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Old 03-04-2005, 06:51 AM   #18
Ed OConnor
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Dojo: ACNJ - East Hanover, NJ
Location: Succasunna, NJ
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 18
Re: Poll: How meaningful are other people's aikido rank to you?

Bryan Bateman wrote:
Actually Ed, that's not true. Rank has absolutely nothing to do with a sempai - kohai relationship, except maybe here in the west where it has a misconstrued understanding.
First of all I said HELPS define... not exclusively defines. And your assumption that it has _absolutely_ nothing to do with it seems a bit extreme as there are no absolutes in anything.

Bryan Bateman wrote:
You don't become a sempai when you reach a specific rank, or have been studying for a specific period of time. The sempai kohai relationship is different between individuals, you are sempai in your dojo to anyone (regardless of rank) that joins your dojo after you. You are kohai to anyone (regardless of rank) to anyone that joined your dojo before you.
I disagree. By your definition someone who joined a dojo 10 years ago, practiced for a month, never tested for rank, took 9 years off and just returned, is Sempai to someone who started any time after (even a month), has been practicing 4-5 days a week, and has achieved any rank (including Shodan+), right?

Your black & white definition does NOT promote what is important about the relationship... namely who is able to pass on what has been taught and practiced on the mat with greater experience and care.

In my experience the Sensei defines the relationship. After that there are no questions.

Bryan Bateman wrote:
There are various posts here and on Aikido Journal, one in particular by Peter Goldsbury that outlines the relationship very well. Unfortunately I can't find a link to it right now .
I'd be interested in reading it when you find it. However, that doesn't mean it's gospel, as much as I respect Mr.Goldsbury's research and scholarly approach.

However, Yoshioka Sensei is one who felt differently, as have others (you'll have to scroll down about 2/3 the page to find the topic). Here is a quote:

Quote:"Going back to student position, if two students start Aikido the same day, the older person will be sempai, or senior. When two students take the same kyu test at the same time, the older person will be sempai, or senior. Regardless of when you start, if someone who is your junior puts in more hours and takes the next promotion test before you, that person, who was your junior, will be your sempai from then on. So attending class regularly, and taking tests when you're qualified is very important in the long run, because of your status as sempai or kohai. With two persons taking the same test at the same time, age will make a difference, and the older person will be senior, sempai. When you receive your black belt, the date of your test for promotion will be considered your date of sempai/kohai." END Quote

Strict belief in any one definition/tradition leads to foolhardy practice and does not promote an open mind IMHO. I think one has to think how much sense does this make in today's training environment.

I hope this clarifies my understanding and beliefs

Respectfully and in Peace,
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