Nick Simpson wrote:
Every test is different. It depends on the tester and the grading panel/officiator/sensei.
They say the hardest tests are 5th kyu cos its generally your first. 3rd kyu because it is a big leap in terms of required techniques and ability. And shodan because it is the first of the 'senior' ranks and more is expected of you.
Or so they apparently say at Aikikai Hombu...
Pretty good Nick. My hardest test was 5th kyu. I was scared, under pressure and in a daze when I did it. I have always seen my third kyu as a benchmark as well because of the number of techniques and their difficulty. I still remember how hard I prepared for suwariwaza katatetori kaitenage, uchi and soto omote and ura. On my shodan, I was excited because I knew I was close to something important. When it was over, I felt like crying because emotionally, I had put a lot into the time and effort it took to get there. I remembered all the times in my first dojo where our little group couldn't pay the rent and how we would all meet in the office, and empty out our pockets until we came up with what we were short to make each months rent. We had a sempai but no Sensei. I recalled all the suffering I endured from another instructor I had who didn't' like me but I persevered refusing to let him take aikido away from me. I remembered when our dojo was broke and they said we weren't going to be able to bring our shihan from Japan so I privately emptied out my savings account and gave $1000 to pay for his plane fare.A lot of emotions came flooding inside of me because getting to shodan for me didn't come easy.