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-   -   what makes a test great (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11920)

aikispike 02-25-2007 02:07 PM

what makes a test great
 
I've seen tests in a number of dojo over the years and I have rarely been very impressed with them. At times I hear rave reviews about the tests I have not been very impressed with. Is it me, are people being too nice. not sure.

So what makes a test a good or great one in your eyes?

For me I want to see clean sharp technique and a high enough fitness level that they dont look ready to fall over before the end.

But most importantly I want to see a high level of energy and 100% effort. I want atemi that threaten to smack uke in between the eyes, and throws that make uke bounce off the mats. What bothers me most about tests is that people hold back and take it safe doing normal level techniques. I find people are so afraid of screwing up, they dont extend themselves. I would much rather see a spectacular screw up done strongly then a properly executed lame technique.

Spike

Mark Freeman 02-25-2007 04:12 PM

Re: what makes a test great
 
Quote:

Michael Kimeda wrote: (Post 169769)
But most importantly I want to see a high level of energy and 100% effort.

I'd rather see aikido done with little or no effort;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auHbz...elated&search=

I really enjoyed watching one of my colleagues grade for 1st kyu many years ago, she is a lady of small stature, but by remaining calm and putting a large distance between her and her uke between each throw and subsequent attack she wore out 2 ukes and was onto her third by the end of the grading:)

regards,

Mark

George S. Ledyard 02-26-2007 12:02 AM

Re: what makes a test great
 
Quote:

Michael Kimeda wrote: (Post 169768)
I've seen tests in a number of dojo over the years and I have rarely been very impressed with them. At times I hear rave reviews about the tests I have not been very impressed with. Is it me, are people being too nice. not sure.

So what makes a test a good or great one in your eyes?

For me I want to see clean sharp technique and a high enough fitness level that they dont look ready to fall over before the end.

But most importantly I want to see a high level of energy and 100% effort. I want atemi that threaten to smack uke in between the eyes, and throws that make uke bounce off the mats. What bothers me most about tests is that people hold back and take it safe doing normal level techniques. I find people are so afraid of screwing up, they dont extend themselves. I would much rather see a spectacular screw up done strongly then a properly executed lame technique.

Spike

Actually, the tests one tends to remember ten years later were the ones during which the fellow testing got in deep trouble and then pulled it together again. That is one of the hardest things to do and it speaks to the focus and will power of the person testing that he doesn't give up. I remember tests like that longer than I remember the test in which the person testing was in control the whole time, no matter how competent he was...

Amir Krause 02-26-2007 12:59 AM

Re: what makes a test great
 
Quote:

Michael Kimeda wrote: (Post 169769)
But most importantly I want to see a high level of energy and 100% effort. I want atemi that threaten to smack uke in between the eyes, and throws that make uke bounce off the mats. What bothers me most about tests is that people hold back and take it safe doing normal level techniques. I find people are so afraid of screwing up, they dont extend themselves. I would much rather see a spectacular screw up done strongly then a properly executed lame technique.

What you describe would be considered a great brown belt (1st Kyu) test in our dojo and a mdicure 1st Dan test.

Good strong techniques are nice, but at BB level one wishes to see the accompanied with flow and softness (not weakness) and of course timing and position.

Amir

Jason Woolley 02-26-2007 07:39 AM

Re: what makes a test great
 
My personal view is that a good test is one where the candidate is pushed to the limit of their capabilities in order that their true nature, and their best Aikido, be revealed - both to the tester and the candidate. Whether they pass is another issue.

If they are not fit, it may be a short test. Does this affect the quality of their Aikido?

Princess Rose 02-27-2007 12:22 AM

Re: what makes a test great
 
I think a test is all about the demonstration of your ability to work hard to get your aikido to a new level. In my home dojo people practice for months before the actual test. It is not so much about the testing but about the person's effort and desire to improve their Aikido. The best tests, in my opinion, are the ones on which a struggling student works really hard and pushes their own aikido ability up to the level required to pass a test.

Mike Hamer 02-28-2007 02:11 AM

Re: what makes a test great
 
I have never tested, and I've only watched one testing (3rd kyu) but I found it interesting. It's fun watching somebody advance and get some well deserved recongnition.

Eric Webber 02-28-2007 06:35 AM

Re: what makes a test great
 
When looking at a test and gauging whether it is a great test or not I look at two things: the level of the test and the candidate. On a 6th kyu test, I want to see very careful and controlled excution of technique rather than attempts to "make it work." I want to see a calm and slow appraoch to the exam to demonstrate a composed mind. By the time a candidate gets to 1st kyu, I like to see variety in technique, power with control, and some risk taking in the exam. I think that Shodan candidates should go back to basics, exhibiting basic form and tons of control, while still having a dynamic approach to movement. All test candidates should be aware of their uke's ability to take an amount of power in technique, and not wreck 'em just becasuse it's test time. If you want to prove how wrecking-machine-strong you are to your teachers and seniors, grab them after class and throw down.;)

Juliette 03-01-2007 12:02 PM

Re: what makes a test great
 
[quote=Eric Webber;170084]When looking at a test and gauging whether it is a great test or not I look at two things: the level of the test and the candidate. On a 6th kyu test, I want to see very careful and controlled excution of technique rather than attempts to "make it work." QUOTE]

This is of great relief to read. With my impeding 6th kyu test in a month (I'm assuming here) I have been wondering what exactly is expected of me at this point. I know what techniques I will have to demonstrate but I have not been sure if it would be permissible to go as slowly as I do when training, or if we are expected to perform at a realistic speed. In my 2 months I have not seen anyone be tested so I guess I am just still a bit lost.

Can anyone else share their expectations for 6th kyu testing?

Bronson 03-01-2007 03:50 PM

Re: what makes a test great
 
Quote:

Juliette East wrote: (Post 170263)
Can anyone else share their expectations for 6th kyu testing?

Pretty much what Eric said. I want to see control and that the testee knows what the pieces are and where they go. You will NOT impress your sensei by going fast and hard, you will impress your sensei by being controlled and correct.

Bronson

aikispike 03-01-2007 09:46 PM

Re: what makes a test great
 
Quote:

Bronson Diffin wrote: (Post 170301)
You will NOT impress your sensei by going fast and hard, you will impress your sensei by being controlled and correct.

Bronson

I would be impressed with fast, hard, controlled and correct. That is what I am trying to do.

Spike

aikispike 03-01-2007 09:58 PM

Re: what makes a test great
 
Quote:


Can anyone else share their expectations for 6th kyu testing?
Originally i was only reallying thinking of higher level tests... 1kyu and above.

With respect to 6th kyu tests, it depends somewhat on what 6th kyu means to your dojo - is this your first test? Some places 6th kyu might be your third or fourth test.

Assuming it is your first or second test. Do the techniques without having to think about them. When the technique is called you should be able to do it straight away. Move with your uke; the techniques dont have to "work". Dont fall over. Dont go too fast, normal training speed is good (unless you are in a dojo where people chat about things a lot.)

Spike

Juliette 03-02-2007 11:12 AM

Re: what makes a test great
 
Thanks. I realize this thread was originally mean for discussion about higher grade tests. This will be my first test and from reading these few posts I have a better idea about what is generally expected, so thank you very much.

Eric Webber 03-02-2007 11:35 AM

Re: what makes a test great
 
Quote:

Juliette East wrote: (Post 170263)
This is of great relief to read. With my impeding 6th kyu test in a month (I'm assuming here) I have been wondering what exactly is expected of me at this point. I know what techniques I will have to demonstrate but I have not been sure if it would be permissible to go as slowly as I do when training, or if we are expected to perform at a realistic speed. In my 2 months I have not seen anyone be tested so I guess I am just still a bit lost.

Can anyone else share their expectations for 6th kyu testing?

Jimmy Sensei will not test you until you are ready, so when he says it's time, relax and test the same way you practice.

Irv Lachow 03-02-2007 09:38 PM

Re: what makes a test great
 
Quote:

Eric Webber wrote: (Post 170417)
Jimmy Sensei will not test you until you are ready, so when he says it's time, relax and test the same way you practice.

That's my understanding of Jimmy's appraoch as well. When I was freaking out about a test that I didn't feel ready for, several long-time students told me that Jimmy views "testing" more as a demonstration of what he's already seen on the mat than a one-time pass-fail type event. That being said, be prepared. I believe that a big part of testing is showing how you handle the pressure of the moment. If you are confident (or at least act that way) and stay calm, you will leave a positive impression even if you "mess up" in your technique.

See you on the mat! :)

Mato-san 03-03-2007 08:03 AM

Re: what makes a test great
 
Just personally and it might not mean much but I think mark said it best,

"I'd rather see aikido done with little or no effort"

Mary Eastland 03-04-2007 08:15 AM

Re: what makes a test great
 
I don't know or care if it was great for other people but my third dan test was great fun....:D

Good ukes, smooth mat, a lot of space and relaxed technique...it still makes me smile. It was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life.:)

Here is a litte bit of it :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIDoTSrIwb8

Mary

Just Jamey 03-04-2007 08:56 PM

Re: what makes a test great
 
This was sort of mentioned, but one thing that helps make a really great test is your uke(s). I say this because they tend to be people whom you know, are probably friends, and whom you don't want to hurt.

I've seen a few tests and the ones that always look great to me are the ones when the tester knows with a certainty that they can preform techniques during their test without worrying about ripping someone's arm off... Well, it makes for a very smooth test.

Now, I'm not talking about uke(s) bailing out of technique, or "giving in" for you. I'm talking about nage preforming strong technique with the foreknowledge that uke can roll with it...

Roll with it! Do you get it!! :D :D

and that folks is why I will only do one show a night...

Insane Duane 03-09-2007 08:24 PM

Re: what makes a test great
 
I think focus and control are very important. I remember being an uke for a black belt test 3 or so years ago as a sister dojo. The guy had no control and my elbow ended up being tweaked for several weeks.

I would rather see a slower technique that had total control than a faster and sloppy test. We usually give people a break on the first test (7th Kyu at my dojo) due to testing anxiety (when we ask someone to test, we already know they can pass).

Amelia Smith 03-10-2007 06:55 AM

Re: what makes a test great
 
This December, I watched three sets of tests at three different dojos, mostly lower-level, which for us usually means 5th and 4th kyu, though one dojo has started doing 6th kyu.

At one dojo, the 5th kyu tests were miles beyond the ones at the other dojo. I know that their sensei puts a lot of emphasis on test preparation, and what impressed me about these tests was that all of the testers clearly knew what the technique was supposed to look like, the basic physical principles behind it, and where all their hands and feet went. For me, that's what a good early level test is about: demonstrating an understanding of a specific set of techniques.

Jumping ahead to sho dan, that same principle applies, only more so. A sho dan canidate should be able to apply a wide range of techniques to a wide range of ukes. Sure, it'll look better if you just throw everyone's favorite uke around, but it's more impressive to me if you can adjust the technique to different ukes. The technique should be strong, but in a sensetive way. I've seen a lot of fast and flashy tests, too, and they're all right, but not the be-all and end-all.

That said, I can't stand to watch the really sluggish tests, especially when they're both sluggish and choppy.

Confidence and Competence are probably the most important things, and all that comes from practice (which should also result in a reasonable level of fitness). I find that lots of test-focused practice really does make the test look better, too, even though I think it's more important to keep up with regular practice.

I could go on, but I have to go to work.

--Amelia

Edwin Neal 03-18-2007 02:51 AM

Re: what makes a test great
 
in my experience testing is about a mix of showing the precision and details of the waza and showing some speed and power... mix it up... use a variety of waza and i try to do variation on left and right sides not the same ikkyo left and right... it is also an endurance will power thing a test lasts as long as you can keep going... one guy's final randoori went on well over an hour until sensei called time because it was getting late!... as uke i try to give good realistic attacks not too fast or slow... i make nage throw me... in fact i tell them before hand to not worry just cut loose on me i will look after myself... and on the question of preparing for a test i prefer to be called with no prep as i feel this gives a better indication of my ability under some stress, and we are never asked to test unless we can pass... if you wouldn't pass you aren't ready... it is a demonstration of your skill not a pass fail thing... good luck and have fun!

Avery Jenkins 03-18-2007 07:42 AM

Re: what makes a test great
 
Quote:

Mary Eastland wrote: (Post 170574)
I don't know or care if it was great for other people but my third dan test was great fun....:D

Good ukes, smooth mat, a lot of space and relaxed technique...it still makes me smile. It was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life.:)

Here is a litte bit of it :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIDoTSrIwb8

Mary

Loved it, Mary, give us more!

Mary Eastland 03-18-2007 02:06 PM

Re: what makes a test great
 
Thank you Avery.
You are welcome to come visit our dojo anytime....:o)
Mary


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