My Pride VS The Dojo Curse
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My Pride VS The Dojo Curse
03-19-2009 02:34 PM
To test or not to test, that is the question.
THE MOCK TEST
Last night, Sensei ran me through my mock Ikkyo test. The only things we didn't go over were the optional weapons portion (ie. tanto/tachi/jo-dori).
Feedback from Sensei ranged from specific...
- on Yokomenuchi Kaitennage (ura), making this more distinct from omote by cutting uke's arm more away from his centre (I need to remember to grab uke's sleeve to do this well)
- needing to perform Ushiro Ryotedori Koshinage "Ikkyo"-style (arching up uke's arm)
...to general - from big things:
- really needing better extension throughout all Koshinage
...to little things:
- throwing out more (not so much down) on Iriminage
- keeping a wider base before the throw on Shihonage (instead of this nasty habit I've picked up of bringing my feet together just after the last pivot before it)
The verdict from Sensei was that it was a competent test that, had I performed it for Kawahara Sensei the same way (even with the few bumpy bits), it would definitely have been a pass. The thing is, I've never been one to be satisfied with just a pass.
While I was pleased at how much I was actually able to recall (memorizing my lists and doing a lot of visualization beforehand really helped), I still don't feel like the test was as "solid" as I would have liked. I don't know if I can really help the standard I've set for myself. Up to this point, every test I've done has been smooth - no "brain farts", no obvious flubs or "do-overs" needed. If I can help it, I'd like to keep it that way.
Yet, being given the opportunity to test for Ikkyu itself is a great temptation - especially considering what I've personally called NWA's Dojo Curse. A part of me (yes, the silly part) is actually somewhat anxious about testing for Ikkyu (and then ultimately Shodan) as soon as possible before...well, before something bad happens to prevent me from doing so. See, I told you it was silly.
It's just that the dojo has been in existence for almost 20 years now without having produced a single yudansha (ie. one "grown" from a beginner student). The fact is, my predecessors (the former senior students) came pretty darn close. But due to life, bad luck, bad timing or whatever you want to call it, those senior students never got past Nikyu. Which is where Jeremy and I are right now. So there's this internal voice that's telling me to jump in, get my Ikkyu and run - before I tear my ACL or need a heart valve replacement or something (*a nod to the previous sempai*). Or...*whispers* before I get pregnant. :-P
I talked about it with Sensei last night over that sushi dinner I had been promising myself. Knowing me like he does and coming from the bitter memory of his own bad Ikkyu and Shodan experiences, he doesn't want me to look back on these tests with regret; not enjoying the memories because of not performing as well as you wanted. The Sensible Part of me (thankfully, the majority) agrees. I want a really smooth test, not one that's merely competent. I'm pretty sure Jeremy feels the same way - we'd like to knock the socks off Kawahara Sensei, gosh darn it!
Yet there's an irksome, nagging thought in the back of my mind that I can't ignore...now that we're on The Man's radar for Ikkyu (Sensei previously sent word to SK about the possibility of us testing) there's always the slim possibility that this weekend, I may have no choice but to test whether I like it or not. Maybe I can feign incompetence during the seminar enough for Kawahara to cringe and think to himself, "Ugh! Not ready for Ikkyu!" ;-) No, I'm certain that I could never bring myself to that. I love the movements of Aikido too much to intentionally make them anything less than they are: things of power and beauty.
Wish me some strength and grace this weekend. I have a feeling I'm going to need a heck of a lot of it.
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