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Old 10-19-2008, 08:57 AM   #1
Buck
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Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

I have heard there is discussion in one style of Aikido to change out their old ranking system for a new one? They would drop the (what I call the judo ladder of rank) for a revised one with less colors, or blocks of colors for kyu ranks or something like that.

This is not an individual dojo, but the whole system from what I am told. If this is true then is kyu ranking all that important. In light of the old judo ladder system where there are no ranks before black belt.

The judo ladder system does reward, and motivate for reaching short term goals, and having an eye on the long term big prize. It helps keeps students going to the dojo. So does revising the ranking system into a different ladder or blocks really have a significance on performance. Or shouldn't students like in the old ranking system or sports work to make the "team" (performance) without incremental motivators.

O'Sensei didn't go through the judo-ladder system under his teachers. Would an Aikidoka's performance and drive improve without the baby steps ranking system, O'Sensei did fine. Is the current kyu ranking system in need of an over-haul?

Last edited by Buck : 10-19-2008 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:01 AM   #2
Buck
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

I think this is a better way, would losing or changing the current kyu system be better for Aikido, would it hurt it, or do nothing at all? Skip the oramentation of rank and just test, for instance.
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:46 AM   #3
Mark Uttech
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Onegaishimasu. Forwhat it's worth, O Sensei wore a white belt his whole life.

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 10-19-2008, 11:50 AM   #4
Flintstone
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote: View Post
Onegaishimasu. Forwhat it's worth, O Sensei wore a white belt his whole life.
Is this true? Where did you get the info?

Thanks!
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Old 10-19-2008, 12:30 PM   #5
Buck
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Ah perhaps, it is a rumor, ya hear things all the time. As I deem it as a rumor I don't feel very comfortable citing the source, ya know, no need to start a mess. Maybe I should have said figuratively X style .... and what if they changed the ranking system would that be an effective or destructive, or would there be any effect at all.

If you alter one element which I feel that hasn't much significance and was an after thought to the art does it alter the art?

Last edited by Buck : 10-19-2008 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 10-19-2008, 01:36 PM   #6
ramenboy
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
I have heard there is discussion in one style of Aikido to change out their old ranking system for a new one? They would drop the (what I call the judo ladder of rank) for a revised one with less colors, or blocks of colors for kyu ranks or something like that....
i was under the impression that most traditional aikido dojos do that already... students test for rank, but basically keep their white belt until they become yudansha.

am i missing something here?
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Old 10-19-2008, 02:27 PM   #7
Andrew S
 
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

A lot depends on the branch of the main organisation. In my first dojo, for example, kyu grades wore belts of different colours (e.g. yellow, orange, green etc.) to denote rank. In Aikikai Australia, kyu grades wear white belts only. And in the Kobayashi Dojo group, white belts are worn up to nikyu, where they are swapped for a brown belt.
Have I found any of these systems superior or inferior? No.

Warning: Do not bend, fold or otherwise abuse... until we get to the dojo..


合気道研心会 Aikido Kenshinkai
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Old 10-19-2008, 05:25 PM   #8
Mark Uttech
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
Is this true? Where did you get the info?

Thanks!
Onegaishimasu. In Susan Perry's book: Remembering O Sensei, on page 23,Shingenobu Okumura is quoted as saying:
"O Sensei wore a white belt all his life and he had no ranking in Aikido; he was completely above all that."

In
gassho

Mark

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Old 10-19-2008, 06:25 PM   #9
Nafis Zahir
 
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

I think that the ranking system should be done away with. It's too distracting and is a major part of the political favoritism that has been spread throughout Aikido dojos everywhere.

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Old 10-19-2008, 06:27 PM   #10
Ketsan
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Philip Burgess wrote: View Post
I think this is a better way, would losing or changing the current kyu system be better for Aikido, would it hurt it, or do nothing at all? Skip the oramentation of rank and just test, for instance.
Within dojo everyone knows who everyone is and who is senior to them. Occasionally n00bs will assume everyone is a beginner because everyone wears a white belt but that doesn't last long in most cases.
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Old 10-19-2008, 06:31 PM   #11
Ketsan
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Nafis Zahir wrote: View Post
I think that the ranking system should be done away with. It's too distracting and is a major part of the political favoritism that has been spread throughout Aikido dojos everywhere.
Yeah. I think you need a system that seperates teachers from students but aside from that I don't see that rank really has a function.

I think if you want to teach you should take a test and let lineage and time served do the rest.
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Old 10-19-2008, 07:26 PM   #12
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

FWIW, I don't issue rank in my dojo.
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:47 PM   #13
mjhacker
 
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

If rank is so unimportant, why talk about it at all?

Michael Hacker
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:55 PM   #14
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

I liked the following article by forum member D. Valadez.

Rank Gains Meaning by Being Meaningless

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Old 10-20-2008, 01:56 PM   #15
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

David has had more than a few articles/post on rank which were excellent. Worth doing a search on his name.

Best,
Ron

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Old 10-20-2008, 03:00 PM   #16
Keith Larman
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

I like David's article as well.

And frankly those who wring their hands about things like rank ("Our ranks are more meaningful than yours" or "I'm higher ranked than you" or "We don't have rank therefore you guys aren't as deeply humble as we are" or "I'm a 25 year old 13-th dan" or ...) seem to me to miss the point.

Rank seems to be mostly an issue (in my experience) for those who are still in the kyu ranks. But at that point we're talking about beginners, really. And in reality only 1 or 2 out of 10 will tough it out past shodan. So who really cares? Those who stick it out will usually realize that it was silly by the time they get up there into the yudansha ranges. So once you get past shodan, well, you're either into it because you're hooked and ranked becomes about as low a priority as it could possibly be. Or you're so insecure you worry about it constantly or you're so puffed up that you need to be seen as important. If you find yourself in the latter group, well, that's a symptom of personal issues IMHO and has little to do with whether an organization awards explicit ranks or not.

And one group I am familiar with has no rank other than a series of incredibly silly titles they use to refer to their instructors. Grandmaster, professor, etc. Silly, silly, silly. And I've heard these guys talk about how great they are because they're so humble... Um, okay...

Some people have high rank and can walk the walk. Others with that rank can't. Some people have no rank and can walk the walk. And many with no rank talk the talk but fall on their faces rather regularly... Over the years there have been a lot of blowhards on boards like this who turned out to be truly unimpressive when folk finally met up in person...

If you've been around long enough in any organization it ain't all that hard to figure out who's who regardless of rank and titles... So why worry about it one way or the other?

To me the entire discussion is quite silly.

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Old 10-20-2008, 03:05 PM   #17
Keith Larman
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Oh, and I should say...

My rank in one sense is truly irrelevant to me. I remember coming up where people would study for upcoming rank tests. For me, well, I just enjoyed Aikido way too much so I just kept training. And after a while I realized I was there being tested for sandan and that is the last rank in our organization that you test for. Hmmm, when did this happen?

So in a sense rank isn't all that important to me.

But that said, I prize the fact that I was awarded that rank by my sensei. That they felt I was worthy of that rank is quite an honor to me.

So does it matter? Yes and no.

And in organizations without rank there are all sorts of ways that "implicit" rank is awarded anyway. Experience, extra responsibilities, being asked to teach, etc. And people can fall into the same traps there as well.

So now that I've written all this... Go read David's article again... It hits what I feel much better than I am able to...

Quote:
Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
If rank is so unimportant, why talk about it at all?
True, true...

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Old 10-20-2008, 03:31 PM   #18
Ketsan
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
If rank is so unimportant, why talk about it at all?
In and of itself it's unimportant, but it does have a fairly large impact on what we do.
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Old 10-20-2008, 04:31 PM   #19
gregg block
 
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Good. get rid of belts. do this across all styles. Then those who hide behind rank and belts can stop hiding. Let the proof be in the pudding. There's no belt ranks in boxing. yet I know more than a few boxers who would give a lot of black belts fits. Same with MMA and wrestling. You can still have a good learning plan . Just taking away some of the smoke and mirrors. IMHO
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Old 10-21-2008, 12:44 AM   #20
Rocky Izumi
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

I keep telling you folks, it's not the rank that matters but the Hakama. As you practice Aikido longer and increase your Ki strong enough, you naturally fart more. You have to have that dark Hakama to hide the yellow stains on the white Gi pants.

Rock (and Roll)
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Old 10-21-2008, 07:50 AM   #21
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

One more point for the Rock!

Best,
Ron

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Old 10-21-2008, 07:59 AM   #22
phitruong
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Hiroaki Izumi wrote: View Post
I keep telling you folks, it's not the rank that matters but the Hakama. As you practice Aikido longer and increase your Ki strong enough, you naturally fart more. You have to have that dark Hakama to hide the yellow stains on the white Gi pants.

Rock (and Roll)
you wear gi pants underneath hakama? hmmm ...... must have missed that memo somewhere.
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Old 10-21-2008, 10:10 AM   #23
mjhacker
 
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Yeah, I'd never wear zubon under my hakama. It screws with my air flow.

Michael Hacker
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Old 10-21-2008, 03:56 PM   #24
Cynrod
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Hiroaki Izumi wrote: View Post
I keep telling you folks, it's not the rank that matters but the Hakama. As you practice Aikido longer and increase your Ki strong enough, you naturally fart more. You have to have that dark Hakama to hide the yellow stains on the white Gi pants.

Rock (and Roll)
Wow! That was a real blast and I never thought about that until now .

"For The Secret That The Warrior Seeks: You Must Know That The Basic Principles Lie In The Study Of The Spirit." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:38 PM   #25
Jacob Clapsadle
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Lol I didnt know Ki was projected through the rear end like that.

Seriously, one reason ranks are helpful is that they build awareness among the students. At the dojo I belong to we use fairly traditional kyuu-dan rankings (no colors just white to black) and everyone knows who is immediately above and below them. Rank order is observed in lineups and certain excercises.

I think it helps strengthen etiquette and efficency. Ranks are a good thing as long as they don't go to people's heads- and that has more to do with the way dojo leaders run things than anything else.
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