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How long should it take for Sho-dan?

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  • #61
    As I said before it takes three years based on the AUSKF guide lines to reach sho-dan. I know there seems to be some confusion of is Sho in Kumdo the same as Sho-dan in Kendo. But that is a very subjective view. I personally know pleanty of Sho-dans (in kendo) who could take out the average yon-dan. Your skill is based on other criteria not rank. This thred was asking the question about how long it should take not what is better Kendo or Kumdo.

    I am a interested in how many kendo/kumdo players are in the Reston, VA area?


    • #62
      [QUOTE]Originally posted by kendokamax

      Taking gradings.

      My sensei tells us quite a few time that when you get a grade you don't really get the grade you have on your certificate..Having that paper that tells you that you are 1st dan or whatever is just the start. At that moment you have to prove(validate) with sincerity the grade your federation gave you.

      I believe you always have to prove the grade you have, by playing kendo! not by showing some stupid paper.
      I agree. My sensei explained dan ranking to me in the same way. I hadn't studied kendo long enough, in my opinion, when I tested for shodan. Essentially - like REICHERU explains in her posting - I agreed to take the test because my sensei told me I should (had to), and I didn't want t let him down. It didn't feel right to tell him I didn't think I was ready, when he - experienced kendoka - said I was. Who am I to argue, right?

      I felt better about it when, after I passed, he explained that getting shodan was more a promise to work to achieve the level of ability represented by "shodan," not a declaration that I had already mastered the skills required to be a shodan. It's less daunting to think of it this way - for those who are hesitant to test for the next level (I wish he'd explained this to me BEFORE I'd tested, but...). And it's more humbling - for those who look at achieving dan levels in the same way that "strip mall martial art centers" tend to view belt levels in karate etc.


      • #63
        Strider: for the Kumdo shodan test.. I'm not sure about all of the details.. but I know that you need to perform the various skills and a bunch of kata... then you put out a candle with your sword.. you get 3 tries to do it.. then you do the stuff that Achilles said.. sparring with the line of black belts.. last one is Sabunim.. 1000 swings is one-motions.. where you "bounce" back and forth.. don't really know how to explain it but I'm sure there is something like that in Kendo..

        durrell4: sorry if I put off the impression that Kumdo was "better" than Kendo.. I didn't mean that at all.. besides.. with the exception of a few small differences they're basically the same thing to me.. on the East coast.. there aren't that many Kendo/Kumdo school to my knowledge.. and there are a lot of them who give out shodan after only a year.. there are people competing in shodan division who look like 4th kyus or worse.. as for skill level and rank.. there are exceptional people who can take out yondans when they're shodan.. but I think that generally the higher belt should win.. a shodan told me that when I reach red belt (3rd-1st kyu) if I lose to lower belts it's shameful.. and when I'm black belt.. if I lose to red belts then there is something wrong with the way I'm practicing or with my form.. it happened to him so he told me from experience...

        as for Kumdo/Kendo players in Reston, VA.. not many.. my Kumdo school is located in Fairfax, VA.. and people in the Washington Metropolitan area go to my school.. we also have a school in Maryland... the only other school in our area that I know of is at George Mason University.. it's a Kendo club.. my cousin's boyfriend used to go there.. there also used to be another school but it closed...


        • #64
          What is all this talk about belts? Belts are a silly invention to motivate little kids. Like jelly beans and stickers in grade school.
          Hollywood has put this stupid idea in people's heads that having a "black belt" means you're Mr. Miyagi.

          Kendo has not belts.

          Sorry to say, but this thread is getting bovine.

          People place too much emphasis on rank in general and then they put WAY too much emphasis on getting shodan. "Sho" means "seminal" and "dan" means "stage". Having shodan means you're just a beginner.

          And honestly, if you take into consideration the whole spectrum of skill in kendo, dissecting beginner grades into kyu is kind of laughable. Again, the intention of the kyu rankings are for motivating little kids (in Japan where they start really young).


          • #65

            Well I think grades are important in kendo and all other martial
            arts. It is important to have a heirarchy in such things when there
            is possible physical danger to other people.

            If a grade tells others around you that you are of a particular level of skill and have a good grasp of basics and other knowledge of your art then I support it.


            • #66
              Cklin: Belts are a silly invention to motivate little kids.

              Well, to a certain extend. May be that can be a reason not to have belts, but don't forget the less kid-oriented Aikido also has kyu/color-belt grading system. You may like to read an article on belt tradition of Japanese MA by Don Cunningham:

              Belt colors and ranking tradition

              The modern Dan/grading system was evoled from "licensing" in Koryu, as described in the article...Shoden > Chuden > Okuden > Menkyo > Menkyo Kaiden (Just read it!!!)

              As for Kumdo Shodan... Is it really an official grading requirement for Shodan to put out a candle flame? Can any Korean out there confirm that? What's the point? A sword can do a better than that (i.e. I can understand if Tameshigiri was ever a grading requirement). I came across the following site... and everything seems like another Instituto Niten to me (please scroll down the middle for a low-res photo of candle light keiko) WHY??

              Saurabi Swordmanship Academy


              • #67
                2 subjects

                BELTS : I agree 100% that coloured belts are for kids and, to a certain extent, for westerners. There's little need for a vulgar display of power. Grades are nice for the reasons John has mentioned. But they are definetely not a 'yardstick of skill' . ANd, of course, shodan and nidan are beginner's grades. The stuff starts to get interesting in the sandan shinsa. I believe that the first one to come with the kyu/dan grading system was Jigoro Kano. I don't know if he got the idea from koryu. The shoden/chuden/okuden is still used today but to grade the iai waza, not the student. Iai, as we all know, uses kyu/dan as well.

                SHODAN in KUMDO : I keep my position that kumdo and kendo are exactly the same thing. I've seen kumdo championships and kendo champs and they're pretty much the same to me. Therefore, I strongly doubt this 'candle' stuff. Of what use it to put a damn candle our with a shinai? I can't belive that you'd use a katana for that, since korean swords are indeed different from the japanese sword.


                • #68
                  forgot to say.. you don't put out the candle with the shinai.. you put it out with either a real or plastic katana.. and what's the big objection to doing that? it's just part of the test for shodan for our school.. I'm not positive that you fail if you don't put out the candle.. but that's just what I was told..


                  • #69
                    I was simply curious to learn more. I am not objecting. The test sounds very interesting. More info please!


                    • #70
                      Well, that's why we don't wear a belt in kendo to avoid the abuse and misuse of ranking. Instead we carry a big stick and hit and hit and hit and hit our opponents to remind them that kendo is a self restraining art not an ego-testing thing where our bloated heads don't fit in the men anymore.Where the one who leads and teaches you to your greatness is not another run-on-the-mill sensei ,wearing those ridiculous black belts typical of other arts, but a true master with overwhelming experience.



                      • #71
                        All this shodan talk is good. But let's not forget something here people.

                        SHODAN IS JUST A BEGINNING!!!

                        I don't mean to put anyone down, but shodan is shodan. Some of us have presented the shodan test as the most difficult thing in one's lifetime, etc., but shodan is still just a shodan. I'm just a shodan myself, but I'm sure the tests get harder for nidan, sandan, yondan and so forth. I don't know if any of us have seen the National Geographic documenatry on the hachidan (8 dan) test. Less than 1% pass that test each year in all of Japan. The year in which the documentary was made, 6 people passed out of 721.

                        So let's not forget that shodan is just the beginning. I have been doing kendo for almost 3 years and have just gotten my shodan. When I started, I felt as though shodan was the ultimate thing, the cool "black belt". As I see it now, shodan is NOTHING & I have so much more to learn.

                        I'm glad people have so much respect for their dojo and the "professional" way that the shodan tests are run and that it is the "most challenging" test in "[peoples'] lifetime". I know HwaRangKwan in Virginia and I know master Chang and I respect him dearly so I mean no disrespect whatsoever, but let's not forget that shodan is only shodan and no more.

                        Lastly, taiwnezboi, yudansha is DEFINITELY different from most mudansha. I don't think you're correct in saying that sankyu = nikyu = ikkyu = shodan. There is definitely a difference despite some exceptions to people who just haven't taken a promotion test for a long time. Just as shodan is just beginning, it does have its merits.


                        • #72
                          " Cklin: Belts are a silly invention to motivate little kids. Well, to a certain extend. May be that can be a reason not to have belts, but don't forget the less kid-oriented Aikido also has kyu/color-belt grading system."

                          Actually this is not so in my experience of Japanese aikido, maybe it is in the West. In my experience even beginners there are allowed to wear hakama. And they go from wearing a white belt to hold up their gi trousers, to a black one when they get shodan.


                          BTW - whatever happened to Achilles?


                          • #73
                            Originally posted by ben
                            " my experience of Japanese aikido, maybe it is in the West. In my experience even beginners there are allowed to wear hakama. And they go from wearing a white belt to hold up their gi trousers, to a black one when they get shodan."
                            From what I've experianced Aikido beginners wear a plain Gi with a white belt. Upon reaching the Dan grade they wear a black belt as well as the hakama.

                            Gorget the Frog


                            • #74
                              Having sat on a few grading panels I would like to add......

                              One way to look at it is the award of Shodan is a start. Then again some people are on the way to Nidan when they pass. The thing is regarless of the time you have practiced for is awarded for the stage you have reached and your performance on that day. Sadly you might not be so well practiced and end up fighting someone who is a championship winner and you will look bad even if your ability is average.

                              As we advance up the grades committment and also contribution to that particular art is taken into account. Therefore in Japan you take Rokudan on the recommendation of the Prefecture. Taking such a grade and having passed you are naturally expected to take on certain responsibilities e.g. taikai/shia. So basicaly foreigners who take grade in Japan who do not live are a seperate entity.

                              As most of you perhaps know (I will write anyway for the sake of those who have not passed Shodan). Participants are numbered..... and fight the number before you and after. So number 3 fights 2 and 4. Number one fights the last one up or someone might have to stand in but is not judged.

                              In Japan there are an amazing amount of people that will dissapear after a grading and suddenly turn up a few months before the next.

                              Rare case scenario... intensive training and some of these people do get through. Sadly the poor guy that had perhaps trained regularly for a year and who gets drawn against an exceptional student is made to look bad and fails.

                              To me, two years three years etc between gradings means just that, training. But the guidelines are fairly flexible and "will" allow you to reach that next level if you don't put all the time in.

                              All in all Shodan is a good men strike with Kiken tai ichi. I have seen gradings after intensive 10 times a week practice for a year. Then again someone who was visiting a dojo once every two weeks doing what I can also describe as Elephant Kendo also passing. Then again they wont get any further than shodan!

                              Its a grading! If you dont get it this time you will be ok the next time if you put in the work.

                              The only downside that I felt a little was that there was pressure to do nice Kendo all the time. We here so much of these many possible techniques on the forum. But I felt that being able to win easily with that nice clean men uchi was a step forward to the next grade. But in any case with me being bigger if I start to wander around too much instead of moving in straight as a die to challenge and cleaving the guy in two, some Hachidan is going to come up behind me and smack me across the butt or on the legs with a shinai!

                              Actualy, I do have question. Is the time between gradings in other countrys in line with ZNKR now? I know some years ago that in the UK it was possible to get up the grades in an amazingly short time. ZNKR extended the time period between grades but other countrys did not.



                              • #75
                                A success at a grading exam is a confirmation that your kendo development is on track. A failure gives you the opportunity to review and develop a plan to succeed next time.

                                A Sensei once said to me after I had failed a dan exam " ..paradoxically, you will learn more from the grading that you fail, than the grading that you pass." At the time I was p off, looking back - he was right!

                                Hyaku, in Australia we follow the IKF/ZNKR rules. We do however grade adults commencing from 6th kyu, then they are eligible to attempt the next grading in six months. They sometimes can jump one kyu level if the panel agrees that they deserve it.

                                Then, it is the IKF/ZNKR timing from 1kyu and up.

                                If one trains regularly with sincerity and succeeds at every grading exam, Sho-dan is achievable after 3 years or so.