Originally posted by Peter Goldsbury ...I usually send a fairly objective letter to the next sensei, indicating major strengths and weakneses. I wonder if this is common practice.
I am afraid this is not common practice however I think it should be. Actually what I would love was for the senseis to take a little more interest in their students. In our modern world with its high paced living and very few Aikido-instructors making a living from teaching it is hard to find the time to devote one self to the development of one's students. In my opinion the ideal situation is when the sensei can become a mentor for the student - helping him or her to grow both as an aikido-ka and as a person - but hey! I have often been accused of being a traditionalist
For the record I believe that a grading-system should be used as well. Both the kyu/dan system or the menkyo-system would do in my opinion. What is essential is that when someone is given a new grade, it should be a deliberate event and an important part of the sensei's involvement in the students progression.
One thing that puzzles me in the current system is the fact that often gradings are only done up to fourth dan. After this it is partially possible to achieve new grades just by surviving.... okay I know that was a bit rough
and that further development of ones aikido is expected to achieve new ranks, but I would never the less like to hear what you think is the reason that the 'grading by recommendation' is used from fifth dan and up. Anyone ?