PDA

View Full Version : there is no room for a pass into shodan


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


justinmaceachern
02-09-2006, 09:58 AM
I just wanted your guys opinions, so here is my question;
I you were a 1st kyu and had gone for a black belt test but failed, (because of an injury you were forced to quit even though you passed the physical) then later the next year hurt your self Before your retesting, should the instructor be able to give that a person a bi
just becase we all know he can do technique.

Jerry Miller
02-09-2006, 10:10 AM
I have seen people for whatever reason not make it on there first go around on a Dan test. The retest us usually only on the material not up to snuff. This is at the testers discretion of course. They can ask to see anything which caused one failure that I know of.

justinmaceachern
02-09-2006, 10:24 AM
I dissagree with you. if you failed, then you fail. you cant be given a bi just because your hurt. this person failed his test due to a pre exsisting injury. if it was bad enough to quit the test then he should have made a concience decision before to postpone the test. So now we should give him shodan because he has a nother injury. the injury he has prevents him from falling not technique. he seems to do technique fine enough. woldnt it make more sense to still test on nage and not ukemi. The instructor which i still respect says we could take the marks he would of had on hie preivious and apply it to his new test. Again his mark on his previous test is a FAIL.
So what is fair? I think he should be tested on some of the nauge. we all know he can fall and to get a pass on ukemi but still perform as the nauge is acceptible in my pinion.

Edwin Neal
02-09-2006, 12:23 PM
this is why testing should not be a pass/fail event... it should be potponed until the injury is healed..

Aristeia
02-09-2006, 12:46 PM
Testing is a tool for the sensei. And he may be using that tool for different purposes - to apply pressure, to see the technique of students he doesn't have contact with, even as a formal demo for students to show skills he knows they have - a ceremony if you like.
As it is a tool for the sensei, he can of course pass or fail for any reason he wants. I suspect he's using testing for a different purpose than you think. If he's happy the guy is a shodan, a shodan he is.

Aiki LV
02-09-2006, 01:27 PM
IMHO, if someone keeps repeatedly getting injured there is something wrong. Granted injuries happen, but if this happened to me on a regular basis I'd take a serious look at what I was doing and how I'm practicing. As far as the testing question goes it is up to the Sensei/s conducting the test.

Lyle Bogin
02-09-2006, 03:20 PM
Universities waive exams. Sensei types can do the same...

Mark Uttech
02-09-2006, 03:37 PM
Testing is generally on both, ukemi, and being nage. The two are what make aikido aikido.

Edwin Neal
02-09-2006, 05:15 PM
Mark that is very odd and not my experience at all... there is no 'ukemi' techniques on the testing criteria that i have seen for several dojos... do you have an uke? is usually the only question with any connection to ukemi...

Qatana
02-09-2006, 06:33 PM
It says right there on the testing requirements for the organisation my dojo belongs to: "ukemi appropriate for rank"
Sometimes this is an extended "test" lasting several weeks prior to the actual test, when sensei uses the specific candidates for specific ukemi. Sometimes we have to demonstrate for the testing panel.
However our organisation also allows for "adaptive" aikido for people with chronic injuries or disabilities.At least the dojo's I train at regularly.
And if my sensei or shihan decides to promote without testing, or repeatedly fail a candidate for whatever reason, it is their prerogative.Never seen it happen but I haven't been training very long, either.

raul rodrigo
02-09-2006, 07:05 PM
And if my sensei or shihan decides to promote without testing, or repeatedly fail a candidate for whatever reason, it is their prerogative.

I've seen it happen. My shihan promoted one of us to shodan without an exam. One of our guys, then ikkyu, spent six weeks with the shihan in Japan. Upon his leaving, he was told he was now shodan. A seventh dan can do what he wants, at least as far as ranking his students is concerned.


R

rtist
02-09-2006, 09:03 PM
If one is studying aikido to get a belt of whatever color, then they are studying aikido for the wrong reason. The belt ranks are merely a generalized yardstick of capability and even that varies widely.
Train to learn aikido. The rest will come.
As far as ukemi goes - if you can't demonstrate proper ukemi for a technique, then you do not know that technique very well at all.

Edwin Neal
02-09-2006, 09:12 PM
i may not understand what people are trying to say, but i have never had to demonstrate ukemi for a test... ikkyo nikkyo etc, but never ukemi... is that really something that you have to 'do' for your test???

rtist
02-09-2006, 09:29 PM
i may not understand what people are trying to say, but i have never had to demonstrate ukemi for a test... ikkyo nikkyo etc, but never ukemi... is that really something that you have to 'do' for your test???

Every time I have tested I have been asked at some point to take ukemi for a technique (usually one where I was just nage). I cannot speak for my sensei or the others observing, but I assume it was to show my understanding of the dynamics of the technique as a whole.

Edwin Neal
02-09-2006, 09:34 PM
i never have... just seems kind of different...

Mark Uttech
02-09-2006, 10:15 PM
Look at it this way, being uke is what you do in class half the time, so it is something to think about.

Edwin Neal
02-09-2006, 10:23 PM
nothing wrong with doing ukemi, but i don't really see the point of it being on a test like ikkyo or nikkyo... that being said i'm an uke slut i love being uke for someones test... and i realize that ukemi has a deep way of helping you refine you waza, but i think being asked to demonstrate a forward roll for a test is like asking them to spell aikido... so basic it needs no demonstration...

akiy
02-09-2006, 11:59 PM
Ukemi encompasses far more than falling skills. As such, I am still actively working very much on becoming a better uke.

When there are exams where I train, the people who are testing are expected to get up and take ukemi at some point during the evening for other examinees so that the person(s) conducting the exams can witness their ukemi skills. During the last round of exams, I gave some feedback on ukemi.

-- Jun

justinmaceachern
02-10-2006, 06:05 AM
couple of coments first. Please donot compair University exams with an Aikido testing. Thats just not right.
secondly if you are not required to ukemi in your testing i am sory to say ( i will probably get in trouble for this) you are in the wrong class. I started this thread because it realy bugs me to see people handed things. I had a test where i did not feel the instructor correctly tested me and didnt feel like i deserved the kyu. i had to go esle where to get the satisfaction i needed.

justinmaceachern
02-10-2006, 06:07 AM
Edwin the reason why ikkyo and nykkyo are so imortant is because in time you will realize that you can perform ikkyo and nykkyo from any situation. Further if you cant perform ukemi you wont achieve shodan, just be handed it.

Edwin Neal
02-10-2006, 06:51 AM
i agree with you Justin that some dojo's have woefully slack testing/ranking procedures... if you can't perform ukemi you won't ever test for even the lowest kyu... as i see ukemi as a sort of prerequisite... until you can "do" it, even at a basic level, you really can't start to study aikido... but by the time you are to be tested for shodan it should be something that you have demonstrated that you know, although like all things we continue to improve and find new applications for our ukemi... when asked to test for your english class the teacher doesn't test to see if you can read and write... that is simply understood...

Mark Uttech
02-10-2006, 10:48 AM
Has anyone ever heard that in some of the old traditional dojos the sensei taught by taking ukemi from his students? So he taught the students how to "take "ukemi and study by feeling how the techniques work.

Ron Tisdale
02-10-2006, 11:15 AM
Ukemi (by yourself and with a partner) is part of our testing at the Doshinkan. The syllabus posted at the Yoshinkan hombu website does not include ukemi, and I'm not sure what other schools do. At the Doshinkan the ukemi tested on during kyu ranks corresponds roughly with the ukemi required for the waza on the test.

Best,
Ron

makuchg
02-10-2006, 11:16 AM
Mark, There are pictures and some old 8mm video of O'Sensei taking ukemi in a children's class. Very impressive and very selfless.

akiy
02-10-2006, 11:43 AM
when asked to test for your english class the teacher doesn't test to see if you can read and write...
In the upper division English literarature courses I took while in college, I'd say that the question wasn't whether I could read and write but how I could read and write. A first grader can probably sight read the words that Blake wrote, but it takes far more than that to be able to explicate it.

The same applies to ukemi. In my experience, at least, taking ukemi from kyu ranked people is far different from taking ukemi from shihan. This and my thoughts that there is no difference between uke and nage keep me working on my ukemi abilities, day after day and year after year. And, once again, by ukemi, I am referring to far more than just the falling skills (which I would say comprises perhaps 10% of what I consider to be "ukemi").

Your mileage may vary.

-- Jun

Edwin Neal
02-10-2006, 12:09 PM
i agree it is a very under valued area of aikido in some dojo's, and it definately helps one refine other techniques... this is the primary reason i love taking ukemi for senior practitioners... you get to feel the technique and learn it that way as Mark noted...

justinmaceachern
02-10-2006, 12:20 PM
When i become a teacher. if you cannot perform ukemi diecently by 2nd kyu you simply will not pass. I dont care if your technique is better then mine, you just wont pass.

SmilingNage
02-10-2006, 01:44 PM
All my tests from 5 th to 2nd kyu were back to back, nage 1/2 the test, then 1/2 as uke. Though adding an ukemi part to testing would certainly raise the bar and make things very interesting.

IMO solid technique is good, but good ukemi gets you used as sensei's uke. Much more honor in that atleast in my eyes.

MaryKaye
02-10-2006, 03:15 PM
At USAF Winter Camp Yamada sensei decided (to the surprise of the people around me, who had seen previous tests with him) to ask the dan candidates to take ukemi from a high-ranked student. It looked like a pretty challenging test to me, since uke and nage didn't necessarily know each other and any technique was allowed.

My sensei, in Ki Society, has taken to throwing the candidate with a jo so that she can directly feel the responsiveness and lightness of their ukemi. It was one of the more difficult parts of my recent kyu test, especially when she ended it (having thrown me until I was breathless) with "Now demonstrate the breathing exercise."

I know that my ukemi have room for substantial improvement, and see no reason I shouldn't be tested on them all the way up into the dan ranks, assuming I get that far. If I could ever pass the ukemi standards Yamada sensei was asking for, I would be very pleased with myself.

Mary Kaye

Mark Uttech
02-10-2006, 03:50 PM
Greg, I have seen the photos and films of O Sensei taking ukemi from children. Very impressive about the meaning of aikido.

ikkitosennomusha
02-10-2006, 04:17 PM
Without question, if the person cannot do the test like everyone else and pass it, no, of course not, a black belt should not be awarded in any situation whether it be from an independant or an organizational committee.

Duarh
02-10-2006, 10:46 PM
When I was training in Latvia, every time I tested my partner was testing for the same rank, and we'd alternate, one doing technique, the other ukemi. The process was rather exhausting, but the instructor always made it clear your ukemi was being tested just as much as your technique. Now I train in the USAF WR, and every test I've taken/seen (not that many yet) ukemi was taken for the testee by a senior student. The latter approach certainly allows more freedom in focusing on technique rather than the stiffness/lack of falling ability of your partner, but I can see some of the advantages an instructor could see in the former approach. To put it crudely, when you do koshinage on a test, it will become clear if you know how to take a breakfall. In smaller dojo (and with higher kyu/dan grades) this may not be necessary, but in a large dojo with 20+ people testing for 6th kyu on the same day the head instructor may not be sufficiently familiar with each individual's ukemi skills to judge without explicit demonstration.

As far as passing a student for shodan w/o retesting goes. . .well, of course, it's the instructor's decision, but personally I think I'd feel bad about it if I was promoted in this way. I mean, your shodan test is a milestone you look forward to for a long time :). I can imagine circumstances in which a person's health might warrant this, but if it's a problem that would not take more than a year to recover from, waiting might be preferable, and more satisfying in the end.

Mark Freeman
02-11-2006, 06:42 AM
When i become a teacher. if you cannot perform ukemi diecently by 2nd kyu you simply will not pass. I dont care if your technique is better then mine, you just wont pass.

What about physical limitations? disability?
If my technique was better than yours, and I cannot (for instance)forward roll, for some limiting reason, you are going to hold my progress back, I will not be able to practice at the next level?
I would probably take my superior technique and practice elsewhere, thanks!

It's easy to see things in terms of black and white, but I'm sure that when you eventually do become a teacher / grading officer, I'm sure you will start to see many more subtle shades of grey. ;)

regards
Mark

kironin
02-11-2006, 07:43 AM
I started this thread because it realy bugs me to see people handed things. I had a test where i did not feel the instructor correctly tested me and didnt feel like i deserved the kyu. i had to go esle where to get the satisfaction i needed.

Then it should really bug you that all the senior most shihan never took any test. Their promotion was "just handed" to them. Your last two sentences indicate a real lack of understanding about testing. It's not about stroking your ego.

The better an instructor knows you and has worked with you the less he or she needs to see you do any formal kind of demonstration. The quality of practice preceeding and after a test is far more important than any test.

There probably should be a bylaw in every organization that states any student stuck in this immature mindset will not be allowed to test for shodan until they grow out of it.

jester
02-11-2006, 09:22 PM
I don't know about your school, but in mine, by the time your even considered for promotion, you have done the exact test many, many, many times.

The actual belt test is just a formality. The instructor knows what is required and it's his judgement call as to who deserves it. If someone has a physical problem, why should they be excluded from promotion if they deserve it?

If a Black Belt meant that you had to be able to fight using these techniques, then I think it would be harder to get and most people who have them now would not have them, but we all know this is obviously not the case.

You have to evaluate why someone is being promoted. I think the karate movies and hype from the 70's distorted what is is to be a Black Belt.

justinmaceachern
02-12-2006, 12:38 PM
Let me clarify something, i am not talking about people with disabilities. I am talking about someone who was healthy right up until shodan. he new there was a chance of getting hurt. so it should of been his responsibility to pospone the test. And by the way i am prety sure that i understand testing. I know it is up to the sensei, but what kind of a message are we sending to lower ranks when we just hand a belt to someone. And there is nothing wrong with my ego, your just missing the point i am trying to make here.

Aiki x
02-12-2006, 12:47 PM
Let the injury heal, get some physio and take the test again. Surely you want to earn your grade rather than be known as the guy who was given his Shodan without completing the exam.

Josh Reyer
02-12-2006, 01:30 PM
I know it is up to the sensei, but what kind of a message are we sending to lower ranks when we just hand a belt to someone.

Well, in your first post you said,

just becase we all know he can do technique.

If we all know he can do the technique, and the sensei knows he can do the technique, and the guy waited another year before retesting, then giving him the belt sends the message that ability is the most important part of the rank, not fortuitous timing with regards to injuries.

Think of it this way: let's say he passed the test and then got injured immediately afterwards. Would you take away the rank, simply because he was at that time no longer able to perform to shodan standards?

And I know this may sound crazy, but it's just shodan. Not that shodan's should be given lightly, but at the same time it shouldn't be built up as this tremendous thing. Shodan still means "beginning level", not "expert". The day when I might have my own dojo is a long, long way away, if it should ever come, but as long as we're talking about what we're going to do when we get our fantasy dojos, I'm of a mind to do away with ranks altogether. Or to make them purely optional (for ease with interacting with other dojo).

Edwin Neal
02-12-2006, 01:35 PM
good point Josh, it really rocks to go to some dojo or seminar in a white belt, and have someone explaining how to do the waza in excrutiating detail and then watch their face when you really nail it...

Amir Krause
02-13-2006, 06:24 AM
I have a much more simple question:

Why is the ranking process of another person of interest to you ?

I have a very demanding sensei. In one of our BB tests, a student told me he felt more pressure then in real life and death situations he has lived through (he was a soldier in very dangerous situations). I have seen sensei fail more then a single student on a test, including very talented students who were testing for high ranks (even Sandan).

This same Sensei has also given students Dan ranks without any specific test. And personally, after I have been included to some of the grading consultations after other tests. I don't think anyone could or should dispute his wisdom in this regard. Ranks were only awarded to students who either could not test for some reason, or students who were over-due.
All the students who were awarded ranks without tests had practiced on a regular basis with sensei for a long period before hand. They might not had a formal test, but sensei sure knew of their abilities and deficiencies, even without the formal test.

As someone wrote previously: The test is a tool for Sensei . Sensei can use it when Sensei thinks he should. You do not have any standing with this respect, and rightfully so, given your opinion and insistence that you know all the facts (just for example- the person you wrote about might be chronically ill and wish to keep that in secret).

Actually, one of the people I admire in our dojo, is an older practitioner. He started practicing late, yet, when I joined the dojo, he was already shodan. He then stopped practicing for several years. Shortly after he returned, he was very sick and was hospitalized for almost full year, when he recovered, he could hardly remember names of people and his movement coordination was so low, his walking looked awkward. Yet, he insisted and returned to practice, and has got back for his own previous level more or less. Donít you think a person who has made such an improvement, deserves recognition?

Contrary to the childish belief, rank promotion is based on progression and personality as much as on technical level. My Sensei has recently said he would not promote a student who has sufficient level but has not progressed since his last promotion.


Amir

justinmaceachern
02-13-2006, 08:21 AM
The reason i am concernd about a nother`s test is because he was in my class and the sensei asked the classes opinion. He hurt himself before the test. he should of known better then to take the test at that point. And it doesnt matter why he failed the test. the point is he failed. now weather he was hurt or for whatever reason he could not continue, means we should give him shodan. not right. mabey i just dont understand, i dont know. but think about it if you were in his shoes, would you rahter waite until you found out for sure from you doctor that you were going to be alright before doing the test. or would you rather just take the rank of shodan. Like i said he can do technique but is unable to do ukemi. so i thought he should do the technique part, at least. when you test someone into shodan you set an example fro the younger kyus, that is you have t earn a shoda not be given.

happysod
02-13-2006, 08:35 AM
The test is a tool for Sensei for a single dojo, yes I agree it can be just the instructors personal tool and thus is a subjective test for the instructor, to be changed ad hoc. However, if you're changing the criteria too often, you can expect discontent to occur as, whether you personally like it or not, people within a dojo will look at themselves in relation to their fellows and differences in gradings will be noticed.

If that dojo is part of a larger association, the instructor should meet some objective criteria which can be translated accurately across the association as a whole.

Derek Gaudet
02-13-2006, 09:19 AM
Justin,
From what I heard of the test from people who took part, after I left the dojo, "Mr. X" did not present himself well, his technique was below his usual abilities, he took a zero on all Aikiken and sword kata parts because of his lack of knowledge of these things, and the injury happened in the last 15 minutes. If he was going to pass, it would of already have shown. The fact that he quit with little time left, shows he was not willing to continue. Perhaps a simple, "I'll try to continue" would have been enough to end the test. Instaed he simply quit. He was told he failed and would be retested, now everyone was told he originally passed. Again it is the instructor's choice, but knowing "Mr.X", he never liked being given things such as this...

makuchg
02-13-2006, 02:00 PM
I think this whole post is an another example of people feeling entitled. Guess what, you don't get a say in how your Sensei promotes someone. That's life. Sensei has that discretion and if you don't like it, train somewhere else. If you have time to worry about such petty crap as someone else's test, you aren't focusing on your own training. I spent 5 years without testing before I took my first test. It wasn't that I couldn't, I was that I had other committments (mostly military) that prohibited me from testing. My first test was a combination of several kyu tests, one right after the other and Sensei expected me to perform the techniques in a manner befitting someone with 5 years of training. So my 5th kyu test standards were higher than someone with a few months training. He set the standard and I accepted it when I decided to test.

Now quit moaning about someone else's test and start training for your next one!

j0nharris
02-13-2006, 02:20 PM
i may not understand what people are trying to say, but i have never had to demonstrate ukemi for a test...

For us, the last of any yudansha test is ukemi - & not nice easy rolls!
30 falls for shodan, 40 for nidan, etc.
Keeping that in the back of your mind definitely helps us stay in shape; trying to get up off the mat after about 25 throws can be a little difficult. :D

Edwin Neal
02-13-2006, 06:14 PM
i tested once at the same time as a fellow student and we were alternately uke for each other, but we did not have to demonstrate ukemi, just provide it for each other... as i have done uke for some dan level tests i can say taking anywhere from 200 to 300 falls is tough, but do-able...

justinmaceachern
02-14-2006, 05:59 AM
Greg you totaly dont have a clue as t what i am talking about. it could be my fault for not clarafying exactly what i wanted to say. I started this topic as a discusion not moaning as you put it.But i cant seem to get my point across on this subject so i will leave this thread. Enjoy.

Mary Eastland
02-14-2006, 07:02 AM
[QUOTE=Edwin Neal]good point Josh, it really rocks to go to some dojo or seminar in a white belt, and have someone explaining how to do the waza in excrutiating detail and then watch their face when you really nail it...[/QUOTE

Interesting point.... Edwin...if someone visits our dojo I don't make assumptions just because of the belt they are wearing. I ask questions and then I watch how they move.

Then I remind them and our students to move slowly together because they are not yet aquainted in Aikido....folks are less likely to get hurt and hurt that way.
Mary

Edwin Neal
02-14-2006, 07:49 AM
sorry Mary if you misunderstood...my point was not about 'hurting' anyone but rather how ranks/belt color give very little info on the level of the practitioner... as alot of associations do not recognize ranks by others, so many times i have had to wear a white belt at classes or seminars... i remember one very helpful person who really explained shiho nage very well and was a little surprised when i performed to a level she did not expect... just a side question... how many other people actually carry an extra white belt in their gi bag just for such occasions?

Ron Tisdale
02-14-2006, 09:08 AM
I do. There are classes where until recently, even in my home dojo, I would put on a white belt.

Best,
Ron

Justin Gaar
02-14-2006, 10:11 AM
IMHO, i believe that mitigating circumstances should be taken into account when dealing with dan test. It's a matter of taking the feelings of the student into account. To be worthy of testing for dan rank, one must put alot of effort and dedication into his/her training for a very long time. I think it's cruel to be denied what you've worked for so long to achieve (really it's not about the belt, but then again it doesn't hurt to have a sense of accomplishment) simply because of an injury or a misunderstand of the material. None of us are perfect and even my sensei doesn't have a problem speaking of his own flaws before and after becoming yudansha. If one is injured one should be given another chance. It's as simple as that. If one does not understand the technique due to disorders like Non-verbal Learning Disorder (NLD) Which make it difficult to comprehend the material in verbal form then that should be accounted for. The sensei should be made aware of these disabilities from the beginning however.

Leon Aman
02-16-2006, 04:14 AM
I just wanted your guys opinions, so here is my question;
I you were a 1st kyu and had gone for a black belt test but failed, (because of an injury you were forced to quit even though you passed the physical) then later the next year hurt your self Before your retesting, should the instructor be able to give that a person a bi
just becase we all know he can do technique.

Hi Justin I understand your feeling. IMHO have patience, do not force yourself to do just what like you are doing before while your mental and your physical faculties doesn't fuse to collaborate. Time will come for your back and your confidence to fully recover. We only have one body that we should take care of while we are alive. What profit will you gain if you compel to do like the way you did before if your own body will suffer. There are many things you can possibly master while you can't yet normally do your ukemi perfectly, you can practice well your nagemi or meditation skill. For now just do what you think you can only do with caution, to be cautious to yourself doesn't mean to be thwarted to reach your goal. Matured thinker thinks everything is temporary the only permanent is change.

But If you think your back is backed into shape, you can try what you did before, gradually. It is normal to be worried sometimes especially if your weakness is involved, but I don't think it is helpful more than a self annihilation. So instead, just relax, do something you can only do. It is normally emphasized in aikido that one has to be always relaxed in mind and body as like as you normally breath.

Rank or belt . ( also in relation to your previous thread re there is no room) is just something furbishing our identity and can never be as surpassing as our body. So for now just be patient, see and observe yourself.

Good luck

Leon

justinmaceachern
02-16-2006, 06:16 AM
thanks leon

Leon Aman
02-16-2006, 07:44 PM
thanks leon

Justin my apologies for posting to a wrong thread that is supposed to be for your other thread (Ukemi's a little ruff).

David Yap
02-17-2006, 03:36 AM
Hi all,

Interesting posts. FWIW, it is only Shodan. Anyone passionate about about his/her MA should strive to improve his/her skill. I have seen some sub-standard tests at higher levels. Nidans who would not have any fingers left on their hands if the tanto were real blades and headless sandans walking about if real katana were used instead of bokken. :D

Best training

David Y

j0nharris
03-27-2006, 03:32 PM
Nidans who would not have any fingers left on their hands if the tanto were real blades and headless sandans walking about if real katana were used instead of bokken.
Back in my day, we had to do it with live blades, uphill, both ways, in the snow!
:D