Re: Poll: Do you think people should receive ranking in aikido for reasons outside of their technical ability?
Being in a position to award rank, I would like to chime in on this one. I feel that physical technique is a very small part of the grand scheme of Aikido. There are mental, spiritual, and social aspects of the art that reach far beyond the mat. Aikido is not something that is done for a few hours twice a week. It should be something that you practice in every day life. Being helpful, positive, an asset to your community , family and friends, and treating others the way you want to be treated are all parts of this art. Having the advantage of being from a small town, having a smaller dojo, the instructors of our school have a bit more interaction with the students outside the dojo. We have a very good relationship with the administration of the local school and know when our students are behaving in a way that is not deemed acceptable (i.e. bullying, fighting, disrespect, etc.) We have denied rank to some students that are not exibiting proper behavior outside the dojo. This may not be the "right" way to handle a situation like this, but it is the way that the board of instructors at our dojo have chosen to do it. Our reasoning for this is that each student repersents their dojo and their sensei at all times. We don't need one bad example soiling our name and standing in the community, and these students either straighten up and act right or are not allowed in the dojo.