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Old 08-30-2004, 04:59 AM   #1
kocakb
Dojo: Burhan Felek Sport Center-Istanbul
Location: Istanbul
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Do symbol Inspection of Attendance

Greetings to all,

As I know, most of you are instructors. Do you register the attendance of aikidokas to the class / are the students signing a notebook for have attended the training after the class…

I am asking this because we have not had something like that until last week. Sure our sensei knows very well who comes to all trainings and who does not, but I think it is important to record it, too. We are having the Kyu test in every 3 months. And as I know, the rule says; a student has to have attended at least the %80 of the classes.

But I know people, who comes only the last 6-7 classes (last 2 weeks) before the test will be hold and take the Kyu test -- passes as well. You may think why they are allowed to take the test, as I see;
- Because not to break their enthusiasm,
- Because of being former students (they used to attend continuously until they got the third-second Kyu-they are about 25 years old),
- And some of them are 35-40 years old 6th- 5th Kyu -- May sensei think they do aikido just to gain condition and are friends of him from daily life etc…

You can say that it is their problem, look to yourself and get a belt-Kyu by deserving it, carry it without prick of conscience…you are right, I try to do this.

But, Aikido is not just a martial art and people are expected to progress both technically and spiritually. Right, then can I say, to have a Kyu -- Dan, I have to wait until I am ready. Seeing and being aware of how dangerous I can be to others when I apply I technique, I have to feel it -- do it. It is a spiritual growth. This can be done and felt only in the dojos. I am 3.th Kyu and I am sure that I can perform the 1.st Kyu test techniques, but I am not sure if I am ready for the Kyu. Therefore, we have to attend to trainings…amount of trainings determines our level instead of competitions.

We started to sign our attendance last week and hope it will continue and taken into consideration at following Kyu tests. What I wanted to know; how is it in your dojos? Are aikidokas deserving their Kyu's?

regards,
Bülent.
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Old 08-30-2004, 06:54 AM   #2
Troy
 
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Re: Inspection of Attendance

At my Dojo, attendance is recorded. Their is also a minimum requirment of training days between each test, at least at my Dojo. Perhaps your Sensei felt that it would be easier to keep track of who is comming more often than others. As far as the earning the Kyu ranks, my Sensei only tests us if he knows that we will pass. He does a "pre-test" so see if he have learned the required techniques, and if he feels we did, then he does the "official" test, to help keep it a possitive experiance. So, yes, I feel that people do deserve their rank, at leaste at my Dojo. I hope this gives you some answers you seek.

"The Art of Peace is the religion that is not a religion; it perfects and completes all religions."
-Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 08-30-2004, 08:28 AM   #3
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
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Re: Inspection of Attendance

I think it really depends on the culture of the dojo. Mine doesn't record attendance at all, and while there is a minimum-days requirement on paper I've never seen anyone bother about it. Our testing dates are so extremely far apart that most people would massively exceed the requirements anyway. I tested for fifth in October and fourth in August (the requirement is "minimum of thirty days apart") because there was no test date in between. (Sensei actually mentioned that we seemed a bit overprepared for the level he expected at fourth....)

There's pretty strong community involvement in whether or not you test; this fall's shodan candidate decided that he was going to do it last spring and the whole dojo has been working on it with him ever since.

In October there were people on the mat who I didn't know and mostly haven't seen since, but I figure this is self-limiting; if they aren't coming to classes, they'll stop advancing.

Mary Kaye
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Old 08-30-2004, 08:52 AM   #4
Brian Crowley
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Re: Inspection of Attendance

I think taking attendance for purposes of determining when a person can test is kind of silly. Natural ability, focus, maturity and other martial/athletic experience are more important than attendance. I think the instructor(s) should determine when a test is appropriate based on their observations.

Brian
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Old 08-30-2004, 10:34 AM   #5
DarkShodan
Dojo: Shuurin Dojo - Omaha, Nebarska
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Re: Inspection of Attendance

We track hours at our dojo. Hours meet the minimum requirement to test. When a person gets close to completing the minimum hours, there is a short meeting with the Dans to see if this person is ready to start training for their test. Have they been coming to class on a regular basis? How is their attitude during training? Racking up hours does not mean you test automatically. This changed recently due to people taking advantage of the system. People would rack up hours just so they could test as soon as possible. Some students train for a long period of time, leave for a few months for business personal reasons, then want to test as soon as they get back. No can do. Also, you need to be a 1st Kyu for a minimum of 1 year before you can test for Shodan. In that year you should training on a regular basis.

Victims, aren't we all.
-- Eric Draven
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Old 08-30-2004, 11:08 AM   #6
AsimHanif
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Re: Inspection of Attendance

Tracking time is important not just from the standpoint of meeting minimum requirements but to also show dedication to the art. As you know there are some people who have a certain amount of inherent ability. Is it fair that these people only show up at test time? What are they dedicated to?
I have students track their own time but on occassion I will do it for them, for instance if we are getting a late start.
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Old 08-30-2004, 12:40 PM   #7
Troy
 
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Re: Inspection of Attendance

Quote:
Brian Crowley wrote:
I think taking attendance for purposes of determining when a person can test is kind of silly. Natural ability, focus, maturity and other martial/athletic experience are more important than attendance. I think the instructor(s) should determine when a test is appropriate based on their observations.

Brian
That is how it is at my Dojo. I probably forgot to mintion that. I think that the days between ranks is so people can't jump above a higher ranked person. Kinda like pacing ones' self. ( i know what i want to say, but can't put it into words. RAAGH! BRAIN NOT WORK!)

"The Art of Peace is the religion that is not a religion; it perfects and completes all religions."
-Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 08-30-2004, 01:43 PM   #8
mj
Location: livingston, scotland
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Re: Inspection of Attendance

Our dojo records attendance as well.

Personally I like it.

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Old 08-30-2004, 06:45 PM   #9
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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Re: Inspection of Attendance

I think that hiding behind this question is a deeper one: why do we give ranks?

If they are a reward for accomplishment, it makes a lot of sense to worry about fairness and about rewarding desirable behaviors like regularly attending class.

If they are meant to show what a student is capable of, accuracy rather than fairness is the issue. In this case you want to promote students when they have the desired skill level, and fairness doesn't come into it. (Though you could still make an argument for "days on the mat" as an objective measure of skills not otherwise adequately tested.)

If they are meant to do both rewards and labels, of course you get some conflict between the two goals. You probably can't avoid this, because no matter how much you try to make rank only be about labelling skill, some people (including me, alas) are going to see it as a treat as well. (Frustrated competitive impulse in my case, I fear.) Going the other way and making rank totally about rewarding good behavior gets too risky--the community at large sees rank as being at least loosely correlated with ability, and someone promoted far over their head could get hurt. If you made me a nidan overnight I'd never dare show my face at a seminar with that title--splat!

I come from a sport (competitive chess) where advancement was coldly objective: you had a rating based on your tournament results and that was that. You could run tournaments, write newsletters, play constantly, coach other players--didn't matter, you were still a C player until you could win more games. So this seems natural to me, and is probably what I'd aim for. But the other model also makes sense in something as social as aikido. I think the main thing is to know why you're doing what you're doing.

Mary Kaye
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Old 08-30-2004, 07:37 PM   #10
Brian Crowley
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Re: Inspection of Attendance

I understand the position that the "label" of rank indicates at least x amount of skill AND commitment to the dojo (ie. in hours training) - ie. it is not strictly a label of skill but also other intangibles, partially measured in attendance.

In fact, I agree that rank should be more than just an indication of skill. I just find it hard to believe that a formal attendance policy is necessary to achieve this.

BTW, I think the fairness argument work both ways - ie. is it fair that someone with more skill, experience & maturity should have a lower rank than someone because they attend fewer classes ? This eventually works itself out (which is what an attendance policy relies on), but can be discouraging for all parties involved.

Brian
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Old 08-30-2004, 07:55 PM   #11
kironin
 
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Re: Inspection of Attendance

Quote:
Bülent Koçak wrote:
Greetings to all,
As I know, most of you are instructors. Do you register the attendance of aikidokas to the class / are the students signing a notebook for have attended the training after the class…

Yes. You have to when the group gets bigger and classes start getting larger and some of your senior students start teaching classes, otherwise
you have no way of keeping track. It's more important to make sure someone doesn't fall through the cracks and sitting around too long before testing.

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Old 08-30-2004, 08:08 PM   #12
kironin
 
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Re: Inspection of Attendance

Quote:
Mary Kuhner wrote:
I think that hiding behind this question is a deeper one: why do we give ranks?
There are only two reasons worth a damn as far as I am concerned.

1. some people find it useful to their training to periodically have to focus for a performance. They up their training intensity and for a period of time make it the priority in their lives that can be difficult to sustain all the time with career and family. Sometimes a performance can inspire others to do better or help group cohesion.

2. it's a path to becoming a teacher.


If you don't want to ever teach and don't need it to focus your training, then I could care less if you ever test, AS LONG AS you find some way to continue to progress and learn that works for you. My experience has been watching others is that it is sort of tricky but not impossible.

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Old 08-30-2004, 08:29 PM   #13
kironin
 
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Re: Inspection of Attendance

as far as deciding when students test, I look at it this way

there is a minimum number of training hours required,
they have to meet that.

but I also have in my mind from past experience a minimum number of months having passed and factored in to that is the frequency of their training. Up to a point, progress and frequency of training are pretty strongly correlated.

If I see someone coming to all the classes and catching on and improving quickly, naturally they will test faster. It's a pretty rare individual that can practice infrequently and be technically ready after the minimum number of months passes in that grade that I think is appropriate (in fact I haven't seen it yet). If I don't see someone at all until the few weeks before a test date, then frankly I won't be talking to them about testing because I need to see them over time to be better feel where they are at.

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Old 08-31-2004, 12:03 PM   #14
Qatana
 
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Re: Inspection of Attendance

I]'m going up fot fourth kyu in a few weeks. Also testing that day is a white belt who has been training far longer than i have in terms of when he bagan, but he only sporadicly attends class, so he is finally going for fifth kyu. OK, his technique is better than mine, but yes, sensei does factor in frequency of classes, committment to the dojo and group participation as well as number of hours. Which we do not record in any way. We test twice a year, sensei can feel when one is ready.

However, whats the problem with advancing rank over someone senior to me if he doesn't attend class regularly enough to test as frequently as i do?

Q
http://www.aikidopetaluma.com/
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"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 09-01-2004, 11:03 PM   #15
Lan Powers
Dojo: Aikido of Midland, Midland TX
Location: Midland Tx
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Re: Inspection of Attendance

I don't see a problem with it Jo, I just hate to keep up with signing the %(^*&# log-in sheets.
And keeping up with where they get put after they are filed out. And where IS that pen?!!
In all actuality, I feel that Sensei knows who is there, who ain't, and makes his judgements of your testing eligability more on his own asessment than the elusive filled out sheets.
It is a requirement tho, so we have started back with it. (sort of let it sliiiiiiide , but no more)
Did I mention I hate it?
Just me
Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 09-03-2004, 12:36 PM   #16
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Inspection of Attendance

We track hours at my dojo (just as in my sensei's dojo). The hours are a minimum requirement but do not mean a person will test at that time. Ulitimately it is up to the sensei whether or not a student will test and pass, though it is rare to have a student fail.

I'm not sure what you mean Brian about other martial arts experience being taken into consideration. I am assuming that you mean overall ability and skill demonstrated during the test. Otherwise I don't feel that external martial arts experience has anything to do with the current martial art one is studying.

Quote:
I think the instructor(s) should determine when a test is appropriate based on their observations
I agree with this.

Lyle Laizure
www.hinodedojo.com
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Old 09-03-2004, 04:24 PM   #17
Brian Crowley
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Re: Inspection of Attendance

Quote:
Lyle Laizure wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean Brian about other martial arts experience being taken into consideration. I am assuming that you mean overall ability and skill demonstrated during the test. Otherwise I don't feel that external martial arts experience has anything to do with the current martial art one is studying.
I was advocating evaluating ability as a primary consideration for rank. Someone who has practiced other arts (or other sports for that matter) may pick up on some things quicker than someone without such experience. I was not suggesting that rank should be awarded just because someone has other experience.

Brian
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