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Old 11-12-2007, 06:01 PM   #1
"Confused Aikidoka"
IP Hash: 48edb473
Anonymous User
Confused......need some advice

I wasn't sure how to ask this so I figured doing it anonymously would probably be the best thing to do. This might be a slightly touchy subject and honestly I'm a little afraid but its bothering me. I was at a Seminar recently and had the opportunity to practice with a great many people to include some high ranking individuals, 4th and 6th Dans. Well while practicing things were great, and after practice while folding my Hakama near these Sensei they asked me why I was wearing a white belt. I informed them that i was only a 4th Kyu. They inquired as to how long I had practiced. I told them 9 years. They just kind of stood there looking at my like I had blue hair. The one Sensei (6th dan) said ohh thats not right something needs to be done about that I thought you were at least Shodan. When they inquired why I was only a 4th Kyu they asked if I didn't want to test, i told them no I want to test I want to get my Shodan one day. They just looked even more puzzled. I told them about my first testing not occurring till I had practiced for 5 years. They just did not understand this. When they approached my Sensei about it, his response was my ego was too large to allow me to test. I said yes when I was 18 and 19 I'm sure I had an ego, but I would hope that now at 27 it would have gone. To which my Sensei agreed that it had. This 6th Dan then during Dinner mentioned to the Shihan during a conversation that my rank was such and such and was entirely too low. *ugh* He shook his head yes either in agreement or out of politeness I'm not sure.

Well this again happened during the last keiko session this time it was a 4th Dan who also said the same sort of things as the 6th dan. But he said something in addition. He said that I should ask someone of higher rank (4th,5th 6th dan) to please evaluate and test me for the rank they believe I am at. He said that I should not be afraid to ask for rank and that it is something that is important especially as you get older and wish to have your own dojo.

Well as you can imagine this whole issue has been kind of weighing on my mind. I'm not really sure what to do if anything about it. I'm leaving my current Dojo in about a month to go to Graduate School and will be joining a new dojo in my new home. The new sensei has also said something to me along the same lines as the previous two sensei did (6th and 4th Dan). (the 6th dan is his former Sensei infact ). So the question is, how should I approach this since now it is in my mind that I've been held back for either good or bad. Should I ask to be "evaluated" and "tested" by my new Sensei (2nd Dan) or should I just let things unfold and not worry about them? Any insight you could give me would be wonderful I'm needing those of you who have the clarity of thought that I don't have right now to please help me sort this out.

Thanks,
Confused Aikidoka
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Old 11-13-2007, 01:30 AM   #2
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Re: Confused......need some advice

Sounds to me like your rank indeed does not represent your current level. I could say that in our dojo, after 9 years you would have likely been somewhere between shodan and nidan, depending on your skill and dedication. Of course, the number of weekly hors does matter.

Considering the fact that your current Sensei was suggested by those Shihans, and you are about to leave. I would not have done anything in your place. Who knows, your Sensei may yet surprise you with a going away present of Shodan rank.
After you join the nes dojo, give your new sensei some time. He is likely to promote you, but he should see you are there to stay first.

One further point to think about, is do you actually care about the rank? What for?

Good luck

Amir
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Old 11-13-2007, 02:40 AM   #3
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Confused......need some advice

Hi Confused Aikidoka,
the good news is while your sensei refused to test you, obviously he taught you well.
If you were staying with him, it might be much harder to deal with. But as you have to change dojo and you new teacher agrees, I would take one of the six's dan and ask the to evaluate you. They do should have enough experience and they are not even suspected too do you a favour for you joining their dojo.

It sounds a little bit like a fairy tale - but it is as it is, so just go for it and have much fun.

Kind regards Dirk
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Old 11-13-2007, 08:41 AM   #4
"Confused Aikidoka"
IP Hash: 48edb473
Anonymous User
Re: Confused......need some advice

Hey Amir,
Thank you all for your suggestions and comments. To answer your question. Honestly rank doesn't mean a darn thing if it did I would have left years ago instead of staying in it for as long as I have. Anyone can go buy a black belt and say they are of Dan ranking. I don't want it that way, I want to earn it to show that I'm a serious student and ready to really start learning this art. I can do that now but there is also the perception of having a rank/belt. You can be the same person with the same skill and people will treat you differently just based on what color belt you have around your waist. It would also be kind of nice to know where I stand so to speak, how am I progressing, I guess thats one real reason for rank. Does that make any sense?
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Old 11-13-2007, 10:50 AM   #5
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Re: Confused......need some advice

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Hey Amir,
Thank you all for your suggestions and comments. To answer your question. Honestly rank doesn't mean a darn thing if it did I would have left years ago instead of staying in it for as long as I have. Anyone can go buy a black belt and say they are of Dan ranking. I don't want it that way, I want to earn it to show that I'm a serious student and ready to really start learning this art. I can do that now but there is also the perception of having a rank/belt. You can be the same person with the same skill and people will treat you differently just based on what color belt you have around your waist. It would also be kind of nice to know where I stand so to speak, how am I progressing, I guess thats one real reason for rank. Does that make any sense?
Hi

Your answer does make some sense.

Still, there are other means to get those same things:
it seems several senior Yundasha gave you the same treatment they would have given a Yundasha, and gave you a fair indication of your station.

Your Sensei may have given you feedbacks on your progress and standing even without a belt.

The only real thing a belt may help with, is getting recognition outside your dojo. Particularly if you would like to teach some day.
And the first is an absurdity, since rank is only relevant within the Dojo\organization which gave it.

Amir
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Old 11-13-2007, 10:51 AM   #6
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Confused......need some advice

The best way to evaluate yourself is to test yourself by visiting the aikido dojo from different styles and federations. If you are able to adapt yourself instantly to the new teaching it means you start to understand that there are the same basic concepts. How well you can use the same concepts in different environment to execute different techniques?

Next test level would be to visit different MA dojos and again discover and apply the same concepts.

These tests I consider as interesting challenges. Aikido test is more like dead, ritual or formal presentation without any link to your real skills.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 11-13-2007, 08:18 PM   #7
asiawide
Location: Seoul
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 119
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Re: Confused......need some advice

For me, I started with 9th kyu and became 6 or 5th kyu soon. And I didn't have a test for a long time and the test policy was changed so the first kyu became 6th kyu. I could have asked to my teacher, I need to correct my kyu rank. But I didn't. And I finally became 3rd kyu some years ago.(don't remeber exactly when it was..) Well... my stupid story end here...

Even though dan means nothing to you, there are some problems.

1) others want to correct you
This happens especially and obviously they knows nothing but hold a rank. Quite tedious.
2) others get angry with you
They are black belter but it seems their techniques worse than yours. They get angry easily because you touch their ego.

IMHO, if dan means nothing to you, why do you bother to have it? Just have it. Every other people do it.
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Old 11-13-2007, 08:39 PM   #8
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Confused......need some advice

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
The best way to evaluate yourself is to test yourself by visiting the aikido dojo from different styles and federations. If you are able to adapt yourself instantly to the new teaching it means you start to understand that there are the same basic concepts. How well you can use the same concepts in different environment to execute different techniques?

Next test level would be to visit different MA dojos and again discover and apply the same concepts.

These tests I consider as interesting challenges. Aikido test is more like dead, ritual or formal presentation without any link to your real skills.
Well put Szczepan. I couldn't agree more. As much as I enjoyed my time at Okinawa Aikikai, I don't think my understanding of aikido principles was really challenged until I began visiting other dojo's. Takahashi sensei say's we need to get out of our "comfort zone." I agree. I love dojo storming now.
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