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Old 05-26-2012, 10:22 PM   #1
robin_jet_alt
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Tips?

I know there have been heaps of threads asking similar questions, but I'm interested if anyone has any tips for me leading up to a grading.

I'm a bit nervous because I only started this style at the beginning of this year. I graded up to 1st kyu in a style called fuji-ryu. I switched to honbu-style aikikai and did that for 4 years, grading up to shodan. I then did Nishio-style for about a year and a half without grading. Now I'm doing Yuishinkai, and I'm looking to grade to 2nd-dan. I have to say that with all that changing around, things have got a bit muddled for me, and I'm still trying to work out what elements I want to include in my aikido. My current teacher is very supportive of this, and isn't too fussed about having technically "correct" techniques according to his "style".

Anyway, is there anything I should do or think about in the few months leading up to the grading? I've mostly been focusing on trying to get my sword work right. I'm really not sure what they expect from me in the grading...
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Old 05-26-2012, 11:32 PM   #2
danielajames
 
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Re: Tips?

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
I know there have been heaps of threads asking similar questions, but I'm interested if anyone has any tips for me leading up to a grading.

I'm a bit nervous because I only started this style at the beginning of this year. I graded up to 1st kyu in a style called fuji-ryu. I switched to honbu-style aikikai and did that for 4 years, grading up to shodan. I then did Nishio-style for about a year and a half without grading. Now I'm doing Yuishinkai, and I'm looking to grade to 2nd-dan. I have to say that with all that changing around, things have got a bit muddled for me, and I'm still trying to work out what elements I want to include in my aikido. My current teacher is very supportive of this, and isn't too fussed about having technically "correct" techniques according to his "style".

Anyway, is there anything I should do or think about in the few months leading up to the grading? I've mostly been focusing on trying to get my sword work right. I'm really not sure what they expect from me in the grading...
Nidan is the best grading in the school. None Of the preassure of Shodan or Sandan( being the last). It's all freestyle ( except for the weapons kata) . Enjoy !

Daniel James, Brisbane Aikido Republic: AikiPhysics, Aikido Brisbane news,
ph 0413 001 844, 1593 Logan Rd, Mt.Gravatt, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
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Old 05-27-2012, 06:24 AM   #3
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Re: Tips?

This coming from a student who is a long way from a dan grade. But my observation thus far having observed people in my own dojo preparing for dan gradings. (our most recent was a nidan test) is that it would be a good idea to know who you will be testing in front of and what they are looking for in a test. Your sensei should know this and help you with preparations. Other than that, just get on the mat and do good aikido.
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Old 05-27-2012, 09:18 PM   #4
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Tips?

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Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
This coming from a student who is a long way from a dan grade. But my observation thus far having observed people in my own dojo preparing for dan gradings. (our most recent was a nidan test) is that it would be a good idea to know who you will be testing in front of and what they are looking for in a test. Your sensei should know this and help you with preparations. Other than that, just get on the mat and do good aikido.
It will be my sensei who is testing me, and I know he has very different expectations to most people in the organisation. I think I will be more comfortable doing what he wants that with meeting the expectations of anyone else in the organisation.
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Old 05-28-2012, 06:56 AM   #5
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Re: Tips?

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
It will be my sensei who is testing me, and I know he has very different expectations to most people in the organisation. I think I will be more comfortable doing what he wants that with meeting the expectations of anyone else in the organisation.
Hi Robin,

Speaking as someone who has taken sandan and been awarded yondan from a Yuishinkai affiliated group then I would simply suggest you demonstrate your own Aikido. I class my own teacher as Hiroshi Ikeda sensei however ASU don't have any internationally affiliated Dojo's (yet) and so my dojo is a member of one of the Yuishinkai affiliated groups. I don't do, and never have done 'ki' Aikido - in my own grading I was performing techniques as I do them and not how most of the founding members might choose to perform them. The only thing I'd watch out for is taking care of your uke, if, for example, you have a preference for something like Koshinage and the dojo you're testing with doesn't perform it often (just as example, I'm not saying nobody in Yuishinkai does koshi waza).

Basically, get up and be yourself - when you're under pressure you will soon revert to what your body knows anyway. If anything, Yuishinkai seem to be a very open minded bunch so I'm sure you'll be fine.

Best Regards,
John

www.chishindojo.co.uk
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Old 05-28-2012, 03:16 PM   #6
Anthony Loeppert
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Re: Tips?

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
I'm really not sure what they expect from me in the grading...
What did your instructor say when you asked him the same question?
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Old 05-29-2012, 12:03 AM   #7
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Tips?

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Anthony Loeppert wrote: View Post
What did your instructor say when you asked him the same question?
He said to just make sure I perform good techniques and not to worry too much.

As for koshi-nage etc. I will have plenty of good ukes to work with so I don't think there will be any restriction there.
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:34 AM   #8
JJF
 
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Re: Tips?

Seems to me your sensei gave you good advice. Don't worry - just do good aikido (and show them that you are beginning to get a grasp of what that is to you).

At nidan (which I passed about half a year ago) I think its time to show some early stages of independent thought on what is your aikido in stead of just doing 'the standard', so don't worry. They will probably allow some leeway and accept that you have a somewhat different approach to aikido than someone with only same-dojo pedigree.. Deciding if you have 2. dan level material inside you should be easy for a high-level aikido instructor no matter what style he comes from.

Now the cumbersome task of deciding what you think is good Aikido is up to you.. so get down to it and show them that you are ready to express your own aikido.

Have fun

JJ

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 08-03-2012, 11:28 PM   #9
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Tips?

Thanks for all the advice guys. I passed. It was all pretty messy, but probably had an element of realism because of it. I'm not 100% happy, and I know opinions about it were mixed, but sensei seemed really happy with it, and I suppose that's what counts. I'm in 2 minds about whether to post a video of it online. I don't think I want comments from the peanut gallery, but I'll have a look at the video before I make that call.
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Old 08-04-2012, 12:12 AM   #10
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Re: Tips?

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post

As for koshi-nage etc. I will have plenty of good ukes to work with so I don't think there will be any restriction there.
I didn't do any koshi-nages in the end. I was never fond of them, and after messing them up in the warmups, there was no way I was going to go for it and get pancaked in the grading. I had some nice kokyu throws though.
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Old 08-21-2012, 09:58 AM   #11
Millsy
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Re: Tips?

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
I didn't do any koshi-nages in the end. I was never fond of them, and after messing them up in the warmups, there was no way I was going to go for it and get pancaked in the grading. I had some nice kokyu throws though.
Congats on the Nidan with Yuishinkai.
Luckily you sensei wasn't like mine, who follows the Yuishinkai grading guidelines then adds what she'd like to see. I think she decided that she hadn't seen enough koshi's and asked for a minute or two of just koshi nage to various attacks .

Hope you enjoyed your video, I'm always surprised they don't look as messy as you think it felt on the day
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Old 08-21-2012, 05:50 PM   #12
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Tips?

Quote:
Tony Mills wrote: View Post
Congats on the Nidan with Yuishinkai.
Luckily you sensei wasn't like mine, who follows the Yuishinkai grading guidelines then adds what she'd like to see. I think she decided that she hadn't seen enough koshi's and asked for a minute or two of just koshi nage to various attacks .

Hope you enjoyed your video, I'm always surprised they don't look as messy as you think it felt on the day
Thanks Tony. My sensei actually does that sometimes, but at nidan, he thinks it is less about fulfilling syllabus requirements than just demonstrating what you can do. We had another nidan grading a few weeks later because she was sick on the day and it looked completely different. I think sensei is trying to encourage that difference so that we all find our own aikido in there somewhere.
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Old 08-21-2012, 06:19 PM   #13
danielajames
 
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Re: Tips?

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
Thanks Tony. My sensei actually does that sometimes, but at nidan, he thinks it is less about fulfilling syllabus requirements than just demonstrating what you can do. We had another nidan grading a few weeks later because she was sick on the day and it looked completely different. I think sensei is trying to encourage that difference so that we all find our own aikido in there somewhere.
Great to hear from you both how gradings are conducted in other dojo, given the freedoms with grading in our organisation its good to hear of the rigour and various sensei's thoughts on examination day.

Given the grading syllabus is completely freestyle after 2nd Kyu its not so surprising that sensei might like to see individualism emerge, as well as to request some techniques that haven't been demonstrated in the freestyle tanninzugake.

Probably the only real concerning aberrations are in the interpretation of weapons Kata, that can get a bit on the fruity (or static) for that matter.

FWIW, some personal thoughts on the aikido yuishinkai syllabbus. IMHO its a pretty amazing creation (the syllabbus that is ) http://www.aikidorepublic.com/aikido...ading-syllabus

Daniel James, Brisbane Aikido Republic: AikiPhysics, Aikido Brisbane news,
ph 0413 001 844, 1593 Logan Rd, Mt.Gravatt, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
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Old 08-21-2012, 08:24 PM   #14
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Tips?

Quote:
Daniel James wrote: View Post
Great to hear from you both how gradings are conducted in other dojo, given the freedoms with grading in our organisation its good to hear of the rigour and various sensei's thoughts on examination day.

Given the grading syllabus is completely freestyle after 2nd Kyu its not so surprising that sensei might like to see individualism emerge, as well as to request some techniques that haven't been demonstrated in the freestyle tanninzugake.

Probably the only real concerning aberrations are in the interpretation of weapons Kata, that can get a bit on the fruity (or static) for that matter.

FWIW, some personal thoughts on the aikido yuishinkai syllabbus. IMHO its a pretty amazing creation (the syllabbus that is ) http://www.aikidorepublic.com/aikido...ading-syllabus
I agree about the weapons kata. I'm afraid mine was a bit on the static side because I haven't been doing Yuishinkai for long and I still struggle to remember them. I've seen some of the fruitier variations though.
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Old 08-21-2012, 08:53 PM   #15
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Re: Tips?

Quote:
Daniel James wrote: View Post
Nidan is the best grading in the school. None Of the preassure of Shodan or Sandan( being the last). It's all freestyle ( except for the weapons kata) . Enjoy !
I miss nidan because, in my organization, its the last test where you are just doing standard techniques. you can pretty much do whatever technique you want, from a list of attacks. Sandan you are pretty much limited to henka waza and yondan is mostly kaeshi waza, whereas fifth dan is typically just a demo at, or teaching part of a seminar.

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:45 AM   #16
Millsy
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Re: Tips?

Quote:
Daniel James wrote: View Post
Great to hear from you both how gradings are conducted in other dojo, given the freedoms with grading in our organisation its good to hear of the rigour and various sensei's thoughts on examination day.

Given the grading syllabus is completely freestyle after 2nd Kyu its not so surprising that sensei might like to see individualism emerge, as well as to request some techniques that haven't been demonstrated in the freestyle tanninzugake.

Probably the only real concerning aberrations are in the interpretation of weapons Kata, that can get a bit on the fruity (or static) for that matter.
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I remember Sensei Williams saying something along the lines that he liked how peoples individual Aikido personality starts to come out in the Ni/Sandan test.

As for the weapons kata I must say I have noticed a lot of variation, "fruity" now there is a good word. Its one area I've tried to get a handle on (I even remember chatting to you a little about it one time you were in Melbourne). I spent a day at seminar where Mruyama sensei called me out for a lot of weapons demonstrations, I learnt a lot that day, even if mostly what I learn't is how much more there is to learn.
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:46 AM   #17
Hellis
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Re: Tips?

In the 1950s Kenshiro Abbe Sensei would say prior to a grading " necessary empty your mind " - in other words, take it all as it comes. If you fill your mind with ideas it will usually go wrong. I still give my staudents today that same sound advice.

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-22-2012, 04:49 AM   #18
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Tips?

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
In the 1950s Kenshiro Abbe Sensei would say prior to a grading " necessary empty your mind " - in other words, take it all as it comes. If you fill your mind with ideas it will usually go wrong. I still give my staudents today that same sound advice.

Henry Ellis
Co-author `Positive Aikido`
http://britishaikido.blogspot.com/
Thanks Henry,

That is pretty much what I tried to do, and I think it worked.
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