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Old 09-20-2007, 02:50 AM   #29
Jason Woolley
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 16
United Kingdom
Re: significance to testing/belt rank?

Avedan Raggio wrote: View Post
So, really, why test? What does it mean to say 'I passed my ___ kyu or my ___ dan test, when the person with whom you train might not be able to tell, or might not care? Why do *you* test? What does your rank mean to you? What do you think it means to other people?
Good questions.

To say "I passed my n -- kyu/dan test" is to reduce Aikido to the status of one more qualification/certificate to be collected. Given that grades are not usually recognised between organisations and have a huge variance within large organisations (eg Aikikai or even individual clubs), it becomes meaningless to all but the gradee.

Personally, I test because when it happens, it happens. I have trained in places where the entire focus of every class was to practise the syllabus for the next grading and I have trained in places where there were no gradings -- students were put ‘under pressure' at unexpected moments and continually assessed during regular classes. Grades were handed out when the teachers considered it appropriate with a casual ‘you are now this, congratulations, carry on…'

To me, my rank is a measure of progress and it's just part of the personal relationship between student and teacher. To other people, I would suggest, it's pretty meaningless.

Gradings have become part of the ‘business' of the martial arts and a marketing tool to keep to keep the gentle masses interested, and paying.

Full consideration of the questions posed in the OP lead to more profound questions like:

What is the purpose of the martial arts?


Why do you train?