is: How do I get my Menkyo Kaiden while being in the IKF?
I can't think of a single koryu iaido or jodo line in the IKF that is also giving out koryu grades, so how will I ever get my Menkyo Kaiden?
errrr.... join a koryu that does? Like my line of koryu for instance! Not that I have one, and even if I did I am not allowed to tell you anyway... How Japanese is that!
Are you sure about this or have you just not met the right sensei who does this yet???
Alternatively live in Japan, have major reconstructive facial surgery and you are in with a chance...
I'm thinking student grades rather than top grades to pass it along, in other words, a parallel student ranking system in the IKF sitting alongside the IKF grading system. Can't think of one with active instructors, only those whose instructors have retired and then formed their own groups, but those students who join after that organization is formed tend not to also be in the IKF that I can think of.
It seems to be one or the other in other words.
If koryuu groups aren't giving out menkyo kaiden, then how have they been surviving up til now? Is a menkyo kaiden really necessary?
I do know Terao sensei from Saga ( has menkyo kaiden) is in ZNKR, as are a few other sensei I know in our group... the others tend to be a mixture mainly from Butokukai and we do see ZNIR guys occasionally, who may just come along to confirm various points....
As a comparison level it seems to be about 7-8th dan.
I guess you can run them at the same time as dan with no issue... Terao s. has both as do most of the other guys... I guess they treat it as having grades in kendo and iai, related but not the same... It is the 'senior system' in that it has been around a lot longer than dan, so maybe that has a little influence from a tradition point of view, after all if you are keeping a koryu going, you would want to keep the whole system and not lose anything, so the grades would stay as part of this ethos.
It did cause some confusion with us as to what it meant when we changed over in UK Roshukai, so for the 'outside world' to relate to us, we kept grades up to 5th dan, then stop at that and change over. So, if I go anywhere outside my group, I am 5th dan, its an easy reference for people who don't know the other system. Its high enough for people to understand our guys have been around for some time and are committed to our training.
I guess I could have kept doing , say, seitei iai and graded higher in that, but lack of time due to MJER commitments prevents it, which may also apply to the IKF guys as well....
Originally Posted by Kim Taylor
I'm thinking student grades rather than top grades to pass it along, in other words, a parallel student ranking system in the IKF sitting alongside the IKF grading system.
You mean a parallel koryu menkyo next to a seitei dan-i system, both administered by the IKF? I think that would be very difficult; too many differences between ryu-ha and naturally some very headstrong individuals at the upper levels. Not a recipe for harmonious relations. Better and easier in my opinion to keep them separate. I don't think it's impossible to advance in both systems but I can imagine a number of logistical difficulties that would need a bit of careful thought.
No, obviously the IKF can't get into handing out koryu grades, I'm thinking of active IKF teachers handing out koryu grades as well, independently of the IKF of course, but while being active in the IKF.
I don't think the IKF would, or should, ever consider aligning with a koryu or even multiple koryu. The federation would have so much clout in terms of numbers that would push into those favoured koryu, that it would skew the landscape. Look at what happened with Shindo Muso ryu when it became the de facto jodo koryu in the IKF, how many other jodo koryu do we know of out there? What are their numbers compared with the SMR? The same would happen to an iaido koryu that was adopted by the IKF, a massive preference for that koryu and a possible neglect of those not adopted.
I would say you already have that with MJER/ MSR...they are certainly the 'dominant' ryu here in the UK in terms of membership, highly likely that because of ZNIR leadership MJER is also dominant, as I see in other European countries. Hence my trying to persuade people to go into 'something else' ryu to broaden our knowledge and make more ryu available to foreigners...now we have niten, TSKSR to some degree and a few other ones with individual dojos only... I would like to see more of course...
Quite right, good point Tim, the big organizations are already pushing the numbers toward those koryu, couldn't avoid it I suppose, availability of instruction would be the major factor in koryu choice for the vast majority of students, with being able to find the available instruction a close second I suppose.
It seems to me that if someone desires rank in a koryu then they need to be building a relationship with a koryu soke. How many koryu soke are IKF instructors? Either way, be it a soke or a menkyo kaiden, one on one relationships are the backbone of koryu in my (limited) experience but then I study a koryu that no longer has any ranks/grades so it is a moot point for me personally.
Although ours still has ranking for menkyo kaiden, it is, I find, an interesting system... you cannot 'apply' for a grade, you are awarded it. This got me into a little trouble a while back, as I didn't understand what the system was really about... and asked what criteria was needed to get what level. Eventually our japanese counterparts clicked on to the fact we didnt know what they were on about, and explained the system... we have JUST received a final email that clarifies a lot of this for me. What is important is that you need a close eye kept on you as a student, and you study more than just technical stuff. 'Advancement of iai' seems to figure high on the list also...
A most sensible system for small groups. A bit difficult for larger organizations or for folks who are scattered as you guys are Tim. I am curious as to how they will deal with you guys who are out of sight for so much of the year.
That is simple. He panics over what we are up to when we are out of sight. hahahaha!!! We do have a 'rotation system' going where at least one of the seniors is there for two weeks or so at least twice a year.. still not enough, but as we all train together he does get a feel for what is going on, and we all get updated when our 'envoy' returns home. What I found interesting is that he no longer teaches us 'technical improvements', but other stuff whilst we practise. last seminar was a real eye opener for me as I finally started to understand why he is so much better than the rest of us. (other than being 8dan hanshi for the last 40+ years that is!)
I do know a few folks who study a koryu iai who hold lower level certificates in the menkyo system and are slowly advancing. All of these folks travel regularly to Japan (usually once per year) to train with their soke, and they also host a week long gasshuku with the soke in the US each year. Being technically brilliant doesn't hurt either.
I am wondering how long it would take us to get to get to kaiden given this interaction time...we have been travelling over for 15 years now, which for a japanese resident would probably be enough to qualify time wise.... the difference being they do more than twice a year of course! Some of us in the UK also have the lower level 'grades', and are being challenged to move on, however working out what is expected of us to do this is also proving a challenge! I do know that when I am under sensei's eyes, I am under VERY close scrutiny, particularly 'off mat', and have had some weird questions about home, work, my wife and kids etc that wouldn't, and probably shouldnt, come up in the normal course of conversation. These go well beyond a general enquiry about family, and are a direct questioning of my personality and 'status' in the community. ie what am I doing to promote iaido, promotion chances at work, are my family respectable... to the point of how my son behaves and his 'status'. Apparently if he is a 'naughty boy' it is my fault and reflects on my character, therefore my iai is also flawed.