View Full Version : Poll: If you were asked by your instructor to test for rank, would you turn it down?

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10-30-2006, 02:49 PM
AikiWeb Poll for the week of October 29, 2006:

If you were asked by your instructor to test for rank, would you turn it down?

I don't do aikido
We don't use ranks
We don't have tests

Here are the current results (http://www.aikiweb.com/polls/results.html?poll_id=347).

Amir Krause
10-31-2006, 12:12 AM
I would not turn it down, one does not do that to his sensey. But I would try to convince him to postpone the timing as long as possible. At least so long as I do not feel I deserve the promotion.

From my own experiance, and having seen it among others. This feeling of unworthingess is very common among the Yundasha. Since we are all aware of that, we all relent in the end and let Sensei have it his way.


10-31-2006, 03:07 AM
I think as time goes on, because you are not learning new 'techniques' you feel you need some objective basis to feel improvement. I was lucky to feel that for my 1st Dan (I felt I understood how one technique can lead directly into another without a break). However, where do the new discoveries come after that?

If your sensei asks you to grade, its presumably because he thinks you are ready to grade.

Also, although some instructors feel bad failing students, I always think of it this way - you are the same ability at the start and end of the grading; the important bit is how much work you put in prior to grading!

10-31-2006, 03:42 AM
I would tend to agree with Amir on this, your Sensei wouldn't say he was putting you into a grading without knowing that you are capable of passing.
What are peoples opinions on being given a grade instead of taking a grading for it?

10-31-2006, 03:51 AM

I trust his judgement enough to accept his tuition.

I trust his judgment enough to tell me its time to grade.

ps. Hope he visits Aikiweb!

Dirk Hanss
10-31-2006, 04:44 AM
While it depends a little bit on how he asks, usually I would go for the test. What can I loose, when I test. Failing an unprepared test is nothing one should be blamed for. And yes, I would blame myself for all the silly mistakes - which would happen nevertheless. I would loose some 20 EUR for the test, maybe a little bit more for yudansha grades.
If I reject, i would send a signal of lacking confidence in my sensei, which could harm much more.

So only, if he would tell me something like "you have the minimum requirements, so you could test next week, if you want", I might ask for another month with better preparation.
"Might" is the important word. I always overestimate my abilities, so probably I would accept to test anyhow ;)

just my humble 2 cents


10-31-2006, 05:51 PM
We always test by invitation. In three weeks I'm testing for second kyu.Provided I pass, I think that if Sensei invites me to test for first kyu next year I may turn it down. I can handle being a 2nd kyu for longer than ten months! If I don't pass, I test again when I am invited.

Amir Krause
11-01-2006, 12:28 AM
What are peoples opinions on being given a grade instead of taking a grading for it?

Well, in our case, as I have come to realize it after some years, the test is only a formality, and the grade is actually given once Sensei decided.
Just to clarify, Korindo Aikido is a different M.A. compared to Ueshiba Aikido with its own organization, my Sensei is the head of Korindo Aikido in Israel and has 7th dan. Thus he has the permission to rank students up to 3rd dan (or possibly 4th, I stopped caring long ago) and “recommend” higher ranks. Further, most of the students we have study with my sensei who teaches 2 of the 4 dojo we have in the country (the other 2 are led by his students, one of which trains with us on a regular basis and the other comes to train with us every time he can since he lives further away).

The result of our situation is that sensei knows all advanced students by name long before they reach their first grading (in most dojo we only start grading at 1st Kyu, though one teacher received Sensei permission to have another earlier test for 5th Kyu).
Due to those reasons, a few years ago some students convinced Sensei he does not need to test for ranks above shodan, instead, the person “tested” should only demonstrate a Kata or two in a level pertaining to his new grade. From my own personal experience in the last grading, Sensei has even given this up, he grades based on seeing the Yundasha in the dojo, no special test occasion is necessary.

Personally, I find this system to be better then a simple test. One is not tested only in one singular event, but is being under test all the time, and has to stand up to par not only in the simple technical aspect but also in his behavior all along. Of course, this type of arrangement requires a very skilled and high level Sensei, a rare thing.


11-01-2006, 07:02 AM
I must admit in all honesty, I respectfully turned down the invitation twice, because I personally didn't feel ready and didn't want to take the time out of my regular training.

Eric Webber
11-01-2006, 10:04 AM
I find the wording of this poll interesting. I've never been "asked" to test, I've always been told I would test. In the first several years of training, in the middle of a class Sensei would stroll onto the mat with the black clip board and a smile that meant someone was doing it right then and there, no warning. :blush:

If asked, however, I would leave it up to my teacher whether I test or not. I think he/she will have a better view of where I am at with regards to rank than I have.