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Derek Gaudet 12-06-2005 06:22 PM

What's your thoughts?
 
I'm preparing for my shodan. I have had my Ikkyu since August 23rd 2004 (Which isn't a big deal, that's about normal time, besides it's the journey that counts). I would have went late this year ( Septemberish by our dojo's requirements), but me and my instructor had differing views on the direction of the dojo.
Me and him were pretty close like family almost, my grandfather was his first Instructor in the MA's, so we talked more freely to each other then what should be in a dojo. I was his "personal" uke for the time the dojo had been open, and he always used to talk to whoever my partner was and say "well..your a lucky one tonight!" He always wanted the opinions of his senior ranks on big decisions for the dojo, and as soon as the opinions where opposite of his he kinda crossed them of the list, or as he put it, they ended up "Out of the loop".

The dojo was being converted from a full time Aikido Dojo to a full time Karate Dojo, and the karate was leaking in. A system offered there was cut out and replaced by more karate, Aikido's time on the mats was cut in two. Really just a turn in the opposite direction then we all expected. However, this time it was a mutual decision for me to leave the dojo, it was hard, but I am still practicing Aikido. I wasn't even angry until I received a harsh letter in the mail about me no longer being a member(which I knew so it didn't bug me), if I show up the police will be contacted (kinda harsh), all signed and witnessed by a professional witness, in the states, when I am in Canada mind you, saying I can't use him as a reference point of my training (which he is remaining anonymous, but what am I supposed to say I was struck by lightning and here we are?) and finally here's the kicker , removing any rank I hold. I think a simple get out and maybe "good luck in the future", would have been more then enough. One of my other instructors said rank can be earned, not given or taken, no one can remove the time and hard work you put in.
Well this whole thing is no big deal but kinda harsh for difference of opinions wouldn't ya say? If I were doing Drugs in the back or something, it's completely reasonable (Which I'm Drug free, so no worries there), But difference in opinion, it's just that an opinion, listen or don't, no one will see the same way 100% of the time, and we seen the same way about 99% of that time. . .
There are some from my dojo who still train with me on the weekends, one who was told if they have connections with me they are "Out of the Loop." Anyhow getting past all this, one of my other instructors is arranging for me to get tested by Kevin Blok Sensei and my former instructor got wind of this and told my Jujutsu instructor that he was getting in touch with Kevin Blok to more less recommend against my testing. The reason this bugs me is, before all this me and my instructor had the idea for me to open a Dojo in Saint John N.B., and I would like to pass on what I have been taught (Why else do we train so hard, but to pass it on, we can't just let it die with us.), and actually was going to try and teach full time, and well I'll just come out and say it what better way to live my life then flopping people around on the mat (come on who wouldn't enjoy that ;) ). Aikido for me is much like it is for most of you I'm guessing, It's become more than an obsession, it's part of who we are. Well I guess what it boils down to is asking if anyone here has had a similar confrontation? I am not worried about being tested, it just kinda bugs me that even though I am no longer a member my former Sensei seems to want to see me fail. I know Blok Sensei is a Philosopher, so he Will see through whatever me or my instructor says and formulate his own opinion. I in no way have harsh feelings towards my former instructor, because it was a decision to benefit his martial arts. It's just odd that he talked to everyone and all I heard from him was written in a harsh letter, what a way to find out. This all happened maybe a month ago...can't really keep track of time with nowhere to be in the evenings. Well if ya have anything to contribute, I'm all ears.... :ai: :ki: :do:

Joe Bowen 12-06-2005 11:56 PM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Don't really have anything constructive to add, but damn, dude what did you do? Kill his dog? Such animosity is really rather surprising.

David Yap 12-07-2005 01:37 AM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Quote:

Joseph Bowen wrote:
snip...dude what did you do? Kill his dog? Such animosity is really rather surprising.

Hi Joe,

Surprising? Not at all, especially when MA is a livelihood to those affected. For some, MA is their sucess stories but others who didn't quite make it - regret and frustrations and loss of self-esteem.

Hi Derek,

My advice - train and enjoy the art. Train with Kevin Blok sensei and let him be the judge (of your character and skill). As for you wanting to be a full time instructor (at shodan) - my advice is DON'T.

Best training

David Y

justin 12-07-2005 01:54 AM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
"senior ranks on big decisions for the dojo, and as soon as the opinions where opposite of his he kinda crossed them of the list, or as he put it, they ended up "Out of the loop".

Before I got any further this bit confused me, what is the point of asking seniors there thoughts and then if you don't like them take them out of the loop, surely everyone can not agree all the time and for that they get taken out of the loop ?? If that was the case in my dojo I wouldn't want to be in the loop in the first place

Derek Gaudet 12-07-2005 04:05 AM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Quote:

Justin Thomas wrote:
"senior ranks on big decisions for the dojo, and as soon as the opinions where opposite of his he kinda crossed them of the list, or as he put it, they ended up "Out of the loop".

Before I got any further this bit confused me, what is the point of asking seniors there thoughts and then if you don't like them take them out of the loop, surely everyone can not agree all the time and for that they get taken out of the loop ?? If that was the case in my dojo I wouldn't want to be in the loop in the first place

Well, It has something to do with the fact that people get along better with those who agree with them. An easy way to have everyone agree with you is only talk to those who you are sure will not say anything counter productive. Just my thoughts...

Derek Gaudet 12-07-2005 09:52 AM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Quote:

David Yap wrote:
Hi Joe,

Surprising? Not at all, especially when MA is a livelihood to those affected. For some, MA is their success stories but others who didn't quite make it - regret and frustrations and loss of self-esteem.

Hi Derek,

My advice - train and enjoy the art. Train with Kevin Blok sensei and let him be the judge (of your character and skill). As for you wanting to be a full time instructor (at shodan) - my advice is DON'T.

Best training

David Y

I was trying to reply to you guys earlier but for some reason I couldn't make it to Aikiweb....site not found or some nonsense like that...
I agree completely, teaching at shodan full time wouldn't be wise. My former instructor opened up at Nidan (now yondan), and it was hard enough then. I had planned on moving up the ranks a bit first, but as you see, was cut short. I will still do this on my own somehow, probably traveling to get tested. That's how Sensei moved up the ranks after Nidan. Sensei also said we were the "last of our line". Which makes it all the more interesting :confused: , Our style in a mix between Aiki kai, and Nihon Goshin, so our curriculum is far off from what might be expected of me from Blok Sensei, or many others for that matter. We did little Jo work, and I know what the techniques from the aikikai general curriculum are, but don't recall doing most of them, at least the way they are done there.
The way my Jujutsu instructor is working out is for me to go to a big martial arts event next year with him to meet with or be tested by Blok Sensei, hopefully to him Aikido is Aikido, and me not knowing the Yoshinkan or Aikikai curriculum, the way it's meant to be, strongly won't effect this... otherwise I have a lot of work ahead of me ;) , but hey that's half the fun right?

As for teaching someday, luckily Me and a Jujutsu student are putting on a demonstration this year at the university of jujutsu and Aikido, so I'll get to see what kind of interest there is....

Derek Gaudet 12-07-2005 09:57 AM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Quote:

Joseph Bowen wrote:
Don't really have anything constructive to add, but damn, dude what did you do? Kill his dog? Such animosity is really rather surprising.

Didn't kill the dog...he's pretty old anyway.... Well depending on where ya come from it may or may not be surprising. It was surprising that I was the one to be given the boot to a lot of people, they all looked at me more less as the second hand man in a sense. And in some dojo you get the boot for looking at someone wrong (bit of an exaggeration but you get the point). But originally our dojo wasn't one of these. Ah well all we can do as martial artists, is keep training until an opportunity presents itself. Thanks for the words Guys....

AikiSean! 12-07-2005 08:36 PM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
I've only had the oppurtunity of meeting Blok Shiahn once so far since being in his organization. But you are 100% correct about him being a philosopher.Listening to him speak, and watching his aikido, you can tell. You will be tested fairly. I wish you much luck. Empty mind, empty heart. Don't take it with you into your testing, dont worry about what hes thinking. Do what you came to do.

Devon Natario 12-07-2005 11:07 PM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Derek,
I have seen this in the past before. I was taking a mix style called Isshin Shorin Go Ryu (Isshin Ryu, Shorin Ryu, and Goju Ryu Karate).

We had two Shodan, a 1st Kyu, and myself all doing this art and learning Jujitsu from one of the above Shodan.

The instructor found out and gave the Shodan the boot for teaching us Jujitsu. He told us we were not allowed to learn from both and we had to choose. He told us we could only serve one master.

The Jujitsu instructor said that he did not care what we did either way and that we could continue training at both, or with him only.

We all continued studying Jujitsu. I quit the Karate class because I did not want to disrespect him and I found him to be too arrogant and putting himself in the place of my only Master (God). The 1st Kyu stayed until he finished Shodan and then he told the truth, and got the boot. The Last Shodan continued to study and got his Nidan and then told the truth and got the boot.

The instructor gave them their promotions and certificates and said they were not allowed to use it as a reference for teaching. However, he was kind enough to get them promoted in Isshin Ryu Karate from another foundation and he had no say over that reference. So even though he refused them to use his own personal art, he did hook them up with something useful.

In my opinion, it would be easier for you to find an organization to test you. Here is a link to the PCMA
http://www.brooksmartialarts.com/
This is a good organization and they are fair. They understand things like this happen and they are there to support. They would not give it to you, and they would expect you to test for Shodan in person, but all of the board members have been doing MA forever, to include Lunsford Sensei who is an Advisor of the Aikido portion and holds 6th Dan. You also have Soke Hummerstone that is the head of Aiki Tora Ryu Aikido.
Each specific art is lined with general requirements. A person can add to, but not take away from in most cases.
Anyways, good luck Derek and I hope everything works out for you. Keep searching for support, someone will take you in and support you.

crbateman 12-08-2005 05:14 AM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
I won't offer much advice here, as I have only seen one side of the story, but I will say that Kevin Blok Sensei's reputation is impeccable, and if you need a place to train, you could not go wrong there. Good luck to you.

Peter Seth 12-08-2005 05:57 AM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Where is your former sensei's 'Aiki'! With an attitude that you described he needs to review his 'Big' aikido (the way you conduct your life). I wonder if this is reflected in his 'small' aikido (practice/physical skill/technique)? Treat this experience as 'bad or incorrect technique' and 'small spirit'. You are better off on your new path, look forward and enjoy.
Good luck for shodan.
Stay cool
Pete

Derek Gaudet 12-08-2005 09:37 AM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Quote:

Sean Constable wrote:
I've only had the oppurtunity of meeting Blok Shiahn once so far since being in his organization. But you are 100% correct about him being a philosopher.Listening to him speak, and watching his aikido, you can tell. You will be tested fairly. I wish you much luck. Empty mind, empty heart. Don't take it with you into your testing, dont worry about what hes thinking. Do what you came to do.

Thank you kindly Sean. I've been getting my old curriculum, copies of my certificates and a letter together. Hopefully I'll be sending these out soon. And Blok Shihan was recently promoted to Blok Kyoshi (8th dan) ;) (just a fun fact). Again Thank you.

Derek Gaudet 12-08-2005 09:47 AM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Quote:

Devon Natario wrote:
Derek,
I have seen this in the past before. I was taking a mix style called Isshin Shorin Go Ryu (Isshin Ryu, Shorin Ryu, and Goju Ryu Karate).

We had two Shodan, a 1st Kyu, and myself all doing this art and learning Jujitsu from one of the above Shodan.

The instructor found out and gave the Shodan the boot for teaching us Jujitsu. He told us we were not allowed to learn from both and we had to choose. He told us we could only serve one master.

The Jujitsu instructor said that he did not care what we did either way and that we could continue training at both, or with him only.

We all continued studying Jujitsu. I quit the Karate class because I did not want to disrespect him and I found him to be too arrogant and putting himself in the place of my only Master (God). The 1st Kyu stayed until he finished Shodan and then he told the truth, and got the boot. The Last Shodan continued to study and got his Nidan and then told the truth and got the boot.

The instructor gave them their promotions and certificates and said they were not allowed to use it as a reference for teaching. However, he was kind enough to get them promoted in Isshin Ryu Karate from another foundation and he had no say over that reference. So even though he refused them to use his own personal art, he did hook them up with something useful.

In my opinion, it would be easier for you to find an organization to test you. Here is a link to the PCMA
http://www.brooksmartialarts.com/
This is a good organization and they are fair. They understand things like this happen and they are there to support. They would not give it to you, and they would expect you to test for Shodan in person, but all of the board members have been doing MA forever, to include Lunsford Sensei who is an Advisor of the Aikido portion and holds 6th Dan. You also have Soke Hummerstone that is the head of Aiki Tora Ryu Aikido.
Each specific art is lined with general requirements. A person can add to, but not take away from in most cases.
Anyways, good luck Derek and I hope everything works out for you. Keep searching for support, someone will take you in and support you.

Thank you Devon. I will look into the link. I believe that the testing is going to be through an organization though. The WKF, as Blok Kyoshi is the head of Aikido in this organization.

Derek Gaudet 12-08-2005 09:58 AM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Completely understandable Clark, I also would hesitate in offering too much advise only hearing one side . As I've said I in no way think of my former Sensei in a bad way, his dojo was just not a path I could continue on. Regardless of the things that happened he is still the reason for me being at the level of understanding I'm at today. And Thank you.

Thanks Pete, I think his small Aiki just shifted to karate. At first Aikido was his core art, he did that a while, and now Karate is his core art. He always told me never to teach something my heart isn't entirely into, and what I seen from the last few classes I was there, he wasn't teaching, just reading names of techniques off a sheet, when someone had a question grabbing one of his seniors and saying work with him/her.... But as I've said his decision, his Dojo, his rules. I'm not gonna look at this as a bad experience...but just an experience in general... Thank you Pete.

Devon Natario 12-08-2005 10:16 AM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Quote:

Derek Gaudet wrote:
Thank you Devon. I will look into the link. I believe that the testing is going to be through an organization though. The WKF, as Blok Kyoshi is the head of Aikido in this organization.

No problem Derek, again good luck. In all honesty, the journey and skill means more than a certificate from any organization anyways.

Derek Gaudet 12-08-2005 10:26 AM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
True... When my Jujutsu instructor heard Sensei was removing me of rank all he said was " Ya know as part of the advacement ritual I always tell my students: when I put this belt on you, no one can remove it. No One can take away the hard work and training you've done to accomplish this." I myself always told the students in the dojo when they asked me "why aren't I going for a grading"...or "why can I throw everyone but that brown belt! I'm a green!" , that "the only thing a belt is good for is holding you gi shut and your pants up! It's the skill you have and the heart to back it up that counts. Never think a color or rank makes you that rank."

crbateman 12-08-2005 09:45 PM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Quote:

Derek Gaudet wrote:
"the only thing a belt is good for is holding you gi shut and your pants up!"

That's why the belt costs $5.00, while the knowledge costs so much more.

Jorge Garcia 12-09-2005 09:34 AM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
You wrote,"It's just odd that he talked to everyone and all I heard from him was written in a harsh letter, what a way to find out."
I have a story that will beat this one but in order to protect the guilty, I will defer telling it. As odd as it might seem, this is probably more common than you might think. Martial arts sometimes can attract some odd characters and not a few without some big personal, psychological, and mental problems. All it takes is one episode with a person like that to amaze you at who is out there. Just keep going and show the world who you really are. That's what I did.
Best wishes,

Derek Gaudet 12-09-2005 09:40 AM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Thanks for the advice Jorge, and yeah I guess it would be more common, it's kinda like firing someone you've know a long time... you just don't want to talk to them face to face before it happens.. Again thanks for the support.

Ron Tisdale 12-09-2005 11:16 AM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Hi Derek,

I feel for you...I myself have left a dojo due to changes in direction, and it can be very emotional and difficult for all involved. The best thing you can do in those situations is to keep a cool head, be polite, and when it's time to go...go.

As for your new training, Yoshinkan is a great organization, and I really like the training there. Personally, I would recommend just training in the Yoshinkan for a period of time and learning the requirements up to shodan. From what you've said of your experience, that should take about 1 to 2 years tops (maybe even less), and shouldn't be a major issue. But I think going through the curriculum is very important, especially in the Yoshinkan, especially if you want to teach. The Yoshinkan has a very specific teaching methodology and curriculum to promote the use of strong basic movements in waza, forward focus, and other things. This generally means that anywhere you go, you can be recognized for the skill that you have pretty easily. Skipping out on that would be a mistake, in my opinion.

I should also mention that Block Shihan is 6th dan in the Yoshinkan. His other ranking comes from the World Kobudo Federation. You can find out more about his training and teaching from his web page : http://www.chudokai.com/index.htm.

Best,
Ron

senshincenter 12-09-2005 02:19 PM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
I'm with Jorge here too - I'd have to say this is more common than most think and/or certainly expect. Without taking anything away from the downer that your story truly is - I mean, what a bummer/ I feel for you - my own story too kind of makes yours look like a fairytale. :-)

I think Ron's advice is sound on its own, but it becomes even more sound because it won't have you relying on the perceived good graces of another - another that just may not be as "developed" as you may imagine and/or developed toward seeing your issue in your own way and/or as even seeing your issue as relevant to their existence. In fact, in 20 plus years of training now, I've only seen it happen one time when the higher ranked authority figure came to the aid of some regular deshi. Most times it's just not big enough an issue for them to get involved and/or they don't see it as something they should get involved in. The Truth or one's capacity to understand the Truth, and one's commitment to the Truth (one's commitment to act in line with the Truth), are measured by separate values. Most big wigs survive as big wigs precisely because they have let a great many abuses of the Truth go "unnoticed." For better or for worse, this is federation life, and this is why I am now an independent. In my experience, independence allows more easily for one to combine a value for the Truth with a commitment to the Truth.

Good luck whatever you decide - I'm sorry you had to go through that. It truly is a shame. Hang in there.

Derek Gaudet 12-09-2005 04:32 PM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Quote:

Ron Tisdale wrote:
Hi Derek,

I feel for you...I myself have left a dojo due to changes in direction, and it can be very emotional and difficult for all involved. The best thing you can do in those situations is to keep a cool head, be polite, and when it's time to go...go.

As for your new training, Yoshinkan is a great organization, and I really like the training there. Personally, I would recommend just training in the Yoshinkan for a period of time and learning the requirements up to shodan. From what you've said of your experience, that should take about 1 to 2 years tops (maybe even less), and shouldn't be a major issue. But I think going through the curriculum is very important, especially in the Yoshinkan, especially if you want to teach. The Yoshinkan has a very specific teaching methodology and curriculum to promote the use of strong basic movements in waza, forward focus, and other things. This generally means that anywhere you go, you can be recognized for the skill that you have pretty easily. Skipping out on that would be a mistake, in my opinion.

I should also mention that Block Shihan is 6th dan in the Yoshinkan. His other ranking comes from the World Kobudo Federation. You can find out more about his training and teaching from his web page : http://www.chudokai.com/index.htm.

Best,
Ron

Ah yes, he got his 6th from Gozo Shioda if i'm not mistaken... And true I knew about the last two ranks but didn't really understand what the organization rank would mean in the Yoshinkan world. The only problem with me learning the curriculum is that there is no Yoshinkan I know of in New Brunswick, otherwise I'd go for it, and if the opportunity come up I'll definitely not pass is up.But I have school family and those things that act like "anchors". Our Aikido was similar in the philosophies of Yoshinkan and more closely compared to "O" Sensei's earlier years, so I've been told... I have yet to find a Dojo around here that trains the same way. But thanks for the reply my friend, I appreciate the advice.

Derek Gaudet 12-09-2005 04:50 PM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Quote:

David Valadez wrote:
I'm with Jorge here too - I'd have to say this is more common than most think and/or certainly expect. Without taking anything away from the downer that your story truly is - I mean, what a bummer/ I feel for you - my own story too kind of makes yours look like a fairytale. :-)

I think Ron's advice is sound on its own, but it becomes even more sound because it won't have you relying on the perceived good graces of another - another that just may not be as "developed" as you may imagine and/or developed toward seeing your issue in your own way and/or as even seeing your issue as relevant to their existence. In fact, in 20 plus years of training now, I've only seen it happen one time when the higher ranked authority figure came to the aid of some regular deshi. Most times it's just not big enough an issue for them to get involved and/or they don't see it as something they should get involved in. The Truth or one's capacity to understand the Truth, and one's commitment to the Truth (one's commitment to act in line with the Truth), are measured by separate values. Most big wigs survive as big wigs precisely because they have let a great many abuses of the Truth go "unnoticed." For better or for worse, this is federation life, and this is why I am now an independent. In my experience, independence allows more easily for one to combine a value for the Truth with a commitment to the Truth.

Good luck whatever you decide - I'm sorry you had to go through that. It truly is a shame. Hang in there.

Thank you David. One of my worries is if I get involved with an organization, I'll loose the Aikido I have learned and have to replace it with someone else's. I'm under O Sensei, not Gozo Shioda, and don't wish to change that (I respect both of these men, but was brought up in my aikido studies with O Sensei's portrait on the wall). Hopefully it won't have an affect on much. I know Yoshinkan is under Gozo Shioda, And Nihon Goshin, which had an influence in my style, is under Shoto Morita. But for various reasons my school only had O Sensei in the Shomen area. Again Thanks.

Sam Williams 12-10-2005 03:06 PM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Man do i feel lucky ... my dojo is independent, our Head Sensei (4th Dan) decides when we should receive grading; but usually with verification of guests when they visit.

Halfway through this year, about a month before i joined, they reopened the dojo separate from the Mushin-Wado Shinpo Society of Europe. The clubs development has been close with several important instructors, they even had Master Sammy come to teach in 2000.

We are now only in one organization, the Aikido circle of Friendship. So even if i had to leave this Dojo, i cant see sensei striping me of my rank :)

Derek Gaudet 12-10-2005 08:34 PM

Re: What's your thoughts?
 
Stripping of rank is one thing. Stripping of knowledge you have gained in my opinion, is impossible. One of my instructors was talking to me about stripping rank and he made a good point, if you earn something it's yours. Too many instructors give rankings and think they own them, his opinion was if you earn it it's yours and no one can remove it after it is given.

Rank can neither be given or taken, only earned.


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