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Old 12-06-2002, 10:43 AM   #20
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"Thank you for your response"

You're welcome, thank you for the question.

Your post made me think about "competition" and what a dojo-cho who imposed a "glass ceiling" sort of policy might achieve. I'm thinking out loud here so bear with me. These are just some thoughts that I don't have a lot invested in one way or the other.

Seems to me it could cut both ways. On the one hand, it might do good by teaching students that their training and progression are their own, so they should not compete with others even in their own heads. On the other hand, this (I'm in the US in case that isn't obvious) isn't Japan (I've never been), and competition is part of our culture, like it or not.

There's a one-liner I heard long ago that goes somthing like "That some should be rich shows that others may become rich," which might apply in the dojo as well. In other words, if a dojo had a really gifted student who was learning very quickly AND/OR devoting a lot of time and sincerity to his training, if his behavior was impeccable, and he/she was a great example to other students, it might serve as a real motivator to the other students to see this one progress according to his talent.

If, instead, it became clear to all the students that someone was being held back, this could be a powerful de-motivator for everyone, and might ultimately sew a great deal of discord as everyone tries to figure out how or if such a policy might affect them as well.

Last--someone above mentioned they'd hate to be the one holding anyone else back because of seniority. I'd bet that's true of just about everyone, including me and I'll bet you, too. In fact, if we could find a person who thinks their seniority ought to be protected somehow in spite of superior ability, sincerity, skill, etc. demonstrated by another student, what would that say about that person? Isn't that also a pretty darned nasty form of "competition" that ought to be avoided? Is this an "aiki" attitude, or plain selfishness and conceit that's harmful to everyone, yet is encouraged if it's rewarded?

Again, those are off-the-top-of-the-head thoughts. I'll appreciate your thoughtful comments!
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