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 02-10-2004, 05:13 PM   #1
Lan Powers
Dojo: Aikido of Midland, Midland TX
Location: Midland Tx
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 659
Offline
training partners

How many folks have "paired up" with others fon long-term training?
I was just reading about George Leonard beginning his training with a friend. *The Way of Aikido and thinking of the similarities to starting myself. Middle aged, worried about the physicality of it, loving the effortlessness of good technique...etc.
One of my sempai's is now behind me in rank due to time off the mat...working, acclimatizing his new g-friend now his fiance to his commitment to this art, several things have conspired to keep him off-mat for a while.
Question: Does the sempai -kohai relationship rely solely on the order you line up? Just rank?
Boz would say so, but he is overly modest and doesn't realize what a boon he was to me as I began, as well as the support he has been through it all so far.
Everyone knows or has heard of the aikidoa who reaches shodan, and never tests again...loads of smooth powerful skill, just not ranked as his ability warrents... is he your kohai if you passed him in rank? Even if he has more skill,experiance,time... etc.?
Thinking of asking Sensei to allow me to skip this next grading to allow us to even up in kyu ranks. It seems way more fun to me, to team up and explore this stuff in tandem than otherwise. ( I keep picturing the two of us testing for shodan someday)
well, maybe someday..

Thoughts on sempai-kohai?

Thanks,
Lan

Last edited by Lan Powers : 02-10-2004 at 05:15 PM.

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2004, 07:02 PM   #2
stuartjvnorton
 
stuartjvnorton's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Shudokan
Location: Melbourne
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 225
Offline
AFAIK, Sempai/Kohai has nothing to do with rank, but purely a matter of 1 person starting their training before another.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2004, 08:35 PM   #3
Lan Powers
Dojo: Aikido of Midland, Midland TX
Location: Midland Tx
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 659
Offline
Thanks Stuart

Tonight Sensei (yondan) mentioned a mutual friend was at 2'nd kyu when HE started.(now shodan. I was under the impression,(perhaps mistakenly) that rank was invoved as well.

Makes you wonder... at least me that is.



Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2004, 09:08 PM   #4
sanosuke
Dojo: Seigi Dojo
Location: Jakarta
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 247
Indonesia
Offline
Quote:
Question: Does the sempai -kohai relationship rely solely on the order you line up? Just rank?
no, everybody who train before you is your sempai, although in the process you might exceed their rank. You might lined up above/the right hand-side of them but in practice, they're still your sempai and you should respect them accordingly (hell, this goes to your kohai, too.)
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2004, 09:14 PM   #5
PeterR
 
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,021
Japan
Offline
Quote:
Stuart Norton (stuartjvnorton) wrote:
AFAIK, Sempai/Kohai has nothing to do with rank, but purely a matter of 1 person starting their training before another.
Stuart is of course right. The sempai/kohai relationship is one of many moves in the dance of establishing relationships. It is actually quite common for kohai to outrank sempai, and it is rank which determines who teaches who. Same rank then sempai/kohai is the determinant.

About the only thing that sempai/kohai brings to a modern dojo (one where training commitments vary greatly) is a check on those whose rank does exceed their sempai.

The relationship makes much more sense at University or Corporate Japan, although it is changing in the latter case. At University clubs it implies a responsibility downwards and upwards which I must say is often forgotten by those that use the terms in the West.

Best forget about it.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2004, 10:24 PM   #6
Lan Powers
Dojo: Aikido of Midland, Midland TX
Location: Midland Tx
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 659
Offline
Thanks to all.....

Advise taken

Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2004, 11:37 PM   #7
barnibis
 
barnibis's Avatar
Dojo: Toronto Aikikai
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 26
Offline
Rank!?

Ummm......

if its about rank, im the Sempai for the entire dojo, as i haven t showered for weeks.

o..

(sorry everyone, i couldn't resist)
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2004, 11:56 PM   #8
PeterR
 
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,021
Japan
Offline
Re: Rank!?

Quote:
otto lam (barnibis) wrote:
Ummm......

if its about rank, im the Sempai for the entire dojo, as i haven t showered for weeks.

o..

(sorry everyone, i couldn't resist)
Yuck - this I didn't need to know.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2004, 07:28 AM   #9
SmilingNage
Location: NJ
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 241
United_States
Offline
Geez, someone pass the bucket of water and soap over to Otto.

eewwwwwwww

That is one way not to get rank, but i admit its the quickest way to get rank

lol

Dont make me, make you, grab my wrist.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2004, 09:38 PM   #10
otto
Dojo: Independent
Location: Maracaibo/Zulia
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 149
Venezuela
Offline
Quote:
William Oakes (SmilingNage) wrote:
Geez, someone pass the bucket of water and soap over to Otto.
Hey!! I've already showered .....

this year anyways..

I got another question for you , in our small dojo the only dan rank was the sensei himself...recently a couple of 1st Kyu graded to Shodan...should i address them as "sensei" or just sempai as usual?..

"Perfection is a Process"
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2004, 04:29 AM   #11
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 1,997
Japan
Offline
Quote:
Ottoniel Ojeda (otto) wrote:
Hey!! I've already showered .....

this year anyways..

I got another question for you , in our small dojo the only dan rank was the sensei himself...recently a couple of 1st Kyu graded to Shodan...should i address them as "sensei" or just sempai as usual?..
Just use their ordinary names. I think you never need to use "Sensei" or "Sempai" at all, except (perhaps!!!!) "Sensei" for the senior instructor. Here the only official name we use is "Dojo-cho" for the chief instructor. Everyone else is called by their name. And it works very well.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2004, 10:30 AM   #12
John Boswell
 
John Boswell's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland, Texas
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 597
United_States
Offline
Quote:
Question: Does the sempai -kohai relationship rely solely on the order you line up? Just rank?
You know, Lan... you could have just asked me! LOL

Yes, I'm modest. It comes from being very humble. I'm the most humble person I know... and proud of it! Just ask me!

But seriously, relationships in the dojo I feel should be a matter of rank. Though I may have shown up first, there is a reason you are used to demonstrate technique by sensei: skill. Ukemi is just as important as being able to demonstrate technique, imho. Though I've come a long way in aikido, I have an even longer way to go. Part of the reason I took off from aikido was for various reasons:

1) It was summer, the heat put a strain on me and I needed to be in better shape or work out when it was cooler.

2) I wanted you ahead of me in rank. As new students come along and see the belts (colored belt system in AAA) I wanted them to look at your ukemi and rank being ahead of mine and know that you were more of an example to watch... because you are.

3) Rank is unimportant to me, personally. I almost prefer Aikikai in that everyone is a "white belt" until shodan. This forces everyone to put attention on skill rather than rank.

I'll go for shodan someday... when my skill is there and rank and time and money and everything come together. But no matter when that is, it should never be a reason to slow yourself down or wait for another. That might sound hyocritical of me, given the fact that I did slow down in order for you to pass me in rank... but do as I SAY and not as I DO!

Now get out there and train before I throw you into the high falls I'm too scared to take myself!

See ya on the mat!

PS: Peter Sensei, that's a very interesting note you mentioned about everyone going by first names but the dojo-cho being addressed as such. I never knew that... thank you for sharing that!

  Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2004, 10:45 AM   #13
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
Offline
There is a lot of misunderstanding of this throughout the art, and I don't begin to admit to understanding it. What I have observed though is that folks who are senior to me in rank consider themselves my senior even though I have trained longer than them. This is almost universal.

I've heard it is length of time in practice; heard it is length of time in the particular dojo; heard it was age; and heard it was rank. I would like to hear Peter Goldsbury's interpretation of this one, or George Ledyard, or another one of the really long practicing aikidoka out here in cyberland.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2004, 06:54 PM   #14
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 1,997
Japan
Offline
Quote:
John Boswell wrote:
PS: Peter Sensei, that's a very interesting note you mentioned about everyone going by first names but the dojo-cho being addressed as such. I never knew that... thank you for sharing that!
John,

I did not say "first name"; I said merely "name". Calling people by their first names here is another question entirely.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2004, 07:16 PM   #15
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 1,997
Japan
Offline
Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
There is a lot of misunderstanding of this throughout the art, and I don't begin to admit to understanding it. What I have observed though is that folks who are senior to me in rank consider themselves my senior even though I have trained longer than them. This is almost universal.

I've heard it is length of time in practice; heard it is length of time in the particular dojo; heard it was age; and heard it was rank. I would like to hear Peter Goldsbury's interpretation of this one, or George Ledyard, or another one of the really long practicing aikidoka out here in cyberland.
Hello Rachel,

I have practised for so long and in so many different dojos that Lan Powers' original question does not really apply to me.

Japanese has many subtle ways and terms for distinguishing seniority and it seems a pity only one or two have been exported, but without the equally subtle conventions that go with them, as Peter Rehse intimated.

Thus, when I signed up at the Hiroshima Dojo, way back in 1980, the people already there were in a sense sempai, except that virtually nobody considered applying the term to a foreigner. The only people (there are just two) remaining from that time have the same rank as I have and also run their own dojos. We are all senior instructors, under the overall authority of the Shibu-cho/Dojo-cho, and no one is called sempai or kohai.

Before I came to Japan, my experience was entirely in dojos run by Japanese instructors. The instructor was always known as Sensei, but we never used the terms 'sempai' and 'kohai'. There were no coloured belts and the only sign of seniority was the black belt and hakama, worn only by yudansha. In one dojo there was a kenshusei system, and the kenshusei taught class when the Sensei was absent. However, the kenshusei system was not common, and the Sensei usually arranged privately who would teach class when he was absent. There were no sempai or kohai.

It is curious that in the aikido world I have encountered the terms 'sempai' and 'kohai' only in the university dojo\and on web sites such as this, where there seems to be a certain angst outside Japan about the correct use of the term, or the correct way of marking seniority. I would be happy if these terms were never used again, ever.

So to all intents and purposes rank is what marks seniority, but only if this is considered important. It is not in my own dojo.

Best regards,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 02-14-2004 at 07:19 PM.

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2004, 07:44 PM   #16
Jeanne Shepard
 
Jeanne Shepard's Avatar
Dojo: Puget Sound Aikikai
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 351
Offline
Tongue Seniority/Rank

So they've trained longer and outrank me.

What if I'm smarter, and better looking?!

Jeanne
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2004, 05:17 AM   #17
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
Offline
Thank you for the response Dr. Goldsbury. Yes, I've heard it is rather multi-tiered in Japan (my teacher was Japanese, and explained these things before in vague terms and so this makes sense).

It is interesting sometimes how we interpret different things. I've practiced as a student in two dojos, and have visited countless others. The first dojo I belonged to had a strict line-up and rank system and did use the terms sempai and kohai. The second dojo had no line-up order or outward show of rank (other than the hakama), and did have a kenshusei program (which is another story altogether). While there was never any spoken sempai/kohai language, there was a definate pecking order that had everything to do with rank, and nothing to do with age/practice time/life experience. I recall getting yelled at by someone who didn't like my inattentiveness once (and she was 7 years junior in age, 13 years junior in practice time, and much junior in terms of life experience). The way it made me feel was just plain awful. If it had been someone closer to my own age/rank/life experience, I would have felt completely different about it. I think this is the type of instance where sensitivity about relationships within the dojo matter. This is an instance when I messed up, but should not have been treated this way by a junior member (no one should yell at anyone in my opinion, and a senior would have most likely had the sensitivity to handle things differently).

Jeanne, the above is an oblique answer to your comment above.

Peace all,
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2004, 06:17 AM   #18
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 1,997
Japan
Offline
Hello Rachel,

A few comments concerning your very informative post.
Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
The first dojo I belonged to had a strict line-up and rank system and did use the terms sempai and kohai.
I infer here that the sempai & kohai were aware of their responsibilities and did not transgress them. Thus, there was no abuse of the type you go on to describe. Is that right?
Quote:
Rachel Massey (rachmass) wrote:
The second dojo had no line-up order or outward show of rank (other than the hakama), and did have a kenshusei program (which is another story altogether). While there was never any spoken sempai/kohai language, there was a definate pecking order that had everything to do with rank, and nothing to do with age/practice time/life experience. I recall getting yelled at by someone who didn't like my inattentiveness once (and she was 7 years junior in age, 13 years junior in practice time, and much junior in terms of life experience). The way it made me feel was just plain awful. If it had been someone closer to my own age/rank/life experience, I would have felt completely different about it. I think this is the type of instance where sensitivity about relationships within the dojo matter. This is an instance when I messed up, but should not have been treated this way by a junior member (no one should yell at anyone in my opinion, and a senior would have most likely had the sensitivity to handle things differently).Peace all,
Yes. I think that here in Japan, age is also built into the sempai/kohai equation and I have never seen this type of abusive behaviour in public. Of course in university martial arts clubs sempai sometimes mistreat their kohai, but age is virtually never a factor here. In any case, an older person joining such a club would know what to expect.

My own belief is that the kenshusei system has the danger of encouraging a more extreme form of the elitism that can come with rank.

In the dojo/organisation of which I have experience, the chief instructor also believed in the importance of SHU-HA-RI, as a training relationship between himself and the kenshusei. There is nothing wrong with the instructor stripping the kenshusei of their egos by hard training and abuse, if this is considered part of the deal and the instructor has the psychologocal resources to handle his students if things go wrong. However it is quite another thing for kenshusei themselves to abuse the dojo rank and file because they wrongly believe that this, also, is part of the deal. In fact, the instructor in question had a large number of disgruntled ex-students.

Best regards,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 02-15-2004 at 06:22 AM.

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2004, 08:49 AM   #19
Jeanne Shepard
 
Jeanne Shepard's Avatar
Dojo: Puget Sound Aikikai
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 351
Offline
I hope nobody took my post too seriously!

Jeanne
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2004, 08:55 AM   #20
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 794
Offline
Hi Jeanne, while I know it was tounge in cheek, it also has merit because that is exactly how some people think!
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2004, 06:21 PM   #21
PeterR
 
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,021
Japan
Offline
A small aside.

A good number of students graded at Honbu so since January I've changed practice strategy a bit.

At the beginning and end of class we do line up in rank order with sempai/kohai within the rank. Before there was no real order. I actually have an Aikikai Nidan sit at the most senior student position even though he is one of the most junior in the dojo.

Practice, especially for shinsa, has a senior student paired with a junior. I found that this actually ups the rhythm of training. Rather than two new guys a little unsure, you have two where one has to be a little more sure.

This is roughly how its done at Honbu and in my opinion works quite well - and no one is abusive.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Aikido DVDs and Video Downloads - by George Ledyard Sensei & other great teachers from AikidoDVDS.Com



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
committed attack/sensitive ukemi paradox Janet Rosen Training 30 10-13-2005 07:18 PM
yet another annoying cross training q Pdella General 92 10-01-2005 02:23 PM
Training Dilemma Anonymous Anonymous 27 07-21-2004 02:48 AM
Shu Ha Ri akiy General 21 07-12-2004 02:32 AM
*Really* Tough Training… jxa127 Training 29 05-09-2001 07:49 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:09 PM.



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