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Old 02-12-2007, 07:36 AM   #76
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
I think there's a danger of taking this too far, sometimes it strikes me as a slightly vainglorious way of defending why we've all spent so much time on something the vast majority couldn't care less about.
As small aside-
I could have spent the last 12 years on a thread-mill over at a gym but instead I spent them doing Aikido. I got vigorous exercise, met hundreds of great people, had wonderful times and have been richly rewarded in learning some things I didn't know and never would have learned otherwise. If the vast majority "couldn't care less about it" maybe they should.
Best wishes,
Jorge

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 02-12-2007, 09:55 AM   #77
senshincenter
 
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Dojo: Senshin Center
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Hi All,

Well, these are all very good points -- all open to further discussion/debate. Perhaps we can and should, however, return to the main points of John's original question and my original response -- before we wander off a bit more than we might want.

Let me come to my original answer from another point of view:

Rather than debate all that rank symbolizes (or not), please allow me to grant any and all things it might stand for. Additionally, please let me grant it all of its uses. I do not think my point requires that it not stand for "x" or "y" or that it cannot be used to achieve "z," etc. My point, is that rank is symbolic in nature. My position does not rest upon what rank stands for or not but that rank is that which stands for something else. That is to say, for example, rank is the map that is not the territory.

Across the globe and across history, folly has always been connected to Man's tendency to be captured by a representation over that that is being represented. Equally, virtue has always been connected by Man's capacity to not be taken in by his/her tendency toward representations. This, in essence, is my position concerning an interest in rank and its relation to what I am calling a character flaw. An interest in rank, for whatever ends, regardless of what rank stands for, is an attachment to that which stands for what is real but that is itself only symbolic. It is an attachment then to that which is not real -- which, for me, is folly.


d

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 02-12-2007, 10:13 AM   #78
happysod
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
Location: London
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

I really want whatever Davids having...
Quote:
My point, is that rank is symbolic in nature
totally agree, which by extension also ties nicely into the independent/federated route - good one.

[rest removed when I realised I'd misread Davids post]
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:12 PM   #79
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Hi All,


It is an attachment then to that which is not real -- which, for me, is folly.


d
Ahh! Spoken like a Buddhist. Is your concern with rank then that we tend to become attached to it as if it really had some meaning?
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Old 02-12-2007, 06:00 PM   #80
G DiPierro
Location: Ohio
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

David,

I agree with your point. For me the experience of attending college and learning the things I learned in and out of the classroom means far more than the degree I received, which is just a piece a paper that represents that I met a certain limited set of academic requirements. However, within a certain context having met these requirements has some importance. My position is that it is not an interest in rank or any other symbol that is a problem, but the excessive interest in rank, so common in aikido and other martial arts, that far outweighs any real importance that rank can be demonstrated to have.

To draw another comparison, most of us have an interest in money, which, like rank, is also a symbolic piece of paper. Because almost everyone has a strong interest in this symbol, that piece of paper can be universally exchanged for things that are quite real. Of course if you are a renunciate and have taken a vow of poverty, then you can make the argument that you have no interest in such things and that they are not, in fact, real to you, but for those of who are not we must acknowledge money has some inherent value to us even though it is just a symbol. Here too we could discuss an excessive interest in money, which also afflicts many people in our society.

In the case of rank in martial arts, I would say that it has value in two ways. The first is that it has some political meaning within the organization that issued it. That is, it reflects the opinion of that organization°«s leaders about where the person who received it stands in that organization. For this reason, I see rank as an intimate part of membership in such an organization. I understand why large organizations structure themselves in this way, but I think the decision to do so primarily serves the organization and its leaders rather than its students. When individual members of these organizations buy into the rank system and invest it with more meaning than it should have, they are essentially giving their power away to the organization, which is exactly what the organization and its leaders want.

The second value that rank has comes from the fact that many people both in and out of martial arts often think that rank has some universal meaning. This type of meaning exists simply because people believe it does, just like the value of money exists because people will almost always accept it in exchange for real and valuable goods. However, money is issued and backed (usually) by governments, while rank can be issued by any organization that wishes to issue it. Awarding rank is essentially a license to print money, both literally and figuratively, for martial arts organizations. Although large organizations like the Aikikai have a tighter rank policy than McDojos and rank mills, both because they can afford to and to preserve their reputations, it is a difference only of degree. When you actually look at the requirements that these organizations have, as I have done in previous posts, it is easy to see that the requirements are mostly arbitrary and not based on the factors that I and others would consider important, such as real martial skill or one's attainment of a °»higher plane°… personally.

I can accept the belief that martial arts rank has some universal meaning from people who are not experienced in martial arts, since I myself thought that rank had some great importance when I was a novice in aikido. Luckily, I had a teacher who disabused me of this notion very early on in my career. The problem I see is when experienced martial artists, and particularly teachers, hold rank in such regard, despite being intimately familiar with how rank is issued. Again, my experience is that they usually do so because they need to use their rank and their ability to control their students' access to rank as a way to make up for or hide their deficiencies as teachers, martial artists, and people.

-G DiPierro

Last edited by G DiPierro : 02-12-2007 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 02-12-2007, 07:14 PM   #81
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote:
David,

My position is that it is not an interest in rank or any other symbol that is a problem, but the excessive interest in rank, so common in aikido and other martial arts, that far outweighs any real importance that rank can be demonstrated to have.
Hence all of the 10th dan sokey dokeys popping up.

Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro wrote:
Again, my experience is that they usually do so because they need to use their rank and their ability to control their students' access to rank as a way to make up for or hide their deficiencies as teachers, martial artists, and people.

-G DiPierro
You must have had some bad experiences. Perhaps, they just want the knowledge attained by raising their level of training so they can pass it on to their students and continue to help them grow..
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Old 02-12-2007, 08:54 PM   #82
G DiPierro
Location: Ohio
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
You must have had some bad experiences. Perhaps, they just want the knowledge attained by raising their level of training so they can pass it on to their students and continue to help them grow..
Yes, I've had some bad experiences, but none of them have been with people who want to raise their level of training. Rather, they have been with people who want to limit their training only to the type of rigid interactions that can be defined within a rank hierarchy. They are only open to learning from people who are above them in the hierarchy and only open to teaching those who submit to being below them in the hierarchy. They won't risk letting go of the trappings of rank to have the kind of direct person-to-person interactions that are the essence of martial arts. They have been believing and convincing others to believe that their value as martial artists derives from and is defined by rank for so long that they are afraid there might not be anything else under there. Usually, they are partially correct in this belief.

The large organizations tend to support people in maintaining and even strengthening these attachments to rank since that increases the power of the organization and keeps people loyal to it. Although there are some good people in organizations who don't care about rank, I'm discouraged enough with the state of modern mainstream aikido that I'm pretty close to leaving it entirely. There's still a few teachers I haven't given up on yet, but dealing with the egos and politics of their students and others who attend the seminars where these people teach almost isn't worth it for me anymore. Now if I could get some one-on-one freestyle training with these guys that would be a different story entirely.

-G DiPierro

Last edited by G DiPierro : 02-12-2007 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 02-12-2007, 08:54 PM   #83
senshincenter
 
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Dojo: Senshin Center
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
Is your concern with rank then that we tend to become attached to it as if it really had some meaning?
Bingo!

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 02-17-2007, 10:06 PM   #84
JLRonin
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Re: independent dojo/switching affiliations

To Jason@southlakeaikikai. Please contact me at your leasure.
JLRonin2@yahoo.com, julioronin@hotmail.com
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