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Old 12-06-2002, 03:40 PM   #26
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 893
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Stop joking

Stop kidding around.

Every new practitioner in most martial arts may not admit he / she isn't in it for the rank, but then the whining starts when someone is promoted over him / her? So, if they really are displaying their true selves in this belly acheing, stop kidding ... it is a normal part of the early years of practice before searching about in tutorial studies.

If you can show me one dojo where students are not anxious to show their proficientcy by belt color, hakama wearing, or being acquainted as a senior student of the dojo, I would be very amazed.

I am sorry to hear about your situation Edward Karaa, but there is a reason for every bad deed that is rewarded, and a silent thank you for every good deed that is not rewarded with bad fortune or ill luck.

I could be wrong, but it should make you a better person by realizing failure, contrived or not. It almost sounds like the failure was a lesson to see if you could adapt, change, and learn from it? If you did, then I would say that you will be held in high esteem, but if you do not, it will continue to be a bumpy ride.

I guess the bulk of lessons learned along the road don't sink in until you have had time to think about what has happened in relation to past events? Like wanting to test for rank, and being told you are not ready, this is the overanxiousness of youth, and the shortsightedness of wanting recognition.

I have seen some awefully poor practitioners make great progress, but it took one to two years, and it wasn't always reinforced with the broader knowledge of how it could work or come from other places besides Aikido, which left them with the lacking skills of real usage verses practice.

I think that half of those that attain the coveted black belt are not in martial arts for the long haul of having it be a lifetime practice, at least that is my experience living in the east coast of the USA. Just in my past experience of Karate I can name a dozen people who gave up all martial arts once they hit 40-45 years old. And it wasn't always injurys or money that ended their practice.

No. Sorry.

Experience teaches me that maybe one person in a hundred of starting practitioners will practice their whole life because they love what they do.

Most people are in it for the recognition and bragging rights.

I don't intend to fight the flaw of humanity that would have it this way, that is what makes us human.

Realize there is not always a definitive answer, just those of us who learn from problems, do the best we can, then move on.

Although it is nice to have some practice before getting into trouble without a net?
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Old 12-06-2002, 10:23 PM   #27
Edward
Location: Bangkok
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We often hear in martial arts that rank is not important, and that your belt is meant only to hold your gi together. But just by the frequency of hearing these comments, we should know that there is an underlying problem, otherwise we wouldn't hear this so often.

In my opinion, rank has value and importance in every human activity. Whether you work at a company, you are an employer, at the army, at school, even at home, people always have their place and rank, and this is how you keep order and avoid chaos. This of course tends to be more emphasized in oriental cultures. I have noticed that usually in the east, rank and seniority are given not to the person with the best skills or abilities, nor judged by the amount of hard work one puts into his group or company, but rather through the date of admission to the group. A person who started working on December 6 will have higher status than his or her colleague who started at December 7.

Now in a martial arts dojo, rank is not only a vain means to show off, which is the side most people tend to see and criticize. Rank gives you status whithin the dojo and beyond. It gives you leadership and responsibility. You will become a model to the junior students, who will come to you for advice. Therefore I do understand that for some people, the above privileges are very important and they would do anything to hold on to them. I find many similarities to the corporate world, since it is also based on a pyramidal hierarchy. The higher the position, the fewer the numbers. And more politics, of course.

That is in my opinion the reason of the frequent discontent we usually hear from Western aikido practitioners, but almost never from our Oriental counterparts who understand the system and accept it as is.

I think that we too should understand and accept this system and not hold grudges and bad feelings, because this is a traditional martial art, based on traditional oriental values that we should help upkeeping, and also because otherwise we would disrupt our group harmony and take the fun out of our training.
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Old 12-06-2002, 10:48 PM   #28
Chris Li
 
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Dojo: Aikido Sangenkai
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Quote:
Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
We often hear in martial arts that rank is not important, and that your belt is meant only to hold your gi together. But just by the frequency of hearing these comments, we should know that there is an underlying problem, otherwise we wouldn't hear this so often.
I'd certainly agree with that.
Quote:
Edward Karaa (Edward) wrote:
That is in my opinion the reason of the frequent discontent we usually hear from Western aikido practitioners, but almost never from our Oriental counterparts who understand the system and accept it as is.
It's been my experience that squabbles over rank and control are no less common in Japan than they are anywhere else.

Best,

Chris

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Old 12-07-2002, 09:49 AM   #29
JO
Dojo: Aikikai de l'Université Laval
Location: Sainte-Catherine-de-la-J.-C., Québec
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In my dojo, we have the rather usual practice of advancing in rank after having trained a pre-determined minimum of hours/days and being considered ready by the sensei. Often having the minimum number of days won't be enough if they are spread out over two long a period. The number of hours per month is considered so that someone who trains less often will take even longer to be allowed to pass his exam. In practice I have found this makes sense as it takes a certain amount of time to get back into training if you have left for a while and that those who don't show up regularly tend to advance more slowly. The basic premise the system works on is that, overall, you get what you put in. In our system it is clear that someone who shows up more will advance more rapidly, independent of the date he signed up.

Interestingly though, just yesterday I was talking with one of our dojo's yudansha and he told me he knew someone at an other dojo that was being held back, despite his skill and the fact that he is very active (ie we see him at many seminars), because a his sensei is less active and does not get promoted and a promotion would bring him to an eqaul rank. In this case the glass ceiling is determined by the rank of the sensei, even though the student is active in going out to train with other instuctors of even higher rank.

This situation seems strange to me as I have never trained in a dojo where any of the students trained harder than the chief instructor and in both cases there was another senior instructor of the same rank as the chief instructor.

These types of questions and situations always make me think of the joys and thrills of human politics. We are a social species, politics is an unavoidable aspect of this.

Last edited by JO : 12-07-2002 at 09:54 AM.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 12-24-2002, 08:45 PM   #30
Paula Lydon
Dojo: Aikido Shugenkai
Location: Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2002
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~~I came to Aikido with 10 years other MA training and so didn't want to distract myself for the first 5 years with testing, dojo politics, soap opras; just wanted to focus of what the heart of this Aikido might be. For me this meant the study of movement, basic principles of motion and developing some notion of 'ki'.

~~After 5 years I was signing up to test 5th kyu and my sempei said she wanted to discuss it with Sensei. I was later told that the dojo policy was that no one skips tests and so I went ahead and tested for go-kyu. I've missed a few testings for different reasons and so at 6 years am ranked yon-kyu.

~~Does this affect how I train? No. Does it affect how I conduct myself on the mat in regards juniors and seniors? No. Does it change exactly where I am in my training at any moment? No. Do I move like I'm yon-kyu ranked? No. Does anyone train with me at less than my ability? No. So, whatever...

~~Truth to tell, I really only started testing to 'stir the pot' as it were. Expose myself to a greater range of observation and feedback; to commit to my dojo; to lay myself at the feet of the full process and see what might be wrought. If I ever reach sho-dan I will one of...how many thousands? HA-HA!

~~Paula~~
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Old 12-30-2002, 10:12 PM   #31
Lyle Bogin
Dojo: Shin Budo Kai
Location: Manhattan
Join Date: Feb 2002
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I feel like the people I train with rank me in their own minds.

I often do the same. And the ranks change quite a bit.

Last edited by Lyle Bogin : 12-30-2002 at 10:14 PM.

"The martial arts progress from the complex to the simple."
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Old 12-31-2002, 01:44 AM   #32
Erik
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
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Quote:
Paula Lydon wrote:
~~After 5 years I was signing up to test 5th kyu and my sempei said she wanted to discuss it with Sensei. I was later told that the dojo policy was that no one skips tests and so I went ahead and tested for go-kyu.
Quote:
Do I move like I'm yon-kyu ranked? No. Does anyone train with me at less than my ability? No. So, whatever...
Just a thought for whatever it's worth.

This may affect your fellow students. Imagine a 5th kyu looking at you and trying to decide if he/she is ready for 4th kyu. While we often decry the ego, it's just as often that the reverse is true and students are very insecure.

"You mean that's a 4th kyu? Boy, I really do suck."
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Old 12-31-2002, 02:02 AM   #33
Thalib
 
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Dojo: 合気研究会
Location: Jakarta Selatan
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Indonesia
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Oh... that's not so bad...

I've seen shodans that won't even pass 3rd kyu in our dojo.

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
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http://funkybuddha.multiply.com/
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Old 12-31-2002, 08:27 AM   #34
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
Join Date: Sep 2001
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What have you learned?

You know .... we all have storys of how we have practiced, and practiced, and practiced, and in our own eyes we have learned nothing of noteworthy description to tell others.

Kind of like the story about the young man who slapped a bowl of water day in and day out, went home after a time, and told his reletives he had learned nothing. When they persisted in asking the same question, again and again, he slapped his hand on the table and it broke into splinters.

Learned nothing, eh?

I guess it is the same for anything you do, and any position you hold in life ... you do it day in and day out until you are not quite sure why you do it until it is measured against something else, another situation in another context?

Well, that is how I feel about rank. Until it is measured outside of the dojo, used and applied to your life situation, it is not relevent. So, why should you dwell on rank in any phase of life? Unless you have a narrow vision that craves power without knowledge, let it go.

True knowledge applys to situations when you need it, and those who have knowledge never think or consider to use it for selfish means, if they are truly balanced in their minds and happy in their lives.

Herein lies the key to ignorance is bliss.

I think it should be, if you ignore selfish gains that force you to unhappiness, your life will bring you bliss.

Stupid simplicity is exactly the key we need to be happy, but being responsible for those more simple than we are is the role of responsiblity heaped upon us.

I don't know how many times you have been called upon to be responsible or a leader, but sooner or later it happens to us all, whether we want it or not.

Those of us who do not, try to find others who are either better suited to take over, or just let the fates find another who will take the lead. Darwin was somewhat correct in his thesis of natural selection, except he forgot about the sneaky bastard who hides among the sheep.

My opinion.

Be the big great leader, endure the pressure, the accolades, I want no part of it.

Life is too short to be bossed and led about by followers who demand you teach, or absorb the days of your life ... I have my own life to live, don't need no army telling me to teach, lead , or absorb my short time on earth.

You go ahead.

Get that rank.

Be the line leader.

Get your name in the big book of Martial Arts.

Let people bow to you .... fetch and carry you items.

I will be kicking back, strumming my guitar, and sitting in the sun ...

Oh, if you get free, come visit. Unlike you, I have time to do what I want, and think what I want.

I might see you at practice, but ....

Ain't no rank gonna trap me!
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Old 12-31-2002, 08:42 AM   #35
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
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There was a really terrific article about rank and testing by Sensei Auge, that was posted a few months back

http://www.aikiweb.com/testing/auge2.html

I think Mr. Auge makes great sense in this, and maybe it is time to revisit the article. Rank does have its purpose, although it is an individuals decision whether they want to test or not, as Mr. Baker points out. I am all for testing, and do think it has great value. This is off the topic of the glass ceiling a bit.....

Happy New Year to all!

Rachel
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