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Old 03-27-2013, 02:36 AM   #1
RollingPanda
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Ranking systems in different countries

Hi, I'm from Indonesia. In my Aikido community, we have tests every 6 months. I'm still a 6th kyu, so if I pass each test the first time, I could reach the 1st dan rank within 3 years. I've read in a post here (forgot which one) that in USA you need at least 6-7 years of training to reach that rank.

1. Do you think that my country's system is too fast?

2. Because of the difference in training time required to reach the same rank, does anyone know if for example i move to America, do I have to take these tests again?
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:31 AM   #2
PhilMyKi
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

Is the six monthly grading exclusive of any minimum 'mat time' requirement? Most associations require at least 100 sessions (often more) between first kyu and shodan. Based on this with twice a week training excluding closures for national holidays and shut downs it would be a year between grades. If you can just rock up every six months and pass a grade with minimal practise, I think there are bigger issues here and yes three years to shodan is too fast ... But if you put the time in and are technically ready and mature enough I see no reason why you should not reach shodan in less time than 'the norm'.

In terms of having to re-grade ... depends on the club you come from and where you go.

Just enjoy your training, grades will come along when you are ready.

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Old 03-27-2013, 05:13 AM   #3
RollingPanda
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

The minimum for promotion from 6th to 5th is 30 sessions in my group, and 70 for 1st kyu to shodan. Most students only take 1 or 2 classes a week so they end up taking 4 1/2 to 6 years anyway. However, I'm taking more classes and I'm also a fast learner. I'm not purposely rushing this and i don't feel like I'm going too fast, but I'm a bit worried that I'm learning less.

Another question: when are jo and bokken practice usually introduced in aikido? I'm already being taught the basics by my sensei even though these aren't tested until 4th or 3rd kyu.
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:23 AM   #4
PhilMyKi
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

Quote:
Jeremy Lesmana wrote: View Post
The minimum for promotion from 6th to 5th is 30 sessions in my group, and 70 for 1st kyu to shodan. Most students only take 1 or 2 classes a week so they end up taking 4 1/2 to 6 years anyway. However, I'm taking more classes and I'm also a fast learner. I'm not purposely rushing this and i don't feel like I'm going too fast, but I'm a bit worried that I'm learning less.

Another question: when are jo and bokken practice usually introduced in aikido? I'm already being taught the basics by my sensei even though these aren't tested until 4th or 3rd kyu.
You will not be learning less, you might get a little frustrated when you get on and see people put in less effort getting equal 'reward'; but even then you will learn a little humility ...

Bokken / Jo: These can be introduced at any point, I know of an association that test from the get go whereas others don't consider this until a lot (read dan grade) later. You should, IMHO, learn a bit of weapons early on as they teach distance, timing, and a multitude of other things ...

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Old 03-27-2013, 08:30 AM   #5
barron
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

The question we always get from beginners is how long does it take to get a black belt. "How long does it take to catch a fish?" is one reply that is used in jest sometimes. Realistically we say between 5 and 7 years depending on the individual, their dedication and "real life" commitments.
(a minimum of 600 days on the mat to get to 1st kyu which works out to 4.5 to 5 years at 2.5 per week and then another 200 mat days till Shodan) At our dojo we have also been advised by our Shihan in Japan that our testing intervals/requirements are too long compared to Japan and we have modified them minimally to maintain the quality we expect and get closer to his. Sometimes it does seem that we are being " More Catholic than the Pope" so to speak, but we believe that this is the tradition of our sensei who passed away a few years ago .
Our Shihan also tells us that Shodan is only a beginners level and after that we start learning aikido. It seems however, that in North America, we put greater expectations and credence on being a “Black Belt” and therefore we expect greater competency and therefore it is difficult to compare/equate one countries levels to the next.
As for weapons our dojo starts with basics at 6th kyu ( Bokken: Standing kamae, Drawing bokken, Putting back bokken, Ken nigiri (gripping sword) Jo: Standing kamae, Stepping in with Jo, Stepping back with Jo, Tsuki kamae, Menuchi kamae) and working the way to the higher ranks with more and complex kata, awaza, Kumijo, Kumitachi etc.
If a student comes form another system or country, especially if they have been training for a number of years we generally accept their ranking but they are expected to take more time before their next advancement as they must learn how we do our basics and the new expectations ,techniques/style of their new dojo.

Andrew Barron
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:52 AM   #6
PhilMyKi
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

I pretty much concur with Andrew's response in terms of grading and compared to Japanese timing you are not comparing apples with apples ... To add context to my journey to shodan; it took seven and a half years of (pretty much) three (1 1/2 to 2 hour) sessions a week with national holidays off ... so work out that if you wish, but is is a lot. Yes, I know of guys and girls that got there in less time. But, as one of my chums told me a while back 'on the mat your aikido is only as good as it is; a coloured belt does not change that'. I have said in a previous post that I would rather be a bench mark of what a grade is than the baseline ...

Last edited by PhilMyKi : 03-27-2013 at 08:55 AM. Reason: after thought

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Old 03-27-2013, 08:54 AM   #7
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

I think there's too much variation, not just in the time/hours/training requirements but more importantly in what is expected at different levels, to draw any conclusions about what's typical. Like Andrew's "How long does it take to catch a fish?" question, it all depends on what fish you're trying to catch. A couple of things I would say: 1)It's safest to assume that the dojo down the street will have different standards, never mind the dojo in another country, and 2)being a "fast learner" isn't really an advantage for a beginner, as it turns out that you're usually "learning" some things fairly quickly but missing others that can turn out to be a big struggle later on.

The black belt has such strong (and generally erroneous) associations in popular culture, no wonder it's such a common question of beginners to know how long it will take to get a black belt. If you're asking the question, though, it's worth asking yourself what you'll do when you get there. Food for thought...
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Old 03-27-2013, 11:40 AM   #8
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

Thanks for the replies, although I need to clear a few things up.

First, I'm not just looking to move up the ranks, although it sounds like my main goal ( I have trouble addressing questions like these, my communication skills aren't very good). I'm saying I COULD reach a dan grade within 3 years, but i'd really rather go through 5 or 6 years if it means mastering the things I learn. One of the reasons I joined aikido is to learn patience.

Also, what I was originally asking is if I reached a certain rank in one place, would it be recognized somewhere else? Or would I have to repeat the examinations? I don't want to be held back for too long just because I moved to a different country.

Side question: I have a balancing problem, which is made even worse since some of the mattresses in my dojo are uneven. I sometimes stumble just doing taisabaki movements. This is because i have very weak ankles, which can't support my heavy body. Are there any exercises you can recommend to train my feet?
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:14 PM   #9
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

Quote:
Also, what I was originally asking is if I reached a certain rank in one place, would it be recognized somewhere else? Or would I have to repeat the examinations? I don't want to be held back for too long just because I moved to a different country.
If you are any good, they might recognise you. Or, if they're a different style, you might find yourself having to start again, or change what you do, even if they do recognise your rank. It isn't worth worrying about.
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:41 PM   #10
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

In the USA, time between grading's vary from every 2-hours to once every 10 years. If you plan on immigrating to the USA, your best bet is to write to the school you are interested in visiting or training at and ask. There are too many groups, styles, affiliations, etc. In the mean-time, don't worry about it and just practice.

Cheers ...
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:43 PM   #11
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

Hi Jeremy, in answer to your first question, about the three years to shodan in your country, I would say that's just about the right amount of time. It's also in line with Aikikai Hombu. in answer to your second question, it would be similar to other educational institutions - where some may or may not recognize all or some of your previous course work and degrees completed at another school.

Your question about shodan and time, interestingly enough, came up in a recent topic.

I think the time factor - the when - is less important than asking about the what and how. And in that, any organization or teacher should be able to give you a straight and concise answer. It's no different than seeking to enter any kind of educational institution. All colleges are clear in their requirements for degrees - and students going in, at least have an accurate map of what's expected of them to arrive at their destination.

Anywhere you see a much larger amount of required time; it has been slowly and artificially inflated over the years.

While a map is not the territory, it does at least give us reference points. And while there are obvious differences in terms of levels of education at various institutions - a bachelors degree is fairly standard around the world in terms of its requirements.

All these smoke-and-mirror replies, that you'll often find in martial arts, perhaps worked on people who grew up watching the Kung Fu series on TV. But with the generations coming up, that kind of - let's call it sheer goofiness - is not going to fly. People now, and in the coming years, are armed with too many sources of information.

I've heard shihan on video [maybe I'll post one of them] saying things like, "Well, these kids coming up today - they want everything right away. They don't want to listen and they don't want to learn." To that I would say to Mr. Shihan, "What people want is for you to be able to provide them with good, accurate information and instruction, and they don't want to hear your bullshit. And if you can't at least provide a clear answer to a reasonable question, about a shodan degree, then you're probably not going to be clear on a lot of things."

It also sets up an environment for cognitive dissonance within the new student. And that is dangerous, and its abusive, and it takes us right back to the [url=open letter that's a current topic in this forum. And in that topic, one of the things that came even more into focus is the disparage in terms of time and requirements to shodan, not even just within different organizations, but with the same organization over time.

I'll copy a quote here I wrote from the "open letter" topic, because it was precisely beginning to address exactly what Jeremy is not only asking about, but wanting some reasonably straight answers to give him at least some indication of the terrain ahead of him.

[quote]Interesting observations, Brian. Perhaps this "inflation" should be examined and held up as part of Ryan's open letter about conduct in the dojo... and the conduct of dojos and organizations.

We're not including grading fees and seminars; just the cost to be on the mat to learn the material:

At Aikikai HQ in Tokyo people train under a plethora of shihan on a daily basis, and as an average student going three times per week, they'll meet shodan requirements in about two years. Current monthly mat fees are about $110; so that's $2640 to train for 24 months. Hombu's inflation, in time and money to shodan, since the mid-60s appears to be in the range of about 0%.

Current time to shodan requirements at NY Aikikai; it appears that the total amount of days would be 1140. An average student going three times per week, 156 days per year, would take 7.3 years - or 87.6 months x $160/mth = $14,016 in mat fees. NY Aikikai's inflation, in time and money to shodan, since the mid-60s appears to be in the range of about 250%.

Parent organization, Aikikai Hombu = 300 days, in 2 years, and roughly $2640 in mat fees.
Branch organization, NY Aikikai = 1140 days; 7.3 years, and roughly $14,000 in mat fees.[/quote]

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Old 03-27-2013, 03:53 PM   #12
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

Quote:
Jeremy Lesmana wrote: View Post
Also, what I was originally asking is if I reached a certain rank in one place, would it be recognized somewhere else? Or would I have to repeat the examinations? I don't want to be held back for too long just because I moved to a different country.
Re: being "held back", is your concern that not having a certain rank will somehow restrict what training is available to you? If so, I wouldn't worry about that. You'll be able to train according to your abilities, whatever they are - it doesn't matter what rank you hold or what color belt you're wearing. If by "held back" you mean "not get a certain rank", well, yeah, that's a possibility. But I think you said that that that's not your concern.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:39 PM   #13
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

Quote:
Andrew Barron wrote: View Post
The question we always get from beginners is how long does it take to get a black belt. "How long does it take to catch a fish?" is one reply that is used in jest sometimes.
Yes, you already have an answer in "jest" to a quite reasonable question from prospective and new students. Do you possibly see a problem with that? If you contacted a university and asked them how long it would take for you to get a bachelors degree - and also, because you were thinking about it - how long it would take to get an accelerated degree - how would you respond if they answered, "How long does it take to catch a fish?" Seriously. Let's not insult the intelligence or the genuineness of people's inquiry. An honest question about a shodan degree shouldn't be a segue for zen koans. Because not only does it insult the person asking; it insults you, your teachers and the school.

And I'm not singling you out, Andrew. Your reply is fairly typical. And I'm not implying any wrong has been done here, but I am proposing that we could rethink and examine even just this one subject, and, perhaps, in the process - enlighten and empower the people asking, ourselves, our teachers, and the school.

Quote:
Realistically we say between 5 and 7 years depending on the individual, their dedication and "real life" commitments. (a minimum of 600 days on the mat to get to 1st kyu which works out to 4.5 to 5 years at 2.5 per week and then another 200 mat days till Shodan) At our dojo we have also been advised by our Shihan in Japan that our testing intervals/requirements are too long compared to Japan and we have modified them minimally to maintain the quality we expect and get closer to his. Sometimes it does seem that we are being " More Catholic than the Pope" so to speak, but we believe that this is the tradition of our sensei who passed away a few years ago .

Our Shihan also tells us that Shodan is only a beginners level and after that we start learning aikido. It seems however, that in North America, we put greater expectations and credence on being a “Black Belt” and therefore we expect greater competency and therefore it is difficult to compare/equate one countries levels to the next.
Even if there was greater competency - which we can't assume there is - we would think that the greater competency of the school - not the student - would yield higher-quality results in equal to or less time than what is needed for a shodan in the very country where it was founded. We could consider that it actually might point to lesser competency of the school - if they're taking two to three times the time, effort, and money of the student for a shodan degree. That often points in the direction not to a higher-quality school, but, in fact, to one of lesser quality.

North America, in terms of aikido and the establishment of organizations, did not wind up with the higher-quality senseis. They were in fact, the youngest and most inexperienced. And by some accounts, the manner in which the territory was established was, to put it mildly, underhanded. It's as if North America, far from recognizing "greater competency," went ahead and gobbled up the teachers who would barely have been qualified to teach in their own country. This is not to underestimate what they did. They had an uphill battle, and took many risks to establish and grow aikido. And they stuck it out. But they and aikido - even by their own admission - also sacrificed quantity for quality.

But as there's in in yo and yo in in, [ insert cool lighting effects ] there's a great big aikido forest in the Americas, as well as in the rest of the world. And it's arrived at the phase where an informed overview and inventory are being taken, not only concerning the condition of the forest itself, but also to provide methods, standards, and tools to introduce better quality towards future growth. The soil is being tilled and aerated. Forgotten, lost, and previously unknown heirlooms are being incorporated. The bar is being raised, not from the top, but from the bottom.

Jeremy, you have entered the doors of aikido at a time where there should probably be some of those signs posted on construction sites during remodeling work. There are a lot of exposed beams, and things that are coming into focus that are perhaps not so positive, and other things that are shockingly brilliant. The art actually does have all the pieces - lying around in various places. And there are many people, seen and unseen, working towards providing the present and upcoming generations with an environment that is more authentic, responsive and dynamic. In no uncertain terms, aikido itself is going digital - again.


Last edited by Dan Richards : 03-27-2013 at 09:47 PM.

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Old 03-28-2013, 08:05 AM   #14
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

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Dan Richards wrote: View Post
Yes, you already have an answer in "jest" to a quite reasonable question from prospective and new students. Do you possibly see a problem with that? If you contacted a university and asked them how long it would take for you to get a bachelors degree - and also, because you were thinking about it - how long it would take to get an accelerated degree - how would you respond if they answered, "How long does it take to catch a fish?"
...except that a bachelor's degree program is largely defined in terms of time, under the assumption of successful completion of a certain courseload during that time. You do a standard course load, usually nominally 16 hours per semester, and complete your courses successfully, you get a bachelor's degree in four years. It's the use of common standards that makes a simple answer possible in this case, and the lack of commonly agreed-upon standards that makes a simple (and truthful, and accurate) answer impossible in the case of martial arts - or even a single martial art, like aikido. I think you're talking apples and oranges here.

I understand that this is a major bee in your bonnet, Dan, and I agree that it's possible to hide bullshit behind what you term a "Zen koan". But the fact that some people, somewhere, sometime, have uttered bullshit in response to a question, doesn't mean that the question has a simple and straightforward answer. Could it have a simple and straightforward answer? Sure, but that would require a degree of consensus and cooperation that simply doesn't exist now. The university system has been around for a thousand years, aikido as we know it for less than a hundred - the consensus you need will be some time in the making, I think.
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:15 AM   #15
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Smile Re: Ranking systems in different countries

Ah, the wonderful confusing and divergent world of Aikido.

I must always remind myself that my opinions are shaped in my personal experience and that they can, and do change over time and the manner in which we chose our words, and how they are received, can differ at times from the initial intent. We each follow our unique path in life and Aikido . Given this I would like to further comment on this topic, albeit still from my personal framework.

In reference to Dan's umbrage to my flippant remark about "How long does it take to catch a fish" in discussing how long it takes to move through the ranking system. For clarification, if it is used (jokingly), it is never without and is always followed by a discussion on what Aikido is, the expectations of our dojo in technical terms, members comportment , respect, our dojo lineage and traditions , required hours for advancement and how participation in the aikido community is a key aspect that we try to cultivate.

In my circle of friends we have had many discussion about what a "Black Belt" is, should be and can be. My experience with new students is that the ones who remain on the mat and become committed practitioners are the ones who become more interested in the process than the outcome, even if they are initially attracted by the "Black Belt" Holy Grail.

What do the levels of Aikido really mean? While studying in Japan on my last visit one of my sensei, who is a Godan, said to me , "Andrew I'm a Godan now so now I am a master of basics." A Godan master of basics!

Let us not forget that even at universities, with their detailed requirements and schedules that they are in no way the same or deliver the same education. "D's" still get degrees and that a qualification/degree in any area does in no way guarantee the quality or equality of performance/knowledge. Aikido is no different from the real world.

In most cases serious university students (if my ancient memory serves me correctly and how my children are dealing with it) are more like uchi deshi than your typical aikido student who has a life outside of the dojo. Some students get their degrees within the minimum time requirements (uchi deshi) and others ( soto deshi) take a longer journey; does that make one any better than another.

If aikido were simply based on competency, then I have observed students with obvious skills, body awareness, and perhaps some martial art prior knowledge who should have moved through the ranks in "Hombu time" or faster. This would however not be the tradition of the process, community and discipline that our dojo has decided to follow, as well as what attracted me to Aikido initially.

Each school/dojo should be clear and concise in what they are offering and then allow the student to make the choice of joining or not. Choice of dojo or educational institution, or even career should be based on matching expectations and compatibility.

Andrew Barron
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:55 AM   #16
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

Hey Mary and Andrew, I appreciate your replies. I think it's good that people see an overview. I was surprised myself to see some of the differences. But there does seem to be a relative standard for time and requirements to shodan. And in most cases it really is around 300 days. Which an average student can knock out in two to three years.

Schools that are far in excess of that can say they have "higher" standards. Which could be valid. Another valid POV could be that there has been a structure evolving within some organizations that resembles multi-level-marketing.

I would say it's valid that a school that can't train a student to shodan in 3 years needs to seriously take a look at the school and the training methods. And any student who is considering a school that can't train them in that amount of time, should be aware of that fact.

Jeremy mentions about "not wanting to be held back." And I think that's a legitimate concern, and one I've witnessed within aikido. And I think it's something people can be alerted about, even if just for their own information. I've seen politics hold people back. I've seen delayed testing hold people back. I've seen inflated times (which also translates into hugely-inflated costs) and requirements hold people back. I've seen a lack of brown-nosing hold people back.

It's less of a bee in my bonnet, than just information I'm interested in compiling and presenting.

Last edited by Dan Richards : 04-01-2013 at 07:58 AM.

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Old 04-01-2013, 08:19 AM   #17
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

I'm curious where this 'most cases' is referring to. I belong to the USAF, which is a pretty huge organisation, and which has a completely different paradigm. 300 days of training AFTER 1st kyu is officially the minimum. If you add up the day requirements, even if someone trained 7 days a week, if would take 3-4 years to get shodan.

So the idea of a 3 year shodan being normal, let alone common or 'the relative standard', is obviously related to some specific context.

However, I find the whole idea of discussing 'how long it takes to get to ____' quite surreal, given that it's a word that's basically completely arbitrary. When I say the word doesn't mean anything even somewhat universal, I'm not intending that as some kind of profound or poetic statement. It just literally doesn't mean anything outside of a specific context.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:43 AM   #18
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
I would say it's valid that a school that can't train a student to shodan in 3 years needs to seriously take a look at the school and the training methods. And any student who is considering a school that can't train them in that amount of time, should be aware of that fact.
Hey Dan,

What's "shodan"?

Your whole approach to this subject seems predicated on the assumption that "shodan" means one and only one thing throughout the universe, and anyone who says different is a flat-out fraud and liar. That may sound extreme, but frankly, I see no compromise in your position, so I have no problem paraphrasing it in absolute terms. Show me some flexibility, and I'll be willing to rethink. Until then, I still see that bee in your bonnet.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:51 AM   #19
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

In any case, it would be quite unusual for any student's progress to be held back in any way by questions of rank or paperwork. In every dojo I've ever trained in, all students take the same classes, the teacher helps them all according to what they need at that moment, and progress is individual anyway. Sometimes there's an advanced class that's restricted in some way, but even then admittance is usually not based only only or primarily on rank.

It's not like school where classes are segregated and you need to have some prerequisite courses on your official transcript to be allowed to register for the next course, or to apply to a school. Vs in aikido there are usually literally ZERO consequences to your education to having the 'wrong' rank.

Last edited by Basia Halliop : 04-01-2013 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:21 AM   #20
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

Basia, "most cases" refers to current Hombu AIkikai requirements, as well as other aikido organizations, two of which I'm adding here. The USAF's numbers were the same in the 60's, and I've shown earlier in this topic how their requirements have hyper-inflated over the years. It's as if USAF is asking people to put in the time and money that in "most cases" around the world would get people into a master's or part way to a PhD, and giving them a bachelor's.

That might have some merit if USAF was turning out remarkable shodans, but they're not. I've had the opportunity to train aikido with many people from many organizations and countries, and I've found - on average - a student that's been in a hakama since 3rd kyu and reaches shodan around the three year mark, has a better overall proficiency and level of understanding of aikido than most USAF shodans I've trained with.

I think the argument could be made, that drawing out the time to shodan - and in some cases, wearing of a hakama - too much can actually stunt growth - often dramatically. And it also turns the idea of a shodan - which is really the beginning of the school - into a much bigger carrot than it should be. Grades and requirements can be used as effective learning instruments and standards, but they can also be misused.

ASU requirements: shodan 39 months, 510 hours
http://bondstreet.org/wp-content/upl...g_handbook.pdf

Tomiki: shodan 340 hours
http://tomiki.org/standards.html

Last edited by Dan Richards : 04-01-2013 at 09:23 AM.

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Old 04-01-2013, 10:18 AM   #21
Basia Halliop
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

Except that they're getting neither a bachelor NOR a PhD (each of which are internationally recognized and are required for admission to certain professions or further educational programs)... They're getting the right to wear blue pants. It doesn't actually mean anything in terms of consequences, so what does it matter one way or the other? I go along with one grading system because it's the one the teacher I want to train with happens to use - if he picked another grading system or joined a different organisation, I would shrug and go along with that one.

I haven't trained in enough different organisations to know if your comment (Dan's) about relative quality of shodans is true, but assuming it is, are you suggesting it's _because of_ the long time between tests? That it, I don't know, makes students or teachers less motivated or something?
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:23 AM   #22
Dan Richards
 
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Hey Dan,

What's "shodan"?
OK, flexibility. I'll give some, but only to a degree. Because the requirements, worldwide, are not that far apart in "most cases." There are "standards." I didn't make them up. AIkido has them. They're in place. I'm totally up for flexibility, and anything anyone wants to add to this topic. Seriously, I'm all ears.

Let's start with what is almost universally required for a bachelor's degree: It's around 120+ course hours - give or take a few. Student must pass required coursework and exams. Students can meet those requirements sooner or later, and on average expect to graduate around 4 years.

Let's start with what it almost universally required for a shodan degree: It's around 300+ days of training - give or take a few. Student must pass required coursework and exams. Students can meet those requirements sooner or later, and on average expect to graduate around 3 years.

I could just add, that a shodan degree is generally seen as a student's acceptance and beginning into the school of aikido - and not at all the level of mastery it's sometimes marketed, or - even through accident - misrepresented as being.

Any college or school that would require students to complete - and pay for - double or triple the standard amount of course hours/time/days, should be considered in that light. And it appears that the dawn of reconsideration may be at hand - even internally from the top brass. I find this highly encouraging.

Yamada's already come out and said he doesn't like the ranking system. http://www.aikido-yamada.eu/index.php/sensei/interview/

Quote:
Well, the ranking system in aikido is another headache. I personally disagree with this system. A teaching certificate is okay, a black belt is okay. But after that, no numbers, no shodan, no nidan, etc. People know who is good and who is bad. The dan ranking system creates a competitive mind...

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Old 04-01-2013, 10:25 AM   #23
Cliff Judge
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

Quote:
Dan Richards wrote: View Post
OK, flexibility. I'll give some, but only to a degree. Because the requirements, worldwide, are not that far apart in "most cases." There are "standards." I didn't make them up. AIkido has them. They're in place. I'm totally up for flexibility, and anything anyone wants to add to this topic. Seriously, I'm all ears.

Let's start with what is almost universally required for a bachelor's degree: It's around 120+ course hours - give or take a few. Student must pass required coursework and exams. Students can meet those requirements sooner or later, and on average expect to graduate around 4 years.

Let's start with what it almost universally required for a shodan degree: It's around 300+ days of training - give or take a few. Student must pass required coursework and exams. Students can meet those requirements sooner or later, and on average expect to graduate around 3 years.

I could just add, that a shodan degree is generally seen as a student's acceptance and beginning into the school of aikido - and not at all the level of mastery it's sometimes marketed, or - even through accident - misrepresented as being.

Any college or school that would require students to complete - and pay for - double or triple the standard amount of course hours/time/days, should be considered in that light. And it appears that the dawn of reconsideration may be at hand - even internally from the top brass. I find this highly encouraging.

Yamada's already come out and said he doesn't like the ranking system. http://www.aikido-yamada.eu/index.php/sensei/interview/
So you are critical of Most Aikido for not allowing students 300 hours of training within two years?
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:53 AM   #24
Dan Richards
 
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
So you are critical of Most Aikido for not allowing students 300 hours of training within two years?
Not at all, Cliff. In fact, I think 300 days and three years is healthy. A good pace. And right in line with most organizations. I am pointing out shodan programs that approach near four times that amount need to be examined. At present USAF requires a total of 1140 days.

I think as we move into the future, I, at least, would say that anyone who's having to train over 1000 days for shodan - is having their time and money wasted. A student training 3 days a week would train 156 days a year. In 6.4 years they would accumulate 1000 hours. That really should put someone into a serious solid sandan by then. And a good school should be able to deliver that.

George Ledyard posted in the recent topic, Perhaps the tide is changing

Quote:
I think at the end of 8 to 10 yrs of training properly, we could end up with someone who currently operates at a fairly high Dan rank. In other words, after 8 - 10 years of training we would have someone who functions at or better than what passes for 6th dan at this point.
Now - and this is forward thinking: A highly-respected shihan is throwing out there that people could be trained - under the right conditions and methods - to a 6th dan level in not much more time than people are currently being trained to a 1st dan level in some organizations.

I actually agree with George. I know people can be trained up better and faster. I've done it. I've seen it.

And I'm less critical about where we are, than I am excited about where we're going. But in order to see where we're going, and create positive, healthy, upgraded methods and expectations; we've got to take an honest look at where we are.

Last edited by Dan Richards : 04-01-2013 at 10:59 AM.

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Old 04-01-2013, 11:09 AM   #25
Basia Halliop
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Re: Ranking systems in different countries

I still find the idea of comparing academia and thr world of martial arts to be a big conceptual stretch for me. I just can't really wrap my mind around it, and struggle to see the points of reference.

I studied and am studying engineering, in Canada. First of all, you need a high school diploma and or entrance exams to even be permitted to enter the program. Next, the undergraduate curriculum is accredited by a national organisation, which closely monitors all the engineering programs in the country and every couple of years (I forget how many, but it's at most 5 years) does a pretty detailed audit of the curriculum. As a grad student teaching assistant, I've periodically been asked to submit photocopies of marked student assignments and exams to this body. They look at what courses are offered, what content is covered in those courses, what percentage of the course grade is given in what way (take home assignments vs labs vs in class tests vs exams), and what the actual grading standard is on all items graded.

If a given program does not meet the standards of the accreditation board, they have a brief period of time in which to change their program, otherwise they will lose their accreditation and be unable to give out a B.Eng.

The result is that there is a huge basic uniformity from school to school in engineering in Canada. Some teachers are better at explaining the same thing than others, or better at providing out of class support, but there's not all that much flexibility on WHAT they teach or how they test and grade.

And when it gets international, there's all kinds of scrutiny and sometimes entrance tests to ensure people meet the same objective standard.

It's so far from being simply a requirement in terms of taking a set number of courses...

And of course, a B.Eng. (Or B.A.Sc) is required to become a licensed engineer...
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