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Lyle Laizure
05-08-2011, 02:12 PM
How "ready" should a student be for a test?

Should everything be so polished that there are no mistakes and the test looks like a choreographed number you might seen on the silver screen or should there be flaws and mistakes?

Alberto_Italiano
05-08-2011, 04:19 PM
You can judge by seeing your Dans.

GMaroda
05-08-2011, 10:22 PM
By the time you test your sensei should already know if you're going to pass or not. Everything else is ritual.

Alternate answer: Yes.

Alternate alternate answer: Ask you sensei what they want.

Alternate X3 answer: Shut up and test. ;)

Mario Tobias
05-09-2011, 12:20 AM
I'm not an expert with tests nor aikido but it depends on what you mean by "polished" techniques.

I just note that when you go observing tests for 6th kyus, 5th, 4th, ikkyu and so on going to higher dan grades, you observe differences in how "polished" the techniques and movement are as you go from lower level to higher grades. and its not only in the techniques, technique is just a part of a good test IMO. Other important factors are in play as well like zanshin, posture, confidence, proper kuzushi, clear/strong entry, crispiness/economy of movement, the finer details of the technique, calmness of mind, centredness, clear understanding of kihon and many others which are clearly refined and ever present in the higher grades. Having very good understanding of these factors would lead IMHO to your movement being "polished". You need to have these factors at a level which suits the grade IMHO which your teacher can be able to ascertain.

If the lower grades I know have more of the above factors than myself and know better than I do, then I think I am not ready to grade yet.

NagaBaba
05-09-2011, 12:49 PM
How "ready" should a student be for a test?

Should everything be so polished that there are no mistakes and the test looks like a choreographed number you might seen on the silver screen or should there be flaws and mistakes?

When you can successfully execute the techniques against actively resisting and countering attacker, it means you are ready for the test.

Basia Halliop
05-09-2011, 04:32 PM
What test? 5th kyu? nidan?

I find it hard to wrap my mind around the idea that a 5th kyu test could not have mistakes... if there are no mistakes at 5th kyu, then that implies their technique is already perfect? They have nothing left to fix or change?

I wonder what you mean by mistakes, though... My own impression is that you just make different mistakes at different levels... And I also think you've set up a false dichotomy: you can have a test that, as you put it, 'looks like a choreographed number you might seen on the silver screen,' AND is full of flaws and mistakes... Just because you do something smoothly and 'polished' doesn't mean you're doing everything right. You may be making lots of mistakes, just making them smoothly :).

Janet Rosen
05-09-2011, 05:15 PM
I wonder what you mean by mistakes, though... My own impression is that you just make different mistakes at different levels... And I also think you've set up a false dichotomy: you can have a test that, as you put it, 'looks like a choreographed number you might seen on the silver screen,' AND is full of flaws and mistakes... Just because you do something smoothly and 'polished' doesn't mean you're doing everything right. You may be making lots of mistakes, just making them smoothly :).

Good points!
I'd add that while one wants to look calm and polished, the good instructors I've seen, once they have seen enough of the test to let the student "strut their stuff" (assuming it IS a good test....) add just enough to the individual's test to bring them out of their comfort zones so we can also see how the student responds to stress, including possibly making mistakes but seeing HOW they recognize and deal with them.

Mario Tobias
05-09-2011, 10:44 PM
Depends also what you mean by "mistakes".

Mistakes to me mean missing the finer details/polish of the technique. There are some dojos that fail a testee if another technique was performed other than what the tester requested.or get hit by a weapon during uke's attack.

Mark Uttech
05-11-2011, 05:53 AM
Onegaishimasu, I think one should know the omote and the ura of each technique called for on the test, and should know the clear difference between the two.

Dazzler
05-11-2011, 07:14 AM
When you can successfully execute the techniques against actively resisting and countering attacker, it means you are ready for the test.
I can understand why you'd say that to a degree ..but its not what I'd expect from a lower kyu grade.

I'd expect them to be able to demonstrate what they'd been taught in lessons.

I'd also expect Uke to give the requested attack unless some form of jiyuwaza or randori were taking place.

Maybe its just me...but my view has always been that if uke is free to vary the attack then naturally tori is free to deploy any response.

Including atemi.

All in the spirit of harmony of course.

Regards

D

sakumeikan
05-11-2011, 08:41 AM
When you can successfully execute the techniques against actively resisting and countering attacker, it means you are ready for the test.
Dear Szczepan,
A test is a platform for a would be applicant for testing to show the examiners that he/she is capable of demonstrating Aiki principles..The way you have answered this blog suggests to me you see a test as a competition of sorts.Any test should have good attacks, spirited correct waza, good posture and kokyu. Testing is not imo a vehicle to launch all sorts of mayhem or to be as an Uke the embodiment of King Kong.Personally I dislike use of the term Test.Any test implies a win /lose mentality.Aikido is not about win /lose , but win /win.
Cheers, Joe.

sakumeikan
05-11-2011, 08:44 AM
I can understand why you'd say that to a degree ..but its not what I'd expect from a lower kyu grade.

I'd expect them to be able to demonstrate what they'd been taught in lessons.

I'd also expect Uke to give the requested attack unless some form of jiyuwaza or randori were taking place.

Maybe its just me...but my view has always been that if uke is free to vary the attack then naturally tori is free to deploy any response.

Including atemi.

All in the spirit of harmony of course.

Regards

D
Dear Daren
Punch the guy on the snitch [in a caring manner ]with a smile on your face?My favourite ploy!!Hows old Kenny R?
Cheers, Joe.

Dazzler
05-11-2011, 08:58 AM
Dear Daren
Punch the guy on the snitch [in a caring manner ]with a smile on your face?My favourite ploy!!Hows old Kenny R?
Cheers, Joe.

Hi Joe...

Been reading all your posts with interest.

'KR' is fine...been raking in the cash as a doppleganger for ken bates too.

What with that and his winter activities in that fetching red coat he's a busy man.

In between he's found a little bit of time to do some Aikido and kicked my butt at the weekend.

Of course I said Thank you Sensei in a respectful and appreciative manner.

Best

D

ps. He has mentioned to me in the past that you had a trick or 2 up your sleeve..you can show them to me next time we meet ...preferably on the tatami next time and not in the ...er...alternative venue ...that we used in Cardiff :)

NagaBaba
05-11-2011, 01:51 PM
Dear Szczepan,
A test is a platform for a would be applicant for testing to show the examiners that he/she is capable of demonstrating Aiki principles..The way you have answered this blog suggests to me you see a test as a competition of sorts.Any test should have good attacks, spirited correct waza, good posture and kokyu. Testing is not imo a vehicle to launch all sorts of mayhem or to be as an Uke the embodiment of King Kong.Personally I dislike use of the term Test.Any test implies a win /lose mentality.Aikido is not about win /lose , but win /win.
Cheers, Joe.
Hello Joe,
I didnít suggest that countering and resistance (however we may define it) should be part of testing process. So you are reading too much in my message.

However, during preparation for testing, such activities must take a place. It is impossible to develop any decent understanding and embodies aikido principles without those elements. Only AFTER it is done, a candidate will be able to actually demonstrate it while testing!

Otherwise, he and his uke will execute only choreographed, robotic-like movements without any sense.

sakumeikan
05-11-2011, 05:41 PM
Hello Joe,
I didn't suggest that countering and resistance (however we may define it) should be part of testing process. So you are reading too much in my message.

However, during preparation for testing, such activities must take a place. It is impossible to develop any decent understanding and embodies aikido principles without those elements. Only AFTER it is done, a candidate will be able to actually demonstrate it while testing!

Otherwise, he and his uke will execute only choreographed, robotic-like movements without any sense.
Dear Szczepan,
Sorry if I misunderstood your blog.Like you I hate tests that look a though they have been rehearsed like something from a bad Steven Seagal movie.Solid basic stuff should be order of the day not showy or whatever.I like to see some real intent, focus and I am not averse to the odd bit of sweat from the participants.I dislike seeing tests where Fred Astaire would have been at home in the chorus line. Cheers, Joe.

philipsmith
05-12-2011, 03:28 AM
i'm in the middle of trying to define the testing process for our members http://www.ukaonline.org.uk/UKA/Newsletters/2011/Newsline%202011-04.pdf

hope this is of use (parts 2 &3 to follow)

Walter Martindale
05-20-2011, 04:25 PM
Most of my previous sensei have said that you should be able to do all of the material of the next level up from what you're testing to a pretty good performance level, and the test you're going for should be quite easy.
Another thing most of them have said is that while the test is important to the person doing the test, it's also an examination of the sensei - what kind of student is this person turning out...
My senseis haven't put me forward for testing until they thought I was more than ready. My shodan test - the shihan signed the form, gave it to my dojo sensei, and told him to test me later in the week.

Gotta go watch a river go past..
W

jester
05-25-2011, 09:58 AM
By the time you test your sensei should already know if you're going to pass or not. Everything else is ritual.

Agreed! An instructor should already know your abilities since he sees you in class all the time.

-

Mark Mueller
05-25-2011, 10:32 AM
During the first few kyu tests (6th, 5th and 4th) it is my opinion the students are learning the "alphabet" of aikido and its expectations, much as a toddler learns to talk. 3rd, 2nd and 1st Kyu are where they are learning to put understandable sentences together.....Dan rankings should be able to put comprehensive ideas and concepts together and communicate them via technique.. IMHO.

Marie Noelle Fequiere
05-25-2011, 11:29 AM
The answer is in the late Kensho Furuya Sensei's book: Kodo: Ancient Ways.
And here it is: Saigo said: "do your best and let the outcome to heaven".
Takamori Saigo was a very respected samurai from the late Tokugawa and the early Meiji period.

Lyle Laizure
05-27-2011, 02:50 PM
During the first few kyu tests (6th, 5th and 4th) it is my opinion the students are learning the "alphabet" of aikido and its expectations, much as a toddler learns to talk. 3rd, 2nd and 1st Kyu are where they are learning to put understandable sentences together.....Dan rankings should be able to put comprehensive ideas and concepts together and communicate them via technique.. IMHO.

I like this analogy. But I would ask is the rank of shodan really worthy of comprehensive ideas and concepts? At this stage one is certainly better off then when he/she started but the ability, understanding and skill is still in a very rudimentary stage isn't it?

Michael Varin
05-28-2011, 02:59 AM
How "ready" should a student be for a test?

Should everything be so polished that there are no mistakes and the test looks like a choreographed number you might seen on the silver screen or should there be flaws and mistakes?
In my opinion, there are two basic types of tests. I think both are valid and actually there is no reason why both couldn't be used together.

One is the "show me how well you can demonstrate what you have learned" test.

This would only include things in which the student has had exposure sufficient to learn the material. To pass this type of test the student should be able to look polished to whatever is appropriate for their level.

The other is the "here is something beyond your capabilities show me how you react" test.

This will include variables that the student has not previously been exposed to. There will be many flaws and mistakes, but this type of test is passed by demonstrating calmness, creativity, and adaptability.

Basia Halliop
05-28-2011, 02:07 PM
There's also option three, where both are included in the same test. I.e., part of the test is familiar and therefore the expectations for that part are high, and part is unfamiliar and used to stretch the student or see their reaction to a challenge.

Michael Varin
05-29-2011, 03:51 AM
There's also option three, where both are included in the same test. I.e., part of the test is familiar and therefore the expectations for that part are high, and part is unfamiliar and used to stretch the student or see their reaction to a challenge.

Yeah... I already said that.

actually there is no reason why both couldn't be used together.

Mark Mueller
05-29-2011, 07:16 AM
Lyle said,

"But I would ask is the rank of shodan really worthy of comprehensive ideas and concepts? At this stage one is certainly better off then when he/she started but the ability, understanding and skill is still in a very rudimentary stage isn't it? "

I would concur but I would clarify that they should have all the tools by then to start putting together ideas and concepts.

Mary Eastland
05-29-2011, 09:40 AM
When you can successfully execute the techniques against actively resisting and countering attacker, it means you are ready for the test.

Maybe in the style you train in. In other styles that would be crap. Saying general things like that can hurt a student if he or she is training in style that Ki development is the focus. Focusing on the other person is a distraction from developing one's self. Staying soft and connecting with your partner is much more important than throwing hard and looking good.
Mary

Basia Halliop
05-29-2011, 03:33 PM
Maybe in the style you train in. In other styles that would be crap. Saying general things like that can hurt a student if he or she is training in style that Ki development is the focus. Focusing on the other person is a distraction from developing one's self. Staying soft and connecting with your partner is much more important than throwing hard and looking good.
Mary

I don't see the connection between 'throwing hard' and working with someone who will show you the mistakes and openings in your techniques. You can (usually easily) throw an over-cooperative, over-helpful uke very very hard, and on the other hand you can control someone and take their balance and throw them gently.

Looking good is so subjective that it means something different to every person so I won't comment on that.

Even if your biggest goal is staying soft and connecting with your partner, then wouldn't that mean that that is part of what 'success' would mean in your style? Are you not meant to learn to stay soft and connect with your partner when your partner isn't doing the same? Perhaps not, as I know very little about lines of training that focus on ki development, but that's what I always thought part of the point was.

Mary Eastland
05-29-2011, 05:53 PM
Good points all, Basia.
I was cranky.
Mary

Adam Huss
06-05-2011, 01:37 PM
This is a good topic of discussion, often debated throughout many martial arts organizations. Of course, no responsible teacher should allow a student to test if they are only going to embarrass themselves. I also feel it beneficial for students to understand they must actually work, prepare, and execute to a certain standard for their shinsa. Putting people 'on the spot' and making them perform are key elements that develop one of the more practical benefits aikido has to offer its students...one's self.

If a student is freaking out about testing to the point where s/he can not function during the test and asks the teacher, or is given, a private testing (or the well-known 'secret test during class'), I find that does the student a serious disservice. If a teacher is putting students, with some level of consistency, in difficult situations and forcing them to deal, then that student can potentially let that aspect of their aikido bleed into their real life (where we all live most of the time). I feel testing is a great opportunity to employ this concept. Additionally, it acts as a level of quality control for that particular school, organization, and art. I've found schools where students can actually 'fail' a test often produce some of the best technicians, as well as students who actively apply lessons learned in the dojo, off the mat (I'm talking daily living, not self defense).

cheers,
A

mrlizard123
06-05-2011, 04:54 PM
This is an easy question to answer; you should be ready to demonstrate the techniques/principles/etc that you are expected to for the level you are grading for at the proficiency expected at your dojo. If this doesn't meet your own expectations it is something to discuss with your instructor(s)...

It might be a silly answer in some ways but it can't be wrong.

SmilingNage
06-05-2011, 08:28 PM
Going thru the ranks, we were always told to be ready not only for the current test material but some stuff from the next test as well.

Adam Huss
06-07-2011, 02:39 PM
Going thru the ranks, we were always told to be ready not only for the current test material but some stuff from the next test as well.

I would also emphasize the opposite! So often we get caught up with the test itself, and focus on that particular test's requirements. We often like to throw a wrench in the cog and make people perform techniques from previous tests. This ensures retention, sets a standard, and messes with people's confidence (its important to put people on the spot and see how they react). Often, the teacher will choose some super abscure or basic concept, like a basic roll or tai sabaki type movement (we do kihon dosa...a little differenct, but idea is the same). The teacher wants to see several things by doing this; do you remember this stuff, are you constantly practicing, can you actually teach it, and has techniques you haven't been required to 'display' on a test in years been progressing along with the newer, fancier, techqniues required at your level. But, in practice, and in the kyu levels my dojo typically adds a thing or two from higher ranks that are not in the approved national and international curriculum. But it will always be something students should be prepared for and have seen before.

again, sorry about spelling....spell checker no workie.

SmilingNage
06-07-2011, 03:03 PM
The point was, you should already "be" at that level before testing for that rank. It was reminder to not to rush to test and learn the lessons that needed to be learned.

But yeah, throwing a monkey wrench into testing was a delight of my old teacher. Woe to those who weren't ready for it.

Adam Huss
06-08-2011, 08:39 AM
The point was, you should already "be" at that level before testing for that rank. It was reminder to not to rush to test and learn the lessons that needed to be learned.

But yeah, throwing a monkey wrench into testing was a delight of my old teacher. Woe to those who weren't ready for it.

I agree too, William. Didn't mean to come off as an opposing view....
I like both aspects of being ready, whether its a future req or a past.

cheers
A

Lyle Laizure
06-10-2011, 07:55 AM
Of course, no responsible teacher should allow a student to test if they are only going to embarrass themselves.

While I would agree with this as a general statement I would have to say that under certain circumstances this should be allowed. It shouldn't be necessary but there are times that a student can get an overinflated idea of who they are and where their capabilities reside. This certainly isn't a first course of action but if other counseling doesn't suffice a little embarassment is sometimes just the right medicine.

Ketsan
06-10-2011, 07:57 AM
Maybe in the style you train in. In other styles that would be crap. Saying general things like that can hurt a student if he or she is training in style that Ki development is the focus. Focusing on the other person is a distraction from developing one's self. Staying soft and connecting with your partner is much more important than throwing hard and looking good.
Mary

Is this not a contradiction?
Focusing on the other person is a distraction from developing one's self. Staying soft and connecting with your partner is much more important than throwing hard and looking good.


Surely developing a connection is as much about focusing on the other person as much as focusing on yourself, and so developing yourself means learning to connect to someone else.

That's what dealing with a resisting opponent is all about, staying connected to someone that doesn't want to be connected or is using the connection to unbalance and throw you.

There's no reason why you can't stay soft AND deal with a resisting opponent and it's not about throwing them hard. It's about really being able to form a connection under all circumstances so that you can throw them under all circumstances.

If you can really form a connection you can collapse someones posture without even needing to throw them.

Adam Huss
06-10-2011, 12:00 PM
While I would agree with this as a general statement I would have to say that under certain circumstances this should be allowed. It shouldn't be necessary but there are times that a student can get an overinflated idea of who they are and where their capabilities reside. This certainly isn't a first course of action but if other counseling doesn't suffice a little embarassment is sometimes just the right medicine.

Yeah, I didn't want to really say that because I thought it would start a controversy and bickering....plus its definitely not the norm. But we've done it before, in our group. Not necessarily with the stated intent of humiliation, but when someone who doesn't put forth the effort of their fellow testing candidates, but constantly insist and ask about testing, sometimes its good to see if they notice the difference between themselves and the other people they test with. Its a fine, and debatable, line that I didn't want to get into. With that, I agree that is a course to take, albeit carefully considered.

cheers,
A

Lyle Laizure
06-13-2011, 09:00 AM
Yeah, I didn't want to really say that because I thought it would start a controversy and bickering....plus its definitely not the norm. But we've done it before, in our group. Not necessarily with the stated intent of humiliation, but when someone who doesn't put forth the effort of their fellow testing candidates, but constantly insist and ask about testing, sometimes its good to see if they notice the difference between themselves and the other people they test with. Its a fine, and debatable, line that I didn't want to get into. With that, I agree that is a course to take, albeit carefully considered.

cheers,
A

Agreed.

Carl Simard
06-13-2011, 11:10 AM
Unless you're some kind of reincarnation of O'Sensei,mistakes are part of the test. And a good tester will make sure to push you up to the point you start making some...

The thing is that these acceptable mistakes will not be the same depending on which grade you're testing for. What may be acceptable of a 5th kyu exam may not be for your shodan exam, and what may be acceptable for your shodan may not be for your 3rd and so on...