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Old 09-22-2012, 07:24 PM   #1
corbett
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ethical?

I need advice here. My former teacher and I no longer train together. When our paths cross we briefly speak respectfully and go our seperate ways. He is a very high ranking practitioner of several arts. His aikido ranking is the least of his ranks. He is shodan. I am shodan. My old training partners are shodan. But my former teacher has promoted another former student he originally promoted to shodan to nidan even though he himself is not nidan. Permissable to promote above your own rank and then have that nidan teach at your for-profit dojo? Please advise. Yours in the honorable spirit of aiki.
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Old 09-22-2012, 07:53 PM   #2
lbb
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Re: ethical?

Quote:
Steve Corbett wrote: View Post
Please advise.
It sounds like you're looking for opinions, not advice. Whatever he's doing, it's not as if you can do anything about it.
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:36 PM   #3
gates
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Re: ethical?

Here is my opinion.
Not ethical.
Here is my advise.
Smile politley.

Enjoy the journey
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Old 09-22-2012, 09:23 PM   #4
aikishihan
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Re: ethical?

What's rank got to do with your commitment to train honestly in Aikido?
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Old 09-22-2012, 09:39 PM   #5
Janet Rosen
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Re: ethical?

Quote:
Keith Gates wrote: View Post
Here is my opinion.
Not ethical.
Here is my advise.
Smile politley.
Yep

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:04 PM   #6
Rob Watson
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Re: ethical?

Depends on the organization guidelines. Certainly no aikikai rank can be grant in such a way.

Ethics depends on following the rules ... which we don't have enough info on.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:40 AM   #7
Chris Li
 
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Re: ethical?

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
Depends on the organization guidelines. Certainly no aikikai rank can be grant in such a way.
I don't think that's quite right. In the Aikikai I've seen people recommend for promotion up to their own rank - or even higher.

The thing is, there's only one person in the entire Aikikai who actually grants promotions, everybody else (even the eighth dans) only recommends. So, basically speaking, it all depends on what Doshu feels like doing and will accept...

Best,

Chris

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Old 09-23-2012, 07:35 AM   #8
danielajames
 
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Re: ethical?

meh.. his own dojo, his own rules, Soke is always right (Provided its not misrepresenting a wider organisational context). Lots of people do it (the good, the bad, the ugly), the historically successful create world wide organisations and a generation or two later are venerated for it.

Can see how it might stick in the craw though

dan

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Old 09-23-2012, 08:13 AM   #9
robin_jet_alt
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Re: ethical?

So, who awarded him shodan in the first place, and under what authority did he award nidan? none of us can really say anything with any certainty without knowing these things. It sounds a bit dodgy though.
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:42 PM   #10
graham christian
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Re: ethical?

When your student gets better than you then you have done a fine job.

Peace.G.
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:03 PM   #11
Basia Halliop
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Re: ethical?

I'm not sure what kind of 'advice' you're looking for. Are you asking if you should report him to someone (I don't know who)? If you should confront him and tell him your opinion? If you should tell his students your opinion that you think this is wrong? Are you considering going back to train there again?

As far as I can see, it's not the kind of thing that's done in secret so there's nothing to 'report', and other than that it doesn't really seem to have anything to do with you.
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:41 PM   #12
aikishihan
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Re: ethical?

When you have allowed your students to develop themselves beyond the goals you have set for yourself, you have utterly failed them, your mentors, and yourself.
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Old 09-23-2012, 03:42 PM   #13
aikilouis
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Re: ethical?

This is a strange declaration. Care to explain, please ?

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Old 09-23-2012, 04:03 PM   #14
graham christian
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Re: ethical?

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
When you have allowed your students to develop themselves beyond the goals you have set for yourself, you have utterly failed them, your mentors, and yourself.
Who's quote is this? Sounds crazy to me.

Peace.G.
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Old 09-23-2012, 05:37 PM   #15
Janet Rosen
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Re: ethical?

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
When you have allowed your students to develop themselves beyond the goals you have set for yourself, you have utterly failed them, your mentors, and yourself.
Huh? In a few areas of life I am a much better teacher than practitioner; just the way it is. I don't see my students surpassing me as a bad thing but as a wonderful thing.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:59 PM   #16
RonRagusa
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Re: ethical?

Quote:
Francis Takahashi wrote: View Post
When you have allowed your students to develop themselves beyond the goals you have set for yourself, you have utterly failed them, your mentors, and yourself.
Too true Francis. If my students exceed the goals I have set for myself while I am alive and training then I have ceased growing and furthering my art. And should I ever reach a point where I can no longer push the envelope of my own development I will step aside and pass the torch on.

Ron

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Old 09-23-2012, 10:43 PM   #17
Basia Halliop
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Re: ethical?

I thought that was supposed to be the goal of every teacher of anything: for their students to eventually surpass them. Same with parents - it's a sentiment I've heard my dad express more than once when one of his kids did something well.

"And should I ever reach a point where I can no longer push the envelope of my own development I will step aside and pass the torch on."

How does a person 'pass the torch on' other than by teaching?

Of course one would hope teachers would keep developing as students as well, but it's hardly a failure as a teacher to be a better teacher than you are a student.

The only dilemma I see here is whether or not the teacher is giving ranks he isn't qualified to give. But if he doesn't belong to an organisation with rules about how ranks are given, then it's sort of up to him to do what he thinks is best. Maybe he thinks this student is better than him and this is his way of handling it. Without knowing the personal motives and details it's hard for an outsider to judge if it's right or wrong.

In any case I can't really see what it has to do with the poster, who isn't even a student there. It kind of gives the impression that he has a bad history with this guy and is looking for excuses to think badly of the guy or even to spread bad feeling among his current students. My advice would be to move on and stop thinking about what's going on in this dojo - it serves no positive purpose. Find another dojo if possible but in any case, don't keep looking back at this one.
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Old 09-23-2012, 11:52 PM   #18
aikishihan
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Re: ethical?

First, allow me to apologize for the terse nature of my statement. No doubt, the subject matter of the proper and successful transmission of knowledge, techniques, materials, instruction and wisdom from teacher to student has many facets, and many schools of thought and theory. If my statement came off as being a bit “elitist”, it was intentional. I cannot fathom O Sensei, Kano Sensei, Takeda Sensei, Newton, Aristotle, Einstein etc. etc. etc. of ever accepting being surpassed by any of their talented students.

Secondly, when it comes to matters Aiki and Aikido related, I acknowledge no competition amongst individuals, styles and theories. Therefore, I acknowledge no competition between a master teacher and his or her students over time. The path of personal shugyo is singular and unique to each individual, leaving no basis for real comparison or authenticated contrast of the timelines, goals defined, or even goals attained for each person.

The notion long endured of “it is the teacher’s goal to have the student surpass him or her over a lifetime” is absurd and offensive to all parties, if they would but think of what this really is trying to convey. It is assuming that there is a quantifiable method of determining correctly what that teacher’s private goals actually were, or if it were even feasible to compare them with the those of the master’s acknowledged students. If so, in what time frame? Using what parameters or guidelines? No such formula exists, nor can it ever exist, as each individual’s path is singular, original, and time sensitive.
Why on earth would any genuine student want to tread on the master’s path, only to claim to surpass it where the teacher left off? How much time would remain for that student to then create an original path of his own, learning from his own triumphs and miscues, and have a legacy to pass on to his own spate of students?

I do believe that the above stated notion is noble and romantic, but quite impossible to truly envision, let alone institute and achieve. If such an arbitrary standard were successfully raised, acknowledged and supported by all involved, then perhaps such a phenomenon of overtaking can actually take place. Otherwise, why waste any more mindless rhetoric on this matter?

For those who specialize in being hopelessly mired in circular arguments, good bye. And yes, it was I who made up that statement.

For those who still believe in the intrinsic ability of each person to strive for unique achievement, like the Founder of Aikido, like the great minds of science and philosophy over the centuries, and from countless other fields of human endeavor, be at ease, for yours is still the right to create and to lead as your talent, energy and drive supports your dreams. Your rigorous example is exactly what your future students really want from you, and to draw from on their own journies. Knowing that you never quit growing, restructuring and humbly acknowledging your humanity, and your genius, is what all students want and need from their mentors. Do not ever stop.

In summation, it is useless to have two or more individuals travel the exact same path. Since it is not possible, there can then be no way to overtake the one before. Have the courage, foresight and the perseverance to create your own path, and allow your teacher(s) to continue on their own pursuits, without thought of competition or fear of becoming someone else’s milestone.

Last edited by aikishihan : 09-23-2012 at 11:55 PM.
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Old 09-24-2012, 04:04 AM   #19
graham christian
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Re: ethical?

Thanks, nice explanation Francis. However I still disagree. Apart from the fact I believe Ueshiba surpassed Takeda I can think of many many examples in life where the teachers hold high expectations for their students and thus this is their path and thus attracts those students.

All the stellar examples you mention had teachers didn't they? Teachers they surpassed in ability and skill in that particular zone of life. When I say surpassed or better I look not from a hierarchical or vertical view but rather a horizontal one ie: they went further along that particular path and reached new levels of skills and awareness.

Every path is different yes when you talk about life as a whole and goals in life as a whole and a good teacher can help the student to achieve their goals too but that is a separate matter.

In my view it's not a matter of competition or besting but rather a fact of life. Within your sphere in your particular area of teaching you have a certain degree of skill and ability albeit continually being improved upon.

If you help another reach that same level of skill and ability and allow that person to go even further then the circle can be made complete for now you are the student and he is your teacher. The circle of life and all progressive in humility.

I enjoy others success and I am sure you do too and this is truly no competition but sharing in winning.

When a student does one technique even much better than I have ever done I am truly happy and thus can learn once again from my new master.

Peace.G.
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:05 AM   #20
danielajames
 
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Re: ethical?

OT a segue to science: Newtons famous quote "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." springs to mind, with Einstein perhaps eclipsing him?. Whilst the context of the quote is unclear, its a neat statement of the foundation of modern science. A PhD is the completion of an apprenticeship where there is the expectation that at the beginning the student is the Kohai and by the completion of the PhD is the Sempai to his supervisors, albeit in only the particular field of his/her PhD.

Perhaps in science, this is not so different to Shuhari, where one is expected to step from the shadow of the supervisor and create (and continue to create) something new. With a broard brush stroke Shuhari is the norm in science, rather than the exception. (Science in Japan I think wrestles with this concept though)

These cross cultural metaphors are hurting my head

Daniel James, Brisbane Aikido Republic: AikiPhysics, Aikido Brisbane news,
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:26 AM   #21
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Re: ethical?

I dont think that in this context Newton and Einstein belong to the same list as O Sensei. Here I assume that a "student" has surpassed a "teacher" if her science is better. There is no doubt that Newton and latter Einstein pushed the boundaries of science beyond what was known then and it is reasonable to say that Einstein has surpassed Newton.

The reason that there is no doubt is that there is a universally acceptable criteria for comparing scientific theories. Not so for comparing flavours of Aikido.

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Old 09-24-2012, 08:03 AM   #22
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Re: ethical?

Quote:
Steve Corbett wrote: View Post
I need advice here. My former teacher and I no longer train together. When our paths cross we briefly speak respectfully and go our seperate ways. He is a very high ranking practitioner of several arts. His aikido ranking is the least of his ranks. He is shodan. I am shodan. My old training partners are shodan. But my former teacher has promoted another former student he originally promoted to shodan to nidan even though he himself is not nidan. Permissable to promote above your own rank and then have that nidan teach at your for-profit dojo? Please advise. Yours in the honorable spirit of aiki.
Since you asked for advice: Here is mine. Mind your own businees. This has nothing to do with you.

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Old 09-24-2012, 11:33 AM   #23
Basia Halliop
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Re: ethical?

Whatever you think of the idea of students surpassing their teachers, whether you see it as good or bad or just something that occasionally happens and 'just is', it's not an 'ethical' question in any way. It's just a question of pedagogy, psychology, personal relationships, organizational structure, etc. It's a matter for that teacher and that student and other students and teachers of both parties to consider and decide what kind of teaching model they themselves believe in and value, what skills they're looking for and what skills their teacher has, and what teacher they think they will learn most from.

If the guy was a student, then it would be something for him to think hard about and consider if this was a teacher he wished to follow or not. But he isn't, so it's just a random situation that has nothing at all to do with him. He doesn't personally like this guy's teaching model -- so? He's already decided he doesn't want to train with that teacher, which is fine. Other students do want to, which is also fine. They're all adults and can decide for themselves.

An 'ethical question' would be if he thought the teacher was sexually harassing or bullying teenage students, for example. Then there'd be reason for him to consider if he needed to do something and if so, what.

Last edited by Basia Halliop : 09-24-2012 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:50 AM   #24
Rob Watson
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Re: ethical?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I don't think that's quite right. In the Aikikai I've seen people recommend for promotion up to their own rank - or even higher.

The thing is, there's only one person in the entire Aikikai who actually grants promotions, everybody else (even the eighth dans) only recommends. So, basically speaking, it all depends on what Doshu feels like doing and will accept...

Best,

Chris
From IAF regs
Article 9 : QUALIFICATIONS FOR CONDUCTING EXAMINATIONS AND MAKING RECOMMENDATIONS 1.An Aikido organization with Hombu Recognition, when its Person in Charge is 6th dan or above, may conduct examinations from 1st dan to 4th dan. When the Person in Charge is 4th dan or 5th dan, it may conduct examinations from 1st dan to 3rd dan. In the case of a 4th dan examination, an application to Hombu must be made. and the examination will be conducted by the Hombu or a person delegated by the Hombu.

What the "rules" are how reality functions are always subject to wide interpretation. Ethical behaviour is suppsoed to narow that gap - either by altering behaviour or changing the rules.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 09-24-2012, 12:01 PM   #25
Chris Li
 
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Re: ethical?

Quote:
Robert M Watson Jr wrote: View Post
From IAF regs
Article 9 : QUALIFICATIONS FOR CONDUCTING EXAMINATIONS AND MAKING RECOMMENDATIONS 1.An Aikido organization with Hombu Recognition, when its Person in Charge is 6th dan or above, may conduct examinations from 1st dan to 4th dan. When the Person in Charge is 4th dan or 5th dan, it may conduct examinations from 1st dan to 3rd dan. In the case of a 4th dan examination, an application to Hombu must be made. and the examination will be conducted by the Hombu or a person delegated by the Hombu.

What the "rules" are how reality functions are always subject to wide interpretation. Ethical behaviour is suppsoed to narow that gap - either by altering behaviour or changing the rules.
Of course, that's what the rules say. The thing with Japanese organizations like the Aikikai is that "rules" are more commonly treated as "guidelines" by the folks in charge.

I wouldn't count on them too carefully - in the end it's all up to Doshu, and the decisions don't always follow what's on the website.

Best,

Chris

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