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Ed Stansfield
01-27-2006, 12:45 PM
Hello,

What would you say is a good reason for wanting to test?

So, if your teacher said to you:

"Tell me why we should put you in for this test"

What would you say?



Best,

Ed

John Boswell
01-27-2006, 01:19 PM
The Truth.

Why do YOU want to test? Is it for rank? You put your time in? You think your worthy of the test/rank? What is it?

Any number of people could answer a dozen different ways. Why others would want to be put in for a test doesn't matter because they are not you.

Speak from your heart. Tell your Sensei the truth. If he agrees with your reasoning, he'll test you. If you thinks otherwise, he may have you wait a while. But NO answer anyone here can give will ever be YOUR answer.

Sorry, but you've gotta do this one on your own.

Best of luck to you and the test! :D

James Davis
01-27-2006, 04:50 PM
Hello,

What would you say is a good reason for wanting to test?

So, if your teacher said to you:

"Tell me why we should put you in for this test"

What would you say?



Best,

Ed
Because I want to know if I'm capable of passing. :)

Karen Wolek
01-27-2006, 05:20 PM
I dunno. He never asks that

He just says, "Start practicing for your test."

I don't think he's too interested in my opinions about testing, LOL.

ESimmons
01-27-2006, 09:21 PM
Honestly, I find myself irritated when filling out test applications. Going through the kyu ranks at my dojo, assuming one never or rarely misses class and doesn't hit a stumbling block in one's training, one tests for a new color belt every 3 months or so (depending on the scheduling of tests days).

If I were to fill out my test application for 4th kyu today, I wouldn't really have a better answer than the one I put down for 7th kyu a year ago. I like aikido, I show up to class and have the necessary class credit, I have given 100% up to this point and believe I can demonstrate this level's techniques and those prior to the best of my ability, and (of course) I want to continue the cirriculum. To me, all that should pretty much speak for itself, although every time I fill out an application and am asked "Why do you wish to test?", "How has aikido training benefitted you thus far?" or "How do you think you will benefit from advancing?", I find myself searching in vain for something new and worthwhile to say.

Although I possess the capability of writing something profoundly introspective, I personally prefer to take the obvious route. Feel free to do that or not. If you are a dedicated, I am confident that you will be graded unless your motive for testing is to attain mastery of the nine magics so that you may slaughter those weaker than yourself and strike fear into the hearts of women and children.

Edwin Neal
01-28-2006, 11:00 AM
every moment is a test...
"tests" are then the same as every other moment
i spend my moments in aikido to become better than i was last moment

odudog
01-29-2006, 03:01 PM
I find it interesting that some of you have to answer questions on why you would want to test. I don't have to do that at my dojo and we are proactive in the sense that we tell Sensei when we want to test. This just clues him into our thinking and then he starts to watch us like a hawk to see if we are actually ready. I kind of like that. You are responsible for your own advancement.

Edwin Neal
01-29-2006, 03:51 PM
this is talked about in another thread... but again you are testing every time you are on the mat... testing should never be about passing or failing, if you would fail you are not ready to test... testing is a milestone a chance for you to test yourself not see if you measure up to senseis standards... sensei already knows that from your daily practice... asking when will i test sensei, when will i be a black belt shows an improper attitude in your training who cares what your rank is... what can you do?

justin
01-30-2006, 09:50 AM
is it considered the norm to ask to be tested i always thought you should be invited to test from previous experience.

Simbo
01-30-2006, 10:08 AM
is it considered the norm to ask to be tested i always thought you should be invited to test from previous experience.

My dojo just switch from the system where sensei says "Are you ready to test?" to everyone tests at the end of the semester and if you pass and have enough time under your belt, yippie. Don't know exactly how it was before since I never got asked to take the test.

justin
01-30-2006, 11:19 AM
My dojo just switch from the system where sensei says "Are you ready to test?" to everyone tests at the end of the semester and if you pass and have enough time under your belt, yippie. Don't know exactly how it was before since I never got asked to take the test.


i am still very new to aikido hence my question if my instructor asked me if i was ready to grade dont think i would ever get passed 6th kyu

Matt Molloy
01-30-2006, 12:20 PM
If you are a dedicated, I am confident that you will be graded unless your motive for testing is to attain mastery of the nine magics so that you may slaughter those weaker than yourself and strike fear into the hearts of women and children.

You mean that those aren't valid reasons?!?!? :eek:

Damn and I was so close. :grr: :confused: :D

With regard to the original question, I just wait until I start getting messages reminiscent of the old, "You can run but you can't hide" variety and the "what grade did you say you were again?" in that tone from the head honcho then I know that it's probably time.

Cheers,

Matt.

Nick Simpson
01-31-2006, 06:44 AM
I get told when I test. I like it that way. Nice and simple.

Michael O'Brien
02-01-2006, 06:21 PM
I get told when I test. I like it that way. Nice and simple.

Nick,
Same here and it is a whole lot simplier. LOL

You walk in and there is a notice on the bulletin board that says:

"The next testing cycle is between Date ?? and Date ??"

Then the names of students will be listed and the ranks they will be testing for. If you can not make it to class during the testing cycle then it is your responsiblility to inform Sensei (and have a good reason for not making it)!

Edwin Neal
02-01-2006, 11:54 PM
I like the surprise testing method, more than the regularly scheduled testing ie end of semester, every x months... anytime a whole bunch of aikidoka get together at seminars, camps, etc you have to know it could be your time... you should 'be prepared' as the boy scouts say... i usually add 'always' to that...

eyrie
02-02-2006, 12:32 AM
Well, if you're always prepared, then tests are pretty much irrelevant aren't they? :D

What fun would there be to test someone who was prepared? The real test happens when we aren't prepared.

Edwin Neal
02-02-2006, 01:18 AM
no ignatius... as i have said elsewhere it IS relevant to YOU... a sort of milestone... a chance to test yourself, your performance, your conviction, and to measure yourself against yourself... your second point is my point exactly... if you cram for a test, and parrot it back, then relapse until your next cram session that would be considered by most educators and students a poor type of performance or learning strategy...

eyrie
02-02-2006, 04:11 AM
I think I was generally agreeing with you, Edwin. See the big grinning green smilie? :D
All I'm saying is that it shouldn't be a "surprise" if you're (always) prepared.:D

In terms of my conviction, my performance and an opportunity to measure myself against myself, that already happens, whereever I happen to be at the time, not necessarily on the mat, or at a camp. ;)

Edwin Neal
02-02-2006, 04:27 AM
oh i see what you mean... it may not be a surprise but it is usually surprising when your name is called if you get my meaning... true we are alway testing ourselves, but usually only in our minds not in front of everybody else with all eyes on us!

Peter Goldsbury
02-02-2006, 05:29 AM
If I were to fill out my test application for 4th kyu today, I wouldn't really have a better answer than the one I put down for 7th kyu a year ago. I like aikido, I show up to class and have the necessary class credit, I have given 100% up to this point and believe I can demonstrate this level's techniques and those prior to the best of my ability, and (of course) I want to continue the cirriculum. To me, all that should pretty much speak for itself, although every time I fill out an application and am asked "Why do you wish to test?", "How has aikido training benefitted you thus far?" or "How do you think you will benefit from advancing?", I find myself searching in vain for something new and worthwhile to say.

I am surprised that you are asked these questions for kyu grade tests. Is your dojo a large dojo, where the instructors do not know intimately the technical strengths and weaknesses of each student? In my own dojo we hold tests twice a year, in June and December, and the timing corresponds to the tests held in the central dojo. (Kyu tests are held by each local instructor, while dan tests are held in the central dojo.) So students who train regularly advance and can expect to take a test for the next grade.

Thus, the questions seem rather pointless in my opinion. They appear to assume that anyone can give the benefits of (continued) training and advancing to the next grade immediately and in a pithy sentence that can be written on an application form. We use the Aikikai Hombu application forms that do not have these questions.

Best wishes,

ian
02-02-2006, 09:14 AM
Your question Ed, is a bit like a zen koan. The answer to it is dependent on what your sensei is trying to make you realise. Assuming that it he doesn't ask that because he thinks you're not ready I suppose reasons for testing are:
1. because you believe testing helps to bring order to the techniques you are doing and make you feel a sense of progression (being able to seperate aspects you are comfortable with, or have focussed on, compared to other bits you still need to learn).
2. because you need an aim to ensure you focus your training
3. because you need to see how you behave in a more pressured environment
4. because you want to kick some worthless uke ass

Edwin Neal
02-02-2006, 01:02 PM
Ian you are right on... 1 and 3 definately/obviously, by reviewing how i felt the experience of the test, by feed back from other aikidoka, and by reviewing video of the test, 2 the aim/focus is to get better, whatever that may mean to me, and 4... i like to be the worthless uke ass, but if my uke doesn't mind... well sure, i'd like that too... just gotta be careful and not break them!

Ed Stansfield
02-02-2006, 04:53 PM
As the OP, I should start by thanking everyone that's replied. I tried to phrase the original post in general terms but it was of course a question I'd been asked. I'm not particularly superstitious but I wanted to wait for the answer to my answer before I posted again . . .

Taking some of the things that people have raised:

Honestly, I find myself irritated when filling out test applicationsand
The questions seem rather pointless in my opinion. They appear to assume that anyone can give the benefits of (continued) training and advancing to the next grade immediately and in a pithy sentence that can be written on an application form

We're usually a "get told" rather than "ask to test" organisation, so we don't have application forms and its not a situation I've been in before. I do feel that, in general, application forms may well be the root of all evil, but that's another matter.


asking when will i test sensei, when will i be a black belt shows an improper attitude in your trainingI agree . . .
As I said, it's not a situation I've been in before. I didn't really think about it too much before hand, I just felt that it was something I wanted to do. Afterwards, I spent most of a weekend thinking about my motivations.


Your question Ed, is a bit like a zen koan. The answer to it is dependent on what your sensei is trying to make you realise. Assuming that it he doesn't ask that because he thinks you're not ready I suppose reasons for testing are:
1. because you believe testing helps to bring order to the techniques you are doing and make you feel a sense of progression (being able to seperate aspects you are comfortable with, or have focussed on, compared to other bits you still need to learn).
2. because you need an aim to ensure you focus your training
3. because you need to see how you behave in a more pressured environment
These are all good reasons, as wasBecause I want to know if I'm capable of passing.and as John Boswell said at the beginning, it's not something that anyone else can answer for you. The issues of focus and pressure are certainly motivating factors.
4. because you want to kick some worthless uke assYes, I'm going to go out on a limb here and put that in the "reasons not to give" column.

I think that one reason for him asking the question was to make me focus my mind on the commitment I was making and make a clear statement of it.

The grading in question is Nidan and in our organisation that's the last "on the mat" grading, so another reason was effectively to say "if your motivation is to get that grade, what are you going to do afterwards?"

When I was at school (well, in the middle of my A levels but you know what I mean) I used to do a lot of hill walking. Also, I had a girl friend who lived a couple of miles away so I used to do a lot of walking in general. The day before my english exam, I went up to the Lakes with two friends and we climbed most of the peaks in the Scafell range. That's no big deal as far as mountains go but it was a big deal to me at the time; as a kid it had been sort of mythical to me. The reason why I still bore people with this story though isn't to do with getting to the top of somewhere high, its that

It does a man good to realise his insignificance in the general scheme of things, and that is his experience here.

When I think about Shodan, I think about what we did to arrive there. That journey is where the quality is for me. I think that's my answer . . .

Anyway, enough for one night.

Best,

Ed

ESimmons
02-03-2006, 08:49 AM
I am surprised that you are asked these questions for kyu grade tests. Is your dojo a large dojo, where the instructors do not know intimately the technical strengths and weaknesses of each student?

I attend a private dojo. There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced aikido evening classes. In each class, there could be anywhere from a few to ten or fifteen students. Senior students and instructors are always hovering around. There's a lot of observation and one-on-one instruction going on.

In my own dojo we hold tests twice a year, in June and December, and the timing corresponds to the tests held in the central dojo. (Kyu tests are held by each local instructor, while dan tests are held in the central dojo.) So students who train regularly advance and can expect to take a test for the next grade.

We hold a test day, I'd say off hand, approximately once every month-and-a-half. Most kyu grades require ~3 months of training to test for, although it's measured in attendance and test dates will obviously not align perfectly with your schedule. (I tested three times last year, though theoretically it should have taken only 9 months.)

Thus, the questions seem rather pointless in my opinion. They appear to assume that anyone can give the benefits of (continued) training and advancing to the next grade immediately and in a pithy sentence that can be written on an application form. We use the Aikikai Hombu application forms that do not have these questions.

I can't speak for Sensei, but my guess would be that they're there to give the student an opportunity to write anything that the dojo administration should be aware of. For instance, a question that is on there that I didn't mention is, essentially, "What are your goals/future plans with your training/our dojo?"

Like I said, I don't know that you wouldn't be tested for not filling them out; I just always do, since they're there.

Peter Goldsbury
02-03-2006, 09:00 AM
Hello Mr Simmons,

Many thanks for your reply.

My own dojo is affilated to the local Aikikai prefectural organization, so we follow the Hombu and prefectural guidelines.

As the chief instructor in my dojo, I hold kyu examinations, but use the grading forms supplied by the Aikikai Hombu. It is the usual practice outside Japan to use these grading forms for shodan and upwards, but we use them for 5th kyu and upwards and the kyu certificates come from the Hombu and are signed by Doshu.

As I stated, the Hombu grading forms do not have any of the questions you mentioned in your earlier post.

Best wishes,

Edwin Neal
02-03-2006, 09:35 AM
Eric... i have a few questions... how many kyu ranks does your dojo have, and how long does it take for the average student to make shodan... by my calculations (which is why I am asking) apparently someone could make brown belt ni kyu in about a year and shodan in a year and a half!!! please let me know a little more about your testing criteria if you do not mind... i understand that different dojos have different ranking systems, and am curious to understand the various methods and gradings... thank you...

ESimmons
02-03-2006, 05:46 PM
Eric... i have a few questions... how many kyu ranks does your dojo have, and how long does it take for the average student to make shodan... by my calculations (which is why I am asking) apparently someone could make brown belt ni kyu in about a year and shodan in a year and a half!!! please let me know a little more about your testing criteria if you do not mind... i understand that different dojos have different ranking systems, and am curious to understand the various methods and gradings... thank you...

This is a little off-topic, but since you brought it up, there are 8 kyu. Two months to 7 kyu, 3 months to 6, 5, and 4 kyu. I'm not sure about the others, as I'm working toward yonkyu now, but I think it goes to 6 months per grade after that. I think I calculated the total listed time to shodan a while back and it came out to be ~3 years, though I suppose it's closer to 4 years due to the scheduling of tests and depending on your attendance.

Edwin Neal
02-03-2006, 05:53 PM
fast track... not really that far off topic we are talking about testing... thanks for the info

ESimmons
02-04-2006, 12:47 AM
fast track...

Maybe you can drop in and show us some real aikido some time.

http://www.usamartialarts.com

Nick Simpson
02-06-2006, 05:15 AM
He's got a point Edwin ;)

Edwin Neal
02-06-2006, 06:16 AM
i did not mean to imply that it is not real, just that some schools use different curriculum... and thus rank can be somewhat misleading... i once met a shodan who did not know how to do shiho nage because that was a more 'advanced' technique, and he had only been doing it for about 2 years... i was still a white belt at two years, and knew a number of shiho nage variations... so that not to say that anyone's aikido is less real than anyone else's, just differences in testing

Nick Simpson
02-06-2006, 06:38 AM
We've all seen people who in our opinions, dont live up to their rank. Your always gonna find this, I spose it comes from imposing/judging people by our standards but this is human nature. Shodan is merely the first step. I dont think that 3 - 4 years is particularly fast track. It may not be ages, but it seems like a fair enough time to reach that level/grade.

Edwin Neal
02-06-2006, 06:52 AM
i agree Nick, by the curriculum i am most familiar with it is about 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 years... but again this says nothing to the quality of the aikido being taught or learned, nor the quantity of techniques taught or learned... just time in grade, before next test...

Mato-san
02-10-2006, 07:35 AM
Personally, I would never ask to be tested, Sensei says, you are ready this is the requirements lets do it. So I bow and receive, never take. Be it grade or even praise.
My opinion, if its warranted, I know every dojo/affiliation is different.

Edwin Neal
02-10-2006, 07:55 AM
thats how we do it too Mato-san...

Alec Corper
02-15-2006, 03:57 AM
It is good to remember that most people who have just passed their driving test are terrible drivers but they divide into 2 camps: those who now think that a license equals skill and those who know it allows them to go on the road and develop further :D

Rupert Atkinson
02-15-2006, 04:48 AM
What would you say is a good reason for wanting to test?


I didn't ask to be tested.

"Tell me why we should put you in for this test"

You shouldn't, I'm not ready.
(Which means, it's not when I think I'm ready, but when the teacher thinks I'm ready)

But to be honest, I now dislike testing - I think it focuses people in the wrong direction. When you have a Sunday soccer match, on the day, everyone knows who is better than who - you don't need belts/grades. And if you had them, you'd soon realise it made no sense at all as young 16 year old Jimmy with no soccer grade dribbled past five seniors and scored.

Amelia Smith
02-15-2006, 07:16 AM
It is good to remember that most people who have just passed their driving test are terrible drivers but they divide into 2 camps: those who now think that a license equals skill and those who know it allows them to go on the road and develop further :D

Great analogy!

Ali B
02-25-2006, 05:28 PM
Good luck with the test when it comes Ed!

I have been asking those questions myself - why do I want to grade? Why do this to myself? Why put myself through this again? I have an exam next weekend! I have been knocking around the aikido scene for nearly 10 years and managed to get away from grading for a lot of that time - due to moving around a lot...

The school I am in now has a high grade class where you have to be 1st Kyu or above to attend. We don't get to use weapons either and not having a grade did not matter before but now the colour of my belt does. Its not all about the grade or the belt or I would have gone for it years ago but for the first time in my life, this part of my practice has become important to me. Is it so wrong to want to be a black belt? ;)

Love n light
Ali

Josh Reyer
02-26-2006, 12:21 AM
i once met a shodan who did not know how to do shiho nage because that was a more 'advanced' technique, and he had only been doing it for about 2 years... i was still a white belt at two years, and knew a number of shiho nage variations...

How odd. I've never seen a testing syllabus that didn't have shiho-nage listed at the lowest kyuu rank. Of course, I've only seen Aikikai syllabi, but still. It's not like it's koshinage...

As for myself, I train to improve my aikido. I test merely to get the hakama. I love long flowing clothes, like trench coats and hakama. :D

David Paul
06-04-2007, 11:10 AM
I know that this is a super old thread--but this question has always driven me crazy. My belief is that if you have the necessary hours and you know the techniques you should be allowed to test.

I have had an experience at two different dojos where I met the requirements for the minimum hours and I knew the techniques-yet in both cases I was passed over for testing (for 5th kyu) because I was told that I should have well in excess of the minimum hours. My gripe with this has always been if I need to have 70 or 80 hours as opposed to the 60 that USAF says I need, then change the requirements and tell me that. Otherwise, let me test and if I fail, I fail.

I've always been a firm believer-especially at the lower kyu levels-that the student should be able to request the chance to test if they meet the requirements. I never liked the idea of having to work under the watchful eye of Sensei for the most basic of ranks. Especially since all you are really doing for that first test (and maybe even second) is demonstrating a basic understanding of the techniques. It is not as if you need to have them mastered in order to pass. As we all know-you can practice even these most basic techniques your entire life and you may not have them mastered.

Just my two cents.

Ed Stansfield
06-04-2007, 12:36 PM
I know that this is a super old thread

It's a very old thread indeed. Although, not so old that I've actually taken the test - that's in September.:)

I'm not sure that I'd come up with better answers than I did last year, but my aikido has certainly changed, and I think that's a really big part of the "Why?".

Before I'd set out on this particular path, I wanted the goal so that I could be on the path. Now that I'm on it, the goal isn't the most important thing, but the path is everything...

Best,

Ed

Qatana
06-04-2007, 01:22 PM
If you don't like "working under the watchful eye of Sensei" then he probably can't See that you are "ready to test".

nmrmak
06-05-2007, 04:40 AM
I believe testing is not all that important for a single person as it is to the whole dojo. Think of it this way, if you were somehow awarded a high dan rank today, would that benefit you the slightest? Even when you pass for a higher rank, your aikido is still pretty much the same as yesterday, right?

However, it is very beneficial to the dojo to have a certain hierarchy, so people can know who the higher ranks are and practice with them more if they are unsure about their techniques.

If it was my decision, i wouldn't be taking tests at all. What matters is the technique you have, not the rank. Therefore, only compare yourself to the people who do better aikido than you, not to those who are merely higher ranked than you.

PeterR
06-05-2007, 05:18 AM
I believe testing is not all that important for a single person as it is to the whole dojo.

My view entirely. This is especially true in a dojo which has a hightly developed curriculum and where it is expected that other students help their juniors along within that curriculum some time during most classes. It really helps to know who has mastered what at the required level.

It may be a bit pithy but I like to say that kyu grades have meaning only in the dojo and dan grades only in the organization Besides adressing the relative non-importance of grade in the wider world it does hint at importance with the various levels of the organization. I do not like it when people say they wont grade for various reasons other than lack of confidence ("and I want to hold off a tad") or financial (that is the dojo/organization's problem) because they throw a monkey wrench into the works.

One other good reason to grade I like to point out is that someday you might change your mind and still have to go through the time requirements. Grade when you can.

Hanna B
06-18-2007, 11:38 AM
Hello,

What would you say is a good reason for wanting to test?

So, if your teacher said to you:

"Tell me why we should put you in for this test"

What would you say?


"That is your job to know. If you don't know why I should be testing - or not - who does?"

If I were to fill out my test application for 4th kyu today, I wouldn't really have a better answer than the one I put down for 7th kyu a year ago.

OMG people do get asked this question? People do fill in formal test applications for kyu ranks? Yikes. I filled in applications for my dan ranks, but it was only about name and age and such things.

DonMagee
06-18-2007, 12:38 PM
I would probably write down this.

"My belt is getting a little dirty. I think I'd like a clean one."

tarik
06-18-2007, 11:57 PM
I would probably write down this.

"My belt is getting a little dirty. I think I'd like a clean one."

If you did (and I were part of a system where we used such applications), I'd send it back with the following response.

"Wash it before you get on the mat again."

Regards,

dalen7
06-19-2007, 05:37 AM
Hello,

What would you say is a good reason for wanting to test?

So, if your teacher said to you:

"Tell me why we should put you in for this test"

What would you say?

Best,

Ed

Well, personally I think its to help gauge and show the progress that has been made.
I would love if my instructor told me the requirements for each level (granted I dont speak Hungarian,) - so I use the M.I.T. requirements for advancement as a guide to help show where I should be at. (as we seem to do every move in each class...I need to 'nail' down and feel like I know something and not just random moves.

So testing is good as you can see if you know a given set of material, and if you are executing it well. Truth is, I can feel if its good or not, but still.

Peace

Dalen

David Paul
07-24-2007, 03:19 PM
If you don't like "working under the watchful eye of Sensei" then he probably can't See that you are "ready to test".

I am just revisiting some of my posts and I saw that you responded. I think perphaps you have taken my quote a little out of context. What I was driving at is that I think if you meet whatever your governining body's basic requirements are to test you should be allowed to submit an application and take the test. I believe this to eb tru especially for the lower kyu ranks. I do not think that you should have to wait for sensei to give you his/her blessing for 5th kyu or 4th kyu...

If you have the hours-you should be able to test. If your aikido is not good enough-you will fail said test. That's all I am saying.

Mike Hamer
07-25-2007, 08:35 PM
Eh.....never tested before.....but I would guess for motivation to keep up the hard work.