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Old 11-05-2009, 09:24 AM   #1
"Concerened (a bit)"
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Anonymous User
Aikikai Dan Ranks

Greetings all,

I have a situation that I would like some feedback on. I started aikido as a member of an Aikikai affiliated organization. About 6 months after receiving 1st kyu, my sensei resigned from the organization and passed away several weeks later. Since that time I have been promoted to Shodan, Nidan, and Sandan by my current sensei (a fellow deshi of my first sensei), who is ranked 5th dan aikikai but operates independently. So, as a result, my rank is not registered with aikikai.

My concern is not necessarily for me, but as a teacher, my concern is for the future of my dojo and my students. My sensei, though vibrant and full of strong technique and a wealth of knowledge, is up in age and has hinted at retiring in the next several years. Also, because he spent over half of his 40+ year aikido life under aikikai shihan "A" and about 3 more under aikikai shihan "B" he decided to be independent because he was tired of the "politics" and all the money that it was costing him. Being independent is not necessarily a big deal for me, and I have read the forums on aikiweb that have provided me with great perspectives on both sides of the issue. I would, however, like for my students to at least have the option of having their rank registered with aikikai, or not (when that time comes of course, which will be at least a couple of years from now).

After saying all of that, here is my question...

Is it possible for dan ranks awarded independently of aikikai, to be registered with the aikikai? If so, would I have to leave my current sensei in order to do that?

I heard of scenario with a gentleman who was a yoshinkai shodan, he then tested for nidan with an aikikai affiliated group, paid the shodan and nidan test fees, but aikikai only sent him a shodan certificate and said that he has to wait the minimum required time before they will mail out his nidan certificate.

Might I have to go through the same thing? Pay for all three tests, and only receive a shodan cert, then have to wait several years before actually receiving a nidan and sandan cert? There HAS to be a better way!

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I wanted to make sure that I provided as much background as I could.

Any feedback would be appreciated.
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Old 11-05-2009, 12:06 PM   #2
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

I wish I could help. I will be watching this post to see what others say because now you have me curious!

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:10 PM   #3
bkedelen
 
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Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

Other than a rather nice scroll (when they get your name right), I cannot imagine what you would gain from obtaining rank from the Aikikai.
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Old 11-06-2009, 12:49 AM   #4
Chris Li
 
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Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Is it possible for dan ranks awarded independently of aikikai, to be registered with the aikikai? If so, would I have to leave my current sensei in order to do that?
Anything is possible (whether it's likely is another question...) - mostly it depends upon who's submitting your application for promotion.

Best,

Chris

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Old 11-06-2009, 03:12 AM   #5
philipsmith
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Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

my understanding is that all non-Aikikai yudansha must re-register as Shodan (either by examination or recommendation) no matter what their non-Aikikai grade is.
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Old 11-06-2009, 05:15 AM   #6
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Is it possible for dan ranks awarded independently of aikikai, to be registered with the aikikai? If so, would I have to leave my current sensei in order to do that?
I see two possibilities:
You can become member of a aikikai affiliated organisation which doesn't only accept dojo or school as whole as members but also accepts individuals. So it doesn't require your teacher to be also a member of it.
This is the case in the aikido federation which I am a member of.

Second possibility is to ask a shihan - maybe shihan A or B would do so? - to directly submit your application form.
This I have witnessed this also.

Quote:
I heard of scenario with a gentleman who was a yoshinkai shodan, he then tested for nidan with an aikikai affiliated group, paid the shodan and nidan test fees, but aikikai only sent him a shodan certificate and said that he has to wait the minimum required time before they will mail out his nidan certificate.
This is the way when you get tested with the "next" grade in an aikikai organisation:
You have to register your shodan first an you will receive your nidan ceritificate two years after shodan registration.

Quote:
Might I have to go through the same thing?
I am not sure: But I think like philipsmith already said that you have to register shodan and wait and so on.

As far as I know only yudansha who did their gradings in an aikikai affiliated federation but didn't register it in Tokyo can register all their graduations in one step.

Greetings,
Carsten
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Old 11-06-2009, 05:55 AM   #7
SeiserL
 
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Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

Contact the Aikikai directly and ask.

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 11-06-2009, 07:20 AM   #8
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

Yes, I agree with Lynn.

The person to talk to is Mr M Tani, of the Aikikai's international department. He speaks good English and I have always found him very straightforward and reasonable. The website is www.aikikai.or.jp and you can find the e-mail address there.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 11-06-2009, 09:00 AM   #9
"Concerned (a bit)"
IP Hash: 8d96c937
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Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
Second possibility is to ask a shihan - maybe shihan A or B would do so? - to directly submit your application form.
This I have witnessed this also.
Shihan "A" is deceased, and I was not with him (sensei) during his short span with Shihan "B". So that is not possible.

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Contact the Aikikai directly and ask.
I did, and I received the following response:
"It would be better to contact to the Aikikai authorized person or organization in your area."

I guess the only other way would be to either be to remain independent or convince sensei to join an aikikai affiliated group.

Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
Other than a rather nice scroll (when they get your name right), I cannot imagine what you would gain from obtaining rank from the Aikikai.
As I stated, I'm ok with "non-aikikai" rank, my main concern is the "rank freeze" issue (or non-issue depending on how you view it), and the future of my students, I would like them to at least have the option of having aikikai certificates or not.

Thank you all for your feedback, this gives me something to think about.
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Old 11-06-2009, 09:18 AM   #10
"Concerned (a bit)"
IP Hash: 8d96c937
Anonymous User
Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Yes, I agree with Lynn.

The person to talk to is Mr M Tani, of the Aikikai's international department. He speaks good English and I have always found him very straightforward and reasonable. The website is www.aikikai.or.jp and you can find the e-mail address there.
By the way Professor Goldsbury, the response I received was from M Ito.

Best regards.
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Old 11-06-2009, 10:09 AM   #11
dps
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Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
As I stated, I'm ok with "non-aikikai" rank, my main concern is the "rank freeze" issue (or non-issue depending on how you view it), and the future of my students, I would like them to at least have the option of having aikikai certificates or not.
Not that it is a bad thing, what benefits do you perceive your future students having as a result of belonging to the Aikikai organization?

David
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Old 11-06-2009, 10:19 AM   #12
Dazzler
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Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

Hi Phil Smith and Carsten are both correct.

I have friends who wished to grade under Aikikai with Tamura Sensei.

One ikkyu could not as he had not taken a shodan with his own federation,

The second, a uk based nidan was only allowed to take shodan.

The third, a uk based sandan, following discussion with Tamura Sensei whom he had known for a considerable time, was (eventually) allowed to take an Aikikai Sandan. He had to pay for shodan, nidan and sandan but does not seem to have had to wait for certificates.

I wouldn't be unduly concerned with rank freeze - your students can always grade within your own organization and if they wish to have Aikikai grades then they can take them too.

Hope this may help

D
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Old 11-06-2009, 10:54 AM   #13
"Concerned (a bit)"
IP Hash: 8d96c937
Anonymous User
Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
Not that it is a bad thing, what benefits do you perceive your future students having as a result of belonging to the Aikikai organization?

David
That's a good point David! I'm not certain of the benefit, or even if there is any, because I have never experienced being part of an aikikai affiliated group as a yudansha. But in the aikido "world" (what little of it I have experienced), it seems to be a big deal. So I thought that maybe it would be nice to provide my students with that option should they have the desire.

My thought (which could be wrong) is that I would first need to have my rank registered with the Zaidan Hojin Aikikai in order for my students to have that option.

Thanks
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Old 11-06-2009, 11:27 AM   #14
kironin
 
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Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
That's a good point David! I'm not certain of the benefit, or even if there is any, because I have never experienced being part of an aikikai affiliated group as a yudansha. But in the aikido "world" (what little of it I have experienced), it seems to be a big deal.
It's actually not that big a deal.

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Old 11-06-2009, 06:17 PM   #15
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

Hello,

I am glad that Makoto Ito responded to you and that his response was of use.

Best wishes,

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
By the way Professor Goldsbury, the response I received was from M Ito.

Best regards.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 11-07-2009, 04:14 PM   #16
"Concerned (a bit)"
IP Hash: 4593cbb6
Anonymous User
Unhappy Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello,

I am glad that Makoto Ito responded to you and that his response was of use.

Best wishes,
Greetings Professor,

I never said his response was of use, only that he responded. He told me that my teacher's rank is registered at aikikai but mine is not (information that I already knew). After inquiring again about the possibility of having my rank registered at the aikikai, his response was as follows:

"It would be better to contact to the Aikikai authorized person or organization in your area."

Not very useful at all I'm afraid.
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Old 11-07-2009, 05:50 PM   #17
Rob Watson
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Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Greetings Professor,

I never said his response was of use, only that he responded. He told me that my teacher's rank is registered at aikikai but mine is not (information that I already knew). After inquiring again about the possibility of having my rank registered at the aikikai, his response was as follows:

"It would be better to contact to the Aikikai authorized person or organization in your area."

Not very useful at all I'm afraid.
But that is exactly what you need to do. It is exactly the correct answer. Maybe not what you were hoping to hear ...

According to the guidelines your instructor and a 2nd dan need to form their own organization or you need to go through an authorized aikikai person/organization. Your grade through 3rd dan can come from your 5th dan instructor but for them to be recognized you (or your instructor) need to go through the above process. It is spelled out pretty clear on the aikikai web site.

The only exception is if a shihan goes to bat for you - even better if it is one of the 'super' shihans.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 11-07-2009, 06:27 PM   #18
"Concerned (a bit)"
IP Hash: 4593cbb6
Anonymous User
Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

I appreciate you all for your insight into this matter. All of your comments have been useful in some way or another. I believe I have quite a few things to ponder, and to discuss with my sensei.

Thank you so very much!
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Old 11-07-2009, 10:30 PM   #19
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Aikikai Dan Ranks

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Greetings Professor,

I never said his response was of use, only that he responded. He told me that my teacher's rank is registered at aikikai but mine is not (information that I already knew). After inquiring again about the possibility of having my rank registered at the aikikai, his response was as follows:

"It would be better to contact to the Aikikai authorized person or organization in your area."

Not very useful at all I'm afraid.
Hello,

Yes, I suspected this when I wrote the original post. I nearly wrote, 'hope his response was of use.'

However, Robert Watson's answer is right. The emphasis has moved from individual shihan awarding dan ranks to organizations, and the older 'super-shihan', like Tada and Tamura, will not be replaced. So you will have a pattern of recognized aikido organizations, whose grading practices will be closely monitored by the Aikikai. Those who somehow fall through the cracks, like yourself, will need to create a new organization or establish a relationship with an existing one.

Actually, the problem of 'ronin yudansha' is not a new problem and I am occasionally contacted about the US military, for example, when American yudansha are sent to Japan and wish to maintain their relationship with the Aikikai.

If you PM me, I can perhaps give you more detailed information.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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