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Old 01-28-2014, 05:35 AM   #26
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: What is Martial Arts Rank?

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Also for the peoples outside of budo community, it is the only way to evaluate a student or instructor, we like it or not. I'm far from glorification of rank but I can see its utility in the present society.
I can see such utility too, but to train hard to get a rank is really rather silly. Kind of like giving a boy scout a badge because he can light a fire. Fun for kids, maybe, but we grew up ... did we not?

One should train hard to get the skill, I am sure you can 'think' and see some people who just want the rank. How many quit after getting black belt, for example? How many people train harder before a grading and then afterwards ... well ... you don't see them for a week or more after that? I see things in a different way. And in Japan ... they have rank too ... but they just don't make much of it. My friend's daughter was 4th or 5th Dan in calligraphy ... while she was still a teenager. She was good, of course, but it makes you think does it not? It was the same with the game of 'Go'. But do we really need to be 'green belt' at chess? I think it's all ridiculous - a folly - and worse, a huge distraction.

Chase the skill.

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Old 01-28-2014, 10:20 AM   #27
JJF
 
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Re: What is Martial Arts Rank?

Quote:
Matthew Story wrote: View Post
The idea of this kind of obligation is popular among martial artists, and I've never bought it. I don't believe taking part in an activity obligates me in any way to introduce others to the activity. Sure, it behooves to to help keep up the supply of training partners, but I think you're talking about more than that.

I don't know what your organization is like, but every organization's rank standards that I have ever seen is a list of martial arts techniques. To suggest that there are standards of morality and character that go along with rank is, by extension, to suggest that a martial arts instructor is a moral authority who is qualified to teach, train, and test for moral virtues. And that doesn't make sense to me.

Is what is and is not a budo really a matter of personal opinion? Someone who knows Japanese better than I do can correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that it wouldn't make sense in Japanese to subjectively say that one person's aikido (or karate, or judo, or kendo, or whatever) is a budo and another person's is not.
Well... it is beginning to make sense to me but I have been dabbling in Japanese martial arts for 30 years, and I like to read and reflect so I might be over-analyzing the whole thing.

In my opinion rank it is not about measuring. So what I tried to write is not that we could compare the amount of budo in each persons interpretation of Aikido (or any other art). What I wanted to say is that there are a large number of martial arts to be studied, from many different places in the world. But what makes the difference between a Martial Art and Budo is how to incorporate the element of studying how to fight with the element of choosing this as a path towards.. well.. something else than just the ability to kick butt.

And yes. Even though the hombu dojo curriculum is only mentioning the specific waza - I do believe that with each level of kyu and especially dan follows a number of tasks and responsibilities to be taken upon yourself. This will vary from organisation to organisation and from country to country, but having a grasp of how you should fit into the puzzle and do your part to make the whole jig saw stick together is a prerequisite for obtaining the next rank in any budo. Actually I think this gradually become more important compared to technical ability as one rises through the dan grades.

As you can see here: http://www.aikikai.or.jp/eng/gradingsystem.htm - 2nd. 3rd. and 4th dan requires an article from the applicant. This is a way to judge the level of maturity and reflection. And from 5th dan and above there is no curriculum. From there it is a combination of time passed (while training actively) and development as an Aikido-ka and likely also as a teacher.

It may be that we come to realize that our part is to break away and start a new puzzle - but then it is even more important to embrace those tasks that make us an example for students than if we are just a small part of a large organisation.

That's just my current opinion. It is likely to change with time

JJ

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 01-28-2014, 12:35 PM   #28
Peter Boylan
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Re: What is Martial Arts Rank?

For those who have never seen a rank requirement that was more than just a list of techniques, from the USJF

Eligibility for promotion shall be based upon the following general requirements, not
necessarily
in
this
order:
a) Moral character, attitude, and maturity
b) Competitive ability
c) Technical proficiency
d) General experience, contributions, and time in grade
e) Recommendation by candidate's instructor

For gokyu they require "Good moral character and maturity". By Shodan it has become "Unquestioned moral character and maturity". So yes, non-technical requirements are out there. The full rank requirements document is at http://www.usjf.com/public/rank_requirement.pdf

Peter Boylan
Mugendo Budogu LLC
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http://www.budogu.com
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Old 01-28-2014, 12:42 PM   #29
Keith Larman
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Re: What is Martial Arts Rank?

Honestly I don't give much of a damn about rank in adults. It can be a bit convenient for figuring out a sort of gross estimation of who's where, etc. in a class you're unfamiliar with. But... If you train with a group over time folk figure out who has the goods and who doesn't regardless of rank.

But I will say for us with a kid's program, it can be a remarkable tool. We've got a few right now with some issues in behavior (nothing major) both in and outside the dojo. So I spoke with the parents before the test and we'll try to work on encouraging the kid to understand their responsibilities and role in life. Basically the "rank carries with it the notion of representing us and your teachers" kind of deal. So it gives a little more leverage and context with which to encourage certain behavior in kids. It also allows us another tool to use to work with the kid's parents to help them bring up a well rounded person.

All that said, I think there is a somewhat of a straw man argument that goes along with these discussions. Most in the arts know full well there rank can be very "accurate" for some folk and not meaningful at all for others. Lots of variables. So we can point to outliers or the mean and make our arguments. But all in all it has some meaning; it just varies. So we can wail and carry on about this or that, or we can ack that many outside martial arts place way too much emphasis on it due to modern depictions of martial arts. Okay, fine. No problem. To me it is a gigantic non-issue for the most part.

And comparing rank to koryu teaching licenses is I think comparing apples and neutrinos. But even with teaching licenses many similar issues can come up.

And fwiw I know people who have been hamon'ed out of their rank in Aikido, but they keep on wearing the gear and artfully ignoring it continuing to pretend they have the rank. So it does happen. Lord, how many different groups started with just such things... And I know people who have resigned from Aikido groups who have disavowed some of their promotions due to disagreements with the "powers that be" that awarded them the final ranks.

Honestly, it's one of those preaching to the choir kind of deals to me. But over something most who are long term serious really don't devote much energy to anyway...

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Old 01-28-2014, 02:20 PM   #30
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Re: What is Martial Arts Rank?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
There was another system that deeply rooted in the people's consciousnesses - until Jigoro Kano came along and it wasn't anymore.

Everything changes.

Best,

Chris
It is true, however system used in Koryu was used by very restricted number of individuals. Kano introduced a system that is used by millions of ppl from different MA and combat sports. Additionally mass media and internet pushed it to the billions as a reference.

It will be a quite a challenge to wipe it off….

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:24 PM   #31
NagaBaba
 
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Re: What is Martial Arts Rank?

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
I can see such utility too, but to train hard to get a rank is really rather silly. Kind of like giving a boy scout a badge because he can light a fire. Fun for kids, maybe, but we grew up ... did we not?
.
On motivation level, I don't think billions of people grew up, look at the rats race who can have more money, more power, better car, greener yard...

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:35 PM   #32
Chris Li
 
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Re: What is Martial Arts Rank?

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
It is true, however system used in Koryu was used by very restricted number of individuals. Kano introduced a system that is used by millions of ppl from different MA and combat sports. Additionally mass media and internet pushed it to the billions as a reference.

It will be a quite a challenge to wipe it off�.
Not really, many Koryu continue to use such systems today with no particular problems. All it takes is a decision.

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-28-2014, 09:53 PM   #33
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: What is Martial Arts Rank?

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
On motivation level, I don't think billions of people grew up, look at the rats race who can have more money, more power, better car, greener yard...
Perhaps you are right. You usually are Ha ha.

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Old 01-28-2014, 10:05 PM   #34
Tore Eriksson
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Re: What is Martial Arts Rank?

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
I It was the same with the game of 'Go'. But do we really need to be 'green belt' at chess? I think it's all ridiculous - a folly - and worse, a huge distraction.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_r..._rating_system

Code:
Rating range	Category
2600+		World Championship contenders
2400--2600	most Grandmasters (GM) and International Masters (IM)
2300--2400	FIDE Masters (FM)
2200--2300	FIDE Candidate Masters (CM), most national masters
2000--2200	candidate masters, experts (USA)
1800--2000	Class A, category 1
1600--1800	Class B, category 2
1400--1600	Class C, category 3
1200--1400	Class D, category 4
below 1200	novices
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Old 01-29-2014, 04:26 AM   #35
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: What is Martial Arts Rank?

Quote:
Tore Eriksson wrote: View Post
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess_r..._rating_system

Code:
Rating range	Category
2600+		World Championship contenders
2400--2600	most Grandmasters (GM) and International Masters (IM)
2300--2400	FIDE Masters (FM)
2200--2300	FIDE Candidate Masters (CM), most national masters
2000--2200	candidate masters, experts (USA)
1800--2000	Class A, category 1
1600--1800	Class B, category 2
1400--1600	Class C, category 3
1200--1400	Class D, category 4
below 1200	novices
Fair enough :-) But I played chess for years and was never even aware of all that. It's not the point for most people.

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Old 01-29-2014, 05:17 PM   #36
OwlMatt
 
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Re: What is Martial Arts Rank?

Quote:
Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
For those who have never seen a rank requirement that was more than just a list of techniques, from the USJF

Eligibility for promotion shall be based upon the following general requirements, not
necessarily
in
this
order:
a) Moral character, attitude, and maturity
b) Competitive ability
c) Technical proficiency
d) General experience, contributions, and time in grade
e) Recommendation by candidate's instructor

For gokyu they require "Good moral character and maturity". By Shodan it has become "Unquestioned moral character and maturity". So yes, non-technical requirements are out there. The full rank requirements document is at http://www.usjf.com/public/rank_requirement.pdf
Maybe this organization is much more moral than all the others I've seen, but I know a LOT of martial arts instructors I wouldn't want as judges of moral character, attitude, or maturity.

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Old 01-29-2014, 07:53 PM   #37
Peter Boylan
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Re: What is Martial Arts Rank?

Quote:
Matthew Story wrote: View Post
Maybe this organization is much more moral than all the others I've seen, but I know a LOT of martial arts instructors I wouldn't want as judges of moral character, attitude, or maturity.
Oh yes. But it has always been then case that we have to verify things for ourselves. And of course any group of people can start and organization and hand out ranks to each other.

Even for good, well intentioned organizations quality control can be a problem. I've got a lot of issues with the All Japan Kendo Federation, but their rank quality control is excellent. Their solution to the problem of people showing favoritism is to require a panel of five 7th dans for all gradings from shodan up to godan. I've never been to the 6th or 7th dan gradings, but I believe those require 8th dans on the panel. Quality control is possible, but it does require dedication and effort.

Peter Boylan
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Budo Books, Videos, Equipment from Japan
http://www.budogu.com
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Old 01-30-2014, 01:42 AM   #38
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: What is Martial Arts Rank?

Quote:
Peter Boylan wrote: View Post
For those who have never seen a rank requirement that was more than just a list of techniques, from the USJF
This is the org founded by O Sensei Phil Porter, isn't it?
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Old 01-30-2014, 08:40 AM   #39
Peter Boylan
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Re: What is Martial Arts Rank?

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
This is the org founded by O Sensei Phil Porter, isn't it?
No. Phil Porter founded the USJA. The USJF was the original organization in the US and was not influenced by Mr. Porter. It's a good question though.

Peter Boylan
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Budo Books, Videos, Equipment from Japan
http://www.budogu.com
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Old 01-30-2014, 05:22 PM   #40
Riai Maori
 
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Re: What is Martial Arts Rank?

“Sadly, rank does not necessarily equate to a higher level of understanding, skill, or knowledge”
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