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Old 09-17-2001, 04:16 AM   #28
Dojo: ShinToKai DoJo of AiKiDo
Location: Brazil
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 355

Originally posted by Peter Goldsbury
I was rather stunned by the tone of your response to my post. This is an open forum where anyone can give an opinion, regardless of 'weight'. I am well aware of your opinions regarding the 'politics' of aikido organisations and I do not happen to share them.

KAMI : Please, Goldsbury Sama! You know very well how much I do respect you and your writings and I'm one who ever defended the liberty in the fora I'm a part of. For as long as we have known each other, there's been respect among us. We have agreed in some things, disagreed in others, but we have never lacked in respect. I think everybody understood that I was KIDDING with my comentary on "heavyweight and featherweights". I was also paying you an hommage (even if misunderstood...) concerning your obvious superior knowledge. There was not, and never will be, any form of disrespect on my part.

PG. As an objective indication of one's proficiency in the art, a dan and a menkyo are the same. I am aware of the relation between dan ranks and competition in judo. There is a similar relationship in sumo, where the ranking system (yokozuna, ozeki, sekiwake) exists. There are also problems with the application of this system but no one has ever questioned the need for a ranking in sumo. The point I am making is that, unlike judo, sumo is not regarded in Japan as a 'modern' sport. Thus to identify a ranking system with competition is a mistake, in my opinion. The Founder never made such an equation.

KAMI : I think, with all due respect, that there is a big difference. The Menkyo system involved a more complete evaluation of the student, whereas the dan system in Aikido evaluates only the technical proficiency. I think that's one reason you choose to write your colleagues about strengths and weaknesses in your students, when they move to other places.

PG. The problem is less with the dan system itself than with a misunderstanding of the concept of progress in aikido. As I implied, progress, if it occurs, usually occurs at several levels of proficiency: basic technical ability, what I would call 'practical prudence', and some insight into the spiritual values involved.

KAMI : I agree but unhappily I do think that this misunderstanding is quite common.

PG. (on the importance of coloured belts) You might think it is, but this is not what I am stressing at all. Neither the children nor their parents give much attention to the actual organisation as such, as opposed to the progress of their children. It is more of an interaction between the parents and their teachers. I believe you think in this way because you have already decided that organisations and dan ranking play no useful purpose.

KAMI : Now perhaps you are touching on another problem, the one of teachers teaching many students. I think it's very difficult to do that without compromising somehow the level of teaching. But I'm afraid it's another problem.

PG. I asked the last question of the forum members as a whole. Are you really answering for everybody? In my experience it is common practice if a students leaves a dojo for the sensei to send a letter of introduction to the sensei in charge of the student's next dojo. This is the practice I follow and is only marginally connected with the grade the student has. It certainly does not show at all that the rank a student has is "meaningless".

KAMI : Two problems : I never did say that "I was speaking for everybody". Your declaration also stunned me. I only refered to my opinion, my impression, it was never an absolute statement. Also, I never did say a rank is "meaningless". I don't think they are useful, IN MY OPINION, UP TO NOW. I said before that, if one belongs to an organization, one must obey that organization's rules (among them, ranking). You yourself has stated that you didn't know if that process (sending a letter about your student to another teacher) was common.

[QUOTE - KAMI : Well, the featherweight gave his small punch. Now, let's run away before the heavyweight throws his counter attack!!!
PG. I think this sentiment is quite unworthy of you.[END OF QUOTE]

KAMI : Dear Goldsbury Sama,

Read again my previous e-mails for you on our many lists. Have I ever been disrespectful to you? Did I ever act aggressively? Did I ever was one to offend others?
As I told you before, I was kidding and I'm afraid I was severely misunderstood and by one for whom I have the utmost respect and good will.
Anyway, if by any mistake on my part, I have offended you, please accept my heartfelt excuses. It was never my intention. For me, it was just an exchange of opinions, with no emotional content.
I repeat, if I have offended you, I ask for your forgiveness, with all sincerity.

Best regards,
Peter Goldsbury

"We are all teachers, and what we teach is what we need to learn, and so we teach it over and over again until we learn it".
Unknown author

Ubaldo Alcantara
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