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Old 06-27-2003, 08:46 AM   #17
Dojo: Aikido of Norfolk/ Aikido Society of Memphis
Location: Norfolk, VA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 155
Sorry, but there a couple of odd things here.

The first Anonymous says he/she has kyu certificates. All kyu certificates come from the USAF and would be proof that they are a member, since they won't issue a certificate unless the person is paid up. If the ku cert is something drawn up by the local school, then he/she might never have been a member.

As for the second Anonymous, Yamada Shihan is a very easygoing and forgiving man, with one exception; if you rip off a student, you are out.

Now I don't know if this refers to your dojos, but as an example: several years ago a teacher stopped sending in the dues given to him by students. This went on for a number of years. The USAF tends to just let this go for a while, hoping the teacher will just catch up later. Then one camp a student showed up from this school to test for blask belt. His dues had never been paid, nor were there records of his past ranks. It turned out that he had paid his teacher something like $2000 as a fee for this test, which he assumed had been sent to the USAF. At that time, the yudansha test fee was about $100 (almost all of which went to Hombu for the big certificate and passport thing). Yamada Shihan did test the poor guy, but bounced his teacher out of the USAF for ripping off a student. This had to be over five years ago. That teacher still has has on the website that they're members of the USAF, although that could just mean they haven't updated for a long time.

I won't pretend that the USAF is perfect, but I don't think the office has ever lost the paperwork for a whole dojo for several years. And if someone is told they have to speak to Yamada Shihan, it means that Yamada Shihan wants to know the facts personally so he can be assured that they are made right.

By the way, Yamada Shihan asks that the teacher of a student who is taking a dan test be there to watch the test. This way, if the student does a really rotten test, Yamada Shihan can say encouraging things to the student and then go upbraid the TEACHER for the failure.

Jim Baker


Jim Baker
Aikido of Norfolk
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