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It almost seems like a dream. I can recall bits and pieces, but the whole idea of it all is just…. foggy. Its as if I am trying to recall something that happened after I have fallen and hit my head or passed out. Those moments leading up to and immediately after are always fuzzy.
Thursday three of us were set to test for fourth kyu. Originally, four of us were set to test, but sensei promoted one a couple days prior based on merit. In fact, that person happens to be my hubby. He was promoted to 3rd kyu. I couldn't be happier for him and I know that he really wasn't interested in testing. After a conversation, sensei decided that he could skip testing and bumped him up from 5th kyu to 3rd.
The other three of us weren't so lucky as to skip the testing process, so we showed up Thursday, ready whether we liked it or not. I left the house ten minutes earlier, thinking it would give me more time to calm down, but it turns out I got there the same time as usual. Traffic was determined to make my buffer time disappear altogether.
I changed as quickly as I could and went up to the dojo. My brief moments of solitude were dashed when I realized a couple other people were already in the dojo. I started stretching and just trying to calm my nerves. One of the yudansha came in and jokingly asked me "What are you testing for? 2nd kyu?" I laughed and then mentioned that I was testing for 6th kyu.
Sensei came in shortly after and the yudansha asked sensei if I was testing for 2nd kyu. Sensei smiled and responded that I was testing for 6th. I got all excited and told sensei that is what I said earlier. Then I reminisced about how easy the 6th kyu test was. In our dojo, as soon as you walk in the door you are a 6th kyu. Unfortunately, this test wasn't going to be quite as simple.
Once class started, sensei had us do some warm-ups, conditioning exercises that were techniques on our exam and we did a couple techniques that were on the test as well. Once we all lined up, she had us come out onto the mat. Our first uke's were then called out and assigned to us.
Once the test started, just like last time, my nervousness went away. You don't really have time to look around and see what else is going on. I did hear a bit of confusion going on and I heard "Look around and see what they are doing." Several times I had my uke swapped out. Evidently, I was running my uke's a little more ragged then the other testee's were.
There were a few times during the test where I fumbled over the hand exchanges, or felt as if my footwork was a bit off. A few times I forgot to do the nikyo pin and my partner would remind me to do the pin. At the end of the test, four of the yudansha left to decide our fate. While they were gone, we worked on suwariwaza kokyuho. It was a nice cool down.
Eventually, they returned and we all once again lined up. They had us stand one at a time and told us whether we passed or failed. Each of us passed the test. A couple of the yudansha gave us some feedback, such as: hand exchanges and footwork needs improvement, using our centers more, sinking into our hips, etcetera, etcetera. Sensei told me in particular that I need to work on being more assertive.
All in all, I guess I did alright on the test. I didn't do poorly, but I certainly know that I could have done better. I think my foot played a part in some of my poor movement. Most of the time I wasn't aware of my foot do to nerves or adrenaline, but certain movements did hurt my foot. For instance on kokyuho I was quite aware that the pressure on my foot hurt.
When the test was over, all of us went out for pizza and beer. It is nice just to sit back and chat about anything that comes to mind. It isn't often that a group of us get together and just eat, drink and talk. We have dojo potlucks every now and then, but these pizza and beer outings are just something special and unique.
I hear that the 3rd kyu test is the hardest test because of all the techniques and the fact that the test is so much longer. Although I am not quite ready to pursue this feat, I know that one day, whether I like it or not, that test will be knocking on my door. For now though, I am content to coast along for a bit. I want the opportunity to grow into my rank and enjoy where I am a bit longer before I start trudging up the hill towards my next goal.
See my previous blog if you are interested in some random aikido statistics