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Old 01-24-2006, 09:50 PM   #26
aikidoc
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

I believe the aikikai minimum for shodan is 16.
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Old 01-24-2006, 10:06 PM   #27
GaiaM
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

Quote:
this coment is for sara. i agree that we as older ranks should be helping younger ranks. But what i am getting at is, someone who is going for shodan should be placed with someone of his or her stature, not a 6th or 7th kyu who cant fall. How does this help the 1st kyu. this just makes the 1st kyu softer when he goes for shodan. i like working with younger belts it is a lot of fun, and yes you do learn a lot from them but you also need to have someone who can both uke and nage. Thats all i am saying.
I agree with Janet - I think that the ability, patience and desire to work with students of all levels should not only be encouraged but EXPECTED, especially as one approaches the shodan level. If one is concerned about "going soft" before their test, I don't think they are ready for that rank. There is a lot of practice that goes into preparing for a blackbelt test, and of course it is going to be important to train with senior people to practice advanced and higher intensity techniques. However, finding time for this training is the testers responsibility - it does not mean they get to shirk in their class participation or avoid helping beginners.

As far as the age limit for shodan, I agree with folks who say that it is a matter of maturity and dedication rather than age. Yes, more adults are going to have the appropriate attitude and the dedication to stick with it to shodan level, but if a teenager gets there, more power to them. This is of course the sensei's responsibility to determine - yet another reason we value our teachers so much.

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Gaia Marrs
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Old 01-24-2006, 10:16 PM   #28
Edwin Neal
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

as to practice with differing ranks... i LOVE working with rank beginner's their reactions are genuine, and with lower ranks your waza gets tweaked by slower more precise practice... I don't PREPARE for tests, i practice the same all the time... I chose as Uke for a test someone who is usually LARGER, STONGER, and WILLING to be treated a little roughly (not for the whole test!!!) so that I can really "PUT IT ON" and challenge myself... when i am uke for a test i tell the nage to not hold back, don't BREAK me, but a few bruises are okay... in my dojo we practice all ranks mixed and there is no advanced or beginners classes... just everyone together in all classes

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-24-2006, 10:29 PM   #29
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

Quote:
Justin MacEachern wrote:
This true and what alot of people forget is that, these are overall children. ya see people tend to think oh they are young and healthy and can bounce right back. but i dont feel that is the case.
Just a nother example. iam curently ranked 3rd kyu. And i am 23 and have extensive backrounds in taekwando. How can i do techniques properly like irimi nage to a young child. I cant because they do not have enough strengh to protect thems elves with the fall.
but yet there are some teachers out there that will insist a higher ranked should be with a lower rank, like 1st kyu with a 6th kyu. how is the 1st kyu suppose to do technique.
Thank you for your time

Ok, so I know this is a late reply, but it's too good of an opening to pass up (plus I've been way to serious tonight, so I'm throwing some jokes in to shake it up a bit).

So how does a 1K work with a younger 6K? Handachi of course!!!

And to sum it up in the immortal words of Cosmo Kramer "But Jerry, we're all at the same skill level"

And I'd love to add some serious stuff to the topic, but I'm too out of it right now and I'd probably end up just resorting back to those jokes. ciao
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Old 01-24-2006, 11:14 PM   #30
PeterR
 
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

This thread has morphed a bit hasn't it?

I infinitely more prefer to train with someone who is my peer or greater in athleticism, skill, and yehaaa factor. I'll easily sacrifice athleticism for skill but that's about it. I do Aikido for primarily selfish reasons. Sorry is that not politically correct?

Sure I can still get benefit from lower ranked individuals but there comes a point where I don't. However, if I have any hope of having those who could help me most continue to put out, working with raw beginners is something I have to do. It's called payback.

On the other hand - I enjoy teaching and being an all round nice guy . But that is a different matter altogether (there is also a certain amount of understanding that one gains through explanation).

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-25-2006, 12:29 AM   #31
Edwin Neal
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

Peter i disagree you never reach a point where training with juniors is of no benefit... you seem to suffer from an aiki disease that i see often... some aikidoka think they must train with the Best... i knew a guy who only wanted to work out with dans because he said they knew more and he could thus learn more from them... this is simply EGO... i learn alot about how to apply MY waza by being uke, i simply love to be uke, with less experienced people i often "feel" where their waza is weak and this helps me refine my own... many of the dans that i practice with note that my grasp of kaeshiwaza (counters/reversals) is very good, i relate this directly to practice with juniors... sure I have some prefered partners for really intense randori/sparring, but remember everyone was a beginner once (i still am) and if no one trained with juniors, or received no benefit from training with juniors, then how would anyone ever advance? ie how do you train with a higher rank if you're the highest ranked person in the dojo??? You sound like a nice guy... try not to become an aikisnob...

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-25-2006, 12:43 AM   #32
James Smithe
 
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

I think it should be 16.
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Old 01-25-2006, 12:52 AM   #33
Edwin Neal
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

so james you think Kids should be able to begin training at about 10 or 11 years old, because i figure about 5 years more or less to earn a rank of shodan... by the way where are you in texas as i will probably be visiting my brother in san antonio in the early spring perhaps you could refer me to some schools... thank you

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-25-2006, 01:58 AM   #34
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

Just my 2 cts:

I think 18 is a good age for a general rule for shodan requirement, but more as a rule of thumb.

While I do not think that most 18 year old are mature enough for receiving shodan, even if they are technically perfect, there could be a few younger girls and boys that are. So you better leave space for exceptions. Remind that shodan is not a teaching licence per se.

On the other hand it sounds a little bit strange, if you allow young peaople driving 300 hp vehicules right after a week-end seminar, if they wear guns without any education or test, but you do not allow them just to wear a black belt on the mat (outside they can wear whatever they want).

Dirk
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Old 01-25-2006, 02:15 AM   #35
RebeccaM
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

You guys do realize that a shodan is more or less equivalent to a high school diploma, right? And all a high school diploma means is that you can (hopefully) read, write, and do some simple sums. You aren't an expert in anything. In essence, all you know is technique. And most of the people getting high school diplomas are 18 or younger...maybe we should raise the graduation age while we're at it. Do 18 year-olds really have the maturity to get jobs, sign legal contracts, vote, enlist, or go to college? Thing is, maturity isn't something that comes with birthdays. It comes with experience. There's all kinds of things that can kick a teen-ager into adulthood before they hit some magic number of years.

I realize that the analogy for shodans works best with the American education system. I understand that in Europe you can get out of high school with some real qualifications. Unfortunately, the American system is the only system I'm really familiar with.

I suppose if you're going to set an age limit, 16 makes as much sense as anything. If you can drive when you're 16 you might as well be able to get a shodan as well.

And, for what it's worth, I find working with beginners rather challenging. They do the oddest things, both to their partners and themselves...
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Old 01-25-2006, 04:11 AM   #36
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

Quote:
Craig Constantine wrote:
...can you provide any references for this information? I'm always intrested in learning more physiology and kinesology.
Kind of. They were given at the BAB course for coaching. All references came from NSCPP. Look them up. Otherwise, I'd look at medical journals.

A lot of that was due to keeping kids safe in sport movement within the UK after some parents sued sport coaches because they made the kids do things that included the risk of injuries.

As I do not teach kids, I never looked more deeply into it. Although it seems reasonable. Of course, I think that you can do wrist locks if you are careful. How careful, I do not know. Again, I don't teach kids.

[quote=Rebecca Montange]???? I started training when I was 12. My wrists are fine. So are my brother's. [\QUOTE]

Anecdotes are not evidence. Just because you are fine does not mean that everyone else is. I said that there was a risk of injuries -- use of can as a possibility not a certitude. See above.

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-25-2006, 05:50 AM   #37
Mark Freeman
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

My own experience is this:

I started a kids class when I first ventured into teaching aikido. I thought that the minimum age should be 8 as I figured that by that age they should be able to last the 1 hour, attention span wise. I did take on 1 young lad who was 7 because he looked me straight in the eye and asked me if he could start, because he really wanted to do it. So on he came. He's still with me roughly 6 years later, and is now practicing happily with my adults group.
As for the age for 1st dan? Our Federation has a minimum age of 17, and a great grading system that allows for juniors to progress, through to youth, and finally to senior grading, with gradings taking place at regular intervals.
As for wrist damage, we just don't practice in a way that may cause damage. Our emphasis is on movement and co-ordination, and not using 'strength' to apply techniques. ( you've probably guessed I am from the Ki end of the aikido spectrum ).
One of my juniors, a young girl of almost 13, has been with me for about 4 years, has moved up to practice with the adults. She has no trouble dealing with the fully grown men, and many of them are totally surprised by how effortlessly she can perform her technique. I just smile, when I hear a loud bang as someone hits the mat down the end that she is practicing, as when I look it is inevitably some guy on the end of her 'aikido'.
Ages are thing, maturity is another, attitude another still, sometimes they come together sometimes they don't.

I recently read in our local paper of a 6 year old gaining a black belt in TKD. Now that may be a little young, don't you think?

Cheers,

Mark

Last edited by Mark Freeman : 01-25-2006 at 05:59 AM.

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Old 01-25-2006, 06:35 AM   #38
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
Our emphasis is on movement and co-ordination, and not using 'strength' to apply techniques. ( you've probably guessed I am from the Ki end of the aikido spectrum ).
Hi Mark,

I'm not from the KI end of the spectrum, but that's how I teach too, that's what all Aikido should be like.

With regards black belts for kids, I don't think so. 17 or 18 is fine assuming that theyve been practicing for a while before hand. Our association too has a grading structure for juniors that pretty much makes it impossible for them to grade to black belt.

I started a junior class about 2 and a half years ago, my minimum age was originally 7, because the first student who joined it was then 7. All my original students bar 2 still train with me, but I have changed the beginning age to 9. this is because the age range is too diverse and I can't spread enough of myself around the class in an hour to benefit them all. If they're a little older, it's easier for me.

One of my original students is now 15, and she has just switched into my senior class. It's been an eye opener for her, but, a couple of weeks back she was practicing with three strapping chaps (one a visitor from Holland), 2 well over 6 feet tall, and she floored all three of them one after the other with fantastic tenchinage's, it was a pleasure to watch.

I agree with most here, maturity and age are not at all related.

rgds

Bryan

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Old 01-25-2006, 06:54 AM   #39
Mark Freeman
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

Quote:
Bryan Bateman wrote:
One of my original students is now 15, and she has just switched into my senior class. It's been an eye opener for her, but, a couple of weeks back she was practicing with three strapping chaps (one a visitor from Holland), 2 well over 6 feet tall, and she floored all three of them one after the other with fantastic tenchinage's, it was a pleasure to watch.
Hi Bryan,

a pleasure to read too! Make's you feel proud doesn't it?

As for your quote "I'm not from the KI end of the spectrum, but that's how I teach too, that's what all Aikido should be like."

You and I may agree but I'm not sure everyone in aikido does!

Cheers

Mark

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Old 01-25-2006, 09:21 AM   #40
ajbarron
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

" What about an upper age limit :-) " Mark Walsh

Don't go there my friend.................. Having started late in the game I was thinking that the minimum age for shodan should be about 54 - 55 !!!!!! ( Gee that's me; and my test is next month if knees, shoulders, hips and elbows willing) Not only that, but the other candidate is a spring chicken of about 35-36!!

Seriously; maturity and contribution to the dojo should be an important criteria for a shodan ranking.

In our dojo Sensei Inaba always tells us that 60% of any test evaluation, at any level is your dedication and consistency of practice. That doesn't mean you'll pass and I know that because I've had probationary passes with extra hours added and sometimes not tested even when I had all the hours required.

I quess it all boils down to what is a black belt. To me it means I've been recognized as a student who really is willing to continue to learn and develop in the art.

"I keep falling down, but I always keep getting up."

Last edited by ajbarron : 01-25-2006 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 01-25-2006, 11:29 AM   #41
Mato-san
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

Does rank matter? Does it matter, is your waza smooth ,do you feel relaxed during and after class, I love that feeling of being so relaxed and I dont need grog or drugs to do it! Aikido is so much,, it is hard to come here and say cheap words, sorry I can`t contribute!

Before you drive or steer your vehicle, you must first start the engine, release the brake and find gear!
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Old 01-25-2006, 01:12 PM   #42
Lyle Bogin
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

"But is it only about just learning the moves?"

Yes. The only way to have testing be fair is to set forth criteria in terms of the performance of technique and length of study and abide by them. There can be exceptions for outrageous behavior, but beyond that we wander into dangerous territory.
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Old 01-26-2006, 01:22 AM   #43
PeterR
 
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

Seems the conversation has morphed back to where it was before.

Still, me being me - I have to respond to the lecture.

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
Peter i disagree you never reach a point where training with juniors is of no benefit... you seem to suffer from an aiki disease that i see often... some aikidoka think they must train with the Best... i knew a guy who only wanted to work out with dans because he said they knew more and he could thus learn more from them... this is simply EGO... i learn alot about how to apply MY waza by being uke, i simply love to be uke, with less experienced people i often "feel" where their waza is weak and this helps me refine my own... many of the dans that i practice with note that my grasp of kaeshiwaza (counters/reversals) is very good, i relate this directly to practice with juniors... sure I have some prefered partners for really intense randori/sparring, but remember everyone was a beginner once (i still am) and if no one trained with juniors, or received no benefit from training with juniors, then how would anyone ever advance? ie how do you train with a higher rank if you're the highest ranked person in the dojo??? You sound like a nice guy... try not to become an aikisnob...
I really do think you mis-read the post Edwin. Having started two dojo from scratch and just by nature I tend to work alot with beginners - even at Honbu. So much that my own students have come up to me and told me to be more greedy.

I train beginners for one main reason and one secondary one. Primarily I need to train a cadre of competent training partners. Since people always leave I need to attract and train new members. If I lived closer to my teacher I'd scratch reason number 1. Secondarily I love the enthusiasm of brand new students and really enjoy helping them get their sea legs.

The question was about benefit and my answer remains the same.
The further they are below your skill level the lower the benefit to the point it approaches zero. This is not Aikisnob or ego - it is an observation based on my experience.

Some people like the unpredictable nature of beginners. I used to think the same until after a little while I find them totally predictable or at least their actions are not unique - scratch that reason. Beside unpredictable is what randori is all about.

Helping lower ranked students does help you understand your waza but again its the law of diminishing returns. The first few times you help someone with exam techniques that you've just past your understanding explodes. It really helps but very soon that particular benefit disappears.

Everyone in my dojo helps their kohei, its part of the price of getting their sempai's help. That in reality is the only true benefit.


********


Back to the conversation at hand. I figure if a person has 5 years of regular training he is due for a Shodan no matter what the age they started. If they move to an adult class and the curriculum is different or the demand higher than perhaps they need to give up the student grade for some kyu rank. Of course this is the Shodokan way - works pretty good if you ask me.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-26-2006, 01:38 AM   #44
Edwin Neal
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

Peter i still disagree, but i apologize, i did not intend a lecture, just making a point... i do not buy the "law of diminishing returns" thing... any practice with any one of any rank can give benefit or not... i have trained with shihan and gotten "little" return and vice versa... the return is dependent upon you (generally, not personally)...

back on topic the curriculum should be the same for all students, although some schools i have been to don't teach shihonage until brown belt or above, shiho nage was the first technique i was ever taught... there are no "advanced" techniques... you know more ways to apply waza with more experience... and i agree about 5 years is good for shodan, but that still leaves alot of ground to cover!!!

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-26-2006, 03:19 AM   #45
kohaku
 
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

in my dojo we start kids classess at 4, this is not so much about aikido but about discipline and fitness, after they have done the "little dragon" syllabus they will move into a junior regime at the age of 8, here they start on a specific syllabus designed for children to which they are able to achieve a junior dan grade, we also provide a form of cadets for the older teenagers that aren't ready for adult classes, if any of these children attain junior shodan they will continue in their relevent age group classes wearing a black belt but not a hakama, until they are ready to join the adults, upon joining the adults they start a program which guides them through the adult syllabus giving them coloured stripes on their black belt for the relevant kyu grade achieved on the adult syllabus, then when ready will grade for adult dan grade, which has to be older as we still use live tanto for our dan grades. so in my opinion if you have the right syllabus in place there shouldn't be a question of age for certain tests.

as for the part of higher grades training with lower grades, i think you have to pretty up yourself to believe you can't learn anything from a low kyu grade, and perhaps you should looking at yourself and asking what you are doing training with this kind of view. if you open yourself to your aikido you will learn as much from training with 7th kyu as you will from 1st kyu. and surely a 1st kyu training for dan grade should need to learn the humble side of aikido and train with lower grades, rather than selfishly training for oneself rather than for the group. i feel that humility is an important lesson to be learnt by all.
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Old 01-26-2006, 04:43 AM   #46
Mark Freeman
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

Quote:
Drew Mercer wrote:
as for the part of higher grades training with lower grades, i think you have to pretty up yourself to believe you can't learn anything from a low kyu grade, and perhaps you should looking at yourself and asking what you are doing training with this kind of view. if you open yourself to your aikido you will learn as much from training with 7th kyu as you will from 1st kyu. and surely a 1st kyu training for dan grade should need to learn the humble side of aikido and train with lower grades, rather than selfishly training for oneself rather than for the group. i feel that humility is an important lesson to be learnt by all.
I'll second that opinion.

regards,

Mark

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Old 01-26-2006, 06:14 AM   #47
markwalsh
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

Hi Andrew,

Completly agree - only joking before - feel I should make that clear before I get a good kicking :-)

Cheers,

Mark
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