I voted "no" in that poll myself
Self defense is almost always one of the factors that draws people into martial arts, maybe not the prime factor, but one that is considered. How many of us knew the depth of the art before we came to study it?
Shodan means "The beginning" only in the technical sense of the word. I'm sorry if you disagree with me, but at shodan you should be very competent in aikido and should be more than capable of handling yourself against the majority of attackers you might encounter.
How long do you think it would take someone to attain this sort of technical ability?
-- Jun [/b][/quote]
It's really impossible to answer this in a general sense. I can only answer for myself. After about 2 years of study I felt confident that I could defend myself against most attackers on the street. There are lots of factors that go into that though. First, I trained several times per week, trained hard with a serious mind towards making sure I was learning the same aikido that my sensei taught. Second, I had ultimate faith in the Aikido I was being taught. I did not question it effectivness. My sensei had studied directly from O'sensei and Tohei sensei, among others and had been through nearly 40 years of testing. Having known what his aikido had been through, I felt confident that what I was learning was good, strong aikido and would be there for me if I ever needed it. This is not to say I felt I was an expert or anywhere on the same map with the term "expert". I know I was and am not, just as I know a shodan, nidan or sandan for that matter, is not an expert. It's just my opinion that a Shodan should be more than capable of effectivly using the aikido they have learned.