View Full Version : Funny Test Stories?

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Nick P.
01-13-2004, 09:01 AM
Hello everyone,

Last night during jyu-waza, I had a new (with us, anyway) student ask about testing in our dojo. I explained to him how the tests worked. At his request we then went over some of the names for grasps, hold, projections, taisabaki, etc.
He pointed out (as we all do eventually) how some things are called differently. And that got me to thinking....

In particular I was wondering if anyone trained at more than one dojo where the lexicon was different, and that posed some amuzing challenges at test time.

Surely many of us have some amusing testing stories; we didn't hear the Sensei's instructions, you experience a "Brain Fart" halfway through a technique, etc. Fell free to share those as well.

Thanks, and train well.

Ted Marr
01-13-2004, 11:19 AM
OK, well, they might not be the funniest stories ever told, but since they're amusing enough to have earned me a bit of good-natured fun poking at my dojo, I figure they're good enough to share here.

I train at a dojo where we go up to Boston to be tested by Kanai Sensei when the time comes, rather than by our teacher here. Needless to say, we all feel a great obligation to do our very best and not embarass ourselves or our group when testing.

When I went for my 5th kyu test, for whatever reason, it was a huge test day. Everyone and their student was there, and just packing the dojo to the rafters. Despite everyone's best efforts, the minor noises made by so many people shifting uncomfortably in sitting positions made it perhaps not as easy to hear everything as might be hoped for.

Anyways, things got underway, and in the 3rd or so batch of 5th kyu testees, Kanai Sensei called out four names, and only three people got up to test. He repeated the 4th name again, and nobody answered. You have to understand, Kanai retains a fairly heavy accent, so he is not easy to understand sometimes if you are not used to listening to him. Finally I realized, mortified, that he was calling something that sounded vaguely like "Ted", and I hurried into place up at the front, accompanied by a few stray titters from the audience, and a flaming red face.

So, anyway, the test got underway, and I was doing what I thought was pretty darn good work, when I realized something. I was still wearing my car keys, and there they were, jangling away under my gi.

You see, I often compensate for gi pants' lack of pockets by attaching a carabener to my key ring and just looping it off the drawstrings of my pants. Occasionally I forget that I have done this, and toss my keys to the side of the mat during the first couple of minutes of practice. No biggie. But, of course, this wasn't just practice, this was my test. And damned if I was going to call a halt due to a little jingle in my step.

Thankfully, I think I am the only one that realized what was going on, unless someone noticed me suddenly looking embarrassed again midtest even though my kotegaeshi was pretty well up to snuff.

But wait, there's more.

You see, after I sat back down, Kanai called up yet another set of 5th kyu testees. And the fourth one he called sounded a whole heck of a lot like "Ted". Again. In fact, after not seeing anyone getting up to go to the front of the room, he called "Ted Marr", leaving no doubt as to who he expected up there. I stood up and explained that I had just tested, but would be glad to again, if need be. It turns out, when he called the name I first answered to, he was calling some COMPLETELY different name, like "John" or something. EVERYONE in the dojo that I talked to after heard that name, but somehow my uke and I both heard "Ted".

Needless to say, this testing experience led to such comments as "Really, aren't you supposed to be keeping your key in your center, rather than on your belt somewhere, John?"

01-13-2004, 11:50 AM
During my last test, I thought I heard the instructor say "katatetori koshinage." This technique wasn't on the list of requirements, but during previous tests that evening, he had been asking for additional techniques, so I thought he was doing this in my test. My first clue should have been my uke's surprised look when I sent him flying over my hip. I finally realized what was wrong when my uke came around for the second time and whispered "jujinage." The instructor had in fact called for "katatetori jujinage," which was on the syllabus for my test. Somehow, I managed to correct what I was doing mid-stride and execute some jujinage before the next technique was called.

Nick P.
01-13-2004, 01:17 PM
After only a couple of months at a new dojo in a new city, I was honoured to be asked to be uke for a number of tests (a sankyu, nykyu and a ikkyu). I was happy to contribute any way I could.

All went well up until the ikkyu test; with my back to the Sensei (who came into town especially for the test), I had to stop myself from turning around with a look on my face that said "What the F_$% are you talking about?!" when he called out the attack.

You see, up until then, 99.9% of the terminology was identical. Just my luck this was the 0.01% chance, and when "Blah blah Tachi blah blah Katate blah blah Soto blah" I was stunned. Actually, I thought the Sensei was making fun of me by calling out an attack that did not exist.

Nage sees the look on my face, and is not so surprised when I slowly and cautiously approach him with a tentative grab at his wrist, all the while with a look on my face of "I hope this is right!". The rest is a blur.

Thankfully he passes his test despite my blunder.

01-13-2004, 04:33 PM
A few years ago our late Sensei was conducting kyu tests. One student testing for 1st kyu had just finished the required techniques, and was about to start the randori portion of his test. Sensei calls for two new uke for this student's randori. The student, perplexed because his test normally requires three-person randori, says "but Sensei, aren't I supposed to have three uke?" Silence ensues as everyone in the room cringes and waits for the explosion. Sensei replies "WHAT!!!" Student says again "I thought I was supposed to have three uke for randori, Sensei." Sensei, stonefaced, says "Two uke! Go!" So, the randori proceeds with two uke for a few minutes. Then, when it looks like the student is starting to get tired, Sensei calls out "OK, now three uke!" The three person randori then continues for several more minutes until it looks like the student is about to collapse from exhaustion, and Sensei finally ends it.

That story still makes me laugh...

01-14-2004, 12:11 AM
I've started practicing Aikido in a small Dojo - not more then 15 Aikidokas. Our tests had syllabus, but the test itself resembled the syllabus vaguely...

I was the only one testing for the 4th kyu. After some techniques the Sensei said "Ryotedori Tenchinage". I've done it several times and then the Sensei said "Katadori Tenchinage". The Uke immediately grabbed my shoulder and I stood there, trying to figure out how the heck am I suppose to do this technique. Just as I tried some bizarre way of doing am Atemi to the face to persuade the Uke to grab my other hand - the Sensei said "just kidding" and continued with the test.

I think he wanted to loosen me up a little, but still it stays a funny memory.

Yann Golanski
01-14-2004, 03:57 AM
A certain sandan was grading to yondan at 09:00 at one dojo -- names and places masked to protect the innocents.

Sensei looks at her and says: "You are kyuless, we'll grade you to 5th kyu and take it from there". So, after grading all the way to sandan, she started her yondan grading at 15:00! She did pass.

... and people wonder why the Shodokan folks stay at shodan for 15 years!!!

Paul Sanderson-Cimino
01-14-2004, 11:10 AM
A sensei in Minneapolis told me a story of her nidan test...I shall attempt to retell it.

As many of us know, it's tricky to get your dogi (that's what Yoshokai people call the 'gi'...as a post on another thread observed, we just like to confuse people) at just the right fit, so that your pants don't fall down or cause you to trip on the hem or something. (The first at least has happened mid-test, by the way.) The tester had problems with this at one point, so quickly before the test fastened her pants and belt very securely so that there was no chance of any slipping. Thus prepared, she went up for her test.

Well, she quickly realized as she began her techniques that she'd done too good of a job, and couldn't really breathe. So she went through her entire nidan test on little gasps. I think she passed.

One of my favorite aiki-stories is based on a test experience. It was told at the 30th anniversary celebration of Kushida-sensei coming to the US. He's a remarkably friendly guy when he isn't using the patented Kushida-Sensei Eyes to drill into your soul, and speaks with a bit of a "Mr. Miyage" manner.

(Again, I hope I'm getting this right.)

During one aikidoka's training for nidan, he contracted mono, and had to withdraw shortly beforehand. Some of his friends continued to test for nidan on the scheduled date, but he had to just sit aside.

Between tests, Sensei approached him and asked why he wasn't testing.

"I'm sick, sensei."

"With what?"

A pause. "...it's called 'mononucleosis', sensei."

Another pause, from Kushida-sensei. "...how you get that?"

A much more akward pause. "...fluid...transmission, sensei."

"Ah. Like kissing?"

"...yes sensei. You can get it from kissing."

"Ahhh. ... how did /you/ get it?"

Choke. "Uh...kissing, sensei."

A laugh and approving nod. "Ahh, good. Something worth dying for!"

Mark Barlow
01-14-2004, 01:38 PM
My training partner and I were testing for shodan on the same day and were swapping uke/tori duties. He was testing first and on the first technique of the the first kata we were required to demonstrate, he somehow poked his thumb into my right eye. The eye began to swell shut and within 2 or 3 minutes, it was completely closed. Surprisingly, it isn't all that hard to attack with only one eye but defending with no depth perception is another matter. We both got through the test successfully and except for a week of looking like the son Popeye never talks about, I was no worse for wear.

Michael Hackett
01-14-2004, 06:58 PM
I watched a friend test for nidan, the very first test I had ever witnessed as I had just started to train. A particular attack was called for and Uke attacked strongly, with great commitment. Unfortunately during the series, Uke got his toe caught in the hem of his hakama. Never missing a beat, he stood straight on his right foot and lifted his left foot behind him straight into the air. Uke shook his foot loose and let the leg of his hakama drop free and immediately began another strong attack. It was done so effortlessly that some of the "civilians" visiting for the testing thought it was part of a technique. It wasn't funny, but it was amazing that it was done with such grace and elan.

Josh Bisker
01-15-2004, 10:19 AM
I was astonishingly nevous on my 6th Kyu test, what i felt to be my first real rite of passage in the dojo. We are a college club, but some guys from the local real-people dojo came to take ukemi for testing, and when my name was called this guy Tom gets up. I like Tom a whole whole hell of a lot, and it made me feel really special that he had got up for me, but well it was also a bit scary. He's about ten feet taller than i am, and his aikido is really efficient and strong and graceful, and i will not deny a good bit of intimidation. Anyway, i get through the required techniques decently enough, and am just starting to relax, when Sensei says:

"Okay, Tachi Dori. Three basic attacks."

"Sensei," I say, "What's that mean?"

"That's where he has a sword."

After a pause ".... Do I have a sword, Sensei?"

"No, just him. You have to take the sword away from him. Just don't get killed."

I turned the same color as my dogi but did okay, until Tom went into hasa gedan and then launched out a tsuki. He put the sword behind him and we had alllllll this distance between us, and then there was just none at all and he had the tip of his long bokken coming at my solar plexus. After us trying this a few times, Sensei informed me that "running away doesn't count as not getting killed."

Probably not the most sterling example of technical excellence in my young aikido career, but a very fond memory.

By the way - i thought that Sweet Pea was the baby Popeye never talked about?

01-15-2004, 10:32 AM
On one test my pants fell down. :-P

This was before I got my hakama too.

Someone told me traditionally that they do not wear underwear under the gi. Lukily I do.

That same one person later had his pants rip open after class one day while doing grapling with sensi... Because we were doing grapling we were not wearing hakamas, and needless to say, He wasent wearing any underwear... His face turned very red and Sensi asked him if he was a little chilly. I don't know how we pulled if off, but we dident laughf.. While Lukily only 4 Ushedeshi were there, including him.


01-15-2004, 11:59 AM

funny test stories huh?

During my brown belt examination, I watched my brother take his 4th kyu exam.

He is tested 5th and 4th kyu in the same day, consecutively. And sometime during the end of his 4th kyu test sensei suddenly dropped a technique (probably for fun);

ushiro ryo-te juji-garami. (wow)

Clearly, I can see from his expression that he hasn't ever done that technique, much less practice it from ushiro. He just stood there, red-faced from continous exertion and then slowly tried his best to 'invent' what he think is juji-garami from that position. The resulting scenes and effort are a real test of composure from all of us testing there.

Can't laugh though, coz there's a visiting sensei for the exam, but we had a ball remembering it though. :)

01-21-2004, 02:23 PM
1.) During my 3rd Kyu test I performed our traditional Jo Kata. I had gone completely through the hand to hand techniques and the last thing I had to do was the Jo Kata. At the end of the Kata I spun the Jo around in a figure eight in front of me, and as I did this I wacked my shin with the Jo. The surge of pain popped the Jo out of my hand, which then rolled across the mat and ended up right in front of my Sensei. I sat down where I was, not daring to look up. There were a few whispers from the board, but Sensei was very gracious to pass me.

2.) I was Uke for a friend's Shodan test. Towards the end of the test Sensei calls out Bokken Kata! I heard Bokken Tori! Me being the good Uke run to get my friend's Bokken. As he was reaching for the bokken I proceed to attack him with it. He had this look of surprise oh his face, but he blended very well and successfully defended numerous attacks by me. Sensei clapped and then said,"Um...Ok....now then....Bokken Kata!" I didn't even know what had happened until I watched the video later. My friend passed his Shodan, probably with extra points for defending against surprise attacks.

01-22-2004, 08:45 AM
At our last testing, a fairly tall student was testing for first kyu, and took as his uke a very short shodan. Near the end of the test they got to the defenses versus kicks, which we don't practice very often, but the low and middle kicks went okay. Then we had the following dialog:

Nage: Can you kick me high? (touches middle of upper arm)

Uke: Sure.

Nage: I mean, can you kick me *really* high? (touches top of shoulder)

Uke: Bows slightly, steps back slightly, kicks nage on the side of the head above the ear. (It had to be seen to be believed--I didn't think he could do it either.)

Sensei: Hey, aren't you supposed to block that or something?

Nage was so surprised, in fact he didn't block at all but just stood there goggling. (He passed his test anyway.)

The other memorable moment from that test came during the third-kyu tests. Nage was throwing his uke with a lot of speed, and our dojo is small. At one point he threw her into the testers' table. The two black belts behind the table leaped to their feet and with a single motion grabbed the two coffee cups as the table folded up. Not a drop was spilled, though everything else on the table went flying. It looked incredibly cinematic, and we teased them about their typically Seattleite coffee consciousness.

Mary Kaye

07-18-2004, 11:46 PM
My father and I study together and have for the past 15 or so years. We have a special relationship due to our Aikido and try to participate in each other's tests in some capacity. When Dad tested for nidan, I requested to be his uke, and even though I am his sempai Sensei granted my request. Everything was going pretty good, until randori. Now being father and son, we don't hold back much when we train, and testing was especially "spirited". I wanted to be the first attacker to him, so i jumped up and ran in with a grab. He did a kokyu throw, and my arm collapsed, right into his nose, breaking it. Now testing is nerve racking, being tired from most of your test is makes it more difficult, now a broken nose and watery eyes don't make matters any better. He finished his randori and did well, and made sure to repay me during jo tori by planting the jo firmly on my foot, pinning it to the mat, and then throwing me... how my foot stayed attached I do not know. He swears that it was an accident, but I think I know him better than that. Nothing like the love of a father.

08-09-2004, 10:03 AM
ever seen uke being lounched at the sitting members of a grading panel? :eek: :D

daniel loughlin
09-21-2004, 02:42 PM
during koho tento undo one man rolled back on1 and farted into the testers face lol and came 4ward on 2 glowing red lol :D

09-21-2004, 04:13 PM
So, anyway, the test got underway, and I was doing what I thought was pretty darn good work, when I realized something. I was still wearing my car keys, and there they were, jangling away under my gi.

I have the same experience at the begining of many of my practices, though i've been getting better about remembering where they are. You are not alone.

09-24-2004, 12:30 PM
Question: Would a loud fart while breakfalling out of sumiotoshi count as embarassing?

Zato Ichi
09-26-2004, 07:42 AM
Just had my shodan no shinsa today, and it went off as well as could be expected except for one blunder: I got kicked in the back of the head. Really hard.

I was performing sumiotoshi. When uke got thrown, it somehow happened that when he flipped, he managed to execute perfect boot to the head. I didn't really feel it at the time and continued on with the test, but now I can feel a really big bruise starting to come up on the back of my head. Ouch.

09-28-2004, 08:04 PM
Just had my shodan no shinsa today, and it went off as well as could be expected except for one blunder:


Hori-san gave an excellent test. His old forms of self defence while technically good were coupled by superb zanshin. He's a big boy and they way he was moving there is no way I would want to find myself in a dark alley with him angry.

The randori session was brutal - they would not let him stop. I think there was a not so subtle hint being given.


09-28-2004, 11:40 PM
Just had my shodan no shinsa today, and it went off as well as could be expected except for one blunder: I got kicked in the back of the head. Really hard.
On September 7th Hori-san wrote on the This is Tae Kwon Leap! (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=79788#post79788") thread.

It's from a Canadian comedy group called the Frantics. I think I recalling seeing it on TV about 15 years ago when they had a really short lived show on CBC called Four on the Floor. I was actually just looking for the theme ("BOOT TO THE HEAD!!!") (yes, I'm weird that way ) and stumbled across the Lesson of Ed Gruberman....

So is this poetic justice or irony?

Zato Ichi
09-29-2004, 02:10 AM
So is this poetic justice or irony?

Uh... just think of it as a really weird example of the butterfly effect.... :D

10-29-2004, 08:04 PM
Well, this has happened more than once during our organization's tests, but seldom was it handled with such grace.

We conduct many of our tests at our annual summer camp, which is held either in June or July in upstate South Carolina, at a location two miles deep into the woods. The dojo -- a large, wood-framed activity room built in 1934 -- can get very hot. Even with fans going full-blast, the interior temperature regularly exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the heat to a nervous stomach and dehydration...

Once during a kyu test, the candidate stopped about halfway through, turned to the testing board, bowed formally and asked, "May I be excused for a moment?" Sensei nodded, and the candidate strode calmly to the door, exited, and closed it carefully behind him. In a few moments, we heard the unmistakable sound of regurgitation. After a few more moments, the candidate re-entered, bowed once more to the testing board, and requested permission to continue. Which Sensei granted, after determining that the candidate was truly okay.

Extra points for grace and decorum under pressure!

(FYI, candiates have since been reminded that they're permitted to stop during their test and rehydrate. Fortunately, we've not yet needed a mop.)

L. Camejo
10-29-2004, 10:04 PM
The randori session was brutal - they would not let him stop. I think there was a not so subtle hint being given.


Belated congratulations Hori-San, I did not see this thread earlier.

This test reminds me of my Shodan test a few years back. After having to go through every test from 8th kyu up to and including Shodan, the randori session started. I was so tired all I remember is a blur of folks attacking with tanto, avoiding for dear life and tossing people hoping to use as little energy as possible. This was on a very humid night so I was drenched from about 15 minutes into the 2 hour long test and was totally spent by the time the randori came around. Funny thing was I chose my techniques well so that most times even when Uke resisted, things would work, it was like if I was in this zone where I could not feel my body so much, or just could not bother about it as I was so spent.

At the end of it folks thought something had happened to me in the changing room, since all I could do is drag myself into the showers and pass out (not totally of course) under the water. When they came calling to me over a half hour had passed (I could have sworn I had just walked in) and I was all pruney, but still refused to move until about 15 mins after. It was without a doubt the most physically and mentally demanding thing I had done in recent years.

Now I know what a car feels like when it overheats.:D

Was fun though:).

Robert Cheshire
11-09-2004, 11:30 PM
I have three stories (two of which include me).

On one of my early kyu exams I was doing a kata when Sensei called out "look like you're in a fight" (meaning show more spirit and strike/block harder). Well, what I heard was "you look like you're in a fight" so, thinking I was doing a sloppy job I slowed down even more! Sensei still passed me (just not with a high score on that part of the exam).

I was helping a friend on his shodan exam with a weapon kata. While doing one of the parts I mixed up what I was doing with a part later in the kata (I hadn't worked on the kata real hard since my shodan exam a couple of years before). One of the testing board members laughed and said "Robert just messed up didn't he?" Our United States Tech. Director (also on the testing board) also laughed and said "it's o.k. we're not testing him." To which my Sensei (final member of the testing board) laughs and says "well, he doesn't get any continuing education credits " (Two members of the board and I all have professional licenses that require continuing education credits to keep our license).

My Sensei (MS)was on a testing board with our Tech. Director (TD) while he was learning how to give exams on his own. After a rather demanding first part of the exam they get ready to move into the randori phase. They then do this for a very long time (it seems that the guy testing for ikkyu was getting a lesson in fitness and why you shouldn't be a chain smoker). TD finally turns to MS and smiles and says "they do this (randori) until I get tired." MS says "you know, we always joke about doing things until you get tired, but, didn't think it was much more than a joke." TD smiles again and simply states "you don't see any of them (testee's) laughing do you."

Jeff Stallard
11-15-2004, 08:02 PM
I love reading these stories. I have one myself. I just tested, tonight, for 4th kyu, and after I went through kata, sensei asks the other shodan what they'd like to see. One of them asks for sheho nage...but from sawari waza. What?! I've never done that in my life. But of course I can't say that, so I give it a shot. The uke sat there nice and comfortable while I proceeded to throw myself to the mat. Luckily she asked me to do it again and I was able to squeak my way through it. Who's ever heard of shiho nage from SAWARI WAZA?!?!