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Old 08-22-2000, 09:51 AM   #1
akiy
 
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Quote:
andrew wrote:
"You can't tell if someone is doing it properly enough for you to model after unless they're wearing a hakama?

-- Jun"

Yeah, tell that to a beginner. That'll work. "Can't you tell who's doing it right??"
That's actually a really interesting question. Can beginners tell who is doing good aikido or not? Any beginners out there wish to comment?
Quote:
Perhaps all students, regardless of rank, display exactly the same level of technical accuracy in your dojo Jun, but I don't think so.
Can't say I said that...
Quote:
There's bad example on the mats too.

You're absolutely right. The same applies even if, say, only yudansha wore a hakama though, wouldn't you say?
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I doubt very much whether Victro relies on what somebodys wearing to judge their ability, and I know I don't, but I know a lot of people out there can't tell the difference.
Are all yudansha (for example) good examples?
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That is why in many places some degree of proficiency is required befrore wearing the hakama. Your bizarre assertion that you know hakama wearers who can't even roll is a bit of a spurious argument, given that we all know some places allow everyone to wear hakama.

So, what happens at a seminar where people from a lot of difference places gets together when someone watches a person with a hakama as a good example?
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Neither can it be argued that the hakama might become an ego-trip if only certain grades wore it.
I can't say I've ever argued that.
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Egotism in aikido is down to the student and how their Sensei teaches them, nothing else.
I agree.

Thanks for making me think....

-- Jun

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Old 08-22-2000, 10:50 AM   #2
Victor
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Quote:
Jun wrote:
Are all yudansha (for example) good examples?
In our dojo, you can't even apply for even a 3rd kyu test if you're "not a good example". So, it depends very much on your behaviour in the dojo and your degree of respect on the mat.
Quote:
Jun wrote:
So, what happens at a seminar where people from a lot of difference places gets together when someone watches a person with a hakama as a good example?
First, you watch how does the main :-) "person with a hakama" perform a technique.
BTW, someone said that
Quote:
...Aikido is a martial art for the intellectuals.
So a good Aikidoka (even a newbie) has to think first - then to watch how does "a person with a hakama" perform a technique...

p.s. ;-) Jun, how I like this quoting function!!!

If I'm not right - I'm wrong

Victro
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Old 08-22-2000, 12:34 PM   #3
DJM
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Quote:
akiy wrote:
That's actually a really interesting question. Can beginners tell who is doing good aikido or not? Any beginners out there wish to comment?
<snip>
-- Jun
Hi Jun,
I guess I qualify (5 months of 2xweek plus a couple of courses, in addition to about 4/5 months a few years back) as a beginner. And I'd have to say that I do recognise good Aikido when I see it - and I've seen some very very good Aikido. That's not to say I have even the vaguest hint of a clue as to how to do some of it - that'll come in time.
I actually think it's more likely to be a problem the other way - when someone in hakama does bad Aikido. Even the best have off days, so what happens when someone is watching and suddenly 'It must be good Aikido - the person has hakama on..!'
Much less of a problem if everyone is wearing hakama..

Peace,
David

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Old 08-22-2000, 01:36 PM   #4
Nick
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David:

I'm going to have to second your response... the best of us bad days, and the worst of us have even worse days .

Ja,

-Nick

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Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 08-22-2000, 03:29 PM   #5
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as a beginner, i do not think i could often tell by looking if someone in a hakama is doing 'good' or 'bad' Aikido. i do think i can often tell if they are doing what was shown to us or something different (according to my perception, at least). i think i can feel (not usually looking at other pairs when training, anyway) what they are doing to me, and can sometimes translate that into whether it would work for me (my size vs theirs) or not, and sometimes actually reproduce it...but don't know if i have much to judge the skill level---to me, if it works for me, it's good. and a lot of the time, i feel it but just can't convince my body to do the same .
as for rolls, i have seen 3rd kyu and above who have terrible looking rolls, perhaps for a variety of reasons (health, fear, laziness, who knows or cares)---just another reason not to use the hakama as an indicator of ukemi skill any more than technical skill. Assume the best of that 'unknown quantity' of a partner---they may surprise you.
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Old 08-22-2000, 04:26 PM   #6
rch
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Smile From a newbie!

I personally think spotting good form, and bad form is pretty simple. Just like anything else, if you get a bunch of people together, doing the same thing, spotting those with trouble tends to be pretty simple.

Now, my question is... Why would you treat a newbie any less than you would treat someone with more experience? I would like to think you would treat me as you would any one else. Regardless of my "standing" in said community.


-Rob
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Old 08-22-2000, 06:34 PM   #7
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Jun, excellent question in regards to can beginners tell the good from the bad. I'm interested in the responses as well.

Anyways, there are lots of styles out there that don't have belts, hakamas or anything else to discern ability. Interesting that they all manage to work it out.
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Old 08-22-2000, 07:13 PM   #8
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I think CA touched slightly on the most important sense for noticing experience: feel.

I may not be able to always see the nuances that make my sensei a 4th dan and a fellow aikidoka not quite shodan during technique demonstrations, but I can certainly feel the difference when it is my turn to become uke and I receive the techniques. Whether one is wearing a hakama or not, the evidence of experience is most clearly conveyed through technique.

Even if you blindfolded me, I think I'd be able to distinguish the sparse, precise movements of my sensei from anyone else in the dojo.

-------------------------
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Old 08-23-2000, 07:59 AM   #9
andrew
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"So, what happens at a seminar where people from a lot of difference places gets together when someone watches a person with a hakama as a good example?"

Confusion happens. That question can be used equally well to enforce both sides of the question over who should wear them.

It was somebody else mentioned hakama and big headedness (a brazilian, I believe.) I really don't think, whatever they might think, that beginners can tell when they see good aikido. Frankly, I'd be wary of anybody with less than five years training who claimed to be actually able to define aikido well, and I include myself in that category. A beginner can be wowed by a shodan, and then see them practically toyed with at a seminar by a higher grade.
Perhaps we should just say (yawn) "Observe the rules of the dojo you're in," which of course we all do anyhow.
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Old 08-23-2000, 08:13 AM   #10
andrew
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"Now, my question is... Why would you treat a newbie any less than you would treat someone with more experience? I would like to think you would treat me as you would any one else. Regardless of my "standing" in said community."

Nothing to do with standing. If I treated you the same as anyone else, you might lock up while being flipped and hurt your back or shoulder. You might not follow a technique and have your arm or shoulder torn. You might not relax properly when I applied controls and cause yourself unnecessary pain. You might dive headfirst into the mats during a roll and damage your neck.
I once locked up during a kotegaeshi and was unable to take weight on my left arm for three months.
Beginners are treated exactly the same in that people "feel" their body and react accordingly. Simply put, however, they cannot take the same abuse as more experienced people, so they don't recieve that. One of the original rules of O Sensei was to train at your own pace to avoid injury.
andrew

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Old 08-23-2000, 12:57 PM   #11
rch
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"Nothing to do with standing. If I treated you the same as anyone else, you might lock up while being flipped and hurt your back or shoulder"

OK, from the way I was reading things from the start of this thread, it sounded like something different. I got the impression that people were being treated poorly, simply because they weren't a certain rank.

-Rob
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Old 08-23-2000, 01:10 PM   #12
akiy
 
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Quote:
rch wrote:
OK, from the way I was reading things from the start of this thread, it sounded like something different. I got the impression that people were being treated poorly, simply because they weren't a certain rank.
Oh, this happens, of course. I think I wrote somewhere that when I've attended seminars without a hakama and wearing a white belt, quite a lot of people (mostly mudansha) seemingly spend a lot less care during training towards me (ie not focusing on me while they're uke, ignoring the fact that I bowed to them at the beginning of a technique). I can't say it's the norm, but it happens.

-- Jun

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Old 08-23-2000, 01:58 PM   #13
Axiom
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OK, since I think I fuelled the flames of this discussion somewhat, let me add my 2 cents:

As a beginner, its really hard to look at someone and tell whether their doing good technique, unless you have someone doing REALLY bad technique nearby. However, felling good technique vs. bad technique as uke is very easy.

Next, the reason its nice to have hakama, or some other symbol of rank is to aid in choosing partners in class. When we are doing techniques that I've fairly familiar with, I'll choose the nearest person as my partner, regardless of rank- I can usually help people who know even less than me get the general idea of the technique, and I will usually learn a lot from someone who's my sempei. But when sensei has us do a technique thats extremely complicated, difficult, or very new to me, I try to find someone with a hakama or a brown belt, or who I know is more experienced than me so that I don't spend the entire time we have to work on the technique trying to figure out the first half of it. I'm not sure how I'd act at a seminar, but I think I'd be happy to work with pretty much anyone- its much harder to judge the ability of someone you've never seen before, and you certainly can't base you judgement simply off of their clothes, especially with every school having slightly different rules(Hell, I don't even know if my school has a cohesive policy on hakama)

I'm not sure if hakama's build excessive egos, but I don't think that its that much of a valid argument against them- first of all, in aikido the level of arrogance(sp?) is amazingly low. Second, ANY symbol of rank is likely to inflate people's egos, whether it is a polka dotted belt and green pajamas or a hakama.

In any case, I think that at a seminar, when surrounded by lots of people you don't know, you should be doubly attentive and polite- its much easier to step on people's toes when in unfamiliar settings.

_________
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Old 08-23-2000, 02:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Axiom wrote:
But when sensei has us do a technique thats extremely complicated, difficult, or very new to me, I try to find someone with a hakama or a brown belt, or who I know is more experienced than me so that I don't spend the entire time we have to work on the technique trying to figure out the first half of it.
Do you have anyone in your class who isn't as experienced as you are? Just a thought here -- not trying to be instigative, but how do you think they feel if they sit next to you during a class, see a complicated technique demonstrated, and you go work with someone who is more experienced than you are?

During regular training, I try to just work with whoever is sitting next to me. If there's something I didn't "get" during the class, I'll work with someone, perhaps the teacher, after class.

I think it all works out in the long run...

-- Jun

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Old 08-23-2000, 03:56 PM   #15
BC
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Good point Jun. I do pretty much the same as you - that is, practicing with whomever is sitting next to me. I know of some students in our dojo who are constantly trying to position themselves during class after each technique so that they can work with certain sempai next. To me it's simply not worth the effort, since I don't want to be bothered looking for my next partner while I'm practicing with my current one. I usually get something from every partner I practice with at this point. Maybe I'm just spoiled from practicing in a pretty well-established dojo...I don't know.

As far as beginners being able to recognize good technique, I remember as a beginner (and now) being able to recognize students whose technique was better than mine (which wasn't and still isn't hard). Whether or not they were yudansha wasn't an issue to me, because we could count on the instructor to help us out if either one or both of us was having trouble with a technique.

Might make for an interesting poll, though, don't you think (ie, how do you pick/find/select your partners for practice)?

-BC
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Old 08-23-2000, 04:08 PM   #16
Bruce E
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In small classes, I try to train at least once with everyone. In larger classes I grab whoever is closest.
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Old 08-23-2000, 04:56 PM   #17
Tony Peters
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preconceptions and Hakama

My personal opinion about Hakamas is that everyone should be wearing them that way everything looks uniform. The problem (IMHO) is that there is way to much emphasis placed of the Hak, sorta like there is in other arts with the sacred "Black Belt". I don't use a black Obi any more even though I earned it. I'm much more comfortable using an off-white obi that I made when I was starting Iaido. I have yet to hear any comments about it. Most folks judge me on my technique or my lack of it. Putting everyone in a hak would remove a great barrier, then again it would also eliminate an important though artificial goal as well.

Peace
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Old 08-23-2000, 05:20 PM   #18
Erik
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Re: preconceptions and Hakama

Quote:
Tony Peters wrote:
My personal opinion about Hakamas is that everyone should be wearing them that way everything looks uniform. The problem (IMHO) is that there is way to much emphasis placed of the Hak, sorta like there is in other arts with the sacred "Black Belt". I don't use a black Obi any more even though I earned it. I'm much more comfortable using an off-white obi that I made when I was starting Iaido. I have yet to hear any comments about it. Most folks judge me on my technique or my lack of it. Putting everyone in a hak would remove a great barrier, then again it would also eliminate an important though artificial goal as well.
Hear! Hear! Hear!

I wear a blue hakama and I can't tell you how many times I get asked "does the color mean anything?" "Why yes it does", I reply, "I like blue."
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Old 08-23-2000, 05:34 PM   #19
Mike Collins
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That's my line Eric. I also tell them it proves that I'm more in touch with my feminine side (that's actually a bit of visual humor, I'm huge and ugly as a rock).
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Old 08-23-2000, 05:44 PM   #20
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Quote:
Mikey wrote:
That's my line Eric. I also tell them it proves that I'm more in touch with my feminine side (that's actually a bit of visual humor, I'm huge and ugly as a rock).
I like it and could use it. In my own case, I was on the swim team during high school. As the season wore on the idea came up of shaving down for meets. I looked at them and said "not a chance in hell". Probably would have shaved a second or more off my time though.
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Old 08-25-2000, 02:13 AM   #21
Tony Peters
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Quote:
Erik wrote:
I like it and could use it. In my own case, I was on the swim team during high school. As the season wore on the idea came up of shaving down for meets. I looked at them and said "not a chance in hell". Probably would have shaved a second or more off my time though. [/b]
You know I shaved my legs every year for over a decade, I used to race bicycles (both on and off road) and its a healing/infection issue. However that didn't stop my girlfriends or my wife later on from both laughing and being pissed that my legs were smoother and in some cases better looking than theirs. It did provide for some interesting conversations. It was excepted by all my friends especially when they saw some of the scrapes on my legs.
Right now I'm one of only two who wear a black Hakama in one class (the other is my sensei). In my other class anything goes so I wear a Kendo Uwagi (in both classes) a very formal Obi and my black Hak. However it isn't uncommon to see people in white haks or in all black as that is my Iaido class.
I realize that Aikido has its very formal heirarchy with the Hakama however Aikido just looks better with a Hak on and the Hak itself taught me more about movement than I ever learned from any sensei. As soon as a student can affoed a Hak they should get one and wear it. It is as much a part of the art as a Boken or Jo. I prefer to train in Dojos where the Hak is part and parcel of the training no matter the grade/rank.

Peace
Tony
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Old 08-27-2000, 03:42 PM   #22
Dan Hover
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Ai symbol picking partners

Axiom wrote
But when sensei has us do a technique thats extremely complicated, difficult, or very new to me, I try to find someone with a hakama or a brown belt, or who I know is more experienced than me so that I don't spend the entire time we have to work on the technique trying to figure out the first half of it.

good point, traditionally it should be Kohai's responsibility to seek out sempai to train with, it is quite often the "easiest" way to improvement, and it shows initiative. BUT Sempai, should not show any attitude that they have to work with Kohai, after all they were there once, and that is Sempai's responsibility,


akiy wrote

During regular training, I try to just work with whoever is sitting next to me. If there's something I didn't "get" during the class, I'll work with someone, perhaps the teacher, after class.

but more often than not, I too just grab whoever is next to me.

akiy wrote

I think it all works out in the long run...

...hopefully


Dan Hover

of course that's my opinion, I could be wrong
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Old 09-29-2000, 10:31 PM   #23
Kestrel
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Talking Who do you pick for practice?

As one who is very much a beginner (I started two weeks ago) and as one practicing in a dojo where they ASK that you not wear the hakama until you have reached a certain rank (not sure which one..didnt know the ranks that well at that point), I will say that I do find it useful in pointing out the people who are more experienced than I am. This is particularly good because since we are on a university campus the group changes quite a bit from practice to practice. So you are never quite sure the level of experience the other people have because you may not have seen them more than once before. Because of this the hakama gives you some idea of who is more experienced. This can be useful if you're having trouble figuring something out. We have a different instructor on Mon, Wed and Sat..and then I made the trip out to the dojo to check it out and see if I would like to practice there (my knees were rather shaky walking up to the door..not knowing exactly what it would be like)..making a total of 4 different instructors so far.
As to whether a beginner can recognize good aikido or not...well thats a bit tougher. I can see the difference between the beginners and the more advanced students. I cant see the difference between different advanced students yet other than that some make more noise when they fall :P
When actually practicing with the advanced students I *CAN* feel a difference. Uke is MUCH smoother and I am more likely to go down properly and fall the right way than when my partner is less experienced. I may not be able to SEE the difference between good Aikido and bad..but I sure can feel it..when I do something right..it just clicks.
When picking partners I generally spend equal time with the more experience advanced students..the students at or around my level of experience..and the few who have even less experience than myself. It's usually a matter of who's closest to you when you get up from demonstration..and who's slowest to go pick someone :P
Someone either earlier on this thread or the previous one mentioned that they found the hakama an invaluable training aid because it makes you move the way you are supposed to. I dont have the extra funds yet to run out and buy one...but I think I will once I have the money..and at least try it on at home and practice tenkan and iremi there..Cant do falls..would wake the neighbors :P

Thank you for listening/read to my disjointed ramblings.
Tim

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Old 09-30-2000, 12:25 AM   #24
stratcat
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Talking The Hakama... Cool, ain't it?

That the hakama is big part of aikido tradition, goes without saying. As a matter of fact, I was surprised a the amount of Arts that make the wearing of a Hak a tradional part of their practice -Kendo, Iaido, Kenjitsu, Kyudo, certain styles of Jujitsu, etc., etc., being a few examples-.

Anyway, in our dojo we recognize this, but also feel that the hak is emblematic of our Art; thus anyone can EARN the right to wear it. This isn't to segregate or belittle anyone; rather, it works to insure that the students have learned to move before putting on the hakama, and avoid tripping themselves up in it, possibly injuring themselves or other students.

Besides demonstrating that they can take ukemi, the practitioner must demonstrate he is a serious student. IMHO, I like this system (I'm not knocking anyone, I just like the system in our dojo!), because it also insures that the student can look forward to earning his hak, and therefore feels some incentive to continue his training.

In some dojos the hak is a much bigger deal, to the point that only yudansha may wear it. So I guess the determination of who is "higher ranking" or "more skilled" would depend on what your local dojo's policy on the wearing of hakamas. I get he feeling, however, that in most dojos wearing a hakama doesn't have the "high rank" connotations most beginners seem to attribute to it.

My best advice would probably be: don't be picky who you practice with, practice with anyone who is near. This will give you a better feeling for different ukes, which is the best sort of training anyway.

Just my 2 cents worth!

[Edited by stratcat on September 29, 2000 at 11:36pm]

Andy Hertz.
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enemies my mind does not ignore
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Old 09-30-2000, 08:25 AM   #25
JO
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When I first started I couldn't judge relative ability beyong knowing those that were ahead of myself (nearly everyone) and a general feeling that those in hakama (yudansha only at my dojo) seemed to know more than anybody else.
Now I think I can judge relative ability a bit better using my year and a half of experience. But the truth is that I trust the judgement of my senseis and shihans (those handing out the ranks and the right to wear hakama) more than my own when it comes to judging aikido ability.
However I am not that strongly in faver of signs of rank because one of the things I like about aikido is that everybody practices the same techniques together independently of rank.

Jonathan Olson
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