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Old 01-12-2006, 02:10 PM   #41
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 522
Re: Grading question advice please

I have a lot of trouble with the "don't ask" thing, which is also in force in my home dojo. The head instructor published a newsletter article in which she said (paraphrase) "If you ask to test, that is tatamount to saying that you don't think your teachers have noticed that you are ready to test. But this is nonsense--of course they have."

The problem with saying this is that it sets up the teacher as infallible, and being human beings, teachers are not infallible. Mine has been mistaken several times about what rank a given student has, about what is on the published test critieria, and about what a given student has been taught. I wouldn't mind these mistakes so much, but they are a terrible combo with "it's rude to ask, trust us to know what we are doing."

I do care about testing, perhaps more than I should, and if I were to find out that I didn't get tested because sensei forgot what rank I had--as seemed to happen to a kohai of mine--I would be furious. "This could have been avoided if you had just been willing to accept polite questions."

This is a Japanese tradition that does not seem well suited to our American students, including me, and I wish we could lose it. I won't speak to its usefulness or otherwise at other dojo, but it does not work well for us.

Mary Kaye
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