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Old 07-10-2003, 07:51 PM   #1
ewodaj
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I have a good question for all your aikidoists

I always wondered this and if you can please give me your insight on this question...just because someone is a higher rank in aikido does that mean he is a better/stronger/more experienced martial artist than say someone is who has a less degree black in aikido? for instance, say a 4th degree black belt went up against steven seagal who is a 7th degree black belt being the higher degree black belt does that mean he is a better aikidoist than the 4th degree? this goes for anyone in whatever martial art they practice in...lets say a 5th degree black belt in tae kwon do against a 7th degree black belt like seagal... do higher ranks necessarily mean anything? I always thought the higher rank was the better martial artist and more knowledgable, but now I think differently...please give me your insight on this question thanks...
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Old 07-10-2003, 08:47 PM   #2
Largo
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It's hard to define things in terms of better or worse. My sensei says to think of belts in terms of school. Everything till black belt is elementary school. Shodan is middle school, and nidan is high school. Thusly, the level of understanding is different.

As far as who can beat up who, a lot of that comes down to the individual, luck, and a lot of other things. As for rankings in other styles, I can't say. I've seen 15 year olds with 20th degree TKD blackbelts who couldn't punch their way out of a wet paper bag, and 1st degree karate blackbelts who were like machines.

I just try to worry about my training and let other people worry about theirs.
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Old 07-10-2003, 08:53 PM   #3
ewodaj
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Quote:
Paul Mihalik (Largo) wrote:
It's hard to define things in terms of better or worse. My sensei says to think of belts in terms of school. Everything till black belt is elementary school. Shodan is middle school, and nidan is high school. Thusly, the level of understanding is different.

As far as who can beat up who, a lot of that comes down to the individual, luck, and a lot of other things. As for rankings in other styles, I can't say. I've seen 15 year olds with 20th degree TKD blackbelts who couldn't punch their way out of a wet paper bag, and 1st degree karate blackbelts who were like machines.

I just try to worry about my training and let other people worry about theirs.
20th degree black belts who wouldnt punch their way out of a wet paper bag? I know youre being sarcastic with the 20th degree black belt, but if someone did have a high ranking black belt and couldnt punch their way out of a wet paper bag than their sensei shouldnt be giving out black belts anymore... lol
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Old 07-10-2003, 10:14 PM   #4
PhilJ
 
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My favorite: "Couldn't pour water out of a boot with the instructions written on the heel."



*Phil

Phillip Johnson
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An Aikido Bukou Dojo
http://www.aikidobukou.com
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Old 07-10-2003, 10:26 PM   #5
Veers
 
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Louis...your question makes me thing of such horrible assumptions like all Americans are gas-guzzling war mongers...or all Japanese are polite...or all French are panzies...etc. etc.

I've not even tested for my first ranking, so I can't answer with experience...but I'll take a guess and say that passing the test by doing the technique(s) and passing the test by knowing what you're doing are in two seperate galaxies.

However, rank in aikido isn't really like rank in other martial arts...it's not a "ha, I can beat you!" thing (or shouldn't be...). I see it as more of a personal indicator of your progress...

I think if you're real with yourself you wouldn't test until you felt ready for it...instead of jumping at the test as soon as you've learned the X number of techniques required.

(Oh, and by the way, the word for "aikidoists" is "aikidoka")

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 07-10-2003, 10:31 PM   #6
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Jonathan Lyons (Veers) wrote:
(Oh, and by the way, the word for "aikidoists" is "aikidoka")
Oh noooo!!!! Where is that thread link.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-10-2003, 10:38 PM   #7
Veers
 
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*missed something*

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 07-10-2003, 10:44 PM   #8
ewodaj
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Quote:
Jonathan Lyons (Veers) wrote:
Louis...your question makes me thing of such horrible assumptions like all Americans are gas-guzzling war mongers...or all Japanese are polite...or all French are panzies...etc. etc.

I've not even tested for my first ranking, so I can't answer with experience...but I'll take a guess and say that passing the test by doing the technique(s) and passing the test by knowing what you're doing are in two seperate galaxies.

However, rank in aikido isn't really like rank in other martial arts...it's not a "ha, I can beat you!" thing (or shouldn't be...). I see it as more of a personal indicator of your progress...

I think if you're real with yourself you wouldn't test until you felt ready for it...instead of jumping at the test as soon as you've learned the X number of techniques required.

(Oh, and by the way, the word for "aikidoists" is "aikidoka")
aikidoists sounds better
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Old 07-10-2003, 10:56 PM   #9
jxa127
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Freaky!

Quote:
Jonathan Lyons (Veers) wrote:
Louis...your question makes me thing of such horrible assumptions like all Americans are gas-guzzling war mongers...
Good God, man, that's horrible -- and so dangerous! :0

Here in Pennsylvania, at least, we guzzle beer. We brew it here too. Oh, and we don't play with the guns if we've had more than two six-packs to drink at any given sitting.

Louis,

On any given day, at any given time, anyone can beat anyone. I just read a story about a rank beginner accidently poking a highly ranked judo instructor in the eye. The instructor had to go to the hospital immediately. He wore an eye patch for several months, and had to restrict his training schedule. Rank is no iron clad guaurantee (sp?) that you'll win every time.

Regards,

-Drew

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 07-11-2003, 12:00 AM   #10
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Jonathan Lyons (Veers) wrote:
*missed something*
Ok Johnathan - I went and found it. But basically Aikidoka denotes something a bit more professional than we generally are.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...light=Aikidoka

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-11-2003, 06:01 AM   #11
JJF
 
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To answer the orignial question of the thread in the shortest possible way: No!

The somewhat extended version: No - the level of 'dan' grade that any martial artist achieves does not automatically makes a dead sure fact that he can beat anybody with a lower level of black belt. The rank of a perosn has little gurantied relation to accomplishment. Especially between different MA's is has no meaning at all.

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 07-11-2003, 09:01 AM   #12
SeiserL
 
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"Better" in what way? Your question implies, "better" in fighting. Some higher ranks are better in concistent practice and discipline because it take time to get there, but it doesn't necessarily mean a better fighter. Street fighters have a very different mind set than most martial artists. Remember that training is not sparring, sparring is not fighting, fighting is not combat.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 07-11-2003, 09:51 AM   #13
aikidoc
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The issue of dan rank can be complicated. At the lower ranks, it generally denotes a basic level of skill for learning-you are getting the fundamentals down. As your progress through the ranks your understanding of the details of why things work increases. As you get higher in rank your art becomes more unconsciously competent. However, the bad thing is by the time you get to the higher ranks your physical skills are starting to deteriorate with age. Can a 7th dan stand up to and beat a 4th dan is a useless question. It depends on the physical skills of each person. A 35 year old 4th dan who started martial arts at a young age is probably going to have a physical advantage over a 70 year old 7th or 8th dan from a speed, strength and endurance perspective. Generally, it is my observation that those who achieve high ranks do so with dedication and perserverance in the arts by making constant contributions and training. However, I have seen some elderly karateka that were pretty rough due to years of toughening their bodies. Just my observations.
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Old 07-11-2003, 11:18 AM   #14
bob_stra
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Re: I have a good question for all your aikidoists

Quote:
Louis Amberg (ewodaj) wrote:
I always wondered this and if you can please give me your insight on this question...just because someone is a higher rank in aikido does that mean he is a better/stronger/more experienced martial artist than say someone is who has a less degree black in aikido?
No. ;-)

Reasoning :

(1) Doubtful correlation of belt : raw physical ability. How black is that black belt?

(2) Above a certain level, belts are given for other reasons that technical skill (eg: promoting organization etc)

(3) Belt standards different in different places

(4) see (1)

(5) Previous art experience

(6) Physical condition

(7) did I mention see (1) ?
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Old 07-11-2003, 11:26 AM   #15
akiy
 
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Regarding the original question about "do higher ranks necessarily mean more effectiveness, even across martial arts" (paraphrased), my answer would be "no."

-- Jun

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Old 06-22-2004, 05:37 PM   #16
Geoff Flather
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Re: I have a good question for all your aikidoists

Hello Louis,

I believe when asked, Osensei Ueshiba Morihei stated " Grades above Shodan or 1st Dan were for teaching experience." However as is the usual case, others prefer to believe in their own wisdom
and award grades for other reasons. Unfortunately they still call what they do Aikido.

Thank you for asking.....
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Old 06-22-2004, 07:20 PM   #17
stuartjvnorton
 
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Re: I have a good question for all your aikidoists

Quote:
Geoff Flather wrote:
Hello Louis,

I believe when asked, Osensei Ueshiba Morihei stated " Grades above Shodan or 1st Dan were for teaching experience." However as is the usual case, others prefer to believe in their own wisdom
and award grades for other reasons. Unfortunately they still call what they do Aikido.

Thank you for asking.....

lol.
By that definition, the number of people doing "real" Aikido is probably rather small... ;-)
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Old 06-23-2004, 05:04 PM   #18
vanstretch
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Re: I have a good question for all your aikidoists

All, the author of this thread said several times in his paragraph; "Go up against", I think that speaks to not really getting the point of what aikido is. AIkido is finding a better way of movement (through,around, over, under, aside etc..) incomming forces than to "go up against" those forces. I am sure I am speaking to the choir here, but to do aikido is to understand aikido. It is what it is, isn't it? Take care.
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Old 06-24-2004, 05:41 PM   #19
crand32100
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Re: I have a good question for all your aikidoists

Belts are more about politics than ability. Honestly.

TC
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Old 06-24-2004, 06:35 PM   #20
Geoff Flather
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Smile Re: I have a good question for all your aikidoists

"If the student supercedes the teacher, where are those with the abilities of Osensei Ueshiba Morihei ? Stuart. So possibly you are correct in your assumption, we are simply aspirers to Aikido, as is the case, we are Aikidoka not Aikidoists ! ?....

With respect Jun "why are they higher grades, if they are not effective ?" ,,,,,,

In reference to Louis, you are surely right on the mark, Daniel.

There is something in what you say Tyler, but not everything can be answered in the way you have chosen to say it.

Thank you for communicating..

Last edited by Geoff Flather : 06-24-2004 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 06-25-2004, 12:24 AM   #21
wxyzabc
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Re: I have a good question for all your aikidoists

Well it can be said that there is a huge range in the quality and ability of teachers in Aikido. And this is probably an important point...most are teachers that have been lucky enough to not to have to put into practice what they have learnt over the years.
Arguably I think that between 3rd and 5th dan the gradings become a little "blurred"..I have witnessed 5th dans who, though skilful are prehaps surpassed in style and technique by lower dans...but that is my view and others may think differently. From my own somewhat limited experience here in Japan it seems when we`re talking 6th dan+ thats when the practioner is clearly in a different league..in all areas..teaching and certainly from a martial execution point of view. Politics may be an issue in the gradings that people hold but they certainly dont detract from the sheer skill and ability some of these people possess.
I also think here in Japan there are a number of "known" teachers...but there are also a number of superb technicians who are not widely known (if at all) in the West...but in their own small areas (often rural)..they are held in as great a regard as i`m sure O-Sensei was/is. Their level of skill is way ahead of what I have witnessed in the UK etc...
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Old 06-25-2004, 04:25 AM   #22
Geoff Flather
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Smile Re: I have a good question for all your aikidoists

Thank you Lee,

I agree with much of what you have written.

I am also delighted to read what you have written, could you supply me with names addresses ? I will attempt to initiate contact or an introduction, when I next go to Japan through my contacts there.

I was not in my reply, saying or stating that there was not anyone who reached the Aikido Standard, I was simply attempting to process the thought that because we study Aikido, does not necessarily produce that standard in all of us , although perhaps it should, if our teachers were equal to that standard of Aikido !

Thank you for your communication, and apologies to Louis as I seem to have produced a new thread ? unintentionally. I would prefer to hand it back to you Louis.

We have to evaluate all we come into contact with through our own experience, and in the end resolve issues from that experience. Rightly or wrongly. Hopefully on the best advice and knowlege at that time, but prepared to change our minds and actions when we do. With in the context of all considerations placed upon us ie Law, Philosophy, Family, Work, Accademic Knowledge, and not least Aikido etc.etc.

Thank you again for promoting this thread Louis.

Last edited by Geoff Flather : 06-25-2004 at 04:36 AM.
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Old 06-25-2004, 08:14 AM   #23
Ron Tisdale
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Re: I have a good question for all your aikidoists

Quote:
I was simply attempting to process the thought that because we study Aikido, does not necessarily produce that standard in all of us ,
Just currious...what pursuit (physicall, mental, whatever) DOES produce the top standard in ALL of its proponants? I can't seem to think of one...martial or otherwise. Of course there is variety...of course there are differences. Aikido is not monolithic. Different teachers, dojo, organizations all have differing standards, differing goals, differing views on what is important.

I'm surprised that this wouldn't be obvious...

Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 06-25-2004, 10:34 AM   #24
akiy
 
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Re: I have a good question for all your aikidoists

Quote:
Geoff Flather wrote:
With respect Jun "why are they higher grades, if they are not effective ?" ,,,,,,
There are plenty of people whose physical abilities may have deteriorated through aging or health problems. Some instructors who may have been able to fling pretty much anyone across the mat in their prime may be relegated to sitting on a chair to supervise seminars and such. Would you say that these people should be stripped of their rank?

Also, I think it's a reality in any organization/style that there are people who receive rank not pursuant to their level of physical abilities. This is not to imply any "wrong-doing" or unethical behavior, but just that there are more components being weighed to rank than just someone's physical abilities.

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Old 06-25-2004, 11:17 AM   #25
aikidocapecod
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Re: I have a good question for all your aikidoists

My first Aikido Sensei Len Rose, now departed and missed, was very ill the last few years he was with us. I was 40 years younger than him. and in very good shape. I studied Aikido under him for 12 or 13 years. I remember thinking that perhaps his skills and technique had deteriorated as his health failed.

Guess what...was I wrong!!!! He would come to class now and then, when his health allowed. I would get a chair for him to sit in and watch as I or another in our group conducted class. I remember one class, shortly after I passed shodan, that Len Sensei was able to attend.
I got him a chair. He sat quietly and watched. Fifteen minutes into the class, he waved me over to his chair. Apparently, I was getting lazy in how I was executing ikkyo from katate dori.

He is seated....70-something...and frail.....he lifted his arm offering his wrist for me to grab. So I did. He very quickly reminded me the correct way to execute ikkyo. Ahhh...the taste of the Aikido mat!!!!!!

His age and health could not take away his Aikido ability or his gift for teaching.
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