Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-08-2006, 08:20 PM   #1
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
United_States
Offline
Credentials

I am just curious. Do people put importance on verification of someone's credentials? Especially an instructor. With so much martial arts fraud out there do people care?

I have been exposed to this twice in the past where I could not for the life of me verify claimed rank or organization outside of the person's own word. I have done exhaustive searches in both cases contacting everyone with their lineage's last name I could find (to see if they heard of the instructor), contacting the aikiweb and aikido journal and where I knew people contacting locals to see if they have ever heard of the organization/instructor's sensei. This was always a hot issue with the involved person. In both cases, I have turned up empty handed but I'm the bad guy. Hmm.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2006, 08:24 PM   #2
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
United_States
Offline
Re: Credentials

P.S. we ousted one instructor for being a fraud. In the other case, I repeated the search every year for 5 years and finally gave up.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2006, 08:32 PM   #3
Michael O'Brien
Dojo: Nashville Aikikai
Location: Nashville, Tn
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 288
United_States
Offline
Re: Credentials

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
I am just curious. Do people put importance on verification of someone's credentials? Especially an instructor. With so much martial arts fraud out there do people care?

I have been exposed to this twice in the past where I could not for the life of me verify claimed rank or organization outside of the person's own word. I have done exhaustive searches in both cases contacting everyone with their lineage's last name I could find (to see if they heard of the instructor), contacting the aikiweb and aikido journal and where I knew people contacting locals to see if they have ever heard of the organization/instructor's sensei. This was always a hot issue with the involved person. In both cases, I have turned up empty handed but I'm the bad guy. Hmm.
John,

I have always looked at the quality of instruction over the credentials of the instructor personally. Whenever I moved in the military I would sit down with the phone book and talk to people in the fitness centers to seach out local MA dojos. Then for whatever arts that were offered that I was interested in I would drop by the dojo and watch a class or two. Then if I was still interested I would go back and participate in a class or two. Usually if I was satisfied at that point I would stick with it unless I felt a compelling reason not to.

It also depends on if having verifiable rank/lineage in your training is important to you. n rare occasions issues have come up where I felt the actual need to check credentials and for me it has always been getting in contact with the headquarters that the instructor claims to have ties with.

For instance, I heard rumors an instructor I was taking TKD from had his belt pulled by the association for unprofessional conduct so I called USTF headquarters in Bouder Co and asked directly. Unfortunately, they verified it was true which meant my 3 years I studied and ranked under him were not recognized by the USTF.

I still had all of the skills/knowledge I had learned in that 3 years, that can't be taken away and the USTF headquarters directed me to another instructor about an hour away who was gracious enough to retest me back up to my current rank I held at the time so it was all good in the end.

So I guess if you are worried about your rank/lineage make sure to verify it completely and if you just train for knowledge/skill and feel you are getting that need fulfilled then you are ok.

Harmony does not mean that there are no conflicts,
for the dynamic spiral of existence embraces both extremes.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2006, 08:56 PM   #4
crbateman
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
crbateman's Avatar
Location: Orlando, FL
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,439
Offline
Re: Credentials

Pieces of paper are strange. Some say a lot, some very little. And some lie. But one thing that no piece of paper has ever done is take somebody out on the mat and teach him some Aikido. That's all that really matters. That's where each student should make his own decisions about each instructor, IMHO.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2006, 09:10 PM   #5
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
United_States
Offline
Re: Credentials

I agree-on the mat it is important and people with extensive credentials may or may not be quality instructors. However, is it not a credibility issue for people to make claims about things that are in fact inaccurate or down right fabrications? One guy claimed a 7th dan-he awarded it to himself and he could not even produce one shred of evidence he held any legitimate aikido rank. My concern is that aikido, see my fraud thread, may end up with so much of this that it will go the way of some of the arts where the only place rank means anything is in the dojo itself. IMHO if you claim a rank, you should be able to verify it and the organization through which it was awarded. Lost in a fire, washed away in a flood, ate by the dog, thrown away by a naive spouse, etc. etc. are about as good as excuses as they were for homework not getting done in school. They hold about as much water as a sieve. If it was legitimately awarded, it can be replaced and verified.

As to the quality of the class issue, I agree that is important. However, one person, the 7th dan, was actually talented enough and had some aikijitsu or jiu jitsu experience that he could pull it off for a while until someone showed up with enough credentials to see through the BS. This is still deceptive and why would anyone want to train with someone with such an ego or little regard for the truth. Kind of like the soke dokey discussions we had on the fraud thread. The unsuspecting public gets snookered.

If your credentials are not verifiable, then you should be able to explain why. With modern computers, anyone can make up their own certificates. The "7th" dan used a student who had a Japanese last name to make his credentials sound impressive in the bylaws.

Last edited by aikidoc : 02-08-2006 at 09:13 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2006, 09:11 PM   #6
Edwin Neal
Dojo: Ronin
Location: Henderson, North Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 597
United_States
Offline
Re: Credentials

as a general rule if someone is crowing about their credentials and displaying them ad nauseum on every wall of the dojo... be suspicious... a true follower has no need to display such trappings... indeed you may have to pry and pry to have them grudgingly say anything that relates to rank, because they know what matters is not the color of your belt, but what you can do...

Edwin Neal


  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2006, 09:16 PM   #7
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
United_States
Offline
Re: Credentials

Edwin:

I agree that throwing around rank is questionable. However, I do make my rank and certificate information available on my website for anyone who chooses to verify it. Make no mistake it can be verified. They may not like my instruction but my rank issued is what was issued-nothing more, nothing less, nothing fabricated or made up.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2006, 09:17 PM   #8
Edwin Neal
Dojo: Ronin
Location: Henderson, North Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 597
United_States
Offline
Re: Credentials

lineage in race horses doesn't make them a sure bet, but you know where they came from and the potential...

heres some threads that discussed this issue and related ones...

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9597

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9646

Edwin Neal


  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2006, 09:24 PM   #9
Edwin Neal
Dojo: Ronin
Location: Henderson, North Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 597
United_States
Offline
Re: Credentials

never ending story John, in some cases you then have to verify that verifier and their verifier and so on and so on... some people know how to lay a false trail... this soke makes that soke they soke each other and how do you KNOW what is real and not elaborately fabricated bullshido???

Edwin Neal


  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2006, 09:53 PM   #10
Jerry Miller
 
Jerry Miller's Avatar
Location: Spring Tx
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 163
United_States
Offline
Re: Credentials

Credentials are just that credentials and nothing more. If I may make an analogy to dog breeding. It is not that difficult for a backyard breeder to get papers from the AKC. They are a well respected organization and papers are just credentials. It does not mean that breeder is doing anything to better the breed at all. It just legitimizes the lineage. You can still have poor breeding and health issues with papers. An instructor can have impeccable credentials and still at the end of the day they are still a poor instructor. The students will suffer as would aikido as a whole just like a particular breed will suffer at the hands of a backyard breeder. You as a student have the right to the best aikido instruction you can get.

Jerry Miller
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2006, 09:54 PM   #11
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
United_States
Offline
Re: Credentials

People who move on often become aware when they train in a verifiable school. A while back, on e-budo, one young man was very pissed off when he found he had been training at a school claiming a certain style of aikido. when he went out west and train in another school he was pissed he had wasted 2 years. Can't say as I would blame him. He thought he was doing an aikikai style and went to a legit aikikai school and they basically laughed at him.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2006, 10:01 PM   #12
Counsel
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25
Offline
Re: Credentials

John: In my opinion, that doesn't say much about the aikikai school (if they really laughed at him)...

But, that is the very reason to have paper trails. Not for the "he has paper therefore he is good" but for the "if I train here, I can train there." It does, to some extent, give a 'picture' of a person at a given time (when the paper was awarded).

I know people have complained about this type of thing many times.

The American Jujitsu Association (I know nothing about them personally) has an idea...

Post testing results on-line so that everyone can see who was tested and who tested them.

[See American Jujitsu Association Web-site with testing results]

I think each person awarding the belt should also be listed (with the person/board that gave them their belt).

I think this is possible? Is it practicable? Is it a good thing? Is it better than nothing (or whatever we have at present)?

Last edited by Counsel : 02-08-2006 at 10:06 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2006, 10:07 PM   #13
Edwin Neal
Dojo: Ronin
Location: Henderson, North Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 597
United_States
Offline
Re: Credentials

exactly john... i met a guy here in my hometown that somehow magically became a 'master' of aikido through an organization that basically sold ranks... i had to break the news to his students that he knew no aikido and had never trained in it... the fuller version of the story is on another thread, but his students had no clue... now many of them say they will never do any martial art again...

Edwin Neal


  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2006, 10:08 PM   #14
Edwin Neal
Dojo: Ronin
Location: Henderson, North Carolina
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 597
United_States
Offline
Re: Credentials

thats actually a pretty good idea James...

Edwin Neal


  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2006, 10:17 PM   #15
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
United_States
Offline
Re: Credentials

James: I did not mean they literally laughed at him. However, they did let him know in no uncertain terms that he was basically starting over.

Last edited by aikidoc : 02-08-2006 at 10:18 PM. Reason: spelling
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2006, 10:51 PM   #16
Counsel
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25
Offline
Re: Credentials

John:

I was assumed you were kidding and shouldn't have made that comment. My apologies.

I have tried to research instructors in my area (three schools), but I have been unable to find any information on any of the instructors. Two instructors basically said, "Aikido is aikido, there are no schools (just aikido)."

I can only imagine the frustration at someone realizing they had wasted two years of 'training' (especially if what they learned was 'not' aikido or useful for what they wanted).

Although the paper is "only as good as the paper it is printed on," it may give some information on the instructor, his teacher, his 'lineage,' and whether any techniques were actually 'learned.' These three bits of information may allow us, as students, to better judge the instructor and what they have to offer.

Their ability to teach what they have learned is another matter entirely....
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2006, 12:24 AM   #17
rulemaker
Dojo: Aikido Philippines
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 128
Philippines
Offline
Re: Credentials

I suggest that Aikikai Hombu Dojo publish a directory/book of aikidokas with rank above 4th Dan. They can also post it on their website for easy access. This way we can easily verify if one's rank is authentic.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2006, 02:30 AM   #18
Alec Corper
 
Alec Corper's Avatar
Dojo: Itten Suginami Dojo, Nunspeet
Location: Wapenveld
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 256
Netherlands
Offline
Re: Credentials

What are we talking about here? Protecting the innocent students from being misled or protecting the "licensed" teachers from competition? Whatever happened to the idea of vsiting more than one dojo and selecting your teacher based on your own senses, what you see and feel, what their students can actually do on the mat, how they treat visitors to their dojo, how the instuctor behaves and talks, etc. etc. Yes, I know that without experience its hard to judge, so get some before you commit. A student does not "waste" time studying under a teacher without papers if the teacher can do and teach. They are learning. On the other hand you could end up in a dojo where everyone's grades are accepted but the Budo is still not worth much. I know of one very good teacher near me who stopped grading after his Shodan almost 30 years ago but continued to practise and travel to train with the best he could find (the best, not neccessarily the highest grades). The problem comes if his students want to be graded, where will they go? Will they be laughed at? I don't think so, but they will probably have to pay their "dues" at another school to get graded, and there will be issues of trust, ownership, power and other human problems that will crop up.
Every teacher gets the students that he/she deserves, every student gets the teacher they deserve, it just might take some time. The development of discernment is a real facet of Budo that is too easily overlooked in the supermarket offering of trademarked modern MA.

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2006, 06:05 AM   #19
aikidoc
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
United_States
Offline
Re: Credentials

"A student does not "waste" time studying under a teacher without papers if the teacher can do and teach." WHile that is true, if you are out in some small town hours from anything else with no prior experience, the can do becomes an issue. How can the unsuspecting public know. This is what happened to the young man who was majorly upset when he went to another area. The can do part was so radically different he started over.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2006, 06:25 AM   #20
ian
 
ian's Avatar
Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
Location: Northern Ireland
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,654
Offline
Re: Credentials

I think if you know nothing about the martial art, credentials are useful. However I think if you are experienced I would say credentials are a distraction.

Too much focus on credentials inevitably ends with a rigid set of 'things' which the teacher should know, and the martial or teaching ability gets lost.

This is the best way to check someones credentials: attack one of their unsuspecting students; if they give you a good response, I'd guess the teacher is pretty good.

P.S. I trained once with an instructor in London who said he taught 'aikido'. Not only was he quite a violent man, but he had no concept of why what he was doing was not aikido (it was like 2nd rate ju-jitsu), and unfortunately his students followed him blindly.

P.P.S. I always lament that teaching certificates are not given out, so when you kick somone's arse it discredits their lineage!

Last edited by ian : 02-09-2006 at 06:30 AM.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2006, 06:58 AM   #21
Alec Corper
 
Alec Corper's Avatar
Dojo: Itten Suginami Dojo, Nunspeet
Location: Wapenveld
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 256
Netherlands
Offline
Re: Credentials

John,
I understand the dilemma for people out in the middle of nowhere. I am simply saying that we run the risk of trying to take all resposibility as teachers for the students, but there is also a requirement upon people who want to begin studying to look around first, even if it means travelling further a few times.

Ian,
I don't know if you are joking but i would not want to teach someone who thinks that "attacking an unsuspecting student" is a good test of the teacher. I have some students that would go into shock, and others that would kick your arse ;-) it's good we all have such differnt opinions of reigii, isn't it?

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2006, 08:36 AM   #22
crbateman
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
crbateman's Avatar
Location: Orlando, FL
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,439
Offline
Re: Credentials

Quote:
Alec Corper wrote:
Whatever happened to the idea of vsiting more than one dojo and selecting your teacher based on your own senses, what you see and feel, what their students can actually do on the mat, how they treat visitors to their dojo, how the instuctor behaves and talks, etc. etc. Yes, I know that without experience its hard to judge, so get some before you commit. A student does not "waste" time studying under a teacher without papers if the teacher can do and teach.
BANG! Nail struck squarely on head. And ALL credentials are purely subjective, especially from the point of view of someone belonging to a "rival" organization. Let me give you an example: A guy with a Dan grading in Shin Shin Toitsu (Ki Society) Aikido is teaching in your town, but since his grading is not Aikikai, is it less than genuine? You will say "No, It's OK, because Ki Society is a recognized system." Recognized by whom? YOU... that's who. You have made a subjective decision based on your own value system. Ultimately, that's what EVERYBODY has to do. It's just that some (many, actually) prefer to look at a guy's Aikido, rather than his diploma. But the decision is, and MUST be, left up to the student.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2006, 08:37 AM   #23
SeiserL
 
SeiserL's Avatar
Dojo: Roswell Budokan, Kyushinkan Dojo, Aikido World Alliance
Location: Roswell, GA USA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,709
United_States
Offline
Re: Credentials

Quote:
John Riggs wrote:
I am just curious. Do people put importance on verification of someone's credentials? Especially an instructor. With so much martial arts fraud out there do people care? ... In both cases, I have turned up empty handed but I'm the bad guy. Hmm.
IMHO, credential do matter to a degree. They speak to the honor and integrity of the instructor, not the quality of the instruction. If people say up front they have no credentials, then fine. But to say they have it and don't, or bought it, makes me question.

I like knowing the lineage of my instructors. Honor and ethics matter to me. And yes, that has made me the bad guy.

IMHO, usually its the people without credentials that complain that credentials, or where they got them, doesn't matter.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2006, 08:47 AM   #24
justinmaceachern
Dojo: St. george
Location: new Brunswick
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 98
Canary Islands
Offline
Re: Credentials

imoo I think that if you want to take classes, you should check to see how close this person is linked to japan. I know what your going through i my self have run in to a problem where i couldnt link a certain instructor to japan for that matter instructors that i had contacted never heard of this guys org. if you qustion your instructors abilities contact other instructors to find out if they know that inpaticular organization. You do have to be carefull because there are a lot of foney orgs, that are selling ranks for top dollar.
Thanks for listening.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2006, 10:31 AM   #25
Counsel
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25
Offline
Re: Credentials

Lo:

You all have valid points. My point is somewhat different in that I want a place where 'newbs' can go to get information? I think more sources of information are better than no sources.

If someone is brand-spanking new to martial arts and is considering AIkido, would not a directory be useful. I don't care if there is a directory for each 'organization' or for all aikidokists (is that the correct term?). Either way, I have direction for more research.

Some towns have no aikido schools. Some have 1. Wilmington, NC, has 3 schools that 'teach' aikido. Two have told me there are no 'schools' or differences in AIkido, there is just 'aikido.'

Isn't that like saying there are no differences in jujitsu or in TKD--don't each school / organization have different techniques for each kyu/dan? Or differences on philosophy? If not, then the organizations are not efficient.. I want something to show me who taught them and what organization, if any, to which they belong. The highest ranking sensi in my area is 4th dan. I would, however, like to see the list begin at 1 dan for those areas that have 1 school led by a person who is not 4th dan.

Does any of this mean anything about their actual skill and ability? No, but the 'paper' does give me and others the ability to make a decision based on information.

With this information, I can then research that organization and its students to find out more data. However, with NO information, how does a real new initiate into the martial arts have any idea whether the 'art' shown in class is actually an art or just some 'fancy moves'?

Once we are no longer a 'grasshopper,' we can make decisions based on our knowledge of Aikido.

Counsel

Last edited by Counsel : 02-09-2006 at 10:37 AM.
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Budo Bear Patterns - Sewing pattern for Women's (and Men's) dogi.



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What the hell? Chris Birke General 127 06-03-2006 08:41 AM
Possible Ki & Kokyu Workshop Mike Sigman General 55 02-21-2006 07:21 AM
Aikido Frauds aikidoc General 386 09-29-2005 08:19 AM
Fake Credentials p00kiethebear General 42 08-06-2004 01:59 PM
Burakumin Aikido tedehara General 8 12-15-2003 12:56 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:01 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate