Mr Dave Organ,
As someone else who presides over grading tests on a regular basis, I agree with Mr Ledyard's post. I assume that your 5th kyu test will be the first in a series extending well beyond shodan.
In kyu tests, I look for increasing knowledge of the repertoire of techniques. I am also looking for incipient signs of bad habits which might need to be worked on later. The relative difficulty of aikido techniques, compared with those of other martial arts, is often debated in forums like this and I know from experience that there is quite a breadth of of understanding and ability, even at the lower kyu grades.
Like Mr Ledyard, I will watch students who show good promise and I have no compunction about going beyond the minimum requirements with such students. In our dojo, the numbers are small enough to enable the instructors to give a lot of individual attention and adjust the level of training appropriately.
On my last visit to the USA, I was guest instructor at a dojo and I was asked to observe a kyu grading. I did so but was also asked to examine, i.e., to request some techniques. Those who were testing had never met me before and clearly used different names for some of the techniques I asked for. But they were unfazed and coped very well: to me the sign of a good dojo and good instructors.
I also think that people practise aikido, and also take kyu and dan tests, for a variety of reasons, which reasons also change as their aikido develops. I am sure that as an instructor in the military you would also see this and also see the likelihood. I am still a conservative and see kyu and dan grades as the sign of a vertically-structured relationship between the student and the instructor. In Japan, it is the custom for the instructor to tell students when it is time to take a test and not the other way round. In some cases the 'shock' value of being confronted with a test NEXT MONTH is a good stimulus.
I am sure you will do very well in your 5th kyu test, but I hope your instructor will find ways to keep you physically and mentally stretched as your aikido develops.
Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 07-16-2002 at 12:04 AM.