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Old 11-20-2007, 10:11 AM   #63
G DiPierro
Location: Ohio
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 365
Re: significance to testing/belt rank?

Amir Krause wrote: View Post
How can you measure skill in an objective level?
In an art like aikido that has no formal competitions, you can't. I'm not sure you would even want to anyway.

I think ones efforts in obtaining his skill should also be recognized.
Rank is inside an organization. Your loyalty and effort inside the organization are therefore of importance.
Skill is not the be all!

I give much more credit to someone who works very hard and only has average technique compared to his friend who succeeded in doing the same thing at the first lesson.
Fine, but then be clear that rank does not correlate to skill. Many, many people in aikido think and act like it does.

Guess what, many tests are done in very similar fashion, including driver licensing in most countries I have heard of (only a single tester with you in the car).
A driver's test is designed to ensure a very bare minumum level of competence that almost anyone can attain. Thus, it is not necessary to have an elaborate system to ensure fairness. If for some reason you think you have failed for political reasons, you can always go take the test with another examiner or at another location. Good luck trying to do that if you think you have failed an aikido test for political reasons.

Some people think martial arts ranks are or should be like professional qualifications for lawyers or doctors. The standardized tests for university admissions in this country (administered by the ETS) and also professional exams for lawyers and doctors are specifically designed to measure actual competence and eliminate political influence as much as possible. Martial arts exams, particularly in aikido, are not. When you need an exam to be a good measure of skill, you want to make sure it is as fair and objective as possible. Among martial arts, kendo at least does a better job of this than aikido, although politics still can play a role there.

If you think rank in aikido is and should be only as meaningful of an accomplishment as passing a driver's test, then that's a good model to use. But if you want it to be as meaningful as professional qualifications, as some people do, then you need to be looking at how institutions like the ETS, AMA, and ABA examine people, not at how the DMV does it.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 11-20-2007 at 10:18 AM.