View Single Post
Old 01-13-2006, 07:52 AM   #12
Steve Morabito
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 32
Re: Standards of testing???

Great topic, very interesting. We don't test or have ranks at my dojo. There are several reasons why I believe testing doesn't fit in with the philosophies of Aikido at the current time. Most (if not all) current testing in aikido is about measuring performance by using non-standardized methodologies. I would argue that Aikido is not about performance. American culture is very performance and goal-oriented, and this doesn't help much in changing attitudes about this subject. People have tried to take a system of grading/ranking and testing from other martial arts and fit that into Aikido. It's like trying to put a square block into a round hole. Aikido is a "true budo", a budo of love. It is about neither performance nor competition. This sets it apart from all other martial arts as unique. So I would argue that there are few (if any) methods of testing out there currently in aikido that are in accord with the philosophy of true budo. An individual who wears a hakama in our dojo is regarded as a "pillar of the dojo." He or she has shown their devotion to aikido, to the dojo, and to their personal growth. They have undergone a process of self evaluation and exploration, and have incorporated feedback from others into their practice. It is a very long process for some, as there are no grades, tests or kyu/dan ranks. Nonetheless I feel that this is closer to the way things should be with regard to advancement in aikido. I would hope that all hakama wearers across the world would be considered a "pillar of THEIR dojo", but this is almost certainly not true. I'm not saying our dojo's way is the best way, just a better way... a way that is more in accordance with the philosophies of aikido, in my opinion. I think the aikido community should develop a reasonable system of grading that is in accordance with the philosophies of aikido itself, and then standardize that system across organizations as much as possible.
Thanks for listening.
  Reply With Quote