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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kendo rankings

It is understood that at some point in your kendo career you will try to achieve a rank. But, what does a rank really mean? Does it prove your true worthiness as a kendoka? Can it gain you respect, appreciation from your sensei and peers?

In Eiji Yoshikawa's 'Musashi', the hero Miyamoto Musashi traveled throughout Japan to perfect his technique by engaging in combat with other kenshi. During his dojo visits he seeked to fight their most gifted students and perhaps add something new to his 'toolbox'. Musashi was often ignored due to his poor appearance. But despite looks Musashi defeated all of his adversaries. His calling card? His reputation that preceded him.

In kendo there are no visible ranks or colored belts meaning that every kendoka you cross swords with inside or outside dojo must be treated with courtesy and respect. Rank does help in determining your skill level and if you are ready to teach. Rank also speaks loudly of your personal commitment to kendo as a way of life. But rank does not define your character, the type of person you are when bogu is off. One should assess a person by his or her technique and most importantly by the way he or she treats fellow kendoka rather than just rank.

"To make kendo appealing to larger crowds some schools have bestowed ranks to students that have not yet acquired the appropiate skill level" said Lopez Q. Sensei. "To me this is a mistake; students should value kendo and ´sweat blood´ to achieve a rank. Who would you rather be? A low-level san-dan or an excellent ni-dan that fights like a san-dan and makes yon-dan break a sweat?".

Have you been treated unfairly because you had no rank? Have you ever felt pressured to obtain one just to prove a point or gain respect? Please give us your feedback. Take care.

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1 comments:

David said...

El orgullo y la vanidad son males que a veces se desbordan en un dojo, cualquier dojo.

Como si no fuéramos bastante raros entre los mismos artistas marciales con nuestros equipos, los shinais, y el uniforme. Entre raros queremos ser mas especiales extensos bordados detrás de la hakama con poemas y demás, shinais especiales extremadamente costosos, tsubas con diseños, DO de colores, con diseños o con piel de tiburón, incluso he llegado a ver en imágenes maestros de alto rango con el "Men gane" dorado... existen un sin numero de adornos para hacer notar nuestra presencia en un dojo y ninguno suma como persona al kendoka que los pavonea como si no tuviéramos ya suficientes detalles que atender a la hora de vestirnos.

En mi país al ser una isla donde el kendo aun no es tan conocido, los artículos no se venden aquí, así hay que ahorrar mucho para conseguir solo lo esencial desde el exterior, eso nos mantiene a la raya y aun así se ven los aires de querer sobresalir superficialmente sobre los demás.

Otra cosa son los exámenes, si bien buena parte de mi dojo todos somos 1er Kyu y no tenemos más rango debido a que se necesitan varios Dan para que nos puedan examinar Dan que no están en el país el sensei un caballero 7mo Dan esta de acuerdo en buena parte de nosotros somos capaces incluso de optar por un examen de 3er Dan si no de 1er Dan estoy orgulloso de eso.

Observo con desagrado cuando llega algún invitado a nuestro dojo y los kohais solo le preguntan que Dan usted tiene? como si dependiendo de su respuesta se lo tratase con más o menos respeto, pero siempre les recuerdo la frase de uno de eso invitados "No le hagan tanto caso a eso de los Dan de donde yo vengo tiras una piedra al aire y de seguro le cae a un 5 o 6to Dan"

No podría estar mas deacuerdo con este post en especial por "In kendo there are no visible ranks or colored belts meaning that every kendoka you cross swords with inside or outside dojo must be treated with courtesy and respect." Con su permiso robare esa frase

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