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When Tomiki went to study with Ueshiba (in 1926), did he take some ukes with him to practice with, or did Ueshiba already have a bunch of other students for Tomiki to practice with, or do you suppose Tomiki actually got to throw Morihei around a lot? I was curious because you don't hear much about the folks that were practicing aikido that far back.
To attain a Dan grade, a judoka can enter an examination against other judoka of the same grade and, by demonstrating superiority over a cross-section of judoka at the same level, can win promotion to the next rank. Wins against judoka of the same grade or above in certain competitions may also count towards promotion. In this way, promotion through the Dan grades becomes increasingly difficult, since for each new grade the players will be of a higher standard. Judoka must also complete a competitive skills assessment that becomes progressively more demanding as they move through the Dan grades...
After 15 months of training, Mifune achieved the rank of shodan ('beginning dan,' indicating 1st dan ranking) in Kodokan judo, and after the remarkably short time of four more months, nidan (2nd dan). Through timing and speed, Mifune quickly gained a reputation, and was never defeated at the annual Red and White Kodokan tournament. By 1912, he was ranked rokudan (6th dan) and an instructor. He was already being called the 'God of Judo.'
Tomiki was one of the early students of the founder of aikido Morihei Ueshiba, beginning in 1926, and also of Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo. In 1928 he obtained 5th dan in judo and in the following year he represented Miyagi Prefecture in the first judo tournament held in front of the Emperor—this tournament became the All Japan Tournament the following year. From 1936 till the end of the second world war he lived in Manchukuo (Manchuria) where he taught aikibudo (an early name for aikido) to the Kanton army and the Imperial Household Agency. In 1938 he became an assistant professor at Kenkoku University in Manchukuo. He went on to be awarded the first 8th dan in aikido (1940) and an 8th dan in judo (1978).
|Medal of Honor|
|Distinguished Service Cross|
|World War I Victory Medal|
|American Campaign Medal|
|Légion d'Honneur (France)|
|Croix de Guerre with Palm (France)|
|Croce di Guerra al Merito (Italy)|
|Montenegrin War Medal (Montenegro)|
...imagine a conversation like this...
"How long did it take you to get your black belt?"
"Oh, My teacher was rough on us. It took us 2 years!"
"Well, it took us 3 years."
"I heard that fella over there makes his students practice 4 years to get their black belts!
They must be really tough!"
Everyone then thinks to himself, "I guess I'd better make my students practice 5 years so we can be the toughest."
Pretty soon it takes 20 years to get shodan! How many people have heard folks bragging on internet forums, "It took me 12 years to get my shodan!" This is like making everyone suffer for someone else's great performance just so folks won't think your martial art is too easy. This is ridiculous when you consider that...
Standards are necessarily minimal standards. You don't see medical or engineering (or any) schools making each class have to be 50% better than the previous class just in order to graduate. If you did, soon there would be no graduates.
I bet it's pretty easy to imagine that conversation - because you've probably heard it or something very close a zillion times (like someone bragging "I've been a Nidan for 25 years!") . It seems to be part of our competitive nature - we want to be the toughest, and we want to be able to brag about how when we were kids we had to walk 20 miles to school every morning, through the snow, uphill, BOTH WAYS!