Testing at the end of December?

Aikikitty

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Hi all,

A couple of months ago, my sensei shocked me by proclaiming that he was going to test me by the end of the year. :xtrmshock :jaw-dropping:That mainly shocked me, because my sensei doesn't like giving tests and the last time anyone tested was at least 6 years ago. I don't even know WHAT rank I'll be testing for either. It'll either be for 1st kyu or 1st dan and I guess we won't know until the actual day.:idunno: The material for both tests are the same except 1st dan has weapon techniques and randori. So I'm guessing he'll call out everything and it depends if I'm able to do it well enough.

I've been learning Aikido for 8 years now and I don't care what I test for really. When I first started, I fantasized about having a black belt someday, but as the years went by I realized that 1) my sensei didn't test often and 2) I have a LOOOOOOOONG way to go and that probably the only way I'd ever get a "black" belt is to accidentally wash my belt in a dark load of laundry. :ultracool

If I had a choice (which I don't) of which rank I'll end up getting, I'm of two minds.

1st dan would be an awesome milestone (not the end of the journey by no means!) and a great honor if my sensei thought me ready for it. However, in a way, it's also a lot more pressure! I can't teach worth beans and for a long time now I've believed that it's better to be a whitebelt forever with the techniques of a blackbelt instead of a blackbelt with the techniques of a whitebelt. I know that having a blackbelt doesn't mean that I'm supposed to know everything and be able to do things perfectly, but I'm paranoid. I want to be a good representitive of my sensei. :yoda:

On the other hand, 1st kyu would be great too. It still would be a great accomplishment without the "pressure", but I'm not sure if I'd be let down for not doing well enough for 1st dan. I don't know! I shouldn't even be worrying about it.

I haven't been too nervous (still in a state of shock perhaps), but I'm starting to feel a bit nervous now as it's almost December. :eye-popping:

If anyone's interested these are my 1st kyu requirements--

Katatori Menuchi--5 techniques
Yokomenuchi--5 techniques
Morotetori--5 techniques
Shomenuchi--5 techniques
Ryotetori--5 techniques
Koshinage--5 techniques
Tantotori--5 techniques
Hanmi-Handachi (Ushiro Waza)--5 techniques
Randori--3 people

and 1st dan

All 1st kyu requirements
Tachitori
Jotori
Henkawaza
Randori--4 people

Thanks,
Robyn :asian:
 

jks9199

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Good luck.

Teaching is a separate skill -- and it's only really learned in the doing of it. It's also hard to assess your own teaching until you see the sort of students you can produce... but you need students who also will do justice to your teaching. The best teacher in the world will fail with a student who lacks motivation -- and the worst teacher can do surprisingly well with a highly motivated student.
 
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Aikikitty

Aikikitty

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I forgot to add that I'm a bit nervous about doing 2 of my most common mistakes. 1) My mind going blank because there are so many options of which technique to do or 2) making a mistake and freezing up from getting flustered. I've been working on getting in the habit of not thinking too much and flow continuously, but does anyone have any other tips?

Also, I'd love to hear ya'lls stories about Aikido rank testing or any tips, advice, etc.

Thanks,
Robyn :asian:
 
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Aikikitty

Aikikitty

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Good luck.

Teaching is a separate skill -- and it's only really learned in the doing of it. It's also hard to assess your own teaching until you see the sort of students you can produce... but you need students who also will do justice to your teaching. The best teacher in the world will fail with a student who lacks motivation -- and the worst teacher can do surprisingly well with a highly motivated student.

You're completely right! Thanks. :asian:

I don't know about other students. We're a very small group and except for this new guy that just started, I'm probably the lowest ranked. But I understand what you are saying. ;)

Robyn :)
 

amir

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Good luck in your test.

Your situation is somewhat familar to me, my Nidan test was done without informing me of it:
Sensei was testing a friend of mine for Shodan. Between chapters, he asked me and another Shodan to show some other stuff,neither of us was told we are tested . At the end of the test, senei anounced the friend got his shodan, and that we were "promoted" too.

One thing which may reduce the pressure:
Shodan does not mean "perfect technique", even at Sandan I make stupid mistakes at times, and Even my Shich(7th)Dan Sensei asks us to "forget" something he just did casue of errors.

Think of your test as just a show, for you to show your progress. And try to enjoy the preperations for it and the show itself. A good teacher will recognize a black-out and help you find your way out of it (seen that, one may still pass with flying colors).


Shodan also does not make you a teacher, especially if most practitioners in your group are much more vetran then you. So no need to worry.

Good luck
Amir
 

morph4me

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First of all, congratulations. Don't concern yourself about the test, it's just a formality, your instructor has been watching you for awhile and knows that you can pass, his telling you is just to see how you perform under stress. If you go to the test as if it's just another class you'll do fine, even if you make mistakes. The best advice I can think of is relax, and breath, and listen to what you're instructor is asking for, don't stop listening halfway through his instructions. You'll do great.

Since your sensei doesn't like giving test, If I were you, I'd prepare for the shodan test ;)
 
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jks9199

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I forgot to add that I'm a bit nervous about doing 2 of my most common mistakes. 1) My mind going blank because there are so many options of which technique to do or 2) making a mistake and freezing up from getting flustered. I've been working on getting in the habit of not thinking too much and flow continuously, but does anyone have any other tips?

Also, I'd love to hear ya'lls stories about Aikido rank testing or any tips, advice, etc.

Thanks,
Robyn :asian:
You're mind's not really going blank, it's being overwhelmed by choices. The long term solution is to train until you no longer think about which technique to use. That won't help you right now, though... So the short term solution is to decide ahead of time on one, maybe two, techniques that you'll do, no matter what. For example, if you decide that no matter what, you'll step diagonally forward... then all you need to worry about is deciding when to take that step.
 

Drac

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Good luck.

Teaching is a separate skill -- and it's only really learned in the doing of it. It's also hard to assess your own teaching until you see the sort of students you can produce... but you need students who also will do justice to your teaching. The best teacher in the world will fail with a student who lacks motivation -- and the worst teacher can do surprisingly well with a highly motivated student.

Excellent post JKS...Teaching is a gift, either you have it or you don't..I have met individuals who were superb MA's, but could not teach their way out of a paperbag...The best of luck with your upcoming test...Don't forget to come back and tell us about it..
 
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Aikikitty

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Thank you all who have posted thus far! I really appreciate the encouragement and advice!!!

amir--Lol! My sensei did something similar during our last testing. 2 guys were testing for 1st dan and he "snuck" in our Nidan to test for Sandan. It was funny because we saw the exact moment on his face when he realized that he was testing. In some ways that's nice because you don't really have a chance to get nervous. Thanks for the helpful advice too!

morph4me--Thanks! :) I'll try my best to relax and not stop if I get stuck. Lol! I'll do my best and do as much as I can and what I'm able to do, I suppose, will depend which test I'll pass. ;)

jks9199--You hit the nail on the head I think! There are too many choices and it's a matter of choosing the right technique for whatever uke gives me. It's hard too because once I know I'm being attacked one way, it's easy for me to keep doing the same technique over and over, when I can't do that for this test. And if I start off awkward, I need to do the Hanmi Handachi part and just flow into something else. I've had the rare moments of flowing into just the right technique without even thinking about it. I wish I had that happen more often, but that'll come with more time.

hungfistron--Thanks!!! :D

Drac--Thanks! Lol! Right now I'm in the "wet paper bag" catagory. And of course, I'll let everyone know how the test went and what I passed. I just hope my sensei TELLS me after it's over instead of making me wait or something. :mst:

Thanks!
Robyn :asian:
 

jks9199

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Excellent post JKS...Teaching is a gift, either you have it or you don't..I have met individuals who were superb MA's, but could not teach their way out of a paperbag...The best of luck with your upcoming test...Don't forget to come back and tell us about it..
While the fire to teach, and a certain charisma that makes it easier, are definitely gifts that you either have or don't have, teaching is also a skill that can be learned and taught, too.
 

jks9199

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jks9199--You hit the nail on the head I think! There are too many choices and it's a matter of choosing the right technique for whatever uke gives me. It's hard too because once I know I'm being attacked one way, it's easy for me to keep doing the same technique over and over, when I can't do that for this test. And if I start off awkward, I need to do the Hanmi Handachi part and just flow into something else. I've had the rare moments of flowing into just the right technique without even thinking about it. I wish I had that happen more often, but that'll come with more time.

I'm sure you have a standard practice sequence. So... rather than pick only one, go through the sequence. Do the first move with the first person. Do the second with the second. And so on... However, I suspect that once you get the first move or two going, you'll find the rest will flow as needed.
 
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Aikikitty

Aikikitty

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Thanks guys!

Well, this morning my sensei asked me if I'll be able to do my test on the 27th of this month, but I couldn't commit as I'm acting as a bridesmaid for a girlfriend of mine that day. So now we are planning to do my test the first Saturday of January. It's the same amount of practice time for me, but I'm a bit relieved that I'll have more time to focus and plan what techniques I'll do.

I got to practice some Randori at the end of class today. I started off well--taking the balance, keeping the uke I'm doing the techique on between me and the other ukes, etc.---but it didn't take too long before I started getting overwhelmed and flustered from feeling pressure (from myself) to try to do everything "just right". I'm a perfectionist and I get that mental "Oh NO!!!" when I slip up. I need to work on calming my mind and nerves.

Robyn
 

Gordon Nore

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Best of luck, Opal.

Higher level testing is rare in my school as well, with a long time in grade, and fewer people in the senior ranks through attrition. In eleven years, there were only five shodan tests, including my own. I can appreciate the pressure you feel to do well.

If I understand your post, your sensei can skip ikyu and grade you to shodan, is that correct? I've not heard of that. My Hapkido-karate sensei is also sandan in Aikido. Grading under the Ontario Aiki-Kai Association (hope I got that right), each student has a record of hours of training and attendance which the student and the sensei sign.

Again, best wishes. I love watching Aikido. Post some clips if you can, please.
 
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Aikikitty

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Best of luck, Opal.

Higher level testing is rare in my school as well, with a long time in grade, and fewer people in the senior ranks through attrition. In eleven years, there were only five shodan tests, including my own. I can appreciate the pressure you feel to do well.

If I understand your post, your sensei can skip ikyu and grade you to shodan, is that correct? I've not heard of that. My Hapkido-karate sensei is also sandan in Aikido. Grading under the Ontario Aiki-Kai Association (hope I got that right), each student has a record of hours of training and attendance which the student and the sensei sign.

Again, best wishes. I love watching Aikido. Post some clips if you can, please.

Yep. I know we used to be a part of a smaller association that required all the hours, official signing, etc. The head of our association died maybe 5 years ago and it rather sputtered and nearly died since. I think it's come back under new leadership, but I don't think my sensei has had much to do with the association or any other since. He just loves teaching the art and training with us. I'm pretty sure that this is my sensei's own private test for me. Same technique list as the association, but I very much doubt I'll have any official certificates. That doesn't matter to me much as my sensei considering me "ready" for whatever rank and passing his test is more than enough for me. If I do make black belt this test, and if I go to seminar or another school someday, and am asked to wear the same white belt I've worn for over 8 years. No problem. :) Belt color doesn't change my knowledge or skills.

Robyn :wavey:
 

morph4me

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Thanks guys!

Well, this morning my sensei asked me if I'll be able to do my test on the 27th of this month, but I couldn't commit as I'm acting as a bridesmaid for a girlfriend of mine that day. So now we are planning to do my test the first Saturday of January. It's the same amount of practice time for me, but I'm a bit relieved that I'll have more time to focus and plan what techniques I'll do.

I got to practice some Randori at the end of class today. I started off well--taking the balance, keeping the uke I'm doing the techique on between me and the other ukes, etc.---but it didn't take too long before I started getting overwhelmed and flustered from feeling pressure (from myself) to try to do everything "just right". I'm a perfectionist and I get that mental "Oh NO!!!" when I slip up. I need to work on calming my mind and nerves.

Robyn


Robyn, you can't be a perfectionist when it comes to ranodori. Save that for individual technique practice, randori is for showing that your techniques are effective, that you can take balance and avoid attacks, perfection in technique during randori is rare. Do your best, that's all that is expected, and is probably more than enough. Relax and enjoy the journey.
 

Gordon Nore

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That doesn't matter to me much as my sensei considering me "ready" for whatever rank and passing his test is more than enough for me. If I do make black belt this test, and if I go to seminar or another school someday, and am asked to wear the same white belt I've worn for over 8 years. No problem. :) Belt color doesn't change my knowledge or skills.

Robyn :wavey:
Agreed. Good attitude. I take it your Aikido school has all kyu wearing white belts, rather than coloured belts.
 
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Aikikitty

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Robyn, you can't be a perfectionist when it comes to ranodori. Save that for individual technique practice, randori is for showing that your techniques are effective, that you can take balance and avoid attacks, perfection in technique during randori is rare. Do your best, that's all that is expected, and is probably more than enough. Relax and enjoy the journey.

You're right, you're right! I just need to relax, breathe, and not let myself get flustered. :anic:

Agreed. Good attitude. I take it your Aikido school has all kyu wearing white belts, rather than coloured belts.

Yes, in our school everyone wears a white belt until they become 1st dan. :)

Robyn
 
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Aikikitty

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Due to holidays and missing a class because I was standing in a girlfriend's wedding, my test was rescheduled for the 2nd Saturday in January. HOWEVER, they surprised me this morning and I'm now a shodan!!!!!!! :xtrmshock:partyon::jaw-dropping:

I only suspected that I was going to test today because one of the guy's wife was there with a video camera. That was very sweet of her to get up early and tape it for me. :asian:

Before my test started, I ran through all the techniques on the side with one of the guys. I felt like I did terrible because I had realized what was going to happen and I got flustered. However, when the real test started, I actually relaxed, smiled, and my mind was clearer than usual. :) Even though I slipped up a few times, I felt like I did well, but I'll have to wait until I get a copy of my test to really tell. My sensei said my techniques looked good and they were all proud of me.

My test seemed to be over rather fast! After it was over, my sensei said that usually the class is first and testing afterwards, but we had the class after this time. I liked it that way because I didn't have to wait through the class getting more and more nervous, and we went over a couple of things I was having trouble on (the jo techniques mostly).

After class was over, my sensei congratulated me and everyone applauded. I found out that they had been looking for a black belt for me, but have been unable to find one so they ordered it and it might be in by next Saturday. My sensei regretted that he wasn't doing much with the association so I can't get the big certificate, but he's going to figure out something. He'll write a letter or document that I can keep.

So (almost) 8 1/2 years after starting Aikido, I passed my shodan test! I'm still in disbelief that it even happened, my mind is in a whirlwind, and my emotions have been bouncing around since I got home. This morning was a HUGE milestone in my martial arts journey. I'm still the same person, of course, but my training is going to be more serious. Still fun, but more serious.

Robyn :boing2:
 

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