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Old 05-03-2006, 10:20 PM   #52
Rocky Izumi
Dojo: GUST Aikido Club
Location: Salwa, Kuwait
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 381
Re: Standards of testing???

From my discussion with a number of different Shihan, OSensei did not teach the same Aikido to each of his students in terms of techniques. He taught the person based on their background, whether it was Karate, Judo, Kendo, etc. What they learned was influenced by what they already knew. However, they seem to agree that the fundamental principles that OSensei taught did not differ from one technical approach to another. The key is that he taught from the fundamental principle of Aikido of flexibility and adaptation to needs and situation. The most fundamental principles are applicable to the techniques you practice in Aikido as well as battlefield strategy, business management, statistics, or just daily life.

Second, as I have developed in my Aikido, how I do the basic techniques personally have changed dramatically even though what I teach to people of different grades do not change. Your Aikido and your techniques have to change as you develop. But all that means is that your repretoire of adaptability has increased. In other words, you don't want to forget what you learned early on because it is still applicable but specifically for the situations in which the learning was taking place.

Each instructor, depending on what principle they are personally researching at the time will teach different things. If a student leaves me when I am teaching one principle as demonstrated through the practice of Ikkyo, their Ikkyo will be different from someone who joins me at another time and leaves without ever seeing the Ikkyo to which the other person was accustomed. The differences between instructors in one ryu is greater than the differences between instructors from different ryus.

By the time you are Sandan, you should have started to develop your "own Aikido." By the time you are Godan, your Aikido should be unique to you. So, the students of mine who have their Sandan or Yondan now have very different Aikido from each other. That said, what I see as very different may not be seen as different by someone at the Yonkyu level. They can't see the differences that I do because they don't know the differences. It all looks the same. I look at Shodans and see great differences in the techniques they do from one person to another, even though Shodans looking at each other may not see any differences. It is like a good mechanic looking at two similar cars and telling you that one is a lemon and the other a prize. You might not recognise that one is any different from the other.

Ranks really have no meaning between different dojos. When someone comes to one of mine, I will determine what grade they should have depending on my curriculum. Someone may be upgraded and another demoted depending on how I determine where they sit within the dojo. That applies even if they are from the same ryu. I will, of course, extend some courtesy, especially if they have come to the dojo temporarily. But if your rank says you should be able to take certain ukemi within my dojos, you better be able to because the other students will take your rank as you have stated and treat you accordingly.

As for what you call "fakes," just ignore them and they will go away over the long run. A young woman with just a little Aikido training went with one of her friends to a self defense instructor. Even though the young woman was not interested in studying with that instructor, when the instructor found out that the young woman was a high school wrestler, kicked her lightly in the head, asking her what she would do if someone did that to her. Before he finished the sentence, the young woman had kicked him with a maigeri and finished with an iriminage with flipped him upside down into a wall, knocking him out. The woman grabbed her friend, turned towards the class and told them strongly: "Class dismissed." I understand that the man never taught another self-defense class in the city. Fakes and poor instructors will get their just dues sometime and somewhere.

However, if a "fake" cuts into your territory and begins to present themselves as a legitimate Aikido instructor and begins to cut you down, then I feel you have a responsibility to your instructors to go and break him/her up so they cannot instruct. Just invite the "fake" to practice in your class or teach in your dojo and treat him/her as you would any other of your students of a similar rank. Too bad if they can't take a good ukemi. There are also public expositions of martial arts in which you can participate along the "fake" and make sure that the public realises that the person is a "fake." And, at the last resort, you can always go and issue a challenge that they can't ignore, and proceed to break them up physically. That probably will never have to be done because if the person is a true "fake," someone from one of the more aggressive martial arts or even an untrained bar brawler will probably break them up physically first.

A man who claimed he had a 7th degree in a kickee-punchee style got into an argument with a neighbour over a dog pissing on someone's lawn. The kickee-punchee instructor warned the other man that he had a 7th degree black belt in his art. The other man said "See this belt buckle? I got it for winning a bar brawling contest." And proceeded to beat the crap out of the 7th degree. The 7th degree had to shut down his dojang after word got out he was put in the hospital by an untrained bar brawler. In other words, it is probably better to just ignore the "fakes" and concentrate on your own training. Someone else will take care of the fakes for you and you won't have to worry about a lawsuit.

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