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Old 05-24-2003, 09:01 AM   #26
Josh Manning
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OOOPS! sorry for the double post, my browser went goofy on me
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Old 05-24-2003, 10:11 AM   #27
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Quote:
Josh Manning wrote:
Andrew,

although I understand your perspective in spirit (actions speak louder than words)I find myself disagreeing with you in practice. Tournament combat is not street combat, and you will certainly find that Dojos that train for tournament produce less effective fighters in real world application. I have watched olympic tounament fights from a style which shall remain nameless and been disgusted with the knowledge that If they fought for their lives in the same fashion in which they fought for their medals, they would be annihalated.
And why do you think they'll fight in the same way in a street or bar fight? I also do things in tournaments I dont do in real fights. For example, in a wrestling tournament if I am up on points, I am happy to just waste time and wait for the bell. I dont do that in a street fight.

I respect tournament winners, because it shows their athleticism, smartness, dedication to training and experience. The more open the rules are, the more respect they get.

Would you rather fight a typical street brawler or an olympic level wrestler/boxer? The olympic athletes have insane cardio, insane strength and stamina, insane speed and a lot of heart. A typical bar fighter or street mugger has a big gut, knows a few dirty tricks, has the stamina to last for 1 minute at best (if he is sober), and pisses his pants in fear after a few hits...
Quote:
Tournament always implies ludicrous restrictions to safeguard safety. So much for tournament as an indicator.
It is an indicator. Or do you really believe you'd beat an olympic wrestling gold medalist in an unarmed fight? I remember after Karelin won the Barcelona 92 heavyweight gold in Greco Roman, people were talking about how Greco Roman is not a realistic fighting style, and he made an open challenge for anyone to step forward and fight him under any rules. No one dared. The guy is over 300 lbs with 5% bodyfat, has the cardio to run 10 kilometres every day, and strength to pick up other 300 lbs guys and throw them around like dolls. I dont know if he has ever fought in a street fight or any NHB fight, but I'd be pissing my pants and running around in circles if I had to fight him under any rules...
Quote:
I am sincerely hoping that you are not going to point to UFC as a benchmark, its not either. You are not free to escalate into victory, as safety precautions diminsh realism.
The early UFC's were as close to reality as you can get. No sticking fingers in the eyes or mouth, and thats it. A winner of an NHB tournament gets all the respect from me. Who would you rather fight, a UFC champ or a black belt in some traditional MA that never competed in anything?
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Old 05-24-2003, 10:12 AM   #28
John Boswell
 
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To put it simply: Rank is a matter of perception.

When a person new to martial arts walks into a dojo, any dojo of any art, and sees various belts of color, etc., that person realizes he has a WHITE belt and that he is a beginner. He can then deduce that White = Beginners and others with similar belts are very much like him... just starting off.

Now, the instructor has a black belt. The instructor is teaching the class so therefore must know something about what is going on, therefore Black Belt = teacher or one capable of teaching.

Everyone else with a colored belt is in between, some better than others but we can leave it with the point that : They are not beginners nor are the teachers. They are students.

WHERE ALL OF THIS GOES BAD... is when rank itself becomes the goal with total disregard for the skill expected.

What does that mean? It means that should someone attain 4th, 5th, 6th + Dan ranking when in fact their skill is lacking, their time in training is equivilant to another of 1st or 2nd degree Dan ranking... then rank loses meaning and becomes a cookie to be fought over.

I believe many international organizations are looking more and more into the issue of Rank and are trying to better define the issue so that when you see someone is 1st Kyu or that they are a Sandan, you know exactly what it means and what that person is capable of.

First and foremost, Rank is Perception. Whether one choses to accept the "meaning" of some rank is a personal choice and it is the organization's responsiblity to define rank and enforce/uphold the adherance of set standards.

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Old 05-24-2003, 10:27 AM   #29
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Quote:
John Boswell wrote:
To put it simply: Rank is a matter of perception.

I believe many international organizations are looking more and more into the issue of Rank and are trying to better define the issue so that when you see someone is 1st Kyu or that they are a Sandan, you know exactly what it means and what that person is capable of.
I dont know where they are looking, but where I am looking I see black belts given out to 8 year old kids:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/uk...00/3034513.stm

That kid's gonna get a hard wake up call when older school bullies start smacking him around. Ridiculous.
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Old 05-24-2003, 10:33 AM   #30
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Again, its perception and you chose to think he is incapable of that rank. I'd tend to agree. But then again, I'd like to see the video of his test, too.

Curiosity and all that...

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Old 05-24-2003, 03:35 PM   #31
nial forsyth
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Talking rank

hi there ,just putting in my thought,s on rank , so here it is "It,s not the destination that matter,s ,it,s the journey that matter,s " .
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Old 05-25-2003, 02:42 AM   #32
Josh Manning
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Andrew,

It is critical to note the variance between art and sport, and if you are an athlete, thats fantastic. But don't confuse yourself into thinking that competition on a mat is ever going to be the same as competition for your life. The fact is that if you have pressed me into combat, i'm not going to try and get"up on points". Im going to do my level best to kill you, or we are not really fighting. That is the principal difference that I am talking about, and the most dangerous way that tournament fails to prepare you for. I have fought in many tournaments myself, and trained in schools where tournament was the focus, not to mention fought those who were so trained. There can be no comparison in my experience between someone fighting for a ribbon and someone fighting to burn you to the ground. In any case, that was a couple of styles ago and this is an aikido forum, and in aikido tournaments are not a factor, unless you think randoori is a competition.
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Old 05-25-2003, 04:00 AM   #33
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kyu grade rank:

a guage of what level your ukemi is at so your partner does not kill you

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Old 05-25-2003, 04:01 AM   #34
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Josh Manning wrote:
It is critical to note the variance between art and sport, and if you are an athlete, thats fantastic. But don't confuse yourself into thinking that competition on a mat is ever going to be the same as competition for your life.
That was as far from Andrew's point as you are going to get. To paraphrase you - but don't confuse yourself into thinking that training on a mat is ever going to be the same as fighting for your life.

Andrew's point is very very simple - those who choose to compete are far more likely to survive a fight than those that just do kata. There is something that is learnt in a shiai environment that is very hard to duplicate elsewhere.

I'm always amazed at the implicit assumption that somehow a Judo player, for example, can not adapt to a situation whereas a kata based person can. The whole idea behind disordered training (randori) which begets shiai is that you must learn to adpat and are constantly tested on your ability to adapt and apply the techniques.

I would want shiai tested Judo or Aikido players behind me in a confrontation before I even consider kata only trained.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-25-2003, 04:15 AM   #35
Kelly Allen
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Rank =responability

For me rank is important because as I increase in ability and hence in rank I can offer more to the dojo I train in, and assistance to the sensei that trains me. I can imagine that there is nothing more gratifying than seeing the dojo you train in grow from a small number of newbees to a moderate number of mixed kyu ranks to a couple of yudansha holding seperate classes at different times in order to accomodate more students. This cannot be done if there is no desire to acheive and deserve rank. IMO this is one of the best ways to spread Aikido to the world. Just don't let the rank go to your head.
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Old 05-25-2003, 05:32 AM   #36
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Kelly,
Quote:
For me rank is important because as I increase in ability and hence in rank I can offer more to the dojo I train in, and assistance to the sensei that trains me.
Again, there is the assumption that rank indicates ability, which I would strongly assert, is not always true.
Quote:
I can imagine that there is nothing more gratifying than seeing the dojo you train in grow from a small number of newbees to a moderate number of mixed kyu ranks to a couple of yudansha holding seperate classes at different times in order to accomodate more students. This cannot be done if there is no desire to acheive and deserve rank. IMO this is one of the best ways to spread Aikido to the world. Just don't let the rank go to your head.
Two comments:

Again, there are arts that don't assign rank, and don't seem to have much trouble sprending, so I would assert that a desire to achieve rank is necessary to spread a martial art/martial system.

Second, I fail to see how one can claim that rank is necessary to spread an art, and still avoid students studying only to pass the rank exam (see Kevin and Don's posts previous) or avoid students from developing an ego-driven view of rank.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 05-25-2003, 05:50 AM   #37
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Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
Again, there are arts that don't assign rank, and don't seem to have much trouble sprending, so I would assert that a desire to achieve rank is necessary to spread a martial art/martial system.

Second, I fail to see how one can claim that rank is necessary to spread an art, and still avoid students studying only to pass the rank exam (see Kevin and Don's posts previous) or avoid students from developing an ego-driven view of rank.
Hi Paul;

In agreement but I must say that rank when done right is a structural method no more - one can say it only has relevance within a structure.

Kano used the kyu/dan system mainly because he needed away to sort out larger groups of people.

Older systems used systems of certification (menkyo just means certificate) of varying degrees of complexity dependent I guess on particular needs.

Wrestling - no grades? Most associations have coaching certificates and some method in determining who gets to compete where. I don't care what you do or where you do it - there is always some sort of heirarchy. Better if it reflects true ability but that's an organizational problem if it doesn't.

I would like to say that if you get rid of the kyu/dan system in Aikido something else will take its place with either the same problems or new ones.

I don't think there is anybody, in any of the dojos I currently train in, that considers what rank they have obtained to have any meaning outside a pretty small circle. It seems to suit our purposes just fine.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-25-2003, 02:30 PM   #38
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Peter,

Hi!
Quote:
Wrestling - no grades? Most associations have coaching certificates and some method in determining who gets to compete where. I don't care what you do or where you do it - there is always some sort of heirarchy. Better if it reflects true ability but that's an organizational problem if it doesn't.
Well, this going to be overly long, but you asked for it.

In the US, there is primarily folkstyle wrestling up to and including college. Folkstyle is unique to the US, awarding points for control (all takedowns scored the same, escapes are awarded as is "riding time") In grade school - through college, young men (and women!) join the wrestling team and wrestle whoever happens to be in their weight division prior during the season.

Freestyle (Olympic) wrestling is a different animal. Within the US, if anyone wants to make the US Team, they follow the rules of USA Wrestling, which is basically, the best wrestler goes. But make no mistake, a judo player who has never wrestled in their life can take off the gi enter a qualifying event and if they win, find themselves on the US Olympic Team (a simplification, but nevertheless, I believe the point is true).

There is a structure to this, certainly. Different divisions are more competitive than others, different tournaments are more competitive than others, and so on .... but I would not say those perceptions the same thing as "rank". I would say that the selection process in the US for freestyle and greco-roman wrestling, does select the best wrestlers to represent the US...because the selection process is performance based and pretty darn objective.

The point is, within the US, there is no money in wrestling. No "ranks" or "lineage" in the way most aikidoka would understand the terms. And yet, particularly in an adverse climate, wrestling is alive and well in the US.
Quote:
I would like to say that if you get rid of the kyu/dan system in Aikido something else will take its place with either the same problems or new ones.
I agree. That's a price I'm willing to pay.
Quote:
I don't think there is anybody, in any of the dojos I currently train in, that considers what rank they have obtained to have any meaning outside a pretty small circle.
Then we have different experiences. But just for kicks, do think that a seminar announcement for a shodan would get as many attendees as a seminar for a sandan? How about a 6th dan?

Oh, by the by, I totally agree with your previous post on the benefits of randori and shiai.

Warm Regards,

Paul
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Old 05-25-2003, 06:38 PM   #39
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Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
Then we have different experiences. But just for kicks, do think that a seminar announcement for a shodan would get as many attendees as a seminar for a sandan? How about a 6th dan?
Like I said within an organization its an indicator that's all.

To milk the wrestling analogy some more whose seminar would you pay to attend. A nationally or internationally recognized coach or that of the current city high school champion. Same same. I'ld actually go to both - samller seminars are often quite interesting.

It's not that I really care about the kyu/dan system or that the dojos I am in are not immune to silly ego games (we are human after all) I just don't see the kyu/dan system as such a big bogey man. We have less because of our little crucible.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-25-2003, 07:30 PM   #40
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Peter,
Quote:
To milk the wrestling analogy some more whose seminar would you pay to attend. A nationally or internationally recognized coach or that of the current city high school champion. Same same.
It depends on the seminar. Although it sounds like I'm ducking the question, or giving an "of course" answer, I would disagree. Without "lineage" or "rank" in the aikido sense of the word, wrestlers choose seminars, instructional tapes, and coaches on the basis of performance or value, not name recognition or titles. Good coaches attract wrestlers because they are successful coaches, not because of any titles they may have won as a competitor, or who they trained with.

Although the conclusion may be the same, I believe it's a different thought process.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 05-25-2003, 08:51 PM   #41
Josh Manning
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Peter,

Forgive me for not being more articulate, but I am making no inference about the merits of repective arts or their implicit adaptability. The implication of tournament as an indicator of proficiency rather than rank is the point which I was contesting, not because of flexibility but because of focus. When tournament is the focus, your art becomes sport. Please understand that I am not so foolish as to place any one style above another, it is evident that it is fighters that make the difference, not styles. As a final point before I get my next comeuppance I would like to add that a good fighter is not necessarily a good artist.
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Old 05-25-2003, 09:10 PM   #42
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Hi Josh;

No problem - please understand that these internet forums have memory with most peoples points read not in isolation.

There is a recurring theme that somehow those groups that engage in shiai are less real than Aikido which does not.

I come from a style that takes quite a bit of critism, usually uninformed, because it does engage in shiai. The fact that the bulk of our training is, like most Aikido dojos, kata based is besides the point. I can understand the philosophical interpretation of Ueshiba M.'s teachings although I disagree that he banned shiai (there are several threads discussing this point already). However, I can not agree that somehow shiai makes my Aikido less effective. I would argue the opposite - in fact Kenji Tomiki called it painting the eye on the dragon (ie. giving Aikido life).

So please forgive me - when someone says that combative sport is not real fighting I have to agree but always toss in the reminder that it is far far closer than just engaging in kata.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-26-2003, 01:42 AM   #43
acot
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I for one really like Rank. Everytime I grade and get a new belt it is as if I am starting over. And I have to relearn everything from a new angle. Those who don't like rank especally in the KYU ranks I think shortcut their own training. Though in the end everyone has to put their own dogi on and hit the mats, so whatever someones motives are are none of my business.

Ranks doesn't translate in to street smarts, but it should give you direction in the Aiki way. IMHO.

Cheers

Ryan
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Old 05-27-2003, 11:51 AM   #44
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I think most people agree that rank is a very poor measure of ability so what about the idea of rank as a measure of responsibility? I'd rather think of my rank as more like a job description than as defining the upper or lower limit of my ability. Something like:

6th kyu responsibilities: Show up, try to relax, stop saying "sorry" every time you mess up.

5th kyu responsibilities: Know dojo etiquette, attack with spirit, stop saying "I'm never going to get this..."

and so on until you have real responsibilites that include the proper development of those below you and a commitment to those above you.

I think this is a better way to look at the whole thing for two reasons. 1) it makes rank the beginning rather than the end. 2) It forces you to ask yourself if you are really ready to perform at a higher level from now on rather than just if you are ready to demonstrate a few techniques on a particular night.

BTW I'm testing next week so I've been thinking about this a lot
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Old 05-27-2003, 12:46 PM   #45
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Ryan,
Quote:
Ranks doesn't translate in to street smarts, but it should give you direction in the Aiki way. IMHO.
How does separating people into groups reconcile the universe?

Ken,

First, best of luck on your test.
Quote:
I think most people agree that rank is a very poor measure of ability so what about the idea of rank as a measure of responsibility?
Shouldn't everyone have a sense of responsibility (as you mentioned "a development of those below you and commitment to those above you")?
Quote:
I think this is a better way to look at the whole thing for two reasons. 1) it makes rank the beginning rather than the end. 2) It forces you to ask yourself if you are really ready to perform at a higher level from now on rather than just if you are ready to demonstrate a few techniques on a particular night.
How do you suggest someone quantify "perform at a higher level" in this context? As I see it, someone may have a strong sense of responsibility, but have terrible technical and instructional skills.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 05-27-2003, 03:05 PM   #46
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Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
Shouldn't everyone have a sense of responsibility (as you mentioned "a development of those below you and commitment to those above you")?

How do you suggest someone quantify "perform at a higher level" in this context? As I see it, someone may have a strong sense of responsibility, but have terrible technical and instructional skills.
Paul,

I agree completely. I just think that your responsibilities deepen and change over time. Keep in mind I've only been practicing aikido for a year so this is more of an external observation than one based on experience. I would think that a shodan has a much greater duty to the dojo than a gokyu does. A beginner should certainly try just as hard to live up to (and exceed where possible) his responsibilities, but less is asked of him.

As far as the rest goes, I didn't mean to imply that you should advance in rank if you are lacking technical skill (i.e. it's not your sense of responsibility, it's your fullfillment of responsibility). I was just suggesting a different way of thinking about rank. Rather than "I just made ikkyu, I must be really good at this aikido thing" it would be "I just made ikkyu, Sensei will be asking more of me now."

I think attaining rank is like making a baby. A willing partner, a lot of sweat and a reasonable understanding of technique will get you there, but the real work comes after!

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Old 05-27-2003, 09:06 PM   #47
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Quote:
Ken Sparrow (kensparrow) wrote:
I think attaining rank is like making a baby. A willing partner, a lot of sweat and a reasonable understanding of technique will get you there, but the real work comes after!

I do believe we have the funniest quote from Aikiweb here.

Jun, can you set up a "great aikiweb quotes" section?

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.
- Aesop
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Old 05-27-2003, 09:59 PM   #48
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Another aspect to rank in my opinion is giving a particular dojo or organization credibility. Hollywood-fu has a lot to do with this. If I have never trained in any martial art and was looking for a good school a valid question would be "how does the school and myself chart my personal progress.

Quote:
How does separating people into groups reconcile the universe?
How does putting putting an elementary school student in a Ph D. course give understanding of that Universe to the student? I think alot times students try to walk before they can crawl. Good organization creates harmony. Without harmony in the class how can one create the environment of reconcilation. Politics of rank aside of course.

Ryan
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Old 05-27-2003, 09:59 PM   #49
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I view rank as the Dojo's achievement. If you really think about it, the Dojo invests as much time in you, as you invest in it. All your training partners, instuctors, Sensei, everyone has lent a hand in teaching you. I think our teachers enjoy looking up at the ranking board and seeing all the names that have reached true beginner level(aka black belt) and other ranks.

Students that train hard and long and gain rank, show a commitment to the dojo. Which keeps the atmosphere healthy and must bring a special amount of pride to our teachers to have students that show such devotion to the dojo and their teachings.

Dont make me, make you, grab my wrist.
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Old 05-28-2003, 03:45 AM   #50
Kelly Allen
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Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
Second, I fail to see how one can claim that rank is necessary to spread an art, and still avoid students studying only to pass the rank exam (see Kevin and Don's posts previous) or avoid students from developing an ego-driven view of rank.

Regards,

Paul
How many people do you know who would join a dojo with students or a teacher with no rank? I know of none.

I don't deny that rank doesn't mean ability, but to someone who is looking for somewhere to train it is typically more appealing to the person to find a dojo that has a larger pool of practitioners of different ranks than a dojo that has one sensei and a couple of non ranked students.

Also in todays typically busy scheduled family and work lives chances are a dojo with just a sensei would only be able to open his/her dojo 3 times a week max. The only way to increase the time slots would be to promote rank till one of sensei's students are capable of running a separate class or two as an assistant. I certainly wouldn't join a dojo if I was to start out with an instructor in a beginners class with one who I would perceive as a beginner because he has no rank.

I say let them desire the rank, test and award them when they deserve it, and explain what the true meaning of rank is.

my $0.02
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