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    Judoman

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    Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by Judoman on Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:25 am

    I recently read an article in the USJA’s e-magazine. The author stated:

    “The problem is that unless a certificate is from a national organization, it’s worthless. That’s not to imply that a student earning one has done anything wrong or lacks skills. But in the end, the instructor has misguided or shortchanged the judoka. It’s a slap in the student’s face, for he must test and pay again; and the previous instructor has wasted everyone’s time with something unacceptable.”

    I couldn’t disagree more. I think saying dojo ranks or ranks from other, smaller associations are “worthless” is pretty arrogant. I know many talented judoka from smaller associations. I support AAU Judo and many AAU clubs use a dojo ranking system under the guidance of more experienced instructors in AAU Judo. In AAU Judo, your rank is your business, and someone claiming a rank they don't deserve will be found out pretty quickly on the mat. There are plenty of valid reasons judoka choose not to be part of the USJA, USJF, or USA Judo. But, I obviously do not feel any of my students are being "shortchanged" by supporting AAU Judo or any other small Judo association.
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    BillC

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by BillC on Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:13 am

    Judoman wrote:I recently read an article in the USJA’s e-magazine. The author stated:

    “The problem is that unless a certificate is from a national organization, it’s worthless. That’s not to imply that a student earning one has done anything wrong or lacks skills. But in the end, the instructor has misguided or shortchanged the judoka. It’s a slap in the student’s face, for he must test and pay again; and the previous instructor has wasted everyone’s time with something unacceptable.”

    I couldn’t disagree more. I think saying dojo ranks or ranks from other, smaller associations are “worthless” is pretty arrogant. I know many talented judoka from smaller associations. I support AAU Judo and many AAU clubs use a dojo ranking system under the guidance of more experienced instructors in AAU Judo. In AAU Judo, your rank is your business, and someone claiming a rank they don't deserve will be found out pretty quickly on the mat. There are plenty of valid reasons judoka choose not to be part of the USJA, USJF, or USA Judo. But, I obviously do not feel any of my students are being "shortchanged" by supporting AAU Judo or any other small Judo association.
    Yes, but ranks are issued by organizations to their members ... they are not some ethereal quality above any earthly influence.

    If one moves to a club that supports the standards and ranking of the major organizations ... the ones in the US who have agreed at least in concept to recognize the ranks of others ... then it will be as you say ... their dan rank at least will need to be re-certified following their procedures and rules. Just as a dan rank in ... kendo ... or shodo ... is a wonderful thing worthy of respect ... or a dan grade in Tomiki aikido will actually share many of the same standards ... it makes sense that the student will still have to put in the time in a judo organization to be a dan grade in judo in that organization.

    If the AAU feels its standards are in common with the other organizations ... and I take you at your word that they are ... then they should seek an agreement with the other three to recognize each other's ranks. However, in a quick look at the AAU Judo web site I don't see any mention of rank at all, I am guessing that's not what the AAU is about.

    So it's back to club rank ... and the club should expect that if they want to wear the dan grade of a judo organization, they have to belong to that organization. Makes sense, right?


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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:09 am

    Judoman wrote:I recently read an article in the USJA’s e-magazine. The author stated:

    “The problem is that unless a certificate is from a national organization, it’s worthless. That’s not to imply that a student earning one has done anything wrong or lacks skills. But in the end, the instructor has misguided or shortchanged the judoka. It’s a slap in the student’s face, for he must test and pay again; and the previous instructor has wasted everyone’s time with something unacceptable.”

    I couldn’t disagree more. I think saying dojo ranks or ranks from other, smaller associations are “worthless” is pretty arrogant. I know many talented judoka from smaller associations. I support AAU Judo and many AAU clubs use a dojo ranking system under the guidance of more experienced instructors in AAU Judo. In AAU Judo, your rank is your business, and someone claiming a rank they don't deserve will be found out pretty quickly on the mat. There are plenty of valid reasons judoka choose not to be part of the USJA, USJF, or USA Judo. But, I obviously do not feel any of my students are being "shortchanged" by supporting AAU Judo or any other small Judo association.
    Judo organizations say a lot of things, sometimes true, sometimes nonsense. But in reality the issue is more complicated than that, since even if a judo organization tells nonsense, it is likely that it believes or acts according to this nonsense, and in that case it may not matter what is true or not. Therefore, I think that a nuanced answer is appropriate.

    The first thing to consider is if it is factually true that "a certificate is from a national organization, it’s worthless."  (...)

    What is the USJA talking about ?  The USA or the rest of the world ?  As far as the rest of the world is concerned, it certainly is not true in absolute terms. Why is it not true ?  At least for two reasons: 1. rank certificates do not even exist in many countries, and before the computer era existed even less, and 2. no specification of the level of ranks is made, but in any case in most countries kyû ranks were not even transmitted or registered with the federation in the pre-computer era hence the federation would not even have knowledge about them, so how could they issue rank certificates for these ranks ? That is the truth. I have never seen or known any person my age here who has a "rank certificate". "Rank certificates" are a very Anglo-Saxon and American and Japanese thing. Only one of my non-Japanese sensei had rank certificates, and that was M. Clause, and there is a reason for that. The reason is that he was a direct student of Abe Ichirô from the early 1950s and had all his ranks certified by the Kôdôkan and brought it to one of only three non-Japanese Kôdôkan 8th dan holders; That is, however, excessively unusual here. People here, unless over the age of 60 and who obtained shodan a long, long time ago still under an exam board directly presided over by Abe Ichirô, do not hold Kôdôkan ranks.

    Federations here (not the US) did not traditionally occupy themselves with kyû ranks, so it would not even be possible to have "rank certificate" for a kyû. The first "rank certificate" I received was for 1st kyû. It was created and issued by the club, and was given to illustrate the importance of this rank which was the highest rank a club or sensei could give out. Since the federations did not hand out kyû-ranks, club ranks were the only possible option. In fact, terms such as "club rank" vs. "national rank" are terms I had never even heard of before I joined this forum, and they are not terms that exist over here. The first time the federation in those days would learn of your rank would be when you met your eligibility for shodan and sent in your paperwork.  Because of that it is de facto impossible to have a federation rank certificate for kyû ranks in many, perhaps most countries. In conclusion, it would be nonsensical to conclude the opposite. However, if the federation want to act as a complete moron, nothing that prevent them from making exactly that nonsensical conclusion.

    Only many years later, the federation implemented a new rule that clubs had to inform the federation of issuing 1st kyu ranks. I think this was somewhere around 1983 or so. From that point onwards, one could theoretically have a federation certificate for 1st kyû, but yet not in practice for the simple reason that it was never created, because no one cares or is interested in that here.

    I have no "rank certificate" for shodan, none for nidan, and so does nobody else here unless you obtained black belt, I think, starting in 1985 or something. That's when the federation started making them. However, they are still considered merely as 'illustratory', as 'redundant', something to frame if you really want to do that, but virtually no one does. To put it differently, "rank certificates" have never been the primary mean to verify or attest to the accuracy of a dan-rank here. It apparently is like that in the US, but not in many other countries. Of course, we have "rank documentation", but not "rank certificates". I do actually have them for several ranks, but mainly for one reason, namely that I expected having to travel a lot and possibly having to deal with idiots in future. "Rank documentation" in many countries contrary to a "rank certificate" (which either does not exist or is just illustrative) commonly is a judo passport or a federation license. Judo federations in the US do not have "licenses", but only membership card. A license is not identical to a membership card. Licenses are usually at the same time the official proof of valid membership, of insurance, and of dan rank; they became official proof of kyû rank when the kyû rank was signed off on it or in it by the club sensei. So in that context, it shows again that the conlusion made by the organization you mention is not correct for many federations outside of the US.

    So far the factual side of things.

    Now there are other factors. You write "I think saying dojo ranks or ranks from other, smaller associations are “worthless” is pretty arrogant. I know many talented judoka from smaller associations."  The question is, obviously, what did the federation mean to say ?  As you will realize, there is sometimes a difference between what we say and what we really want to say. Perhaps you should give the federation a chance to clarify itself, but from the other hand, perhaps the federation should have thought about it twice about the correct nuances and universality of the statement before printing int. If we consider historic ranks, then you are correct, well maybe, because it is possible that the federation is not 'arrogant', but 'ignorant'. The two words have different meaning. I use the term 'ignorant' here to refer to all those people who were awarded ranks before the federation even existed. Virtually all ranks then were awarded by individuals or clubs. Just consider all the ranks issued in London by the Budokwai and Koizumi to many of the first black belts in Europe, or those by Kawaishi. There were no federations then initially. You would have to ask Tsurumaki how those ranks were issued or communicated. I am not sure, but I am not convinced that they were accompanied by rank certificates. I think that Kawaishi started relatively early issuing rank certificates, but most countries did not.

    So really, what the federation i talking about is:

    - dan ranks
    - in the US
    - today or in a recent past

    It would have been good if those factors would have been added.

    Another thing to consider is that sometimes one may sound arrogant even if one does not mean to. It may very well be possible that the federation's main purpose was to protect people from disappointments or problems. That's a honorable objective, I think. It is unfortunate, that indeed one may read in between the lines what you and perhaps many others understand too, namely that other organizations (probably also located in the US or at least active in the US) my deliver ranks that either were bestowed on people with low technical level, low understanding of judo, low competitive achievements, or insufficient time-in-grade, or that the ranks are fake. That is the classical tension that goes on between federations in all the martial art, the constant urge for legitimacy of the self and the patronization of other organzations. I did not write the original text so I cannot comment on what played in the mind(s) of the author(s). I'd like to use a less strong term than 'arrogant' and probably say that it is 'unfortunate' that perhaps the statement could have benefited from a more careful wording that shows respect for our friends and colleagues in judo irrespective of their gender, creed, religiion, ethnicity, affiliation or rank and that encourages them to continue their commitment and personal way in the form, with the guidance and under the umbrella they see most fit for their purpose.


    Last edited by Cichorei Kano on Sun Aug 18, 2013 10:04 am; edited 1 time in total


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    NavyRN

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by NavyRN on Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:28 am

    I have to disagree with the OP.  I started Judo when I was 13 and have been promoted many times with club rank only to have to start over at each new club that I went to (largely due to the egos of many instructors).  I've been in the US Navy for 24 years (and still counting) and I move around a lot.  I just recently was promoted to Shodan (and I'm very proud of that), but had my coaches ranked me with a national organization, then it would have negated having to start over at each new club.  Granted, it made being promoted to Shodan that much sweeter, but this could and should have been avoided.  I think this is one of the many reasons we have such a hard time with retention in Judo.

    If I wasn't the stubborn bastard that I am, I would have quit a long time ago because of these shananigans, but I'm happy I stuck it out.


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    BillC

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by BillC on Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:18 am

    NavyRN wrote:I have to disagree with the OP.  I started Judo when I was 13 and have been promoted many times with club rank only to have to start over at each new club that I went to (largely due to the egos of many instructors).  I've been in the US Navy for 24 years (and still counting) and I move around a lot.  I just recently was promoted to Shodan (and I'm very proud of that), but had my coaches ranked me with a national organization, then it would have negated having to start over at each new club.  Granted, it made being promoted to Shodan that much sweeter, but this could and should have been avoided.  I think this is one of the many reasons we have such a hard time with retention in Judo.

    If I wasn't the stubborn bastard that I am, I would have quit a long time ago because of these shenanigans, but I'm happy I stuck it out.
    Why weren't you a member of a national organization somewhere along the way? Somebody got lazy or just plain f-ed up.

    You should have been registered if you competed at any sanctioned events. You should been able to travel from place to place with your kyu grade right on your national membership card ... even if it lapsed on occasion. Did someone refuse to do so? Or just kept you unaware?

    You are right, you were done a huge disservice ... and thank you for your 24 years!


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    NavyRN

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by NavyRN on Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:34 am

    BillC wrote:
    NavyRN wrote:I have to disagree with the OP.  I started Judo when I was 13 and have been promoted many times with club rank only to have to start over at each new club that I went to (largely due to the egos of many instructors).  I've been in the US Navy for 24 years (and still counting) and I move around a lot.  I just recently was promoted to Shodan (and I'm very proud of that), but had my coaches ranked me with a national organization, then it would have negated having to start over at each new club.  Granted, it made being promoted to Shodan that much sweeter, but this could and should have been avoided.  I think this is one of the many reasons we have such a hard time with retention in Judo.

    If I wasn't the stubborn bastard that I am, I would have quit a long time ago because of these shenanigans, but I'm happy I stuck it out.
    Why weren't you a member of a national organization somewhere along the way?  Somebody got lazy or just plain f-ed up.  

    You should have been registered if you competed at any sanctioned events.  You should been able to travel from place to place with your kyu grade right on your national membership card ... even if it lapsed on occasion.  Did someone refuse to do so?  Or just kept you unaware?

    You are right, you were done a huge disservice ... and thank you for your 24 years!
    I think being young and ignorant had a lot to do with it.  You know how the saying goes.... "If I knew then what I know now".....  It has taught me so many lessons though.  I know how to never treat my students, and I'll always make sure to do right by them, and it sure does give so much more meaning (at least to me) to finally making Dan grade.
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    BillC

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by BillC on Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:43 am

    NavyRN wrote:... I've been in the US Navy for 24 years (and still counting) ...
    BTW ... come see us at San Shi Judo sometime when duty takes you our way ... the new hospital on Camp Pendleton is about 20 minutes away at the most.

    Not that Bruce and Drue down at NAS North Island are slouches on the mat either ...


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    NavyRN

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by NavyRN on Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:56 am

    BillC wrote:
    NavyRN wrote:... I've been in the US Navy for 24 years (and still counting) ...
    BTW ... come see us at San Shi Judo sometime when duty takes you our way ... the new hospital on Camp Pendleton is about 20 minutes away at the most.

    Not that Bruce and Drue down at NAS North Island are slouches on the mat either ...
    Thank you Sir.  I'd be most honored.  Looks like the Navy is sending us to Yokosuka, so I hope to get to train at the Kodokan.

    Judoman

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by Judoman on Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:17 pm

    NavyRN wrote:I have to disagree with the OP.  I started Judo when I was 13 and have been promoted many times with club rank only to have to start over at each new club that I went to (largely due to the egos of many instructors).
    You disagree, but it is the arrogant outlook many in the national orgs have that led you to starting over each time you moved to a new club. If the outlook was more openminded, each of your instructors would have let your skill speak for itself. Also, what good does it do to have a guy with a bunch of years (and skill) in Judo start over as a white belt. Actually, that is extremely unfair and potentially dangerous to all the white belts you are now “equally’ ranked with.
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    Heisenberg

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by Heisenberg on Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:20 pm

    I'm somewhat conflicted on this issue and come down on both sides of it. Call me a fence sitter. So we make it optional.

    In our dojo we don't require NGB membership. Any student that wants to compete or wants their rank registered is welcome to sign up and we will gladly file the paperwork on their behalf. Some sign up and get the card to compete but never file their promotions.

    Some choose not to mess with it at all. They are there to "do judo". They don't care about a membership card, they already have insurance, and they don't compete. Can't say I blame them.

    One of our older club members (around 70?) obviously knows judo. He teaches what I call a very fluent (and fluid) "Japanese way". He has an understanding of Kuzushi like none other I've met. He wears a black belt. Doesn't have a rank card or certificate. Isn't registered with anyone, but has 30 year old pictures of himself lined up with Yasuhiro Yamashita. Who am I to tell him his rank isn't valid because it isn't in some computer?

    Come to think of it I've never seen someone that's visited our dojo "stripped" of rank because they didn't have the decoder ring and know the secret handshake. If they aren't legit, it will show on the mat.

    Regarding the hit piece on dojo rank, it is to be expected. Rank and insurance are the only two things the legacy organizations have left in the USA. Of course they are going to use their magazine to write a propaganda piece to keep themselves relevant and the checks coming in.


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    BillC

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by BillC on Sun Aug 18, 2013 1:56 pm

    Judoman wrote:...You disagree, but it is the arrogant outlook many in the national orgs have that led you to starting over each time you moved to a new club. If the outlook was more openminded ...
    >>> Look, I am not fan of the USJA ... but you might ask whose tone is more arrogant here. All of this has been explained to you, even by people with more interesting rank recognition stories than you.

    >>> Go open a college in your field of study. Hire a bunch of really smart guys to teach this subject. Then try to get your 4 year graduates into PhD programs at any accredited university. Would they be arrogant to say "uh, sorry but ..."

    Heisenberg wrote:I'm somewhat conflicted on this issue and come down on both sides of it. Call me a fence sitter. So we make it optional.
    >>> Here's the tiny problem with that strategy. The way insurance works, if one person on the mat is uninsured by one of the "big three" then EVERYONE on the mat is uninsured. Don't ask me why, I am not an insurance actuary, it's just the case. The meaning of a membership or a sanction is that everyone is insured.


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    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Sun Aug 18, 2013 2:40 pm

    Judoman wrote:
    NavyRN wrote:I have to disagree with the OP.  I started Judo when I was 13 and have been promoted many times with club rank only to have to start over at each new club that I went to (largely due to the egos of many instructors).
    You disagree, but it is the arrogant outlook many in the national orgs have that led you to starting over each time you moved to a new club. If the outlook was more open-minded, each of your instructors would have let your skill speak for itself. Also, what good does it do to have a guy with a bunch of years (and skill) in Judo start over as a white belt. Actually, that is extremely unfair and potentially dangerous to all the white belts you are now “equally’ ranked with.  
    You point out a very important issue.


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    NavyRN

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by NavyRN on Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:46 am

    Judoman wrote:
    NavyRN wrote:I have to disagree with the OP.  I started Judo when I was 13 and have been promoted many times with club rank only to have to start over at each new club that I went to (largely due to the egos of many instructors).
    You disagree, but it is the arrogant outlook many in the national orgs have that led you to starting over each time you moved to a new club. If the outlook was more openminded, each of your instructors would have let your skill speak for itself. Also, what good does it do to have a guy with a bunch of years (and skill) in Judo start over as a white belt. Actually, that is extremely unfair and potentially dangerous to all the white belts you are now “equally’ ranked with.  
    I actually agree with your point of "what good does it do to have a guy with a bunch of years (and skill) in Judo start over as a white belt?"  It wasn't fair, but that was the situation I was put in.  I'm not saying it was right, in fact, quite the oposite.  But being placed in those positions just made me strive to be better and to study harder.

    I don't agree with everything these NGBs do, but then again, I don't agree with everything my wife does.  They have good attributes as well as some very frustrating ones.

    I do believe that with regards to the current topic, they serve a very vital role.  We as Judokas have to put our egos aside and develope a viable plan to promote and retain students in our beloved sport.  I don't know what the perfect solution is, but collectively we can come up with one.
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:05 am

    NavyRN wrote:
    Judoman wrote:
    NavyRN wrote:I have to disagree with the OP.  I started Judo when I was 13 and have been promoted many times with club rank only to have to start over at each new club that I went to (largely due to the egos of many instructors).
    You disagree, but it is the arrogant outlook many in the national orgs have that led you to starting over each time you moved to a new club. If the outlook was more openminded, each of your instructors would have let your skill speak for itself. Also, what good does it do to have a guy with a bunch of years (and skill) in Judo start over as a white belt. Actually, that is extremely unfair and potentially dangerous to all the white belts you are now “equally’ ranked with.  
    I actually agree with your point of "what good does it do to have a guy with a bunch of years (and skill) in Judo start over as a white belt?"  It wasn't fair, but that was the situation I was put in.  I'm not saying it was right, in fact, quite the oposite.  But being placed in those positions just made me strive to be better and to study harder.

    I don't agree with everything these NGBs do, but then again, I don't agree with everything my wife does.  They have good attributes as well as some very frustrating ones.

    I do believe that with regards to the current topic, they serve a very vital role.  We as Judokas have to put our egos aside and develope a viable plan to promote and retain students in our beloved sport.  I don't know what the perfect solution is, but collectively we can come up with one.
    There would have been a fairly simple way to address your situation:

    - you assemble all personal historic documentation of your ranks that you can find
    - you provide a list of references of people who can attest to your rank
    - you list the addresses and names of organizations that awarded you these ranks or if they ceased to exist or merged, exactly what has happened, and you sign a document giving the organization permission to directly verify this situation with those organizations.
    - you add a personal statement explaining why the situation is how it is, why you have or do not have other documentation or whatever, and anything that is relevant
    - after receiving the current federation's exam program for the same rank as the one you hold, you present yourself for an exam of the corresponding knowledge in front of an exam board of at least 3 people who are not related to you, have no prejudice against you or the organizations you come from, and who are qualified to judge your knowledge. They arrive at a conclusion in terms of your skills and knowledge and whether these correspond in their federation to the technical level and maturity required for the corresponding rank. If so, you get awarded the same rank as you hold, if not, a suggestion is made to you as to what rank this knowledge according to them corresponds to in their federation with an individualized program given to you as to what you need to improve in and to what standard before you are retested again. Your performance is videotaped, and you receive a justification for their decision. If you disagree, you can appeal with separate board that does not contain anyone involved in the first decision, nor anyone involved in an executive role in the federation. That board can simply judge the video without you having to actually redo the test.

    What's the problem ? is it that complicated ? Is it asking too much to treat you and your experience with the respect you deserve and provide you with a fair chance to give you thumbs up or thumbs down in a process that is transparent and in case of doubt is open to scrutiny and this by people who have zero advantage or disadvantage in whether your fail or succeed ? It's the basis of Montesquieuan separation of powers and fair and objective judgment without manipulation or prejudice.



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    ccwscott

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by ccwscott on Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:24 am

    At least in USJF, if someone shows up on the mat with black belt skills, I can't imagine anyone having a problem with their instructor just saying "okay, you are an ikkyu". If anything it might be a little irresponsible to have them running around in a white belt. Go to a few tournaments, prove that you have the skills, demonstrate some kata, once your instructor has watched you long enough that it's clear that you can be trusted to run a class safely and effectively, you should have the time in grade for a shodan. But there has to be at least some accountability. If your club has decided not to support the national org, I can't bring myself to cry a river of tears when the national org doesn't recognize your rank instantaneously. If you go to an unaccredited university, it doesn't matter how much you learned, you will not be recognized as having a degree.

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by Judoman on Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:45 am

    ccwscott wrote:If you go to an unaccredited university, it doesn't matter how much you learned, you will not be recognized as having a degree.
    This is actually an inaccurate analogy. It would be like having only “three” accredited colleges in a country. That makes no sense. How did they get accredited? Who authorized only these three to issue “degrees”? To be sensible, there would have to be a mechanism in place to allow other “colleges” to be able to follow an objective series of steps to earn “accreditation.” As far as I can tell, the national orgs would fight to the end to prevent such a system from being put into place.
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    NavyRN

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by NavyRN on Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:48 am

    Cichorei Kano wrote:
    NavyRN wrote:
    Judoman wrote:
    NavyRN wrote:I have to disagree with the OP.  I started Judo when I was 13 and have been promoted many times with club rank only to have to start over at each new club that I went to (largely due to the egos of many instructors).
    You disagree, but it is the arrogant outlook many in the national orgs have that led you to starting over each time you moved to a new club. If the outlook was more openminded, each of your instructors would have let your skill speak for itself. Also, what good does it do to have a guy with a bunch of years (and skill) in Judo start over as a white belt. Actually, that is extremely unfair and potentially dangerous to all the white belts you are now “equally’ ranked with.  
    I actually agree with your point of "what good does it do to have a guy with a bunch of years (and skill) in Judo start over as a white belt?"  It wasn't fair, but that was the situation I was put in.  I'm not saying it was right, in fact, quite the oposite.  But being placed in those positions just made me strive to be better and to study harder.

    I don't agree with everything these NGBs do, but then again, I don't agree with everything my wife does.  They have good attributes as well as some very frustrating ones.

    I do believe that with regards to the current topic, they serve a very vital role.  We as Judokas have to put our egos aside and develope a viable plan to promote and retain students in our beloved sport.  I don't know what the perfect solution is, but collectively we can come up with one.
    There would have been a fairly simple way to address your situation:

    - you assemble all personal historic documentation of your ranks that you can find
    - you provide a list of references of people who can attest to your rank
    - you list the addresses and names of organizations that awarded you these ranks or if they ceased to exist or merged, exactly what has happened, and you sign a document giving the organization permission to directly verify this situation with those organizations.
    - you add a personal statement explaining why the situation is how it is, why you have or do not have other documentation or whatever, and anything that is relevant
    - after receiving the current federation's exam program for the same rank as the one you hold, you present yourself for an exam of the corresponding knowledge in front of an exam board of at least 3 people who are not related to you, have no prejudice against you or the organizations you come from, and who are qualified to judge your knowledge. They arrive at a conclusion in terms of your skills and knowledge and whether these correspond in their federation to the technical level and maturity required for the corresponding rank. If so, you get awarded the same rank as you hold, if not, a suggestion is made to you as to what rank this knowledge according to them corresponds to in their federation with an individualized program given to you as to what you need to improve in and to what standard before you are retested again. Your performance is videotaped, and you receive a justification for their decision. If you disagree, you can appeal with separate board that does not contain anyone involved in the first decision, nor anyone involved in an executive role in the federation. That board can simply judge the video without you having to actually redo the test.

    What's the problem ?  is it that complicated ?  Is it asking too much to treat you and your experience with the respect you deserve and provide you with a fair chance to give you thumbs up or thumbs down in a process that is transparent and in case of doubt is open to scrutiny and this by people who have zero advantage or disadvantage in whether your fail or succeed ?  It's the basis of Montesquieuan separation of powers and fair and objective judgment without manipulation or prejudice.

    Being the anal retentive individual that I am, I did all of what you suggested.  For reasons unbeknownst to me, (maybe becasue I was Navy and would not be there but for a short time), I was not advanced accordingly.  One particular club which I will not name, the head Sensei (a Rokudan) told me that "clearly I was not a beginner judoka" and that he would test me and promote me to at least gokyu if not sankyu.  Well, I tested, aced both the written and practical and then was promoted to Rokkyu. To this day, I fail to understand why.  Now, I'm trying to not sound boastful, but I was regularly out-performing the "star" sankyu of the club, and although I could not regularly throw the Nidan, I could on occasion and was definitely able to hold my own in Newaza.  Maybe they didn't like the fact that I cross-trained Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Who knows?

    I can guarantee you that it wasn't because of attitude.  Being the son of a retired Warrant Officer, and a career military man myself, I can assure you that much respect was given; up until the point of promotion to rokkyu.  I truly don't understand why that was the case, but it has definitely (believe it or not) made me a better person and a better judoka.


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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:40 am

    ccwscott wrote:At least in USJF, if someone shows up on the mat with black belt skills, I can't imagine anyone having a problem with their instructor just saying "okay, you are an ikkyu".
    Why arbitrarily "1st kyû" ?  This assumes that the skill and experience of the person is just somewhere between 1st kyû and shodan. That is not automatically so. The person's skill and experience level could in effect far exceed that of the 'instructor'. In fact, the person could well be, let's say, Neil Adams. It would be a little awkward to say: "well, Neil, I guess you probably might be a black belt, here why don't you wear a brown belt for now ?". My own sensei in terms of jûdô experience was just behind Keiko Fukuda. Had 72 years of jûdô experience, and was a nidan, so I guess you could say he might have the time in grade to be considered 1st kyû or maybe "in the wisdom of the federation" even a shodan ..

    ccwscott wrote:If you go to an unaccredited university, it doesn't matter how much you learned, you will not be recognized as having a degree.
    While that is true, it is not an accurate reflection of what is the case. Using a university (and things related) as an analogy that judo federations are doing the right thing, won't work, since it will in fact show the many levels at which judo federations procedures are often flawed, tendentious, manipulative, and may be presented as supposedly being in the interest of the membership which rarely is true. Moreover, judo federations oftentimes do not hesitate to violate their own rules, which is even worse. Because there is usually no clear separation between executive branch and other branches in the judo world, and chances that anyone would dare and put the money in it to challenge these hence running the risk to not benefit from what the realm of holy dan-ranks has to offer, they can continue to do so with minimal risk.

    With regard to universities, every institution who meets the requirements of the accreditation agency can apply for accreditation and can be accredited. This is precisely what all normal universities have been doing over the past 150 years (the olders ones usually preceded accreditation bodies as we know them now and may have been 'accredited' by papal permission or royal charter and similar). This is not so for jûdô. There is no objective third-party or government-accredited agency for jûdô to accredit jûdô bodies. Even while any organization in theory might apply to the IJF, the IJF. According to subsection 4.1 only one federation per country can be recognized by the IJF, assuming that you are considering the IJF as an "accreditation organization". If only one university in the US could be accredited, and all the other universities irrespective of the quality of their research and teaching could not be accredited, it would be pandemonium. There are other international organizations who recognized national federations. The World Judo Federation and the International Budo Federation are just two examples. The suggestion that automatically one's rank is "not recognized" if it simply is not from this or that federation simply is not true. Historically, it's even so that many of the federations that are now recognized by the IJF are merged or separated from others who were or were not recognized by the IJF at one point in time. Moreover, as I already described there are issues with regard to ranks issues even before there was an IJF which per definition can't have been issued under IJF rules, and there are many other issues, such as for example Kôdôkan ranks. Neither Daigo, Abe or Ôsawa hold and IJF-rank. The highest Japanese dan-rank recognized by the IJF is 8th dan, in the list they IJF sent me. Only two Japanese were on them, making the hundreds of other Japanese 8th dan and higher holders including Keiko Fukuda all 'not-recognized' according to that rationale. One could obviously assess them give them a 1st kyû including to Keiko Fukuda if in one's wisdom they meet the necessary technical level. I'm not trying to be obtuse, but the problem is far more complicated and inconsistent then is suggested, one of the main problems being that the cases are not judged by an independent and objective body. Specifically for the US, one only has to read the contentious 1970s legal proceedings between the AAU and JBBA and Armed Forces Yûdanshakai that in the end was settled out of court and led to the situation we have now. But even that situation to some extent is better that it is in many countries. In fact, though only the USJI is IJF-recognized, there now is at least an agreement to recognized each other's ranks and allow access to each other's activities. In many countries it is not like that, and organizations instead of applauding those who devote their life to jûdô, what one sees is active attempts to curtail or make it impossible for other organizations to do jûdô. That in itself is very remarkable. I can't even imagine that no one would be allowed to kick a ball unless they all paid membership to the FIFA or were recognized by the FIFA. Imagine all the schools in England were kids kick a ball, all the amateurs, all the numerous other friendly associations and organizations have youngsters and veterans kick a ball being curtailed or prohibited to do so by the FIFA. Unimaginable. Only in judo this is apparently considered normal by some. While the accreditation of colleges and universities isn't perfect either, it certainly is much, much more objective than what happens in jûdô. Besides, there are also appeal possibilities, with the guarantees that are offered by a proper appeal process. Nothing like that exists in judo or in the IJF where there is always intertwined links and interests between executives and committees, not in the least because of the shared concern almost everyone has about dan-rank in judo. Any person more senior involved in a judo executive only has to make a vague reference to the next dan-rank of anyone in a committee and they suddenly become a sitting duck. This has time and time again been shown in so many cases.

    And, of course, I also have never known any university or school that has issued a degree to you, threaten to rescind that degree (assuming that such legally would be possible) if you dare to go study at or be employed by a different university. Nor would any university threaten or retaliate against you if you plan on joining a different university than the one(s) you graduated from if you dare to join another one. Only in judo the equivalent is considered 'normal' (by some), or in case it isn't considered normal, it is nevertheless 'accepted' by many. You know, here, judo or karate or aikido federations are not allowed to issue coaching certifications. Only the government (or at least a government organization) has that authority and that is good too since otherwise the judo federations could start manipulating those too. I remember talking to officials of the government education branch involved in that, and you know what ?  They only had problems of that kind with martial arts organizations (judo, jujutsu, aikido, karate, all of them). They had, however, no such problem with sports organizations of other sports. Only martial arts organizations time and time again wanted to dominate and solely claim legitimacy for their qualification and this in an ugly and immature way by attempting to make others look incompetent, EVEN if those others originally came from the federation and where actually graduated by the federation making that comment. "Dan rank" and only dan-rank was ALWAYS behind the issue. It wasn't even about money, it was about that magic power that the topic of dan-rank seems to exert on people.

    What I keep wondering about in all this, is ... if we all take one step back, and try to look at this from a distance, is 'this' then really what Kanô intended jûdô to be and be about when he created it ?  If so, what an incredible failure and uneducational system it is ...


    Last edited by Cichorei Kano on Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:04 am; edited 1 time in total


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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by Judoman on Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:32 am

    [quote="Cichorei Kano"]
    ccwscott wrote:What I keep wondering about in all this, is ... if we all take one step back, and try to look at this from a distance, is 'this' then really what Kanô intended jûdô to be and be about when he created it ?  If so, what an incredible failure and uneducational system it is ...
    Well said!
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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by Jonesy on Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:51 am

    Running a class safely and effectively should play no part in it. Dan rank is about personal skill/knowledge and nothing to do with teaching.....


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    Neil G

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by Neil G on Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:03 am

    Judoman wrote:
    ccwscott wrote:If you go to an unaccredited university, it doesn't matter how much you learned, you will not be recognized as having a degree.
    This is actually an inaccurate analogy. It would be like having only “three” accredited colleges in a country. That makes no sense. How did they get accredited? Who authorized only these three to issue “degrees”? To be sensible, there would have to be a mechanism in place to allow other “colleges” to be able to follow an objective series of steps to earn “accreditation.” As far as I can tell, the national orgs would fight to the end to prevent such a system from being put into place.
    A better analogy is the dojo as "colleges" and USJA et. al. as "accreditation boards". Having three accreditation boards in a country is silly. There should be only one.
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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by NavyRN on Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:51 am

    Jonesy wrote:Running a class safely and effectively should play no part in it.  Dan rank is about personal skill/knowledge and nothing to do with teaching.....
    WHAT?  I seriously hope that you are trolling.
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    Post by BillC on Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:20 am

    Note to mods ...

    May I suggest two new sections for this forum ... maybe two entirely separate web sites would be fine for me ...

    1. A forum to complain and argue about judo rank.

    2. A forum to complain and argue about judo organizations.

    Humbly submitted.

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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by afulldeck on Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:02 am

    BillC wrote:Note to mods ...

    May I suggest two new sections for this forum ... maybe two entirely separate web sites would be fine for me ...

    1.  A forum to complain and argue about judo rank.

    2.  A forum to complain and argue about judo organizations.

    Humbly submitted.

    Bill C
    Oh yes, don't forget about a forum for Judo shoes


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    Re: Dojo Promotions Comment

    Post by BillC on Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:37 am

    afulldeck wrote:Oh yes, don't forget about a forum for Judo shoes
    Ah ... but for those with a refined sense of style such as yours there can be no argument.


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