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Old 09-08-2000, 09:47 AM   #14
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 168
andrew wrote:
If you think Yudansha rankings are an afterthought you need to take Ukemi from a high grade at a seminar.
But Andrew, I think we need to be more careful. Those Yudansha don't throw the way they do because of the rank they have... they have the rank they have because of the way they throw (and the long years it took to get there).

We keep talking about the good and bad points about rank, and in an art that eschews competition it makes sense that we would look twice at anything that smacked of making comparisons between people. We'll talk about the hakamas at a seminar not paying attention to their kohai partners, or worse; we'll talk about rank-chasers in it to sit higher than their fellow students; we'll talk about blowhards who do not appear to have the skills necessary for their rank; we'll talk about all of this, but what it really comes down to is we are talking of ego. And short of absolutely destroying someone to break their ego, the road toward a place of no-ego selflessness is an intensely personal one.

I think we all agree that rank has some good points and bad points, and that those bad points come from misuse by the individual. So if the road to no-ego is personal for the person who is paying no attention to his/her kohai, it is also personal for us watching that situation. Having rank is another challenge that the art presents us with. At one point maybe we didn't think that we could do any of the stuff these people were doing on the mats, then we learned a little. Maybe we thought we couldn't take breakfall ukemi, but we learned a little. Then we thought we couldn't take a high fall from shihonage, but we learned a little. I think that as we learn a little more about ourselves and about our art and our rank, we will treat it with more respect and less ego attachment. We can see those who fixate on rank and know that they just have more growing to do. The thing is, none of us would have had the opportunity to grow this way without this "second" test of rank. You've got your rank, now how do you treat it?


It's a sad irony: In U's satori, he forgot every technique he ever knew; since then, generations of doka have spent their whole careers trying to remember.
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