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Old 05-08-2006, 08:37 AM   #17
Hanna B
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 647
Re: Diff. styles, 1 Aikido

I had a friend in the US who has moved about quite a lot, and on one occasion the only available dojo that he thought was good was an independent dojo. As I understand the story the main teacher of this dojo somehow got caught inbetween when Tohei split the Aikikai back around 1970, and ended up independent. My friend was slightly reluctant to take gradings in this dojo, since he wanted Aikikai ranks. As I told you he moves a lot, and everywhere in the world aikido people know what an Aikikai rank is (at least in theory. In reality it varies a lot but that is another issue). A rank from an independent dojo could be anything from a rank given by an excellent teacher to some bogus, and unless you know about the teacher you do not know what the rank means.

When my friend eventually transferred to an Aikikai dojo, there was no problem with his kyu ranks - he could continue from the rank he had been given by the independent teacher, probably because this independent teacher is wellknown and respected and also my friend had trained quite many years compared to his rank. My friend took his shodan in the Aikikai dojo, and values his Aikikai shodan a lot more than he would have a shodan from this independent teacher - but had he truly been this independent teacher's student, I am sure he would have felt otherwise. Everyone involved must admit that my friend's time was better spent in this independent teacher's dojo than in some Aikikai dojo with less outstanding teacher. Obviously, no one really cared about "Aikikai" or "not Aikikai" for any other reason than the ranks.
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