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Old 05-15-2002, 03:16 AM   #26
Peter Goldsbury
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I was rather shocked when I first came here and saw the low level of practice and teaching in the university clubs with which I am familiar.

But the local city and prefecture clubs are about on a par with anything I have seen in the US or Britain. Here in Hiroshima the general norm seems to be five years or more for a shodan, which is clearly seen as a starting grade. And the student is not normally allowed to initiate the process. The shihan or local instructors indicate when they think someone is ready to take a test.

For what its worth, I have heard from a number of Japanese shihans who live and teach abroad that they did not want to be thought 'soft' by their contemporaries in Japan, so they made sure that their grading requirements were at least as difficult as, if not more difficult than, those in Japan, especially at the Hombu.

Best regards,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 05-15-2002 at 03:20 AM.

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Old 05-15-2002, 08:52 AM   #27
guest1234
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I don't know if I'd say Western shodans are better than Japanese ones...I've met good and bad examples of both. And I don't even think amount of time is an indicator: I've met those who've made shodan in 2 years or less, and those who've taken 10 years, and the longer amount of time shodan was worse despite his much longer time in practice. Everyone is different, everyone learns at their own rate, progresses at their own rate---makes shodan at their own rate. Who cares how long it takes someone in Japan, or even my own dojo? I don't even care how long it takes me, if ever. The learning is the important thing, and most imiportant is that I'm learning at my own rate.

I think quality of shodans varies a lot from dojo to dojo, and sometimes (due to 'courtesy' promotions) even within a dojo. And some folks are really hung up on making a rank, and others not. Others see rank as an indication of their lown learning and progression, and as long as that is their focus, rather than a comparison of their rank vs someone elses, then it is a healthy thing. Personally, from all the variation in shodan ability I've seen, I think it just means that that particular person has reached a point (which is NOT standardized, but rather an indivualized point) that their particular sensei feels they are ready to move to another level (whatever THAT means to the sensei and the student). And that objective technical ability doesn't mean necessarily a whole lot in the sensei's determination.
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Old 05-15-2002, 09:25 AM   #28
akiy
 
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Hi Peter,

Quote:
Originally posted by Peter Goldsbury
For what its worth, I have heard from a number of Japanese shihans who live and teach abroad that they did not want to be thought 'soft' by their contemporaries in Japan, so they made sure that their grading requirements were at least as difficult as, if not more difficult than, those in Japan, especially at the Hombu.
This explains a lot! Thanks for the observation.

-- Jun

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Old 05-15-2002, 06:14 PM   #29
Gopher Boy
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It seems I am getting a little more comfortable posting so am throwing my little white-belt opinions around in a post about Shodans!

I can only vouch for my dojo but all the Shodans (and there are a few) behave in a certain way. Being a beginner and often not seeing the subtle (and important) differences in a technique as displayed by a Shodan and then a 3rd kyu, I can only focus on what is apparent to me. That is that all the Shodans are exceptionally nice, friendly, caring and actively helping beginners.

I think that there is a certain personal development that Sensei looks for in aspiring Shodans. The potential to be a responsible student, able to help the lower grades.

I only mention this (without any refernce to the time it takes) as there are a few posts on the technical abilities of Shodans and how they vary but I didn't see much on their personal development of character, which I feel must be equally important.

I hope, at least, then that I will make shodan as it will reflect for me a positive change in my character. With so many people saying that Aikido is not a violent art and if you want to maim people then do something else, is it unreasonable to think, then that a 'black belt' in Aikido signifies more that technical proficiency?


Phill.
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Old 05-17-2002, 02:11 AM   #30
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I trained in the UK regularly for 9 years, doing 6 hours a week without making black belt. When I relocated to Japan, I started again with no grade. I still don`t have one, but it is not something that I worry about or give much thought to. I train in Aikido because I enjoy it, and miss it when I don`t do it. My first Sensei always used to say "It`s better to see a good yellow belt than a poor black one".

For what it`s worth

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 05-21-2002, 06:48 PM   #31
virginia_kyu
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I just began Aikido and I thought when starting that I could possibly get my black belt in a few years. After taking some classes I think that 5-10 years is more realistic.

-- Michael Neal
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Old 05-21-2002, 08:02 PM   #32
Chris Wells
 
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belts arent as important as the knowlege

I dont believe that belts/ranks are as important as knowlege. I for one would hate to get a belt/rank and be expected to perform a way that i am not able to.

It was the great Mr. Miyagi who said the only belt that was important was his JC Penny $10 belt.

Christopher R. Wells
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Old 05-21-2002, 10:00 PM   #33
Greg Jennings
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Re: belts arent as important as the knowlege

Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Wells
I dont believe that belts/ranks are as important as knowlege. I for one would hate to get a belt/rank and be expected to perform a way that i am not able to.

It was the great Mr. Miyagi who said the only belt that was important was his JC Penny $10 belt.
Hi Chris and All Mudansha,

Ssssshhh. Quiet.

I'm going to divulge the secret that they give us yudansha with our black belts.

It's the single most, if not the only, important secret to attaining skill and high rank in aikido.

You must double dog promise and hope to spit if you ever divulge this closely guarded secret.

<Looking over both shoulders> Here it is....

Keep coming to class. Don't drop out.

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 05-21-2002, 10:18 PM   #34
akiy
 
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Re: belts arent as important as the knowlege

Quote:
Originally posted by Greg Jennings
Keep coming to class. Don't drop out.
You forgot: Don't die...

-- Jun

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Old 05-21-2002, 10:25 PM   #35
Greg Jennings
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Re: Re: belts arent as important as the knowlege

Quote:
Originally posted by akiy

You forgot: Don't die...
Wait! They didn't tell me that! I've been robbed!

Best Regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 05-21-2002, 10:28 PM   #36
Chris Wells
 
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haha@secrets being shared

I dont think you have to worry about me not ever coming to class. If i miss a day its likely i died...

going to class is one of the only things i look forward to, besides christmas and income tax check time

Last edited by Chris Wells : 05-22-2002 at 02:10 AM.

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Old 05-22-2002, 01:12 AM   #37
renfieldKuroda
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C


Just curious about a couple of things, do people in Japan generally get in more training time per week than those in the States or Canada? Or do they pick it up much faster than we do?
I think, like in any other country, some people here in Japan train only a couple days a week after work or school, and some people train almost religiously. Some study martial arts in school (junior high/high school/college) but then again the most popular after school sports are baseball and soccer.
There's probably a higher concentration of dojo in the cities, and even in the countryside practices are often available at schools/community centers, so access to instruction is probably higher than in most countries, but I don't think there's an innate tendency to excel in Japanese arts just because of one's nationality.

Regarding belts, it's been mentioned but worth seconding, a shodan black belt is attainable in a year or two in perfectly respectable dojo, but it by no means indicates an instructor-level mastery. It is more a symbol of commitment; putting in the time to get a shodan shows you are now a committed student of the art and in a sense your "real" training has begun.
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