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Old 03-17-2016, 05:39 AM   #51
Clare Din
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
Rennis Buchner wrote: View Post
While I no longer practice aikido, I do teach iai and kenjutsu as well as practice yoga (Ashtanga). I also teach iai to an advanced yoga practitioner and we often compare teaching points and explore the differences in approach between the two arts. Yoga (like Aikido) is so varied that it is hard to make generalizations about it, but John Hillson made a number of excellent points regarding yoga in regards to aikido and martial arts in general that ring very true in my experience. While many aspects of posture to carry over well, much of the movement doesn't and this was a huge issue wth my student when they joined (it still is to some degree). It took about a year of daily practice to start seeing real progress in striping the inappropriate aspects of yoga out of their movement. While some things could be explained easily enough, the bulk of the work was simply doing it over and over, make a recommendation and then repeat. I'm lucky in that my student makes an effort to practice daily (one of the good carry-overs from Ashtanga's tradition of practicing six days a week) so this progress has been made much faster that if they only practiced when they came to class.

Now I have no idea with this has anything to do with the OP's instructor's issues or not, but it is not hard for me to imagine that it MIGHT problem area.

As an aside, one person asked just how much yoga someone knew after x number of months, and again it is a very hard question to answer due to all the flavors of yoga out there, but many traditions follow a tradition of daily practice (in our about 90 minutes to 2 hours a day), so it terms of hours "on the mat" a serious yoga student with one year's experience could very easily have as much time in as a general four or five year martial arts practitioner. Of course there are numerous other factors that could be involved (the the previously mentioned one of money), but this is one reason why "teaching authorization" in yoga can seem to come much quicker than the Japanese martial art world, where we tend to measure things in decades.

Random thoughts for what they are worth,
Rennis Buchner
Aha! Now this makes a lot of sense because one thing that Sensei always said to me was "Why don't you bring your back foot in with your front foot? You're standing in too wide a stance." This is from doing thousands of Triangle poses over the years (see pic below for an idea of the pose):



I keep saying, "I'm trying! I'm trying!" but my back foot invariable wants to stay planted on the ground as I step forward and I can step really far forward with my front foot. When I move my back foot forward, my natural stance is a little wider than most of my classmates. I always felt more stable in a wider stance. After 79 classes, now I'm getting my feet closer, just inches closer, but they are closer. It feels weird and doesn't feel as stable.

I had a friend who was a black belt karate instructor sit in on one of my classes. He said to me "I can see your frustrations with the whole thing, but you seem so tense around your Sensei and when he walks away, you're a lot more relaxed. Just relax and let the process take over. Don't think about things so much!" I believe, and perhaps know, that whenever Sensei is around, I just freeze and mess up because I'm afraid he's just going to tell me I'm doing something wrong again. In other words, I seem to be conditioned to be afraid of him. I'm not this way around the other teachers.

Yoga gal training in Aikido
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Old 03-17-2016, 06:41 AM   #52
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: 6th kyu forever

It is easy to give power away because of how we perceive someone else.

As to your explanation about your stance, perhaps if you stop trying and just do it you will succeed. When a student comes to our dojo from another style I often hear I can't because of my habits.

Aikido is about looking at habits and mastering the body so it does at it is directed.

The correction aspect of aikido never goes away...so you might at well just get used to it.

I looked up your dojo right after first post as I am sure many others did.

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Old 03-17-2016, 07:49 AM   #53
tim evans
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Re: 6th kyu forever

you have heard the phrase "don't sweat the small stuff" in aikido sweat the small stuff because everything is small stuff . Angle, maii, hips,,and my favorite kokyu and RELAX! I've been a 4 th kyu for going on 5 years just have fun you will do fine.

one of the "corn fed boys"
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Old 03-17-2016, 08:29 AM   #54
phitruong
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
I had a friend who was a black belt karate instructor sit in on one of my classes. He said to me "I can see your frustrations with the whole thing, but you seem so tense around your Sensei and when he walks away, you're a lot more relaxed. Just relax and let the process take over. Don't think about things so much!" I believe, and perhaps know, that whenever Sensei is around, I just freeze and mess up because I'm afraid he's just going to tell me I'm doing something wrong again. In other words, I seem to be conditioned to be afraid of him. I'm not this way around the other teachers.
you have accidentally stumbled upon a less well-know power of the sensei. it called the dork. it's similar to the Jedi's force, but it is more insidious. whenever you come under the influence of the sensei's dork power, you are it! you would feel like a dork, act like a dork, and move like a dork. the obvious way to deal such dorky power is not to be in the presence of the sensei. however, the obvious way have been tried and failed. many students have paid the price for failure with their lives and dues. it was horrible to witness. their bodies littered the facebook landscape, bemoaning the beauty of aikido in their dying breath. the best way to deal with such power is to not shy way from it, but embrace it (it kinda of scary to embrace the dark side but you will get use to it) by become even more dorky than normal when you are near the sensei to the point that the sensei walks away in disgust, which is when you know that the method is working. good luck and may the dork be with you! live long and prosper in dorkiness!

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 03-17-2016, 01:14 PM   #55
GMaroda
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Some people come across harsher than they are. Then again, some people are as harsh as they seem.

As for getting constantly corrected, it could be your sensei sees something worth correcting. I get nervous when my teachers DON'T say anything after watching me!
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Old 03-17-2016, 01:25 PM   #56
Clare Din
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
Tim Evans wrote: View Post
you have heard the phrase "don't sweat the small stuff" in aikido sweat the small stuff because everything is small stuff . Angle, maii, hips,,and my favorite kokyu and RELAX! I've been a 4 th kyu for going on 5 years just have fun you will do fine.
Holy moly! Thank you for this. It resonates with me because one of my other Aikido teachers always tells me to relax because I always seem so tense when I'm nage.

I've been trying to relax more. That's why I try to make "recipes" out of every technique and verbally step through and say each line in the recipe. That seems to help me relax and have fun with a technique.

Yoga gal training in Aikido
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Old 03-17-2016, 08:07 PM   #57
lbb
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Re: 6th kyu forever

I don't think you get relaxation by trying. It's like Tolstoy's famous example, "Try not to think of a white bear!" You get there by practice, not practicing at relaxing, just practicing.
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Old 03-18-2016, 06:02 AM   #58
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I don't think you get relaxation by trying. It's like Tolstoy's famous example, "Try not to think of a white bear!" You get there by practice, not practicing at relaxing, just practicing.
There are different schools of thought on this. In our style we focus on centering and how to relax. It is the idea of developing correct feeling and then you can do technique with that correct feeling. Emphasis on the do and not the try.

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Old 03-18-2016, 07:41 AM   #59
Walter Martindale
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Re: 6th kyu forever

To echo many other responses:

Patience, grasshopper... (Are you old enough to recognize that?)

As Phi mentioned, you're still learning the most basic of the basics. Many consider shodan the start of actually knowing enough about a martial art to start to develop an understanding of it. I spent 6 years, in 3 dojo as a sankyu.

After nidan grading, I got a movement correction from the rokudan sensei, saying approximately "what you were doing was OK for a shodan but now you're a nidan and it's not good enough".
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Old 03-18-2016, 08:39 AM   #60
Clare Din
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
Walter Martindale wrote: View Post
To echo many other responses:

Patience, grasshopper... (Are you old enough to recognize that?)

As Phi mentioned, you're still learning the most basic of the basics. Many consider shodan the start of actually knowing enough about a martial art to start to develop an understanding of it. I spent 6 years, in 3 dojo as a sankyu.

After nidan grading, I got a movement correction from the rokudan sensei, saying approximately "what you were doing was OK for a shodan but now you're a nidan and it's not good enough".
Hmmm... I can relate to this. In yoga, we have postures that can never be perfect because a senior teacher will always find some way to correct the posture to make it better. For some reason, I didn't think of it in the same way in Aikido and that's because there are these stupid ranks. I was thinking that I should just practice my techniques so I could be proficient at that kyu rank and then move on. What I failed to see (lightbulb on) is these techniques, even though they are 5th kyu, are going to look much different when I'm a higher rank.

SHit. (lightbulb moment)

You guys have made me realize something. For all the ranting I made, here are the reasons why I decided to study at my dojo:

1. My kids study here and there are some nice people in this dojo who have helped me learn difficult concepts.
2. Sensei, for all of his unorthodox versions of his techniques, performs all of his techniques flawlessly and they are beautiful to watch.
3. The other teachers that I like here are all giving me supplemental material that I may or may not use, but at least I'm getting different perspectives. Some of these perspectives may work well for me, others not, but I'm getting it all here.
4. There is a wide range of ages among the students, people from 18 to 60+ (in the other dojo, not a single person was over 30, except for the teachers)
5. I saw a place that had lots of potential and was on its way up. That's where we're at now, from 4 students per class to 2x or even 3x more.

Part of my bitching may have been subconsciously influenced by the growth in class size. When classes were smaller, more focus was on me, the new student, so I was progressing well. Now that classes are larger, there's less focus on me as the teachers are all trying to get everyone else acclimated to 6th kyu as well. This week I just didn't think about the 5th kyu test at all. I just focused on performing the techniques for my love of Aikido, not for a stupid rank.

The same thing happened to me when I was taking college classes at my workplace. I work at a university so I can take college classes for free. I took 14 art classes because these are the classes my parents didn't allow me to take when I went to college over 25 years ago. After I finished the 14 classes, all of the classes in Penn's photography curriculum, I asked if I could use those towards an MFA degree and they said no unless I quit my job at Penn and enrolled as a full-time student. That made me really upset because if they accepted my classes and gave me part-time status, all I'd have to do was studio classwork, which was just one year of study that could be spread out over two part-time. My point is I was concerned with "rank" even though I started taking those classes with no intention of gaining a rank. This is what happened with Aikido. I got a rank and then I wanted to proceed like a racehorse to get that next rank. It didn't help when Sensei kept announcing "This is for 5th kyu" before every 5th kyu technique because I kept feeling like he was dangling a carrot in front of me that I'd never be able to get. The past couple of classes, I just said to myself, "Fuck the carrot," and I think I actually did better in the past two classes than I did in quite a while.

I still want to study from teachers at other dojos to gain their perspectives. That's why I went to the Christmas seminar. It opened my eyes to the NY Aikikai. Awesome place. I took my kids there so they could see where Aikikai all started on the East Coast. That's where I met Penny Bernath, Donovan Waite, and Steve Pimsleur. I know my ukemi can be improved if I study from this one teacher at Donovan's school. I'm still rolling not in a straight line and I can't breakfall to save my life. We have this new tatami mat and it's been quite a challenge adjusting to it from a cushioned floor.

Yoga gal training in Aikido
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Old 03-18-2016, 12:24 PM   #61
Janet Rosen
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Sounds like you have had a productive week or two :-) Happy keiko

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:31 PM   #62
robin_jet_alt
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
Clare Din wrote: View Post
. What I failed to see (lightbulb on) is these techniques, even though they are 5th kyu, are going to look much different when I'm a higher rank.

SHit. (lightbulb moment)
Yep. I'm 2-dan now, and I'm still working on every technique that I learned for my 6-kyu test 14 years ago. I did them a lot better at my 2-dan test than at my first grading, but I can do them a lot better than I did at my 2-dan test now. Hopefully I will get better still before I attempt 3-dan. I'm in no hurry, though.

It sounds like you've had a bit of a mental breakthrough. Well done.

As for rolling in a straight line, I think it is overrated (depending on what you mean by straight).
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Old 03-20-2016, 02:08 AM   #63
Currawong
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Re: 6th kyu forever

I liken learning Aikido to learning to drive a car for the first time. So many things that have to been focused on simultaneously, from position of the hands and feet to everything going on around one.

I realised fairly early on in my practice that I had to do things like cut down vertically while turning in a circle and maintaining balance. While I understood that mentally, actually doing that while trying to move with a partner when being slightly too close or far or slightly to fast or slow with each bit of the moment can muck it was profoundly frustrating for many years.

Quote:
Clare Din wrote: View Post
Aha! Now this makes a lot of sense because one thing that Sensei always said to me was "Why don't you bring your back foot in with your front foot? You're standing in too wide a stance." This is from doing thousands of Triangle poses over the years (see pic below for an idea of the pose):


When I saw this, the first comment that came to mind was that you might be better suited to Yoshinkan Aikido, or one of it's offshoots, as they start their training with exercises that use very wide/deep stances. I tried a bit of Renshinkai (an offshoot) and one of the students was practicing Yoga and doing well with both.

Here are a series of videos of the basic techniques: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJdo...C15C822A2C09B6

However, it is very linear in form and practiced step-by-step with almost no flow at the lower levels, so it is not as beautiful. The techniques are also heavily standardised now, so they don't seem to allow much, if any, variation.

It's very masculine, to me anyhow.

Aikikai style is very feminine, in that you have to feel the techniques more so. What I tend to find lacking is is some of the physical structure Yoshinkan style has. After my Reshinkai experience, now when I guide students in my Aikikai classes I encourage them to find hanmi inside the movements of their techniques to use as anchor points. This helps them build the structure of their movements through the techniques.

We have a few members who started Aikido around your age who haven't practiced any kind of sport for decades and I have a lot of sympathy for their frustration.

All the best!

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Old 03-20-2016, 03:19 PM   #64
rugwithlegs
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Re: 6th kyu forever

I do see what you're talking about Amos, but with respect, I do not equate Shumatsu Dosa with the Triangle pose. The one is for learning how the hips and hands coordinate can lead to more issued power, and it all arrives like a freight train. The other is one of my favorite hip opening exercises.

http://youtu.be/4bIeBfm8Z40 Shumatsu Doza Ichi.

There's another area that Yoga and Aikido are a little different Clare, but it still comes down to intention. Your teacher is the person you have put in a position of judgement over yourself. While I remember yoga being a very supportive and affirming activity, martial arts can be for the opposite reasons. No one was there to give me affirmation when I worked for EMS, or the Fire Department, nor when I worked in Corrections, and not when I work in the hospital now. People are scared and angry - and can I move forward anyway? Our clients, business partners, and opponents aren't always making us feel supported. Even our friends and people we trust don't always leave us feeling better about ourselves. In a combat situation, the opposite party is there to make me feel bad on many different levels!

Stress and emotions do change how you move - and how you sleep, digest, focus, breathe, fight infections and a thousand other things. Part of what martial arts are for is moving forward anyway. There's always another patient in the next room who deserves better than me melting down, the bills don't stop coming, and my family is still there and needing me. It's not easy and it doesn't make anything suck any less.

Someday you'll fall and you'll not be doing a generalized startle reflex when you lose your balance and the fall will just be a fall instead of a slurry of thoughts and emotions overwhelming you and spilling into muscle movements. Someday, you're going to be in front of your teacher who has power over you and can judge you or fail you, and you'll just stand up and turn anyway. Maybe a whole audience cheering you on, or who won't be on your side, or who aren't even paying attention, and you'll just do your best anyway.

Good luck.
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Old 03-20-2016, 05:19 PM   #65
lbb
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Re: 6th kyu forever

This is why we need a "like" button. John, may I quote?

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
I do see what you're talking about Amos, but with respect, I do not equate Shumatsu Dosa with the Triangle pose. The one is for learning how the hips and hands coordinate can lead to more issued power, and it all arrives like a freight train. The other is one of my favorite hip opening exercises.

http://youtu.be/4bIeBfm8Z40 Shumatsu Doza Ichi.

There's another area that Yoga and Aikido are a little different Clare, but it still comes down to intention. Your teacher is the person you have put in a position of judgement over yourself. While I remember yoga being a very supportive and affirming activity, martial arts can be for the opposite reasons. No one was there to give me affirmation when I worked for EMS, or the Fire Department, nor when I worked in Corrections, and not when I work in the hospital now. People are scared and angry - and can I move forward anyway? Our clients, business partners, and opponents aren't always making us feel supported. Even our friends and people we trust don't always leave us feeling better about ourselves. In a combat situation, the opposite party is there to make me feel bad on many different levels!

Stress and emotions do change how you move - and how you sleep, digest, focus, breathe, fight infections and a thousand other things. Part of what martial arts are for is moving forward anyway. There's always another patient in the next room who deserves better than me melting down, the bills don't stop coming, and my family is still there and needing me. It's not easy and it doesn't make anything suck any less.

Someday you'll fall and you'll not be doing a generalized startle reflex when you lose your balance and the fall will just be a fall instead of a slurry of thoughts and emotions overwhelming you and spilling into muscle movements. Someday, you're going to be in front of your teacher who has power over you and can judge you or fail you, and you'll just stand up and turn anyway. Maybe a whole audience cheering you on, or who won't be on your side, or who aren't even paying attention, and you'll just do your best anyway.

Good luck.
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Old 03-20-2016, 06:25 PM   #66
rugwithlegs
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Re: 6th kyu forever

I'd be honored Mary.
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Old 03-22-2016, 05:34 PM   #67
jdm4life
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Practiced for 2.5 years....still dont have a f***ing clue what Im doing. Why do I put myself through it? Thats a question Im yet to answer but hopefully will soon because Im tired of the frustration.

I must have got 6th and 5th kyu for attendance.

If you want different coloured belts every few months....do karate.
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Old 03-23-2016, 06:48 AM   #68
Currawong
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
I do see what you're talking about Amos, but with respect, I do not equate Shumatsu Dosa with the Triangle pose. The one is for learning how the hips and hands coordinate can lead to more issued power, and it all arrives like a freight train. The other is one of my favorite hip opening exercises.

http://youtu.be/4bIeBfm8Z40 Shumatsu Doza Ichi.
Cheers for that John. In the limited time I had experience with it, I learned the importance of starting the movement from my centre (hips) but it is indeed something I haven't explored deeply enough. Unfortunately I had to stop training in that dojo as the different way of taking ukemi ended up causing me injury.

Back to Clare's query...

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Old 04-13-2016, 01:20 PM   #69
Clare Din
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Re: 6th kyu forever

An update... well, I finally tested and passed my 5th kyu test and with it I have a deeper respect for everything that this art requires. During the test, which literally took every ounce of sweat out of me, I realized how much I know and how much I have yet to learn. I discovered that some of my movements are a lot more fluid than others. I discovered that I favor one side over the other. I also discovered in a high-pressure situation, my instincts took over and I think my best Aikido came out for a short while. My Sensei praised me at the end of the test ("That was a prime test," he said) and when class ended, I sat down on the couch in the lounge area and was exhausted. I looked like I had just stepped out of the shower with my gi on! I just closed my eyes and rested for several minutes. Normally, you would think I would jump for joy, but I sat there with the realization that "Wow, it's over. I did it. Lots of work to do." I was not happy, I was not sad, I was just... at peace. I know this sounds corny, but the experience would've made more sense if I was totally exhilarated or crying because I was happy. I got changed and left the dojo as if it were just another day. When I came back to class the next day, my classmates who watched my test were more enthusiastic about my promotion than I was.

I'd like to thank all of you for helping me out of my misery and making me realize that good things take time to develop. Nothing should ever be rushed, especially Aikido.

Yoga gal training in Aikido
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Old 04-14-2016, 08:13 AM   #70
lbb
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Niiiiiice, Claire. That's exactly the outcome that I would have hoped for you.

Another realization that I've had about testing is that (like anything you anticipate and build up in your mind) it's never what you think it will be. Oh, sure, after you've tested a while, you'll be familiar with the particulars -- but how it affects you, what you feel during it, how you feel after...unpredictable. And often indescribable. If you test, and afterwards you feel settled rather than euphoric, I think that's probably a good sign.
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Old 04-14-2016, 03:14 PM   #71
rugwithlegs
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Re: 6th kyu forever

Congratulations!

Some tests are about verifying what you've already learned. Some of my most memorable tests opened my eyes to insights that I still come back to years later. It sounds like you had a great test.
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Old 04-14-2016, 07:30 PM   #72
Susan Dalton
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Re: 6th kyu forever

I have really enjoyed this thread. Congratulations, Claire. Forgive me, but I hear my younger self in your words. For years I thought my yonkyu test was horrible, worst ever, an embarrassment to the dojo. However, I was quite proud of my nidan test. A few years ago I saw tapes of both tests and they both looked like run of the mill tests for that rank. What had I gotten so worked up about? But that process of getting worked up and then figuring out why I didn't need to be was an important part of the practice for me. I also remember one of my teachers visiting from Japan and watching as I practiced a few days before a test. Making polite conversation, he asked me if I was testing for 5th kyu. I was highly indignant that he couldn't tell I was testing for 4th kyu!!
Susan
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Old 04-15-2016, 12:07 AM   #73
robin_jet_alt
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Re: 6th kyu forever

I'm really happy that it's working out.
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