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Old 11-22-2007, 09:09 AM   #91
Dojo: Aikido of Midland
Location: Midland Texas
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 1,652
Re: significance to testing/belt rank?

Thank you for the response. I agree that an emphasis on rank is detrimental for training. That's why I never teach for tests. It limits the mind's focus to the specific technique and loses the big picture. I work on principles and concepts 99% of the time and right before a person is eligible for testing then I have them work on their test material. I will teach test criteria right before an exam. That does not mean they won't see the material before hand. It is just not focused on as being test material. The focus is on learning the intricacies of the technique not on it being a test criteria. Of course, I do occasionally get people that focus on rank. I usually can tell who they are since the day they sign up that ask how long it takes to get to this and that rank. They rarely ever stay long enough for a test. The ones that stay stay because they want to learn the intricacies of the art and are willing to pursue the process necessary to accomplish it. Rank comes as a result not as a goal.

When I trained more and taught less, my focus was not on the rank so much as on the skills the black belts were demonstrating. I knew if I attained their level of commitment, skill, consistency and connection then the rank would come. When I practice technique I focused not just on the rudimentaries of the technique but on the subtleties of making it work. Fortunately, I had a good instructor that pointed me in the right direction-teaching me how to study the intricacies or figure them out. I learned to model not only the biomechanics but the physiology of what was being shown: things such as rhythm, breathing, focus, etc.

My only focus on rank for my students is to encourage them to test when eligible and ready. I have seen too many people go through the process of training and not obtaining rank and then moving to another area. Then then decide rank is important and have to start over since they never bothered to test in the beginning. It may have no meaning to them in the present but down the road they may change their minds. Therefore, I encourage the process. Do I fail people-rarely. I won't let them get up in front of a test committee unprepared. Also, I am testing them for at least a week or longer as they approach the test. Are they focused, do they know the technique when not under the eye of a test committee, etc? I agree with Kato sensei when he says he does not like tests because people are at their worst on them.

Last edited by aikidoc : 11-22-2007 at 09:12 AM.