Is earning your white belt typical in Tomiki/Shodokan Aikido?

Discussion in 'Aikido' started by Maint, Jan 11, 2016.

  1. Maint

    Maint Yellow Belt

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    I was talking to an Aikido instructor who was telling me that his students must "earn" their white belt. I don't know if this is like as in a stripe or what. Ive heard of having white belt for a while in bjj but in aikido?
     
  2. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I can't speak for Aikido, but we expect our students to earn their white belt.
    New students are told to wear comfortable workout clothing.
    They get a dobak and their white belt when they can get through Kicho Il Jang by themselves. They don't have to do it WELL, just get through it.
    That keeps people from spending money on the program until they've been around for (generally) 3-4 weeks and gives them time to decide if they want to continue. People who come in, try it for a couple weeks, and move on are spending money on a dobak they will never wear again.
     
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  3. Spinedoc

    Spinedoc Brown Belt

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    Depends on the Aikido organization as far as belts. In USAF, which is what the dojos I practice with are affiliated with, you can wear a white belt right away, but you have no rank. In the USAF, there are no colored belts. You wear a white belt until you are a black belt, at which time you wear a hakama. Makes seminars interesting. You can be practicing one minute with a ikkyu who's been practicing 8 years or more, and the next with a no kyu brand new beginner. Both have the same white belt. LOL.
     
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  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    In the Aikido (referring to Ueshiba's Aikido) schools I've seen, students put on the gi and white belt for first class. As Dirty Dog mentioned, there are some schools that hold off on that so students can decide whether to stay. I do something similar at my school. Our standard uniform is a black gi and (after a certain point) hakama. New students are encouraged to wear any old gi they own (or similarly durable clothing, if they don't have an old gi) until they've been to a few classes. This gets them training right away, without having to buy a uniform.

    The difference is that a student is more than welcome to buy a new gi on the first day, if they wish. That gi will come with a white belt, so they don't have to "earn" that one. We use patches forr that first recognition of staying power.
     
  5. JP3

    JP3 Master Black Belt

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    In my school (Tomiki) the student earns their white belt when they buy their judogi.... since the white belt comes in the package with the shitagi and yawagi.

    I don't call it "earning" it, though. The same sort of thing as above, with the student invited to come, play, train, and when They feel like they want the set of Neat-O pajamas, there they go.
     
  6. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    One possibility on this (and something I considered when developing the curriculum for Shojin-ryu) is that they don't get to even wear a gi initially. Perhaps there's some prerequisite to being considered a "student" of the art.
     
  7. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    I have heard of some schools earning their white belt, but it is usually just basic etiquette of the school etc. Not really a "test" on physcial material like other belt tests.

    I really like Dirty Dog's approach to it.
     
  8. lifelongstudent1

    lifelongstudent1 White Belt

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    I have been to Dojo's on both thoughts. Personally, I think that it is better to do it that way. I have seen way to many "school's" bring a person in after one or two classes and then gouge them on uniform and everything (I know terrible but it does happen). This way the person get's the idea if it is for them before they buy the uniform, also ensure's that they can perform basic things safely. Remember, a Belt is just that.
     
  9. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    Not an Aikido practitioner however, in the arts we instruct that has a belt rank structure students must earn their white belt.
    They need to know the school's basic etiquette, basic punches, elbows, knees, kicks, falls, rolls, getting to a standing position from the ground, and some footwork. We don't expect it to be refined just know what we are asking for and a good attempt to do it. It is amazing how excited Adults as well as the youth become with earning that first belt.
     
  10. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I've been toying with something like this, mostly because I'm okay with folks not having a uniform first class (all the schools I trained in required a uniform to start first class). Now I need some delineation of when a student must have a uniform. Having them earn the right to wear it would fit with this, as it should take about 4 classes to get to that point, by which time I'd want them to have a uniform.
     
  11. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    We had to earn our white belt in my first system. There was no physical criteria though. You had to memorize the first sentence of our student creed - "I will develop myself in a positive manner, and avoid anything that will reduce my mental growth and physical health" and a few other things such as basic etiquette - when and how to bow properly, etc. The first 3 lessons were private introductory lessons, and students usually earned their white belt at the start of the second or third private lesson.

    The 3 intro lessons cost $20 total, and included uniform, belt and patches. How to properly wear the uniform and affix the patches was part of the initial lesson. Once they earned the belt, tying it properly was the first thing they subsequently learned.

    My first system was founded by a Vietnam vet who was a former career Army person (correct term?); he was very rigid with how the uniform was worn, belt was tied (it's part of the uniform), etc., and for very good reason IMO. I remember him visiting our dojo one night and not being happy with how a number of lower ranks' belts were tied. The next morning all schools had an updated curriculum. The first 2 requirements for promoting to 9th kyu were changed to "Obi tied properly" and "Gi worn properly." We were also all required to wear the same sparring gear, available only in white and with the organization's logo. It wasn't a money thing, as it was a few bucks cheaper than the catalog prices (the internet hadn't been invented by Al Gore yet).

    Sorry for rambling. You brought up some memories.
     

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