View Full Version : testing importance?

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08-06-2007, 05:00 AM
Do you think testing is essential in discerning ones progress?
Or do you believe that rank isnt important?
And do you think that one is able to teach without rank?
just some questions i have been pondering.

08-06-2007, 06:03 AM
IMHO, if your dojo/organization/Sensei thinks testing/rank is important, than do it. If you thinks its important, test. If you don't, talk to your Sensei.

IMHO, just train.

Jess McDonald
08-06-2007, 10:22 AM
I have similar views on testing. If your Sensei thinks its time then test otherwise chill and wait it out. At my school it's so small that testing is sometimes forgotten. I'm sure I could pass the first ocuple of kyu tests but technically I'm still 6th kyu. Anyhoo, have fun and don't worry about rank but on your technique and your ukemi.

Larry Cuvin
08-06-2007, 12:53 PM
Some folks say that one can truly begin learning aikido once the rank of shodan is achieved. One can only get there by testing. I for one have several years to get there.

08-06-2007, 01:33 PM
if it is important to you then aim for it know your local time schedule for gradings work on the syllabus in your private time, everyone draws from there aikido the bits they want if grade is yours then go for it.

08-07-2007, 12:46 AM
Is testing important? Yes and No, IMHO.

No: Practice should be about practicing and not about testing. Train hard and the testing will come. What I mean is - wanting to test should never be the reason for practicing.

And yes: I believe that testing (and overcoming the stress and possibly oneīs fear of it) is also part of the growing involved in aikido and therefore it *is* important. In the same way that overcoming any other issue (trust issues, problems with physical touch and closeness, etc.) one might have is important.

I think that often people say that testing is not important because they donīt want to encourage envy, exagerated competition, etc amongst the students, which is a good idea. But these feelings are only human and the whole testing issue might also offer the person involved to work on these things and - again - grow in that respect.

I feel that every time I step on the mat I meet my weaknesses. At least one of them always manages to show up somehow :) and aikido offers me the chance to realize, look at and work on them. Fear (uhmm, panic is probably the better word in my case :) ) of testing is/was one of them and going through all the kyu tests has helped me to decrease it. So, personally, I am greateful for the fact that there is testing in aikido.

Just my two cents...

Rupert Atkinson
08-07-2007, 06:33 AM
I have come to learn that testing has many vices. Sure, test up to shodan, learn the syllabus, then you can begin, so the story goes. Problem is, it takes some people years to get to shodan, by which time their entire experience has been to plod through the grading syllabus. Naturally, once they begin to teach they will repeat the process.

Personally, I hate the grading process but conceed that gradings do have a place. The most important thing is to have a syllabus - something to learn. I have come across schools who pay little, and sometimes, no attention to grading and often, they have no direction. Whether you have gradings or not, there has to be a syllabus - stuff to learn, with direction and planned/achieved progress.

Gradings do not make you much better. Rather, they focus people for a short time, then once passed, they are full of pride, and think they are suddenly ten times better than they were yesterday. I played table tennis 2-3 hours everyday for ten years as a kid and we didn't have gradings - the only thing on my mind was to improve my technique and beat my opponent. I sought out people I couldn't beat and played them until I could beat them. I got better. Imagine how stupid it would be if someone had been assessing my strokes and judging me on my style with little or no competition. Ditto for soccer. And, I hope, I try, ditto for Aikido.

Gradings can be good - I did a lot when I was younger so have no leg to stand on to say abandon gradings - but I can see the result they produce and it is not always good. Consider, how many black belts have you seen quit thinking there is no more to learn? Clearly, they have been led up the wrong track.

I haven't graded in years and can't be bothered with it all. In Korea, some of my students graded higher than me I and I paid no atention to it whatsoever. It was kinda funny at first, but, I think, it gave them a certain kind of lesson. Wonder if they remember though ... Anyway, after 25+ years I find new things hidden in techniques all the time; I save them, collect them, and drill them everyday. It is a fascinating journey.

At the end of the day: Learn the syllabus, pass some gradings, then start learning. But don't wait until you get to shodan to start learning!!!