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jlbrewer 09-08-2011 01:34 AM

Being ready
Hello again,

November, a couple months from now, is when the next opportunity for kyu tests will be at my dojo. It's also the first chance I'd be able to test for 6th kyu...if I'm invited.

Obviously, test requirements differ between dojos (mine is Kokikai). I'm not so much worried about specific test requirements yet - I'll be told those when it's relevant, I understand. What I'm wondering about is whether there are things I should focus on improving or at least being very nicely consistent with, that would be good indication of my readiness (or not).

Self evaluation:
- My backfall ukemi is pretty good. Front falls are occasionally subject to collapse. My forward rolls are a lot better than when I started (of course nowhere near as easily as the shodan), I can't do a backward roll to save my life (though we practice them rather infrequently). I have trouble getting to my feet smoothly from either.
- I don't have a problem with simple "ki" tests. I more or less understand being centered, but doing so while sitting seiza and doing warm-ups vs. doing so while being thrown with kokyu-nage are two very different things.
- I can do a technique pretty smoothly after so many times, though maybe not remember all of it when it's done again two weeks later. My biggest problem seems to be sloppy feet - wanting to step when they should slide, wanting to keep stepping instead of sticking the landing, needing to do multiple movements when ideally it should be one.

I hope that's descriptive enough to at least solicit suggestions. I haven't asked either Sensei for recommendations yet, though I do ask them questions and will get around to it. (The other 6th and 5th kyu girls do comment on my improvement since I started.) I'll be a little discouraged if I'm not invited, but probably only enough to provoke me to try harder. ;)

Tim Ruijs 09-08-2011 02:27 AM

Re: Being ready
Allthough you you started with Aikido (relatively speaking), I would like to point out you do not need to try harder for other people. Do what do because you like it and enjoy it. Off course you want to do well and do not want to let anyone down, but it is no contest.

How can you prepare? By what you tell I think you already work properly (others say that you make good progress), so keep doing what you are doing and you will be fine. Most importantly, just enjoy especially when taking the test :D

Tim Ruijs 09-08-2011 02:55 AM

Re: Being ready
When you have trouble keeping the correct foot in front, it might help to do some extra work with the jo. This would force you to step correctly and that (hopefully) spills off in your unarmed techniques.

Mario Tobias 09-08-2011 06:09 AM

Re: Being ready
Hi Jamie,

Just enjoy the test. Examiners would normally look for crisp, clear movements for entries and techniques and you need to show why techniques can be done.

In general, all aikido techniques can be broken down into 3 major movements.

1. The first being off-the-line/taking uke's balance
2. The technique itself
3. The takedown

The first is the most important of the 3 while the takedown is just a bonus. To put it simply, if you can't take uke's balance during entry, you can't do the technique or will do the technique forcefully. If you can't do the technique, you cant do the takedown properly.

Just be conscious of these 3 when you are doing techniques and show your examiner the 3 distinct parts of the technique no matter what it is. Good luck.

Shadowfax 09-08-2011 06:43 AM

Re: Being ready
At 6th kyu you are not expected to be perfect. My teachers say that they just want to see that you understand the shape of the technique and that all of the pieces are there. When I look back at my 6th kyu test I sure know I had two left feet and things were kind of stiff and awkward yet. But if sensei says you are testing then you are ready.

If your dojo has a syllabus for testing ask for access to that and ask one of your seniors to help you work on things outside of class. No test is perfect but you want to put some effort into preparation for it.

Janet Rosen 09-08-2011 03:45 PM

Re: Being ready
For my first grading, to 5th kyu, it was understood it was pretty much about
1. language: recognising the names of the attacks/techniques being asked for
2. being able to do the gross movements of those attacks and techniques
3. comporting oneself with proper etiquette
4. very basic rolls/falls

jlbrewer 11-23-2011 12:12 AM

Re: Being ready
Guess I better update: Testing took place Columbus Day weekend.

I passed. :D Definitely wasn't perfect, but didn't freeze or freak out.

Tim Ruijs 11-23-2011 12:52 AM

Re: Being ready
congrats! :D

Janet Rosen 11-23-2011 12:30 PM

Re: Being ready

Edgecrusher 05-03-2012 05:41 AM

Re: Being ready
Congrats, which is way over due. I can remember when my Sensei tested me and promoted me to rokkyu. I also did not feel like I executed perfectly. As time went on and I began improving, my confidence grew and my skills began to take form. It will come with practice, study, and commitment.

JJF 05-03-2012 09:07 AM

Re: Being ready
For the lower kyu grades you can pretty much decide on who will pass just by watching them step on the mat.

This is not meant to put anybody down, but if you have put enough effort into your training it will show, and the way you handle yourself in a dojo will speak volumes about you level of aikido.. and let's face it. The first couple of gradings are more about showing basic understanding of the whole concept of practicing aikido.. gradually growing into an ever larger display of technical proficiency (in lack of a better word) as you go through the kyu grades.

From shodan and up it is still about technical ability but other issues become part of the evaluation as well - and these wary a lot within different styles. As somebody said above.. just enjoy it - and don't spend too much time thinking about it. It is just one of a million steps in your aikido.

Have fun (also when grading)


Edgecrusher 05-24-2012 10:41 AM

Re: Being ready

Jørgen Jakob Friis wrote: (Post 308418)
For the lower kyu grades you can pretty much decide on who will pass just by watching them step on the mat.

I agree with that statement. I am inching closer to Shodan and it will not be long before it happens. Even at my level I can see those that came in after me how they will fair and who will pass. I have taken no offense to your statement and feel the same way.

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