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Old 11-19-2003, 03:23 PM   #26
Thalib
 
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I can't stop thinking of Massey-san's and Morimoto-san's story. It is just horrifying.

I would be ashamed and embarassed if I know of a fellow Aikidoka that hurts people. Apparently, I know a few. Everytime I think of these people, I couldn't help feeling angry and sad, but at the same time I also feel sorry for them.

Part of the test is to be sensitive to one another. Even when one has never practiced with the other, one must learn each other's limitations. The real test is not within the techniques, but within the Aikido itself. How far does one understand Aikido? This is the way of testing.

In Massey-san's and Morimoto-san's stories, I would have to agree that the one that is taking the test should have their qualifications questioned. As one gets higher in rank, one should reflect more on the ideology and philosophy of Aikido. But, alas, many actually reverts back to their primitive state.

Wether it is practice, test, or even real life situation, one should always look out for the other's welfare.

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
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Old 11-19-2003, 03:27 PM   #27
Marty
 
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Please note my statement was If YOU CAN'T KEEP your center during a test then how can you HOPE to keep it IRL, not if you can keep your center during a test then you CAN IRL. It is like every thing else we do. Just one more level, e.g. we start off with paired one on one simple attack simple art. We then at some point add more speed and intent to the attack, then more attackers. There by testing our center and ability to maintain our composure, testing is doing this in a different arena.

The other thing I wanted to say is in our organization rank = responsibility nothing else. We learn nothing new just have to do more around the dojo. It means that we will clean after class we will teach if the regular instructors are sick or take a class of our own. It does not mean that they can take anything that is dished out or that they should even try. It means this person is some one to go and ask questions of in class if you need help and they should be (depending on rank) more and more able to teach you the fundmantles of the arts. Now applying the arts themselves is a different story some times. But they should know how it works, if not from there own experience then for hearing it said over and over again. And finally we do accept rank from other styles. They just don't test until they can do the arts like we do them.
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Old 11-19-2003, 03:49 PM   #28
paw
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Marty,
Quote:
Please note my statement was If YOU CAN'T KEEP your center during a test then how can you HOPE to keep it IRL, not if you can keep your center during a test then you CAN IRL.
At the risk of speaking for Bruce, he was well aware of what you said. He disagreed. Sometimes it's that simple.

FWIW, I agree with Bruce, based on my experiences with aikido tests, bjj tests, randori, shiai and real world assaults. Each is different and each may be "stressful" for different reasons. I've sparred with professional fighters who have said that real world assaults are far less stressful for them because the event just happens. Given a worthy opponent, a set time, a place, and time to think about it, a shiai becomes more stressful to them.

Ultimately, it behooves us all to train for what we want. If we have a strong desire for real world self-defense skills, our training should reflect, as closely as possible, a real world self-defense situation.
Quote:
The other thing I wanted to say is in our organization rank = responsibility nothing else.
Drew mentioned something similar. If you enjoy things there, good on you, mate. I choose to train where responsibility is expected from everyone regardless of rank. That's just my personal preference, not a value judgement.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 11-19-2003, 07:16 PM   #29
indomaresa
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True, there's a fair amount of arrogance in refusing to test

nicely spoken, drew

The road is long...
The path is steep...
So hire a guide to show you the shortcuts
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Old 11-19-2003, 09:58 PM   #30
Pretoriano
 
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You should achieve YOUR OWN very personal goal, you must pass your own test, Every time you practise, or it is a loss, every practice is a victory, the most important thing here said was: "you know were you are"

In Aikido you know were you are in terms of the hierarchical chain that determine ones "comprehension and skill", let you know "Were and Who you are in the organization.

But few people like me doesnt care at All about climbimbing up in an organization

In other arts were one gets acostummed to frecuent presure and combat "you know were you are" reality is constanttly measured and always changing, any facade is totally out.

It is valid to test as well as to refuse to test.

Personally I Dont Believe in Ranks Because:

.-I know it will make me prepotent and arrogant.

.-Because I know that early in aikido eg. people climbed too fast and made instructor shihan in few years, been kids.

.-Because I ve seen that rank and deep comprenhsion of martial arts many times not goes parallel.

.-Because I know that the higher ranks in martial arts (mostly) were not the better ones on their classes, they just "stayed" there.

.-Because many Dan instructors get pleasantly accostumed to their positions and "sleep on the olives garden"

.-Because some high ranks doesnt get into the heat centuries ago, although they just enjoy their power positions.

.-Because Ive seen that practicants play somehow a crazy race for to grade, making it in less time posible, This is obiously Not the goal.

This may sound somewhat rude but it is Not,ther re just my true convictions, not intended to challenge anyone, I could accept.

I Recomend to General people to test, and to climb naturally, enjoy you train, if your goal is a grade or a belt go get it, be sure that youre going exactly were you want.

One of the Best sayings Ive read was: "Be responsable of your own trainning".

PRAETORIAN
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Old 11-19-2003, 10:27 PM   #31
BKimpel
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Quote:
Andrew Barron (ajbarron) wrote:
ultimately she/he if he/she is worth her/his salt should determine whether a student is ready either technically or psychologically
Agreed, and that is certainly the ideal. If a sensei can know where his/her students progress is, he/she will be able to guide and let you know what areas are weak, what needs improvement and what your next steps are -- regardless of testing or rank.
Quote:
Andrew Barron (ajbarron) wrote:
The criteria for testing of techniques should definitely be standardized within a dojo or associated group of dojos for this allows the sharing of experience based upon a common understanding and level of what is necessary for successful interaction
Therein lies the rub! Aikido syllabuses aren't even standard within the same organization! Bob Moline (on the does rank matter thread) alluded to the weapons issue -- half of the dojos I have trained in don't even tech weapons at all -- that's difficult to translate when you go to another dojo that does emphasize weapons.

By the way Bob, we trained together in the early 90's when you visited Winnipeg from time to time (seminars and when your group came in to test).
Quote:
Andrew Barron (ajbarron) wrote:
If we put it off too long he will certainly let us know.
That's where I have a problem. I have heard of (on this very forum) many people that have been "forced" to get their next rank because they have lingered too long. What is too long? And what really motivates a sensei to nudge his students to rank, when the student isn't interested in it? How will that benefit the student again?
Quote:
Andrew Barron (ajbarron) wrote:
Why should there be ranking? Ideally it is a method of self judgment/testing to determine if you personally have been able to master the techniques, yourself, and your personal limitations.
A colorful belt and a made up standard won't give you that. If one should where a white belt to "remind" him/herself to keep a beginners mind (an excellent concept in my mind), what is it that one reminds themselves of when they where a black belt…I wonder.
Quote:
Andrew Barron (ajbarron) wrote:
To use the much abused quote from Robert Browning, I might be paraphrasing, "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp. Or what's a heaven for?"
It seems that there is such a fine line between aspirations and greed. And rank seems to teeter on that line.
Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
At the risk of speaking for Bruce, he was well aware of what you said. He disagreed. Sometimes it's that simple.
Yup, I understood, and yup I disagree. The stress value of testing is about as valuable as tennis lessons to improve your hiriki (elbow power). You may coincidentally touch upon the same movements and muscles -- but it doesn't in any way train you for implementation in real life.
Quote:
Kensho Furuya wrote:
In addition, what rewards does a teacher get in all his efforts to teach his students? I am very proud of my black belts and my own selfish reward for what I do is to see my student progress well and go through the ranks and become good Aikidoists.
I suppose that from a selfish perspective I see no benefit for me to obtain rank, and in most cases I have only seen commercial benefit for a sensei to promote testing / ranking which really turns me off…but I have never really looked at it from a pure teacher / student perspective before. In that light (having been a teacher by profession) I guess your right that there is a measure of satisfaction from seeing your students progress -- and by not visibly demonstrating your progress we rob our sensei of that little bit of job satisfaction that may just keep his engine running on those cold, tired nights.

I must think about that one…

Bruce Kimpel
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Old 11-19-2003, 11:02 PM   #32
sanosuke
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Quote:
"Iriawan Kamal Thalib" wrote:
In Massey-san's and Morimoto-san's stories, I would have to agree that the one that is taking the test should have their qualifications questioned. As one gets higher in rank, one should reflect more on the ideology and philosophy of Aikido. But, alas, many actually reverts back to their primitive state.
a double-edged sword on aikido is that aikido allow their own student to develop their aikido according to their preferences, which results in either so-called 'soft' and 'hard' aikidokas, and they passed their style through their students and so on. The person who injured their uke might not realize what they done because they are used to what they train at the dojo. but, this conduct is also unacceptable by me. i would suggest if there's any demotion or suspension in aikido grading like International Taekwon-do Federation has.

back to the rank issue, in my opinion it's up to the people whether they want to grade or not, but it's not polite to refuse the offer to take one. The important thing is, in whatever art you train, don't be a belt-chaser, because the higher your rank is the more burden you have to carry.
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Old 11-20-2003, 02:37 AM   #33
Alan Lomax
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Smile

Quote:
Frank Hale (fvhale) wrote:
Shorter version:

Just do what your sensei asks, and keep practicing.
Frank,

I sure like your answer. In my perspective, I really enjoy the tests. In our Club tests are much like a celebration, a special get together night for all. Sure there are all of the pressures, variables and all that goes along with it but still a celebration. Afterwards, we usually go out to a close by hizakaya and yuk it up for awhile. This can be equally as entertaining.

At the test, we get the tatami almost completely to ourselves. Just the person testing and the necessary Uke or Uke's. All that room and partners not only willing but focused on letting the person being tested have all the fun of demonstrating waza time and time again. It's great! With few exceptions, the Ukes are only there to allow you to perform. They don't even ask for their reciprocal turn of the card. How cool is this?!

Generally speaking, if Sensei tells us it is time to test, who are we to disagree. Do we know this Aikido stuff better than Sensei? I have enjoyed each successive test even more than the one before it. I have gotten better at taking them. Not better necessarily in the skill of my waza, but better at letting go and enjoying the opportunity to get out there and demonstrate that I like the training I have been receiving.

I enjoy it for the example I get to set with all of the others who attend. I get to show them how I have learned to treat the willing Uke's even better now than in earlier testing. I will not speak for anyone else, but for me, I was so nervous and unsure of myself during my early tests, I moved too quickly, used much too much force and really did not have a good connection to what Uke was going through. (Kowai so Uke)

My latest test was a San Dan test. It was the easiest test I have taken to date. I had completely let go of the burden of worrying how I would do. I didn't even consider what the Uke's would do, they were all Ni Dan. I can tell you the Uke's were plenty worried, they were sweating bullets. To them, all they could see was this rather large gaigin who they thought was probably going to go full on and going to cause them a great degree of discomfort. I know this because the Uke's who knew they would be up with me, approached me before the test began and asked if I would please be careful not to injure them.

My whole focus for this test was to demonstrate to the club and my Sensei, that I had in fact been paying attention over the years. I wanted Sensei to be pleased with the work he had poured out over the years. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to demonstrate during each and every waza that I could do it in my own interpretation of what Sensei had been teaching me, yet still with his distinctive flavor and with kind regard to the Uke's, so that it came across as genuine but not abusive by design or neglect. I had wonderful time of it.

Regards,

Alan Lomax
Doumukai Aikido
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Old 11-20-2003, 08:19 AM   #34
jxa127
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Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
Drew mentioned something similar [about those with higher rank having more responsibility]. If you enjoy things there, good on you, mate. I choose to train where responsibility is expected from everyone regardless of rank. That's just my personal preference, not a value judgement.
Hi Paul,

I think you're missing the point a little bit. Of course everyone is expected to act responsibly regardless of rank. But, I wouldn't go up to somebody who has been training for less than a year and ask for help on nikkyo. I go to students who are senior to me for that kind of help.

That's the biggest area where rank is important in our dojo. Senior students are expected to know the kihon waza, ki tests, and ukemi for all requirements up to the rank they've tested for, and be able to pass on that information (to the best of their ability) to junior students when asked. The other area where it's important is in setting a good example regarding etiquette and basic dojo operations.

This is a quiet kind of responsibility. We don't stand around correcting students of lower rank, but we strive to set a good example, and we're willing to help when we're asked questions. There are plenty of opportunities to stay humble during class. There are students who are junior to me in rank who actually have better skills in some areas. There are those who are senior to me who have trouble with things that I find easier. Rank is not an absolute, hard demarcation, and we don't treat it that way. But, in aggregate, those who have been studying longer have higher rank and know more about the art.

Regards,

----
-Drew Ames
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Old 04-24-2004, 06:05 PM   #35
jamara
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Re: Why Test?

I think that one of the only ways to know if you are getting any better is to measure improvement. If your teacher thinks that you are getting on well enough he/she will invite you to grade.

I think that it is also important to know or at least have an good idea how good your training partner is, especially if you don't know them very well.

Also grades are one of the few ways that you can know if your teacher is actually qualified to teach you, which from a safety point of view is very important.

Last edited by jamara : 04-24-2004 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 04-25-2004, 06:55 PM   #36
JasonFDeLucia
 
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Re: Why Test?

Quote:
Christopher Latkowski wrote:
i have done aikido for about 2.5 years and have never tested. i think ranks are a hindrance to the long term practice no matter what your goals are.
what do you guys think??
Christopher,a good test is really a certification .when invited to attend your sensei knows that you're ready to absorb and by the end of your test ,whatever your kyu content is for that kyu ,you should have absorbed it.in truely old school dojos the
nature of the ''test''(certification)is repetition '' uchi komi''.like before you could ride a bike ,then suddenly you got it and never forget.repetition is the mother of skill.
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Old 04-25-2004, 09:09 PM   #37
PeaceHeather
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Re: Why Test?

Quote:
kung fu hamster wrote:
"She's a shodan, if they call you up for uke you have to be able to take it."
Screaming white belt newbie opinion to follow...

Ex-CUSE me?! You "have" to be able to take getting so injured by someone who is testing for his belt that you end up going to the hospital afterward?

::

1. If the guy testing is being that nasty to his uke, is he really demonstrating the control, fluidity, blending, compassion, or anything else that aikido is supposed to be all about?

2. Since when does aikido require you give up your self-respect? Ego, sure, but self-preservation? If that dojo's policy demands that ukes get the sh!t kicked out of them (okay, thrown, you know what I meant) and does not give them the right or the opportunity to protest such demeaning treatment, then the people who run that dojo should be sued bankrupt, shut down, and their execrable techniques made public.

I don't tolerate abuse. I don't tolerate any institution that tries to pass off abuse as "policy". Abuse is perpetrated by making sure everyone involved keeps their mouths shut. Abuse is ended by shouting the truth and refusing to be silenced.

This uke should start shouting... and Linda, so should you.

Heather, steamed and hoping she is merely missing some piece of information that justifies this!
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Old 04-27-2004, 08:51 AM   #38
Nick Simpson
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Re: Why Test?

Ive heard of shihan say " if a black belt cant take the technique I give them then I'll take their rank off them." Breaking someones wrist in a test isnt very nice and is totally unfortuante but some people hold these attitudes unfortuantely. I heard of a instuctor who called his entire class up for tenchinage and broke each of their noses, one after the other, they still got up for it though...
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Old 04-27-2004, 09:22 PM   #39
stuartjvnorton
 
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Re: Why Test?

Quote:
Nick Simpson wrote:
Ive heard of shihan say " if a black belt cant take the technique I give them then I'll take their rank off them." Breaking someones wrist in a test isnt very nice and is totally unfortuante but some people hold these attitudes unfortuantely. I heard of a instuctor who called his entire class up for tenchinage and broke each of their noses, one after the other, they still got up for it though...
Just proves that ownership of a brain or conscience is not necessarily a prerequisite of having a black-belt.
Shihan or not, I'm not sure I'd want rank under an idiot like that.

PS: How on Earth (or in Heaven lol) do you break someone's nose in Tenchinage?
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Old 04-27-2004, 09:39 PM   #40
PeterR
 
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Re: Why Test?

Tenchinage is a form of Aigamae-ate. The ten (heaven) hand can go past the head or to the head. We prefer to cradle the chin with some twisting action provide by the fingers on the side of the head but shote to the nose could also work.

That said abuse is abuse - and the above mentioned instructor is a wanker. Anything that potentially disfigures or becomes chronic deliberately applied is assault - broken noses are way beyond the occasional split lip.

Friend of mine had his nose broken during training in the Israeli Army (weapon retention). Considering what he was being asked to do and where he was being asked to do it you could make a case for it. But not in an Aikido dojo.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 04-28-2004, 04:22 AM   #41
Taliesin
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Re: Why Test?

For myself as far as testing and ranking is concerened they are two overlapping but identifiable issues. I train in a dojo which has gradings regularly. It also has a pre-test before you do your grading. It is carefully structured so that the students are always building and developing what they learnt before. However what i believe my Sensei wishes to see at each step is a clear step up in form, posture, movement, control, etc, he also likes testing as a means of putting pressure on someone it is deliberately stressful and the fact you know its coming means you have more time to stress and worry about about (failure is a real consequence), but it also sets you in the mind frame of dealing with stress. It may not be the same as an attack in the street but should be helpful in dealing with it (that's if you don't react immediately).

As far as rank is concerned, It breaks down what you have to learn into digestible pieces, it tells someone who is training with someone new how hard or not a tecnique can be applied. It also means there are always goals to aim for.
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Old 04-28-2004, 06:35 AM   #42
Nick Simpson
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Re: Why Test?

Apparently the instructor (wanker is what I would call him too) called everyone up for ushiro ryote dori tenchinage and as he turned round into uke struck the nose instead of the collarbone/shoulder. I couldnt believe that an entire class would allow this to happen to themselves.
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Old 04-28-2004, 09:28 AM   #43
Don_Modesto
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Re: Why Test?

Quote:
PeaceHeather wrote:
Screaming white belt newbie opinion to follow...

Ex-CUSE me?! You "have" to be able to take getting so injured by someone who is testing for his belt that you end up going to the hospital afterward? (1)


....I don't tolerate abuse. I don't tolerate any institution that tries to pass off abuse as "policy". Abuse is perpetrated by making sure everyone involved keeps their mouths shut. Abuse is ended by shouting the truth and refusing to be silenced. (2)
1--FWIW, I have seen Saotome interupt tests several times to admonish NAGE, "Don't break UKE!"

2--Shouting sounds a little hysterical, but a firm "No" followed by a deposition ought to open eyes. I'd like to see abuse publicized sometime, actually. You hear about it so much on the boards here, but I've seen nothing on a successful prosecution for battery in a dojo in the news. What's wrong with this picture? (You've already answered that, Miss Bungard Janney: "everyone involved keeps their mouths shut".)

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 04-28-2004, 10:58 AM   #44
PeaceHeather
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Re: Why Test?

Quote:
Don_Modesto wrote:
2--Shouting sounds a little hysterical, but a firm "No" followed by a deposition ought to open eyes.
Metaphor, if you wish. The point is, no matter where abuse takes place and who the participants are (parent/child, spouse/spouse, boss/employee), it can only *ever* continue to exist because the abuser keeps his or her mouth shut, and the victim is shamed or intimidated into keeping his or her mouth shut.

Quote:
I'd like to see abuse publicized sometime, actually. You hear about it so much on the boards here, but I've seen nothing on a successful prosecution for battery in a dojo in the news. What's wrong with this picture? (You've already answered that, Miss Bungard Janney: "everyone involved keeps their mouths shut".)
Exactly. Look at some of the cultural mindgames we play with abuse victims:
  1. First, we make them think that healthy relationships involve this kind of behavior.
  2. Then, we tell them that if it's happening they should protest.
  3. If they do protest, we label them "victims" and imply they must be "weak" if they can't handle it themselves. (And, in America, heaven forfend that you should admit you need help from anyone. We're obsessed with an unhealthy notion of "independence".)
  4. If they don't protest, we tell them they must want it to happen on some level -- in other words, it's basically their fault.

Is it any wonder most abuse goes unreported?
*sigh* Need to go think about something else now.

Heather

Last edited by PeaceHeather : 04-28-2004 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 04-28-2004, 11:33 PM   #45
roninja
 
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Re: Why Test?

is there anything wrong with testing? I've never noticed its counter-productiveness.

僕わ Joseph Dunkin
"Compassion is pure kindness
Wisdom is knowing the truth of dependent origin"
- Ven. Hsing Yun
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Old 04-29-2004, 12:20 AM   #46
PeterR
 
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Re: Why Test?

Quote:
roninja wrote:
is there anything wrong with testing? I've never noticed its counter-productiveness.
Absolutely nothing. It provides focus and a bench mark of your progression within the group.

The only problem with awarding rank is the few individuals see it as a path to status. However, if you didn't have tests they would still find ways to increase their status.

I personally don't think rank is all that important but I came to that realization as I advanced. Coincidently, as you advance the time between tests will increase. You are weaned off the need or the particular benefit provided by testing decreases.

Of course I will test again when the time is right - if I didn't the harmony (wa) of the dojo would be disturbed.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 04-29-2004, 10:53 AM   #47
Don_Modesto
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Re: Why Test?

Quote:
roninja wrote:
is there anything wrong with testing? I've never noticed its counter-productiveness.
As a teacher, testing has a lot to offer: Motivation and morale being high on the list. (Ugly and imperfect as it is, there is also the more familiar rationale of establishing competence.)

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 04-29-2004, 11:04 AM   #48
mantis
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Re: Why Test?

I for one love rank tests, but rank tests are really more of a formality than anything else. They help new students see what is expected from them in the future, and helps document what has been learned by the student who is performing the test.

Before any rank is given out, I would hope that the instructor of the student knows that students abilities, and is well aware if that student has the requirements for the rank that is given.

So in reality there is no need for the formal rank test other than making the student feel that he/she has accomplished something.

It's like a graduation ceremony in college. If you miss the ceremony, you will still get your diploma if you finish all of your requirements.

As far as the nose breaking story goes, I can't believe this ever happened. If so, what was the sensei's name? I do hear of students that get hurt by their instructor, but it makes me think twice about that instructors abilities!
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Old 04-30-2004, 10:03 AM   #49
jgrowney
Dojo: Rochester New York Aikido Club
Location: Rochester, NY
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 44
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Re: Why Test?

Chris,

I can totally identify with your train of thought here. I trained for about 2 years at a dojo because I loved to train. I didn't care about testing at all, and had no desire to test. I just wanted to train. As I began to progress and have questions that my seniors could not answer, I began to look for a new teacher. 5 years later I found him. About a year after that I began testing.

At first I thought the same as you. It was hindering me from learning more and expanding my knowledge base. It felt like a total distraction. This is when I began to see the difference between accumulation of knowledge and depth of knowledge. I knew a lot of techniques. But it was not unitl I was forced (by the testing process) to focus on the same 5 techniques for an extended period of time (4 months), that I really began to understand and apply the principles behind the techniques.

It's really forced me to take my aikido to the next level. My attitude now seems to be that I'd rather have 5 techniques that I really know well, and can apply in a real situation than 30 techniques that I can not apply in a self defense situation.

I'd encourage you to go through testing, because the process will force you to polish what you have in your toolbox... if you take the right approach to it. Focus on depth of knowledge and not quantity. Challenge yourself to really understand each technique at a deeper level and search for the similarities between them. Find some of the underlying principles and learn to apply them.
Jim

Jim Growney
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Old 05-01-2004, 10:13 PM   #50
PeterR
 
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Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
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Japan
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Re: Why Test?

Quote:
jgrowney wrote:
But it was not unitl I was forced (by the testing process) to focus on the same 5 techniques for an extended period of time (4 months), that I really began to understand and apply the principles behind the techniques.
Yes.

And by extension - a vast collection of variations does not mean your Aikido is any good. Too much too fast will get you no where. Regular testing keeps this in check.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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