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Well, today I had my test for 5th kyu. I was a bit nervous, but I kept telling myself I had no reason to be. Sensei had the four of us line up and then had our ukes line up behind us. I was glad to see that my uke was someone that I have gotten to know a lot better lately since we have been giving him rides to class. This person has helped me a lot in class and I am glad that they were part of my test. Sensei had us start of with suwariwaza katadori ikkyo and shomenuchi ikkyo.
We then moved to standing techniques. We did shihonage, iriminage, kokyuho, uchi and soto kaitenage and ikkyo. We did a couple of these from different attacks as well. I felt pretty good with the terminology and I didn't really have to take the time to think about what technique was being asked of me. I tried my best to remain centered and keep everything I had been told over the past months in my head, but I know that I wasn't able to remember everything. I guess I was a bit naive, but I thought that we would only be doing the technique four times. I was wrong! We did each of the techniques several times (which makes sense since sensei had to watch four of us).
Not too long into the test, I had begun to run my poor uke ragged! He was breathing pretty hard and I just kept putting him into more kaitenage's since that was what we were doing. I saw he was breathing hard and I attempted to slow the throw down, but you can only do so much. Finally, sensei looked over at us and said "You two can sit down while I watch the others." At this point, sensei had us change uke's. I guess to see if uke was making a difference in the way we were doing things. We ended the test with suwariwaza ryotedori kokyuho.
Eventually sensei had us line back up. He then had us do some other techniques with the rest of the class: morotedori kaitenage and ryotedori tenchinage and kokyuho again. He came around and helped people and answered questions that they had. I don't know if he was watching us more or if he just wanted us to get more practice in (since we were having class until 7)
After that, he had us line up again to prepare to bow out. He told us that testing is an individual event and that you cannot compare two people against one another, let alone two people's tests. He said that he looked at where you started and where you are when you test. At this point, I thought to myself "Uh oh.... someone or multiple people did not pass the test. He then went on to tell us a few more things before he had us sit and meditate. I had too many thoughts in my head to meditate. Instead, I prayed. I was convinced that I didn't pass and I prayed for the strength to deal with this failure, the composure to deal with it, the ability to get over it and continue to train and more importantly, I prayed that I would be happy for my husband.
Sensei then told us that everyone had passed. Whew! A feeling of relief swept over me. He then said "We have a lot of work to do." He didn't go into detail about what needs to be fixed, but I am hoping that sometime in the near future I will be able to get some feedback from him. We all gathered into a circle and bowed to thank eachother. After, several people came up to congratulate us and I got hugs from a few people. I also made sure to sincerely thank my uke's (who probably made me look better then I was).
As I was about to walk out of the dojo, one of my sempai (sandan) lightly hit me a few times and motioned me over to a corner. I walked over. He told me that I had a good test and that the basic fundamentals that were being looked for were there. He told me to keep up the good work and continue training. That really meant a lot to me because he is one of the people there I admire. His aikido is so fluid and effortless. That was the best compliment that I received tonight in my opinion.
After the test, sensei, his wife, their two sons and the four of us who tested all went out for pizza. It was a great way to end the night. Good pizza, cold beer, relaxing atmosphere and great conversation. It was nice to chat and get to know everyone a bit better. At one point, testing came up during dinner. I asked sensei "Well, we won't have to test again for a while right?" Sensei looked at me and my husband and said "You two are close to testing for 4th kyu." YIKES! We just took a test and another is on the way!?!
As we walked of the restaurant, sensei asked us how we felt we did. I hesitated for a moment and then said I thought I did okay. Howard then went on to give his opinions on how he felt. All in all, the test really wasn't so bad. Once the test began, I was so focused on what I was doing that I wasn't nervous anymore. It was just me and my uke. No sensei, no other students testing and no students sitting out watching me test. As far as I'm concerned, my uke and I were in that dojo all by ourselves. Now as I sit here on my couch, I can't help but try to remember all the details. I try, but I just can't. I guess I am just mentally exhausted at this point. Time to recharge my batteries!