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Old 03-27-2013, 03:43 PM   #11
Dan Richards
Dojo: Latham Eclectic
Location: NY
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 452
Re: Ranking systems in different countries

Hi Jeremy, in answer to your first question, about the three years to shodan in your country, I would say that's just about the right amount of time. It's also in line with Aikikai Hombu. in answer to your second question, it would be similar to other educational institutions - where some may or may not recognize all or some of your previous course work and degrees completed at another school.

Your question about shodan and time, interestingly enough, came up in a recent topic.

I think the time factor - the when - is less important than asking about the what and how. And in that, any organization or teacher should be able to give you a straight and concise answer. It's no different than seeking to enter any kind of educational institution. All colleges are clear in their requirements for degrees - and students going in, at least have an accurate map of what's expected of them to arrive at their destination.

Anywhere you see a much larger amount of required time; it has been slowly and artificially inflated over the years.

While a map is not the territory, it does at least give us reference points. And while there are obvious differences in terms of levels of education at various institutions - a bachelors degree is fairly standard around the world in terms of its requirements.

All these smoke-and-mirror replies, that you'll often find in martial arts, perhaps worked on people who grew up watching the Kung Fu series on TV. But with the generations coming up, that kind of - let's call it sheer goofiness - is not going to fly. People now, and in the coming years, are armed with too many sources of information.

I've heard shihan on video [maybe I'll post one of them] saying things like, "Well, these kids coming up today - they want everything right away. They don't want to listen and they don't want to learn." To that I would say to Mr. Shihan, "What people want is for you to be able to provide them with good, accurate information and instruction, and they don't want to hear your bullshit. And if you can't at least provide a clear answer to a reasonable question, about a shodan degree, then you're probably not going to be clear on a lot of things."

It also sets up an environment for cognitive dissonance within the new student. And that is dangerous, and its abusive, and it takes us right back to the [url=open letter that's a current topic in this forum. And in that topic, one of the things that came even more into focus is the disparage in terms of time and requirements to shodan, not even just within different organizations, but with the same organization over time.

I'll copy a quote here I wrote from the "open letter" topic, because it was precisely beginning to address exactly what Jeremy is not only asking about, but wanting some reasonably straight answers to give him at least some indication of the terrain ahead of him.

[quote]Interesting observations, Brian. Perhaps this "inflation" should be examined and held up as part of Ryan's open letter about conduct in the dojo... and the conduct of dojos and organizations.

We're not including grading fees and seminars; just the cost to be on the mat to learn the material:

At Aikikai HQ in Tokyo people train under a plethora of shihan on a daily basis, and as an average student going three times per week, they'll meet shodan requirements in about two years. Current monthly mat fees are about $110; so that's $2640 to train for 24 months. Hombu's inflation, in time and money to shodan, since the mid-60s appears to be in the range of about 0%.

Current time to shodan requirements at NY Aikikai; it appears that the total amount of days would be 1140. An average student going three times per week, 156 days per year, would take 7.3 years - or 87.6 months x $160/mth = $14,016 in mat fees. NY Aikikai's inflation, in time and money to shodan, since the mid-60s appears to be in the range of about 250%.

Parent organization, Aikikai Hombu = 300 days, in 2 years, and roughly $2640 in mat fees.
Branch organization, NY Aikikai = 1140 days; 7.3 years, and roughly $14,000 in mat fees.[/quote]
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