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Old 09-08-2000, 04:03 PM   #1
RONIN
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I personally feel that astudent up for shodan or higher should be in good physical shape and able to defend themselves.At my dojo we try to cover all areas of defense standing,knife defenses, multiple attack against 3 or more opponents,ground fighting and at shodan and above handgun and long weapons disarms i.e.shotguns and rifles.I feel that a person getting ready for shodan should take it upon themselves to get in shape in and outside of the dojo.I believe that there should be no favorites in the dojo as there will be none in the street and in life.To quote Steven Seagal Sensei:The world doesnt change for any one whether you are a baby or an old person. Any one have any comments on this please reply?
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Old 09-08-2000, 06:01 PM   #2
Dan Hover
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good point but people come to aikido for a variety of reasons and sometimes self-defense is not one of them, so should they by your theory not be allowed to test, as they don't train for self-defense? Yes everyone, just for beneficial health reasons should attempt to be in good shape, but this is not the case, some aikidoka come to our art, becasue of injuries or age prevent them from carrying on in their particular art, how would they fit into your theory? And you'll have to remember O'sensei himself was plagued with illness most of his life. Should he not be allowed to test. Oh wait, he never did...

Dan Hover

of course that's my opinion, I could be wrong
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Old 09-08-2000, 07:15 PM   #3
rch
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"I personally feel that astudent up for shodan or higher should be in good physical shape and able to defend themselves."

I agree with the defensive end of things, but not the "in good physical shape" part. A person's physical composure shouldn't be a part of the test - it has nothing to do with their ability.

"and at shodan and above handgun and long weapons disarms i.e.shotguns and rifles."

I didn't realize that was a part of aikido, not something I want to know how to do. I might foolish enough to actually attempt it. Best defense against a guy waving a rifle at ya, 911 and good sneakers.

"I believe that there should be no favorites in the dojo as there will be none in the street and in life."

Agreed here, to quote one of my favorite movies... "Here, you are all equally worthless!" -FMJ

-Rob
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Old 09-08-2000, 08:42 PM   #4
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The point about handgun and rifle disarms is that yes running is always the first option but what if u are cornered and cannot run then one must do what one has to do.I dont claim to be able to dodge bullets but if some one is going to kill you no matter what then you have to do what ever it takes to survive.It has been said that a hawk after a bird is no different than a soldier in battle the one it singles out from the beginning is the same one it goes after in battle although there may be thousands of warriors it still goes after the first selected one.
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Old 09-09-2000, 05:51 PM   #5
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if someone points a gun at you, point a bigger gun at them.

-Nick

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"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 09-09-2000, 11:54 PM   #6
Don
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Funny, I was talking with another student about this sort of thing today. I'm 45; this guy was 52. I hope to test for shodan in about a year if I'm lucky. I certainly try to stay in good physical shape, and getting up 100 times after being thrown across the mat certainly helps. I think I will be in good physical shape. But, will I be in the same physical shape as a 22 year-old taking the same test; probably not!
Then on the other hand, I tend not to place myself in situations that 22 year-old men may place themselves in, so I am a little less concerned at this stage in my life about real, bar-room brawl stuff than I might have in the past. All I want is to have a physcially and mentally demanding test and demonstrate a good grasp and facility with aikido principles. That's really all anyone can ask for. I think anyone HAS to be in good physical shape to undertake a shodan test, but it may not be the same level of physical shape for every one at every age. Like the old army commercials said "be all you can be". That's all anyone can ask.
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Old 09-10-2000, 01:09 AM   #7
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I feel that a person getting ready for shodan should take it upon themselves to get in shape in and outside of the dojo.
I actually agree with this one and have always done so myself. Aikido alone has never been enough for me or really even close. I personally advocate cardiovascular training (running/biking in my case) and weightlifting.

Quote:
I believe that there should be no favorites in the dojo as there will be none in the street and in life.To quote Steven Seagal Sensei:The world doesnt change for any one whether you are a baby or an old person. Any one have any comments on this please reply?
The thing is, I know how to fight. We all do. Some of us take to it more naturally than others but we know how to fight. It's instinctual on some level and takes many forms, not all of them physical. I'm willing to bet that just about anyone can be given a competent level of physical fighting skill in a matter of months. That's easy.

The trick is getting people to live in harmony, more accurately, getting ourselves to live in harmony with ourselves. That's the practice, in my opinion, and it takes a hell of a lot more work than breaking someone's neck in a fight. Plus, it's a much bigger problem in my life than someone pointing a gun at me so if I'm going to spend time doing something I know where I want to spend it.

I appreciate your post. It clarified some things for me.
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Old 09-10-2000, 06:03 AM   #8
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to continue what Erik said:

everyone does know how to fight. Most everyone knows how to make a fist and/or flail their arms around in a fashion that could hurt or injure someone (perhaps even themselves?) if needed, but few people have the courage and instinct to act on that if needed.

Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, by Uesugi Kenshin:

"Those who cling to life die, and those who defy death live."

I guess we might train to defy death (as long as possible, anyways), then?

Something to reflect on,

-Nick

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Old 09-10-2000, 09:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Nick wrote:
to continue what Erik said:

everyone does know how to fight. Most everyone knows how to make a fist and/or flail their arms around in a fashion that could hurt or injure someone (perhaps even themselves?) if needed, but few people have the courage and instinct to act on that if needed.
Nick, could you clarify this for me? I think that almost everyone, if not everyone, has the capability, willingness, courage and instinct to make you dead. You just have to give them proper motivation. Check the history books. Killing and violence have never been a difficult thing for humans.
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Old 09-10-2000, 01:06 PM   #10
Dan Hover
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[quote]Erik wrote:
Quote:
Nick wrote:
to continue what Erik said:

Check the history books. Killing and violence have never been a difficult thing for humans.
Actually you are very wrong in this case. As a member of the U.S. Army Rangers I can tell you first hand that killing is very much so a difficult thing for anyone to do. In fact humans have such a revulsion to killing another human being that throughout history getting them (the soliders) to fire on the enemy was quite a difficult task, the fire rates of WWII was about 10-20% of soliders that would do so. Through operant conditioning this has been raised to about 90% during the Vietnam era. This is not to say our fathers and Grandfathers were cowards, they would easily risk thier life to rescue wounded soldiers, deliver messages and ammo, resupply other soliders, this was not just an american phenomenon, this is cross-cultural as well. Studies have shown, that that 10% who actually did partake in the killing were psychologically predispostioned towards that kind of violence. mankind should not cringe at this statistic they should be proud that we do have this respect for life. History way show that we have long been engaged in warfare, but this warfare is not fought by the men and women who start them. and whose aims they are fighting for, they are fought by the men and women who take no pride or pleasure in the very situation that they find themselves in.

Dan Hover

of course that's my opinion, I could be wrong
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Old 09-10-2000, 03:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Dan Hover wrote:
Erik wrote:
Actually you are very wrong in this case. As a member of the U.S. Army Rangers I can tell you first hand that killing is very much so a difficult thing for anyone to do. In fact humans have such a revulsion to killing another human being that throughout history getting them (the soliders) to fire on the enemy was quite a difficult task, the fire rates of WWII was about 10-20% of soliders that would do so. Through operant conditioning this has been raised to about 90% during the Vietnam era. This is not to say our fathers and Grandfathers were cowards, they would easily risk thier life to rescue wounded soldiers, deliver messages and ammo, resupply other soliders, this was not just an american phenomenon, this is cross-cultural as well. Studies have shown, that that 10% who actually did partake in the killing were psychologically predispostioned towards that kind of violence. mankind should not cringe at this statistic they should be proud that we do have this respect for life. History way show that we have long been engaged in warfare, but this warfare is not fought by the men and women who start them. and whose aims they are fighting for, they are fought by the men and women who take no pride or pleasure in the very situation that they find themselves in.
I stand corrected in this regards and well-written by the way.

I went too far.

[Edited by Erik on September 10, 2000 at 03:13pm]
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Old 09-11-2000, 02:25 AM   #12
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RONIN wrote:
I personally feel that astudent up for shodan or higher should be in good physical shape and able to defend themselves.
How would you define 'good physical shape' and 'able to defend themselves'? I don't believe you can quantify such abilities and I actually don't think that is what everybody should focus upon in Aikido. If you choose that view - fine by me, but it is a very small part of Aikido in my book. As far as shape goes, I think it's a misunderstanding to demand that all Yudansha's should be top-tuned athletes. Of course you should have the stamina to endure a couple of hours of relatively intense practice with lots and lots of ukemi's but by the time you reach the dan-grades, this should have come from your regular practice. I don't think my instructor care about how much anybody in the dojo can benchpress or how fast they can run a marathon, and to be quite honest I can't see that is has anything to do with Aikido.
Quote:
RONIN wrote:
At my dojo we try to cover all areas of defense standing,knife defenses, multiple attack against 3 or more opponents,ground fighting and at shodan and above handgun and long weapons disarms i.e.shotguns and rifles.
Mind you this is just my opinion, but I don't practice Aikido to enhance my skills in brawling and fighting. I practice because it has a great effect on my personality and helps create balance in my life. Maybe it's because I live in a country where it's a rare sight to see somebody pull a gun or a shotgun from the coat (actually happened last weekend about 4 miles from where I live - one life taken away - but anyway..). I cannot and I will not focus upon those aspect in my practice.
Quote:
RONIN wrote:
I feel that a person getting ready for shodan should take it upon themselves to get in shape in and outside of the dojo.I believe that there should be no favorites in the dojo as there will be none in the street and in life.To quote Steven Seagal Sensei:The world doesnt change for any one whether you are a baby or an old person.
In the dojo I practice in it has been said, that you should never change either yourself or the other person (attacker, uke, partner) as that will only result in a brawl and thereby a conflict arising. Instead the 'incident' should be resolved without destroying the harmony. Maybe that sounds unpractical and not realistic to those who chooce to practice Aikido as a self-defence system, but I believe that given time and effort I will get this ability but I don't expect to be able to defend myself against anything or anybody within quite a long time from now - not even if my instructor one day decides to grade me Shodan on the account of some of my other Aikido-abilities.
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RONIN wrote:
Any one have any comments on this please reply?
Well … apparently I did - hope I haven't offended anybody. I certainly didn't intend to. I think we can once more establish that it is true that there is many paths at the foot of the mountain. Maybe we can one day meet each other on a more elevated path .

All the best to all Aikidoka out there

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 09-11-2000, 10:19 PM   #13
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What ever country you live in that there is so little crime and that you dont feel the need to pratice realistic techniques please stay there because you are truely blessed to live in such a country.You may even want to consider living in a monastery where you will be sheltered from such things.I truely hope that if you are ever attacked your aikido talking skills come in to play and that your attacked has the same beliefs as you.
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Old 09-12-2000, 02:56 AM   #14
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Unhappy Sorry

Hi RONIN - sorry if I offended you - it wasn't my intention - but I got a bit carried away. Actually I blew off a lot of steam thereby proving that I have definitely NOT reached very far toward my ideals of non-conflict - sadly enough. You asked if anybody had an opinion on what to expect from an Aikidoka at a dan-grading, and I just wanted to point out that the reason why somebody take up Aikido is different from the self-defence approach and that perhaps it could be okay in some dojo's to focus on other things than the students ability to defend him- or herself at the grading.

Once again - sorry. I hope you can accept this apology.

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

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Old 09-12-2000, 09:26 AM   #15
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I agree that anyone reaching shodan should be able to defend themselves at a very competent level. If they cannot, I don't feel they deserve the rank, regardless of time spent. You don't have to be in marathon runner condition but Aikido is a martial art and it's prime purpose was and is self defense. You may not practice your technique in a way that will allow it to be there for you in a confrontation, which is fine and good and I respect that decision, but you also don't need to wear the rank of Shodan in the dojo. The main reason being is that most people come to aikido because it's a method of self-defense, albeit with a twist. the self defense part is still what draws most people. And those people are going to look to the higher ranks for instruction. Then you give people the opportunity to teach technique that doesn't work for them, which in turn means that it probably will not work for the student and this is why Aikido has picked up a bad name. Regardless of what style of aikido you train in, it's our responsibility to make sure that Aikido propogates the way O'sensei wanted it to propogate and he ALWAYS intended for it to be a viable, working martial art.

(note, this was not directed at any one poster on this thread, just an in general post of my own and my feelings on the matter)
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Old 09-12-2000, 10:00 AM   #16
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Quote:
chillzATL wrote:
I agree that anyone reaching shodan should be able to defend themselves at a very competent level. If they cannot, I don't feel they deserve the rank, regardless of time spent. You don't have to be in marathon runner condition but Aikido is a martial art and it's prime purpose was and is self defense. You may not practice your technique in a way that will allow it to be there for you in a confrontation, which is fine and good and I respect that decision, but you also don't need to wear the rank of Shodan in the dojo. The main reason being is that most people come to aikido because it's a method of self-defense, albeit with a twist. the self defense part is still what draws most people. And those people are going to look to the higher ranks for instruction. Then you give people the opportunity to teach technique that doesn't work for them, which in turn means that it probably will not work for the student and this is why Aikido has picked up a bad name. Regardless of what style of aikido you train in, it's our responsibility to make sure that Aikido propogates the way O'sensei wanted it to propogate and he ALWAYS intended for it to be a viable, working martial art.

(note, this was not directed at any one poster on this thread, just an in general post of my own and my feelings on the matter)
I think you might want to peruse the poll dated on 4-29 before you state that Self-defense is the main reason why people train in aikido. I will also direct you to read Donn Draeger's triology (modern Budo, Classical Budo, Classical Bujutsu) to understnad that the main goals of most modern Budo's (aikido inclusive) is the refinement of the character, self-perfection. Self-defense practicality against shotguns and pistols was probably quite low on the list. Shodan means beginning step, this does not make them an expert in any way whatsoever. Especially at a "very competent level". We can't possilby train for every possible contingency that could occur. Nor would I want someone thinking they could handle themselves with a pistol toting assailant after spending a few classes doing pistol disarms(I am using this as an example) If you think an aikidoka even at nidan/sandan level could take a sword away from a equally ranked swordsman you are delusional. O'sensei did not want a bralwer win at all costs attitude, in fact he was particular moved about how paranoid and shaken Takeda was about his numerous victories and the spiritual loss he had suffered accordingly.

Dan Hover

of course that's my opinion, I could be wrong
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Old 09-12-2000, 12:50 PM   #17
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I think you might want to peruse the poll dated on 4-29 before you state that Self-defense is the main reason why people train in aikido. I will also direct you to read Donn Draeger's triology (modern Budo, Classical Budo, Classical Bujutsu) to understnad that the main goals of most modern Budo's (aikido inclusive) is the refinement of the character, self-perfection. Self-defense practicality against shotguns and pistols was probably quite low on the list. Shodan means beginning step, this does not make them an expert in any way whatsoever. Especially at a "very competent level". We can't possilby train for every possible contingency that could occur. Nor would I want someone thinking they could handle themselves with a pistol toting assailant after spending a few classes doing pistol disarms(I am using this as an example) If you think an aikidoka even at nidan/sandan level could take a sword away from a equally ranked swordsman you are delusional. O'sensei did not want a bralwer win at all costs attitude, in fact he was particular moved about how paranoid and shaken Takeda was about his numerous victories and the spiritual loss he had suffered accordingly. [/b][/quote]

I'm talking modern times here. The reason most people walk into a dojo of any kind is to learn that particular form of self defense. Most do not enter with the though of "spiritual enlightenment" on their minds. Not to say their training doesn't spill over into this area with study, but that is RARELY the reason they enter the dojo, be it aikido, karate or jujitsu.

Shodan means "The beginning" only in the technical sense of the word. I'm sorry if you disagree with me, but at shodan you should be very competent in aikido and should be more than capable of handling yourself against the majority of attackers you might encounter. I certainly know this is not the case with many shodan out there, but it is my feeling that it is how it should be. O'sensei ment for aikido to be first and foremost a very practical and effective means of self defense that also would lead one to a higher understanding of themselves and humanity, as study progressed. I also think that O'sensei would be very disappointed to know that the art that was so very effective for him and so very effective for his early students has been diluted to the point that many consider it a dance, a spritual-only art or something that one can only practically use for self defense once they have spent 20 years studying it. This is not the aikido O'sensei taught and it is not the Aikido I have been taught.

I also have no doubt that self defense against guns was very low on the list indeed. FOrtunatly for us, this is not the only time self defense is needed these days. I never hinted at anything involving guns. You compare apples to oranges though. Compare two modern day students of aikido and kenjitsu. Both with similar study habits and teachers. Yes, I totally feel that an aikidoka would (or I'll say should)stand on even ground with the swordsman in terms of ability. 50 years ago, would one of O'sensei's students fair as well, yes. I know Tohei sensei for one would be more than capable. But compare a swordsman from 50 years ago with an aikidoka of today, no, I seriously doubt the aikidoka would fair well at all. It's a total difference in training mentality and method.

I think you selectively misread what I wrote. I was replying to the original message in this thread. I feel, as he does, that a shodan should take it upon themselves to make sure have strong aikido. Because at this point you are expected to be a reference point for newer aikidoka. If you do not know strong, effective aikido, you can not pass on strong, effective aikido. Sorry if you took offense to my post.
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Old 09-12-2000, 01:43 PM   #18
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chillzATL wrote:
The reason most people walk into a dojo of any kind is to learn that particular form of self defense. Most do not enter with the though of "spiritual enlightenment" on their minds. Not to say their training doesn't spill over into this area with study, but that is RARELY the reason they enter the dojo, be it aikido, karate or jujitsu.
http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=5

Quote:
Shodan means "The beginning" only in the technical sense of the word. I'm sorry if you disagree with me, but at shodan you should be very competent in aikido and should be more than capable of handling yourself against the majority of attackers you might encounter.
How long do you think it would take someone to attain this sort of technical ability?

Question for the teachers on this Forum here. What do you look for in a shodan at your school?

-- Jun

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Old 09-12-2000, 01:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
chillzATL wrote:
Compare two modern day students of aikido and kenjitsu. Both with similar study habits and teachers. Yes, I totally feel that an aikidoka would (or I'll say should)stand on even ground with the swordsman in terms of ability. 50 years ago, would one of O'sensei's students fair as well, yes. I know Tohei sensei for one would be more than capable. But compare a swordsman from 50 years ago with an aikidoka of today, no, I seriously doubt the aikidoka would fair well at all. It's a total difference in training mentality and method.
I think I'm reading this in a way you didn't mean. The reason people use weapons is that it gives them an advantage. The Japanese used the sword, bow, or musket and arquebus because it gave them an advantage. Otherwise, they would have charged bare handed and slaughtered all before them with their great skill as the Boxer's did in China. Or did it not go that way?

I, for instance, want no part of someone as well trained with a knife as I am with Aikido. Actually, I want no part of anyone with a knife, gun or whatever weapon, trained or otherwise, the percentages are just flat out against you.

Now if you want to compare us with the hand to hand arts that's something of a different matter.
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Old 09-12-2000, 03:24 PM   #20
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No offense taken JJF i asked for peoples opinions when starting this topic.I am not trying 2 change your way of aikido pratice just broaden it.Every one is has different views on things and thats what makes the world go round.Thanks for your replies.
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Old 09-12-2000, 04:19 PM   #21
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I voted "no" in that poll myself Self defense is almost always one of the factors that draws people into martial arts, maybe not the prime factor, but one that is considered. How many of us knew the depth of the art before we came to study it?

--------------------------
Quote:
Shodan means "The beginning" only in the technical sense of the word. I'm sorry if you disagree with me, but at shodan you should be very competent in aikido and should be more than capable of handling yourself against the majority of attackers you might encounter.

How long do you think it would take someone to attain this sort of technical ability?


-- Jun [/b][/quote]

It's really impossible to answer this in a general sense. I can only answer for myself. After about 2 years of study I felt confident that I could defend myself against most attackers on the street. There are lots of factors that go into that though. First, I trained several times per week, trained hard with a serious mind towards making sure I was learning the same aikido that my sensei taught. Second, I had ultimate faith in the Aikido I was being taught. I did not question it effectivness. My sensei had studied directly from O'sensei and Tohei sensei, among others and had been through nearly 40 years of testing. Having known what his aikido had been through, I felt confident that what I was learning was good, strong aikido and would be there for me if I ever needed it. This is not to say I felt I was an expert or anywhere on the same map with the term "expert". I know I was and am not, just as I know a shodan, nidan or sandan for that matter, is not an expert. It's just my opinion that a Shodan should be more than capable of effectivly using the aikido they have learned.
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Old 09-12-2000, 08:08 PM   #22
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this is off the subject, i think, but a reply to the intertwined comments on why people started Aikido. I'm a 5'5" 110 pound female, who spent three years married to a man who liked to hit me. and i definately DID NOT start Aikido for self defense, nor do i ever anticipate using it for that. I guess the only way you could stretch it to self defense is that i started Aikido to improve myself, and perhaps through that ongoing effort i can learn how to avoid mistakes like my past marriage in the future. Do i want to be effective in my technique---well, yes, of course, that's what practice is about. but for mastery of myself, not others. if being a self-defense instructor is what shodan is all about, i guess it's good that i'll never get that good, because it wouldn't be what i want to share about Aikido. but then, i'm just a fifth kyu, so perhaps i should jump off this soap box now and be quiet...
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Old 09-12-2000, 10:07 PM   #23
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You cannot put a time limit on how long it takes to become proficent in defending your self using aikido.People learn at different rates,some learn quickly others learn more slowly but both with hard training will attain the same goals.But before one of my students goes for Shodan or higher he or she will be able to defend theirself.Remember there are no favorites in the dojo.I believe the average student should have at least 3-4 years of training before testing for Shodan.
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