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Old 12-08-2007, 06:57 AM   #1
"2345"
IP Hash: d083da91
Anonymous User
aiki faux pas?

I'm interested in hearing people's opinions on the following:

In our association. shodan testing is done by the head of the association. He is an outstanding sensei, but he does not know me at all.

On the other hand, I do have a sensei/student relationship with my own sensei. When I eventually test for Shodan, I'd like the person who knows me, and who has worked with me for years, to promote me.

Is it a major aiki-no-no to ask that my own sensei administer the test? (Please tell me what you think, don't just tell me to discuss it with my sensei....)

thanks
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Old 12-08-2007, 08:59 PM   #2
"Jeep"
IP Hash: 8da0eb47
Anonymous User
Re: aiki faux pas?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
I'm interested in hearing people's opinions on the following:

In our association. shodan testing is done by the head of the association. He is an outstanding sensei, but he does not know me at all.

On the other hand, I do have a sensei/student relationship with my own sensei. When I eventually test for Shodan, I'd like the person who knows me, and who has worked with me for years, to promote me.

Is it a major aiki-no-no to ask that my own sensei administer the test? (Please tell me what you think, don't just tell me to discuss it with my sensei....)

thanks
Its it fairly common that your own sensei isn't the one that grades you for shodan. Basically it stops any biaseness towards the student on the examiner part. Just get out there and put on a show your sensei will be happy enough.
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Old 12-09-2007, 06:28 AM   #3
"2345"
IP Hash: d083da91
Anonymous User
Re: aiki faux pas?

That makes sense. thanks!
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Old 12-09-2007, 08:48 AM   #4
SeiserL
 
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Dojo: Roswell Budokan, Kyushinkan Dojo, Aikido World Alliance
Location: Roswell, GA USA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,711
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Re: aiki faux pas?

Let someone new know you through your technique.
Agreed, its a common (and wise) practice.

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 12-09-2007, 11:55 AM   #5
giriasis
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
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Re: aiki faux pas?

I just recently passed my shodan test. In our association, you are normally tested in front of a panel made up of some of the shihan in the technical committee. This includes instructors who do not know you.

Take a couple of things into consideration.

First, we are not put up to test until our individual instructor thinks were are ready to test. The instructor "putting you up to test" so to speak as responsibility in making sure you are ready to test. My instructor, and most that I know of, put their students through the paces. Often times, we are put through mock tests that take much longer than the actual test. If your sensei is satisfied with your performance then you get his approval or "passing us."

Second, over the years from watching dan tests at seminars, you don't need to "know" a person to determine if they are ready to be promoted to shodan.

Third, the main shihan testing us is also watching us at seminars and during the seminar we are going to test.

Fourth, other matters are taken into consideration as far as things like injuries, illness, disability, etc. For example, if you have bad knees you will not be expected to do suwari waza or hanmi handachi.

As whether it is a faux pas or not to ask your sensei to test only in front of him. I do not know. I never even thought about it since that's just the way we do things in our association. I just followed the flow and blended with the rules. I guess it would depend on your sensei. Mine, is not too strict when it comes to etiquette and protocol and I don't think he would get offended. If you have a good reason not to test at the seminar, he might even agree. Other sensei, I don't know.

But you sound new to aikido and might still have a way to go to shodan. I wouldn't worry about it too much. I'd more worry about the next kyu test. Later on, when it does come to shodan, you will be in your organization and dojo long enough to know if it is a faux pas to ask if you don't have to test infront of the main shihan. In some places, like France, you wouldn't have a choice to test in front of people who don't know you.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 12-22-2007, 12:49 AM   #6
Marc Kupper
Dojo: Aikido of Diablo Valley / ASU
Location: Walnut Creek, California
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 88
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Re: aiki faux pas?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
I'm interested in hearing people's opinions on the following:

In our association. shodan testing is done by the head of the association. He is an outstanding sensei, but he does not know me at all.

On the other hand, I do have a sensei/student relationship with my own sensei. When I eventually test for Shodan, I'd like the person who knows me, and who has worked with me for years, to promote me.

Is it a major aiki-no-no to ask that my own sensei administer the test? (Please tell me what you think, don't just tell me to discuss it with my sensei....)
I'm assuming you are an ikkyu that's getting close to or is ready for shodan. If not, then don't worry about it as your own feelings may change by the time you are ready for shodan.

I suspect if you had to ask the question on this forum then it's a aiki-no-no to ask that your own sensei administer the test.

Please keep in mind that the testing before the organization head is the way he evaluates his own transmission of the art to people such as your immediate instructor. As you will be representing both your instructor and dojo your sensei will not send you up until he/she is certain you are ready.

Marc
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Old 01-09-2008, 11:46 AM   #7
Walter Martindale
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Re: aiki faux pas?

I suppose it depends on the shihan and his trust in the abilities and judgement of his shidoin or fukushidoin (one of these is dojo main sensei, I think).
My case, having a job that involves me working most weekends, keeps me away from most seminars at which shihan would present themselves available to oversee gradings.
The sensei at my former dojo asked what should be done, and the shihan filled out the appropriate papers, signed them, and let my dojo sensei administer the shodan test.
Mitigating factors - The shihan knew me rather well and had (at the ikkyu examination) practically ordered me to test for shodan "within a year".. He had overseen all of my previous gradings, including - 4 attacker jyuwaza at nikyu (I was crushed very quickly), again at ikkyu (crushed, but not quite so quickly), and at shodan (crushed again, but still less quickly). As well, dojo sensei was/is still yondan, graded by the shihan in question.
If the shihan knows and trusts the sensei in his "feeding chain", then the sensei, I understand, have the right to act, teach, and grade on his/her behalf. I believe that this is one sign of a shihan who has maturity, believes in his/her teaching of the sensei, and understands that at some point he/she will have to hand off the responsibility to those following.
If your association's shihan will permit your dojo sensei to administer your test, then I believe that a) your shihan knows your sensei well enough to trust your sensei's judgement, and b) your sensei is qualified to test you. If your association's shihan won't let your dojo sensei administer your test, then it's just possible that the shihan doesn't necessarily believe that your dojo sensei "gets" it well enough to test someone for shodan.

Frankly, I was happy to test in front of either, but prefer to test in front of the shihan. Main reason - the shihan sees more and can provide more input for you to improve. Kinda like the all-seeing eye of the Olympic coach versus the reasonably good club coach (going back to analogies from my career).
I've seen dojo sensei who didn't "get" something that the shihan was looking for, all of his students did the same fundamental thing that got the shihan quite PO, and (while passing the students), gave the students a stern talking to, and practically reamed the sensei a "new one". (of course, the reaming out was given after the dojo had cleared of us mudansha and non-sensei types, so I heard of it only second hand)
This is getting OT. Go with the shihan grading - it might be tougher, it might be easier, depending on how well you're prepared. Yet another reason for testing in front of the shihan - the test is as much a test of your sensei and his/her teaching skills as it is of you - A test in front of the shihan is a good way for your sensei to learn how better to train you.
W
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Old 01-21-2008, 08:12 PM   #8
edshockley
Dojo: Aiklikai of Philadelphia
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Re: aiki faux pas?

You might also consider that testing in front of an anonymous panel or shihan is a way to bring honor to your dojo. You are allowed to demonstrate the interpretation of your sensei in front of an audience of fellow Aikidoka. It seems a marvelous way to thank your instructors for their patience and diligence. Ultimately every test is simply responding to a attack by moving off line, blending with the energy, creating kuzushi etc. so the "where" of the test never really changes. I humbly suggest that we should simply strive to enjoy the moment.
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