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Old 04-08-2009, 10:13 AM   #1
"FredL"
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Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

One of my senseis feels that I should test for shodan in November. While I could probably muddle through the test, I do not feel that I will be able to perform at a level where I should be passed.

Is it inappropriate to ask to test later?

thanks!
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:30 AM   #2
John Longford
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

Definitely inappropriate. Not only is it bad manners but you are also questioning you Sensei's judgement.
I am sure that there are a vast number of Aikidoka who have felt that they are not ready for a grading. That should not stop them testing. I include myself in that number even after nearly thirty years of training and teaching.
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:40 AM   #3
heathererandolph
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

There is a lot of time between now and November to work on the test so I wonder why you don't feel ready? Shodan is a big step, so maybe you can have a discussion with your Sensei about it. It's possible he wouldn't be too taken aback if you put it off but still you've got 6 months between now and then. If you don't think you are ready, then when will you be ready? If you have some reason why you would not be able to devote appropriate time to get ready for Shodan and you have a date when you will be ready to test then maybe your Sensei will accept that.
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:03 PM   #4
"FredL"
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

I don't think that I'm going to be able to devote enough extra time to appropriately prepare for the test. If I don't test well as a result, I'll feel like I've let my sensei and everyone else involved in a shodan test down. It's one thing to give it your best shot and fail. It seems different if you fail because you didn't put in enough time to be ready...
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:31 PM   #5
Larry Cuvin
 
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

FredL, look at it as a win-win situation: If you take the test and pass, hey, you're shodan. If you fail, you would know your weak areas and you could focus your training on them for your re-take. Testing is not there to humiliate you, it's there to assess where in training are you. Good luck on your decision.

Plus Ki
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:40 PM   #6
Nick P.
 
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

How many senseis do you have, and have they voiced their opinion on the matter? Your original posts says "One of my senseis..."

I agree completely with Mr. Longford.

It has been said that when you feel you are not ready for the (shodan) test, in reality you are, and some senseis take you saying so as a clear sign you are in fact ready. Yeah, clear as mud.

I would submit that the rank is an important milestone in one's training, but the day before you obtain that rank and the day after really arent going to be all that different, especially in the context of your lifetime of training. In fact, each rank is the most important....up until that point.

Train well, train hard, and trust your sensei(s?).

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Old 04-08-2009, 01:13 PM   #7
"foo"
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

On the other hand, you ought to be able to honest with your sensei. And you can always phrase it as a statement rather than a request--"I'm uncomfortable testing so soon" instead of "Can we revisit this decision in a year?" Six months is not a lot of time even with constant, regular practice which is something that cuts two ways. If you're really not ready now you wont be then either. But your sensei isn't likely to be expecting too much change out of you so chances are you are far better than you think. Ask for a pre-test in October and have somebody video it. Then you'll know for sure.
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Old 04-08-2009, 03:00 PM   #8
"shhh"
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

muddle it through,

put yourself at the test, where you're uncomfortable, learn from that.

stress test yourself
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Old 04-08-2009, 05:33 PM   #9
Kevin Karr
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

I say, just do it! If your Sensei asks you to test, just test. Try to relax.

As Miyagi might say, "Pass, fail, no matter. Either way, training the same!"
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Old 04-08-2009, 09:28 PM   #10
Buck
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
One of my senseis feels that I should test for shodan in November. While I could probably muddle through the test, I do not feel that I will be able to perform at a level where I should be passed.

Is it inappropriate to ask to test later?

thanks!
Good question. I would think it depends on the Sensei. Would the Sensei feel it inappropriate? Some Sensei have no problem, others would. Ask the Sensei or ask other high ranked members.
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Old 04-09-2009, 12:01 AM   #11
Nafis Zahir
 
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
On the other hand, you ought to be able to honest with your sensei. And you can always phrase it as a statement rather than a request--"I'm uncomfortable testing so soon" instead of "Can we revisit this decision in a year?" Six months is not a lot of time even with constant, regular practice which is something that cuts two ways. If you're really not ready now you wont be then either. But your sensei isn't likely to be expecting too much change out of you so chances are you are far better than you think. Ask for a pre-test in October and have somebody video it. Then you'll know for sure.
I agree with this statement. And if your Sensei insist on you testing and that day comes and he asked if you are ready, simply say, "Sensei, I am as ready as I can be today." Other than that, relax and do your best.

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Old 04-09-2009, 03:46 AM   #12
Abasan
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

Its really up to you to test or not. No one should force you to do it. I've known some ppl in hombu who has not tested for something like 20 years.

I myself refused to test until I achieved my own benchmark for a shodan. Its not disrespect to the sensei, its being true to yourself.

This is especially true if you notice a poor standard in shodan testing.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:53 AM   #13
"FredL"
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

Those are all really helpful pieces of advice. I guess that my main concern is letting down my sensei, but it is his decision, after all. A pretest sounds like a great idea. If he still feels that I should test at that point, then I guess that I'm good to go.

thanks again.

fred
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:35 AM   #14
JO
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

On the one hand, your sensei should have a better understanding of your level than you do. He has the greater experience and it is easier to judge someone else's ability than to judge your own.

On the other hand, I have seen a lot of people who's senseis thought were ready get failed by the shihans. Then again, in such situation, it is the sensei that really ends up looking bad, while for you it would depend on how embarrassed you would feel by the experience.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 04-09-2009, 12:23 PM   #15
Russ Q
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

Hi Fred,

A pre test..., test is a great idea. Ask for this specifically. You do that now and you know clearly where you need to improve for your actual test. Also, consider the test for any rank promotion as a point from which you can grow into that rank.

Best of luck,

Russ
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:22 PM   #16
"FredL"
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

Obviously, I'll feel embarassed/frustrated if I don't do well ... even if I pass. My real concern, however, is that I'll feel that I didn't represent my sensei well after he has placed his confidence in me. Senseis are essentially putting their personal "seal of approval" on a student when they have him test, and I think that most of us feel pressure to live up to that vote of confidence. I'll feel really bad if I don't have as good a test as I think that I can, knowing that I didn't have the time to train the way that I should have.

I guess that the proof will be in a pre-test.

Fred
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:46 PM   #17
Lan Powers
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

I have heard it said that you will *usually* be at your worst on an actual grading, but the Shihan will have seen enough of your abilities beforehand to more accurately evaluate your skill.

Think of it more as an opportunity to make a demo of.....YOU

Have fun, try to relax.........breathe
Lan (best of luck)

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:47 PM   #18
odudog
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

If your Sensei gives you permission to test, then you have already passed the test. My Sensei tells us that the test is just a demonstration for the other people to see what you can do. So relax and enjoy the demo!
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Old 04-09-2009, 06:04 PM   #19
JO
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

Quote:
Mike Braxton wrote: View Post
If your Sensei gives you permission to test, then you have already passed the test. My Sensei tells us that the test is just a demonstration for the other people to see what you can do. So relax and enjoy the demo!
This is only true if you're sensei is the examiner. In the case of my shodan exam two years ago, the examiners were a panel of 4 shihans. I passed, but a third of those testing failed (none from my dojo). Last year a quarter failed. Their instructors all presumably told them they were ready. It was rather painfully obvious that some of them weren't.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 04-09-2009, 06:28 PM   #20
JO
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Obviously, I'll feel embarassed/frustrated if I don't do well ... even if I pass. My real concern, however, is that I'll feel that I didn't represent my sensei well after he has placed his confidence in me. Senseis are essentially putting their personal "seal of approval" on a student when they have him test, and I think that most of us feel pressure to live up to that vote of confidence. I'll feel really bad if I don't have as good a test as I think that I can, knowing that I didn't have the time to train the way that I should have.

I guess that the proof will be in a pre-test.

Fred
If your sensei puts his "seal of approval" and you fail, the fault is his.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 04-10-2009, 07:28 AM   #21
"FredL"
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

I guess that's right.

Thanks again for everyone's input

Fred
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Old 04-10-2009, 08:17 AM   #22
John Longford
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

Sorry Ahmad, you say that you refused to test and felt that it was not being disrespectful to your Sensei. It is very disrespectful and had you been my student then I would not put you forward when it suited you.
Aikido is a Martial Art, it is not social club where everyone can decide what they wish to do regardless.
Having read the other comments, however, I agree that Fred could sound out his teacher, although once he has done that he should accept his Sensei's descision.
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:15 PM   #23
Walter Martindale
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

Others have said that if your sensei thinks you're ready to test, then you're ready.
When coaching for a competition with relatively new people (in my work, not in Aikido) I ask - "Are you ready? - Say 'Yes,' because the race is in x hours - you've done all the available training time, planned and prepared, so - even if you're not completely ready, you have to be ready..." or something to that effect.
Another interpretation of "you - take the shodan test in November" - is - your sensei now feels you're ready to start understanding what you've been learning to date. Way back in the days of Aikido-L, Rocky Izumi posted a great article about people who refuse to take grading tests - wish I could find it.

Train
Test
pass/fail - no matter - learn from it...
Best regards,
Walter
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Old 04-11-2009, 10:20 AM   #24
David Yap
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

Anonymous User,

Just take the test, it is only a shodan (beginner level). You have ample time to train for the test. If you are not ready, you will never will. You can only be true to yourself after that; anything before is just egotistic.

Here is the article by Rock Izumi sensei http://www.aikiweb.com/testing/rock5.html

Go for it and good luck.

David Y
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Old 04-11-2009, 11:03 AM   #25
"FredL"
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Re: Asking to Postpone Shodan Test?

Boy, that was a good article.

I guess that I just have to get over questioning my sensei's judgement in this matter. After all, I don't in other areas of aikido. If I think that I'm not good enough, and he does, then I'll just accept that he knows better than I do and go for it...

Fred
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