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    BJA Promotions - high grades


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    BJA Promotions - high grades

    Post by Jonesy on Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:35 pm

    Seems like the BJA have stiffened the requirements on high grade promotions and linked them even more firmly to "sporting" judo achievements - as a player, coach, referee or official. (See August 2013 documents.)


    There needs to be quality control, but this places judo even more firmly as a sport. It is what the IJF want, but is it right?
    Cichorei Kano
    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: BJA Promotions - high grades

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:17 pm

    Jonesy wrote:Seems like the BJA have stiffened the requirements on high grade promotions and linked them even more firmly to "sporting" judo achievements - as a player, coach, referee or official. (See August 2013 documents.)


    There needs to be quality control, but this places judo even more firmly as a sport. It is what the IJF want, but is it right?
    Many of us won't be able to  judge this in the same way you can, because we may not know the previous BJA rank requirements in detail, nor their evolution. However, just looking at these new requirements (without comparing them to the previous ones), I don't think  --at first sight--   that they are really bad. They are more in line with how the Kodokan approaches them and towards a unified IJF model.

    The important nuance here is that "sporting judo achievements" are primarily used to establish time-in-grade, which is a consistent measure. This is not the same as using "sporting judo achievements" as a sole or main basis for actually awarding the rank.

    I think the things that are in there are good, but require expansion. For example, someone with 70 years of judo experience, lots of pedagogical and scientific contributions could not get promoted, but a retard youngster with an Olympic medal would meet eligibility requirements without problems. One of the issues behind this is likely that lack of people with the necessary qualifications and experiences to assess other qualities beyond a medal. To use an extreme example to illustrate my point (without suggesting that this is the case, and without any intention to offend anyone involved) How would someone who can't read or write appreciate the scientific conributions to judo ?

    At the end of the day, in my opinion, the problems are somewhat different and boil down to:

    1. How consistent and objective will these rule be applied.
    2. Many of the people recently promoted could not be promoted. It seems the recent 9th dan-holders might have a problem getting their 9th dan under the new rules. This gives a problem of credibility, since it suggests that people of the promotion board or federation executives might have waited to make the requirements more difficult until after they got their promotions. This 'protectionist' approach is likely not to be appreciated by a proportion of the membership especially those who were either mentally or practically preparing for high rank promotions to which they were perfectly eligible under the previous rules, but now suddenly are not longer.
    3. The rules, when interpreted to the letter, are rather nationalist and do not provide any option for people coming from abroad, since everything is interpreted in the light of BJA history. Imagine that I would be ... let's say, Peter Seisenbacher, and would get married to a British lady and obtain British citizenship, I might essentially be out of the loop for any BJA high-rank promotion since I would not have any BJA history or service for the BJA, and this despite having been directly coached by a senior BJA member and holding two Olympic gold medals and a world title. The same applies for anyone who holds a high rank from elsewhere, let's say the Kodokan, and would be joining the BJA. Poor Daigo if he were still 'only' a 9th dan and would move to the UK. The poor man has never won an Olympic medal or world championship medal, no BJA contributions, so the wise thing to do obviously would be to keep him in rank way below other BJA members ...   Such people's promotions are made effectively impossible since he would have to start his "BJA achievements from zero" pretty much as 6th kyu. This makes little sense and is nationalist and ethnocentric. It's about the same as saying that if you come with a PhD obtained at Cambridge University to obtain a job at Oxford University, you could not obtain a DSc at Oxford University, since you have not obtained a previous degree at Oxford university and to be considered for a degree at Oxford university, you would first need to obtain a BA/BSc degree from Oxford University. That makes no sense, certainly not given the EC's laws on free mobility of people within the EU, and without literally saying so insinuates that it considers only its own ranks as real and of higher standard than anyone else's.
    4. A reference is made to 'katas' --obviously should be kata as the plural of the majority of Japanese words is the same as the singular form, but anyhow--  but no detail is given about the level at which they are to be mastered, how this is assessed, or which kata
    5. The word 'verification' is mentioned, but no detail is provided about how this verification is to be done. This is important since knowing how federations in the past have screwed up or intentionally framed people, by tricks such as seeking verification with an organization the person has never claimed to be a member of or hold a rank from, or worse. One should not forget that the term 'Federation' is in essence a facade behind which individuals are active. Any individuals who for personal reasons or feuds does not want a certain member promoted is often at liberty to manipulate proceedings to achieve this. The current rules provide no protection against this because of what I mention below under #6.
    6. No guarantee of any transparency is provided, no appeal, no challenge of people involved or interpretations made. This means that in essence the federation considers its own opinion and decision automatically as correct no matter how erroneous, and assumes itself elevated beyond any doubt or error.

    That being said, it would be unfair to solely blame the BJA for this, as the same concerns apply to the majority of federations, and have become some of the major reasons why the issue of promotions in judo is so contentious and has deviated so much from how it was intended.

    Given the excesses --either way--  which promotion committees have been known to engage in, a promotion committee (or whatever its specific name within that federation) should be accountable to an external organ that does not involve federation executives nor anyone else with "friendly ties" to this committee or the Board who needs to be concerned about their own future promotions when opening their mouth. It would be wise if a promotion committee instead of simply expanding the rule book would start by acknowledging its own limitations and delimitations.


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