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Lu Tze
6/20/2011 1:28pm,
Now that's just inspiring.It's what Judo is supposed to be.

It was the first martial art. You see all that "respect honour courage" bollocks that's written tritely on the wall of every mcdojo in the world? They stole that from Judo... the words at least.

BKR
6/20/2011 1:34pm,
I've heard a few times that in Japan, the shodan rank means only that you have ukemi down well enough to be comfortably safe during randori and you have the basics of Judo's techniques, philosophy, etc. down. In contrast, in the west, a shodan means that while you're no master, you're really damn good, you have a distinctive fighting style, and you have a solid understanding of the history, philosophy, and practice of Judo.

Of course, all of the above is ideal, and I'm sure there are exceptions, but, I was wondering if was indeed true that more is required of (say) an American shodan than a Japanese one.

Also, in general, I would like to stew over what I want to work on in terms of technique and character before I become a shodan myself, and I would like to match expectations of even the most (reasonably) stringent for what a shodan is.

Quality of shodan varies widely in the US. Realize that all rank requirments are MINIMUM STANDARDS.

What that means is that shodan does not mean, on average:

Oplus wrote:"In contrast, in the west, a shodan means that while you're no master, you're really damn good, you have a distinctive fighting style, and you have a solid understanding of the history, philosophy, and practice of Judo."

I'll give you an example of myself.

I started Judo at 17 years old. I was a reasonably fit, healthy, athletic young man with no injuries.

It took me 5 years to get to shodan, in which time I practiced a minimum of 6 hours a week, once I got more serious, after about 1 year, I upped that to 8 hours a week. The second 2 hours was a 2 hour one way drive to another city to train with a former all Japan champion and world silver medalist and several other black belts and yudansha. Soon after, I was also going to workouts at a university in the same town run by the same sensei an additional day per week, upping my training to 10 hours/week.

I also started competing a LOT more, lifting weights, running, etc. I did two things in life: Judo and my university school work. Depending on my schedule, I would go yet another workout (same dojo, same 2 hour one way drive), so 12 hours a week of Judo.

Anyway, I ended up getting shodan in 5 years, won a couple of state championships, competed at nationals, collegiate nationals, etc.

I was not an average shodan. In my state, I ate the average shodan for lunch when I was a nikyu, for sure when I was a ikkyu, not to mention multiple nidan, sandan judoka. There were guys who I couldn't beat for sure, but they were national elite level or formerly at that level.

I never trained with Japanese guys back then other than my sensei, who obviously could destroy me at will. I went to the US OTC in CO Springs multiple times with my home dojo coach and got my ass destroyed by elite level judoka from the US.

Here is the gist of my shodan test.

Written exam
Demonstrate entire Gokyo No waza in the following fashion (note, only 40 throws, although I did know and have to do a lot of the new ones).
1.) From memory-no one told me which throw to do next, and it was minus points if I had to ask. I didn't need any help.
2.) Demonstrate a combination for each throw.
3.) Demonstrate a counter for each throw.
4.) All that was done right and left sides.
5.) All 5 sets Nage No Kata, uke and tori.
6.) I had to be certified as a state level referee ("D" in those days)
7.) Refereed 3 o 4 mock matches to show I could referee.
8.) Tons of competition points plus time in grade as ikkyu
9.) Demonstrate randori
10.) Answer any and all questions from the promotion board, plus demo whatever they asked me to do.
11.) Demonstrate all the katame waza of Judo, plus multiple escapes, turtle turnovers, reversals, etc.

My nidan test was not even half of that, other than doing katame no kata.
My sandan test was pretty rigorous, but not as rigorous as my shodan test.

Despite all of that, I was not then or nor I am now "Really damn good", even if I could have my 21 year old body and my 48 year old experience.

Ben

BKR
6/20/2011 1:37pm,
I didn't mean that you automatically get yondan as an adult. I meant that they are generally acquired by kids. I have better knowledge of kendo in this regard - if you're a serious player as a kid, you will generally have sandan by the time you get out of high school and yondan is something you acquire playing for your college team. I'd be happy to be corrected on this if judo is different, I got the impression they were similar in this regard.

Kendo also has the concept that 1-3 dan are almost entirely physical skill based, ie executing the waza, using your speed and technique to score. 4+ dan introduces more complicated concepts, more mental things and therefore is another reason to regard that 3-4 break as the switch to adult practice. Finally, 4 dan is regarded as a junior instructor level, again an adult thing. I have no idea if judo has equivalent concepts - certainly they are never talked about in my club.

Not the same in Judo. Finding a kid who is sandan in high school would be pretty damned hard in Judo, as far as I know.

The same 3-4 break exists in Judo, as I think I already posted, but I do not know of differences in concepts learned/taught. That does not mean they do no exist, of course.

Ben

BKR
6/20/2011 1:43pm,
What is your opinion on the concept then? I always thought of tokui-waza as your particular sub-set of judo that is suited to your body type and attitude and that you work on more than other waza, because getting real competence in everything is not a reasonable target.



because getting real competence in everything is not a reasonable target



This part is not wrong, but it's not the reason for tokui waza. I think the reason for tokui waza is closer to this:
I always thought of tokui-waza as your particular sub-set of judo that is suited to your body type and attitude and that you work on more than other waza

I think the reason for tokui waza was/is the fact that the competition aspect of Judo has gotten way overblown over the past few decades.

I think a competent Judoka should be able to do/demonstrate the first two kyo of the gokyo no waza, and within there have certain throws that he she may specialize in.

So I guess I see tokui waza as a concept being abused in Judo, to clarify my position.

Ben

NeilG
6/20/2011 1:59pm,
Here is the gist of my shodan test.

Written exam
Demonstrate entire Gokyo No waza in the following fashion (note, only 40 throws, although I did know and have to do a lot of the new ones).
1.) From memory-no one told me which throw to do next, and it was minus points if I had to ask. I didn't need any help.
2.) Demonstrate a combination for each throw.
3.) Demonstrate a counter for each throw.
4.) All that was done right and left sides.
5.) All 5 sets Nage No Kata, uke and tori.
6.) I had to be certified as a state level referee ("D" in those days)
7.) Refereed 3 o 4 mock matches to show I could referee.
8.) Tons of competition points plus time in grade as ikkyu
9.) Demonstrate randori
10.) Answer any and all questions from the promotion board, plus demo whatever they asked me to do.
11.) Demonstrate all the katame waza of Judo, plus multiple escapes, turtle turnovers, reversals, etc. Wow, that is a tough standard for shodan.

I just passed mine a week ago. Here's what I had to do:

1) Needed 120 points, of which 30 had to be technical. You could accomplish that by spending 3 years as ikkyu and either refereeing or competing (no win necessary) in 6 tournaments. This requirement is set by Judo Canada.
2) Written exam.
3) First 3 nage-no-kata, tori only. I did both because my dojo-mate and I were uke for each other. If I had wanted the kodokan cert I would have done all 5 sets.
4) Pick up a sheet from a table which had a random collection of waza on it. Ended up showing about 10 nage-waza, 5 katame-waza, 3 kansetsu-waza, 3 shime-waza. Didn't matter if I showed right or left.
5) Show one combo and one counter (this part surprised me, I was expecting to have to demonstrate quite a few)
6) Short bit of randori.

BKR
6/20/2011 2:34pm,
Wow, that is a tough standard for shodan.

I just passed mine a week ago. Here's what I had to do:

1) Needed 120 points, of which 30 had to be technical. You could accomplish that by spending 3 years as ikkyu and either refereeing or competing (no win necessary) in 6 tournaments. This requirement is set by Judo Canada.
2) Written exam.
3) First 3 nage-no-kata, tori only. I did both because my dojo-mate and I were uke for each other. If I had wanted the kodokan cert I would have done all 5 sets.
4) Pick up a sheet from a table which had a random collection of waza on it. Ended up showing about 10 nage-waza, 5 katame-waza, 3 kansetsu-waza, 3 shime-waza. Didn't matter if I showed right or left.
5) Show one combo and one counter (this part surprised me, I was expecting to have to demonstrate quite a few)
6) Short bit of randori.

I'm familiar with the Judo Canada standards. I was told that in BC all they have to do is demo their kata for shodan and that's that. Not sure if that is exactly true or not, though.

Ben

Dave R.
6/20/2011 2:41pm,
I've heard a few times that in Japan, the shodan rank means only that you have ukemi down well enough to be comfortably safe during randori and you have the basics of Judo's techniques, philosophy, etc. down. In contrast, in the west, a shodan means that while you're no master, you're really damn good, you have a distinctive fighting style, and you have a solid understanding of the history, philosophy, and practice of Judo.

Of course, all of the above is ideal, and I'm sure there are exceptions, but, I was wondering if was indeed true that more is required of (say) an American shodan than a Japanese one.


I asked this question once of someone who spent some time in Japan and trained at the Kodokan. He seemed to feel that if you compare the skill level of the average student in Japan when they reach shodan vs. the average skill level of the average student in the US when they reach shodan the student in the US would likely be better. I think far more is required in the United States to be a shodan than in Japan. In the US you need to acquire a certain amount of service points and such. You have to know the entire nage no kata. You need to have been an assistant teaching. You have to have a certain amount of time in grade (generally speaking), you have to know the history inside and out. I don't think all of that is necessary in Japan. Hell, I don't think all that service stuff should be necessary in the United States either for shodan. I mean, I understand that the powers that be want to ensure the people they are promoting have a vested interest in the future of Judo rather than belt hunting but quite frankly in most countries there is a drop off at shodan in terms of participation.

I've read stories where shodan from Japan have visited the United States and not know what o goshi is or harai goshi is. The way they teach is different. That would never happen in the United States. By yellow belt most everyone knows what o goshi is.



Also, in general, I would like to stew over what I want to work on in terms of technique and character before I become a shodan myself, and I would like to match expectations of even the most (reasonably) stringent for what a shodan is.

I would advise you not stew on it too much. You becoming a shodan is largely out of your hands. Just work on being better than yesterday and the rest will take care of itself.

Coach Josh
6/20/2011 9:38pm,
Well Ben sat on the panel for my shodan test IIRC. I dam near killed my uke and got my BB at about 30 after about 6 years of training.

SoulMechanic
6/20/2011 10:32pm,
I'm suggesting that there is a relationship between American sports and elitism.

We do lead the world in Olympic gold medals broski......

BKR
6/21/2011 12:00pm,
Well Ben sat on the panel for my shodan test IIRC. I dam near killed my uke and got my BB at about 30 after about 6 years of training.

Yeah, and I did ask you a bunch of stuff to do after all the formal requirements.

You are a good example of someone who trained hard and put a lot of extra effort into your Judo getting shodan, way above average.

Ben

Grey Owl
6/21/2011 12:26pm,
I cant stand cricket, yet somehow, that hurt on a deep psychological level.

I'm British and I don't even know who the winner is after I have been told the score.

Yamabushi7
6/21/2011 2:07pm,
I study Danzan Ryu Jujitsu with the American Judo and jujitsu Federation sometimes called Kodenkan Jujitsu. It seems the words Judo and Jujitsu are interchangeable in our Federation. The school I am currently at is called Medford Judo I will share our Shodan requirements. 20 techniques from Yawara list escapes wrist locks and finger or thumb locks, 20 techniques from Nage no kata these are throws, 25 techniques from Shime list hold downs chokes and arm locks, 25 techniques from Oku te list throws that transition to arm bars, counter throws, throws from punch's, counter attacks. Great youtube video on this list called Kodenkan Jiu-Jitsu Old School Oku. Kiai no Maki list 27 techniques breath control, knife arts, stick arts, gun arts. Fujin Goshin no Maki 35 self defense arts, Kapo 9 healing arts, Shinnin no Maki first 15 arts this is called the start of the Okuden or secret teaching I am not allowed to give details. Kicking blocking and striking are also required. A detailed note book must be presented and this counts as the written. Participation in at least one freestyle contest (our version of randori) 209 techniques demonstrated before a board of Professors and or black belt not from test subjects home school. Must pass criminal back ground check. I have no idea if the Japanese or Americans are better.

BKR
6/21/2011 2:16pm,
I study Danzan Ryu Jujitsu with the American Judo and jujitsu Federation sometimes called Kodenkan Jujitsu. It seems the words Judo and Jujitsu are interchangeable in our Federation. The school I am currently at is called Medford Judo I will share our Shodan requirements. 20 techniques from Yawara list escapes wrist locks and finger or thumb locks, 20 techniques from Nage no kata these are throws, 25 techniques from Shime list hold downs chokes and arm locks, 25 techniques from Oku te list throws that transition to arm bars, counter throws, throws from punch's, counter attacks. Great youtube video on this list called Kodenkan Jiu-Jitsu Old School Oku. Kiai no Maki list 27 techniques breath control, knife arts, stick arts, gun arts. Fujin Goshin no Maki 35 self defense arts, Kapo 9 healing arts, Shinnin no Maki first 15 arts this is called the start of the Okuden or secret teaching I am not allowed to give details. Kicking blocking and striking are also required. A detailed note book must be presented and this counts as the written. Participation in at least one freestyle contest (our version of randori) 209 techniques demonstrated before a board of Professors and or black belt not from test subjects home school. Must pass criminal back ground check. I have no idea if the Japanese or Americans are better.

So, you know Jim Linn? I used to do Judo with him in New Orleans.

Anyway, Kodenkan/Dan Zan Ryu may use the word Judo, but it isn't Kodokan Judo. Other koryu jujutsu school did/may have used the word "judo" (sorry can't type kanji). Of course, Dan Zan Ryu isn't a koryu art.

Ben

Coach Josh
6/21/2011 4:57pm,
Inthink this is the group that just became part of USA Judo.

Himura
6/22/2011 12:41am,
I'm suggesting that there is a relationship between American sports and elitism.
http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/96/pinkiy.png

I couldn't resist. Honestly, I think it depends on the sport. I think the average American would assume the Japanese test is tougher in the case of Judo though. This answer would most likely stem from racial bias and not hard facts, but I don't see American elitism being an issue in Judo.

Colin
6/22/2011 2:39am,
We do lead the world in Olympic gold medals broski......

Do you mean lead as in.. the largest number of participants?
Or did you mean.. the largest number of events you compete in..
Wait, maybe you meant the largest number of elite international coaches imported to states-based athletic programs.
Maybe you meant the largest amount of funding into the national sports program.

:D