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New requirements for INF gradings

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  • New requirements for INF gradings

    At the last INF seminar it became obvious that there has been some changes in the requirements for kyu-grades. Can someone tell me what the requirements are for kyu grades within the AJNF, INF and ENF (USNF is interesting too).

  • #2

    I didnt know those existed...
    We have our own for kyu, I can send you our list if you would like to see it..


    • #3
      AJNF must have one at least (?), and it was INF that did the gradings at the seminar (or was it ENF?). Shikage Ooji wasa no 4 is now the third kata you learn. Anyway, it would be intersting to know all different systems inkluding how much time must pass between each grading etc.


      • #4

        Originally posted by Jakob Ryngen
        AJNF must have one at least (?), and it was INF that did the gradings at the seminar (or was it ENF?). Shikage Ooji wasa no 4 is now the third kata you learn. Anyway, it would be intersting to know all different systems inkluding how much time must pass between each grading etc.
        USNF apparently is based on an older INF standard. When the INF "dumbed down" their grading standard a year or so ago, the USNF Board of Directors voted NOT to follow suit.

        I have yet to see a written copy of the new INF grading standards, but I do know that the new standards for Shodan do NOT require Bogu, whereas the USNF standards for Shodan require Uchi Kaeshi (Mae & Atto) and Kakari Geiko in Bogu.

        The make up of the grading committee is also different. For example, as a Sandan I can sit on a Shodan Grading Board in Canada (which I did in May), but only a Dangai Grading Board in the US.



        • #5
          USNF Kyu exam standards - i believe it's current

          As for as learning goes, in our dojo we learn in this order:

          ipponme-nihonme (shikake-ooji)
          yohonme (shikake-ooji)
          sanbonme-gohonme (shikake)
          sanbonme (ooji)
          gohonme (ooji)


          • #6
            Originally posted by R A Sosnowski
            ... but I do know that the new standards for Shodan do NOT require Bogu.
            Now, that is absolutely absurd! While I agree that many Shikake Oji techniques are too complicated for the low kyu-grades dropping Bogu for shodan is just plain silly. Is this really true, and if so, why??


            • #7

              If I speculate on the reasons for this...
              I would guess that they want the people who start out now to focus on kihon without the danger of getting into the "playing tag" thing many get from starting with bogu too soon.
              If in fact this would actually mean that people would be doing just kihon for about 3 to 4 years before doing shodan I think it could be a good development. On the other hand I doubt this will be happening in reality.

              But this is just my guess, so ...


              • #8
                Just kihon for 3-4 years? Are they trying to kill naginata outside of Japan, as well?


                • #9
                  guessing some more

                  It was just a guess eh..

                  anyway, to keep on this path, you could also see it the other way around.
                  Isnt lack of kihon killing it?
                  If no action is taken in this manner wont it turn into a game of tag with fancy moves?


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hamish
                    Just kihon for 3-4 years? Are they trying to kill naginata outside of Japan, as well?
                    The supposed rationale is that it makes it easier to become Shodan in countries with fewer Yudansha and instructors, thus faciltating the spread of Naginata.

                    I cannot recall anyone here agreeing with that point of view.


                    • #11
                      I have heard arguments for both sides and unfortunately, have found no compromise between them.

                      Many (kendo) dojo use a sempai/kohai system were sho-dan teach kyu, ni-dan teach sho-dan etc. Most groups that follow this system point to the high drop out rate. Why waste sensei's valuable time on people who are not going to stick with the art form?

                      My own sensei disagrees. He takes the beginners first and come what may (i.e. maybe they continue, maybe they do not). In this way, they see kendo at its best, and are not sidetracked by the idiosyncrasies of lesser-experienced kendo-ka. {This is not meant insultingly. If anyone is interested, I'll tell you about several quirks of mine that had to get worked out over the years.}

                      If the purpose of the INF is to increase the udansha, for the purposes of legitimatizing instructors; yes, this is one way to get the proper paperwork in place. Unfortunately, I believe, this will have the side affect of diverging naginata-do into various styles, as what started out as idiosyncrasies, becomes ingrained by the students who follow*.

                      However, if the INF does not legitimize instructors, small study groups may be disrupted by persons who believe their interpretation of naginata-do is just as valid as anyone else's (in the study group) because the group leader is not a sensei**. Who wants the extra hassle? And then, no one steps forward to lead new groups, and the spread of naginata-do stagnates.

                      I, personally, would prefer a piece of paper from the INF that said "while kendophx is not a naginata udansha he/she/it is authorized to lead a practice session under the mentorship of her sensei rather than have a ranking certificate from an exam that was even suspected of being less vigorous than it should have been. However, would this solve anything on the grand scale? Don't know. I don't know if study group disruption is as much of a problem as lack of study groups period. Maybe a separate thread, if people are comfortable enough to name numbers, without naming names...

                      One solution would be a more vigorously funded mentoring/out reach program from already qualified sensei. But then again, the drop out rates may make this a loosing investment. And while you can print money in the basement, you cannot grow it on tress; or, something like that....

                      It is also possible that the INF is responding to cultural pressures completely outside of the technical merits of naginata-do. In a more homogenized society, like Japan, were much is left unsaid, and yet, for the most part is completely understood, the internationalization of naginata-do cannot be happening without cultural pain; as now, nothing can be left unsaid. I have nothing to offer on this aspect as I am not Japanese, nor was I raised in Japan. I can only take my individual experiences of There is no growth without pain, (Abraham Maslow, said of personal growth) and extrapolate it to the cultural on their behalf. But any specific/detailed extrapolation could be so far off the mark, as to be not only useless, but dangerous, so I don't make any.

                      Maybe patience on our part, while the bugs get worked out ... The INF is in its infancy compared to IKF, I think.

                      As for kihon, more kihon, and kihon-renshuu after that ... I can say that after I failed my kendo exam for the 2nd time, it hurt. It hurt really, really bad. But my own sensei backed the shinsa board, and they all said basically FOOTWORK!!!!. So, I pulled myself out of regular practice, stuck myself in the corner and did okuri-ashi for 1.5 hours, 2x a week, for 5 months, until the left heel came naturally off the floor and I stopped have to jerk myself forward into men. As this back to basics was critical in my finally passing the exam, I cannot think that there is anything to be gained by the resentment of kihon-renshuu***.

                      However, I am a beginner, so all this and 75 cents will get you a can of soda.

                      * Playing tag, as Berghaan-sempai mentioned, is one such idiosyncrasy. And IMAO, so please God, help me, I do think that doing tai-atari in naginata is another. I know it instinctive for many kendo-ka//naginata-no-hito, myself included, to move this way. And as I learn more, my opinion may change. If that becomes the case, I will cheerfully apologize. But for right now... why take a nice, long weapon, and move it vertically so now it has no length whatsoever? There is no such expression of zan-shin in any of the beginning naginata-do forms, unlike kendo kata number #3. Maybe it is easier on the feet than continuous tsugi-ashi.

                      ** This has not happened to me personally in naginata-do as the number of people who ask for instruction is so ding-dang small. It has happened in kendo. It was our opinion that this person was not ready for bogu, and he insisted that his previous teacher - a full fledged sensei - said he was. He could not accept our request to return to kihon for 6 months or so and did not return. As many sensei as have graciously opened their dojo to us, it seemed like an ungrateful thing to do - to turn away a student. But it was our opinion that he was a danger to our other students, and we had a responsibility to them as well. It was not fun. I wish a 3rd way would have presented itself at the time, but it did not.

                      *** Full disclosure: I must freely, albeit reluctantly, admit my approach has some flaws. A certain Sensei mentioned that I was roundhousing my yoku-men. So, I started working really hard at using a hip turn and not a shoulder turn. But then the next time (this other) Sensei saw me, she said I looked like an ice skater on steroids , I was overcompensating so badly. So back to kihon-renshuu, but for the sum of the entire waza and not the individual parts.


                      • #12
                        Kihon (basic skills)

                        Mochida sensei(Kendo Hanshi 10dan)said.....

                        "In the way of learning Kendo, you have to train hard to learn the basic skills. Many people think that they have already understood the basic skills, but this is totally wrong. During a long period of kendo training, people easily forget what the basic skills are. It took 50 years to learn basic skills. And then I started real Kendo training because I tried to do Kendo with my mind.
                        People start losing good ability of legs, when they turn 60. I started to train to use my mind correctly to support physical disadvantages.
                        When I turned 70, I started losing strength in other parts of my body too. Then, I trained to control my mind to stay calm.
                        At 80, I know how to control my mind. But still I think sometimes. Now I am training myself not to think. "