Yudansha [lit. “person with rank,” i.e. black belt] ranking is given for many reasons, not just technical ability. Just because a person receives a certain yudansha rank does not mean that he or she has attained that ability at that moment. It means that I feel the person is on the threshold and will grow into that rank with the pressures of added responsibility.
To train for shodan [first-level black belt]:
You are training to become a beginner, no longer just a guest in the dojo, but a student with very real responsibilities. One must study the basic technical form and basic physical principle until the correct movement is automatic and feels natural.
~”Yudansha Ranking,” by Mitsugi Saotome
“Don’t think that because Yoko is small, that she is light.”
~Cecelia-sensei, during this morning’s practice (I really need to learn to be lighter.)
“Aikido is a conversation.”
~draft of essay, me