Interview with Aikido Shihan Yoshimitsu Yamada, Part 2

Yoshimitsu Yamada in Hawaii 2011

Yoshimitsu Yamada at Aikido Celebration Hawaii 2011 the 50th Anniversary of O-Sensei’s 1961 visit to Hawaii Pat Hendricks taking ukemi Yoshimitsu Yamada was sent to the United States in 1964 by the Aikikai in order to help spread and develop Aikido in America. He was followed by Mitsunari Kanai Sensei, Akira Tohei Sensei and Kazuo […]

Interview with Aikido Shihan Yoshimitsu Yamada, Part 1

Yoshimitsu Yamada Kauai

Yoshimitsu Yamada on Kauai, Hawaii in 1966 seated between Hawaii Aikikai instructors Yukiso Yamamoto and Sadao Yoshioka Yoshimitsu Yamada was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1938, entered Aikikai Hombu Dojo as an uchi-deshi in 1956 and was dispatched to New York to aid the development of Aikido in the United States in 1964, the year […]

Something’s Rank – Black Belts in Aikido

Yoshimitsu Yamada Kauai

Yoshimitsu Yamada in Kauai Hawaii, 1966
The other day I was reading an interview with Yoshimitsu Yamada on the Aikido Sansuikai website. This passage happened to catch my attention:
Well, the ranking system in aikido is another headache. I personally disagree with this system. A teaching certificate is okay, a black belt is okay. But after that, no numbers, no shodan, no nidan, etc. People know who is good and who is bad. The dan ranking system creates a competitive mind, because people judge others – "oh, he is sixth dan, but  he is not good, this guy is much better…"
Yamada has made similar statements before, I know, but it’s always interesting when the person responsible for handing out rank to a large number of people in several countries states publicly that he is himself opposed to the ranking system.