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Old 08-23-2005, 04:07 AM   #26
Dazzler
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Re: British 8th dan?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
I did not say that there was no charge for grading.

You asked how Aikikai recognition was achieved and I gave an explanation. If you look at the Aikikai's website, you will see that Recognition involves organizations, not individuals. There is no charge for this.

The grading of individuals who belong to Recognized organizations is another matter and the Aikikai has also issued Regulations for Dan Grades. There are fee scales for dan promotions.
Actually I also asked did it involve sending money. If there are fee scales then the answer is Yes is it not?

Anyway - not looking for an arguement - my point was that it may be possible that some of these senior guys or their organisations do not see value for money in getting Aikikai recognition of their grades. That doesn't mean they aren't worth them.

There may be many reasons why aikidoka do not wish for this recognition...I'll just put a big black box around it and say POLITICS.

As Alex has already said some of these high grades may not deserve them ...there may be a big difference between perhaps a shodan who split to form his own unrecognised association without further external influence on their teaching and practice compared to others who while not registering their grades with Aikikai continue to be influenced by seniors.

As food for thought ....what exactly is an 8th dan? Is it purely based on some technical proficiency or is there consideration of contribution to Aikido development over an individuals lifetime?

Muse over....

D
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Old 08-23-2005, 08:21 AM   #27
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: British 8th dan?

Quote:
Daren Sims wrote:
Actually I also asked did it involve sending money. If there are fee scales then the answer is Yes is it not?

Anyway - not looking for an arguement - my point was that it may be possible that some of these senior guys or their organisations do not see value for money in getting Aikikai recognition of their grades. That doesn't mean they aren't worth them.

There may be many reasons why aikidoka do not wish for this recognition...I'll just put a big black box around it and say POLITICS.

As Alex has already said some of these high grades may not deserve them ...there may be a big difference between perhaps a shodan who split to form his own unrecognised association without further external influence on their teaching and practice compared to others who while not registering their grades with Aikikai continue to be influenced by seniors.

As food for thought ....what exactly is an 8th dan? Is it purely based on some technical proficiency or is there consideration of contribution to Aikido development over an individuals lifetime?

Muse over....

D
I am sorry but I do not understand your point.

Recognition is given by the Hombu to organizations, not individuals. There is no charge for giving an organization recognition and so it does not involve paying any fees, i.e., sending money.
.
Thus there is no question of the Aikikai recognizing for a fee the grades of individuals who belong to other, non-Aikikai, organizations.

I hope I have made myself clear.

My own experience with the MAC, which was the predecessor of the BAB, leads me to believe that the entire organization is political, which is probably something that cannot be avoided.

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 08-23-2005 at 08:24 AM.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 08-23-2005, 09:26 AM   #28
Dazzler
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Re: British 8th dan?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
I am sorry but I do not understand your point.

Recognition is given by the Hombu to organizations, not individuals. There is no charge for giving an organization recognition and so it does not involve paying any fees, i.e., sending money.
.
Thus there is no question of the Aikikai recognizing for a fee the grades of individuals who belong to other, non-Aikikai, organizations.

I hope I have made myself clear.
Yes. You are clear.

My point was that I suspect some of the individuals named within this thread for instance were at some time within the Aikikai. For whatever reason ...be it cost, politics or whatever they made the decision to opt out.

I have heard some older than me put this down to cost. Maybe there are readers of this thread that could confirm if this was a factor..or maybe not.

As I said before just because these guys don't wish to be part of the aikikai they don't suddenly lose their aikido abilities overnight.

Neither would they miraculously gain them should they opt back in.

Aikikai affiliation / recognition is not the only measure of ability or contribution.

Thank you for your post.

D
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Old 08-23-2005, 09:26 AM   #29
Yann Golanski
 
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Re: British 8th dan?

<sarcasm> The BAB is political? You really think so? </sarcasm>

There are about 80 Aikido organisation in the UK alone. Some of them are recognised by an organisation in Japan and some of them are not. Some of them give their own dan ranks which are not recognised by their parent organisation. Any of them is welcome to award 10th dans to whoever they want.

I've seen 3rd dans who are much better than 6th dans in all respects. I've seen utterly awesome teachers and utterly rubbish ones and both were 7th dan! Frankly, a black belt will only cover an inch of your arse. Your skill is what will set you apart.

In Shodokan, it takes a minimum of 30 (27 after first dan and 3 before) years to get to seventh dan which is the last "gradable" dan. After that, it's all political hierarchy. This of course, assume a great level of dedication and training. This can give you an idea of the times required for grades. I am sure that the Aikikai (and all other non-clown Aikido associations) have similar time scales although I could be wrong.

Sensei bob (Robert Forest Webb) is indeed the highest ranked Shodokan guy in the UK. My apologies for not remembering in my earlier post.

... no point to this post, just random thoughts...

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-23-2005, 09:46 AM   #30
Dazzler
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Re: British 8th dan?

Quote:
Yann Golanski wrote:
... no point to this post, just random thoughts...
Maybe...but I hear what you are saying though!

Cheers

D
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Old 08-23-2005, 02:07 PM   #31
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Re: British 8th dan?

re Aikikai and fees. I think from memory I paid $600/700 NZ$ for my sandan grading. All of that bar a nominal testing fee went to the organisation in Japan as I understand it. Take from that whatever you will.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-24-2005, 02:13 AM   #32
wayneth
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Re: British 8th dan?

I think my Sensei was saying during the British Aikido Federation Summer School that for his Godan grade he paid something like £500 which went to the Aikikai, and also one of the people taking their Shodan said she paid something like £120.
Wayne
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Old 08-24-2005, 02:21 AM   #33
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Re: British 8th dan?

given exchange rates, that sounds about right.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 09-12-2005, 11:20 AM   #34
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Re: British 8th dan?

Quote:
Mark Walsh wrote:
Some other non Aikikai promoted 8th dans in the UK:

Gwynne Jones - Shin Gi Tai
Ralpth Reynolds - Aikido Fellowship
and I think:
John Cornish - UKAF

I've trained with these three instructors only once, and don't feel in a position to judge their aikido.

List of UK associations with histories:
http://www.bab.org.uk/associations/associations.html

As was said, Aikikai recognition isn't the last word on the matter, I know that Aikido Yuishinkai headed my Koretoshi Maruyama has two 7th Dans in the UK.

When I started Aikido in 1997 Gwynne Jones was listed in various promotional material as a 6th Dan, last I heard he was a 7th Dan, if he's 8th now then thats 6-8th Dan in 8 years.

As to the rest, I know that Ken Williams who is the longest practicing Aikido teacher in the UK (one of Abbe Sensei's first aikido students) awards ranks as high as 7th Dan, I wouldn't be surprised if he awarded higher.

I would go so far as to say that as far as I know there are almost certainly no Dan grades above 7th Dan in the UK that are recognised by an organisation headed or based in Japan, i.e. Aikikai, Shodokan, Yoshinkan, Ki Soc, Yuishinkai etc..
Any above that are probably either self promoted or have been awarded by someone who has lost/severed links to a Japanese organisation but nonetheless may have been practicing Aikido since the late 1950's here in the UK.

If legitimacy in rank only comes from Japan then 7th Dan is the current ceiling, but there are people who've been practicing and teaching Aikido for nearly 50 years in the UK, as long as some of the more well known Japanese teachers, in some cases longer, they simply don't have anything to do with Japan.

Mike Haft
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Old 09-12-2005, 01:44 PM   #35
Colin 67
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Re: British 8th dan?

I have been a student of Mr Haydn Foster for the last 12 years. He is currently 7th Dan Awarded by the Institute of Aikido of which he is the Technical Director. I had the opportunity to speak to him about this a couple of years ago at summer school and my recollection of this conversation was that in the late sixties and early seventies the cost of being in the Aikikai was exorbitant, not just to have a grading ratified but also to have the grading recognised year on year. Chiba Sensei approached Mr Foster when he came to the UK and asked him to return to the Aikikai but he refused due to these financial reasons. Whether there were any othe reasons for not wanting to be part of Aikikai i don't know.

As for 8th Dans currently in the UK there are as i understand it at least 5 in the British Ki Federation headed by Mr Ken Williams whose curent grade i am not aware of. Mr foster still refers to Mr Williams as Sensei.
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Old 06-16-2006, 09:15 AM   #36
darin
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Re: British 8th dan?

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote:
Here's a listing in the AikiWeb AikiWiki of high ranking non-japanese yudansha (at or above 7th dan):

http://www.aikiweb.com/wiki/nonjapanese

-- Jun
Noticed that John Langley 7th dan isn't on that list although his teacher Haydn Foster is...
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Old 06-16-2006, 10:35 AM   #37
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Re: British 8th dan?

Quote:
Darin Hyde wrote:
Noticed that John Langley 7th dan isn't on that list although his teacher Haydn Foster is...
Please feel encouraged, then, to update the page. All of the pages in the AikiWiki are modifiable by AikiWeb members. For more information, please visit:

http://www.aikiweb.com/wiki/aikiwiki

-- Jun

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Old 06-16-2006, 12:05 PM   #38
darin
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Re: British 8th dan?

I am not a member of his organization. Its better if one of his students or the Institute of Aikido do it. Just curious his name isn't on the list considering he is one of the highest ranked aikidoists in Australia. He'd be the highest in Western Australia anyway.
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Old 06-16-2006, 12:30 PM   #39
Mark Freeman
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Re: British 8th dan?

Quote:
Colin Simpson wrote:
As for 8th Dans currently in the UK there are as i understand it at least 5 in the British Ki Federation headed by Mr Ken Williams whose curent grade I am not aware of. Mr foster still refers to Mr Williams as Sensei.
I practice with Sensei Williams who was awarded his 3rd dan in aikido over 40 years ago, as far as I am aware he was never awarded a very high grade from Japan. It wouldn't make any difference to me if he was 'labelled' 3rd or 30th Dan...he's just a really good aikido teacher!

You are right there are some 8th Dans in the KFGB, these are student who are still with him after over 30 years.

As far as I see it once you get over a certain grade the promotions are more to do with your commitment and services to aikido than just technical ability. Anyway how can we compare grades across different organisations that do not follow exactly the same teaching curriculum??

Sensei Williams has had many students who have gone their own way and some show up later elsewhere with a higher grade than their original teacher, so it goes!

When Sensei Williams talks about the early days of aikido in the UK he speaks of Sensei Hayden Foster ( his assistant for a number of years ) with affection and respect ( this is not the case for all of his past students )

Anyway, I am bias

regards,

Mark

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Old 06-16-2006, 12:46 PM   #40
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Re: British 8th dan?

Quote:
Darin Hyde wrote:
I am not a member of his organization. Its better if one of his students or the Institute of Aikido do it.
Since his ranking is a matter of public record, I really don't see the reason to hesitate adding him to the list. Any way, I went ahead and did so myself.

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Old 06-17-2006, 12:58 PM   #41
darin
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Re: British 8th dan?

I would have to seek confirmation of his grade from whatever organization he claims gave it to him. Not saying he is not what he says he is its just I think if we do post name and rank we should make sure they are legitimate and also the information is correct. John has a pretty large school here in Perth and has done other styles of aikido. No idea what ranks he has in those styles. Hopefully one of his students can help out.

By the way, I should probably ad Brett Nener Sensei to that list as well. I am not sure of his grade but I think its around 6 or 7th dan. Hopefully one of his students will be able to confirm it for us and what style he represents.

Sorry for the inconvenience.
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Old 06-19-2006, 07:00 AM   #42
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Re: British 8th dan?

As an old and retired Judoka (Sensei Kenshiro Abbe) who also studied Aikido under him ,I too am constantly amazed a) by the number of 7th and 8th Dans who have sprung up and b) by the number who claim to be early students of Abbe Sensei when there were really not that many,If any of you care to visit http://www.geocities.com/britishaikido or http://www.EllisAikido.org then I'm sure that a lot of misconceptions will be cleared up!!
I would be pleased to hear from any martial artists that may remember me.
gerrygee

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Old 06-19-2006, 07:27 AM   #43
Mark Freeman
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Re: British 8th dan?

Quote:
Gerrard Gyngell wrote:
As an old and retired Judoka (Sensei Kenshiro Abbe) who also studied Aikido under him ,I too am constantly amazed a) by the number of 7th and 8th Dans who have sprung up and b) by the number who claim to be early students of Abbe Sensei when there were really not that many,If any of you care to visit http://www.geocities.com/britishaikido or http://www.EllisAikido.org then I'm sure that a lot of misconceptions will be cleared up!!
I would be pleased to hear from any martial artists that may remember me.
gerrygee
Hi Gerrard,

you will remember my aikido teacher, Ken Williams. I know what his aikido is like . You must have practiced judo with him, what was his judo like?

He still talks about Abbe Sensei's judo and his ability to throw much bigger and stronger opponents with apparent ease. How would you describe Abbe's judo, and come to that what about his aikido?

regards

Mark

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Old 06-19-2006, 08:20 AM   #44
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Re: British 8th dan?

Quote:
Gerrard Gyngell wrote:
As an old and retired Judoka (Sensei Kenshiro Abbe) who also studied Aikido under him ,I too am constantly amazed a) by the number of 7th and 8th Dans who have sprung up and b) by the number who claim to be early students of Abbe Sensei when there were really not that many,If any of you care to visit http://www.geocities.com/britishaikido or http://www.EllisAikido.org then I'm sure that a lot of misconceptions will be cleared up!!
I would be pleased to hear from any martial artists that may remember me.
gerrygee
I think that perhaps time practiced is often a nebulous criteria for the award of rank and shouldn't necessarily be taken as the only criteria by which rank should or could be judged. The assumption that all of the most senior ranked aikido teachers in the UK must have begun training in the late 1950's or early 1960's doesn't really hold true in my humble opinion. I know of a number of teachers who have been awarded 7th Dan by uchideshi of O Sensei and who have been practicing since the late 1960s, and probably not with Abbe Sensei or his students either but more likely with Chiba Sensei while he was in the UK.

As I said previously in this thread.
I don't know of any teacher in the UK with a rank higher than 7th Dan
who was awarded said rank by a Japanese teacher or an organisation headed by/initiated by a Japanese teacher who studied with O Sensei. All of the 8th Dan (or above) teachers I've ever heard of in the UK have either been self promoted or promoted by their own organisations committee etc i.e. the head of our organisation needs a promotion but we don't have anyone who can give it to him so lets all just vote him up a rank. With perhaps the exception of those promoted to 8th Dan by Ken Williams Sensei, Williams Sensei has been practicing Aikido longer than anyone else in the UK but severed formal ties with Koichi Tohei I think in the mid 1980's (after already having been in aikido for about 30 years by this time, ten of which were with Tohei Sensei, 11 of which were with Abbe Sensei).

Please correct me if I'm wrong about any of this. I find the history of aikido in the UK really interesting and a bit odd, any further clarification on what I already know is most welcome.

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 06-19-2006, 11:25 AM   #45
gerrygee
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Re: British 8th dan?

Hi Mark,
Yes indeed I do remember Sensei Williams and many of the other Aikidoka who practised at "The Hut".I did not practice Judo with him but will vouchsafe that to Abbe Sensei size made no difference.Also to be Uke to him during Aikido demonstrations meant that you really ceased to have any control over your own body.
Further to an earlier thread on this forum I did experience and see demonstrations of his Ki but to repeat it to others only leads to pointless requests for "proof" and as Abbe Sensei is deceased this is impossible.
Further to his high regard in Japan I posess a copy of a letter from Sensei Shohei Hamano 9th Dan Kodokan on his summation of Abbe Sensei during a visit to the UK in 1963.If anyone would like to see a copy of this you may Email me and I will be happy to send you a copy.
In conclusion I would refer you to the site:

http://www.KenshiroAbbe.com

where you can learn more about his history.
Respect,
Gerry Gyngell

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Old 06-20-2006, 01:32 AM   #46
David Humm
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Re: British 8th dan?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
My own experience with the MAC, which was the predecessor of the BAB, leads me to believe that the entire organization is political, which is probably something that cannot be avoided.
The BAB Political !!! Peter you'll go to Aikido hell for even thinking such a thing !! </sarcasm off>

I think a very important question is "why" are there so many self or internally promoted instructors in such a small community?

From my own research, I have watched a group of instructors running their own organisations all essentially keeping up with their competitors, as one gets promoted the others slowly but surely follow suit. I've watched this trend now for about 6 years and in some respects I feel it undermines the dedication and hard work of those who hold legitimate titles and grades from their style respective hombu.

A few of these same very instructors have previously made outrageous statements and claims about themselves and their lineage... I'll say no more on the matter.

Regards

Last edited by David Humm : 06-20-2006 at 01:34 AM.
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Old 06-20-2006, 05:27 AM   #47
Mark Freeman
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Re: British 8th dan?

Quote:
Dave Humm wrote:
The BAB Political !!! Peter you'll go to Aikido hell for even thinking such a thing !! </sarcasm off>

I think a very important question is "why" are there so many self or internally promoted instructors in such a small community?

From my own research, I have watched a group of instructors running their own organisations all essentially keeping up with their competitors, as one gets promoted the others slowly but surely follow suit. I've watched this trend now for about 6 years and in some respects I feel it undermines the dedication and hard work of those who hold legitimate titles and grades from their style respective hombu.

A few of these same very instructors have previously made outrageous statements and claims about themselves and their lineage... I'll say no more on the matter.

Regards
Why not Dave? surely exposing the self promoters is doing those with legitimate ranks a favour? A fake is a fake and should be seen to be as such, no?

I realise that in doing so you may put some noses out of joint, but this is a tough world, if you build your world on spin it tends to backfire on you in the end ( ask Tony Blair ).

Anyone who is what they say they are has nothing to fear.

regards,

Mark

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Old 06-20-2006, 06:29 AM   #48
wayneth
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Re: British 8th dan?

I personally believe that many of these self-appointed or internally appointed high grade people are only doing it to make their organization or maybe even themselves better than what they are. It seems that many Aikidoka are doing this in the British isles, but my understanding is that a martial art if truly studied isn't about grades but about yourself and not bout what other people say.
My instructor and even Kanetsuka Sensei always says if you want a black belt, then go somewhere else. Which I think is the right attitude to study a martial art, especially Aikido.
Also thinking isn't Gaku Homma Sensei a 6th Dan and has been a 6th Dan for quite a while. Also with his organization, he doesn't promote people beyond a certain grade or something. So if someone of his level and quality can do that and forget about grades of a high level being the answer to get more students; why can't all people be like that?
(this might be a bit wrong in what I'm saying but I apologize if this is so)

Wayne
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Old 06-20-2006, 08:57 AM   #49
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Re: British 8th dan?

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
Why not Dave? surely exposing the self promoters is doing those with legitimate ranks a favour? A fake is a fake and should be seen to be as such, no?
Why not?

I'm not prepared to discuss specific people, or specific instances that all I was intimating. I'm quite prepared to expose fakes and frauds, I've done so before much to the annoyance of our supposed Governing Body however, you have to be very careful about the word -FAKE-, just because a person claims to be an 8th dan or indeed a Shihan, you cannot bandy about the word which is tantamount to an accusation of fraud, especially in the public domain; not unless of course you can prove otherwise. And that is a difficult thing to do.

The problem is that providing a person claiming the title Shihan and [whatever dan] can produce verifiable certificate(s) from a third party (regardless of whether you and I know its bullshit) even if that's from within their own organisation, in Law, who is going to look foolish? There's no one single recognised institution (for the issue of grades) - from which legal precedence can be set, equally, there's no one single constant in respect to the circumstances by whish grades are issued thus, one man's fake or fraudulent 8th dan Shihan is another man's credible instructor.

The only constant in proving fraud in the cases of martial arts grades is, lineage and experience through the written/published claims of these people. Of course you're then in a position [but only just] to peruse [whom ever] by reporting that person to the authorities, especially if money is being exchanged for the services or skills being provided, if proved, individuals may face legal action for "Obtaining Pecuniary Advantage by Deception" However; unless there's large sums of cash involved the Crown Prosecution Service isn't going to spend the tax payer's money in investigating it, its what they'd term "Not in the public interest".

Now As I said at the beginning, I have stood my corner in respect of two individuals (one already named in this thread) who made ridiculous claims about their grades, experience and a title, one particular investigation took four (and a bit) years to prove and culminated in resolution with Sport England however, in neither instance did it alter the perception of people around those two individuals (who still pretty much claim what they claim) I even had "visits" to my dojo at the time from one of those individual's senior students looking to "discuss the matter personally" A friend of mine even had a written death threat (I kid you not), I was publicly berated by two a members of the Governing Body (one past/one present) of "…damaging the reputation of British Aikido" and, "…failing to grasp what aikido was actually about". The irony of both those statements always amuses me.

One thing I've learned from my time involved in investigating these kinds of people is this; despite all the ramblings we may make, there's nothing ultimately we can do about them, but simply ignore their egotistic and pathetic existences and ensure our own aikido is the best it can be by training. (And it took me five years to really realise that) Don't get me wrong, I do hold strong, often controversial opinions about the dire state of some aikido in UK, and I'll voice them without compunction but these fakes and frauds really don't care about you and I, their skin is waaay too thick and their ego too large.

I still stand by my previous question "Why are there 8th dan Shihan?" If this question was being asked by an authoritive body then perhaps we'd see less of it however, that's looking at the problem through rose tinted glasses because the BAB have little interest in validating the grades/lineage of the principal instructors (they've said so publicly) in its own umbrella because to do so would simply fragment further those from within the BAB and, regardless of their stated purpose, the BAB would cease to exist without that very membership fakes/frauds and all. A membership I might add, which has contributed a considerable amount of money held by the BAB.

Regards

Last edited by David Humm : 06-20-2006 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 06-20-2006, 09:32 AM   #50
Mark Freeman
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Re: British 8th dan?

Hi Dave,

I respect your position regarding the dificult nature of subject under discussion, and reading through your post forms a sad reflection of some of the aikidoka in our country, and the organisations representing them. One only has to spend some time on Ellis Sensei's web site to feel depressed by what one reads there.

I agree that the 'supporters' of these self proclaimed shihan who embelish their logevity and grade, do not want them knocked down, as this affects their own sense of judgement. So it goes.

I am appalled at the that threats that were made on you and your friend, akido, what aikido?

My teacher ( Ken Williams ) removed himself from the national aikido scene quite along time ago, he keeps himself and his students separate from the wider uk aikido body, which avoids some of the shennanigans you describe. We exist outside of the BAB which is the governing body for "All aikido in the UK". And from what I have read, I'm glad we are not a part of it.

Quote:
One thing I've learned from my time involved in investigating these kinds of people is this; despite all the ramblings we may make, there's nothing ultimately we can do about them, but simply ignore their egotistic and pathetic existences and ensure our own aikido is the best it can be by training. (And it took me five years to really realise that) Don't get me wrong, I do hold strong, often controversial opinions about the dire state of some aikido in UK, and I'll voice them without compunction but these fakes and frauds really don't care about you and I, their skin is waaay too thick and their ego too large.
You are right of course, at the end of the day they must live with themselves and their own personal demons. It is proof that 'walking their talk' is easier said than done.

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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