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  1. #1

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    Judo Shodan: Japanese vs. Non-Japanese Perspectives

    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.

  2. #2
    Colin's Avatar
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    Only an American would think that an American Shodan is more competent than a Japanese one.

    Honestly, I'm pretty sure that shodan means shodan. If that statement is revealing about ANYTHING, it is this:

    It just so happens that what the Japanese think of as pretty average Judo, Americans think is really "solid" Judo.

  3. #3

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    Insert comment about cultural values and working harder to achieve things.

    I've heard people say that you dont start playing proper Judo until you're at least Shodan.

  4. #4
    You have to work the look. supporting member
    CrackFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin View Post
    Only an American would think that an American Shodan is more competent than a Japanese one.
    ORLY?

    I thought it was common knowledge that in Japan first dan is more an indication that you are a fully committed member of the club than of your technical ability. A first dan has reached the stage where they can be bounced around like there's no tomorrow without throwing a wobbly and quitting.

  5. #5
    Colin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrackFox View Post
    ORLY?

    I thought it was common knowledge that in Japan first dan is more an indication that you are a fully committed member of the club than of your technical ability. A first dan has reached the stage where they can be bounced around like there's no tomorrow without throwing a wobbly and quitting.
    Nobody disagrees with this part - the part that you are missing though, is where you realize that this is the extent of capability for an American, too.

  6. #6
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    CrackFox's Avatar
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    Well to be honest, I'm only familiar with the syllabus in the UK and Ireland. I've heard stories about the Japanese and French systems, but nothing really about the American one. So you're saying first dan in America is closer to a Japanese one than UK one?

  7. #7

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    Crackfox, what do you consider Shodan to be in the UK?

  8. #8
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    CrackFox's Avatar
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    Someone who knows the syllabus.

    In Scotland - http://www.judoscotland.com/grading/grading-syllabus (where I used to train)
    The rest of the uk - http://www.britishjudoeducation.org.uk/

  9. #9

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    I thought that was a given.

  10. #10
    Colin's Avatar
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    What I'm saying is that it's typical for an american to play a game that only he plays and call himself a world champion.

    Superbowl is a world championship?
    please.

    And what does this have to do with Judo?

    You say a UK black belt, Jap black belt or USA black belt?
    Mate just take a look at the black belts standing next to you to realise that each is just as different from the last. It's a ridiculous generalization.

    Are you talking about belts from different organizations?
    Are you saying kodokan black belt versus USA judo black belt?

    I tell you what I want. I want J_UK and BKR to come and own this thread with their judo truthiness.

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