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justinmaceachern
01-24-2006, 06:26 AM
This is a question often asked of me. and i think that there should be an age limit on when you should get your black belt. For instance i know a 15 year old kid who has his black belt, but lacks leader ship in the calss. and has let his technique go sloppy.
I believe that if you take the responsibility of the rank then you must show leadership in the class and out of the class. I a rank under him should not have to be telling him to settle down in class, Which brings me to my main point. kids under the age of 18 should not be tested for their black belt. what do you guys think?

Yann Golanski
01-24-2006, 06:37 AM
Shodokan does not allow shodan or above to under 18s. In fact, you have to re-grade all the sylabus when you turn 18 -- sure, you generally get to 2/1 kyu on your first grading cause really you know most of it.

Remember that due to physionomy, under 16s should not use wrist locks. It can permanently damage said wrist.

justinmaceachern
01-24-2006, 06:51 AM
This true and what alot of people forget is that, these are overall children. ya see people tend to think oh they are young and healthy and can bounce right back. but i dont feel that is the case.
Just a nother example. iam curently ranked 3rd kyu. And i am 23 and have extensive backrounds in taekwando. How can i do techniques properly like irimi nage to a young child. I cant because they do not have enough strengh to protect thems elves with the fall.
but yet there are some teachers out there that will insist a higher ranked should be with a lower rank, like 1st kyu with a 6th kyu. how is the 1st kyu suppose to do technique.
Thank you for your time

Edwin Neal
01-24-2006, 07:11 AM
my personal opinion is that aikido should be taught to people no younger than 15 or 16 with possible exceptions if they show some level of maturity or have a sincere desire, so they are not likely to be at a shodan level before 18 or 19 (longer really!)... my exception is possibly an all kid class, the curriculum would not grade to black belt, just white belt with possible some promotion, maybe stripes or up to sankyu... so no problem

Zach Sarver
01-24-2006, 07:25 AM
The way the dojo that my dojo is a branch off of works is there is a kids class for ages 8-14. In the kids class you get belts and do little things, none of the more physically demanding wrist locks, throws, etc... Then when you turn 15 or 16 you get moved to the adult class where you start from 6th kyu. To test you have to first as your instructors permission and if he thinks your ready and you have pracitced for X amount of time you are allowed to test. Testing is held every 3 to 4 months and when you are at the main dojo the head sensei of the area is the one that grades you. To even get to black belt here takes a good amount of years. I have been training for a year and have only reached 5th kyu. Maybe I am just slow, but I would like to believe that I am moving along nicely :-p. If people in my dojo generally misbehave and don't put full effort into training, my sensei won't allow them to test.

Mato-san
01-24-2006, 07:26 AM
Touchy but I will go there.
I think as a higher ranked student, your sensei has placed a little faith in you to bring the lower ranks up through the system,(whatever your system may be). But really your sensei should not use you as a "tool" until you reach shodan, at least. "But" If you are placed with a weaker or lesser ranked student for a bit of kata, you should look at it as a god sent, not a burden. "Spred the love", look at that child, give that child some experience, give that child the uke or gental nage that that child needs.Bit of give and you shall get a bit, I think! But as far as belts given (or rank) your sensei gives a guy who is 16 a shodan, if he gets "belt head" and then sensei will hold him back! But if he is mature enough to handle it, others will take urami and press on with their life and give those little guys some aikido love! IMO

justinmaceachern
01-24-2006, 08:05 AM
thanks mathew, i agree with you in a sense. but if you are a 1st kyu
training for your shodan, dont you think it would be better to train with somone more your caliber. I also study gracie ju jitsu and my sensei Britt Knickerson wont even let you through him unless you are ofa senior rank. your right its goodfor senior ranks to get involeved from time to time with the younger ranks. but it also creats a gap for them. here they are training for shodan where none of the lower ranks will be involved.

cconstantine
01-24-2006, 10:19 AM
Remember that due to physionomy, under 16s should not use wrist locks. It can permanently damage said wrist.
...can you provide any references for this information? I'm always intrested in learning more physiology and kinesology.
-c

Bronson
01-24-2006, 11:27 AM
...can you provide any references for this information? I'm always intrested in learning more physiology and kinesology. -c

I got these with a Google search of "growth plate injuries". You could also try epiphyseal plate injuries, physis injuries, or physeal injury

http://www.emedicine.com/orthoped/topic627.htm

http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/926048658.html

http://www.niams.nih.gov/hi/topics/growth_plate/growth.htm

Bronson

crbateman
01-24-2006, 11:41 AM
IMHO, age is absolute, maturity is relative. Some organizations have age requirements, some do not. Much is the same with independent teachers. The best advice I could give is to ignore what others are, or are not, doing. It's not about a rank competition. If someone is given rank before he deserves it, it has been my experience that he will not be given the respect that goes with it until he deserves it. A belt only holds up your pants.

aikidodragon
01-24-2006, 11:47 AM
I do agree that a black belt should be a certain age. In the AWA the is an age requiement, but if you test befor the age of like 16 or 18 i don't remember exactly, you still can't wear a hokama.
I also believe that the uper ranks should work with the lower ranks. If the lower ranks only work with each other the ability to learn will be depleted, there is only some mutch that they can gain from working together. In my old judo school it was that way, if you wanted to work with a higher rank you had to practicly run them down because they thought we were not wirth the time. From my own training I have learned working with those lower then me helps my technique. In my jujitsu and my aikido school, it is said that you don't really start to understand the techniques until you have to try to teach them. I learn something new every time I have to teach a technique. I don't know about your style, but our black belt test is the colored belt requierments with a few extras added on. You must show that you understand the macanics of the techniques you are doing, and do them with kemei and good ty sobaki.
However I don't think a child under the age of 13 should even be allowed to think about testing for black belt.

justinmaceachern
01-24-2006, 12:29 PM
this coment is for sara. i agree that we as older ranks should be helping younger ranks. But what i am getting at is, someone who is going for shodan should be placed with someone of his or her stature, not a 6th or 7th kyu who cant fall. How does this help the 1st kyu. this just makes the 1st kyu softer when he goes for shodan. i like working with younger belts it is a lot of fun, and yes you do learn a lot from them but you also need to have someone who can both uke and nage. Thats all i am saying.
Plus when i open my own school one day i will not allow any one under the age of 12 even learn aikido. taekwando is a different story.

Trish Greene
01-24-2006, 12:59 PM
I think maturity has a lot to do with the childs ability to understand what it is that they are doing. Some kids are mature enough to be respectful in their practice, some are still caught in a "ranking game". I believe it is up to the Sensei though to gauge when someone is ready to test for the next rank.

My son and I train at the same dojo. He is 11 yo and has great respect for the art,for the Sensei and for the traditions surrounding training in a dojo on and off the mat. He gets the relationship between Uke and Nage and isn't a firecracker out there on the mat trying to show off how strong he is by "putting the hurt" on someone.

In November there was a rank test for 5th kyu( I was still a white belt beginer and didn't test until January). One of the younger boys( 11yo) tested and pasted the rank. For the next two months we watched him ordering the "lower ranking white belts" around, insisted on sitting in seiza as " his rank called for" and telling others "I am a yellow belt, I know more then you". I actually sat in his place once to see what he would do, he tried to squeeze in to the place between me and the next aikidoka until his father told him to take a spot in the back row. I typically sit in the back row, and still will regardless of what my "rank" is.

In turn though, this child was a great lesson in observation for the rest of us on etiquette. Don't get me wrong though, there were a few times when Sensei spoke with him about his attitude as well.

I am happy to say that the story has a decent ending. Now that the majority of the class is all on the same ranking, this child has been quieter and less demanding of respect.

So I guess my point is... it is a maturity issue with kids. It is unfair to put an age limit on teaching (accept for the growth plate issue) children when there are those out there that are very willing and respectful to learn.

Lyle Bogin
01-24-2006, 01:42 PM
If the kid can do all of the techniques, give 'em a belt.

Trish Greene
01-24-2006, 02:00 PM
If the kid can do all of the techniques, give 'em a belt.

But is it only about just learning the moves?

Amassus
01-24-2006, 02:36 PM
I have to agree with some of the folks here and say that a black belt should be of a certain age. The issues of safety and responsiblity can not be ignored.
As to what age? That is another issue altogether ;)

Mark Uttech
01-24-2006, 02:56 PM
Maturity is ranked way up there for something like a black belt. Leadership qualities run a close second. Technique is important, of course; but true Aikido goes beyond technique, my take on the 'beyond technique' is that Aikido is simply more than technique. Some farm kids are out there driving tractors and fixing them even at a tender age, but a regular driving license sticks with a uniform age. Maybe a bad analogy; maybe not. In gassho.

aikigirl10
01-24-2006, 04:13 PM
My opinion on this subject is (and i may get a lot of heat for this) age isnt really what should be looked at so much as just maturity.

In shaolin there is absolutely no age/maturity limit on when you can get your black belt. And thats of course not a good thing. As long as you know your material you can recieve it.

However, i have seen 12 yr old black belts who are very deserving of it, and grown adults that seem like they should've never been given it. Your age doesn't always go hand in hand with your maturity level. Just like rankings don't always go hand in hand with your skill level.

Not only this, but an even more important issue that i think alot of people are forgetting about is that... a black belt is not meant to be "yay i did it, im the best" A black belt only shows how far you've come through that martial art, and it should show that you have an exceptional understanding of it. I've heard several times from many martial artists that a black belt is only the beginning of your journey as a student. You should continue to learn long after you've reached 1st dan. If you don't then you are not committed to your martial art, whatever that may be , IMO.

And no, im not just saying this b/c im under 18. Trust me i'm sure i won't be getting a black belt in anything before im 18. Im saying this as my view from my experience in martial arts. Yes, there may be a few (even a lot) of kids out there that don't deserve a black belt but does that mean you should hold back the ones that do?

*Paige*

markwalsh
01-24-2006, 04:23 PM
What about an upper age limit :-)

Mark Uttech
01-24-2006, 04:27 PM
Basically, a black belt in aikido does not mean 'expert' but 'beginning student'. Before that, you are like guest who shows up inquiring about the path.

mathewjgano
01-24-2006, 04:56 PM
In my opinion, children cannot attain the same ability a black belt typically denotes an adult has. Regarding maturity, I've seen 10 year olds who were more mature than 30 year olds so I don't think that's an automatic issue. I've trained kids who were about 7 or 8 years old, but that was rare and he was initially limited by his ability to focus. Once he learned the basic routine, that 7 or 8 year old (I forget exactly how old he was) became the most mature student in the class. It depends upon the individual. I don't think you can set an age-limit and have it be 100% correct, but I think you can get fairly close. 18 seems like an ok age to me, if I had to pick one. Of course, now that I'm approaching 30, 18 year olds seem like children to me, though I swear I was WAY more mature than most of them when I was but 15 :D Then again, maybe that wasn't as correct as it felt like it was at the time.
Take care!
Matt
ps-I'd just like to add that ultimately it should all be based upon performance of the criteria. I do think attitude is a big part of an Aikido shodan and it's very rare that young adults demonstrate what I personally consider to be a truly mature attitude. I'd say one good marker of a healthy attitude can be summed up like this: if one is ever more concerned with getting a blackbelt than simply learning and practicing then I don't think that person is deserving of the title. Rank is superfluous to the training itself and that should be understood before one reaches the "first step" that is shodan...in my rookie opinion anyway.

RebeccaM
01-24-2006, 05:23 PM
Remember that due to physionomy, under 16s should not use wrist locks. It can permanently damage said wrist.

????
I started training when I was 12. My wrists are fine. So are my brother's.

Black belts should be handed out when the students are ready. At my dojo back in Seattle that meant we had to be training in the adult classes, which my brother and I both started doing as soon as we had the size and ukemi for it. There's also a junior black belt system in place at that dojo that was developed after I went away to college to accomodate a couple very young and talented girls who were too small to train at the adult level but too good to be left in the brown belt ranks (the kids got colored belts; when we moved into the adult ranks we had to take an adult kyu test and switch to the white ones - I was actually kinda proud the day I traded my brown belt in for a white one).

As far as a teeenage shodan losing focus after their test, I've seen adults do the same. This usually happens among those who just wanted the belt, and this attitude is under no circumstances limited to children.

PeterR
01-24-2006, 06:09 PM
All that means Rebecca was that yours wrists were taken care of by your dojo mates. Might have been the normal care taken for a beginner but care all the same.

Yann
A little incorrect. Shodokan has 12 year old black belts - but these are referred to as student grades. When they join adult class its right to the bottom but they can advance quite fast. There is at least one guy with Dan grade now who is not 17. There is some restriction to people joining the adult class with no Aikido experience before 17 or so but we have people as young as 12 in the adult class that are given permission based on how they perform in the children's classes. Every now and then an even younger child is allowed to join a single adult class.

Shodan for us really does indicate beginning level - not Mastery.

Kent Enfield
01-24-2006, 06:34 PM
According to the All Japan Kendo Federation, the minimum "age" for shodan (in kendo) is being a second year middle school student, so around 12 years old (and it's not uncommon for people to graduate college with yondan). Over here, in the Pacific Northwest Kendo Federation the minimum age for shodan is 14.

It all depends on what you think shodan is supposed to represent. Is it a modicum of skill in the basics, or is it the first "teaching rank"? Is it based entirely on technical skill, or is there something else required? How much training, on average, should a brand new shodan have? Twice a week for two and a half years, or five nights a week for seven?

Personally, I'm fine with teenagers having shodan, giving it out after only 2-3 years, and leaving kyu for kids. But all that matters is that what's expected for each rank, kyu or dan, is easily explained and consistant. To each their own.

Janet Rosen
01-24-2006, 07:57 PM
But what i am getting at is, someone who is going for shodan should be placed with someone of his or her stature, not a 6th or 7th kyu who cant fall. How does this help the 1st kyu.
There is a lot of value in working with beginners. Makes you really pay attention to small details because...hmm right off the top of my head:
1. you have to model both as nage AND as uke the correct form
2. you have to slow down which means you get to focus on your precision
3. you have to take care of them which also is of value
4. dealing with an uke who doesn't know what he is "supposed to do" is an invaluable lesson in where some holes in your footwork, movement, timing, "messages" you give your partner are.
I'm not advocating ONLY partnering w/ beginners--in every dojo I've been a member of, the expectation was that folks of all ranks would mix.

aikidoc
01-24-2006, 09:50 PM
I believe the aikikai minimum for shodan is 16.

GaiaM
01-24-2006, 10:06 PM
this coment is for sara. i agree that we as older ranks should be helping younger ranks. But what i am getting at is, someone who is going for shodan should be placed with someone of his or her stature, not a 6th or 7th kyu who cant fall. How does this help the 1st kyu. this just makes the 1st kyu softer when he goes for shodan. i like working with younger belts it is a lot of fun, and yes you do learn a lot from them but you also need to have someone who can both uke and nage. Thats all i am saying.

I agree with Janet - I think that the ability, patience and desire to work with students of all levels should not only be encouraged but EXPECTED, especially as one approaches the shodan level. If one is concerned about "going soft" before their test, I don't think they are ready for that rank. There is a lot of practice that goes into preparing for a blackbelt test, and of course it is going to be important to train with senior people to practice advanced and higher intensity techniques. However, finding time for this training is the testers responsibility - it does not mean they get to shirk in their class participation or avoid helping beginners.

As far as the age limit for shodan, I agree with folks who say that it is a matter of maturity and dedication rather than age. Yes, more adults are going to have the appropriate attitude and the dedication to stick with it to shodan level, but if a teenager gets there, more power to them. This is of course the sensei's responsibility to determine - yet another reason we value our teachers so much.

Edwin Neal
01-24-2006, 10:16 PM
as to practice with differing ranks... i LOVE working with rank beginner's their reactions are genuine, and with lower ranks your waza gets tweaked by slower more precise practice... I don't PREPARE for tests, i practice the same all the time... I chose as Uke for a test someone who is usually LARGER, STONGER, and WILLING to be treated a little roughly (not for the whole test!!!) so that I can really "PUT IT ON" and challenge myself... when i am uke for a test i tell the nage to not hold back, don't BREAK me, but a few bruises are okay... in my dojo we practice all ranks mixed and there is no advanced or beginners classes... just everyone together in all classes

Simbo
01-24-2006, 10:29 PM
This true and what alot of people forget is that, these are overall children. ya see people tend to think oh they are young and healthy and can bounce right back. but i dont feel that is the case.
Just a nother example. iam curently ranked 3rd kyu. And i am 23 and have extensive backrounds in taekwando. How can i do techniques properly like irimi nage to a young child. I cant because they do not have enough strengh to protect thems elves with the fall.
but yet there are some teachers out there that will insist a higher ranked should be with a lower rank, like 1st kyu with a 6th kyu. how is the 1st kyu suppose to do technique.
Thank you for your time


Ok, so I know this is a late reply, but it's too good of an opening to pass up (plus I've been way to serious tonight, so I'm throwing some jokes in to shake it up a bit).

So how does a 1K work with a younger 6K? Handachi of course!!!

And to sum it up in the immortal words of Cosmo Kramer "But Jerry, we're all at the same skill level"

And I'd love to add some serious stuff to the topic, but I'm too out of it right now and I'd probably end up just resorting back to those jokes. ciao

PeterR
01-24-2006, 11:14 PM
This thread has morphed a bit hasn't it?

I infinitely more prefer to train with someone who is my peer or greater in athleticism, skill, and yehaaa factor. I'll easily sacrifice athleticism for skill but that's about it. I do Aikido for primarily selfish reasons. Sorry is that not politically correct?

Sure I can still get benefit from lower ranked individuals but there comes a point where I don't. However, if I have any hope of having those who could help me most continue to put out, working with raw beginners is something I have to do. It's called payback.

On the other hand - I enjoy teaching and being an all round nice guy :D. But that is a different matter altogether (there is also a certain amount of understanding that one gains through explanation).

Edwin Neal
01-25-2006, 12:29 AM
Peter i disagree you never reach a point where training with juniors is of no benefit... you seem to suffer from an aiki disease that i see often... some aikidoka think they must train with the Best... i knew a guy who only wanted to work out with dans because he said they knew more and he could thus learn more from them... this is simply EGO... i learn alot about how to apply MY waza by being uke, i simply love to be uke, with less experienced people i often "feel" where their waza is weak and this helps me refine my own... many of the dans that i practice with note that my grasp of kaeshiwaza (counters/reversals) is very good, i relate this directly to practice with juniors... sure I have some prefered partners for really intense randori/sparring, but remember everyone was a beginner once (i still am) and if no one trained with juniors, or received no benefit from training with juniors, then how would anyone ever advance? ie how do you train with a higher rank if you're the highest ranked person in the dojo??? You sound like a nice guy... try not to become an aikisnob...

James Smithe
01-25-2006, 12:43 AM
I think it should be 16.

Edwin Neal
01-25-2006, 12:52 AM
so james you think Kids should be able to begin training at about 10 or 11 years old, because i figure about 5 years more or less to earn a rank of shodan... by the way where are you in texas as i will probably be visiting my brother in san antonio in the early spring perhaps you could refer me to some schools... thank you

Dirk Hanss
01-25-2006, 01:58 AM
Just my 2 cts:

I think 18 is a good age for a general rule for shodan requirement, but more as a rule of thumb.

While I do not think that most 18 year old are mature enough for receiving shodan, even if they are technically perfect, there could be a few younger girls and boys that are. So you better leave space for exceptions. Remind that shodan is not a teaching licence per se.

On the other hand it sounds a little bit strange, if you allow young peaople driving 300 hp vehicules right after a week-end seminar, if they wear guns without any education or test, but you do not allow them just to wear a black belt on the mat (outside they can wear whatever they want).

Dirk

RebeccaM
01-25-2006, 02:15 AM
You guys do realize that a shodan is more or less equivalent to a high school diploma, right? And all a high school diploma means is that you can (hopefully) read, write, and do some simple sums. You aren't an expert in anything. In essence, all you know is technique. And most of the people getting high school diplomas are 18 or younger...maybe we should raise the graduation age while we're at it. Do 18 year-olds really have the maturity to get jobs, sign legal contracts, vote, enlist, or go to college? ;) Thing is, maturity isn't something that comes with birthdays. It comes with experience. There's all kinds of things that can kick a teen-ager into adulthood before they hit some magic number of years.

I realize that the analogy for shodans works best with the American education system. I understand that in Europe you can get out of high school with some real qualifications. Unfortunately, the American system is the only system I'm really familiar with.

I suppose if you're going to set an age limit, 16 makes as much sense as anything. If you can drive when you're 16 you might as well be able to get a shodan as well.

And, for what it's worth, I find working with beginners rather challenging. They do the oddest things, both to their partners and themselves...

Yann Golanski
01-25-2006, 04:11 AM
...can you provide any references for this information? I'm always intrested in learning more physiology and kinesology.

Kind of. They were given at the BAB course for coaching. All references came from NSCPP. Look them up. Otherwise, I'd look at medical journals.

A lot of that was due to keeping kids safe in sport movement within the UK after some parents sued sport coaches because they made the kids do things that included the risk of injuries.

As I do not teach kids, I never looked more deeply into it. Although it seems reasonable. Of course, I think that you can do wrist locks if you are careful. How careful, I do not know. Again, I don't teach kids.

[QUOTE=Rebecca Montange]???? I started training when I was 12. My wrists are fine. So are my brother's. [\QUOTE]

Anecdotes are not evidence. Just because you are fine does not mean that everyone else is. I said that there was a risk of injuries -- use of can as a possibility not a certitude. See above.

Mark Freeman
01-25-2006, 05:50 AM
My own experience is this:

I started a kids class when I first ventured into teaching aikido. I thought that the minimum age should be 8 as I figured that by that age they should be able to last the 1 hour, attention span wise. I did take on 1 young lad who was 7 because he looked me straight in the eye and asked me if he could start, because he really wanted to do it. So on he came. He's still with me roughly 6 years later, and is now practicing happily with my adults group.
As for the age for 1st dan? Our Federation has a minimum age of 17, and a great grading system that allows for juniors to progress, through to youth, and finally to senior grading, with gradings taking place at regular intervals.
As for wrist damage, we just don't practice in a way that may cause damage. Our emphasis is on movement and co-ordination, and not using 'strength' to apply techniques. ( you've probably guessed I am from the Ki end of the aikido spectrum ).
One of my juniors, a young girl of almost 13, has been with me for about 4 years, has moved up to practice with the adults. She has no trouble dealing with the fully grown men, and many of them are totally surprised by how effortlessly she can perform her technique. I just smile, when I hear a loud bang as someone hits the mat down the end that she is practicing, as when I look it is inevitably some guy on the end of her 'aikido'.
Ages are thing, maturity is another, attitude another still, sometimes they come together sometimes they don't.

I recently read in our local paper of a 6 year old gaining a black belt in TKD. Now that may be a little young, don't you think?

Cheers,

Mark

batemanb
01-25-2006, 06:35 AM
Our emphasis is on movement and co-ordination, and not using 'strength' to apply techniques. ( you've probably guessed I am from the Ki end of the aikido spectrum ).


Hi Mark,

I'm not from the KI end of the spectrum, but that's how I teach too, that's what all Aikido should be like.

With regards black belts for kids, I don't think so. 17 or 18 is fine assuming that theyve been practicing for a while before hand. Our association too has a grading structure for juniors that pretty much makes it impossible for them to grade to black belt.

I started a junior class about 2 and a half years ago, my minimum age was originally 7, because the first student who joined it was then 7. All my original students bar 2 still train with me, but I have changed the beginning age to 9. this is because the age range is too diverse and I can't spread enough of myself around the class in an hour to benefit them all. If they're a little older, it's easier for me.

One of my original students is now 15, and she has just switched into my senior class. It's been an eye opener for her, but, a couple of weeks back she was practicing with three strapping chaps (one a visitor from Holland), 2 well over 6 feet tall, and she floored all three of them one after the other with fantastic tenchinage's, it was a pleasure to watch.

I agree with most here, maturity and age are not at all related.

rgds

Bryan

Mark Freeman
01-25-2006, 06:54 AM
One of my original students is now 15, and she has just switched into my senior class. It's been an eye opener for her, but, a couple of weeks back she was practicing with three strapping chaps (one a visitor from Holland), 2 well over 6 feet tall, and she floored all three of them one after the other with fantastic tenchinage's, it was a pleasure to watch.

Hi Bryan,

a pleasure to read too! Make's you feel proud doesn't it?

As for your quote "I'm not from the KI end of the spectrum, but that's how I teach too, that's what all Aikido should be like."

You and I may agree but I'm not sure everyone in aikido does!

Cheers

Mark

ajbarron
01-25-2006, 09:21 AM
" What about an upper age limit :-) " Mark Walsh

Don't go there my friend.................. Having started late in the game I was thinking that the minimum age for shodan should be about 54 - 55 !!!!!! ( Gee that's me; and my test is next month if knees, shoulders, hips and elbows willing) Not only that, but the other candidate is a spring chicken of about 35-36!!

Seriously; maturity and contribution to the dojo should be an important criteria for a shodan ranking.

In our dojo Sensei Inaba always tells us that 60% of any test evaluation, at any level is your dedication and consistency of practice. That doesn't mean you'll pass and I know that because I've had probationary passes with extra hours added and sometimes not tested even when I had all the hours required.

I quess it all boils down to what is a black belt. To me it means I've been recognized as a student who really is willing to continue to learn and develop in the art.

"I keep falling down, but I always keep getting up."

Mato-san
01-25-2006, 11:29 AM
Does rank matter? Does it matter, is your waza smooth ,do you feel relaxed during and after class, I love that feeling of being so relaxed and I dont need grog or drugs to do it! Aikido is so much,, it is hard to come here and say cheap words, sorry I can`t contribute!

Lyle Bogin
01-25-2006, 01:12 PM
"But is it only about just learning the moves?"

Yes. The only way to have testing be fair is to set forth criteria in terms of the performance of technique and length of study and abide by them. There can be exceptions for outrageous behavior, but beyond that we wander into dangerous territory.

PeterR
01-26-2006, 01:22 AM
Seems the conversation has morphed back to where it was before.

Still, me being me - I have to respond to the lecture.

Peter i disagree you never reach a point where training with juniors is of no benefit... you seem to suffer from an aiki disease that i see often... some aikidoka think they must train with the Best... i knew a guy who only wanted to work out with dans because he said they knew more and he could thus learn more from them... this is simply EGO... i learn alot about how to apply MY waza by being uke, i simply love to be uke, with less experienced people i often "feel" where their waza is weak and this helps me refine my own... many of the dans that i practice with note that my grasp of kaeshiwaza (counters/reversals) is very good, i relate this directly to practice with juniors... sure I have some prefered partners for really intense randori/sparring, but remember everyone was a beginner once (i still am) and if no one trained with juniors, or received no benefit from training with juniors, then how would anyone ever advance? ie how do you train with a higher rank if you're the highest ranked person in the dojo??? You sound like a nice guy... try not to become an aikisnob...

I really do think you mis-read the post Edwin. Having started two dojo from scratch and just by nature I tend to work alot with beginners - even at Honbu. So much that my own students have come up to me and told me to be more greedy.

I train beginners for one main reason and one secondary one. Primarily I need to train a cadre of competent training partners. Since people always leave I need to attract and train new members. If I lived closer to my teacher I'd scratch reason number 1. Secondarily I love the enthusiasm of brand new students and really enjoy helping them get their sea legs.

The question was about benefit and my answer remains the same.
The further they are below your skill level the lower the benefit to the point it approaches zero. This is not Aikisnob or ego - it is an observation based on my experience.

Some people like the unpredictable nature of beginners. I used to think the same until after a little while I find them totally predictable or at least their actions are not unique - scratch that reason. Beside unpredictable is what randori is all about.

Helping lower ranked students does help you understand your waza but again its the law of diminishing returns. The first few times you help someone with exam techniques that you've just past your understanding explodes. It really helps but very soon that particular benefit disappears.

Everyone in my dojo helps their kohei, its part of the price of getting their sempai's help. That in reality is the only true benefit.


********


Back to the conversation at hand. I figure if a person has 5 years of regular training he is due for a Shodan no matter what the age they started. If they move to an adult class and the curriculum is different or the demand higher than perhaps they need to give up the student grade for some kyu rank. Of course this is the Shodokan way - works pretty good if you ask me.

Edwin Neal
01-26-2006, 01:38 AM
Peter i still disagree, but i apologize, i did not intend a lecture, just making a point... i do not buy the "law of diminishing returns" thing... any practice with any one of any rank can give benefit or not... i have trained with shihan and gotten "little" return and vice versa... the return is dependent upon you (generally, not personally)...

back on topic the curriculum should be the same for all students, although some schools i have been to don't teach shihonage until brown belt or above, shiho nage was the first technique i was ever taught... there are no "advanced" techniques... you know more ways to apply waza with more experience... and i agree about 5 years is good for shodan, but that still leaves alot of ground to cover!!!

kohaku
01-26-2006, 03:19 AM
in my dojo we start kids classess at 4, this is not so much about aikido but about discipline and fitness, after they have done the "little dragon" syllabus they will move into a junior regime at the age of 8, here they start on a specific syllabus designed for children to which they are able to achieve a junior dan grade, we also provide a form of cadets for the older teenagers that aren't ready for adult classes, if any of these children attain junior shodan they will continue in their relevent age group classes wearing a black belt but not a hakama, until they are ready to join the adults, upon joining the adults they start a program which guides them through the adult syllabus giving them coloured stripes on their black belt for the relevant kyu grade achieved on the adult syllabus, then when ready will grade for adult dan grade, which has to be older as we still use live tanto for our dan grades. so in my opinion if you have the right syllabus in place there shouldn't be a question of age for certain tests.

as for the part of higher grades training with lower grades, i think you have to pretty up yourself to believe you can't learn anything from a low kyu grade, and perhaps you should looking at yourself and asking what you are doing training with this kind of view. if you open yourself to your aikido you will learn as much from training with 7th kyu as you will from 1st kyu. and surely a 1st kyu training for dan grade should need to learn the humble side of aikido and train with lower grades, rather than selfishly training for oneself rather than for the group. i feel that humility is an important lesson to be learnt by all.

Mark Freeman
01-26-2006, 04:43 AM
as for the part of higher grades training with lower grades, i think you have to pretty up yourself to believe you can't learn anything from a low kyu grade, and perhaps you should looking at yourself and asking what you are doing training with this kind of view. if you open yourself to your aikido you will learn as much from training with 7th kyu as you will from 1st kyu. and surely a 1st kyu training for dan grade should need to learn the humble side of aikido and train with lower grades, rather than selfishly training for oneself rather than for the group. i feel that humility is an important lesson to be learnt by all.

I'll second that opinion.

regards,

Mark

markwalsh
01-26-2006, 06:14 AM
Hi Andrew,

Completly agree - only joking before - feel I should make that clear before I get a good kicking :-)

Cheers,

Mark