Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 05-28-2003, 06:08 AM   #51
paw
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 768
Offline
Ryan,
Quote:
How does putting putting an elementary school student in a Ph D. course give understanding of that Universe to the student?
So, your dojo separates the class and teaches 5th kyu techniques to the 5th kyu students, 3rd kyu techniques to the 3rd kyu students and so on? (I'm betting no)

In other words, there aren't lesson plans and basics/competancies that must be mastered as a prerequiste for other techniques. So the division --- by rank --- is artificial, is it not?
Quote:
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.
What is progress? That's not a retorical quesiton. How can you accurately measure something if you don't know what that "something" is? More to the point, several people have mentioned rank exams are "demonstrations". What does a "demonstration" measure?

William,
Quote:
Students that train hard and long and gain rank, show a commitment to the dojo.
I would say students that train hard and show a commitment to the dojo create a healthy atmosphere. Rank has nothing to do with it.

Kelly,
Quote:
How many people do you know who would join a dojo with students or a teacher with no rank? I know of none.
Off the top of my head, every boxer (western, muay thai), wrestler and sambist on the planet. Most jkd'ers and everyone in AAU Judo in the US. For aikido, look no further than David Lynch

Regards,

Paul
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2003, 07:16 AM   #52
happysod
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
Location: London
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 899
United Kingdom
Offline
Paul, although I agree with you on your attitude to rank, we do actually split our dojo in the manner you describe - not so much on the techniques as the way they're applied (speed, effect on uke, distance between uke & nage at start etc.). Having said that, yes we get the entire dojo together for the more "off syllabus" fun stuff

I'm always ambivalent with regards to rank. On the plus side, it does form a solid core of techniques to use for teaching, especially useful for relatively new teachers. I'm also not sure something of the sort can be done without once you have more than a single dojo involved. To me, rankings based on tourney bouts can be just as arbitrary, look at boxing for this taken to the extreme.

Rank, for me, is an artificial way of introducing some structure to an organisation. Ideally, it's not needed, but this is only really possible when all practitioners know each other well, and even then personalities can cause problems. I don't like rankings, but as long as we keep people from focussing too much on the silly colours, it does work sort-of and I can't think of what to replace it with.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2003, 08:36 AM   #53
paw
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 768
Offline
Ian,
Quote:
we do actually split our dojo in the manner you describe - not so much on the techniques as the way they're applied (speed, effect on uke, distance between uke & nage at start etc.).
I suspected someone would say the way they train leads to a division based on ability or syllabus. Which leads to this question: if someone is capable of working with a higher group (say a 4th kyu that can train with the dan ranks) or someone is capable of performing an "advanced" throw consistently, are they promoted? If not, why not? What does rank measure?
Quote:
To me, rankings based on tourney bouts can be just as arbitrary, look at boxing for this taken to the extreme.
I disagree. While there is a good deal of corruption in boxing, I think that the rankings are fairly accurate. I don't mean to suggest that a boxer ranked # 5 is "better" than a boxer ranked # 15. I do mean to suggest that boxers are judged on their performance against skilled, athletic, uncooperative opponents. Additionally, a victory over a talented opponent holds much more weight than a victory over a mediocre one. I would argue this is much less subjective than a demonstration.

But as I said at the start, I'm clearly a minority at best (heretic is probably more accurate). And, as it's been pointed out in other threads, I'm evil as well.....

Regards,

Paul
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2003, 09:26 AM   #54
happysod
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
Location: London
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 899
United Kingdom
Offline
Paul, you're not evil, that's Mike, I've got you in the nefarious category Anyway, we haven't disagreed for too long so it seemed time

With regard to your query on promotion, answer is yes we would promote if they show the aptitude, this is normally done through allowing them to double-grade or reduce the time constraints between gradings. However, we would want them to do all the grades as they have to be able to teach those below them (even at Kyu).

Agree with you on principle w.r.t. demo vs bouts (doesn't Tomeiki already do this?) and as I've already said, I'm not a fan of rank, but personally I wouldn't be attracted to the bout scene either. A lot of people seem to need to be able to easily differentiate ability/time practiced/whatever and ranking seems to be one of the ways aikido has approached this (what about all them titles out there as well?).
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2003, 10:27 AM   #55
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 788
Offline
Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
But as I said at the start, I'm clearly a minority at best (heretic is probably more accurate). And, as it's been pointed out in other threads, I'm evil as well.....
Although you have plenty of persuasive, reasonable arguments for getting rid of ranking, it will never matter, as people rarely change their minds via this mechanism. People tend to stick with thought habits, and people are in the habit of seeing rank and colored belts with their martial arts.

This whole struggle reminds me of the argument to eliminate pennies from the US currency system. It makes sense in all kinds of ways - eliminating wasteful metal use and manufacturing/distributing costs, uncluttering people's pockets and lives... Yet people just plain won't go for it. The idea of rounding down amounts ending in 1,2,6,7 and rounding up 3,4,8,9 in cash transactions is just too out of the ordinary for people to wrap their heads around. It usually takes me several minutes to explain the concept to even quite sharp people, and they still won't go for it once they understand. People are just mentally stubborn. So, ulitmately eliminating pennies IS a bad idea, simply on the basis that few people will accept it.

You've mentioned some arts/practices that don't use ranks, but these certainly aren't among the most lucrative and popular to teach - they seem to appeal to fairly narrow demographics. In fact, it almost seems that popularity and money come in proportion to the degree that rank is stupidly and simplistically emphasized (which should tell you something). I even saw a Karate/TKD dojo where "THE BLACK BELT IS THE GOAL" was printed in 12 inch block letters along the top of the wall... the dojo had lots of students and lots of money.

While getting rid of rank makes sense from a standpoint of purity of study, since so many people are attached to the idea of rank, I think it would ultimately mean making Aikido more obscure and less popular. Even teachers who aren't concerned about money don't want that. They usually want a growing dojo.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 05-28-2003 at 10:36 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2003, 11:02 AM   #56
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
United_States
Offline
The one syllibus I am intimately familiar with does build skills from one kyu rank to the next.

Weapons:

first stances are taught, then solo kata, then kumi-tachi, tanto, jo.

Ukemi:

each kyu rank requires ukemi for that kyu and the next one. No one takes falls that they haven't been taught. If you pay attention to the syllibus, you can choose the techniques for any given class based on the lowest ranked student, and know that **everyone** knows an appropriate ukemi for the techniques you teach.

Techniques:

Much the same...the techniques build on one another from basic techniques to more advanced variations to stringing attacks and techniques together in a series to multiple attacks and evasions and eventually jiyu waza. I find the syllibus very well thought out, and by knowing the ranks of the various students, it makes it easy to know how and what to teach in each class. Every student has a test booklet with the specifics of everything required for each kyu rank. People do not jump kyu ranks. You learn the material, you test for the rank. When you learn the next set of material, you test for the next rank. There is a time in grade, but in my opinion, it is not onerous, even if you are "ahead" of other students. Because there is specific material that is tested on, it really about as objective as such a thing can be.

That said, the independant dojo where I now train is still building a syllibus, and we are using the one mentioned above as a base. We are reducing the number of kyu rankings so that there is less stratification in the dojo. We are also going to more of a demonstration format for dan rankings. The demonstrations measure the depth of a student with the techniques chosen for the demo. In our last one, we concentrated on osae waza (ikkajo through yonkajo with at least two variations for each), nage waza (shiho, irimi, kaiten, kote gaish), again with at least two variations, weapons (kumitachi), disarms, and freestyle. I think there may have been a few other things thrown in there as well. The demo was an hour long, with almost constant activity, forcing students to show conditioning as well as technique. I think the things that our instructors were looking for were the ability to perform ukemi, the ability for nage to take uke's balance at first contact, maintaining the connection to uke's center, and a variety of throws.

We considered throwing rank right out the window. We decided not to for a couple of reasons:

Tradition

the need for rank when it comes to instruction

some (perhaps small)need for hierarchy in the dojo

recognition for each students efforts over a period of time and the skills gained.

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2003, 05:44 PM   #57
Eric Joyce
Dojo: Budoshingikan
Location: Gilbert, AZ
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 179
United_States
Offline
I would tend to agree with the posters in this forum in regards to ranking. I think it is a way to test and measure ones progress at a certain point in time over material that should be known up to that point. However, I have seen a watering down of ranking and the abuses still continue. Not a lot, but enough to make you think. Some have suggested switching over to certificates (Menkyos), but these could be abused as well. I would like to add a comment a fellow poster said to me once on another forum regarding this issue. He said, "Train for the sake of training. Train because you want to. Don't do it because you want to get a belt." In his style of martial art (Yoshida Han Bujutsu) they have no ranking, but they are probably some of the best practioners of aikijujutsu I have ever seen. Just food for thought.

Eric Joyce
Otake Han Doshin Ryu Jujutsu
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2003, 07:24 PM   #58
PeterR
 
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,059
Japan
Offline
The Shodokan system does as well. Although the bulk of the lesson everybody practices togeather with a senior student paired up with junior (ie. 5th dan with 2nd dan, 5th kyu with 7th kyu, or some such mix) there are techniques concentrated on depending on what grade you have achieved during every class. Quite a lot of thought went into what's introduced when - Tomiki was an educator after all.

That said - rank is an organizational mechanism nothing more. My class is so small I haven't held a grading - there is no real need but I probably will eventually. The kyu/dan system was introduced as just that - there was no deeper meaning.

And to tell you the truth (vis a vis the last post) I have yet to meet anyone who trained just to get a belt. I have met people who wanted to do a certain budo for a defined length of time before trying something else. Shodan was a convenient marker and who am I to question that.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2003, 08:46 PM   #59
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,004
Japan
Offline
Hello Paul,

As usual, your posts are always sharply argued and to the point. As for your being evil, and your posts being taboo, how would you measure yourself against Agent Smith, especially in his second incarnation?

My own view is that the issue of rank masks other, larger, issues: involving power and money—supposedly objective measurement of abilities or progress; and such measurement in the context of larger groups than a particular dojo. The issue is pragmatic in the sense that, like moral and spiritual issues, it tends to come to the fore when it is abused and there is a need to ‘do' something about it.

If we go back to M Ueshiba's relationship with S Takeda, progress in the art seems to have been measured by payment made for certification of mastery of techniques. Takeda seems to have charged a fee for teaching each technique and then issued a certificate to the effect that X had mastered the appropriate number of techniques (because the technique had been shown, the explanation had been given and the fee had been paid—acquisition of actual mastery was left to the student). In other words, the certification makes sense only in respect of the skill and reputation of the teacher, in this case S Takeda, and in the way the master-pupil relationship is structured (i.e., the number of techniques taught & payment received).

This ‘teacher-centred' way of thinking is something I have come across in the Aikikai. According to one interpretation, dan ranks are seen as a (new, post-Kano) way of Sensei A assessing the proficiency of Student X and has no significance outside this personal framework. If a student who is not a complete beginner comes to my dojo in Hiroshima, the first thing I will ask about is training history. I learn that the previous teacher was one Paul Watts and my estimation of P Watts will largely depend on what the student can do, as compared with the other students. The assessment is, if you like, teacher-centred and, because it is the famous P Watts, my expectations will be high. Of course, the issue arises only because the student has come to my dojo. If the student's entire training career was confined to P Watt's own dojo, there would be no need for any estimation at all, other than what operated in that dojo.

Another way of looking at this is ‘technique-centred'. The entire art can be seen as a set of possible techniques, which are mastered according to the structure of the art. This also applies to S Takeda's dojo. The students were ‘ranked' in some sense by the number of techniques they had mastered = for which payment had been received. The ‘technique-centred' way of thinking places less emphasis on the teacher, since the same techniques operate throughout the entire art and proficiency can be measured in other ways than by a particular teacher's estimation.

I think you can apply all the questions you have asked to both ways of looking at this system. For me, the questions would be:

Why would one want or need to measure progress in the art?

To what extent can this progress be objectively measured?

To what extent is the measuring process reliable?

How does one evaluate the measuring mechanism?

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2003, 09:49 PM   #60
paw
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 768
Offline
Ron,

Huge appreciation for the thoughtful consideration of rank and the construction of a syllibus in your dojo.

Peter Rehse,

The more you share about Tomiki and the Shodokan system, the more impressed I am with it.

Peter Goldsbury,
Quote:
As usual, your posts are always sharply argued and to the point.
*blushes*
Quote:
As for your being evil, and your posts being taboo, how would you measure yourself against Agent Smith, especially in his second incarnation?
What a great question! I'd like to defer answering until I've seen the third and final movie in the trilogy, "Matrix Revolutions". On second thought, maybe my wife should answer....
Quote:
My own view is that the issue of rank masks other, larger, issues: involving power and money—supposedly objective measurement of abilities or progress; and such measurement in the context of larger groups than a particular dojo. The issue is pragmatic in the sense that, like moral and spiritual issues, it tends to come to the fore when it is abused and there is a need to ‘do' something about it.
I often think I should not post and wait until you do, and this paragraph is why. I agree completely and wish I would have written that.

Your points about "teacher-centered" and "technique-centered" give much food for thought and are very interesting. As are your final questions. I think I'll sit back and see if anyone wants to take a stab at them before I take a shot.

If I haven't mentioned this previously, I very much appreciate your time and thoughtfulness in sharing on this and the other forum. I for one, am very grateful.

Warm Regards,

Paul
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2003, 12:23 AM   #61
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 788
Offline
Maybe you two should like, get a room. Sheesh.

(Sorry, I don't do smilies. Envision the one of your choice here.)

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 05-29-2003 at 12:26 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2003, 04:39 PM   #62
Eric Joyce
Dojo: Budoshingikan
Location: Gilbert, AZ
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 179
United_States
Offline
Peter's Quote:

"And to tell you the truth (vis a vis the last post) I have yet to meet anyone who trained just to get a belt. I have met people who wanted to do a certain budo for a defined length of time before trying something else. Shodan was a convenient marker and who am I to question that."

Peter,

I have meet those people who just wanted the belt and they got it and left. Some of the people that visited our dojo would always ask how long would it take to get a black belt, etc. It seemed that the underlying motive was that based on the people we ran into (not all...some) IMHO, and based on some experience, some people train for that. It's a sad commentary, because there is much more to get from budo than just ranking/belts.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2003, 07:31 PM   #63
PeterR
 
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,059
Japan
Offline
Quote:
Eric Joyce wrote:
Peter,

I have meet those people who just wanted the belt and they got it and left. Some of the people that visited our dojo would always ask how long would it take to get a black belt, etc. It seemed that the underlying motive was that based on the people we ran into (not all...some) IMHO, and based on some experience, some people train for that. It's a sad commentary, because there is much more to get from budo than just ranking/belts.
Perhaps. I have heard of this also but far more common is the scenerio I described. Not everyone wants to make martial arts a life long endeavor (I think that is true for most of us when we start) and reaching shodan is a convenient point of departure. The been there done that concept. I know several very committed Aikidoists that will do another Budo for a time with a certain goal (often dan grade) in mind. It's not the dan grade that's important but like I said, an easily definable point. Judo is like that for me, although in my case my defined goal was just to show up for practice while I live in the village.

As for asking how long it takes to get a black belt - for these people its a very fair question. Basically it translates into how long I have to commit to reach my defined goal.

OK I am sure there is still heathens trying to impress with a black belt earned ten years ago with not a lick of training (evidenced by beer gut) since.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Budo Bear Patterns - Sewing pattern for Women's (and Men's) dogi.



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Frustrated by unconvincing aikido WantToSpeakOut Anonymous 88 04-18-2006 02:19 AM
Rank-Aikido (pun intended) senshincenter General 88 11-21-2005 03:55 PM
Poll: How often do you get to choose your uke(s) for your rank testing at your aikido dojo? AikiWeb System AikiWeb System 20 12-23-2004 12:06 AM
Poll: Do you prefer your aikido rank tests announced (planned) or unannounced (surprise)? AikiWeb System AikiWeb System 15 12-09-2004 05:19 PM
Choosing a dojo... Does the sensei's rank matter? Runewolf General 17 10-12-2001 01:24 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:15 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate