I started Aikido one month ago, and have never enjoyed anything so much. My reasons for choosing Aikido are numerous, but one key reason was my hope to gain confidence and hopefully some courage and self-esteem. The thought of testing/doing techniques alone in front of the whole class terrifies me, to say the least, but many sempai are saying that I will likely be testing for 5th kyu soon. They also assure me that I won't be invited to test until Sensei feels I'm truly ready. While this is a comfort, it also makes me feel all the more obligated to do very well- as though if I were to clam-up and fail, I would be letting all my senseis and sempai down. I guess what I'm saying is while I understand that I won't be testing unless Sensei knows I'm ready as far as the required techniques and hours go, I don't think I'm even close to a place of having confidence in myself and how to control a severe case of "stage fright". Please, can you all talk a little about what your first testing experience was like, and how, if any of you were nervous or trepidacious, you were able to hone in and focus to successfully pass testing? I would appreciate and love to hear any advice, suggestions, or other key things to keep in mind. Of course, I'm practicing every chance I get!