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Old 09-10-2003, 04:26 PM   #1
Ari Bolden
 
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A visiting blackbelt...where do you fit in?

I'd Like to hear from those who have come across this "problem" at their dojos.

A "student" walks into your dojo and says "hello, I'd like to train with you. I have my gi with me as well."

Instructor: "Have you done aikido before?"

"Student": "Yes I have. In fact, I hold my shodan in Ki Aikdio."

Instructor: " I see. Do you know this is an Aikikai dojo?"

Student: " I do. I actually trained in aikikai for a few years. I hold my 3rd kyu in aikikai."

Instructor: "Great.....Come on the mat and welcome."

Problem: Does that student train on the mat, at that dojo, as a 3rd kyu or at a shodan level? Two different styles, yet both aikido.

Of course the student has put in many hours of dedication to ki aikido (to get his/her shodan). Does that count for something?

I recall on of my sensei's saying " Aikido is AIKIDO. Different families. Same vision. I don't care what style you practice or what Uchi deshi you trained under. Every student recieves their aikido and it changes little by little. The students of O Sensei, when they began to teach, taught as themselves."

To me aikido, regardless of style, is a wonderful thing. It disturbs me when I encounter people and they say " I do "CAPITAL LETTERS" style of (lower case letters) aikido!"

I understand the differences between the schools/styles. I don't care what style you do. You are always welcome in my dojo.

Warm regards,
Ari Bolden

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Old 09-10-2003, 05:04 PM   #2
Hanna B
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It is up to the instructor. Personally, I would never suggest anything else than the person wearing his black belt and participate in the advanced group, if there is a such.
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Old 09-10-2003, 05:51 PM   #3
W^2
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Do symbol Courtesy...

Any visitor should be treated with the utmost respect first and foremost - it's a reflection upon the quality of character prevalent, and instruction given at a Dojo.

Having said that, it's a matter of comfort for the visiting Aikidoka.

Ciao,

Ward
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Old 09-10-2003, 06:01 PM   #4
Amassus
 
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You are a shodan in Aikido? Great then you will be treated as such on our mat.

Our dojo recognises any black belt from any school of aikido.

I think this rule contributes to the welcoming attitude that most Aikido dojos have.

"Of course the student has put in many hours of dedication to ki aikido (to get his/her shodan). Does that count for something?"

Most certainly. I admire and respect anyone who can stick it in there to gain their shodan ranking.

Power to Aikido!


"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 09-10-2003, 06:11 PM   #5
Larry Feldman
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I think there are 2 questions here. Are they coming in to practice for the night or a short period of time? Or are they joining the dojo as a regular.

Not saying my answer is any different.

I let them wear what they earned. If they want to test in our style, their stuff should look like ours.
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Old 09-10-2003, 06:54 PM   #6
Adrian Smith
 
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We're always told that when we visit other dojos we should train as they train, meaning that if they're yoshinkan we should be ready to train in yoshinkan even if we usually train in aikikai. I think that while both 'sides' (the regular attendees and the visitor) should be equally polite the visitor's responsibility is to train as the sensei of the dojo expects.

-drin
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Old 09-10-2003, 06:58 PM   #7
Ari Bolden
 
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Great...I am seeing a pattern here. Now, does it change if the student is a jiu jitsu or judoka?

cheers

Ari

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Old 09-10-2003, 07:06 PM   #8
Largo
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So long as both sides are mature, and expecting things to be different, I wouldn't figure that there would be any problems. Those are however two really big "if"s
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Old 09-10-2003, 08:13 PM   #9
PeterR
 
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Truth be told it mattered much more when I first got the BB. I still subtly let it be known that I have yudansha rank (last visit was dropping the BB to the floor as I put on the white belt) but what I wear has no meaning.

Mudansha in Aikikai dojos don't generally wear hakama and I hate hakamas. Under these circumstances I would stand out too much if all I wore was the black belt. Of course if requested I will wear the hakama - last visit I did not bring the latter.

Most senior instructors know pretty quick who and what you are - and a piece of cloth has very little to do with it. The subtle hints mentioned above are for the 5th kyu shihans. My last visit I had one, albeit yudansha, trying to teach me how to do a proper backwards breakfall - from the Shodokan perspective in a seriously flawed way. I of course adapted for the evening.

If you have yudansha rank in a recognized Aikido style you will be asked to wear your colors when training with my group, however as for Judo/Jujutsu people in an Aikido dojo my concern would be for my own students. They might assume the visitor knows more than they do in an Aikido context.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 09-10-2003, 10:04 PM   #10
Bronson
 
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Quote:
Larry Feldman wrote:
I let them wear what they earned. If they want to test in our style, their stuff should look like ours.
That's how we work it also.
Quote:
Now, does it change if the student is a jiu jitsu or judoka?
Yup, we recognize ranks from other styles of aikido. Judo and jiu jitsu, while similar, are different arts. If they wished to test in our style they may move up the ranks very quickly because of their previous knowledge but they would start at rokkyu like other beginning aikido students.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 09-10-2003, 10:51 PM   #11
Bronson
 
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Quote:
If you have yudansha rank in a recognized Aikido style...
What about mudansha rank? We had someone show up last night with nikyu from an independant dojo. He just moved here and was wondering if his rank would transfer. I told him I'd check with sensei and let him know next week.

Bronson

p.s. I should clarify that in my previous post I should have said I know we recognize yudansha ranking from other styles, I'm not sure about mudansha.

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 09-11-2003, 12:27 AM   #12
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Bronson Diffin (Bronson) wrote:
What about mudansha rank? We had someone show up last night with nikyu from an independant dojo. He just moved here and was wondering if his rank would transfer. I told him I'd check with sensei and let him know next week.

Bronson

p.s. I should clarify that in my previous post I should have said I know we recognize yudansha ranking from other styles, I'm not sure about mudansha.
This one is quite easy - no. Curriculum differs just too much and at mudansha level it really is just about doing the curriculum.

If he is good - give him a fast track grading such as letting him do two grading where he would normally do one.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 09-11-2003, 12:52 AM   #13
sanosuke
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that depends, if he wants to train as a 3rd kyu then train as a 3rd kyu, if he prefer to train as a shodan then train as a shodan. basically all are welcome to train regardless their styles and rank except you want to switch styles.
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Old 09-11-2003, 02:01 AM   #14
batemanb
 
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Anyone coming to our dojo is welcome to wear any previous Aikido grade they may have earned, regardless of the style that they earned it in.

Ironically, when I moved to Japan, the Aikikai wouldn't recognize my grades because the English association was not affiliated to them. When joining, I dropped all grades and continued as a beginner (as one always is, but you know what I mean). As Peter said, your experience soon becomes obvious, I had a very understanding Sensei, I still had to practice the recommended number of sessions before takig a grading, but I was jumped up a fair few levels at the first one.

Regards

Bryan

Last edited by batemanb : 09-11-2003 at 02:03 AM.

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 09-11-2003, 02:19 AM   #15
Hanna B
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Quote:
Ari Bolden wrote:
Great...I am seeing a pattern here. Now, does it change if the student is a jiu jitsu or judoka?
I have once been asked to wear my black belt when practising an unrelated art! "We respect your rank, this is how we do it here". Well... I had difficulties in taking it. I felt like I should live up to my rank, which in another art with another pattern of movement... of course was impossible. I swapped back to a white belt. Nobody complained about it, and I was relieved; I felt like a beginner and wanted to be treated like one.
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Old 09-11-2003, 03:47 AM   #16
adriangan
 
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it shouldn't matter right? a yudansha should be treated the same regardless whatever aikido style he/she practices. that's why we have the certificate and the yudansha card right?

"Masakatsu Agatsu"
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Old 09-11-2003, 03:52 AM   #17
happysod
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Ari, I'm afraid I'm guilty these days of mentioning style when in a dojo outside my association. However, this is because of a couple of unpleasant dojo experiences I've had where the fact that I was from a different style was used an an excuse to demostrate that dojo's obviously more advanced and true aikido. So, these days if the dojo is a different style I mention my own lack of knowledge of their style and join with them as a white belt beginner, just one with more advance ukemi.

With regard to jujitsu and judo grades, the general rule seems to be start them at the beginning, but fast-track them as quickly as possible. The caveat to this is they must show that they have learned (and can teach) the intermediate grades they jump. Black belts from other aikido associations will be treated at their grade and probably interrogated on their technique so we can steal the good bits
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Old 09-11-2003, 04:29 AM   #18
Yann Golanski
 
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When I go to a course, seminar or to another dojo that is not affiliated with an organisation I hold rank in, I wear a white belt. I don't even say what my grade in other things is, just that I ``did some of that before for a little while''. Which is true, I've only trained for 6/7 years. Nothing.

Of course, it is quickly obvious to anyone that I am a bit better than I appear. In the same way that I have seen visitors to our dojo claim to know little of Aikido and find out that they are yudansha in Ju-jitsu or judo or karate!

The same goes for etiquette. I use the most formal and polite forms to start of with and if that's too much then someone will tell me (or it becomes obvious) and I'll revert to something less formal.

For example, My first sensei would insiste that she was called Tish and not sensei. Called her sensei resulted in a telling off. When I train with Jon, I call him sensei because that's what he wants to be called. Some clubs allow talking and others look down upon it. And so on, and so on...

Check the waters and do nothing to insult the others on the mat.

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 09-11-2003, 09:32 AM   #19
aikidoc
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Our dojo policy is to accept the rank, no matter the style. Yudansha wear their colors. Mudansha are held at the level if they want to train and advance with us until they get their skill level to our standards. That depends on the individual and the quality of their training and closeness of style. I've had visitors that trained with us for the summer while on college break from several styles. Their skill level becomes apparent on the mat. I've had one yudansha who had a different style and he was a nidan who could not do a backward roll! He did not hang around long as his style was just too different from aikikai.

One thing I do on everyone coming in with out side rank is verify it-had some problems with non-verifiable ranks in the past. Dishonesty does not start the relationship off well-I let them know I will verify their rank.
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Old 09-11-2003, 10:32 AM   #20
Ari Bolden
 
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Hello all...

Great reading your answers!

I'd like to point out a few things to consider.

Not everyone has their certificates/ or cards on them while travelling (my aikido stuff hangs on my wall at home).

Some aikidoka don't have affiliations behind them (Ronin) like the USAF or Hombu.

I, in fact am guilty of this for my daito background (I studied with my sensei, who was not affliated with any organization for 3 years, 10 hours a week). My certificate consisted of a great tea ceramony and dinner with him and other students (a wonderful experience I might add).

My aikido background got me to 'fast track' because many of the techniques were familiar.

There are important uses for these organizations (don't get me wrong, I support them). But sometimes learning can come from individuals without a formal home or affiliation.

Cheers!

Ari

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Old 09-11-2003, 11:27 AM   #21
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Re: A visiting blackbelt...where do you fit in?

Here's a radical idea from the world of MMA -

No belts. Just train.

I've met some *asshole* black belts in aikido and other arts. I've met some *fantastic* black belts in aikido and other belts.

I will not treat you with any more or less respect than anyone else simply because you have black cloth around your gut. The way you behave and what you show *will* garner my respect.

As for transference of grades ... dunno. Perhaps an equivilancy test of some sort? Ikkyo is ikkyo is ikkyo?

Other than that - why do you need to trasfer your grade? If you want to be an instructor is style X, and you have a black belt in style Y, wouldn't it be better to learn X, (albeit quicker than most)?

Finally, on the topic of wearing black belts from other arts - huh? If the dojo treats all visitors with respect, then why do you need the special marker?

Just shooting the breeze. Go abt your normal business ;-)
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Old 09-11-2003, 11:34 AM   #22
Bronson
 
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Re: Re: A visiting blackbelt...where do you fit in?

Quote:
Bob Strahinjevich (bob_stra) wrote:
I've met some *asshole* black belts in aikido and other arts.
We've met?

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 09-11-2003, 11:44 AM   #23
bob_stra
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Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
My last visit I had one, albeit yudansha, trying to teach me how to do a proper backwards breakfall - from the Shodokan perspective in a seriously flawed way. I of course adapted for the evening.
In my younger and more foolish days (ie: yesterday ;-) I almost tried to correct the ukemi of a visitor to our judo club. He was slapping out on his forward rolls. Having never seen that, I decided he *must* be doing it wrong, because *I* never slap out...

Anyway, the guy was the national Iranian judo champ. And not a friendly man IIRC. I thank providence for keeping my mouth shut that day ;-)

Peter what was this seriously flawed way you mentioned? Can you describe it - your perspective and the flaw? Ukemi is one of my more favourite part of aikido, so am always keen to learn more about it.

Cheers
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Old 09-11-2003, 11:49 AM   #24
bob_stra
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Re: Re: Re: A visiting blackbelt...where do you fit in?

Quote:
Bronson Diffin (Bronson) wrote:
We've met?

Bronson
Couldn't have. Assholes don't know they're assholes.

It's a whole quantum mechanics thing.

;p

All kidding aside, aikido seems to be disproportionate in its collection of assholes. I'm not sure why (like everyone else, I have some pet theories), but I gotta say, it's one of the things that keeps people *out* of aikido.
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Old 09-11-2003, 12:00 PM   #25
Ari Bolden
 
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I was going to comment of the "All kidding aside, aikido seems to be disproportionate in its collection of assholes" comment.

I figure why bother. No more or less than any other style.

Surround yourself with good people.

Cheers!

Ari

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