View Full Version : Re:this weeks poll.

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12-10-2000, 04:11 PM
It's a shame you couldn't asked this question next week, as i grade for 6th kyu this coming saturday.
If any one has any tips for keeping the stress levels down, the advice would be appreciated.

12-10-2000, 06:48 PM
easiest way not to stress out is not to care about the results. just kinda go out there and enjoy yourself.

12-11-2000, 03:04 AM
what style of aikido do you do? Because I start at 6th kyu and have to be training at least 3 months to go for 5th kyu (longer than that now but there is no grading till feburary....but that's ok because a grading is only showing everyone else that you've reached that level...and I know I have :) how long have you been training for? what level do you start at?

12-11-2000, 05:02 AM
Just relax and don't worry about the exam, easier said than done :D, I admit.
We have exams once a year, during that year our teacher watches us constantly and sees the progress we make. He says he does not base his decision to pass someone on how the exam goes but on how someone has grown that year both as a person and as an aikidoka.
The exams are just a formality to conclude a successful year of training and give people the opportunity to show to their family, friends and fellow students what they are during several nights a week wearing strange suits and carrying around wooden weapons.
So don't be nervous and don't forget to breath;).

12-11-2000, 09:31 AM
We have a test every three months (so four a year). If you are eligible - with time spent training - and wish to test, it is up to you.

As for keeping the stress down, every time you think about it during the test, consciously slow down. Especially when you pin. Breath. Take those moments to center yourself again before the next technique.

12-11-2000, 09:53 AM
I failed my first ever grading and it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It made me focus on my aikido and think about what I was doing. It also made me realise that you only grade for yourself.


12-11-2000, 09:54 AM
IMO, if you're too tired to care, you're doing a very good job... the hardest part of my yonkyu test was the vocabulary... after I started doing waza, focusing on anything was close to impossible, since if I did I would probably get hit, which wouldn't help to calm me down...


12-11-2000, 09:54 AM
P.S. what suprises me is that so few other people have failewd gradings. Surely people have become flustered, tired, made mistakes etc during grading? Surely part of the grading is overcoming these problems rather than being passed despite them? Any thoughts?

12-11-2000, 01:37 PM
We had mudansha/kyu tests a couple of weeks ago, and the members of the testing committee provided some pointers regarding tests. These may or may not be consistent with your organization's views, but I'll share them in the hope they're helpful.

1. Don't worry so much about speed and throwing/pinning uke fast or hard. Make sure the techniques are executed smoothly, crisply, and effectively.

2. If you get hung up, forget a technique, or get frustrated, don't give up or dwell on it. Do as much or as well as you can, then move on. If you completely forget a technique, at least try to do something against the attack. Remember, a big part of the test is to see how well you respond to stress and adversity. Your instructor probably wouldn't let you even test if your technical skills weren't developed to the appropriate level before the test.

3. Do not smile or laugh during the test, even if you're nervous. It is supposed to be a serious undertaking, and not to be taken lightly.

Hope these help.

On a lighter note, there's a story in our association about this student who was taking either his ikkyu or shodan test a few years ago. When it came time for the randori portion of the test, our Sensei called out for two ukes. The guy taking the test then said "Just two? Can I have more?" Sensei then said "No, just two" and the randori began. After going for the usual few minutes, Sensei stopped them. Then he called out for a third uke, and had the student do another, longer round of randori! Needless to say, he was hurtin' for certain after that! Heh, heh. So I guess a fourth tip is just do what you're told during the test and keep your mouth shut! :D

12-11-2000, 03:23 PM
This is based on shotokan but he's got some good stuff on testing in my opinion.

The alpha state bit cracked me up.

Matt Banks
12-11-2000, 03:42 PM
A few question, do you have to do a live knife jiuwaza for a shodan testing. And do you have a coloured belt for each kyu grade. Because in Yoshinkan 7th kyu yellow 6th green 5th blue 4th orange 3rd,2nd,1st,brown shodan hakama obviously. I know most dont do this option white to black. But it does have its advantages e.g. safety you know what level your throwing etc.

Any views im interested

Matt Banks

12-11-2000, 03:52 PM
In our group (Associatation Franšaise d'Aikido, led by Gerard Blaize, Hikitsushi sensei's representative for Europe), there is no such things as tests. Before shodan, the teacher can give the right to wear the hakamaWhen the teacher believes you have reached a certain level, dan grades are granted by Gerard Blaize after he observes you during a seminar. Do some groups do the same ?

LR Joseph

12-11-2000, 04:14 PM
I laughed a lot during my test... the atmosphere was serious, but not serious. People made jokes, talked, laughed, and when I heard them, I laughed too.

Definitely don't stop, and if you make a mistake, don't try to cover it up or start over (see above)... just keep going and do it right next time.


12-11-2000, 05:41 PM
Something about the laughing/smiling...

I smiled during my test. All of the shodan said I had an evil little grin on. It's a throwback from dancing. I've been doing ballet, jazz, and tap since I was 3, and the most important lesson was to always smile. Now I always smile when I concentrate, and it really unnerves the other aikidoists at my dojo, since no one but me (and sometimes Sensei) smile alot.

I had a very serious attitude- I was just concentrating so hard that I *gasp* smiled.


12-11-2000, 06:56 PM
Hi shadow
I train with the Central Coast Aikido Club, Which is affiliated with the United Kingdom Aikikai(UKA). I have been training since May this year. We are only a new Dojo so the highest ranked student is 5th Kyu.
We start as no Rank at all or as a Beginner, then we have to grade for 6th Kyu.We don't use the coloured belt system just white to black(I thought this was strange at 1st, but its just the way things are), but we can be awarded Hakama by sensei for various things, like taking the kids class, that we are starting next year.
So where do you train? & what style?

Thanks for all the advice guys much appreciated, test of any kind raise the stress levels for me all the time.

[Edited by kueijin on December 11, 2000 at 07:02pm]

12-11-2000, 09:56 PM
Matt Banks wrote:
A few question, do you have to do a live knife jiuwaza for a shodan testing.

I think you mean jiu waza with a tanto. I can't believe a real blade is used for a shodan test. In my world the tanto work is pretty much scripted for test stuff. Then again nothing is scripted in the Aikido world I inhabit.
And do you have a coloured belt for each kyu grade. Because in Yoshinkan 7th kyu yellow 6th green 5th blue 4th orange 3rd,2nd,1st,brown shodan hakama obviously. I know most dont do this option white to black. But it does have its advantages e.g. safety you know what level your throwing etc.

Actually, the only viable reason I've seen for lots of belt colors is that it encourages people to move up the ranks. The belt is kind of a reward/motivational thingee. My cynical side thinks that belts probably have a 50% margin on them so you get lots of color to sell lots of belts.

Matt Banks
12-12-2000, 05:18 AM
Dear Erik,

Im surprised your surprised!
In Yoshinkan this is how it works. I presume youve heard of Soke Gozo Shioda, and the tokoyo riot police needing to do an intensive year at the Yoshinkan Aikido hombu dojo, doing shikho etc till there knees bleed, in order to improve their spirit. The course was originally funded by osensei. Well thats the Yoshinkan meaning 'an institute for cultivating the spirit' im travelling to Japan in 2002 to do it. I suggest you read a book called 'Angry White Pyjamas' its all about the course. Anyway we have a basic grading syllabus of tecniques for each grade which steadily increases for each belt. For 3rd kyu brown along with grading syllabus tecniques a somen tsuki jiuwaza needs to be performed displaying at least 10 freestyle tecniques. Then 2rd kyu kataemochi jiuwaza and yokomenuchi jiuwaza along with syllabus tecniques, 1st kyu yokomenuchi tanto jiuwaza and ushiro ryotemochi jiuwaza shoman uchi jiuwaza along with grading syllabus. For shodan a selection of 6 jiuwazas can be chosen which must include ''live tanto'' jiuwaza plus the whole grading syllabus must be performed which I belive consists of over 100 tecniques...tough..i know ive done it. For 2nd dan as of 1st dan including futari gukari suwari jiuwaza. 3rd dan as of 2nd dan including live katana jiuwaza. The grades are taken very very seriously and a high standard is required. Mininmum of 6th months training 3 times a week at least between kyu grades and 1st kyu to 1st dan 1+years 1st dan to 2nd dan 2 years 2nd dan to 3rd 3 years . From then onwards grade are honary. I noticed earlier when I mentioned live tanto people went crazy why. As you can see the syllabus is carefully set up so when the time for first dan comes taking on a live knife is no big deal. A grading syllabus was set up so beginner aikidoka are taught in a set way so there body breath mind etc are all in alignment. Soke Gozo Shioda set it up and Osensei sanctioned and funded it. Ive been told by people from Aikikai etc that they notice that lower grades perform tecniques with excellent power and form,ultimately the aikido later on ends up the same but I feel it speeds up the learning process. I know many other styles approve, and respect the hardness of our training (not saying that means its better). Back to the live knife and live katana tests osensei and Soke Shioda placed these in because they felt that pratice with live weapons in a controlled enviroment for higher grades is very important. Due to mainly the mental barriers you have to overcome. Back to what I always say we must always push ourselves or else we will never improve. Thats why we try and make our training as intensive and real as possible so it works practically and we gain spiritually from it and many other aspects. I feel that some styles are diluting due to western influence and lets face it thats not the way osensei trained is it. This may be one reason why recently aikido is being deemed as a dance now days rather than a respected loved and sometimes feared martial art,as in osensei and soke gozo shioda ira. Im not saying that Yoshinkan is the best, that cant be true but I believe the way aikido used to be praticed in the oooolllld days was more in occordance with the way ''how arrogant of me to say that, I know its just my opinion''

Matt Banks

12-13-2000, 09:55 AM
Our union use live blades for shodan gradings also.
The examiner will call the attacks and the person being graded does as many techniques from those attacks as he can think of until the examiner tells them to stop.

For me I think that the live blade actually helps technique. I know that I would make sure I did it correct if the fear of having a real knife wielded at me was there.



12-13-2000, 01:26 PM
On one of my girlfriends' bedroom walls it read,
"If stagnation were perfection, heaven would be a swamp." I only fear mentioning this because there are those that will assume that I'm putting down wet lands.

My advise toward testing:
1) Don't take a test until you know that you will pass. Hint: your sensei says, "Have you thought about testing..."
2) More than just listening to the advise that sempai give you, DO IT!
3) It is your test; it is your mat; it is your timing.
4) Go to practice all the time.
5) Forget all the stuff that "sempai" want you to do and just be yourself.
6) Totally panic and throw a fit five minutes before the test.
7) Stop reading my post before I suggest that you spit on your sensei during the test.

If you've gotten this far, then perhap you'll appreciate the fact that although I've never failed a kyu/dan test, I do recall taking some of them more than once.

12-13-2000, 04:04 PM
A couple of observations.
I have kyu rankings in two "styles" of Aikido, and I find a few things intersting.
USAF- 5 kyus, white to black, dan for hakama.
Ko-Ki-Kai: 6 Kyus, White(No Kyu), Orange-6 & 5, Blue-4&3, Brown-2&1
A Style and colors mentioned above, 7 kyus.
ASU- Not sure of colors, but once you have tested you are invited (as it was put to me) to were a Hakama.

No wonder we are all confused.

That said, my latest test (12/10) was the one that was most anticipated, in that I found out I was testing over 1 month before I tested. Usually it has been, "you're testing today" or "...next saturday at the seminar."
I usually just try to have fun at the test, I know what I know and that is what matters to me. This time I actually started to stress a little. To much forewarning I guess. I even drew a blank on one of my favorite techniques. Oh well. I guess I am finally starting to get that " soon I can test for..., and then..." Before it has been well, whenever. I mean I didn't test for 5th/6th kyu (different styles) for 10 years! Granted there were a few hiatas in training in that time, but still. Enjoy your Aikido, enjoy your tests, they are a way for you to show what you know and learn what really needs work.

12-13-2000, 06:54 PM
To Matt:

I've read the book but I missed the part with the knife. For what it's worth, I've had a knife stuck in my arm in an Aikido dojo. It's really easy to f... up but no doubt the structured excellence of the Yoshinkai training doesn't allow such errors.

I said it the last time and I'll say it again. If a teacher in this business needs a live blade to achieve spiritual refinement (or whatever) I'm unimpressed with the teacher. They need to go back to teacher school or something.