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Old 09-21-2007, 06:24 PM   #44
G DiPierro
Location: Ohio
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 365
Re: significance to testing/belt rank?

Budd Yuhasz wrote: View Post
While I understand your general caveats, I disagree that it 1) Doesn't pertain to this thread & 2) Even talking about one organization from a position of authority is tenuous at best, unless you can provide some indication of qualification for speaking with such authority.
Well if it wasn't already clear, let me state now for the record that anything I say about any aikido organization comes from no position of authority whatsoever. I speak as an outsider who has seen some things and has opinions on those things, and those opinions might or might not be useful to you. Think of it like the difference between reading an article in the newspaper about the President's policy and reading the press release issued by the White House press secretary. I'm the former, so you'll have to evaluate my opinions on their own merits.

I also disagree regarding your definition/opinion/interpretation of rank via organizational decree. In some cases, the organization becomes the stand-in for the teacher (or the true method of transmission when the teacher may not qualify - pros and cons of which can be debatable), but it's still going to be a case by case instance of transmission of an art and rank being an aspect of the relationship between the student and transmitter/student/teacher/organization/whatever.
Perhaps, but the point is that rank only has meaning relative to other people in the organization. It speaks of the transmission itself indirectly through comparison with others who have received some part of that transmission. If a teacher chooses to use rank (and it is choice, although one that is essentially made for you if you happen to be part of an organization that issues rank), then it can become one aspect of the student-teacher relationship, but it still only has meaning in terms of the organization, not the transmission.

While I also do get what you mean about organizations sometimes existing to support the organization, rather than further transmission, I would be very careful (good lesson learned for me) about trying to take it upon myself (I train with folks/dojo in organizations periodically, but belong to an independent dojo) to make any worthwhile comments about how aikido organizations exist or should exist. I have enough to do with just being dedicated to my own training and, frankly, what they big groups do is none of my concern.
I have somewhat more of a connection to the big groups than you do, but I'm also independent right now, and I probably will remain that way. In any case, I don't have much to say about what those groups should do. They do what they do. What I'm interested in is why they do what they do (which is not the same thing as why they say they do what they do) so that I can better understand the roots of my own training.

When I first started teaching I had a very hard time getting away from doing things the same way I had seen them done in the organizations I trained in, even though I knew there were a lot of problems with that system. I just didn't know another way. I've spent a lot time discovering other, and I think better, ways of doing things, but it's still a process of exploration, and the more I can understand exactly why things are the way they are in those other places, the more I can determine what needs to be changed in order to go in the direction that I want my students and myself to go.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 09-21-2007 at 06:29 PM.