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Old 03-20-2002, 05:01 AM   #1
Dojo: Iyasaka dojo
Location: Sweden-Stockholm
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 1
Young shodans...

Hi! My name is Daniella and I am 17 years old (this year). I will try shodan in april and I hope to get it. Are there any other young shodans in the aikido world? How long have you been training then? Do you feel that your age is disturbing you? Who was the youngest to take shodan and when was that?

Just curious...
Daniella daniellla@everyday.com

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Old 03-20-2002, 06:00 AM   #2
JJF's Avatar
Dojo: Vestfyn Aikikai Denmark
Location: Vissenbjerg
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 801
Hi Daniella!

I almost envy you that you have this much practice under your belt at such a young age. I am allmost twice your age, and with less practice in my past. Sigh

Anyway I practice Aikikai under the influence of Shoji Nishio Sensei, and according to his homepage the age required to grade shodan is 15 years. I don't know if this is the rule in all aikikai-related dojo's.

There once was a young boy in our dojo who made shodan just around age 15 or 16, but he has moved to another town, and I don't really know much about him except that he was a nice fellow and very talented. I don't believe it was much of a problem for him to become a shodan at such a young age. Shodan is only given when you are ready, and if you are ready at age 15, then you should (and probably would) get the respect that you deserve.

Hope this helps a bit.

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 03-20-2002, 08:39 AM   #3
thomson's Avatar
Dojo: Sarpy Aikido Club
Location: Omaha,NE
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 49
Hi Daniella!
Welcome to the forums!
In response to your question, we have a young shodan in our dojo. Bill is only 18 years old, and will graduate high school this year. I don't believe his age hinders him in any way. I am ten years his senior and when on the mat look up to him as any kohai(sp?) would to a sempai. Off mat and outside the dojo, in matters other than aikido, I see him as more of a young friend or younger brother. BTW, his aikido is very good, fast, accurate. I enjoy training with him any chance I get.


To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. - Sun Tzu
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Old 03-20-2002, 09:05 AM   #4
Location: Indonesia
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 245
Forget the shodan, I wanna be 17 again...

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Old 03-20-2002, 10:11 AM   #5
Jim ashby
Dojo: Phoenix Coventry
Location: Coventry, England
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 303
Young Shodans

We've got some young Shodans. It comes from our junior to senior training system. the junoirs follow a syllabus specially for them, when they get above a certain rank and are able to train with the adults (nothing to do with size, more about mental maturity)they come into the adult classes.The Shodan tests are exactly the same whether you're seventeen or seventy. We have a large and growing junior section to our club, looking good for the future of Aikido!. And yeah, I want to be seventeen again.
Have fun.

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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Old 03-21-2002, 12:48 PM   #6
Dojo: Muhu Dojo
Location: Middle of nowhere in California 14 miles from Buellton
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 238

Im 17 going for shodan in the near futer ( sometime in the next year.) still cant spell but can do a pretty decent shionage and ikkajo. hehe being 17 is great but you gotta enjoy each year you live... what is it like being over 20??

Dallas Adolphsen
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Old 03-21-2002, 08:11 PM   #7
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,319
Not a young Shodan by any means but here (Shodokan Honbu Osaka) we have several Shodans younger than 17 with the very exceptional being Nidan.

However, the day they turn 17 they give up their black belt and have to start from the very beginning. Good news is that it usually takes them less than two years to return to Shodan as opposed to someone walking off the street taking twice that. For the student Nidans the Nidan promotion takes another year.

Originally posted by Chocolateuke
Im 17 going for shodan in the near futer ( sometime in the next year.) still cant spell but can do a pretty decent shionage and ikkajo. hehe being 17 is great but you gotta enjoy each year you live... what is it like being over 20??

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 03-21-2002, 11:31 PM   #8
Location: Frederick, MD
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 509
Re: Young shodans...

Originally posted by Daniella
Hi! My name is Daniella and I am 17 years old (this year). I will try shodan in april and I hope to get it. Are there any other young shodans in the aikido world? How long have you been training then? Do you feel that your age is disturbing you? Who was the youngest to take shodan and when was that?
Congratulations! Now, get back to training and get serious about learning. Shodan is really nothing more than 'serious beginner'.

You can be a shodan and have sempai (older brothers or sistres) who are lesser ranked.

Never forget that. Just because you make the grade (shodan) means nothing more than you are ready to begin learning.

In the west, we have vastly overinflated the ranking system. In the old ways, beginners underwent a period of 'te hodoki' -- untying the hands. This is roughly analogous to making shodan or nidan in most systems.

Shodan, truly means little more than that you have paid your dues and are worthy of being taught.

Train hard, stay humble, strive for shoshin -- the beginner's mind.

You will, if you get out much, meet folks who are lower ranked but who have deeper experience than you do today. Pay attention.

In traditional dojo (more often, that can be non-gendai dojo, but not always ) the kohai-sempai relationship has nothing at all to do with rank ... it is a function of age, experience, maturity and knowledge.

Attaining shodan at age 17 is an accomplishment, but it is not at all unusual or special in any whit.

It happens in Japan all the time.

Don't set yourself up as 'sensei' or 'sempai' to others. You are young. Stay open to the possibility of learning MUCH from your lower ranked but older dojo-mates.

Be proud of your accomplishment, but don't think you are doing anything that hasn't been done before. Stay focused on the idea that you have a LOT yet to learn.

Good luck and good training.


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Old 03-24-2002, 12:18 AM   #9
Dojo: Muhu Dojo
Location: Middle of nowhere in California 14 miles from Buellton
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 238

the scary part for me is when my sensei askes me to help the white belts with basic throws and some of them are twice my age! its scary becuase how would they react to my suggestions?? I know I have nothing to worry about becuse they all the friendly bunch and its fun.. ( and most of the time they dont need to much suggestions from me ( I hate the word correct.)) but if i ever become sensei I hope im at least 25 before I ever start that ( if I start that at all.) Im just at the training mode and being a goofy teenager! :P

Dallas Adolphsen
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Old 03-26-2002, 08:02 AM   #10
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 893
young shodan ...

Well young shodan, are you looking ahead to putting more victories under your belt, or getting belted when some old crusty veteran beats you like a red headed step child! ( An American metaphor for finding yourself helpless with skills you think you learned because you sit upon your laurels?)

Be satisfied those you train with, and your teachers find you have reached another level? It becomes no more important than a quiz you took in fifth grade for science. I think all the old timers will tell you the same thing, appreciate how far you have come but don't use it to judge others, or how far you have to go, if you chose to go that far?

I have known too many young people who begin to rise in the black belt levels, and have no clue as to the intricate techniques they have learned or when to use them ... outside of the practice mat or dojo? They become bored, attention trails off to their peers who are doing other things, and then one day it becomes conversations of "I used to do ..."

There is a trap in putting all your energy into something also? It tends to blind you to other things in the big wide world! Take your promotion as a benchmark that marked where you were that day ... now put it in the book with the other certificates and move on. Kind of like a birthday, or party, or a trip to somewhere with pictures ... it happened, I was there, now what?

If you put your life into this context ... then it will be interesting, and maybe you will laugh when you meet an older practitioner who can whip you like a red headed step child but doesn't? I always laugh when I do.

Keep learning. Remember to have fun, always.
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Old 11-07-2004, 02:16 AM   #11
Dojo: Aiki Zenshin Dojo, Aikido of Fremont
Location: Fremont/Davis, CA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 25
Wink Re: Young shodans...


I just posted in the "Young Folks" forum topic.

I am an 18 year old shodan. I would have to agree with Chuck. Shodan is pretty much a "serious beginner."

How long have I been training? It will be 10 years in April of 2005. Yeah. 9.5 years and moving onward to 10 in April. I feel old...

It is good to see others take Aikido as seriously as I do. Being a full time college student, I kind of have to prioritize things. Aikido comes after school, and sadly, a few other things like chores, and work. Sometimes I wish I was in high school again. Sometimes.

Train hard all.


P.S. Hey Jun. Long time no talk to. You should add a ":P" smily.

Other thing. www.aikidouniverse.com is dead because I got ran out of business by... um... this awesome, kick-a** site, and mostly because school is a pain in the rear. Somebody bought the domain name and is now putting lousy martial arts supply ads on it.

Last edited by Kevin : 11-07-2004 at 02:18 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 11-07-2004, 11:11 PM   #12
Christy S
Location: Florida
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 18
Re: Young shodans...

Hey Daniella! Nice to know that there are other young serious people that train b/c I never get to see them! I have been training 12 years, received my shodan in 2002. The only 2 challenges my age has brought is not having a "place" in the aikido community (kind of made my own spot being the only young one around) and overcoming the fear of getting hurt or hurting someone. When I was younger, my father didn't want me take falls in case a big adult fell on me (i trained in the adult's class b/c there was no kids class). I was always cautious of not being hurt, and people not being too rough w/ me. That mentality sticks w/ u after thinking that way for years and years so my biggest challenge I had to overcome before shodan was to not fear getting hurt and just going all out as uke and nage. Once you get past that, it's kick a**!!! Now the yudansha throw me around like a rag doll and I'm loving it. Good luck on your test and let us know how it went.
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Old 11-08-2004, 02:20 AM   #13
Dojo: Pärnu Aikidoclub Singitai
Location: Pärnu, Estonia
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 322
Re: Young shodans...

chokolateuke - do not worry... I'm actively teaching Aikido and I'm the YOUNGEST in my class being 21. No problems whatsoevere
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Old 11-08-2004, 03:02 AM   #14
Dojo: Ren Shin Kan
Location: Birmingham
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 358
United Kingdom
Re: Young shodans...

I got my Shodan at age 16 some 30 years ago. My sempai then are my sempai now although I have passed all but two in rank. The transition from child to adult; where you go from top of the pile to bottom of the dungheap is difficult but an extremely positive experience. The most humbling thing was being asked to teach by my sempai while they were on the mat (and it still is).

Main thing keep training; theres a whole new Aikido world out there.
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Old 11-08-2004, 07:57 AM   #15
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 82
Re: Young shodans...

At our Dojo the youngest 'Adult' Sjodan we have is 17 - although she made Shodan at 16. One of her older brothers made Shodan at 18. - and there's more in the family who all work very hard at develping their Aikido.
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