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Old 04-14-2011, 05:13 AM   #22
Dave Forde
Location: Galway
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 11
Re: How Long does it take to move up in belt ranking?

matty_mojo911 wrote: View Post
This isn't really related to this thread but I find it very interesting to observe the different skill levels of shodans - of all styles.

We have a term "MacDojo." And this is a dojo that gives away belts. Be wary of these.

Overall, over the years, there has generally been a dumbing down of the rank of shodan. Despite best of intentions this has come about through "required" hours for each belt, payments for gradings, and trying to keep students interest by promoting them regularly.

My Aikdo Dojo had no such hours required, or similar. It was upto the Sensei to promote when they thought the person was ready. this was generally when they were already at the rank, and perhaps a bit beyond. Thus standards were maintained.

For example in BJJ ranks are dreadfully hard to get. It is not uncommon for it to take 2 - 3 years to get your first coloured belt. And generally the thought of reaching Black Belt is seen as something just about unatainable, seriously I've been training 7 years in BJJ - am a Purple Belt and I don't think I'll ever get a Black Belt - how many styles have that! Yet BJJ is massive, with huge student numbers.

Strangely enough at our BJJ club if I was to ask the 100 or so students (white/blue belts) were they going to get a Black Belt? I would say with absolute surety that nobody would raise their hand.!!!!! But yet there are 100 students sitting there training their butts off.

Perhaps it is because of the respect the ranks are held in, and that they have well and truely proved themselves before getting the rank.

I've seen many, truely terrible Aikido shodans, I've never seen a BJJ Black Belt who wasn't massively skilled, and respected. Why?
the above post is how exactly I feel about my own aikido practise. I watch my own instructor and I honestly don't think I will have attained his level for quite a while yet. I am training pretty religiously twice a week for almost 5 years now and I still think myself that I am nowhere near shodan level. my present rank within our dojo is 4th kyu (a year and a half ago). I suppose everyone compares their level to that of their teacher so therefore opinions on what is a shodan level varies somewhat. my teacher when he awarded the grade simply said you can now protect yourself to that level which I thought was a nice way to put it. I began my practise with no notion in my head as to when I would reach black belt and now it concerns me even less. what I want to achieve is a level of effectiveness that gives me the confidence to walk onto the mat with anyone(of any discipline) and be able hopefully to walk off it in one piece. I know that could take me my lifetime and that is what keeps me coming back. after that it matters not a jot to me what colour belt holds up my trousers.

Last edited by Dave Forde : 04-14-2011 at 05:27 AM.
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