Thursday, 21 November 2013

Promotion...what does that mean exactly?

When you promote a student, you're making a statement about yourself
I've never been that bothered about promotion, gradings come and go; I've certainly never asked for one, although I did discuss the subject once with Higaonna Morio sensei when I was training with him in Tokyo in 1987. Having made the switch from Shito-ryu to Goju-ryu almost four years earlier I had no status in Goju-ryu prior to my move to Australia, and he thought I should have.

On my recent visit to Okinawa my kobudo sensei, Hiroshi Akamine, raised the subject with me for the first time in the six years I've been visiting his dojo. Last year,  Yasuda Tetsunosuke sensei invited me to test for promotion, three times actually, but each time I respectfully and with great tack, declined. But there are only so many times you can get away with not complying with your sensei's (or seniors) wishes. So often in the world of karate and kobudo invitations and suggestions from your seniors are anything but.

A great many people chase rank, as if an extra 'dan' will bestow some kind of knowledge or ability; actually the reverse is true, because if your ability (and more importantly, your character) is not reflected in your rank then the absurdity of your situation becomes clear. Those who promote others need to be very careful, because the rank you bestow says as much about you as it does about the people you give the rank to.

Forty-years ago, it was very common to fail a grading test in karate, not so now though.......something stinks!