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Last night, 7 February 2005, our dojo held a series of kyu rank tests. All the regular attendies, except our most senior student were tested. Micah, who has been at first kyu for a while, is getting ready for his shodan test hopefully sometime this year. Our instructor cannot test us for Shodan; those tests must be done at a seminar or camp in front of the AAA teaching committee.
Anyway, we had two guys test for 7th and 6th kyu; one guy for 6th kyu only; one guy for 4th kyu, and two of us for 1st kyu -- six of us total. Everyone who tested did a very good job on their tests.
I had a mild level of anxiety about the test all day yesterday. I've felt pretty good about the techniques I was supposed to know, but I still had the basic anxiety about testing, demonstrating, what I know. With Richard (the other guy testing for 1st kyu) and I being the last to test, we got the chance to take some ukemi for the other guys, which provided a nice warm-up and a chance to get rid of some of the anxiety. By the time our tests started I was pretty well settled down. Richard and I tested simulaneously, often taking ukemi for one another.
The first thing we did was the tai sabaki for sword, for shomenuchi and yokomenuchi. We also knew them for tsuki, but we weren't tested on them. After that were a number of 0pen hand techniques: sumiotoshi, sudori (which I messed up once), kotegaeshi, ikkyo, and jiujinage -- not much different than previous tests except in the attacks used. The other students who had just tested took ukemi for a lot of these.
Then we did tanto dori with Richard and I taking ukemi for one another. We were required to perform at least three techniques each against shomenuchi, yokomenuchi, and munetsuki. Again, I don't think we tested tanto dori against munetuski. The 1st kyu test can be a long one, and I think our instructor was trying to shorten the test a bit to leave more time for randori at the end. I felt pretty good about my ability to spontaneously apply technique during the tanto dori part of the test.
Richard and I performed the 2nd bokken kata in unison after a couple of false starts where we got out of sync. Then it was time for randori.
We each performed full-speed randori versus three attackers. I started off pretty well and then got a bit hung up about halfway through. In all, I lasted about 30 seconds, with the first 15 going pretty well.
Overall, the test felt good. Over the past two years I've lost 40 lbs., which has helped my endurance and made my falls a bit softer. My biggest fears in years past has been that I was too out of shape to keep up. I feared that I would get too winded and need to quit before finishing a test. But I never did. I think the fact that I was able to perform even when heavier has made it easier for me to perform at a lighter weight.
I'm still working on losing weight, and I'm about a third of the way to where I want to be. Hopefully with continued exercise and attention to what I'm eating, I'll be lighter yet when I test for shodan.