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Nordo
08-23-2005, 12:52 PM
Hello all:

This goes to a simple question of etiquette, and as I have never had to consider this, I would not know; thank you to any for your thoughts.

I am beginning to teach Aikido in a facility owned and operated by a tae kwon do instructor, which also shares space with people from escrima, Cuong Nhu, judo, and a ju jitsu style created by one of the long time Cuong Nhu practitioners. Many of these people (in fact, as I understand it, most) cross-train in each other's art.

With the exception of one Aikido yudansha, none of these prospective students hold yudansha rank in Aikido. My background and lineage is very traditional, with yudansha wearing black obi and hakama, all others wearing white obi. My predisposition is that, regardless of rank in other arts, only yudansha wear black obi and hakama, and all others will wear white belt.

I do this to ensure an understanding that what is being taught is Aikido, pure and simple; Cuong Nhu, for example, apparently has elements of Aikido in its work, but it is not Aikido. And from what I have seen, there is a very loose training regimen throughout these many arts at this space that will not at all be the way I structure and run classes.

At the same time, I am sensitive to and honor the experience of these students, and do not wish to trample on or disrespect those of sincere heart who want to learn Aikido; for example, the aforementioned Cuong Nhu senior student is in his 60's, and created the ju jitsu style he did out of his "nearly 50 years in the arts."

Opinions? Wear the rank from other styles? Or not?

Thank you.

"Up in dare YOU PEE"
08-23-2005, 01:20 PM
First off, I would get some face cream for those with escrima, then I would let them wear their own uniform if they are visiting; but, if they will become your aikido student then by all means they wear white belt, etc...when the time comes (or, of course, plaid during hunting season).

Is there any etiquette re this, or do people just wear whatever ?

Bronson
08-23-2005, 02:08 PM
I also teach in a dojo that shares space between several arts where cross training often happens. All the arts operate as unique entities. We share space but not ranking structures, organizaitonal affiliations, etc. If a judo sandan comes into my class he comes in as any other beginner would. We recognize rank from other aikido styles but not other arts. If they have experience in other arts that translates well into aikido training they will progress through the ranks quickly.

I think it's important for people to understand that it's your class and your rules.

Bronson

Aiki LV
08-23-2005, 06:04 PM
If all arts are taught separately, then naturally if they have no prior rank or experience in "AIKIDO" they should wear white obi. It would be the same way if you took one of the other arts classes and had no prior experience. I for example, have a dan rank in aikido, but I recently started taking judo for fun. When I practice aikido I wear hakama and black belt, but when I practice judo I wear a white belt, because I recognize I have no experience in judo. It is a matter of them being humble enough to admit they are new to a particular art and thus would start like any other beginner.

Hanna B
08-24-2005, 01:50 AM
I don't think it is possible to boil this down to "etiquette". Etiquette varies in different lines of aikido; if you want someone to tell you what to do, IMO the only person you can ask is your teacher.

Having that said, my personal opinion is it is better if beginners in aikido wear the clothes of an aikido beginner even if they are yudansha in other arts. I have seen a 6th dan aikido practitioner wearing white belt for a new art. It shouldn't be a big deal. If it indeed is a big deal for someone, then chances that the person will have problems with the role of beginner student in another art IMO is big and the problem with the beginner outfit is just a small part of it.

Having that said - again - there are many ways of honouring people from other arts who have some ability when they come to an aikido class. If one truly feels honoured that someone comes and takes a class for little me, there is nothing wrong in saying so in front of the class. On the contrary, it will help the person in wanting to help the aikido teacher fulfinning his role.

dyffcult
08-24-2005, 02:11 AM
On the other side of the coin.....

I recently returned to actual aikido practice after an almost fifteen year absence.

I was ranked second kyu by my sensei, but in that dojo, all white belts lined up where they would...all white belts were the same. In techniques, white belt always offered to take ukemi to yudansha. If training with another white belt, we simply agreed as to who would go first. There was a subtle ranking of the kyus, but only if the ranks were highly disparate...

Based upon the etiquette taught by my first instructor, when I began at the new dojo, I believed that I should always move to the end of the line and always submit rank to all other white belts until the sensei at my new dojo chose to recognize my rank or assign me one of his own.

Certain students asked me my rank, and then offered me sempai position. Certain instructors did the same. However, given the fifteen year absence, I donít believe that my skills match my awarded kyu level. (Certainly donít match my ukemi level :-)

Personally, I believe that I should remain at the end of the line and offer the attack unless and until the sensei recognizes my existing rank, or asks me to train for another.

Unfortunately, I am new enough to the dojo not to have a clue as to the others ranks, and where I should line up to bow in or who goes first in a technique. Therefore, I always offer my wrist first and line up at the end of the line.

There tends to be a great deal of shuffeling in the kyu ranks at bow in :-) But I am learning :-)

So...if they are new to the art...they should wear white...if they are new to your aikido style, or have been absent from practice for a significant amount of time, they should receive permission to wear black.

Just my humble opinion....
Brenda

Mark Uttech
09-02-2005, 08:55 AM
O Sensei wore a white belt his whole life.

Yann Golanski
09-02-2005, 10:46 AM
The only reason I wear a white dogi is that it's well made and soak up sweat. I have to have a belt to tie it in which was chosen for me when I graded the last time -- yes, it's black. I am happy to train in jeans or whatever and have done so -- hint: don't wash red socks and dogi... *grins evilly*

However, "when in Rome do as the romans" is a good maxime. You teach, your rules whatever they are and whatever "tradition" you think they come from.

Camille Lore
09-02-2005, 12:17 PM
Just a bit from my view- I returned to Aikido after about a 15 year absence. I did Aikikai and now do a very different style. At first, I had a bit of a hard time being a white belt and doing techniques the way my new sensei was teaching them. However, I realized right away that I should respect my new sensei and do things the way he was teaching. Wearing a white belt was fine with me, because I was truly beginning again. I had not worked to earn any rank in that dojo yet. I respect my sensei, and respect whatever he thinks I should wear, etc. Even if I were a black belt in another art that was not taught during that class, I would wear a white belt. His sensei makes people change belts in the middle of class if they do a session in another art - my sensei does not though when we switch from one art to another. He teaches Aikido, Kempo and Jujutsu. Students wear their highest ranking belt (except for in Kempo since he primarily spends time teaching aikido and jujutsu.)
Sensei makes the rules in their class; that's how I feel. The students should respect that.

Dirk Hanss
09-04-2005, 11:41 AM
Hello all:

This goes to a simple question of etiquette, and as I have never had to consider this, I would not know; thank you to any for your thoughts.
(...)
My background and lineage is very traditional, with yudansha wearing black obi and hakama, all others wearing white obi. My predisposition is that, regardless of rank in other arts, only yudansha wear black obi and hakama, and all others will wear white belt.
(...)
Opinions? Wear the rank from other styles? Or not?

Thank you.

First comment.
If you are VERY traditional, you should allow all participants to wear hakama. As I was told O Sensei never told that only yudansha are allowed to wear hakama. Just the opposite: only in postwar times he accepted some mudansha not wearing hakama for cost reason. Before he did not accept participationg in class without hakama.

For your practice in your dojo, you might ask what the other arts do. In our dojo there are lots of belts of all colours as with testing the dojo is giving the new coloured belt. So even for visiting you can just take a white belt. On the other hand I think the idea of letting visitors wear, what they have - maybe you should introduce them as visitors (just to protect them from some bullies expecting too much of them, esp. in ukemi) - and ask ordinary perticipants and "frequent visitors" to dress as you prefer it from your students is a very good proposal.

When my sensei started to train karate, he never thought of attending the karate lessons in hakama ;) - nor with black belt. Now he is wearing his coloured belt in karate. The only problem for him is that he is always a minute late when karate lessons are following directly our aikido lessens- due to undressing hakama and changing belt. But that is accepted as good reason.

Regards Dirk

Tim Ruijs
09-07-2005, 06:14 AM
First comment.
If you are VERY traditional, you should allow all participants to wear hakama. As I was told O Sensei never told that only yudansha are allowed to wear hakama. Just the opposite: only in postwar times he accepted some mudansha not wearing hakama for cost reason. Before he did not accept participationg in class without hakama.

O Sensei would not even allow a visitor to access to the dojo without wearing a hakama! :hypno:

Postwar he himself did not allow for training without hakama. Problem was very few could afford the hakama and therefore many could not attend practice (and bring money to the dojo). Some of his oldest students suggested (reluctantly, afraid of being scolded) for O Sensei to allow training without hakama so pupils would come and food could be bought with the money they'd bring.

So, traditionally everyone should wear hakama (although the cost aspect still applies :( to beginners this very day). The blackbelt is something derived from the judo ranking system and originally did not exist in Aikido ;) A belt is just keep your pants up. Only when O Sensei wished Aikido to be promoted outside Japan this (i.e. ranking) became an issue :sorry: and confuses people to this very day :rolleyes:

Would I allow a newcomer to wear his ranking (yellow, blue, brown, black) held in other discipline(s)? no! :grr:
The first time I'd probably give him a spare white belt to wear. I am too very traditional in this respect :D
My dojo, my rules.

David Yap
09-12-2005, 05:01 AM
Hi all,

Once, there was a new student who came to class wearing a dogi with a TKD emblem silk-screened on its side. I was partnering him when the instructor walked over and told him to cover the emblem in the next classes. After class, I asked my instructor why he was offended by the emblem. He replied he wasn't but he was worried that the student's TKD instructor would be if he found out that his TKD student was wearing his TKD school emblem in an aikido class. Well, I did see a good point in his explanation.

Best training

David Y

PeterR
09-12-2005, 05:25 AM
The only reason I wear a white dogi is that it's well made and soak up sweat. I have to have a belt to tie it in which was chosen for me when I graded the last time -- yes, it's black. I am happy to train in jeans or whatever and have done so -- hint: don't wash red socks and dogi... *grins evilly*

However, "when in Rome do as the romans" is a good maxime. You teach, your rules whatever they are and whatever "tradition" you think they come from.
Well Yann I will say that we would allow you to wear red socks with your dogi at our dojo. Against tradition sure but wi have to find our mirth and merryment somewhere.

Hakama you will leave at home. :D

Yann Golanski
09-12-2005, 06:09 AM
Well Yann I will say that we would allow you to wear red socks with your dogi at our dojo. Against tradition sure but wi have to find our mirth and merryment somewhere.

Pink dogi... not so good. Bleach solved that one... then the dogi felt apart. Ah well.

Hakama you will leave at home. :D

Wonder why?....

Shame that I am not going to make it this September for the World Championships -- money was the stumbling block. Next time, in New York, I'll be there.

Peter Goldsbury
09-12-2005, 07:35 AM
Hello Yann,

When I last trained at Peter R's dojo in Himeji, I took my hakama as well, as a matter of course. I changed and put on the hakama, but then I took it off, despite Peter R's protestations. I would have been the only one training in a hakama and this seemed foolish in a Shodokan dojo.

The belt, however, is different and I would not expect non-Aikikai yudansha visitors to my dojo to wear a white belt. So if Peter R trains with me in my dojo, he wears his black belt.

I think the reason for this is that the belt has a different significance to the hakama. Of course, I am aware of the very basic Japanese view on the matter: the belt is to hold your pants up and the hakama is to cover up your underwear.

This last point about covering up underwear is very interesting and is probably worth a Ph.D thesis in comparative culture.

Here in Hiroshima, I live alone and, of course, wash my own clothes and hang them out to dry. Whatver goes in the machine comes out and is hung out appopriately, right in front of the house.

My Japanese neighbours do things quite differently. A long clothesline full of children's clothes is a sign of fertility and traditional family values, but my immediate neighbours NEVER hang adult underwear on clothelines in public view. My immediate neighbour always hangs such items in the ofuro (bath/shower roon inside the house) and the person next door has two clotheslines. Work clothes, shirts etc are hung out in front of the house, where anyone can see them. More 'private' garments are hung out on a different clothesline, hidden from public view.

In the aikido world, it is interesting that O Sensei accepted the postwar Aikikai rules about black belts and hakama. If he had not, there is no way that they would have been accepted generally. So the stories about a famous uchi-deshi being refused practice because he was not wearing a hakama should not be used as the basis of a general rule about the wearing of hakama.

Best regards

Kevin Leavitt
09-12-2005, 03:29 PM
I am all for tradition, but when it becomes the focus and gets in the way of good training, you must question it!

PeterR
09-12-2005, 07:58 PM
Shame that I am not going to make it this September for the World Championships -- money was the stumbling block. Next time, in New York, I'll be there.
Wont be there myself - money and time are also major reasons. I don't compete or judge and the really interesting people find their way to Honbu anyway.

and Peter G. you are expected for another visit sometime.

Yann Golanski
09-13-2005, 03:42 AM
Peter,

Yeah heading to Honbu is part of the plan as well. Money money money money is the stumbling block. BAH!