Age, rank, and knowledge

Tsuki-Yomi

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A few months back I was having a discussion with a non Bujinkan teacher about age and rank. I wont disclose any names,but I thought I would see how everyone else feels about this stuff. Anyway,this teacher spoke of how back in the early days of the Bujinkan you never heard of any practitioners in there early twenties reaching the ranks of shidoshi or shihan,but in the present time we see the exact opposite. His mentality was that these young guys/girls are getting these high ranks way to fast,and that they were not earning there grades like those of the early days of the Bujinkan. Now I didnt get offended at him for claiming young teachers have zero to offer,but deep down I felt his statement had a hidden insult towards Hatsumi sensei in the fact that Soke promotes these youngsters to such high grades in the first place. Personally I feel age is just a number,and these guys/girls obviously have the skill,and knowledge to back up that rank,but what do you all feel? Should we see shihan and shidoshi in there early to mid twenties,or does it send mixed signals to outside eyes? By mixed signals I mean people questioning the fact that someone can achieve shihan or shidoshi with less than twenty years experience.
 

Aiki Lee

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I admit I have never met Hatsumi, but after reading his books and watching videos of him teaching, plus the experience I have with my own teachers, I believe hatsumi cares nothing for rank. The idea that any martial art should even have ranks above 10th dan seems almost as a confirmation of hatsumi not caring. I'm not in the bujinkan and never have been, so I don't know the inner workings of the politics of the group.

As far as shidoshi being in their twenties...if a person is good enough age shouldn't hold them back...if they are good enough.
 

Shinobi Teikiatsu

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I'm going to have to agree with Kenshin, age shouldn't matter too much. True enough, there's a maturity level that's expected of people of a certain age, but if you're given the rank of shidoshi, it's because you've mastered what you need to, not because you're old enough.

That said, Hatsumi has said flat out that he doesn't care about ranking that much. It's an aesthetic item, used to boast pride.
 

Sukerkin

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When you chaps are talking about shidoshi you mean ranks up to and including shidan don't you?

I don't feel that anyone in their early twenties should be attaining such rank, even tho' it is in practical terms perfectly legitimate for them to do so if they started young enough.

This has nothing to do with technical competence but is more down to the fact that emotional maturity is still a ways off for people so young. They need more time to absorb the philosophical aspects of martial arts before given the credability of higher rank.

Of course, the umpteen dan grades in ninjutsu cloud the issue a little but the core concept is still a valid one. My iai sensei is in his seventies and has been in training for fifty-odd years and is 'still' a 'mere' rokudan hanshi. That is where the gravitas of 'rank' comes from ... experience.

I can understand entirely the public disdain Hatusmi sensei has for rank - it is all too often used a way of keeping 'score' in a too shallow fashion rather than attention being paid to the need for true seasoning of a person once they have passed the stage of learning physical technique.
 

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A few months back I was having a discussion with a non Bujinkan teacher about age and rank. I wont disclose any names,but I thought I would see how everyone else feels about this stuff. Anyway,this teacher spoke of how back in the early days of the Bujinkan you never heard of any practitioners in there early twenties reaching the ranks of shidoshi or shihan,but in the present time we see the exact opposite. His mentality was that these young guys/girls are getting these high ranks way to fast,and that they were not earning there grades like those of the early days of the Bujinkan. Now I didnt get offended at him for claiming young teachers have zero to offer,but deep down I felt his statement had a hidden insult towards Hatsumi sensei in the fact that Soke promotes these youngsters to such high grades in the first place. Personally I feel age is just a number,and these guys/girls obviously have the skill,and knowledge to back up that rank,but what do you all feel? Should we see shihan and shidoshi in there early to mid twenties,or does it send mixed signals to outside eyes? By mixed signals I mean people questioning the fact that someone can achieve shihan or shidoshi with less than twenty years experience.

No. I'm sorry but this whole world is turned upside down enough. Let wisdom stay where it belongs. With age comes wisdom, with wisdom comes true knowledge. There is a saying that goes something like this "youth is wasted on the young". Good saying, it must have come from a dad or grandfather. Don't ya think. :)
 
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Tsuki-Yomi

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I was promoted to Judan at 26 years old. I was recommended by Arnaud, RVD, and Noguchi Shihan. I felt very blessed to have such great martial artists believe in me. When I was promoted It was a total surprise! I was in shock when it happened. I did not take being a Judan lightly. When I was promoted It was something for me to grow into, not something I was. instead of feeling like "wow I made it I can relax now" I felt that I now more then ever I represented Soke and I had better make sure I did that as best as I could.

In my opinion being a Shihan has not much to do with ability, but more about being trusted to transmit the art properly. It means you are committed to Soke and to follow what he asks of us. He said my first trip to Japan " If you dont come here every year, you dont know my art" I committed to going every year right then and there.

Youth has nothing to do with skill or knowledge. I was Promoted because I am trusted. That is why 3 Shihan must give you their signature in order to be promoted. 3 Shihan must say I trust this guy.

remember Takamatsu mastered Koto Ryu when he was 13!
most samurai were teenagers, that was the age of a solder
This was just a response I wanted to share that went along with my original question. I then followed up by asking this question.

Now as far as my question to you,you said its your opinion being promoted to Shihan has anything to do with ability,rather it has more to do with the fact that not only Soke, but these three shihan that reccomend you feel you can properly transmit the art. Now I am not equating this to you, because I have seen clips and whatnot of seminars by you,and you are very effortless in what you do,but what about these guys/girls that dont posses that ability? How can they properly transmit an art in which there may be certain aspects that do require some sort of ability? Say these shihan can do the techniques,but they just dont have the ability to teach it flawless,by flawless I mean showing these student s where the safe spot is,or proper timing and angling. Now these are just examples, but if they are teaching the students only half correct material, how is this transmitting the art properly?
Just figured I would throw those out there to further the discussion.
 

Sukerkin

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Could you give us some attribution for those quotes, Tsuki? It'd be nice to know whose words they were.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Yes Tsuki-Yomi, clarification would be great.


On the subject this art is Hatsumi Sensei's to do with as he see's fit. It does reflect his attitude or rank being insignificant and yet it is what others will judge him or those with rank from him by.
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Tsuki-Yomi

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Yes Tsuki-Yomi, clarification would be great.
I dont think that would be a problem, I am sure you know or have heard of Shihan Joel Everett? Great guy, great teacher.
 

Sukerkin

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Well, I've never heard of him but that's not exactly a surprise :D.

The only reason why we ask, Tsuki, is that it is actually normal practise when quoting someone elses writings, even those on a web forum, to give attribution. It can save with troubles with copyright and so forth if something is ever deemed to have not been what is called 'fair useage'.
 

jks9199

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Well, I've never heard of him but that's not exactly a surprise :D.

The only reason why we ask, Tsuki, is that it is actually normal practise when quoting someone elses writings, even those on a web forum, to give attribution. It can save with troubles with copyright and so forth if something is ever deemed to have not been what is called 'fair useage'.
And it's only fair, too. Sure, we all toss some posts of freely. But we also all work pretty hard on other posts. It'd be awfully frustrating to see someone else seeming to claim your words, right?
 

Sukerkin

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Oh aye, I've been there before now - particulary with my work on Gran Turismo suspension tuning :grr:.
 
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Tsuki-Yomi

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I will keep that in mind if I post any other threads here in the future. I can understand the concerns for plagiarism.
 

emiliozapata

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I think this question can be evaluated only after it is established, within the system denoting said rank upon these individuals, what it means for someone to hold these ranks. If rank progression is stepped, and is measured by ability to perform certain movements, profess understanding of concepts, know protocol and history etc., then I think you can't question the validity of the rank. Anyone able to perform the requirements should receive the rank.

The problem with a system such as the above is that it cheapens the true meaning of the rank, and essentially devalues it's more esoteric ideas. Commercialism always leads to this type of degradation.
 

Cryozombie

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Or you could just make up an art then the rank is meaningless anyway.

After all, I am a 150th dan Super Soke in Goober-ryu Kookooshin Karate.
 

emiliozapata

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150th Dan? Amazing!

In which Dan rank will you learn respect, humility, dignity, honor etc.?
 

Sukerkin

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Let's not start this particular little circus ride rolling again, gentlemen.

It profits noone and just edges the participants ever closer to being shown the error of their ways via official means. That is especially so if personally directed insults are posted, no matter how shrouded in disingenuous innocence they may be.
 

emiliozapata

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Thank You, I was beginning to feel as if I was being cyber-stalked. My grandma once taught me that if one has nothing positive to contribute, then they should remain silent. Hopefully, those posters who insist on demeaning me will heed your kind warning.
 

Cryozombie

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Now, my 150th dan Super Soke reference was referring to some of the Uber-Sokes like the "Crying Dragon". Last time I checked you never claimed any rank, EZ.

But since you brought it up... Respect isnt somthing I need to learn, it's somthing you need to EARN. You have done nothing to do so thusfar, so don't expect it. Earn it, and I will give it.

If you take insult into the fact I claimed that rank in made up arts was meaningless, perhaps you need to look inward at why that bothers you so... rather than outward for approval from others.

And Cyber-stalked? C'mon pal... I have thousands of posts here, dating back to '03. You have 18 total. Sorry to say, Ive been posting in the threads in this section of the forum since before you came on here. We have posted in TWO of the same threads. I hardly call that "Stalking".
 

emiliozapata

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You are correct in that I claim no rank in ninjitsu, Kug Maky Ung Ryu or otherwise. Considering that this journey has just begun, I would place myself in the rank of white belt. We should be our own harshest critics as MAists. This is a principle I hold dear, and consequently will award myself rank only when I feel it worthy.

There is much work for me to do until I give myself green belt. One of my self imposed requirements is to complete an indoor triathlon I intend to compete in towards the end of March, an event which will be a 45 minute torture test. This is just one of the many technique and conditioning requirements I have designed into my rank structure.
 
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