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Old 08-15-2007, 10:17 PM   #1
Boblyn Patton
Dojo: Albuquerque Shin-Budo Kai
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*gulp*

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!
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Old 08-15-2007, 10:26 PM   #2
Lan Powers
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Re: *gulp*

One thing that makes the test requirements easier to "lock in" your memory is to spend lots of repetitions as uke as well as as nage. Both sides of the coin, so to speak, will make it stick with you more effectively, I have found.
Try to breath deeply and relax....it helps
Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 08-15-2007, 11:45 PM   #3
Nafis Zahir
 
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Re: *gulp*

I have also found it very helpful to have a list of your test requirements. Reading them over and over again helps, as well as visualizing the techniques as you read them.

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Old 08-16-2007, 03:55 AM   #4
Anthony Dunn
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Re: *gulp*

Its not about what your fellow students think, its what you think. Ignore them. Just concentrate on doing the technique. What is there to be afraid of? You make a mistake, you make a mistake. Its no big deal. Make a fix, and move on. You'll get a few chances to get it, and if it takes you a try or two to get it, thats ok.
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Old 08-16-2007, 05:35 AM   #5
Amir Krause
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Re: *gulp*

From a position near the other side of the table (my Sensei likes us Sempai to be with him while he is testing so we will learn that part of teaching too) you should not worry so much.

A teacher has already seen all cases of stage fright, in fact, the worst you can do is to be asked to test again, in a couple of weeks. After all, your sensei already knows, before hand, you deserve to pass, so if you failed one time, you will get used to the stage by the second time. So, you really can not fail.

Good luck and do not take the above as a recommendation not to do your best.

Amir
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Old 08-16-2007, 06:56 AM   #6
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: *gulp*

I'll second what Amir said... your sensei has seen plenty of people with stage fright before. And don't keep giving yourself extra pressure by thinking that your test has to be in some way perfect. Nobody is perfect at 5th kyu. You're not expected to be.

What you can do is- don't fight the nervousness and anxiety. Let it wash over you. It's unpleasant but not deadly. Learn to move and breathe and be while you're feeling anxious and nervous.

Accept that you're going to forget things during your test, and mix things up, and trip on your own feet. After that happens, breathe in, breathe out, and continue the test.

All the above applies right before the test. Right now, train as much as you can, make lists of the technique names, ask a sempai to go over them, basically do what you can to be as well prepared as you can. My teacher often has a couple mock tests before the actual testing day, to get people used to the situation. Maybe yours does, too?

kvaak
Pauliina
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:56 AM   #7
SeiserL
 
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Re: *gulp*

Quote:
Boblyn Patton wrote: View Post
... how, if any of you were nervous or trepidacious, you were able to hone in and focus to successfully pass testing?
IMHO, don't focus on passing the test. Focus on doing the technique correctly and doing it slow and easy enough that the testing committee (who you have nicely forgotten are there) can see you are doing it correctly.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:58 AM   #8
Marc Abrams
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Re: *gulp*

Boblyn:

Welcome to the SBK family! Testing is SBK is a recognition that you have already achieved what you needed to achieve for your kyu rank. The testing is a recognition of that achievement.

Practice the test slowly, because you will move quicker during the test itself. Make sure you keep on breathing during the execution of the technique. Take a deep breath at the end of each technique. Take the test one technique at a time and once you are done with that technique forget it and move on to the next. Most importantly, enjoy the moment.

Congratulations in advance!

Marc Abrams

ps.- Everybody is nervous before their test, then the moment arrives and you are only in that moment.
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Old 08-16-2007, 10:11 AM   #9
Qatana
 
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Re: *gulp*

And testing"soon" can be anywhere inside of a year! In my dojo 5th kyu means generally knowing which technique is which.
I've taken tests I thought I was ready for, and while I passed I now know how unready I actually was, and conversely, I was scared to death of my last test(2nd kyu) and it was my best ever!
Relax and trust your sensei.

Q
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"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 08-16-2007, 12:01 PM   #10
Boblyn Patton
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Re: *gulp*

Gracious! You all have given me a much more positive and realistic perspective on testing, and on where my focus should be. This has definitely helped relieve a good deal of my worries. I've made notes from your posts in my handbook so I can have them with me when I practice. Truly, thank you all so much!
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Old 08-16-2007, 12:14 PM   #11
Nick P.
 
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Re: *gulp*

Handbook ?!

pshhh

I have yet to see a doka from O-Sensei that mentionned a "handbook".

Do your best, all else will fall into place.

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Old 08-16-2007, 01:00 PM   #12
Juliette
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Re: *gulp*

Boblyn:

I understand what you are feeling. About 1 month ago I had my first test. When I was first asked to test I felt equally as unsure as you are describing. To overcome this I spent a couple of weeks focusing on the testing techniques and not too much else. I over prepared myself to such an extent that by the time it came around I found myself surprisingly not nervous. To think back to it now the test was a blur and I feel like I must have had my eyes closed but it went very well.
Get those technique names down and visualize yourself performing each one slowly and smoothly, and get ready to surprise yourself.
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Old 08-16-2007, 02:30 PM   #13
dalen7
 
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Re: *gulp*

test truly do vary widely in aikido.
Not just from style to style but 'in style' from dojo to dojo.

As one person mentioned, they get 5th kyu just by knowing the different moves - our 4th dan gives the 6th kyu after 3-4 months, the sempai who trains us tends to give it out after 6 months...go figure.

At least I will be perfect in Kote Gaeshi by the time its all said and done.

So the point really all rest with what you learn and how your flowing...the ranks in and of themself do not 'globally' really point to the same thing - so to speak.

i.e., my 6th kyu looks as follows:
- Ai Hanmi Katate Tori: Irimi nage - shio nage - kote Gaeshi - Uchikaiten Nage (heard of this one?)
- Gyaku Hanmi Katate Tori: Shiho Nage & Kokyuho
- Shomenuchi: Irimin Nage
- stances: Shizentai, Hidari Kame, Migi Kamae
- seps: irimi, Tai Sabaki, Ushiro Tenkan, Kaiten Ashi
- Ukemi: Ushiro Ukemi, Mae Ukemi

- plus we need to know 'history,' and 4 principles of Koichi Tohei (no we are not ki aikido) - and have a 'physical stamina' test of sorts.

a bit different than the 'typical' bit. (nothing extra special...infact some could say a bit 'boring' starting at Ai Hanmi, etc. instead of Shomenuchi or Tsuki (chudan, etc)

peace

dAlen

Last edited by dalen7 : 08-16-2007 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:03 PM   #14
yosushi
Dojo: Aoyama dojo
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Re: *gulp*

Hi Bobblyn.
Here are a few other thoughts.

My first testing...I was nervous, "what the hell am I doing here" ...Am I going to understand the grading officer when he speaks (not practicing in my mother tongue),
and "well, let`s have some fun and see how it will turn out !!"

If you grade with someone else grading at the same time, realise your uke is equally nervous to be here.

If your sensei thinks you are ready, then you are ready. Believe him, it will boost your confidence. He is not here to shame you or
put you under the light and then let you fail. You are beginning,
you dont know what a grading officer is looking for, but your sensei
knows, or has a lot better idea than you (and he may be the grading officer too, so he knows what to look for).

The line I heard often from my sensei..." no one from our club ever failed a grading, so no pressure, but you know what to do !!"
We have a great Sensei with great humor !!

Isn`t an important part of the test to see if you can control your nervousness and stay relaxed ?

I like tests for giving me the opportunity to see how well I do under "pressure". Do I focus better / worse / same under pressure ? Do I apply this kotegaeshi the same way to my uke ( more force? less ? thinking of uke or just "doing the technique" without trying to adjust to my uke force/speed/position..) ?
Am I spending the test thinking of technical details ( foot here, hand here, moves this way, ...) or flowing with my uke movement and hoping I`m applying the technique that was called for !
Am I going to be sick all over the place ?
Do I see my Sensei making face to me after I applied really badly a technique we had done countless number of times ?
Do I promise to myself to work more and get it better the next time, and the next, and the next ?
Do I look to the outside world, or am I focusing only on my uke?me?

Of course, part of how I relax is ...knowing I know the techniques and how to apply them. Work, practice...thinking of the principles...thinking back how I was reacting during the test, if I can remember...

Still lots of work (Good !!)
Enjoy your gradings ! Keep a smile on your face and give everything you have ! (and do the same when you are uke)
You`ll smile on your grading memories.

Sorry to be a bit long !! For my first test, I was not thinking too much of what the test was, or what it will bring me or how do I react to it. Just - do - the - test, and enjoy your day.
Smile at your uke. Be serious. Do it.

Have a great day.

PS: and if you lose your belt during a grading or forget a technique...dont panic, and do something !
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Old 08-18-2007, 06:40 PM   #15
Boblyn Patton
Dojo: Albuquerque Shin-Budo Kai
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Re: *gulp*

Holy cow! I never expected so many replies. You guys rock!

*waves to Marc Abrams* It's so cool to get to talk to someone else from SBK at the NY dojo!

And, honest, we have a handbook! *laughs* It's full of all the Japanese terms and so on- really helpful.

You guys make some great points- it does make sense that overcoming being nervous and coping with it would in a way be part of the test, and I shouldn't be afraid or think I'm already doing something wrong just for being nervous. Visualizing the techniques as I read them is really helping! It seems like the only way I can "fail" is to not do my best and not have fun or not keep trying no matter what happens, whether I lose a belt, mix shiho-nage up with kokyu-nage, or become so flustered that I stumble over my poor uke and land face first on the mat, causing the bum of my gi to rip and the class to hurt themselves with laughter. I promise to smile and have fun.

Thanks again, all of you!

PS| Hello, Dalen! I have not heard of "Ai Hanmi Katate Tori- Irmi Nage- Shiho Nage- Kote Gaeshi- Uchikaiten Nage" before... O_O I know parts of this, but I've not yet gotten to see them combined this way. Yowza...
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Old 08-18-2007, 07:58 PM   #16
ouch
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Re: *gulp*

hehehe if you go blank..

just smile and tenkan.
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Old 08-18-2007, 10:59 PM   #17
Bronson
 
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Re: *gulp*

I've also found that it's better to fess up and say "I'm sorry sensei but I don't know" than to try and BS my way through something I truly didn't know. You will not fool the people giving the test, they have seen it all before

Do not try to impress the test board with speed. Correctness and control is what they want to see (at least at our dojo )

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 08-19-2007, 01:57 PM   #18
dalen7
 
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Re: *gulp*

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote: View Post
I've also found that it's better to fess up and say "I'm sorry sensei but I don't know" than to try and BS my way through something I truly didn't know. You will not fool the people giving the test, they have seen it all before

Do not try to impress the test board with speed. Correctness and control is what they want to see (at least at our dojo )

Bronson
Problem is with the Uke speed is it not?
If you dont get a chance to practice with them so they know how fast you go.

Peace
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Old 08-19-2007, 02:00 PM   #19
dalen7
 
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Re: *gulp*

Quote:
Boblyn Patton wrote: View Post
PS| Hello, Dalen! I have not heard of "Ai Hanmi Katate Tori- Irmi Nage- Shiho Nage- Kote Gaeshi- Uchikaiten Nage" before... O_O I know parts of this, but I've not yet gotten to see them combined this way. Yowza...
Uchikaiten Nage is what is weird to me.
its the one not on my aikdio 3d disk to help me remember when out of the dojo. And I dont perform it at all my sessions (in fact maybe only once, and other time I asked someone to show me...but I forgot. Not complicated, but these things start blending together.)

an example of blend:
You have shomenuchi nikkyo - all fine.
But then we practice what seems like 50 different ways to implement nikkyo with it ending pulling fingers backwards behind someones back. - Painful. :-)

Peace

dAlen
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Old 08-19-2007, 11:15 PM   #20
Bronson
 
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Re: *gulp*

Quote:
Dalen Johnson wrote: View Post
Problem is with the Uke speed is it not?
If you dont get a chance to practice with them so they know how fast you go.
Not really a problem for our dojo. We'd just tell uke to slow down.

Not to mention we get to pick our own uke

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 08-20-2007, 08:58 AM   #21
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: *gulp*

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Boblyn:

Welcome to the SBK family! Testing is SBK is a recognition that you have already achieved what you needed to achieve for your kyu rank. The testing is a recognition of that achievement.

Practice the test slowly, because you will move quicker during the test itself. Make sure you keep on breathing during the execution of the technique. Take a deep breath at the end of each technique. Take the test one technique at a time and once you are done with that technique forget it and move on to the next. Most importantly, enjoy the moment.

Congratulations in advance!

Marc Abrams

ps.- Everybody is nervous before their test, then the moment arrives and you are only in that moment.
Hello Marc,
For those of us who live outside the US what is SBK?

P A Goldsbury
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:34 AM   #22
MM
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Re: *gulp*

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Marc,
For those of us who live outside the US what is SBK?
Hello sensei,
For those of us within the US, we're not sure what SBK is either. I noticed Marc's profile and his dojo is listed as Shin Budo Kai. So, perhaps SBK is short for that? Marc?

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 08-20-2007, 10:04 AM   #23
justin
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Re: *gulp*

you might find your instructor will call you up in front of class to see how you do under that sort of pressure it is not his intention to put you under so much stress it would make you turn to jelly that doesnt achieve anything, dry runs as we call them help the instructor to see if you can do the technique by name and also for you to get used to getting up in front of the class.
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:16 PM   #24
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
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Re: *gulp*

Peter & Mark:

SBK- stands for Shin-Budo Kai. This is the Aikido organization started by and run by Shizuo Imaizumi. Shizuo Imaizumi Sensei was one of the last group of people who trained directly with O'Sensei. The headquarters is located in New York City, where Imaizumi Sensei still teaches classes every weekday evening. I have recently opened an affiliate dojo near my home in Bedford Hills, New York. As far as I know, all SBK dojo's allow anybody to train, regardless of affiliation. If anybody needs more info please let me know and I would be happy to fill in the blanks.

Best regards to all.

Marc Abrams

Last edited by Marc Abrams : 08-21-2007 at 03:16 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:29 PM   #25
Larry Feldman
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Re: *gulp*

A useful technique for students with 'stage fright' is to get them used to demonstrating a technique in front of class.

Usually this is at the end of class - 'who wants to come up and demonstrate the techniques we did tonight?' - Sometimes I don't ask. But it could be done after any particular technique has been done.

If you speak with Ralph, perhaps he will give you the opportunity to practice this way and get more comfortable with your demonstration.
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