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Old 11-03-2000, 06:03 PM   #12
Richard Harnack
Dojo: Aikido Institute of Mid-America
Location: Maplewood, Missouri
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 137
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Triangle Yudansha Exams

All I know from my yudansha exams is that each one was as different from the previous as to be a complete surprise to me.

My shodan and nidan exams were fairly straight forward, focused on techniques, history and philosophical understanding.

My Sandan consisted of Roderick Kobayashi, Sensei telling me in my driveway after I had hosted him for a seminar in St. Louis in 1987 that I was now a Sandan. I was the one who insisted that I be tested. So right there he had me grab my jo and go through all of the staff forms. Then he critiqued me and said that I had passed.

A friend of mine made the mistake of mentioning to his sensei that he though he was ready for his sandan exam. His sensei then turned several students loose with shinai to go after him. he was fairly knocked senseless. Later at another time, my friend walked across a room full of aikidoka busily practicing topay his respects to his sensei. Because he did so without stopping anyone or getting intheir way, he was promoted to sandan.

Over the years, I find that it makes little difference in terms of the rank. A Godan who stops training and teaching may have qualified for the rank, but they have ceased earning it. This remains, for me the truth surrounding any ranking system. Those who continue earn the rank. Those who stop have a pretty piece of paper.

So enjoy your system's way of doing things. Continue training. inspire others to join in. This gives the meaning to the art.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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