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Old 11-28-2003, 04:15 PM   #1
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
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Rankings

Something I recently discovered seems odd to me. That is, several aikikai shihan seem to have their own grading certificates and system that seems to be independent of the hombu. Chiba and Saito are recent examples. Yet, these groups seem to be affiliated with the aikikai while giving their students the option of having a different dan ranking certificate.

Does the aikikai permit this? It would seem counter productive since I'm sure revenues are lost. Also, what happens with the dan grades if the sensei dies like Saito did recently and he has students with non-aikikai issued grades. Since it is my understanding they only recognize aikikai grades, does everyone start over? Are the grades recognized? If the aikikai is viewed as an umbrella organization, what purpose does this serve?
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Old 11-28-2003, 11:17 PM   #2
Nafis Zahir
 
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John,

I covered this is my post "Does rank really matter?" This was my whole point. If you are a Shodan with Iwama Ryu certification and you go to an Aikikai dojo, they probably will accept YOU as a Shodan, but require you to retest. So what! That doesn't diminish your technique or ability. From what I have learned, Chiba does that because he is tired of rank just being given out. And having seen some test of Shodan and above, I can see what he is talking about. Trust me, I think his students could easily take out most of the students I've seen who don't train under him. But that's his standards. Like I said, does rank really matter? If I went to train under Chiba, and he didn't think I was up to par as a Shodan and said I had to start over, that would be fine. As long as I was training. If there has to be a organization in aikido, it should be made up of a group of Shihans consisting of Shihans from all the styles who have one mutual thing in common - the spread of Aikido!

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Old 11-28-2003, 11:33 PM   #3
Kelly Allen
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Quote:
Nafis Zahir wrote:
John,

I covered this is my post "Does rank really matter?" This was my whole point. If you are a Shodan with Iwama Ryu certification and you go to an Aikikai dojo, they probably will accept YOU as a Shodan, but require you to retest. So what! That doesn't diminish your technique or ability. From what I have learned, Chiba does that because he is tired of rank just being given out. And having seen some test of Shodan and above, I can see what he is talking about. Trust me, I think his students could easily take out most of the students I've seen who don't train under him. But that's his standards. Like I said, does rank really matter? If I went to train under Chiba, and he didn't think I was up to par as a Shodan and said I had to start over, that would be fine. As long as I was training. If there has to be a organization in aikido, it should be made up of a group of Shihans consisting of Shihans from all the styles who have one mutual thing in common - the spread of Aikido!
Here here!
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Old 11-29-2003, 07:19 AM   #4
aikidoc
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I realize the rank standards can be different. What surprise me is the aikikai allows them to give out separate dan ranks while affiliated with them.
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Old 11-29-2003, 10:01 AM   #5
Hanna B
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I am surprised to hear that someone else beside Saito sensei did this. I thought that his position was uniquely strong, so the Aikikai would not protest.
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Old 09-04-2005, 12:27 AM   #6
dyffcult
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Re: Rankings

Okay, old thread, but my understanding was that M. Saito never acknowledged any rank beyond what the Founder had accorded him.....which was less than Hombu accorded him.

I may be wrong....and hope that someone out there who "knows" will correct me.

Brenda
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Old 09-04-2005, 03:57 AM   #7
nekobaka
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Re: Rankings

Does it have to do with the fact that they (Chiba and Saito) were Morihei Ueshiba sensei's students? Some people who train under Saito Sensei probably think that he out ranked the current Doshu. I have no facts about this, just how I think it might be. I think it depends on who the non aikikai instructor is, and what the person can actually do. but i agree, ranking isn't that important, training is.
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Old 09-04-2005, 05:13 AM   #8
tedehara
 
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Re: Rankings

Quote:
Ani Forbes wrote:
Does it have to do with the fact that they (Chiba and Saito) were Morihei Ueshiba sensei's students? Some people who train under Saito Sensei probably think that he out ranked the current Doshu. I have no facts about this, just how I think it might be. I think it depends on who the non aikikai instructor is, and what the person can actually do. but i agree, ranking isn't that important, training is.
The concept of Doshu is that he is outside the system of ranking, so you can't compare him to anyone that is ranked.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
About Ki
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Old 09-04-2005, 05:13 AM   #9
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
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Re: Rankings

The so called reason, is on their website.

"The following speech was originally delivered at the Birankai International seminar held at Labaroche, France in April 2001.

Birankai International represents the culmination of a long-held wish of Chiba Sensei. He has long desired that his students, who are scattered across the globe, should have a single organization to support their training.

In the United States, his students have had the benefit of his presence for 20 years. Under his guidance they have created a strong organization, the USAF Western Region, dedicated to practice and to the transmission of the art. The Western Region organization includes a Teaching Committee, which Chiba Sensei chairs, a Sub-Teaching Committee, and an Advisory Council, as well as a strong and supportive general membership. In the UK, British Aikikai is directed by Sensei's senior teachers, formally brought together into a Technical Committee. Under his supervision, they have been working diligently for a number of years.

Now, for the first time, Sensei has brought the teachers in continental Europe together to form a Teaching Committee. The members of that committee are: Patrick Barthelemy, Gabriel Valibouze, Didier Hatton (France), and Chris Mooney (UK). Steve Magson (UK) has been designated to assist Chris Mooney, although he will not be a member of the committee. Additionally, Chiba Sensei, Norberto Chiesa (France) and Daniel Brunner (Switzerland) have formed an Advisory Committee. Its function will be to advise and assist the members of the continental Europe Teaching Committee.

These committees, plus others that may be created in the next few years, are charged with four basic tasks:

To establish good communication between themselves and the general members,

To strengthen the connection between continental Europe, the UK, and the US,

To maintain the clear, high standards that Sensei has developed for teachers,

To stimulate the growth of the art by providing strong support for the teacher-student relationship.

The foundation of this work, through which all this comes into being, is sincere, committed, non-competitive practice. We train daily in our dojos, at seminars, and in our daily lives. It is Sensei's hope, and the hope of all his teachers, that the creation of Birankai International will ensure the transmission of Aikido into the future. The very name, "Birankai" carries inside it that hope: it means, as Sensei has explained elsewhere, the wind that blows before a great change: a cosmic wind.

For reasons of legal convenience, Birankai International has been registered in the US as a nonprofit educational corporation. It will have three offices: one in California, one in London, and one in Strasbourg. These offices will serve their local regions. Because conditions in the regions differ, the administration of the regions and the functioning of the Teaching Committees will be autonomous, but they will work together as required to protect the unity of Birankai International's objectives.

This unity of purpose is represented by two pieces of paper. The first is the Birankai passport, which dojos affiliated with Birankai International will be able to order from their offices to distribute to both kyu and dan ranked students. The passport will enable students to keep a record of their kyu ranks, dan ranks, and also of their seminars. The second is the Birankai International dan certificate, which may be issued for ranks from shodan through rokudan. It is in English, not Japanese, and in addition to the name of the student and the signature of the Technical Director of Birankai, there is a place on it for the name of the student's teacher and dojo or other organization.

In the US, students are being asked to make a small donation when they receive the passport. This will cover the printing costs, and help raise funds to defray some of Birankai International's other expenses. There will be no fee for the Birankai International dan certificate. It is Chiba Sensei's strong feeling that the issuance of the dan certificate, which symbolizes the teacher-student relationship, should not be corrupted by financial considerations.

This dan certificate is not in competition with certificates issued by Aikikai Hombu Dojo. Birankai International is in no way in opposition to Hombu Dojo. In December 2000, Chiba Sensei communicated directly with Moriteru Ueshiba, Doshu, regarding the creation and purposes of Birankai International Doshu responded immediately, expressing his understanding and offering his best wishes. Members affiliated with Birankai International wishing to receive Hombu Dojo dan certificates may do so, and the Birankai offices will assist them. Members wishing to receive both Birankai International and Hombu Dojo certificates may do so as well.

There is a third way in which Birankai International will protect the unity of purpose Sensei wishes it to have. That is in the establishment of shihan title. For many years, the shihan of the North American Continental Shihankai have been negotiating with Hombu Dojo to allow for the recognition of non-Japanese teachers as shihan. In order for Aikido to truly take root outside Japan, it must develop, support, and honor teachers native to the countries where it is practiced. Unfortunately, over time, it has become apparent that the issuance of shihan title to non-Japanese must be resolved without the direct assistance of Hombu Dojo. Therefore, Chiba Sensei has given shihan title to three of the senior teachers in Birankai International US.

I hope this presentation has answered some the questions people may have about Birankai International. For me personally, the birth of Birankai International is a great adventure. It has meant a chance to train with strangers and to re-discover what I already knew: that we are indeed members of a family, united by our lineage, our trust in one another, and our training.

Thank you.
Elizabeth A. Lynn, Secretary, Birankai International "

It seems that Chiba Sensei is saying that he wants to unify his students around the world with symbol of their direct relationship with him. It also seems that giving the shihan title may have something to do with this as well.

It also seems to me that Aikido has been so successful in it's growth, that the Hombu may have lost actual authority over aikido entities outside of Japan so it is now forced to use perceived authority by acting like the Roman Catholic Church. The RC is in the same position. Because they are so large, and the actual national Churches around the world have their own legal entities, the recognition of the Vatican has become voluntary and symbolic. The national churches do send money there but they don't have to. The Church holds its power by absorbing and accepting what ever its constituents want, always hoping that they branches won't realize that the Head is really powerless. The power of the Hombu lies only in the respect that the national organizations and thier leaders have for it.
Just my thoughts,

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 09-04-2005, 06:12 AM   #10
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Rankings

Quote:
Ani Forbes wrote:
Some people who train under Saito Sensei probably think that he out ranked the current Doshu. I have no facts about this, just how I think it might be. I think it depends on who the non aikikai instructor is, and what the person can actually do.
Nobody outranks anyone unless they are on the mat at the same time. Out of the dojo it is even more meaningless - the only thing you have is sempai / kohai - and such exists without rank anyway - and probably plays a more important role than rank in certain situations..

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Old 09-05-2005, 05:03 AM   #11
nekobaka
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Re: Rankings

I know what I said sounded controversial, and it's not my opinion, but I have heard it said before. When one considers very simply the length of time Saito sensei spent training with O Sensei, and the age difference of the current doshu, I can see how some people would think that. Like the above post about Chiba sensei, I think Saito sensei also had a good relationship with hombu. In the end when a Shihan is a that level, highest in the world, I can see Hombu respecting that authority, even if they don't officially endorse it. anyone have any hard facts, as I don't about this, as most of what I say is speculation.
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Old 09-05-2005, 10:50 AM   #12
Nafis Zahir
 
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Re: Rankings

One of these days, I'm going to start a new organization. It will be call the UAF - Unified AIkido Federation. When you test, you will test before a panel, made up of Shihans from ALL organizations - Birankai, Ki Society, Iwama Ryu, Aikikai, Kokikia, ASU, AAA, etc. You will not be judged on what variation of the technique you did (such as style) but on whether or not you performed the technique at that level and if your aikido was sound and effective. I have seen several Shihans all do a technique differently. But the basis for the technique was solid, and the it was very effective. As much as they are all different, they are all the same. I judge people by the level of their aikido, which is not always equal to the level of their rank. My rank? I am a STUDENT!

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Old 09-05-2005, 11:11 AM   #13
Mark Uttech
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Re: Rankings

Wishful thinking, at best. Things will go as they go.
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Old 09-05-2005, 11:32 PM   #14
ikkitosennomusha
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Re: Rankings

Yes, I grow tiresome over the organization cross-ver thing. Organizations are there for a good reason but they all have their methodology that exist as a seperate entity. Thus, to cross-over would mean a lengthy identity as a demotee. That is ok in the regard that you have to learn the new system and testing requirements. However, all that hard work just to start over on the account that you may have had to move to a different town and the only dojo to train has a different affiliation.

Much frustration this has caused for some aikidoka. It is not like you can go to any given town and find an ASU, USAF, AAA, etc dojo from which to choose. For this reason, I agree that all shihan need to some a pieace pipe underneath a tent in the hot desert and come up with a way that one's shodan rank will be universally accepted and transferred no questions asked.

This might be wishful thiking but an aikido education is an investment financially, physically, and mentally. Going back to the flipside again, I think ultimately it is like transferring credit from one major univeristy to another. Some lower division credit hours transfer but your upper, your last 30 hours, will not transfer and you have to take your last 30 hours from the university you plan to graduate. I hope I have not made a mess here!
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Old 09-05-2005, 11:58 PM   #15
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
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Re: Rankings

I could be wrong, but I thought that Saito Sensei`s non-Aikikai gradings were only for weapons, and that he didn`t do that for very long. As for Chiba Sensei, there was an interview in which he stated that he hoped that his non-Japanese students would continue to have a relationship with Honbu after he is gone, but that he didn`t think that would realistically happen. That may explain partly the creation of the Birankai.

As for ranking, it is my opinion that rank must necessarily reflect the relationship between student and teacher. If you don`t know about the teacher, you will never know about a person`s rank. Any kind of standardization is doomed to fail.

Charles
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