I was listening to Denis Matsuev play Rachmaninov 3rd piano concerto. Mr Matsuev is a past winner of the most prestigious piano competition in the world, the Tchaikovsky comp' in Moscow, to this end he is considered one of worlds elite piano virtuosi.
Prior to listening to his rendition I was reading some comments regarding another pianist and noted the term 'Musical athlete'. This struck a cord with me. In hearing Mr Matsuevs rendition I understood the term musical athlete. For any person to write that Mr Matsuev cannot play the piano would be absurd. The point would be can Mr Matsuev make music when he hit the notes?
I was taken aback by his mastery of the key board in equal proportion to how poorly he appeared to connect to the piano and make music.
You see this is the point of the higher ranks in judo, those who hold Ku and ju dan. Its some thing other than performing the gokyo in a stunning manner and being a master of the physical. Those last ranks transcend such parameters and show in both a physical mastery a certain something that I am unsure if it can be verbalised but it can be clearly seen, heard and felt.
I once asked my sensei what he meant by saying that the ju no kata was one movement and not 15! Taken me over 50 years to grasp what he was saying and understanding it. Sure I can teach and could perform the ju no kata to a decent degree but in my present day teaching of it I can clearly see all that is judo. To master this kata I guess would make one a judo athlete but to master it and show through its execution the meaning of ju in judo would take an exceptional judoka of very high skill and deep understanding of what our judo is all about. This is one indicator to me how I know I have reached my ceiling in passing through any further ranks. One has to know ones limits.
Jonesy is correct when he write about the first two groups of rank namely; sho to go and rokyu to hachi. Those ultimate two ranks are the reserve of those who may not even be in a federation or hold any office in judo. Be non political and may never have won an Olympic medal. Rather than that they will hold the key to unlock what it is we should all be looking for in our pursuit of judo.
Understand judo is not a sport its an art, an education that cant be studied part time 4 hours per week. No one would expect Denis Matsuev to have gained his position in the world of music by learning and practicing the piano 4 hours per week (nor maintaining it!). The very idea is ridiculous beyond belief.
There are a number of young men like Mr Matsuev who can play the piano but when you hear in comparison the masters of the piano that number maybe 30 in the history of the piano one can understand why there are so few people who qualify for ku and Ju dan who are worthy to hold that rank. When does a painter become an artist? I think at this level it is communication, to speak to us without saying a word. To teach us without opening their mouth. I saw my sensei perform judo many times and to watch him he looked so 'natural' he need not speak a word. Numerous kohaku ranks where with him and non of us could even hope to perform judo like him. That is how rare these 'masters' are.
I am unsure if one can quantify what attributes a Ku or Ju dan has I would suggest we simply know them when we see them.
I am equally sure such a rank is not given for time in rank, services to judo or having a successful championship record. Not even all those contributions together. There is a 'spark' in those who are truly gifted to a degree they are what they do and do what they are, they become one and the same. Daigo sensei IS judo and judo IS Daigo sensei.
Heck, I meant to post this in the promotion and grading section. Sorry, can an admin move it for me please?
Last edited by Hanon on Mon May 20, 2013 3:15 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Posted in wrong thread.)