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Old 06-29-2010, 09:02 PM   #26
mickeygelum
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

Quote:
I prefer to both train and to live the rest of my life in a mindset other than either of those two extremes.
Surely with that mindset, you have no desire to be a competent martial artist?

Without the desire to achieve the skills that you, as an individual, are capable of, lends that you settle for mediocre ability.

Not to be offensive, but given your other opinions, that statement appears to be hypocritical, at the least.

Mickey
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Old 06-29-2010, 09:51 PM   #27
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

Why do folk reckon their own dojo or sometimes even their own nation has the highest standards in an art where there are so many different lineages and views on what is considered "good". Why not some third-world country where people's lives depend on the art for survival? As for training a bit longer than average before testing, it seems like a good idea to get in a bit more practice time but there is also a danger of simply ingraining bad technique over many years. When I once told a teacher I'd been training almost eight years and still hadn't got shodan he was shocked and stated bluntly "Either you are very unskilful or your teacher wasn't very good". I had my excuses but I got the point when I got my arse handed to me by people who'd trained for half that time. The hombu is a meeting point for various standards and interpretations of aikido. For starters, you could meet me there and regardless of your opinion of the quality of my aikido, my background is nothing like the hombu-stereotype certain people are so fond of bandying around for their own edification.
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:08 PM   #28
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

Different dojo have different standards. Done and done. It is neat to hear how things are in other places though. In our dojo, I hear that third kyu is a pretty big test. I believe our shodan test is easier then some of the previous tests, but most people test for shodan at the Birankai Summer Camp. Also, in our dojo, you have to be a first kyu for at least a year (ideally) to test for shodan. I imagine nidan would be at least double that.... but I'm not really sure.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:14 PM   #29
Basia Halliop
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

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As for training a bit longer than average before testing, it seems like a good idea to get in a bit more practice time but there is also a danger of simply ingraining bad technique over many years
I'm not sure I follow... how is this different from training for the same total amount of time with a test in the middle? Are we to assume that the day of the test is the primary means of getting feedback to correct 'bad technique'?

Quote:
When I once told a teacher I'd been training almost eight years and still hadn't got shodan he was shocked and stated bluntly "Either you are very unskilful or your teacher wasn't very good".
If he was a teacher from the same organization, who knew exactly what test you were expected to take, how often you trained, and what the standard for passing was, then OK.

But IMO a lot of the differences between expectations for how long it should take to reach a certain grade have to do with the fact that the grades are kind of arbitrary -- any organization can look at people of different skill levels and decide they'll call ____ a shodan so all the people less skilled are ikkyu, nikkyu, etc and all the people more skilled are nidan, sandan, etc. They could just as easily have picked some other level of skill and called it shodan and the names of the rest of the ranks would shift accordingly. Like using degrees to describe temperature... you can always say one thing is hotter than another, but anyone could make up their own scale for what numbers to assign... the 'standard' ones are Celcius, Farenheit, and Kelvin... but those were just invented by people to have a common language... I could take a thermometer and put numbers 1-10 wherever I wanted... it just aids in communication when more people share the same scale...
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:58 PM   #30
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

Quote:
Michael Gelum wrote: View Post
Surely with that mindset, you have no desire to be a competent martial artist?

Without the desire to achieve the skills that you, as an individual, are capable of, lends that you settle for mediocre ability.

Not to be offensive, but given your other opinions, that statement appears to be hypocritical, at the least.222
Do you really think that you can slime your way out of an inherently offensive statement by tossing in a meaningless and insincere "not to be offensive" disclaimer?

Or maybe you believe that because you can only see two extreme scenarios -- imminent death, or a pajama party -- that that's all that exists in life?

I'd say you're wrong in both cases.
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Old 06-30-2010, 02:48 PM   #31
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

Well hello Mary!...

The statement was not offensive, the fact is you like to ridicule and demean. You are always adversarial.

You just posted a statement that contradicts your posts in other threads. But, since we have to be nice no matter what lie, stand or view another has expressed here..we just can not say it is so.

As for sliming my way out...I was sincere about not trying to be offensive. But as usual, you did not let me down.
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Old 06-30-2010, 03:19 PM   #32
Janet Rosen
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

(ahem...stepping in, donning the voice of civility here, and asking BOTH Mickey and Mary to quit ad hominem attacks)
Mickey, you posited 2 extremes, then said "Without the desire to achieve the skills that you, as an individual, are capable of, lends that you settle for mediocre ability."
It appears that you equate treating every encounter on the training mat as potential death as the only way to acheive one's full potential.
I can say that I train seriously and w/ focus but my mindset never believes that my training partner is going to kill me; in fact, I purposely aim to cultivate other forms of feeling and intent within myself in order to manifest the best technique I'm capable of.
Definitely a case of YMMV.

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Old 06-30-2010, 06:20 PM   #33
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

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Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
I'm not sure I follow... how is this different from training for the same total amount of time with a test in the middle? Are we to assume that the day of the test is the primary means of getting feedback to correct 'bad technique'?
Sorry but that's not what I meant. The point is that there are various stratagems for claiming one's dojo, organisation, nationality etc is better than another. If you have a different technical syllabus or way of doing things that requires more time to learn then we're not comparing like for like.

Heat is a consistent phenomenon that we can relatively easily agree upon in our measurements. Wherever you stick the marks on your thermometer, we could convert them over into Celsius and even account for things such as differing air pressure affecting the results. Not so the case with aikido gradings: the interpretation of what constitutes aikido and the ease with which it can be transmitted is variable. For example, my Seifukai grading booklet has sections for ten kyu grades in Aikido (all empty btw ). How does that match up with say, Tada Shihan's take on the Hombu minimum requirements? Both scales are measuring different skills. The Aikikai's minimum requirements simply provide a small measure of common ground that balances the different viewpoints we get of the founder through his descendent students with the ability to come together and train as one family.
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:49 PM   #34
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

Quote:
Michael Gelum wrote: View Post
Surely with that mindset, you have no desire to be a competent martial artist?
I don't know Mary personally, and I don't know if she has a desire to be a competent martial artist or not. However if she didn't have that desire, would it really be anyone's concern but her own? How does her desires effect you, or not effect?
If she was lacking in some way martially well I'm sure she has a Sensei to correct her kata, mind-set or principle understanding.
We are all a bunch of yahoos on the internet to each other, and our judgment doesn't matter, and shouldn't matter. We are not each other's Sensei.

MM
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:01 PM   #35
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

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Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
It appears that you equate treating every encounter on the training mat as potential death as the only way to acheive one's full potential.
I can say that I train seriously and w/ focus but my mindset never believes that my training partner is going to kill me; in fact, I purposely aim to cultivate other forms of feeling and intent within myself in order to manifest the best technique I'm capable of.
Definitely a case of YMMV.
I personally believe that Uke is as much of an Aikidoka as Nage is. They aren't hunks of meat that mindlessly attack and idiotically get thrown. There is a lot more dignity to the position than that in my opinion. A morotedori done effectively should control and take nage's ballance. Frankly, that's the type of energy that make techniques fun and challenge nage to study hard. Ukemi is an art form in my opinion. I was told once that there is not an Aikidoka alive that isn't, or once was, a better nage than uke. They told me that you will struggle with nage so long as your ukemi art is sub-par.

I don't necessarily take the mind-set that my uke is going to try and kill me, but I do view them as competent, and a challenge. I mean these are some of my closest friends LOL, it's hard to view them as murderous idiots. I view them as a challenge to my nage. and, I view my nage as a challenge to my ukemi. It is a bit incestuous.

Last edited by RED : 06-30-2010 at 09:06 PM.

MM
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:15 PM   #36
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

Back on topic.

This is O'Sensei's opinion for how long you should be training before Shodan(lowest grade, first grade):

"In your training do not be in a hurry, for it takes a minimum of ten years to master the basics and advance to the first rung. Never think of yourself as an all-knowing, perfected master; you must continue to train daily with your friends and students and progress together in Aikido"- O'Sensei

MM
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Old 07-01-2010, 03:14 AM   #37
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

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Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
I don't know Mary personally, and I don't know if she has a desire to be a competent martial artist or not. However if she didn't have that desire, would it really be anyone's concern but her own? How does her desires effect you, or not effect?
If she was lacking in some way martially well I'm sure she has a Sensei to correct her kata, mind-set or principle understanding.
We are all a bunch of yahoos on the internet to each other, and our judgment doesn't matter, and shouldn't matter. We are not each other's Sensei.
Well, this is precisely what leads to dilution of the art.
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:17 AM   #38
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Hi
Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
A black belt at hombu means something different than it does in the states.
Ah, ok. And thank you!
It seems a black belt or at least nidan/sandan also mean something different than over here in Germany.

Quote:
At Hombu they receive shodan around the same time we receive 3rd kyu in the states.
Aha. I reached 3rd kyu after three years. This is a typical time.
I became shodan after 10 years.I was a little slow. Most people here need 6 to 8 years.

Quote:
To the western world black belt has a connotation of "mastery" , thus the standards for many western federations are higher for black belt.
Well in our federation (Endo Sensei / Tissier Sensei) kyu grades are seen as maybe "preparation" and shodan to yondan are understood as "student-grades".

I'm sandan now after 16 years of practice. So I think sandan here is "nothing special".
In the US it is, right?

Carsten
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:32 AM   #39
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Back on topic.

This is O'Sensei's opinion for how long you should be training before Shodan(lowest grade, first grade):

"In your training do not be in a hurry, for it takes a minimum of ten years to master the basics and advance to the first rung. Never think of yourself as an all-knowing, perfected master; you must continue to train daily with your friends and students and progress together in Aikido"- O'Sensei
I don't get how that is Osensei's opinion on a grading system that was largely being built by his son at the time. He mentions mastering the basics and taking at least ten years to reach the "first rung" - not first dan (I wouldn't mind seeing the original Japanese that John Stevens translated). In any case, the founder handed out plenty of third dans within ten-year periods and shodans even sooner. Saito sensei also said that one doesn't master the basics until sandan. It seems to me the founder's warning was to the student focusing merely on rank rather than attaining the basic skills of the art.
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:02 AM   #40
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Back on topic.

This is O'Sensei's opinion for how long you should be training before Shodan(lowest grade, first grade):

"In your training do not be in a hurry, for it takes a minimum of ten years to master the basics and advance to the first rung. Never think of yourself as an all-knowing, perfected master; you must continue to train daily with your friends and students and progress together in Aikido"- O'Sensei
I would strongly suggest doing research about Ueshiba.

For instance, Mochizuki started training with Ueshiba around April 1931. Mochizuki was awarded the second highest rank/scroll from Ueshiba in June 1932.
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=67

Tomiki started training with Ueshiba around 1926-1927. He trained off and on until around 1934, when he moved to Tokyo. He trained until 1936 when he moved to Manchuria. Tomiki received 8th dan from Ueshiba in 1940. Start to 8th dan in 14 years. (And that's not even getting into the actual training time Tomiki spent with Ueshiba in those 14 years.)
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=60

There are other instances of Ueshiba just handing out rank when you dig into the research.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:28 AM   #41
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

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Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
I don't get how that is Osensei's opinion on a grading system that was largely being built by his son at the time. He mentions mastering the basics and taking at least ten years to reach the "first rung" - not first dan (I wouldn't mind seeing the original Japanese that John Stevens translated). In any case, the founder handed out plenty of third dans within ten-year periods and shodans even sooner. Saito sensei also said that one doesn't master the basics until sandan. It seems to me the founder's warning was to the student focusing merely on rank rather than attaining the basic skills of the art.
I think it would be easier to interpret if I could find the quote in the original language. I think it was more of a warning for people who only care about rank.
I know in my federation it takes between 6-10 years to reach shodan.

A teacher told me that shodan meant that you learned enough of the basics to finally start learning aikido.

MM
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:44 AM   #42
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

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Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
Well, this is precisely what leads to dilution of the art.
Well, yes it is a problem if some one trains and never cares what other's say about their training. Everyone needs a reasonable outside perspective of what they are doing.

My comment was to how emotional the poster's response was to what he deemed as a failure in miss Mary's training. You should care, but it shouldn't anger you. There are things worth being upset about and things that aren't. In the end how some girl in New England trains doesn't effect one's own training.

The President of my Federation once said "Some schools are so isolated they start to believe their own shit!" He seems to ignore the yahoos outright, not argue with them about how they are wrong.

I'm not in any way saying that miss Mary's school are yahoos however. I don't know her. I don't know which school she goes to, nor do I know if she is a reflection on their principles.

MM
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:47 AM   #43
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

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Mark Murray wrote: View Post
I would strongly suggest doing research about Ueshiba.

For instance, Mochizuki started training with Ueshiba around April 1931. Mochizuki was awarded the second highest rank/scroll from Ueshiba in June 1932.
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=67

Tomiki started training with Ueshiba around 1926-1927. He trained off and on until around 1934, when he moved to Tokyo. He trained until 1936 when he moved to Manchuria. Tomiki received 8th dan from Ueshiba in 1940. Start to 8th dan in 14 years. (And that's not even getting into the actual training time Tomiki spent with Ueshiba in those 14 years.)
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=60

There are other instances of Ueshiba just handing out rank when you dig into the research.
I'm aware of what he did. And I'm aware of what he said.

The quote is a warning to people who care too much about rank.

MM
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:11 AM   #44
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

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Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
I'm not in any way saying that miss Mary's school are yahoos however. I don't know her. I don't know which school she goes to, nor do I know if she is a reflection on their principles.
...nor do you know anything about how I train, except that it's neither as if I'm about to die nor as if I'm at a pajama party. In that, I suspect I'm like the large majority of posters on aikiweb.

Still wondering how the hell this turned into an indictment of me as a diluter of aikido, by people who don't know anything about me,
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Old 07-01-2010, 11:25 AM   #45
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
...nor do you know anything about how I train, except that it's neither as if I'm about to die nor as if I'm at a pajama party. In that, I suspect I'm like the large majority of posters on aikiweb.

Still wondering how the hell this turned into an indictment of me as a diluter of aikido, by people who don't know anything about me,
I'm certainly not calling you a duluter. lol
I think the vast majority of the Aikido world aren't Aikiflowers, but they aren't diluted into believing that they are actually Samurai either.

My only point is that we can't assume anything about people on the internet. People might not be who they say they are, so "correcting your under class men" is pointless on the internet, especially when you don't know who it is you are criticizing in the first place.

MM
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Old 07-01-2010, 02:46 PM   #46
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

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Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
...I think it was more of a warning for people who only care about rank.
I know in my federation it takes between 6-10 years to reach shodan.
I'd agree with you there and thanks for your comments. Of course, it was never my intention to imply any particular federation or group have got it wrong for taking a particular amount of time to meet particular grades. My point was that we're all learning different interpretations of the art and that these minimum requirements in the Aikikai are merely a patch of common ground that we can work on together.
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Old 07-01-2010, 04:37 PM   #47
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

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I'd agree with you there and thanks for your comments. Of course, it was never my intention to imply any particular federation or group have got it wrong for taking a particular amount of time to meet particular grades. My point was that we're all learning different interpretations of the art and that these minimum requirements in the Aikikai are merely a patch of common ground that we can work on together.
Across federations I've noticed that black belts frankly mean something different to them. I knew of this one school that gave a black belt in two years. The belt basically meant you were a member of the school.

MM
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Old 07-01-2010, 04:58 PM   #48
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Still wondering how the hell this turned into an indictment of me as a diluter of aikido, by people who don't know anything about me,
Sorry, Mary. English is certainly not my mother tongue, so maybe I didn't make myself clear. I do not mean you are a diluter of the art. What I mean is that yes, we should care about how people train, because those people will be the teachers of tomorrow, if you get my point. If these future teachers / instructors / sensei / whatever train very lightly, never caring about martial effectiveness (whatever that means), they will certainly teach a diluted version of the art.

It goes the other way too. There's a group in my place of the world that's mixing Kyokushinkai Karate and Aikikai Aikido. Well, we call what they do Aikido Kyokushinkai, so go figure how big time they changed the art. Not diluted, but transformed in a different animal altogether. Not good to the art too...
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Old 07-01-2010, 05:47 PM   #49
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

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Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Across federations I've noticed that black belts frankly mean something different to them. I knew of this one school that gave a black belt in two years. The belt basically meant you were a member of the school.
There are Japanese arts in which the first grading you would take would be shodan. If their grading syllabus says "shodan requirements = membership of dojo" as the only criterion then nothing would be amiss (and it would be nothing like the minimum requirements being discussed here). It's going to take the average teacher roughly a certain amount of time to pass on certain skills. Even if we were all learning exactly the same thing, shorter timescales to learn that thing mean either training harder and more often under very good teachers or something is amiss and labels are being attached to things that don't reflect their content.

Moreover, we're discussing minimum requirements. One of the reasons why teachers take a bit longer is to be absolutely sure that they have met those requirements as well as doing whatever extra things their particular lineage regards as important (kata, weapons etc). Some of course are just being competitive, trying to make out that they are better teachers. Eventually it goes beyond merely insuring all the bases have been covered and ends up with teachers trying to fiddle the system to make themselves look good. It can go the other way too with teachers producing high level students in a short time that have not received the skills that are claimed to have been passed on.
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Old 07-01-2010, 11:00 PM   #50
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Re: Minimum Testing Requirements/Guidelines

Thanks for you input...Janet.

MMDV...
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