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Old 03-16-2006, 07:04 AM   #1
Kung Fu Liane
Location: Jersey
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 64
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Wrong Grade?

Hi All,

Two weeks ago I was one of only two students to turn up to class; the other was a Dan grade who also acts as a teacher. We went through a pretty intense training session under the supervision of the two most senior teachers in the school, and I had a really good time. At the end of the session, the senior teacher announced that he had decided to 'ramp up' the training as a test, and that I was to be given the rank of 2nd Kyu. One problem: I don't feel as if I have earnt it; I don't feel like I know enough Aikido yet, and I certainly don't have the mat hours for it (having only studied for two acadmeic years at college and a few months at the current school before taking a 2.5 year break).

My teacher's explanation was that he had watched me train in my other arts (he is a good friend of my old Tai Chi teacher) and that my grade was a mesaure of how I took instruction, how I approached my training, etc.

Has anyone else ever felt like this about a grade that they were given? Or have any teachers out there ever given a grade for a similar reason?

Any insights that you could offer me would be gratefully recieved as I don't feel that I am going to properly enjoy my training until I get it settled in my head.

Aikido: a martial art which allows you to defeat your enemy without hurting him, unless of course he doesn't know how to breakfall in which case he will shatter every bone in his body when he lands. Also known as Origami with people
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Old 03-16-2006, 07:49 AM   #2
Dirk Hanss
 
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Dojo: Aikidoschule Trier
Location: Merzkirchen
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Germany
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Re: Wrong Grade?

Hi Liane,
your nickname tells me that you are used to working hard

I do not know, how good you really are, but the range from 2nd kyu aikidoka, I have seen range from "I wanted to help him on a simple technique, before I noticed, he holds a 2nd kyu" up to "Not a Dan only due to formal restrictions".

So I guess you will find yourself well in between. Just trust your sensei. If he really made a mistake, the only effect is that you will take longer from 2nd kyu to shodan, nothing else.

Some organisations have formal restriction, which do not allow that procedure. Only if you feel that you are missing "test experience" you might ask your sensei to arrange a formal test, as for ikkyu and shodan there would be other test environments and you might like to get used to that.

From my side just

CONGRATULATIONS !!!
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Old 03-16-2006, 08:04 AM   #3
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,219
United Kingdom
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Re: Wrong Grade?

Accept the grade given with grace. Your Sensei obviously thinks that you are ready to practice at that level. So enjoy the new status, and carry on training with focus and enjoyment, and oh yes, congratulations.

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 03-16-2006, 08:47 AM   #4
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 643
Israel
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Re: Wrong Grade?

Quote:
Has anyone else ever felt like this about a grade that they were given? Or have any teachers out there ever given a grade for a similar reason?
In our Dojo almost every one who finished a test claimed he had failed it, most pass, and some even with flying colors. The type of test you had is quite common in our dojo but for higher levels (Nidan and above). Basically, most of us prefer it this way, and would even rather to keep promotions secret since we do not feel we are entitled to them.

Amir
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Old 03-16-2006, 10:36 AM   #5
Nick Simpson
Dojo: White Rose Aikido - Durham University
Location: Gateshead
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 916
United Kingdom
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Re: Wrong Grade?

Congratulations, just enjoy it.

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 03-16-2006, 10:49 AM   #6
Kung Fu Liane
Location: Jersey
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 64
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Re: Wrong Grade?

Thanks guys. I suppose I don't really know my new teacher that well, but I'll have to learn to trust his judgement if I'm going to continue training with him.

Dirk - the literal translation should be changed to "sweat, blood and tears"

Amir - "...would even rather to keep promotions secret since we do not feel we are entitled to them..." that pretty much sums up how I felt..

Aikido: a martial art which allows you to defeat your enemy without hurting him, unless of course he doesn't know how to breakfall in which case he will shatter every bone in his body when he lands. Also known as Origami with people
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Old 03-16-2006, 12:12 PM   #7
Josh Reyer
 
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Location: Aichi-ken, Nagoya-shi
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Japan
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Re: Wrong Grade?

In Japan, two academic years would be enough for a shodan.

I dunno. I'm still in the kyuu ranks myself, but you know, it's just 2nd kyuu. Certainly there's something of "grade extension" outside Japan, wherein more is expected of kyuu ranks than is expected here. But I don't think kyuu ranks are really something you should be in awe of, or not feel ready for. Save that stuff for the dan ranks.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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Old 03-16-2006, 04:18 PM   #8
Michael O'Brien
Dojo: Nashville Aikikai
Location: Nashville, Tn
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United_States
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Re: Wrong Grade?

I had a similar experience once when I was training in TKD many years ago and like you was caught completely off guard by the situation.

Continue to train hard and CONGRATS!!!

Harmony does not mean that there are no conflicts,
for the dynamic spiral of existence embraces both extremes.
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Old 03-17-2006, 08:55 AM   #9
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
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Re: Wrong Grade?

This is a new school/style/teacher for you?

Your new instructor just paid a very nice complement to your previous instructor. Say thank you on his behalf.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 03-17-2006, 10:48 AM   #10
kaishaku
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 74
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Re: Wrong Grade?

Clearly you were promoted to the wrong grade. I hereby demote you to rokkyu.

Hope that helps, have a nice day
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Old 03-20-2006, 06:19 AM   #11
Steve Mullen
Dojo: White Rose (Sunderland)
Location: Washington
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England
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Re: Wrong Grade?

Liane,

My advice to you is the same as it is to anyone who unexpectedly gets a grade, its a simple six step plan you should adopt

1) go to fridge
2) take out beer (insert cake/wine as per preference)
3) sit in biggest, most comfortable chiar in house (preferably one that has unobscured view of the TV)
4) open beer (or get a lower kyu grade to come to your house and do this for you)
5) drink beer
6) enjoy

Questions? ; )

"No matter your pretence, you are what you are and nothing more." - Kenshiro Abbe Shihan
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Old 03-20-2006, 06:57 AM   #12
raul rodrigo
Location: Quezon City
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 777
Philippines
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Re: Wrong Grade?

Quote:
Liane Guillou wrote:
I don't feel as if I have earnt it; I don't feel like I know enough Aikido...Has anyone else ever felt like this about a grade that they were given? Or have any teachers out there ever given a grade for a similar reason?.
In all the exams I've taken over the past ten years, I've never felt as if I earned my belt, even when I took one for shodan. I'm always behind my own expectations for how I'm supposed to do. But here's the thing. My own expectations are irrelevant. Its my sensei who has the right to decide. To get hung up on your deserving or not deserving your belt is vanity in reverse. Get over it. Get back to training. It doesnt matter in the end.
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Old 03-20-2006, 10:08 AM   #13
CaseyD
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 18
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Re: Wrong Grade?

Enjoy your new grade. If you feel like there are areas that you need to improve on in order to "deserve" your grade then work on them. By the time you finish that you'll probably be ready for your 1st kyu.
Good luck and congratulations!
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Old 03-20-2006, 03:55 PM   #14
Lan Powers
Dojo: Aikido of Midland, Midland TX
Location: Midland Tx
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 659
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Re: Wrong Grade?

Personally, I find Ron's remarks on this particularly insightful.

Nothing new there by the way.....

Be happy, enjoy the "glow" ,then forget about it, since it ultimately means you are doing well on the course of instruction, not that you are DONE with instruction.
Congratulations (But stay focused)
Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 03-27-2006, 06:31 PM   #15
Melissa Fischer
Dojo: Tenzan Aikido/Seattle Holistic Center
Location: Seattle, Wa USA
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 53
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Re: Wrong Grade?

Sometimes 2nd kyu is the beginning of being thrown harder since you're supposed to be able to take it now. So, hopefully you're ukemi is really good. Probably is or you wouldn't have been unexpectedly bumped up. At our dojo you would have missed your promotion night pizza party. Now you'll have to throw one for your own self!!

Congratulations!

Melissa
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Old 03-29-2006, 07:26 PM   #16
Adam Alexander
Dojo: none currently
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 499
United_States
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Re: Wrong Grade?

Quote:
Liane Guillou wrote:
Any insights that you could offer me would be gratefully recieved as I don't feel that I am going to properly enjoy my training until I get it settled in my head.
Over the years, I've seen several people with dan ranks that didn't appear to be the result of technical proficiency and I've seen plenty of people test for dan that I thought were sure to get it because their technique was so crisp...and they were failed.

I've gone to other schools and watched "san"-dans who's movements were laughable-- I figured the hakamas must of been to hide the shame. LOL.

I've read on this site about "black belts who've never been in a fight." Apparently, for some, being in fights is a requirement of the belt.

I believe that the reason anyone doesn't "feel" like they deserve a rank is because they have a preconceived idea about what it means to be that rank.

If I were in your shoes, I'd reconsider what that rank means.

As a beginner or low-intermediate, a second kyu may appear like something that signifies technical competence. However, the longer I train, the more I see that none of them appear very significant...until third and fourth dan.

I haven't seen anyone at that level (in my style) that isn't amazing.

I wouldn't put so much into a belt.
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Old 03-30-2006, 07:11 PM   #17
George S. Ledyard
 
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
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Re: Wrong Grade?

The correct response here is "Thankyou".

Then get back on the mat and train until you feel you actually merit the rank you have. Most of the serious folks I know always have felt that they weren't as good at a particular level as they wanted to be... Grow into the rank. You know what you need to know to justify that rank in your own mind; so train and get there.

This won't likely change. When I recieved my Sixth Dan, I certainly didn't feel Iike I met my own standard for what that rank should entail. I am only now starting to grow into the rank I've now had for a number of years.

Don't take it too seriously and don't treat it lightly... Just use it as another motivating factor to do better...

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 03-31-2006, 09:04 AM   #18
SeiserL
 
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Dojo: Roswell Budokan, Kyushinkan Dojo, Aikido World Alliance
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Re: Wrong Grade?

My compliments and congratulations.

IMHO, most of the incompetent people think they deserve the rank before they even get close to that level. Most of the people who tend to be more competent, train hard, and never believe they deserve the rank they receive.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 04-07-2006, 10:45 AM   #19
rottunpunk
Dojo: koteikan aikido centre
Location: great britain
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 74
United Kingdom
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Re: Wrong Grade?

i agree with lynne very muchly.

i had a similar experience in iai, where i was graded after just 6 months to 2nd kyu by iwata sensei after doing a day of ALL the waza. (i thought my grading was in the embu that i did so badly in the day before)

if the teacher thinks you are worth the grade then (if they are a good teacher) they will award you with that grade.

personally i prefer the japanese 3 level system. the teacher will tell the student when they have reached the first level and thus should start looking at different things in their learning in order to advance to the next.

if your teacher thinks you are worth 2nd kyu then you must be. but it does mean (as it meant for me) that you have to work darn hard to keep that grade and skill level and work harder to improve to move on to the the next
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Old 04-17-2006, 04:30 AM   #20
John (King John)
 
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Dojo: Prince Bishops Durham/ White Rose
Location: Durham (north east England)
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England
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Re: Wrong Grade?

Quote:
Deborah Bell wrote:
if your teacher thinks you are worth 2nd kyu then you must be. but it does mean (as it meant for me) that you have to work darn hard to keep that grade and skill level and work harder to improve to move on to the the next
I thought it was only me who felt I wasn't good enough for a particular grade. I thought when I was ready for a dan grade I would be perfect! (ability to fly etc. ). Even now I struggle with some things and sometimes feel I'm going backwards. Now my Sensei is talking about Nidan, argh

Grab my arm.....The other arm.....MY other arm
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Old 04-17-2006, 10:40 AM   #21
Mike Cook
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 5
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Re: Wrong Grade?

Congratulations Liane, nice to hear things are going well for you.

Mike (Warwick)
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Old 04-18-2006, 06:44 AM   #22
Steve Mullen
Dojo: White Rose (Sunderland)
Location: Washington
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 270
England
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Re: Wrong Grade?

Grab my arm.....The other arm.....MY other arm

come on john, you can tell us, this was a conversation you had with cleetus isn't it

"No matter your pretence, you are what you are and nothing more." - Kenshiro Abbe Shihan
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Old 04-18-2006, 01:02 PM   #23
John (King John)
 
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England
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Re: Wrong Grade?

Steve, I'm astonished. Surely you know where that comes from.

Cleetus could very easily be Kip, however. lol etc

I am pleased you noticed Steve

Grab my arm.....The other arm.....MY other arm
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Old 04-25-2006, 09:15 AM   #24
Ed Shockley
Dojo: aikikai of Philadelphia
Location: philadelphia
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Re: Wrong Grade?

All of us know that belts are primarily to hold the dogi closed and/or pants up. The answer to any rank event is always the same. Train harder.
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