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Old 01-17-2011, 09:39 PM   #44
Keith Burnikell
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 11
Testing At the Right Time

I have seen four poor tests as a result of being tested too early; two men, two women.
Both of the ladies in question had serious advanced reservations about the timing of their tests. They were right. It wasn't that they didn't have self confidence....they actually performed an honest self assessment and came to a correct appraisal....they really weren't ready from a technical perspective.

Sometimes, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a really IS a duck!

So, how did they get pushed to take the test? Lots of reasons. Their senseis knew they loved the art and were sincere. The senseis had a vested interest in both cases. One was because of a sensei/student romance and all the complications that brings and the other because the sensei truly wanted his student to be successful.

The fall out from the two situations:
One was awarded a shodan after a pretty 'weak' test (not my words). You know what? the testing committee was spot on for awarding it. Once she donned that Hakama, she blossomed. She's a joy to train with, humble as can be and one of the most teachable folks you can imagine....she's going to go far.

The other is struggling mightily. She tested too early for one test, which was compounded recently by testing too early for her next test as well!!!! In such a situation you keep hoping it's going to work out for the best but it hasn't. Injuries are compounding the problem which creates an even greater sense of urgency on her part.

In this case I'm hoping sanity prevails and the 'schedule' is relaxed for everyone's sake.

I think there's a risk that in some dojos women could be 'rushed' through the ranks in order to retain/showcase them. In those rare cases it does everyone a disservice.

If someone is reticent to 'test' it can be just due to lack of self esteem and we should trust the sensei to know best.
Sometimes the candidate has all the qualities for the next level and still struggles on the test. We all recognize that happens.
However, there are times that senseis make mistakes. Sometimes, it's because of overriding self interest and other times a blinding bias toward that student. The latter case is potentially very destructive and unfortunately real.

To the OP, if you're worried that you're going to get hurt or hurt your uke you have a legitimate reason to refuse the test. If you're worried that you're going to perform badly, the onus is not on you. It's your sensei that's suggesting you take it. Smile and have fun!
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