade, obviously.

aikigirl10
07-29-2005, 03:34 PM
you guys are putting me to shame , i've been doing aikido for 7 years and i'm still 4th kyu

dyffcult
07-30-2005, 12:28 PM
When I first started aikido, I trained six days a week. Three days a week I went to both classes offered at night. If my sensei had offered a Sunday class, I would have gone to that as well. After three months in America, I traveled to Japan for three months as uchi deshi.

About the fifth week of my training in Japan, on a night of low energy when I would have rather crawled into my futon and gone to sleep, I was partnered with a fairly high ranked student who was known for his painful technique. (He was actually a very kind man.) He also always trained at the very front of the mat, directly under the watchful eye of Sensei. Knowing I was most likely going to be closely watched, I dredged up every ounce of energy and focus I could find to put into my training that night. (Strangely enough, given my earlier low state of energy, that night I went above and beyond anything I had ever done before.)

After about the third or fourth technique, Sensei called my American sensei over and asked about my rank. Patrick explained how long I had been training and informed him that I had never tested. Sensei commented that he liked to see women who were “strong” in aikido. (I think that was a reference to the intensity of my training that night.) Sensei watched me for a few more techniques and then called both Patrick and I over to speak with him. He informed me that I would be testing sometime in the future, but not what kyu level.

After talking it over with some of the other sempai, we decided that I would study as if for 1st kyu just in case Sensei called out certain techniques. So for three or four weeks I trained with my fellow deshi as often as they were able, going over every technique they could conceive. One morning, Sensei announced that instead of class, I would be tested. He then proceeded to call out various techniques which I then attempted to execute. I shook through the whole thing and thought I did miserably. In randori, it seemed that I could remember only one technique. :-) A few days later, he presented me with my second kyu certificate. I was both proud and humbled.

My situation was probably fairly unique. Sensei was able to observe me in formal classes two to three times a day, at seminars, and off the mat. I guess my point is that while time in the art and time on the mat are relevant factors, (IMHO) only your sensei can truly know whether you are ready to test and for what rank.


Brenda