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Old 10-22-2008, 12:02 AM   #26
Rocky Izumi
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
you wear gi pants underneath hakama? hmmm ...... must have missed that memo somewhere.
Tend to go commando myself in many cases, especially at seminars because it is easier to go #1 that way, but it is useful in catching any drippings - something you have to watch for as you get older (knew a guy like that once). For me, I started wearing one (used to follow Kendo tradition before) because my daughter once noticed that as I was warming up and rolling backwards, my third leg was hanging out (unfortunately she was only about 4 at the time and she blurted it out to the entire Dojo in a large voice so that everyone noticed). I now wear my zubon under my Hakama so that doesn't happen again.

Rock
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Old 10-22-2008, 06:15 AM   #27
Dennis Hooker
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Hiroaki Izumi wrote: View Post
Tend to go commando myself in many cases, especially at seminars because it is easier to go #1 that way, but it is useful in catching any drippings - something you have to watch for as you get older (knew a guy like that once). For me, I started wearing one (used to follow Kendo tradition before) because my daughter once noticed that as I was warming up and rolling backwards, my third leg was hanging out (unfortunately she was only about 4 at the time and she blurted it out to the entire Dojo in a large voice so that everyone noticed). I now wear my zubon under my Hakama so that doesn't happen again.

Rock
Rock, I know it can be a problem. I have to strap it to my leg so I don't walk on it doing Suwari Waza. Oh got the shirt, Thanks!

Last edited by Dennis Hooker : 10-22-2008 at 06:25 AM.

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Old 10-22-2008, 10:09 AM   #28
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quick, where's my boots. It's getting deep in here.
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Old 10-22-2008, 11:16 AM   #29
Mark Uttech
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Onegaishimasu. Ranks should be there and seen as signposts.

In gassho,

Mark

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Old 10-22-2008, 12:15 PM   #30
phitruong
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Mark Uttech wrote: View Post
Onegaishimasu. Ranks should be there and seen as signposts.

In gassho,

Mark
what ranks would be associated with these sign posts?

http://www2.strangesigns.org:81/gall...igns/Slow_Down

http://www2.strangesigns.org:81/gall...dofimprovement

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Old 10-22-2008, 12:49 PM   #31
Gary David
 
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Forgetting how folks affect or effect the display of their rank, using a color coded belt system seems necessary for juniors and kids classes. Both the kids and their parents expect to see some evidence of progress. Given that the belt color or the rank it represents may not reflect the actual abilities of the individuals it does show movement up some scale.
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Old 10-22-2008, 01:19 PM   #32
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Gary Welborn wrote: View Post
Forgetting how folks affect or effect the display of their rank, using a color coded belt system seems necessary for juniors and kids classes. Both the kids and their parents expect to see some evidence of progress. Given that the belt color or the rank it represents may not reflect the actual abilities of the individuals it does show movement up some scale.
It doesn't seem necessary for the kids I teach. Each to their own though.
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Old 10-22-2008, 03:09 PM   #33
Mark Uttech
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Onegaishimasu. Let's see, 4th kyu signpost would caution one to slow down, since 4th kyu seems to be the test no one prepares enough for.

In gassho,

Mark

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Old 10-23-2008, 03:10 PM   #34
Jacob Clapsadle
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Gary Welborn wrote: View Post
Forgetting how folks affect or effect the display of their rank, using a color coded belt system seems necessary for juniors and kids classes. Both the kids and their parents expect to see some evidence of progress. Given that the belt color or the rank it represents may not reflect the actual abilities of the individuals it does show movement up some scale.
I agree- our dojo uses colors for kids classes but just white to black for adults.
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:48 PM   #35
dalen7
 
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

It all depends on your point of view.
What is right for one is wrong for another.

Personally I like clear cut milestones - and kyus is a good way at gaging where you were and where you are going. (for me that is, others its not, and I respect that fully.)

Im the kind of guy that took the list of requirements for all the kyu ranks, which was kind of jumbled on paper and finally organized and categorized it systematically on paper to help me understand what is what in Aikido.

Others like just going in and just doing whatever. That is cool too...if that is what floats your boat.

If I were to teach I would be systematic...at the same time it would be a bit different as I would add kickboxing in there. (Whatever that worth...I enjoy it, what can I say, and I like the Aikido to.) But there would be rhyme and reason (according to my logic anyway) why it is done that way.

So thats about it...if you want out with the old and in with the new...go for it!

Peace

dAlen

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Old 10-25-2008, 09:50 AM   #36
Mark Uttech
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Onegaishimasu. Playing with tradition and innovation is always playing with fire. I am always amazed and renewed when I attend a seminar and see a shihan teaching simple kihon waza. Obviously, in the kihon waza, there is something there and something more. I have a very distinct memory of watching a simple tenkan movement for five years before seeing something else in that same movement performed by the same instructor! It gives good reflection.

In gassho,

Mark

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Old 10-25-2008, 11:58 AM   #37
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Rank is very important... and yet completely meaningless. Such is the paradoxical nature of Budo.

We all know the reasons why it is meaningless. These have already been extensively elucidated by people far more eloquent than I.

But now I'd like to pontificate on the other side of the coin. Rank is important because it imparts responsibility. Accepting rank holds us responsible to our art, our family, and to our juniors and seniors. Responsibility is hard. It is also a catalyst for unfathomable growth.

Upon my most recent promotion, sensei asked me to take responsibility for one of the weekly classes. It scared the hell out of me, but it started a cycle of growth that has taken me out of a comfort zone and has taught me much.

To be completely honest, I think those who "refuse to test" under the guise of "humility" are actually incredibly arrogant. Not only that, they are hiding from the responsibility asked of them by their seniors and required of them by their juniors. If reading this upsets you, dig deep.

In my family, we don't do rank tests. The test is every day. Train and get promoted... or don't. It's up to you and sensei. Train for the sake of the training. But once you are promoted, we ask you to give some sort of demonstration of your practice. Often, people will voluntarily demonstrate their practice, even when they're not being promoted.

I have never celebrated on the occasion of being promoted in this family. Allow me to demonstrate my own arrogance:

- At shodan, I argued that I didn't deserve it yet. Sensei asked me, "Have you been there?" I replied, "No sir." Sensei: "Well I have. Stop arguing." Me: "Hai." Was I really so arrogant to think that I knew better than he? You betcha, I was.

- Nidan was my "huh?" promotion. I didn't feel as though I was any less clueless than I was at shodan. Now I can see the difference much more clearly. Perspective is everything. Perspective that I gained by having rank (read: responsibility) thrust upon me. I've seen that look of "huh" on many a face of folks getting promoted to nidan in my dojo. Now I have that history... that understanding of what it's like to be at that level, nidan is now a milestone that helps me categorize the learning at that stage. It's just like knowing that you learn spelling in 1st grade, grammar in 2nd grade, adding in... etc.

[Warning: I am about to say naughty words. If that bothers you... well, tough.]

- Sandan was "oh shit." I was promoted (again, without notice) at a seminar in San Jose; some folks currently on this forum were present and can attest to the fact that I did, in fact, audibly say "oh shit." Sensei grinned.

- Yondan came, once again, at a seminar, this time in Oklahoma City. I said "oh fuck." Sensei smiled and said, "Yeah, kiddo... you're in it now." I'll never forget those words.

In a sense, I came full-circle when I promoted my first shodan. He argued and refused to accept it. He asked me if he had a choice, and I said sure... take the responsiblity or GTFO. He's a well-loved, and very skilled member of the dojo, but I made it clear (and every one of my seniors would've backed me up on it) that if he refused to take the new level of responsibility asked of him, his only other option was to stop training with us. He's adapted rather well.

And now that sensei has moved away, I'm helping run the dojo. It scares the hell out of me and, quite frankly, there are times when I'd rather just hide. But I will not. I learned this responsibility and courage by accepting that which made me uncomfortable.

If you don't do Budo, what I said may make no sense. Or it may. I guess we'll see. ;-)

Last edited by mjhacker : 10-25-2008 at 12:03 PM.

Michael Hacker
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Old 10-25-2008, 03:21 PM   #38
Joe McParland
 
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
Rank is very important... and yet completely meaningless. Such is the paradoxical nature of Budo.

We all know the reasons why it is meaningless. These have already been extensively elucidated by people far more eloquent than I.

But now I'd like to pontificate on the other side of the coin. Rank is important because it imparts responsibility. Accepting rank holds us responsible to our art, our family, and to our juniors and seniors. Responsibility is hard. It is also a catalyst for unfathomable growth.

[... lots of good stuff ...]

If you don't do Budo, what I said may make no sense. Or it may. I guess we'll see. ;-)
I do appreciate what you wrote, but it seems that you've argued for the value of leadership or teaching responsibilities (read, "challenges") as a tool for growth rather than rank itself. They need not be equated.

Equating rank with abilities and responsibilities has a military feel---especially if you include the RIFs! Unwilling / Unable to accept or to perform the duties of your new rank? Too long in grade without a promotion? Boot!

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Old 10-25-2008, 05:00 PM   #39
mjhacker
 
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Joe McParland wrote: View Post
I do appreciate what you wrote, but it seems that you've argued for the value of leadership or teaching responsibilities (read, "challenges") as a tool for growth rather than rank itself. They need not be equated.
I'm not arguing anything, just sharing my experience. I'm also not concerned with whether rank and responsibility "need" to be equated, but rather with the fact that, in my family, they ARE tied to each other. How you deal with things is, obviously, your business.

It doesn't matter if you call it "rank" or "house won ton soup," humans will discern and discriminate. Call it "responsibility" if you like, it's still the same thing. Even removing the notion of the dan/kyu ranking system, one still must somehow delineate where responsibility lies and at to what degree. And that doesn't even address the levels of a graded educational system.

A Senior in high school is not, by sole virtue of their scholastic "rank," greater or less than a Junior. It is merely a general indication of their progress, what they need to be working on now, and what level they should be held responsible for operating at.

Anything beyond that is human crap that we need to work through. If the notion of rank brings this ugliness to the surface, so much the better. Only when we face it can we move through it and improve ourselves. In other words, run TOWARD the uncomfortable stuff.. instead of FROM it. The worst thing you can do is to deny it.

Responsibility goes much deeper than mere responsibility to lead or teach. In my dojo, rank does not equal responsibility to teach. The path of the teacher and of the senior student are similar, but different. Seniors are not required to teach, only to be seniors and to lead by example.

In my dojo, I am responsible for every student, every visitor, every spider, every speck of dust. I will not allow someone in my dojo to kill so much as an insect in the dojo, and will very publicly educate them if I catch them doing so. If someone tweaks an ankle or a shoulder, I'm responsible to the head of my family, even if I wasn't there. But I suspect that pales in comparison to the responsibility HE holds.

There's also the responsibility that comes with being held to a higher standard of operation and action. There's not being allowed by your peers to regress or slip into BS. The responsibility of accepting rank is both wide and deep.

Quote:
Equating rank with abilities and responsibilities has a military feel
I'm glad you noticed that. ;-) Not only is my teacher a former Marine, I'm former Air Force (which he would argue isn't really military anyway, but that's another conversation). It also happens that Budo has its roots in military arts. It doesn't surprise me that this connotation carries over.

Last edited by mjhacker : 10-25-2008 at 05:07 PM.

Michael Hacker
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http://renshindojo.com/

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Old 10-25-2008, 09:57 PM   #40
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
I'm glad you noticed that. ;-) Not only is my teacher a former Marine, I'm former Air Force (which he would argue isn't really military anyway, but that's another conversation). It also happens that Budo has its roots in military arts. It doesn't surprise me that this connotation carries over.
Ha! I'm former Army myself, so I understand---and sometimes I can pick it out in a crowd

I've had my own issues with rank in the aikido world. Once or twice there were issues of politics, and another time it was held like a boulder over my head. It all forced me to seriously examine what it all meant to me personally. My conclusion? Rank is what some entity---a person or an organization---thinks of me. That's not something that can be accepted or refused, it's not something I can hold, and it's not something that truly conveys between here and there. It can be pursued, but that is looking for some external validation of who knows what. So, I'll test if you want me to, wear whatever rank the organization assigns, and I'll continue to do my best to improve. No big deal.

But that's just me. I'm not currently inside a cohesive organizational unit that has a philosophy or doctrine regarding rank that binds me. I don't teach my personal point of view explicitly, but I do hope that some of the students will eventually reach that conclusion on their own.

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Old 10-25-2008, 10:11 PM   #41
mjhacker
 
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Joe McParland wrote: View Post
Ha! I'm former Army myself, so I understand---and sometimes I can pick it out in a crowd
Takes one to smell one, I guess. :-)

Quote:
I've had my own issues with rank in the aikido world.
I can tell. :-)

Quote:
Once or twice there were issues of politics, and another time it was held like a boulder over my head. It all forced me to seriously examine what it all meant to me personally. My conclusion? Rank is what some entity---a person or an organization---thinks of me. That's not something that can be accepted or refused, it's not something I can hold, and it's not something that truly conveys between here and there. It can be pursued, but that is looking for some external validation of who knows what. So, I'll test if you want me to, wear whatever rank the organization assigns, and I'll continue to do my best to improve. No big deal.
We have, indeed, had very different experiences. Then again, I dropped out of mainstream Aikido over a decade ago in favor of joining a small family with no ties to Aikikai, KnKKK, Shodokan, Yoshinkai, or any of the big Japanese groups. Thankfully, we are completely independent of Japan.

Rank is between sensei and student. The nasty human crap that you had to deal with isn't directly rank-related so much as it is human-related. The only way through it is through it. Getting rid of rank doesn't remove "politics" or manipulation.

Quote:
But that's just me. I'm not currently inside a cohesive organizational unit that has a philosophy or doctrine regarding rank that binds me. I don't teach my personal point of view explicitly, but I do hope that some of the students will eventually reach that conclusion on their own.
I'm part of a family, and my rank just represents my level of responsibility to the family as well as approximately where I am in our educational system. I keep saying that the most important person in the dojo is the youngest student. I'm there to pull them along in my wake.

Michael Hacker
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Old 10-26-2008, 11:04 AM   #42
Buck
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

I don't know, I think there is too many levels of rank/grade. Yes, what everyone has said is true. I look at MMA, there is no rank among fighters. Boxing, wrestling, football, basketball, etc.

I think Aikido has too much rank from kyu ranks and above. I think reputation in Aikido is much more valuable. People tend to respect that more.
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Old 10-26-2008, 11:26 AM   #43
mjhacker
 
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Why is it that people who are "unconcerned" with rank seem to have the most to say about it?

Michael Hacker
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Old 10-26-2008, 12:37 PM   #44
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
Rank is very important... and yet completely meaningless. Such is the paradoxical nature of Budo.

We all know the reasons why it is meaningless. These have already been extensively elucidated by people far more eloquent than I.

But now I'd like to pontificate on the other side of the coin. Rank is important because it imparts responsibility. Accepting rank holds us responsible to our art, our family, and to our juniors and seniors. Responsibility is hard. It is also a catalyst for unfathomable growth.

Upon my most recent promotion, sensei asked me to take responsibility for one of the weekly classes. It scared the hell out of me, but it started a cycle of growth that has taken me out of a comfort zone and has taught me much.

To be completely honest, I think those who "refuse to test" under the guise of "humility" are actually incredibly arrogant. Not only that, they are hiding from the responsibility asked of them by their seniors and required of them by their juniors. If reading this upsets you, dig deep.

In my family, we don't do rank tests. The test is every day. Train and get promoted... or don't. It's up to you and sensei. Train for the sake of the training. But once you are promoted, we ask you to give some sort of demonstration of your practice. Often, people will voluntarily demonstrate their practice, even when they're not being promoted.

I have never celebrated on the occasion of being promoted in this family. Allow me to demonstrate my own arrogance:

- At shodan, I argued that I didn't deserve it yet. Sensei asked me, "Have you been there?" I replied, "No sir." Sensei: "Well I have. Stop arguing." Me: "Hai." Was I really so arrogant to think that I knew better than he? You betcha, I was.

- Nidan was my "huh?" promotion. I didn't feel as though I was any less clueless than I was at shodan. Now I can see the difference much more clearly. Perspective is everything. Perspective that I gained by having rank (read: responsibility) thrust upon me. I've seen that look of "huh" on many a face of folks getting promoted to nidan in my dojo. Now I have that history... that understanding of what it's like to be at that level, nidan is now a milestone that helps me categorize the learning at that stage. It's just like knowing that you learn spelling in 1st grade, grammar in 2nd grade, adding in... etc.

[Warning: I am about to say naughty words. If that bothers you... well, tough.]

- Sandan was "oh shit." I was promoted (again, without notice) at a seminar in San Jose; some folks currently on this forum were present and can attest to the fact that I did, in fact, audibly say "oh shit." Sensei grinned.

- Yondan came, once again, at a seminar, this time in Oklahoma City. I said "oh fuck." Sensei smiled and said, "Yeah, kiddo... you're in it now." I'll never forget those words.

In a sense, I came full-circle when I promoted my first shodan. He argued and refused to accept it. He asked me if he had a choice, and I said sure... take the responsiblity or GTFO. He's a well-loved, and very skilled member of the dojo, but I made it clear (and every one of my seniors would've backed me up on it) that if he refused to take the new level of responsibility asked of him, his only other option was to stop training with us. He's adapted rather well.

And now that sensei has moved away, I'm helping run the dojo. It scares the hell out of me and, quite frankly, there are times when I'd rather just hide. But I will not. I learned this responsibility and courage by accepting that which made me uncomfortable.

If you don't do Budo, what I said may make no sense. Or it may. I guess we'll see. ;-)
Michael,
I just wanted to say thank you for your thoughts on rank and responsibility. Reading your posts here gave me some very good food for thought.
Thanks again,
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 10-26-2008, 12:49 PM   #45
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

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Reading your posts here gave me some very good food for thought.
Sorry 'bout that.

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Old 10-26-2008, 08:05 PM   #46
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
Sorry 'bout that.
That's ok. My mind has a mind of its own.

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Old 10-26-2008, 08:31 PM   #47
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

It isn't so much that I am concerned or not concerned, but instead being observant. When the fish barrel is too full with too many big fish, the barrel doesn't keep the fish in. The barrel has lost its purpose.

Getting back to basics isn't a bad thing, your play hard to make the team. You focus more on the task than the accolade. Keeping it simple- a few ranks shows you played hard and made the team. If rank on the other hand also is a matter of ornamentation that goes too far it, I think it reduces the weight and importance of the accolade. I think reducing the levels of rank vs. increasing them is a better thing. I think getting back to basics puts something real heavy behind the rank.

For me it is how I make my concerns and unconcerns.
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:21 AM   #48
Don Williams
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

Quote:
Dennis Hooker wrote: View Post
Rock, I know it can be a problem. I have to strap it to my leg so I don't walk on it doing Suwari Waza. Oh got the shirt, Thanks!
I think the discussion has diverged from the topic.
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Old 04-16-2009, 12:32 PM   #49
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

I'm in Aikikai and I personally think rank is only good for showing tenure. You generally know a persons (minimum) time of practice by their rank.

I also think that rank has nothing to do with skill. There are sooooo many branches, teachers, styles of "Aikido" that you really can't judge someones skill by the belt.

I stayed at 3rd kyu for a very long time before I tested again.
And just yesterday I read how Koichi Tohei went from Kyu to Go dan.

Lastly I've seen 6th dan who I wouldn't train with if you paid me.

Respect
Jjo
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Old 04-16-2009, 12:53 PM   #50
jason jordan
 
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Dojo: Dallas Aikikai/ Southlake Aikikai
Location: Southlake Texas
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Re: Rank: Out with the old in with the new?

In my above post, I said rank has (Nothing to do with skill) I don't mean that. I meant to say, it has little to do with rank.

Sorry.
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