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#125554 - 04/09/03 11:15 AM Value of grades
Cato Offline

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
Given the number of different styles of aikido, and for that matter MA's in general, is it possible to make any comparison between the grades? Is a Shodan in Yoshikan equal to a Shodan in Iwama ryu?

Can a dan grade in aikido be compared to a black belt in another art? Or are grades solely a matter for the art in which they are awarded?

Can there ever be a universal grading standard? Does it matter either way?

#125555 - 04/09/03 12:19 PM Re: Value of grades
JohnL Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 4309
Loc: NY, NY, USA
The standards of two shodans in the same MA, same style, same association, same sex, same school, same age, can vary wildly, so there's certainly no hope of comparisons.

Nor should there be.

Ban all grading and all grades.

They are a wart on the face of the earth.


#125556 - 04/10/03 01:36 PM Re: Value of grades
Joe Jutsu Offline

Registered: 04/09/03
Posts: 575
I disagree with JohnL in his assessment that ranking is a wart on the face of the earth. I think that ego, if anything, is that wart. I feel that ranking is very useful in situations like seminars, where we may be unfamiliar with each other. I would hate to see a beginner try to take ukemi for someone like Kashiwaya Sensei. I did so one time within my first six months for a very basic technique, and it was amazing the how soft yet powerful is technique is. He was able to distinguish me from other aikidoka there, and used me as uke for a technique that was appropriate for the level of ability that I had at the time. But if he could not distinguish me easily from all the other unranked people (hypothetical situation where no one holds rank), then I could see potential problems.

I also think that the kohei/sempai relationship is very important in the dojo. I respect those who have a higher rank and who have been studying longer than I, and I also respect those newer than I and feel that it is my responsibility to help them out in anyway that I can. The only problem in this system is when someone's ego gets in the way.

This is the same problem that can occur with the ranking system. That is, someone feeling the need to belittle someone because they hold a shodan, or any higher rank. I believe another mistake that can hinder progress in Aikido or any martial art for that matter is being preoccupied with acheiving a given rank. I'm sure there are many ikkyu out there whose techniques are as good as if not better than many shodan. But at least we know that they are in the same ballpark, so either could be called on during class to help demonstrate a technique with confidence that neither would be hurt.

I have heard that in the US or at least in certain states you have to register with the government if you hold a black belt in a martial art. Has anyone heard if this is true? Or maybe just for some arts? I have to admit, if this is true it is enough to influence me to never take the shodan test. Thanks guys.


#125557 - 04/11/03 09:58 AM Re: Value of grades
Cato Offline

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 1636
If ego is to be the root of all evil in martial arts, what exactly is ego? [IMG][/IMG]

I personally think belt ranks are a good thing. I don't think you can blame the system when it is the people who abuse it that cause the problem. Self awarded ranks are, of course, worse than useless, but that is not how the rank system is supposed to work.



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