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daniel loughlin
09-14-2004, 01:08 PM
id just like to know if any one has had the same doubts as me. i really feel as though ill never get the hang of the ki tests.even though other people of my grade seem to be better than me????? plz helpp :crazy:

kironin
09-14-2004, 01:38 PM
You are better off to ask your teacher for help. If a student of mine is having trouble with ki tests and communicates to me that he is frustrated by it, then I am more than happy to spend a little extra time working out what the problems are. I have had a lot of experience at that by now and it's rewarding to help someone make progress. There is no one way to learn this and so I have all sorts of ways to approach this to help trigger understanding and give a student more awareness of what needs adjusting physically and mentally. This is a great website, but it's not a replacement for talking with you teacher. That's what we are there for.

You also need to understand that people don't all progress at the same rate and things often go forward in spurts. You may not be aware of progress but it's likely there, keep training. I bet there are other students that feel the same way.

One thing that everyone could work on all the time, is get your ego out of it. During practice, be willing to FAIL a lot doing exactly what is being taught. Stop trying to succeed at all costs including the principles you are trying to learn. I often see people struggle with ki tests because unconsciously they try to "win" rather than "trust" following the correct principles. One has to be vigliant and honest at higher levels even more so. One never stops working on this.

daniel loughlin
09-14-2004, 01:56 PM
thanx for the gud advise craig :)

tedehara
09-14-2004, 03:02 PM
id just like to know if any one has had the same doubts as me. i really feel as though ill never get the hang of the ki tests.even though other people of my grade seem to be better than me????? plz helpp :crazy:Then don't compare yourself to others. Ki tests are about your development not anybody else. You're trying to win a one horse race.

Right now I'm crammin' for a Ki test and I'm having fun with that. Simply because I know you're not suppose to do that.
:)

Lyle Laizure
09-14-2004, 08:55 PM
Aye..we are all our own worst critics. Doesn't matter what you are having difficulty with, take a deep breath and never quit.

stuartjvnorton
09-14-2004, 09:42 PM
id just like to know if any one has had the same doubts as me. i really feel as though ill never get the hang of the ki tests.even though other people of my grade seem to be better than me????? plz helpp :crazy:

Maybe the people who you envy for their ki, envy you for your technical ability.

maikerus
09-15-2004, 03:27 AM
At the risk of appearing ill-informed...

What's involved in a ki test?

happysod
09-15-2004, 03:47 AM
I always think of them as a means of measuring posture, relaxation and state of mind while performing standard warm-up exercises or techniques. Essentially (yes Craig, I know I'm wrong...) you push/pull/prod your happy little uke while they're performing a particular task in order to check that they're on balance and focused on what they should be focused on - i.e. everything else apart from your tests. We have three basic forms of ki-test
1. first test - gentle to a count of three test to ensure basic posture etc.
2. second test - fast entry into the uke's comfort zone to try and elicit a finch response followed by a first test
3. third test (snappy titles eh) - really really gentle, normally at a 45 degree angle to the direction of uke's movement - this one if you actually acknowledge the test is going on, you fail. Closest I've found in aikido to tai-chi exercises such as pushing hands.

There's also various other tests for alignment etc. but you should be able to find some stuff from the Ki-society describing them better.

maikerus
09-15-2004, 04:41 AM
Interesting. Thanks.

We do something similar but they're not part of testing although they are part of training. I also look for the qualities you describe when grading a test.

--Michael

SeiserL
09-15-2004, 08:54 AM
If you can see it, you can be it.

Where ever the head goes, the body follows.

IMHO, work on visualization of what you want, not what you don't want. If you think "why can't I do that?", you are telling your body/Ki not to do that. Get the head out of the way or at least in line with the task. You can do that. If one of us can, we all can.

MaryKaye
09-15-2004, 10:52 AM
I don't know if your school teaches the four principles (extend ki, relax completely, keep weight underside, keep one point is how we put them) but one thing I've been told that really helps:

These are all the same principle really, but *not* when you're stuck on a ki test. Any given student may grasp one and fail to grasp another. So if you are trying your best to extend ki and it's not working, forget about extending ki for a bit and try one of the others instead. When I was stuck on "unliftable arm" I made no progress until I stopped thinking about my arm completely and worked on keeping weight underside in my shoulder--that made a big difference.

Taking "unbendable arm" as an example:

You can think about extending ki, perhaps as water pouring through your arm and out your fingertips into the remote distance.

You can think about keeping one point, having your arm be connected to your center and thus strong and stable.

You can think about weight underside, not letting any of the stress on your arm move upward, just having your arm hang heavy of its own weight.

Or you can think about relaxing completely, not letting any tension into your arm for the tester to use.

For any given student, one of these is probably easier than the others. (Though a tester asked our local ki-test expert, who made shoden before ikkyu, what he did in a standing ki test, and the student just looked quizzical and said "Nothing. I'm not visualizing or concentrating on anything in particular." We still couldn't move him.)

The other thing that helped me, paradoxically, is making myself fail any test which I can't pass correctly. You can often "cheat" a tiny bit to get through, like digging in your toes on a standing test. The examiner may not notice or may not care to correct you. But I found that if I forced myself to immediately fail the test as soon as I knew I was cheating, I learned faster and better because I didn't waste energy improving my cheating techniques!

These tests are not a challenge to pass (the word "test" is unfortunate here, as my teachers frequently comment) but a feedback mechanism, and the feedback is clearest if you allow yourself to feel it--which means failing immediately as soon as you are not succeeding.

The final bit of advice is that if you smile at the examiner, it gets easier. Grimness is an enemy to relaxation, and most of us tend to be really grim on ki tests, especially if we find them difficult.

Mary Kaye

kironin
09-15-2004, 11:38 AM
Interesting. Thanks.
We do something similar but they're not part of testing although they are part of training. I also look for the qualities you describe when grading a test.
--Michael


In Ki Society, they work best when they are an integral part of training too.

Testing for Ki ranks happens much less frequently than the aikido tests
(Ki test required for Aikido rank -- shokyu for gokyu, chukyu for sankyu, jokyu for shodan, shoden for sandan, chuden for godan etc.)

so if it's not an integral part of your regular training it's going to really be quite evident.

hence Ted's comment about cramming being a no-no :D

best.

kironin
09-15-2004, 11:45 AM
The other thing that helped me, paradoxically, is making myself fail any test which I can't pass correctly. You can often "cheat" a tiny bit to get through, like digging in your toes on a standing test. The examiner may not notice or may not care to correct you. But I found that if I forced myself to immediately fail the test as soon as I knew I was cheating, I learned faster and better because I didn't waste energy improving my cheating techniques!


Oh we notice ! :D

What examiner is looking for on a test isn't perfection, but whether or not you are doing / understanding what is required at that level.

In regular practice, the latter part of what you said here, is a very important point.

tedehara
09-15-2004, 03:55 PM
At the risk of appearing ill-informed...

What's involved in a ki test?It is incorrect to assume that a ki test is standard between organizations or dojos. I was talking with a former member of an association that came from the Ki Society. They still had ki testing, but it was unlike that done in the Ki Society. Both he and I separately concluded that the change was from the chief instructor. We both knew that the chief instructor for the association knew how to test according to the Ki Society, but changed it. We both don't know why he changed things.

Also if you have a fairly isolated dojo within the Ki Society, they might be doing things using earlier versions than current ones.

For my dojo there are several levels of testing. The easiest is to test immediately. The next level is to wait, then test. The hardest level is when the tester extends ki and test. Its very important that the person testing knows what they are doing. Currently the only person who can do shoden and chuden ki tests in the USA (mainland) is Kashiwaya Sensei (8th Dan).

kironin
09-15-2004, 04:27 PM
Also if you have a fairly isolated dojo within the Ki Society, they might be doing things using earlier versions than current ones.

This might have been true just a few years ago, but I think this is more unlikely now. at least in North America.

Currently the only person who can do shoden and chuden ki tests in the USA (mainland) is Kashiwaya Sensei (8th Dan).

I would be very, very surprised if Calvin Tabata Sensei (8th dan) of the Oregon Ki Society/NW Ki Federation does not also have permission to test shoden and chuden also.

tedehara
09-16-2004, 11:56 AM
This might have been true just a few years ago, but I think this is more unlikely now. at least in North America. I consider where I practice sort of isolated. Since the National Instructors Seminar has been held in Hawaii for the last few years, our interaction with new changes has been minimal.I would be very, very surprised if Calvin Tabata Sensei (8th dan) of the Oregon Ki Society/NW Ki Federation does not also have permission to test shoden and chuden also.I tend to agree with you. However he doesn't usually travel and has probably only tested people within his federation.

Ed Stansfield
10-06-2004, 03:34 PM
In respect of thinking that you'll never get the hang of Ki tests . . .

My friends and I were all convinced that our Ki excercises suddenly got really bad after orange belt / 4th Kyu and never really got better.

For at least a year after grading to black belt, I was convinced that my Ki excercises were nowhere near as good as in the run up to the grading.

You're sometimes better than you think you are at these things.

At the end of the day, whether someone can push you over when they test you doesn't really matter . . . the tests are to help you understand the ki prinicples and make your own feeling stronger.

And what Craig said too . . .

Best,

Ed

Yokaze
10-09-2004, 07:57 PM
I've never even heard of a ki test before this thread. I guess my dojo doesn't really do it. Interesting. So it's just a test of your focus and balance? Or what? I mean, I know it's a test focusing on your utilization of ki, but how is that manifested?

daniel loughlin
10-10-2004, 08:04 AM
thanks for that ed i supose your right. by the way are you taught at John and sarah's dojo?

Peter Seth
10-13-2004, 07:10 AM
Hi Everyone.
Interesting post. Ive never been involved with formal 'ki tests' as an examination tool, but often emphasise form, extension, compression etc which I presume covers UB arm etc etc during training. I may be wrong but isn't ki supposed to be developed in and for movement rather than tested in a static environment. After all it is really about the redirection of energy using correct time, form and movement and in my experience with as much ease (least force) as possible.
That blending thing!
I think it may be useful though in the early stages and periodically thereafter, to use these tests with the 'rider' that their use is 'in the flow'.
My apologies if I misinterpret 'ki testing'.
Pete

MaryKaye
10-13-2004, 10:06 AM
The way my dojo does them, it's a test of form and balance, but also of calmness and concentration. An example would be the very simple ki test for correct standing posture. At the lower levels, tester stands beside testee and gently pushes them back at the shoulder. This tests where their weight is falling (you can't pass this with your weight on your heels), whether their back is straight and shoulders open, and so forth. But fairly soon the tester also asks for this to be done without testee pushing back against the test, which is harder and requires some mental stuff as well.

The black-belt level of this test involves tester approaching confidently from the front and visualizing moving their hand *through* testee's shoulder. Even if the same amount of force is used as before, this is quite difficult. Kashiwaya sensei says the test is essentially over before tester even touches testee--you can see by their stance if they are flinching or bracing, and if they do either one they will fail. When I saw him demonstrate this seemed to be entirely true, and the testees also knew that they would not pass the test before he even touched them. He could do a test that the kyu-ranks could pass, and one that they could not, with no visible difference to a watcher; the kyu-ranks swore up and down that the force was the same, too.

I think it's hard to explicitly test ki extension in a dynamic movement, because the student is tempted to substitute speed and momentum. By testing in a static position you rule this out. We pretty often do ki tests during hitori waza (one-person exercises) so that the testee has been trying to move fluidly, and must end that movement in a stable, calm position for the test. There are some throws where partner can test in motion, though.

(Occasionally one of my teachers tries to apply this theory to happo undo, the eight-directions exercise--this always cracks me up because it ends up with her running round us in circles trying to find the appropriate position. This may be one ki test that just doesn't work.)

We spend one class a week (out of seven) explicitly on this sort of thing, and bits of the other classes. When I trained at non-Ki Society dojo I did miss the ki testing--it ends up feeding back into the techniques in a way I find helpful, and I also like the intellectual puzzle of figuring out how to do it.

Mary Kaye

Ed Stansfield
10-14-2004, 01:39 PM
I understand the points that are being made about static -v- dynamic testing, but not all ki tests are of static postures are they? Often the test is happening as the person is reaching the end of their movement rather than after they've stopped.

You've also got harmony excercises derived from the ki excercises which are also quite a dynamic form of testing.

Finally, you've got the aikido techniques themselves . . .

I'd miss ki testing if I trained somewhere else, not least because I'd miss the ki excercises and without the testing and that level of feedback, how do you know if your ki excercises are correct?

Of course, if I felt differently then why would I be practicising ki style aikido?

And in answer to Daniel's later post, yes, I mostly train with John and Sarah in Manchester.

Best,

Ed

Jonathan Punt
10-19-2004, 02:53 AM
The solution is obvious.

Join a club that doesnt have ki tests. ;)

indomaresa
10-19-2004, 06:04 AM
we don't do formal ki tests, but it comes up now and then during training.

a question about the ki training though.. i've recently reached the lowest level of musubi ( the glue hand throws / not worrying of failing thingie ) and was wondering on how to use these ki achiements in actual techniques.

are they some sort of overall power-ups ? or do i have to actually incorporate them into techniques consciously until it sticks permanently? do any ki practitioner ever return to training purely technical aikido ( i.e just straightforward shihonages from a heavy shomen ) ? or is that regressing?