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MrIggy 08-23-2017 03:51 AM

Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
Giving the amount of videos that popped up lately on Youtube about people who wish to "dissilusion" or "take Aikido back", while inherently many of them being lousy representatives of Aikido themselves, it begs a logic question. Who the hell gives these people their Dan grades? I mean by which criteria does an Aikidoka get up to a 4. Dan black belt while still looking like a 4th or 3rd Kyu or at best a second kyu? Are the grades just for the outer form, instructor/student relations or what exactly and how does this actually happen? I mean some badass Japanese instructor teaches and grades a badass western instructor and yet many of the students of that badass western instructor turn out to be ousy examples of not just Aikido but in general of martial principles. They say "the knowledge gets distorted", but what actually causes it? Money chasing, rank chasing, politics a combination of all? I mean I just can't get my heard around the fact that somebody would give undeserved credentials to somebody, on an official level, and that way give them false confidence about their abilities and in general cause damage to the community of the martial art in question.

shuckser 08-23-2017 04:19 AM

Re: Criterium for Dan evaluation
 
Let's just bring the movie "The Running Man" to life.

If you can escape the dojo without your head exploding, you get your grade.

MrIggy 08-23-2017 04:30 AM

Re: Criterium for Dan evaluation
 
Quote:

Conan Theobald wrote: (Post 351981)
Let's just bring the movie "The Running Man" to life.

If you can escape the dojo without your head exploding, you get your grade.

That would be a good start.

Riai Maori 08-23-2017 05:03 AM

Re: Criterium for Dan evaluation
 
Quote:

Igor Vojnović wrote: (Post 351980)
Who the hell gives these people their Dan grades?

Its not what you know, but who you know.;) Sadly Aikido is littered with poor performing Yudansha.

lbb 08-23-2017 11:10 AM

Re: Criterium for Dan evaluation
 
The word you want is "criteria". A "criterium" is a type of bicycle race.

Your questions are unanswerable.

MrIggy 08-23-2017 04:13 PM

Re: Criterium for Dan evaluation
 
Quote:

Mary Malmros wrote: (Post 351991)
The word you want is "criteria". A "criterium" is a type of bicycle race.

Yeah, I realized that too late. I was in a hurry typing and got lost between languages.

Quote:

Your questions are unanswerable.
I disagree. Everybody can give a concrete answer, the whole problem seems to be that nobody cares anymore.

Mary Eastland 08-23-2017 07:04 PM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
Do you have a link so we can see yours?

nikyu62 08-23-2017 09:37 PM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
I would think that each association would have its own standards.

MrIggy 08-24-2017 02:17 AM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
Quote:

Mary Eastland wrote: (Post 351995)
Do you have a link so we can see yours?

No, unfortunately.

MrIggy 08-24-2017 02:41 AM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
Quote:

Steven Shimanek wrote: (Post 351997)
I would think that each association would have its own standards.

I think that would be one of the core problems. Anybody can do almost anything and claim legitimacy of their standards.

nikyu62 08-24-2017 02:58 AM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
Quote:

Igor Vojnović wrote: (Post 352002)
I think that would be one of the core problems. Anybody can do almost anything and claim legitimacy of their standards.

And what would you propose to correct this state of affairs? It does not seem to be a recent phenomena; Youtube just makes it more obvious and readily viewed.:cool:

lbb 08-24-2017 07:04 AM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
Quote:

Steven Shimanek wrote: (Post 352003)
And what would you propose to correct this state of affairs? It does not seem to be a recent phenomena; Youtube just makes it more obvious and readily viewed.:cool:

Why does it need to be corrected? What useful purpose would be served?

Mary Eastland 08-24-2017 07:45 AM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
So I just checked out videos from all the posters on this thread except Mary's because I am familiar with that style.

My questions to you all is: what are you doing at your dojo that makes you better than what you see on the internet?
And have you tested for 1st dan yet?

It is easy to to disparage something on the internet. Do you think you can do better?

nikyu62 08-24-2017 08:27 AM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
My question was aimed at the OP. To the last poster.....define "better". I make no claims; I only attempt to pass on to others what has been passed to me. Not sure what rank has to do with that. The videos that are questionable in my mind are those that try to have contests against other arts, as that is not in accordance with the focus of Aikido. I did not start the thread, nor am I trying to change what others do; please refer back to the OP.

robin_jet_alt 08-24-2017 06:38 PM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
Quote:

Mary Eastland wrote: (Post 352006)
So I just checked out videos from all the posters on this thread except Mary's because I am familiar with that style.

My questions to you all is: what are you doing at your dojo that makes you better than what you see on the internet?
And have you tested for 1st dan yet?

It is easy to to disparage something on the internet. Do you think you can do better?

I was wondering what footage you had found of me, and then I realised that I hadn't commented yet. Oops.

nikyu62 08-25-2017 01:24 AM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
Quote:

Robin Boyd wrote: (Post 352012)
I was wondering what footage you had found of me, and then I realised that I hadn't commented yet. Oops.

:D

MRoh 08-25-2017 03:26 AM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
Quote:

Igor Vojnović wrote: (Post 351994)
the whole problem seems to be that nobody cares anymore.

You can care only for yourself.
If you think what you do is better, or your standards are higher, train hard, start teaching and bring your students to a high level, than everyobdy can compare.

JJF 08-25-2017 05:29 AM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
Quote:

Igor Vojnović wrote: (Post 351980)
(snip) Who the hell gives these people their Dan grades? I mean by which criteria does an Aikidoka get up to a 4. Dan black belt while still looking like a 4th or 3rd Kyu or at best a second kyu? (snip)

Hi Igor

I have a counter question: At what level do you gain the right to judge who are doing good aikido and who are doing something that is rubbish?

I am also not a big fan of people trying to claim that they know how aikido should be. The notion that there is only one 'true' interpretation is narrowminded at best. Any such blowhard who claims that most of those with higher ranks are wrong is putting himself in a dangerous position. We have the '1st kyu sensei', the 'shodan master' and the 'sandan shihan'.. we see them very often. And as we get better we may also realize that we ourselves may occasionally make the same mistake. Then we have a really interesting battle at our hands :)

So it is a well known problem. With the internet they have gained a channel through which they can expose their fallacies. So it may become more and more frequent in the future.

But i guess you question is who gave these people their grades. Based on your questions I take it you are not above 4th dan yourself, because if you where you would likely not ask the question. After a few decades in Aikido most of us get to accept the shortcommings of any organization within budo as something unavoidable.

Also there may be very different views on what the purpose of our training is. I took at look at the videos from your dojo. There are some nice break falling. Really good looking and relaxed. On the other hand I also se aspects I really don't like. for example atemi application that would be thought of as completely wrong in the style of aikido i practice.

My point is that we all have different things we emphasize so there will never be any fixed set up criteria upon which dan-grades are handed out. Also it is often also a decision based on an individual evaluation.

And now.. go watch some episodes of 'enter the dojo'. It points out very neatly what lies behind such overinflated egos.

Have a great weekend!

MrIggy 08-25-2017 06:17 PM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
Quote:

Steven Shimanek wrote: (Post 352003)
And what would you propose to correct this state of affairs? It does not seem to be a recent phenomena; Youtube just makes it more obvious and readily viewed.:cool:

Yeah, honestly I was surprised by it. When I remember starting in Aikido and doing seminars with people from other dojo's, above the rank of 3. Kyu they were all very skilled. Many of them came to Aikido from other martial arts but the thing was that you couldn't notice the difference between the ones that did and the ones that didn't. Those dojo's placed martial integrity above everything. Then when people from certain other dojo's started attending I came to wonder what the hell were they doing. It's like none of them was ever in an actual fight in their life let alone had a sparring session. The worst part is those dojo's are increasing.

As for what to do, there are several things the can be done. For instance the dojo's that don't put emphasize on martial integrity should be reevaluated as associate dojo's not teaching the martial art of Aikido rather a spiritual/philosophical standpoint based on the teachings of Aikido. Those dojo's which officially do take in account martial integrity are to be tested to which degree they actually do it. As for how to do the testing, if anybody is really thinking about this, it's simple. If you go in the dojo and take out the head instructor or his most representative pupil then they have to change something about their approach to martial integrity. If they take you out then you know they have a quality approach at least at some level, which can built upon if needed.. As for who the testers would be, again if anybody is really asking himself ths question, the answer would be basically almost anybody with experience and a certain level of proficiency in the world of martial arts. Hell, by today's standards an average thug can enter some Aikido dojo slap the head instructor and many of them, hopefully not most, wouldn't know how to react.

MrIggy 08-25-2017 07:13 PM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
Quote:

Jørgen Jakob Friis wrote: (Post 352015)
Hi Igor

I have a counter question: At what level do you gain the right to judge who are doing good aikido and who are doing something that is rubbish?

At the level were you can stand behind what you are saying. Meaning if I can go in an Aikido dojo and knock out the head instructor, without officially training in a stricking martial art or at least just hitting a heavy bag, I think the point is clear.

Quote:

I am also not a big fan of people trying to claim that they know how aikido should be. The notion that there is only one 'true' interpretation is narrowminded at best. Any such blowhard who claims that most of those with higher ranks are wrong is putting himself in a dangerous position. We have the '1st kyu sensei', the 'shodan master' and the 'sandan shihan'.. we see them very often. And as we get better we may also realize that we ourselves may occasionally make the same mistake. Then we have a really interesting battle at our hands :)
From their point of view they are right, the question is what is their actual point of view. Martial integrity or something else.

Quote:

But i guess you question is who gave these people their grades. Based on your questions I take it you are not above 4th dan yourself, because if you where you would likely not ask the question. After a few decades in Aikido most of us get to accept the shortcommings of any organization within budo as something unavoidable.
Shortcommings, sure, blatant disregard for the official representation of what something is supposed to be, hell no.

Quote:

Also there may be very different views on what the purpose of our training is. I took at look at the videos from your dojo. There are some nice break falling. Really good looking and relaxed. On the other hand I also se aspects I really don't like. for example atemi application that would be thought of as completely wrong in the style of aikido i practice.
The problem isn't if your purpose is different then mine, the problem is if you claim your purpose as mine and don't produce, hell, don't even actually try to produce what am I or others trying to produce. And yet you get a certificate of a level of proficiency high as the ones those trying to produce have, or worse higher.

As for different applications of atemi for instance, if the end result is the same the difference is not important. For instance a guy from a dojo's that my dojo hosted seminars with had an encounter with
several thugs, the end result was their neutralization. His dojo does some aspects different then mine, and some which would be completely wrong by some of our interpretations, did that have any effect on him, nope. Just like the fact that certain thing they would consider "wrong" with our principles worked for a kid from my dojo. The point here isn't the differences themselves it's the martial integrity those differences are trying to sustain. Them problem would be that even if the aspects/principles are valid certain people who claim to adopt and apply them for what they are don't do it and yet they possess an official rank in a level where it's basically mandatory to do it. Mandatory by at least common sense if nothing else.

Quote:

My point is that we all have different things we emphasize so there will never be any fixed set up criteria upon which dan-grades are handed out. Also it is often also a decision based on an individual evaluation.

And now.. go watch some episodes of 'enter the dojo'. It points out very neatly what lies behind such overinflated egos.

Have a great weekend!
Meaning subjective.

Thanks, you to.

MrIggy 08-25-2017 07:44 PM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
Quote:

Markus Rohde wrote: (Post 352014)
You can care only for yourself.
If you think what you do is better, or your standards are higher, train hard, start teaching and bring your students to a high level, than everyobdy can compare.

Although I don't agree with this I have to admit that it's getting to be true more and more day by day.

RonRagusa 08-26-2017 09:07 PM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
Quote:

Igor Vojnović wrote: (Post 352017)
As for how to do the testing, if anybody is really thinking about this, it's simple. If you go in the dojo and take out the head instructor or his most representative pupil then they have to change something about their approach to martial integrity.

Interesting. Let's ignore the possible legal consequences of your suggestion for the purpose of this discussion. You seem to be advocating assault as a means of testing what you call martial integrity. Does this testing entail you using whatever means necessary to "take out the head instructor or his most representative pupil"? If so then I suppose the head instructor is equally permitted to employ whatever methods he finds necessary to prevent you from assaulting him? No holds barred, no rules, yes ... no?

If you intend to employ a set of rules as to what is permitted and what is not then you aren't testing martial integrity, you're engaged in combat sport which isn't at all the same thing. If it's truly no holds barred then anything goes and you're no longer doing Aikido and therefore you're not testing the martial integrity of the instructor's Aikido.

The main problem with your thesis, as I see it, is that in order to make your attacks real (not realistic, real) you have to go in there with the intent to cause considerable injury to your opponent. Without that intent you're back to conducting a demonstration which isn't a real test of martial integrity. If you do harbor the intent to "take out" your opponent then you're setting up a self defense situation where your opponent can and should use all the means at his disposal to prevent you from hurting him.

So you'd be ok with him, say, wielding him a bokken or jo staff in order to defend himself? How about his eliciting help from his students to stop your assault? Suppose the instructor refuses to engage you and stands there while you go off on him about how lacking in martial integrity his Aikido is? Do you then launch an unprovoked attack in order to take him out and prove your point? How would that be a display of your martial integrity (integrity - the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness)?

The examples can be escalated to the point of absurdity, but it's not necessary in order to conclude that the martial integrity of anyone's Aikido can't be tested in a controlled environment. And in an uncontrolled environment the person being attacked is not required to limit himself to any single set of defensive tools.

Ueshiba Morihei weighed in on this issue: "As soon as you concern yourself with the 'good' and 'bad' of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with, and criticizing others weaken and defeat you." (emphasis added)

Quote:

Igor Vojnović wrote: (Post 352017)
Hell, by today's standards an average thug can enter some Aikido dojo slap the head instructor and many of them, hopefully not most, wouldn't know how to react.

And if the instructor simply ignores the slap and continues to calmly teach the class... what does that say or not say about the martial integrity of his Aikido?

Just to tie this issue back to the OP, martial integrity, whatever that really is, isn't necessarily a good criterion for the awarding of Dan ranks.

Ron

Avery Jenkins 08-27-2017 04:38 AM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
Ron brings up a good point. Generally, in self-defense situations, there are two types of conflict. One is monkey-mind conflict, and are usually of the the "my [insert noun here] is better than yours is" argument, which, if nobody involved shows some martial integrity, devolves into violence. Road rage and subway fights are basically the same thing. Monkey mind.

These fights are generally limited in duration and damage. After all, nobody *really* wants to hurt the other guy or gal, they're just defending their ego, seeking dominance in the same way two middle schoolers will mix it up.

There is a secondary type of violence, predatory violence. That is much more dangerous, harmful, and difficult to protect against, and the goals involved are utterly different. Unless you're trying to be a fantasy hero, your only goal in these situations should be to get yourself the hell out of Dodge.

I'm leaving out battlefield conflict, or LEO-level conflict here, because for the most part, none of us are pros.

Two different types of conflict. Two different goals. When you start bouncing terms around like "martial integrity," you have to realize that such integrity is realized in completely different ways. For the most part, someone who has integrity is going to look at the monkey mind, smile, and let it go on its way, using the 1,000 different ways of disarming such conflict without getting physical about it.

Predatory conflict? Well, that's no holds barred, sonny, and as Ron pointed out, when Igor conflates the two, you end up with some real dissonance. Igor wants to resolve a "my martial art is better than yours" conflict with a predatory-style conflict, and that's just plain silly. It doesn't resolve a thing.

I would suggest that real "martial integrity" has nothing to do with demonstration of technique at all. It has everything to do with properly assessing the situation and using the appropriate tool to reach the correct goal. It may involve no technique, throw, pin at all, but it will utilize everything you've learned training in aikido. Or at least should have, if you were paying attention.

MrIggy 08-27-2017 11:46 AM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
Quote:

Ron Ragusa wrote: (Post 352022)
Interesting. Let's ignore the possible legal consequences of your suggestion for the purpose of this discussion. You seem to be advocating assault as a means of testing what you call martial integrity. Does this testing entail you using whatever means necessary to "take out the head instructor or his most representative pupil"? If so then I suppose the head instructor is equally permitted to employ whatever methods he finds necessary to prevent you from assaulting him? No holds barred, no rules, yes ... no?

Based on his experience and knowledge the instructor or pupil should make the decision of which is the best way to stop the assailant. Assault is what happens when somebody decides to attack you, how effective and successful you are at preventing the assault is what defines your martial integrity.

Quote:

If you intend to employ a set of rules as to what is permitted and what is not then you aren't testing martial integrity, you're engaged in combat sport which isn't at all the same thing.
No, it's not, but that's the thing you see. Many practitioners of combat sports have a better time adjusting to training for no holds barred situations then practitioners seemingly training in the martial arts. It should be in fact the other way around.

Quote:

If it's truly no holds barred then anything goes and you're no longer doing Aikido and therefore you're not testing the martial integrity of the instructor's Aikido.
Please riddle me this. If somebody attacks you with a baton of some sort and you execute an Aikido technique and stop his assault on you, how is that not Aikido used in a no holds barred situation? Especially how is that not Aikido?

Quote:

The main problem with your thesis, as I see it, is that in order to make your attacks real (not realistic, real) you have to go in there with the intent to cause considerable injury to your opponent. Without that intent you're back to conducting a demonstration which isn't a real test of martial integrity. If you do harbor the intent to "take out" your opponent then you're setting up a self defense situation where your opponent can and should use all the means at his disposal to prevent you from hurting him.
This isn't "my thesis", this is what actually happens in a situation when somebody attacks you and should be the main point of training in a martial art in the first place. Defending yourself against somebody who wishes to commit bodily harm to you is the main reason for the existence of martial arts in the first place, everything else is secondary. Being secondary however doesn't mean mutually exclusive. Meaning, if somebody wishes to train in a martial art for something else rather then martial efficiency, great, but as an instructor you don't put the secondary values above the primary value. If you do that, you disrespect all of the other students/practitioners who are there for the primary intent and that is to train in a martial art.

Quote:

So you'd be ok with him, say, wielding him a bokken or jo staff in order to defend himself? How about his eliciting help from his students to stop your assault? Suppose the instructor refuses to engage you and stands there while you go off on him about how lacking in martial integrity his Aikido is? Do you then launch an unprovoked attack in order to take him out and prove your point? How would that be a display of your martial integrity (integrity - the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness)?
Why not? Why do study the use of the bokken and jo if not to use them? Be it for principles or actual application, especially the jo. The first thing I was taught when being introduced with the jo is what type of common day things could be used in a similar way as the jo, a weapon. A broomstick handle, long pipe, stick, umbrella etc. You never know whether or not the assailant is gonna pull out a weapon or not so it's better to be armed because in that case you even the odds. Also if you are armed and he is not, you are in the better position to deescalate the situation, given of course that the assailant has enough common sense not to attack somebody who is armed. Even if he doesn't you still have the upper hand because you are trained on how to use the weapon.

Calling your students to help you is a reasonable act, the question is what happens if it's the end of training and they all left and the instructor is alone with the assailant. Could he use his phone to call them? How long would it take them to get to him?

If I am an attacker with the intent to assault somebody, with the attack itself I am proving my
martial integrity. If I manage to take out the instructor with my attack then I have actually proven my martial integrity and therefore being honest with myself about my capabilities. However it's not the attacker's martial integrity being questioned here. He is not the one officially (supposedly) teaching anybody a martial art. I don't have to come to his dojo to slap him, I can do it on the street or in the wilderness on a camping trip. The point is what is he going to do about it? I slap him and he does nothing? In most cases that tells me that he is afraid of defending himself, that he doesn't know what to do and that he doesn't wish to escalate the encounter so he can save face by "turning the other cheek". Maybe he does simply "turn the other cheek", ok, good for him I guess, he has his agenda. What if I turn and attack one of his students, the prime pupil for example, and they can't defend themselves although they would like to because they officially train in a martial art?! Will the instructor get of his high horse and help his student, or will he just stand by and let his student go through the same ordeal?! That would truly tell who is honest a about their martial integrity.

Quote:

The examples can be escalated to the point of absurdity, but it's not necessary in order to conclude that the martial integrity of anyone's Aikido can't be tested in a controlled environment. And in an uncontrolled environment the person being attacked is not required to limit himself to any single set of defensive tools.
Here is a little uncontrolled/controlled environment encounter that O'Sensei himself resolved in an interesting manner told to me:

Igor-san, I cannot present You the source right now, but I've heard that story in 1990-ties (where Internet was not developed yet so publicly), the content was more-less like that:
once one Japanese guy challenged UESHIBA Morihei for a fight, and UESHIBA has agreed. When that guy started to prepair his best stance for the fight, UESHIBA said "OK, attack me, I'm ready" and was just standing and looking on him. The guy said, "Please, prepair yourself for the fight, I cannot attack You because You're standing totally unprotected!" - but Ueshiba did nothing and had not changed his position. The guy asked again, "Please, don't stand like that, because it is actually too much dangerous for to be attacked", but Ueshiba did nothing again. Finally after the 3rd such a request, Ueshiba has kicked his balls and came away.


Quote:

Ueshiba Morihei weighed in on this issue: "As soon as you concern yourself with the 'good' and 'bad' of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with, and criticizing others weaken and defeat you." (emphasis added)
He also said:
" Move like a beam of light;
Fly like lightning,
Strike like thunder,
Whirl in circles around
A stable center."

Quote:

Just to tie this issue back to the OP, martial integrity, whatever that really is, isn't necessarily a good criterion for the awarding of Dan ranks.

Ron
Up to 4. Dan, yes it is.

MrIggy 08-27-2017 12:12 PM

Re: Criteria for Dan evaluation
 
Quote:

Avery Jenkins wrote: (Post 352027)
using the 1,000 different ways of disarming such conflict without getting physical about it.

Sure they will, until the other monkey gets physical. What then?

Quote:

Predatory conflict? Well, that's no holds barred, sonny, and as Ron pointed out, when Igor conflates the two, you end up with some real dissonance. Igor wants to resolve a "my martial art is better than yours" conflict with a predatory-style conflict, and that's just plain silly. It doesn't resolve a thing.
Oh for God's sake, this isn't "my martial art is better then yours", this is "how do you get a fricking high black belt Dan rank when you can't even use what you leaned to defend yourself against a slap". The attacker doesn't have to be a martial artist, he can be just some guy of the street interested in training in your art and decides to test you to see if it's actually worth it. You do know the stories of how people challenged O'Sensei's students in the Kobukan and how they were dealt with?

Quote:

I would suggest that real "martial integrity" has nothing to do with demonstration of technique at all. It has everything to do with properly assessing the situation and using the appropriate tool to reach the correct goal. It may involve no technique, throw, pin at all, but it will utilize everything you've learned training in aikido. Or at least should have, if you were paying attention.
Would a punch (tsuki, atemi) be considered Aikido?


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