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My Path Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 06-08-2009 02:55 PM
Linda Eskin
My path to and through Aikido. Observations on Aikido, fitness, happiness, horses, & life, by a 53 y/o sho-dan.

This same blog (with photos and a few additional trivial posts, but without comments) can be found at www.grabmywrist.com.

I train with Dave Goldberg Sensei, at Aikido of San Diego.
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 242
Comments: 367
Views: 822,204


In Testing 5th Kyu test & beyond Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #82 New 02-06-2010 05:55 PM
First, I passed. For those into belt colors, that means I'm still a white belt. I'll be posting the video (which I have not seen yet) later today.

[Update: Here's the video.]

I wasn't worried about passing, though. I was more interested in doing well. Or at least doing my best.

I did OK. Only one or two brain cramps on techniques, and I didn't shut down during jiyuwaza. A few minor "D'oh!" moments, but nothing horrid.

On the good side, I knew the names of everything, and the basics of how each technique went. Watching the 4th kyu test (the next one I'll have to take) I realized that I know those names and techniques, too, basically. And even a lot of the ones on the 3rd kyu test. I felt reasonably relaxed and present, and was able to breathe and focus pretty well.

On the room-for-improvement side... I really felt like something was missing, like I was "demonstrating how the techniques go" instead of *doing* the techniques. Like kind of half-singing a song to get across what the lyrics are, as opposed to really putting it out there like you mean to be heard. It felt half-hearted, uncommitted, low energy... something like that. When I sat back down in the line afterward, while watching the others, I knew I hadn't done my best, but I didn't know why. I wished I could've had a second chance, to get up there and do it like I had intended to do it. "Darn it. That wasn't how I meant to do that!" Oh well.

An interesting life lesson there... How often do I - do we - start out with the intention to really knock one out of the park, and then fade into "wait, that's not how I meant to do that" territory? Not for lack of skill, but from some momentary lethargy or lack of focus. Or maybe it's fear of trying, really whole-heartedly Going For It, and falling flat anyway.

I didn't knock it out of the park. I'm not proud of how I did, from a performance standpoint. But on the whole I'm OK with it. It was diagnostic, revealing. I know now where I stand. My perception of how I did on the test was consistent with the feedback I got. Sensei said it seemed like I was "being careful." I'm sure I was. I usually am a little tentative, a little light (not soft), and uncommitted, when practicing. Going through the motions.

The reason I've been conscious of for that is that I'm not sure of the technique - not sure I'm doing it right - and that I'm afraid that if I do it wrong I'll hurt my partner (particularly on things where one could bend joints in unnatural ways). I have also felt a general need to refrain from being forceful. I am reasonably strong, and it's easy for me to slip into using strength to try to "make" a technique work. I am more comfortable with more powerful technique (on both sides of the partnership). It's more familiar, and more fun. But I've been careful to try to keep that turned way down, to focus on finesse over force. Maybe, with some basic competency now, I can judiciously and correctly incorporate power into my Aikido.

Another reason I've just seen today is that you can't "really" fail if you aren't "really" trying. It's time to start really trying; doing Aikido like I mean it, all the time. By that I don't mean being stronger, harder, and more forceful with people. Just committed, honest, and real. Really strike. Really feel the energy. Really take Uke's balance. Really do the pin. Really throw them. And if that means making some blunders and looking like a goof along the way, so be it.

New goal: Do it "the way I meant to do it" every time. Really.
Views: 3220 | Comments: 7

RSS Feed 7 Responses to "5th Kyu test & beyond"
#7 02-12-2010 01:44 AM
Linda Eskin Says:
Thank you Darryl. I know, it does! The time flew, but even so I was well over the minimum number of training days. I'm enjoying this next "phase" between now and 4th kyu. It should be at least 6 months at the rate I expect to be able to get to classes (3x/wk). Likely a good bit longer. Lots of time to just train. Ahhh...
#6 02-11-2010 03:52 AM
Congrats Linda... seems like only yesterday you passed your 6th Kyu.
#5 02-07-2010 11:33 PM
Linda Eskin Says:
Thank you. I didn't have time to say a lot about it - I was too busy training! LOL The word "power" kept coming back to me today, and it's not really the right word. Maybe more like decisiveness, firmness, leadership, sincerity, committed, intentional... Well, something like that.
#4 02-07-2010 02:46 PM
ninjaqutie Says:
Congrats on passing! I didn't even know you were testing. I am falling behind with your blog I guess.
#3 02-07-2010 01:19 PM
Cynrod Says:
Job well done Linda,,, congratulation on your 5th Kyu.
#2 02-06-2010 06:57 PM
Linda Eskin Says:
Thanks. I appreciate that. I will be open to opportunities for that to be naturally expressed, when it's there.
#1 02-06-2010 06:50 PM
Congratulations!! And don't worry quite yet about "doing" the techniques... well I mean, you should be working towards it of course, but the first couple of tests are exactly what you said: "demonstrating how the techniques go". Once you can demonstrate that you know the basics of the techniques (where to step, where your arms go, etc), the next step would be working towards using less muscle and more centre, fluidity, etc... but that will come naturally, so don't worry and enjoy the practice!

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