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Old 02-10-2006, 11:09 AM   #26
Edwin Neal
Dojo: Ronin
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

i agree it is a very under valued area of aikido in some dojo's, and it definately helps one refine other techniques... this is the primary reason i love taking ukemi for senior practitioners... you get to feel the technique and learn it that way as Mark noted...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-10-2006, 11:20 AM   #27
justinmaceachern
Dojo: St. george
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

When i become a teacher. if you cannot perform ukemi diecently by 2nd kyu you simply will not pass. I dont care if your technique is better then mine, you just wont pass.
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Old 02-10-2006, 12:44 PM   #28
SmilingNage
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

All my tests from 5 th to 2nd kyu were back to back, nage 1/2 the test, then 1/2 as uke. Though adding an ukemi part to testing would certainly raise the bar and make things very interesting.

IMO solid technique is good, but good ukemi gets you used as sensei's uke. Much more honor in that atleast in my eyes.

Dont make me, make you, grab my wrist.
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Old 02-10-2006, 02:15 PM   #29
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

At USAF Winter Camp Yamada sensei decided (to the surprise of the people around me, who had seen previous tests with him) to ask the dan candidates to take ukemi from a high-ranked student. It looked like a pretty challenging test to me, since uke and nage didn't necessarily know each other and any technique was allowed.

My sensei, in Ki Society, has taken to throwing the candidate with a jo so that she can directly feel the responsiveness and lightness of their ukemi. It was one of the more difficult parts of my recent kyu test, especially when she ended it (having thrown me until I was breathless) with "Now demonstrate the breathing exercise."

I know that my ukemi have room for substantial improvement, and see no reason I shouldn't be tested on them all the way up into the dan ranks, assuming I get that far. If I could ever pass the ukemi standards Yamada sensei was asking for, I would be very pleased with myself.

Mary Kaye
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Old 02-10-2006, 02:50 PM   #30
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

Greg, I have seen the photos and films of O Sensei taking ukemi from children. Very impressive about the meaning of aikido.
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Old 02-10-2006, 03:17 PM   #31
ikkitosennomusha
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

Without question, if the person cannot do the test like everyone else and pass it, no, of course not, a black belt should not be awarded in any situation whether it be from an independant or an organizational committee.
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Old 02-10-2006, 09:46 PM   #32
Duarh
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

When I was training in Latvia, every time I tested my partner was testing for the same rank, and we'd alternate, one doing technique, the other ukemi. The process was rather exhausting, but the instructor always made it clear your ukemi was being tested just as much as your technique. Now I train in the USAF WR, and every test I've taken/seen (not that many yet) ukemi was taken for the testee by a senior student. The latter approach certainly allows more freedom in focusing on technique rather than the stiffness/lack of falling ability of your partner, but I can see some of the advantages an instructor could see in the former approach. To put it crudely, when you do koshinage on a test, it will become clear if you know how to take a breakfall. In smaller dojo (and with higher kyu/dan grades) this may not be necessary, but in a large dojo with 20+ people testing for 6th kyu on the same day the head instructor may not be sufficiently familiar with each individual's ukemi skills to judge without explicit demonstration.

As far as passing a student for shodan w/o retesting goes. . .well, of course, it's the instructor's decision, but personally I think I'd feel bad about it if I was promoted in this way. I mean, your shodan test is a milestone you look forward to for a long time . I can imagine circumstances in which a person's health might warrant this, but if it's a problem that would not take more than a year to recover from, waiting might be preferable, and more satisfying in the end.
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Old 02-11-2006, 05:42 AM   #33
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

Quote:
Justin MacEachern wrote:
When i become a teacher. if you cannot perform ukemi diecently by 2nd kyu you simply will not pass. I dont care if your technique is better then mine, you just wont pass.
What about physical limitations? disability?
If my technique was better than yours, and I cannot (for instance)forward roll, for some limiting reason, you are going to hold my progress back, I will not be able to practice at the next level?
I would probably take my superior technique and practice elsewhere, thanks!

It's easy to see things in terms of black and white, but I'm sure that when you eventually do become a teacher / grading officer, I'm sure you will start to see many more subtle shades of grey.

regards
Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 02-11-2006, 06:43 AM   #34
kironin
 
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

Quote:
Justin MacEachern wrote:
I started this thread because it realy bugs me to see people handed things. I had a test where i did not feel the instructor correctly tested me and didnt feel like i deserved the kyu. i had to go esle where to get the satisfaction i needed.
Then it should really bug you that all the senior most shihan never took any test. Their promotion was "just handed" to them. Your last two sentences indicate a real lack of understanding about testing. It's not about stroking your ego.

The better an instructor knows you and has worked with you the less he or she needs to see you do any formal kind of demonstration. The quality of practice preceeding and after a test is far more important than any test.

There probably should be a bylaw in every organization that states any student stuck in this immature mindset will not be allowed to test for shodan until they grow out of it.

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Old 02-11-2006, 08:22 PM   #35
jester
 
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

I don't know about your school, but in mine, by the time your even considered for promotion, you have done the exact test many, many, many times.

The actual belt test is just a formality. The instructor knows what is required and it's his judgement call as to who deserves it. If someone has a physical problem, why should they be excluded from promotion if they deserve it?

If a Black Belt meant that you had to be able to fight using these techniques, then I think it would be harder to get and most people who have them now would not have them, but we all know this is obviously not the case.

You have to evaluate why someone is being promoted. I think the karate movies and hype from the 70's distorted what is is to be a Black Belt.
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Old 02-12-2006, 11:38 AM   #36
justinmaceachern
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

Let me clarify something, i am not talking about people with disabilities. I am talking about someone who was healthy right up until shodan. he new there was a chance of getting hurt. so it should of been his responsibility to pospone the test. And by the way i am prety sure that i understand testing. I know it is up to the sensei, but what kind of a message are we sending to lower ranks when we just hand a belt to someone. And there is nothing wrong with my ego, your just missing the point i am trying to make here.
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Old 02-12-2006, 11:47 AM   #37
Aiki x
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

Let the injury heal, get some physio and take the test again. Surely you want to earn your grade rather than be known as the guy who was given his Shodan without completing the exam.
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Old 02-12-2006, 12:30 PM   #38
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

Quote:
Justin MacEachern wrote:
I know it is up to the sensei, but what kind of a message are we sending to lower ranks when we just hand a belt to someone.
Well, in your first post you said,

Quote:
just becase we all know he can do technique.
If we all know he can do the technique, and the sensei knows he can do the technique, and the guy waited another year before retesting, then giving him the belt sends the message that ability is the most important part of the rank, not fortuitous timing with regards to injuries.

Think of it this way: let's say he passed the test and then got injured immediately afterwards. Would you take away the rank, simply because he was at that time no longer able to perform to shodan standards?

And I know this may sound crazy, but it's just shodan. Not that shodan's should be given lightly, but at the same time it shouldn't be built up as this tremendous thing. Shodan still means "beginning level", not "expert". The day when I might have my own dojo is a long, long way away, if it should ever come, but as long as we're talking about what we're going to do when we get our fantasy dojos, I'm of a mind to do away with ranks altogether. Or to make them purely optional (for ease with interacting with other dojo).

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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Old 02-12-2006, 12:35 PM   #39
Edwin Neal
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

good point Josh, it really rocks to go to some dojo or seminar in a white belt, and have someone explaining how to do the waza in excrutiating detail and then watch their face when you really nail it...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-13-2006, 05:24 AM   #40
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
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Thumbs up Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

I have a much more simple question:

Why is the ranking process of another person of interest to you ?

I have a very demanding sensei. In one of our BB tests, a student told me he felt more pressure then in real life and death situations he has lived through (he was a soldier in very dangerous situations). I have seen sensei fail more then a single student on a test, including very talented students who were testing for high ranks (even Sandan).

This same Sensei has also given students Dan ranks without any specific test. And personally, after I have been included to some of the grading consultations after other tests. I don't think anyone could or should dispute his wisdom in this regard. Ranks were only awarded to students who either could not test for some reason, or students who were over-due.
All the students who were awarded ranks without tests had practiced on a regular basis with sensei for a long period before hand. They might not had a formal test, but sensei sure knew of their abilities and deficiencies, even without the formal test.

As someone wrote previously: The test is a tool for Sensei . Sensei can use it when Sensei thinks he should. You do not have any standing with this respect, and rightfully so, given your opinion and insistence that you know all the facts (just for example- the person you wrote about might be chronically ill and wish to keep that in secret).

Actually, one of the people I admire in our dojo, is an older practitioner. He started practicing late, yet, when I joined the dojo, he was already shodan. He then stopped practicing for several years. Shortly after he returned, he was very sick and was hospitalized for almost full year, when he recovered, he could hardly remember names of people and his movement coordination was so low, his walking looked awkward. Yet, he insisted and returned to practice, and has got back for his own previous level more or less. Don't you think a person who has made such an improvement, deserves recognition?

Contrary to the childish belief, rank promotion is based on progression and personality as much as on technical level. My Sensei has recently said he would not promote a student who has sufficient level but has not progressed since his last promotion.


Amir
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Old 02-13-2006, 07:21 AM   #41
justinmaceachern
Dojo: St. george
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

The reason i am concernd about a nother`s test is because he was in my class and the sensei asked the classes opinion. He hurt himself before the test. he should of known better then to take the test at that point. And it doesnt matter why he failed the test. the point is he failed. now weather he was hurt or for whatever reason he could not continue, means we should give him shodan. not right. mabey i just dont understand, i dont know. but think about it if you were in his shoes, would you rahter waite until you found out for sure from you doctor that you were going to be alright before doing the test. or would you rather just take the rank of shodan. Like i said he can do technique but is unable to do ukemi. so i thought he should do the technique part, at least. when you test someone into shodan you set an example fro the younger kyus, that is you have t earn a shoda not be given.
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Old 02-13-2006, 07:35 AM   #42
happysod
Dojo: Kiburn, London, UK
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

Quote:
The test is a tool for Sensei
for a single dojo, yes I agree it can be just the instructors personal tool and thus is a subjective test for the instructor, to be changed ad hoc. However, if you're changing the criteria too often, you can expect discontent to occur as, whether you personally like it or not, people within a dojo will look at themselves in relation to their fellows and differences in gradings will be noticed.

If that dojo is part of a larger association, the instructor should meet some objective criteria which can be translated accurately across the association as a whole.
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Old 02-13-2006, 08:19 AM   #43
Derek Gaudet
 
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

Justin,
From what I heard of the test from people who took part, after I left the dojo, "Mr. X" did not present himself well, his technique was below his usual abilities, he took a zero on all Aikiken and sword kata parts because of his lack of knowledge of these things, and the injury happened in the last 15 minutes. If he was going to pass, it would of already have shown. The fact that he quit with little time left, shows he was not willing to continue. Perhaps a simple, "I'll try to continue" would have been enough to end the test. Instaed he simply quit. He was told he failed and would be retested, now everyone was told he originally passed. Again it is the instructor's choice, but knowing "Mr.X", he never liked being given things such as this...

Kind Regards,
Derek Gaudet
Goshin Aikido
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Old 02-13-2006, 01:00 PM   #44
makuchg
 
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

I think this whole post is an another example of people feeling entitled. Guess what, you don't get a say in how your Sensei promotes someone. That's life. Sensei has that discretion and if you don't like it, train somewhere else. If you have time to worry about such petty crap as someone else's test, you aren't focusing on your own training. I spent 5 years without testing before I took my first test. It wasn't that I couldn't, I was that I had other committments (mostly military) that prohibited me from testing. My first test was a combination of several kyu tests, one right after the other and Sensei expected me to perform the techniques in a manner befitting someone with 5 years of training. So my 5th kyu test standards were higher than someone with a few months training. He set the standard and I accepted it when I decided to test.

Now quit moaning about someone else's test and start training for your next one!

Gregory Makuch
Wandering Ronin
Chesapeake, VA
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Old 02-13-2006, 01:20 PM   #45
j0nharris
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
i may not understand what people are trying to say, but i have never had to demonstrate ukemi for a test...
For us, the last of any yudansha test is ukemi - & not nice easy rolls!
30 falls for shodan, 40 for nidan, etc.
Keeping that in the back of your mind definitely helps us stay in shape; trying to get up off the mat after about 25 throws can be a little difficult.

jon harris

Life is a journey...
Now, who took my @#$%! map?!
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Old 02-13-2006, 05:14 PM   #46
Edwin Neal
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

i tested once at the same time as a fellow student and we were alternately uke for each other, but we did not have to demonstrate ukemi, just provide it for each other... as i have done uke for some dan level tests i can say taking anywhere from 200 to 300 falls is tough, but do-able...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-14-2006, 04:59 AM   #47
justinmaceachern
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

Greg you totaly dont have a clue as t what i am talking about. it could be my fault for not clarafying exactly what i wanted to say. I started this topic as a discusion not moaning as you put it.But i cant seem to get my point across on this subject so i will leave this thread. Enjoy.
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Old 02-14-2006, 06:02 AM   #48
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

[quote=Edwin Neal]good point Josh, it really rocks to go to some dojo or seminar in a white belt, and have someone explaining how to do the waza in excrutiating detail and then watch their face when you really nail it...[/QUOTE

Interesting point.... Edwin...if someone visits our dojo I don't make assumptions just because of the belt they are wearing. I ask questions and then I watch how they move.

Then I remind them and our students to move slowly together because they are not yet aquainted in Aikido....folks are less likely to get hurt and hurt that way.
Mary
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Old 02-14-2006, 06:49 AM   #49
Edwin Neal
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

sorry Mary if you misunderstood...my point was not about 'hurting' anyone but rather how ranks/belt color give very little info on the level of the practitioner... as alot of associations do not recognize ranks by others, so many times i have had to wear a white belt at classes or seminars... i remember one very helpful person who really explained shiho nage very well and was a little surprised when i performed to a level she did not expect... just a side question... how many other people actually carry an extra white belt in their gi bag just for such occasions?

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-14-2006, 08:08 AM   #50
Ron Tisdale
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Re: there is no room for a pass into shodan

I do. There are classes where until recently, even in my home dojo, I would put on a white belt.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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