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Old 05-23-2001, 04:52 PM   #1
giriasis
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I'm dying to know...

...who reached shodan in under three years?
There are 40 of you folks out there. Forgive my disbelief, but I just can not fathom someone reaching shodan withing a year or two.

I know on the List there is discussion that some folks in Aikikai Hombu, Japanese Universities and a couple of other styles can get to shodan rather quickly. However, the discussion on the List just seemed to talk about perhaps how and perhaps why it was done, and it did not seem to get into someone giving us their actual experience.

I would like to hear from the people who voted in the categories of "under 1 year"; "between 1-2"; and between "2-3". I'm stopping there since I will consider between 3-4 years more plausible.

Please quince my curiosity,
Anne Marie
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Old 05-23-2001, 05:19 PM   #2
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Re: I'm dying to know...

Quote:
Originally posted by giriasis
...who reached shodan in under three years?
There are 40 of you folks out there. Forgive my disbelief, but I just can not fathom someone reaching shodan withing a year or two.
Someone remarked on rec.martial-arts today that 3 years @ 4 hours/week is the standard for shodan in Karl Geis' school.
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Old 05-23-2001, 05:53 PM   #3
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One of the guys here got his shodan in two years. He'd done some other martial arts and is otherwise very athletically gifted. He picked things up extremely quickly...

As an aside, as far as dan grades higher than shodan go, our senior student at the dojo where I currently train is a sixth dan after twenty years of practice.

I also know of a woman in the Bay Area who started aikido at, I believe, age 12 or so. She had to wait until she was 16 for her shodan but had her nidan by age 18. She's now in her thirties and is a fifth dan...

-- Jun

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Old 05-24-2001, 08:21 AM   #4
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Re: I'm dying to know...

HOLY COW sixth dan after 20 years of practice? That's very fast if you ask me.

Then again, there's a third dan in my dojo (my sensei's ukemi) and it took him 10 years to get there... well I guess it is definitely possible.

--- "Sit up straight!", my sensei
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Old 05-24-2001, 08:48 AM   #5
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Don't forget, folks, there's practice... and then there's PRACTICE.

Not only do you have to factor in the student's natural talents and previous experience, but also the teacher, the peer group they train with, and the total amount of quality time during each of those years.

Regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 05-24-2001, 10:15 AM   #6
giriasis
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chuck Clark
Don't forget, folks, there's practice... and then there's PRACTICE.

Not only do you have to factor in the student's natural talents and previous experience, but also the teacher, the peer group they train with, and the total amount of quality time during each of those years.
That is why I want to hear from these people. I want to hear from them to see what they did and what exactly what their experience was. I mean did the go to every feasible class possible and train their butts off. (several hours a day 6 days a week). Or was it just regular practice a few times a week (four times week). I would like to know what their schools approach is and view is of shodan and what it means to them. I would also like to know their martial arts background and other athletic background.

I am assuming the same thing you guys are but can at least one of those 40 people answer my question? I'm just curious. I'm not looking to flame any one or start a war over testing requirements.

It is just I have been training for almost two years (three days a week on average -- I do more when law school permits; I prefer to do 4-5 days a week) and I am just now getting ready for my 4th kyu test. I look at some of the shodans in my school and I just can't possibly acquire the skill and knowledge they have in less than three years. I also look at those in my dojo who have previous martial arts training (12 years karate). They went through the kyu ranks quickly but once they reached 1st kyu they waited until they were ready to become shodan in aikido. This person took 6-7 years to get to shodan and is now nidan after about 8-9 years.

I am just asking this question to understand where they are coming from before we get into a discussion on the value of being promoted so quickly.

Anne Marie
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Old 05-24-2001, 10:27 AM   #7
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I won't get into a discussion about the merits of various systems or philosophies of when a promotion is valid.

The best way you'll get some quality information to answer your question is to look into different organizations' requirements, different teachers' attitudes about promotion (what a "shodan" is, etc.), and then get your own gut-level feelings about the relative skill levels of individuals in these different groups. Make up your own mind.

First hand experience is the best.

Good luck in your search.

Last edited by Chuck Clark : 05-24-2001 at 10:30 AM.

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Old 05-24-2001, 02:09 PM   #8
giriasis
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chuck Clark

First hand experience is the best.
I am asking for those who voted the way they did because I want to hear their first hand experience.

Quote:

Good luck in your search.
The search is understanding other people's point of view. I am only looking to compare and understand not to also contrast and judge. Also, so far I can only guess where these people train. Since I don't know where they are from then how can I research their organization? (If I was going to, I am not.) I am not going to base my understanding on assumptions.

Anne Marie

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Old 05-26-2001, 08:25 AM   #9
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My point is that anyone's after-the-fact memory and description of their training history is not the same thing as "first hand experience." It can be interesting and valuable information, but is really just another story as far as it being second hand to you.

What is extremely valuable is experience from being "one arm's distance" and taking part yourself. Get this kind of experience by meeting people of different ranks from different organizations and hear their stories and feel their waza. Now you have some "first hand experience" to make your own authoritative decisions about what is out there.

Stories on the web are just that... stories on the web.

Regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 05-26-2001, 12:30 PM   #10
giriasis
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Chuck,

You are right that the best way to understand a point of view is to actually stand in the shoes of that person you wish to understand. But that is not always practical. Understanding still takes place when someone else explains your experience to them. That is not second hand information. It is second hand when I tell you what someone else has said. What allows a person to understand there is a process called empathy in the human emotions. Empathy allows someone to understand without having to have to go through that same experience. In the field of life the two are not anyless valuable.

Telling me to do this is like saying I can't understand someone else who lost a family member unless I in fact lose a family member. Telling me to do this is like saying I can't understand someone else who is an alcoholic because I'm not an alcoholic. What allows me to understand is all I have to do is imagine losing my mother and I can feel the pain of not having her there anymore. What allows me to understand an alcoholic I just have to look to some addictive behaviour (overeating and depression) that I go through. You are proposing that I can't possibly understand unless I do lose a family member or that I actually become an alcoholic.

Do these examples sound like they are different than what you are saying? No, they are not. They are not different because it is just as ridiculous for me to go out and find the schools that promote less than three years and do it myself. (Which by they way, I don't even know what these schools are because the people that attend them have yet to respond to me to verify assumptions people have made.)

Heck, the only time that second hand accounts come into play are in the court room where they are not allowed, but still in the process of developing one's case an attorney is allowed to get hearsay (second hand accounts) from people as long as it leads to admissible evidence. So I can talk to someone who says, "X said such and such." I then must find X. Then X is the person to testify to what they saw or did. But please note, the courts still even allow people to state their first hand accounts. The courts don't discount them because the judge and jury did not experience it themself. I am looking to get past the person who said "I heard that school such and such does this and than." I want to hear from people who go to school such and such.

What is wrong with what I am asking? Nothing.

I am only looking to hear from those people who were promoted in less than three years. Telling me to go out and get the experience myself is counter productive. I just think you are hanging on my words "...before there is any discussion as to the value of the promotion." Do I have a judgement? Sure I do, but I would like to know and understand someone first. Why? Because their explanation may very easily clear up my assumptions that my judgment is based. Once the assumption is cleared up then my "judgment" may disappear.

You see Chuck, I'm not looking to write a thesis or to do anthropological research. In anthropology, yes, people to research a culture by becoming a part of it. Did my statments imply this? I don't think so.

So, I'm asking you to stop deflecting my question and allow folks to answer this question if they choose. Do you have personal experience? Did you get you shodan in Aikido in less than three years? Did you promote people to shodan in less than three years?

Anne Marie Giri


Last edited by giriasis : 05-26-2001 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 05-26-2001, 01:28 PM   #11
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Anne;

Chuck did not say you had to enter into these peoples shoes - just to train/meet with them and judge them on the level of their Aikido.

I don't think he is deflecting your question but instead giving you a basic truth. It is pretty clear from your posts that you wish to judge - he is saying (sorry Chuck if I I mis-paraphrase) is that there are so many variables that it is like comparing apples to oranges. Stories on the web have no relevance - training on the mat does.

I have only slightly more experience on this earth than Chuck has in Aikido - I always read what he says carefully. Don't have to agree with it(most times I do) but playing lawyer is not the way to go.

In the East a 16 year old asks a 60 year old what life is all about.

In the West a 16 year old tells the 60 year old what like is all about.

By the way I entered Honbu with no kyu rank, I left just under three years with Shodan. People with 20 years of Aikido have asked me to teach classes - not from what's on paper but because of the little I know.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-26-2001, 04:30 PM   #12
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Anne Marie in a feisty mood

Quote:
Originally posted by PeterR

... playing lawyer is not the way to go.
You beat me to it. Anne Marie's a law student, but we really shouldn't hold that against her.

Belts are pretty silly things anyway.

In the East a 16 year old asks a 60 year old what life is all about.

In the West a 16 year old tells the 60 year old what like is all about.


How very true.

Jim23

Remember, all generalizations are false
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Old 05-26-2001, 04:51 PM   #13
giriasis
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Peter,

Thank you for your statement regarding you experience in receiving shodan. That is all I am looking for nothing more. I have so far only heard rumors that the Aikikai Hombu promotes quickly. You are the first person to actually have experience there and say so.

Quote:
It is pretty clear from your posts that you wish to judge -
No, it is not clear. What is clear to me that my words are being interpreted that I am intending to judge. I apologize if my words have come across that way.

I really wish you guys would re-read my posts. I was asking for the information so I would not have to judge. I type what I mean on the internet because it is easy to misunderstand someone when you don't hear their voice inflection or see their body language. Please stop reading between the lines and assuming that there is judgment or intent to judge when there is none.

But this IS what I was thinking as I posted my initial post. I can make all the assumptions in the world. I can assume they have low standards and promote to make people feel good. I can also assume that they came from a school with exceptional training and experience and because of the exceptional teaching staff you learn more quickly and therefore were promoted more quickly. I can also assume that in some schools the meaning to shodan means little so the time to shodan is quicker, but that is not necessarily true. I can assume that in some schools shodan means a lot and therefore time to shodan is long, but that is not necessarily true. I can assume that some schools focus on techniques first and once a person knows the techniques then gets shodan, but that is not necessarily true. I can assume that some schools focuses on principles but it may be harder to learn principles so promotion time takes longer, but that is not necessarily true. I could assume that short time equals poor quality and long time equals good quality, but that is not necessarily true.

But we all know what assume means right? Well, I was just wondering what is right or wrong. Too many variables exist that prevent people on the net from obtaining understanding of our differences? I don't necessarily agree. There are enough people on this site with experience of enough years to at least convey a basic understanding of the differences.

Quote:
Stories on the web have no relevance -
No relevance to what? To understanding the differences between styles? I guess this is our point of contention. I do believe there can be a basic understanding. (this is what I'm seeking) However, I will agree that a deeper and more thourough understanding would require contact with another human being on the mat. (I'm smart enough to know that I can't get that answer on the internet.)

Quote:
...training on the mat does.
Well, guys I haved trained in a school (Juko-Kai Dai Yoshin Ryu) that promotes to shodan in 3 years. The basis of their shodan is knowing a series of techniques. The basis is not on priciples. Their theory of shodan is just a beginning. They figure after more practice that an understanding of the principles will come about naturally. This is my old school.

But does that mean that the folks in my old dojo any less the shodan than that they are? No. They are shodan according to their school's standards not my current school's standards.

Quote:
Chuck did not say you had to enter into these peoples shoes - just to train/meet with them and judge them on the level of their Aikido.

I don't think he is deflecting your question but instead giving you a basic truth.
Well I see it as a deflection because I am being told that "you just have to train" and "that you can't understand unless you meet the people". Basic truth? That is arguable truth is relative to the facts you base it upon. Understanding still is possible. Actually, I thought that is the purpose of the internet and forums like these so we can get contact with people in other styles and other approaches. I thought the point was to understand one another. Now, I am being told it is not possible.

Quote:
In the East a 16 year old asks a 60 year old what life is all about.

In the West a 16 year old tells the 60 year old what like is all about.
Yeah, this 31 year old woman with a B.A. in International Studies and rising 3rd year J.D. candidate, doesn't like it when a 16 year old tries to tell her about life either. What we are debating here is assumptions and the ability to understand one another over the internet in the context of aikido. (We could be having the exact same conversation but any other subject). I respect both of your aikido backgrounds, but I believe we are equals when it comes to a general understanding of human experience.

But sometimes youth does possess incredible wisdom. Have you ever heard the saying: "Out of the mouth of babes" ?

Take Care,
Anne Marie Giri

Last edited by giriasis : 05-26-2001 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 05-26-2001, 05:01 PM   #14
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Re: Anne Marie in a feisty mood

Quote:
Originally posted by Jim23

You beat me to it. Anne Marie's a law student, but we really shouldn't hold that against her.

I think she mentioned in other posts and quick check, she mentions it on her profile. Good luck to her - it's a lot of hard work - but time and place.
Quote:

Belts are pretty silly things anyway.

They have their uses but I've said before Dan grades are only relevant within an organization and kyu grades within a dojo. When dealing with someone outside of my organization I ignore rank and just ask how long have you been training and with whom. Then, on the mat, we proceed to discover each others limitations.
Quote:
In the East a 16 year old asks a 60 year old what life is all about.

In the West a 16 year old tells the 60 year old what like is all about.


How very true.
I tossed that in because I know Chuck likes it. Anne isn't 16 and Chuck isn't 60 but I felt it was a good hint that one should try and understand what's written and who wrote it before arguing a point. That's true for all of us.

In just over a week -I'n dying of heat frustration in the back alley's of Showacho, Osaka. If I'm really lucky I get accomodation right beside the dojo and train morning and night.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-26-2001, 05:38 PM   #15
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Hi Anne;

Quick clarification - its Shodokan Honbu not Aikikai. You can follow the links on my signature for more information - the kyu and dan syllabus is on the Honbu site.

The reason I post on these lists is that it is not a dojo. Someone like myself with little experince can argue and debate with someone like Chuck, for instance. Wouldn't dream of being so verbose if I visited his dojo. Life experience is a major asset and no one ignores it - just that I felt you were missing his point.

Budo is a funny thing - our life experience's don't necessarily apply. The more educated we are the more used to having our opinions listened to we become and the more we expect argument to overcome. Personally it was very hard for me to get past this and I must say, out of all the benefits I recieved from budo training, that lesson was one of the more important. One of my goals during the next three months in Japan is not to use the word but.

Nothing personal Anne - this thread is just conveinient to air a few thoughts.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-26-2001, 05:38 PM   #16
giriasis
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Alright already...


I'll let it go. This wordsmith in training just can't help it sometimes.

Going back to her scientific evidence and florida constitutional law homework...

I will write 100 times...
"no more hairsplitting and word twisting on aiki web."
"no more hairsplitting and word twisting on aiki web."

Anne Marie
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Old 05-26-2001, 06:01 PM   #17
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Pete(rH),

You're in Japan right now? Way too darn cool (or hot), I went running by the lake today, nice and cool (nice girls out too).

Make sure you have some tempura for me and don't let them overcook the sushi -- not good.

Jim23

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Old 05-26-2001, 10:34 PM   #18
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Hey,

I'm just seeing this thread for the 1st time, and well I haven't trained long enough to have any definite knowledge about learning this art.

One thing I have learnt about learning though, is that to continue improving quickly and effectively you must continue to go into every class as if though you are seeing it for the first time, with the same enthusiasm. Keep your mind open, and be wary of all habits, as they can narrow your view.

But like I said, I haven't been aikidoka for even a single year yet. Although, this thread reminded me of a story I read somewhere on the web awhile back...
(it may not apply entirely, but you may like it)...
---
A young boy traveled across Japan to the school of a famous martial artist. When he arrived at the dojo he was given an audience by the sensei.

"What do you wish of me?" the master asked.

"I wish to be your student and become the finest hareteka in the land," the boy replied. "How long must I study?"

"Ten years at least," the master answered.

"Ten years in a long time," said the boy. "What if I study twice as hard as all your other students?"

"Twenty years," replied the master.

"Twenty years! What if I practice day and night with all my effort?"

"Thirty years," was the master's reply.

"How is it that each time I say I will work harder, you tell me that it will take longer?" the boy asked.

"The answer is clear. When one eye is fixed upon your destination, there is only one eye left with which to find the Way."
---

Take care,
-Jase

Jason Hobbs
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Old 05-27-2001, 12:53 AM   #19
Lisa Tomoleoni
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Re: Alright already...

These are the time requirements for testing at Aikikai Hombu Dojo:
5th kyu- 30 days of training
4th kyu- 40 days of training after receiveing 5th kyu
3rd kyu- 50 days of training after receiving 4th kyu
2nd kyu- 50 days of training after receiving 3rd kyu
1st kyu- 60 days of training after receiving 2nd kyu
Shodan- 70 days of training after receiving 1st kyu
Nidan- 200 days of training after receiving shodan, minimum of 1 year
San dan- 300 days of training after receiving nidan, minimum of 2 years
Yondan- 300 days of training after receiving sandan, minimum of 2 years
A day of training means any day you train, no matter how many hours. So if you train for one hour or for 5, you get one "credit" towards testing.

Lisa Tomoleoni
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Old 05-27-2001, 10:13 AM   #20
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No Jim not yet - I fly over June 2.
Quote:
Originally posted by Jim23
Pete(rH),

You're in Japan right now? Way too darn cool (or hot), I went running by the lake today, nice and cool (nice girls out too).

Make sure you have some tempura for me and don't let them overcook the sushi -- not good.

Jim23

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Old 05-27-2001, 05:55 PM   #21
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Re: Re: Alright already...

Quote:
Originally posted by Lisa Tomoleoni
These are the time requirements for testing at Aikikai Hombu Dojo:
5th kyu- 30 days of training
4th kyu- 40 days of training after receiveing 5th kyu
3rd kyu- 50 days of training after receiving 4th kyu
2nd kyu- 50 days of training after receiving 3rd kyu
1st kyu- 60 days of training after receiving 2nd kyu
Shodan- 70 days of training after receiving 1st kyu
Nidan- 200 days of training after receiving shodan, minimum of 1 year
San dan- 300 days of training after receiving nidan, minimum of 2 years
Yondan- 300 days of training after receiving sandan, minimum of 2 years
A day of training means any day you train, no matter how many hours. So if you train for one hour or for 5, you get one "credit" towards testing.

Lisa Tomoleoni
Hi Lisa!

Is there a link you could point me to which details the Hombu reqirements? I've never been able to find one. My curiousity stems from the fact that I was under the impression that the AANC requirements stem directly from Aikikai Hombu, yet, they are roughly double what you posted. They are as follows (assuming I have a current set of reqs):

5th kyu = 50 days
4th kyu = 60 days
3rd kyu = 80 days
2nk kyu = 100 days
1st kyu = 150 days
shodan = 200 days
nidan = 2 years and 400 days
sandan = 3 years and 600 days
yondan = I dunno.

Thanks for any help.

Last edited by Erik : 05-27-2001 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 05-27-2001, 06:04 PM   #22
Aikilove
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Erik! Same here. Your timerequirements fits ours very well

Jakob Blomquist
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Old 05-27-2001, 06:57 PM   #23
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Re: Re: Re: Alright already...

Quote:
Originally posted by Erik
Is there a link you could point me to which details the Hombu reqirements?
I'm not Lisa, but I'll attach below what I have about Aikikai Hombu dojo's testing requirements.

-- Jun
Attached Files
File Type: txt testing.txt (2.7 KB, 84 views)

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Old 05-27-2001, 08:57 PM   #24
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Cool

Quote:
Originally posted by Jim23
Pete(rH),

You're in Japan right now? Way too darn cool (or hot), I went running by the lake today, nice and cool (nice girls out too).

Make sure you have some tempura for me and don't let them overcook the sushi -- not good.

Jim23
Hey I live in Japan too! Where are you located Jim? I am in Tokyo. No aikido schools in my area... Too busy to train but I am hoping to join in with the local police club.

Hope you didn't wet running on the weekend.


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Old 05-27-2001, 09:17 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by darin



Hope you didn't wet running on the weekend.


Sorry bad grammer. Should be Hope you didn't get wet running on the weekend.
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