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My high dan validity test quite simple actually Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   Taigyo 

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 11:18 PM

There has been a lot written about the legitimacy of the rank of this high dan or that high dan on the forum. Lots of opinions. However, I have a very simple test that seems to be quite reliable. I simply listen to the way they talk when teaching or lecturing. Real high dans do not say "I do this" or talk about their technique, or their achievements. Rather they talk in terms of Judo, such as "in Judo movement is very important. They put Judo before themselves. I think this reflects both the humility and dedication to Judo that is necessary to develop the levels of knowledge and skill that is supposed to be recognized by high dan rank.
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#2 User is offline   billc 

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 01:09 AM

View PostTaigyo, on 21 October 2011 - 04:18 PM, said:

There has been a lot written about the legitimacy of the rank of this high dan or that high dan on the forum. Lots of opinions. However, I have a very simple test that seems to be quite reliable. I simply listen to the way they talk when teaching or lecturing. Real high dans do not say "I do this" or talk about their technique, or their achievements. Rather they talk in terms of Judo, such as "in Judo movement is very important. They put Judo before themselves. I think this reflects both the humility and dedication to Judo that is necessary to develop the levels of knowledge and skill that is supposed to be recognized by high dan rank.


Right on, my Oregano friend. You got that right, you sure got that right.
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#3 User is offline   JudoSensei 

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 01:14 AM

While I agree with your point, let me challenge it to the extent that this leads to broad statements about what judo is without recognizing the adaptability of judo to individuals. A high dan who says this is the way a technique is done in judo, can still recognize that there are other ways it can be done in certain situations or with different individuals.

It is also not really an indicator of rank since many people of various ranks will say what judo is with humility and dedication, but still be incorrect.
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#4 User is offline   Taigyo 

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 04:31 AM

View PostJudoSensei, on 22 October 2011 - 02:14 AM, said:

While I agree with your point, let me challenge it to the extent that this leads to broad statements about what judo is without recognizing the adaptability of judo to individuals. A high dan who says this is the way a technique is done in judo, can still recognize that there are other ways it can be done in certain situations or with different individuals.

It is also not really an indicator of rank since many people of various ranks will say what judo is with humility and dedication, but still be incorrect.

I am not really talking about broad and sweeping statements about the meaning of Judo, you can come by those over beers pretty readily. Rather it is the attitude that they are serving the purpose of furthering and teaching Judo rather than seeking self aggrandizement. I was told a story by a friend who knows Osawa sensei quite well. Now Osawa sensei's feet are in really bad shape, so bad that he really cannot get out on the mat anymore. My friend said to him in sympathy "it is so sad that you can no longer do Judo" to which Osawa sensei replied "I cannot stop doing Judo".

Perhaps there is also a bit of a self correcting mechanism there too. If you really can put your ego aside and try to really learn what Judo is about you are likely to have at least a degree of success.
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#5 User is offline   aiyotsu 

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 06:28 AM

View PostTaigyo, on 22 October 2011 - 11:18 AM, said:

There has been a lot written about the legitimacy of the rank of this high dan or that high dan on the forum. Lots of opinions. However, I have a very simple test that seems to be quite reliable. I simply listen to the way they talk when teaching or lecturing. Real high dans do not say "I do this" or talk about their technique, or their achievements. Rather they talk in terms of Judo, such as "in Judo movement is very important. They put Judo before themselves. I think this reflects both the humility and dedication to Judo that is necessary to develop the levels of knowledge and skill that is supposed to be recognized by high dan rank.

hello Taigyo. Someone else made the same point a year or two back. I took a lot of notice at the time and certainly it is true that high ranks speak as you say and lower ranks say "I". However I have noted that lower ranks will also say "In Judo we do ....". In this case there is not someone of higher rank present. The lower rank being the highest rank present uses the same authoritve speach form. That is, if they are capable of speaking with authority. If the high ranks are present, the lower rank will automatically revert to "I do ...".
I am not saying that it is universal, just that I have noted it on a few occasions.
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#6 User is offline   billc 

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Posted 22 October 2011 - 01:30 PM

View PostTaigyo, on 21 October 2011 - 09:31 PM, said:

I am not really talking about broad and sweeping statements about the meaning of Judo, you can come by those over beers pretty readily. Rather it is the attitude that they are serving the purpose of furthering and teaching Judo rather than seeking self aggrandizement. I was told a story by a friend who knows Osawa sensei quite well. Now Osawa sensei's feet are in really bad shape, so bad that he really cannot get out on the mat anymore. My friend said to him in sympathy "it is so sad that you can no longer do Judo" to which Osawa sensei replied "I cannot stop doing Judo".

Perhaps there is also a bit of a self correcting mechanism there too. If you really can put your ego aside and try to really learn what Judo is about you are likely to have at least a degree of success.


Yes, again I think this is an agreeable statement. My thoughts in reading your original entry were along the lines of who the speaker (or writer) is trying to praise when he or she is speaking. High dan that I know and who I have come to respect ... and love like family ... do often speak in the first person ... i.e. they tell long stories like any older person. But one can sense the reason for the long story is that they really are trying to share their experiences for the benefit of the listener (or reader).

A simple test, a little analysis of the story will reveal who the "hero" of the story is. Is it the point of the whole exposition to show off how wonderful, perfect and knowledgeable the speaker (or writer) is? Or, even if in the first person, or even if it does reveal the accomplishments of the story teller, does the story make others look even better ... a lesson the story teller learned?

Sometimes on this forum the names drop like wet bags of cement. Kotani this, Osawa that, Okano, Hirano, Daigo ... lots of names with "o's" I guess. Sometimes, and this should bring a belly laugh of disbelief from the listener (or reader) they say what could be the stupidest statement in judo ... how they "beat" or "almost beat" Koga, Yamashita, etc. in randori. In my humble opinion, if you ever read that, T-man, reach for the minus button. Most of the time the blowhards are pretty good at being such, so they will be a bit more difficult to catch, but the "hero" test will catch them in the end ... every time.

Sometimes it's true that people did learn form these people ... want to share that experience by boring you to death with the wonderful things they did ... it's unavoidable that a judoka that has lived a full and widely traveled life cannot avoid having been in famous places and met famous people. Other times, folks want to legitimize their point of view by bringing famous names into their story ... that is quite different I think. Subtle at first, but after a while it tends to stand out quickly.

A couple weeks ago I was in Tokyo at NBK's dojo. Hey, I am lucky, my job lets me travel and spread my incompetent judo like a dangerous virus, and besides I am not a high dan so I don't need to be careful with my stories I guess. Anyway, there was another guy there who I met for the first time who related a long story ... while we were sitting seiza where any story becomes long ... while my frequently pranged IT band throbbed ... about how lucky he was to have attended the Olympics because of his sensei. Not how right he was because his method was was an Olympian, rather how the method given to him was right enough to make him an Olympian ... and how lucky he was to receive it. I knew right away that the fact I didn't know this gent was my fault but that in all likelihood that he was not full of crap about judo. This is what you refer to I think, Taigyo?
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#7 User is offline   Jonesy 

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 07:07 AM

I am not at all sure about this. My sense is that you will find a cross section of personalities/character in the judo high dan community as you will in everyday life. This applies to Japanese high dan holders as well to other nationalities.

Think of Ichiro Abe, the late Charles Palmer, Peter Seissenbacher, Robert van der Walle, Densign White etc - is humble the first thing that comes to mind when describing the character of these people, yet they are all 7 dan plus, and two are 10 dan?
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#8 User is offline   Taigyo 

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 05:50 PM

View PostJonesy, on 23 October 2011 - 08:07 AM, said:

I am not at all sure about this. My sense is that you will find a cross section of personalities/character in the judo high dan community as you will in everyday life. This applies to Japanese high dan holders as well to other nationalities.

Think of Ichiro Abe, the late Charles Palmer, Peter Seissenbacher, Robert van der Walle, Densign White etc - is humble the first thing that comes to mind when describing the character of these people, yet they are all 7 dan plus?

this is not a perfect method of course. It is only based on my experience (how could I do anything else). I do not have quite as many bags of wet cement to throw around as others. There are of course some abberant personalities that are highly skilled at Judo.

In some ways this is an attempt to quantify what is probably as subconscious assesment on my part. I have run into a person wearing a red belt who was supposed to be a ninth dan (not Kodokan) and within about 2 minutes my impression was "what the hell". Upon further experience this feeling turned out to be more or less correct. I have the same feeling with a lot of other 5th dans and above which have ususally turned out to be correct in the end. Maybe it is actually a reflection of my opinion that to truly warrant a high dan it rises above just high levels of skill, you must be dedicated to Judo itself. It has to rise above the just the me. In fact maybe this is an even more important requirement for high dan rank as this is what allows Judo to survive through time.
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#9 User is offline   Y-Chromosome 

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Posted 23 October 2011 - 07:16 PM

My first thought on reading the OP was "It's possible to be humble and still suck."

That said we are talking about people wearing high dan ranks. I think this is one of those tests where False Positives are possible but False Negatives would be extremely rare.

If we are testing a high dan as to whether or not he is a "poser" and we examine his humility or lack thereof and find him egostistical, it could be that the egotism marks him as a poser or he may be simply aware of his own awesomeness. (A good number of judoka are.)

On the other hand, a truly humble person just wouldn't apsire to high rank they didn't deserve. They wouldn't abuse their position on this or that committee or this or that board, wouldn't trade favors or lobby or exagerrate or justify five successive ranks on the same dusty prior accomplishments.

To me though, the proof is really in the pudding. There's hundreds of men and women out there who could take a gifted athlete and guide them towards a championship.

On the other hand, how many people could stand in front of group of seventh and eighth dans and teach them something they didn't know about judo? I sometimes wonder when I see some these non-Kodokan promotions "Really? Him?.. So he could teach ***** about Koshiki no Kata? ***** would seek his advice about Itsutsu no Kata?"
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#10 User is offline   billc 

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 02:30 AM

View PostTaigyo, on 23 October 2011 - 10:50 AM, said:

this is not a perfect method of course. It is only based on my experience (how could I do anything else). I do not have quite as many bags of wet cement to throw around as others. There are of course some abberant personalities that are highly skilled at Judo.

In some ways this is an attempt to quantify what is probably as subconscious assesment on my part. I have run into a person wearing a red belt who was supposed to be a ninth dan (not Kodokan) and within about 2 minutes my impression was "what the hell". Upon further experience this feeling turned out to be more or less correct. I have the same feeling with a lot of other 5th dans and above which have ususally turned out to be correct in the end. Maybe it is actually a reflection of my opinion that to truly warrant a high dan it rises above just high levels of skill, you must be dedicated to Judo itself. It has to rise above the just the me. In fact maybe this is an even more important requirement for high dan rank as this is what allows Judo to survive through time.


What I think you both you and I neglected to do ... or maybe a better way to say what we did ... was to subconsciously segregate high dan ranks whose ranks we do not find to be credible in our thinking. As you note, there are differences in who awards rank ... noting that no organization is perfect.

Maybe Jones is right, there probably are plenty of actual high dan ranks running around that do not pass the "hero test." No one should ask me how I feel about the validity of the rank of individual actual people who do not, and if asked I will demur. Still, I find it to be more the rule than the exception.

On the whole I think you have it mostly right. I still find the hero test to be a good litmus paper of postings on the Judo Forum. You may not know personally names you can drop T-man ... actually you do know a few ... but that lack does not stop some people on this forum. Yeah, if a person has to drop a name every other sentence for the purpose of making themselves look cool and well-connected, they are not credible. Kinda like the long-ago mentioned posts regarding people fond of putting up pictures of themselves with their arms around typically unsmiling luminaries ... the reasons, as you say, are instinctively clear to me at least ... I think maybe this is the feeling you are trying to get across too?

P.S. - Taigyo ... were you the Oregano asking my student her tokuiwaza at last week's event in San Francisco?
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#11 User is offline   billc 

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 02:36 AM

View PostY-Chromosome, on 23 October 2011 - 12:16 PM, said:

On the other hand, how many people could stand in front of group of seventh and eighth dans and teach them something they didn't know about judo? I sometimes wonder when I see some these non-Kodokan promotions "Really? Him?.. So he could teach ***** about Koshiki no Kata? ***** would seek his advice about Itsutsu no Kata?"


Yep. PT Nippon says it well, a person wearing a red belt should be a "walking encyclopedia of judo" regardless.
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#12 User is offline   Taigyo 

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Posted 24 October 2011 - 05:37 AM

View Postbillc, on 24 October 2011 - 03:30 AM, said:

What I think you both you and I neglected to do ... or maybe a better way to say what we did ... was to subconsciously segregate high dan ranks whose ranks we do not find to be credible in our thinking. As you note, there are differences in who awards rank ... noting that no organization is perfect.

Maybe Jones is right, there probably are plenty of actual high dan ranks running around that do not pass the "hero test." No one should ask me how I feel about the validity of the rank of individual actual people who do not, and if asked I will demur. Still, I find it to be more the rule than the exception.

On the whole I think you have it mostly right. I still find the hero test to be a good litmus paper of postings on the Judo Forum. You may not know personally names you can drop T-man ... actually you do know a few ... but that lack does not stop some people on this forum. Yeah, if a person has to drop a name every other sentence for the purpose of making themselves look cool and well-connected, they are not credible. Kinda like the long-ago mentioned posts regarding people fond of putting up pictures of themselves with their arms around typically unsmiling luminaries ... the reasons, as you say, are instinctively clear to me at least ... I think maybe this is the feeling you are trying to get across too?

P.S. - Taigyo ... were you the Oregano asking my student her tokuiwaza at last week's event in San Francisco?

Don't think so, Though the only Oregonians present were myself, my teacher and my partner.
In terms of the test, I definitely think we are on the same wavelength
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#13 User is offline   kikite 

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 09:32 PM

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#14 User is offline   up-and-over! 

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:38 AM

View PostTaigyo, on 21 October 2011 - 11:18 PM, said:

There has been a lot written about the legitimacy of the rank of this high dan or that high dan on the forum. Lots of opinions. However, I have a very simple test that seems to be quite reliable. I simply listen to the way they talk when teaching or lecturing. Real high dans do not say "I do this" or talk about their technique, or their achievements. Rather they talk in terms of Judo, such as "in Judo movement is very important. They put Judo before themselves. I think this reflects both the humility and dedication to Judo that is necessary to develop the levels of knowledge and skill that is supposed to be recognized by high dan rank.

I shall remember this when i (hopefully) get a higher belt :D :guitar:
I <3 Judo
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#15 User is offline   Phat tony 

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 02:53 PM

View Postup-and-over!, on 10 November 2011 - 08:38 AM, said:

I shall remember this when i (hopefully) get a higher belt :D :guitar:


What you really should say is, " my judo shall remember this when judo sees me worthy of a higher rank"! Lol
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