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Old 07-30-2003, 03:39 PM   #1
Dojo: Great Wave Aikido
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 543
Talking 4th kyu - A good shot of reality (again)

Hello all!
Just thought I'd update everyone; a couple of weeks ago I tested for my 4th kyu at the Kingston Summer Camp; taught by Andrew Tsubaki Sensei. Superb instructor!
Anyhoo: I passed, but to be honest; I really don't think I should've; I did my 4th kyu techniques OK - at least I only got picked up on small things - but the 5th kyu stuff - the stuff I should've had nailed down by now - totally bit!
Lol - it was absolutely horrible; my mind went completely blank. Not that I forgot the techniques; but they looked totally stilted; incorrect and loaded with errors - not my best by a longshot. I knew I didn't do a very good job; but I've just seen the video - oh, boy.
After the test; everyone came up to congratulate me - of course - but I personally feel I didn't deserve it - I've always felt that if you don't know the material; you shouldn't pass, so by my own perhaps overcritical viewpoint; this belt doesn't have the mental glitter if you will as the last (which was a good test) did.

But hey; as far as I'm concerned; that's what tests are for - to point out what you need to work on. Aside from the embarrassment that comes from seeing yourself doing something awful; (Which feeling is fleeting), I know what I need to do to improve and how to do it.
What I'm doing is going right back to the beginning; starting right back at the 5th kyu level; learning what I obviously need to learn yet. Far from being a step back; IMO it'll be a good way to step forward; firming up the foundation before I keep trying to build the house.

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 07-30-2003, 04:55 PM   #2
Joe Jutsu
Dojo: Currently relocating
Location: On the Road, USA
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 99
Hey Dave- Congrat's on the fourth kyu!

Tsubaki sensei is the head instructor of my dojo. He's been all over the place this summer, and we look forward to him returning here in a few weeks.

I don't know if this will help, but someone recently has told me that when you test for a rank, you are at the bottom wrung of the ladder of that rank, so to speak. I've seen lots of people do not so hot on stuff that they should know, I think probably because they are concentrating too much on learning the new material. But a test should be a learning experience, and in your case it looks like it has been. So by those standards, even though the fifth kyu stuff didnt' shine like you would have liked it to it was a good test.

I think I may need to follow my own advice, because testing at our dojo is coming up around the corner. Congratulations again.

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Old 07-31-2003, 02:28 AM   #3
JJF's Avatar
Dojo: Vestfyn Aikikai Denmark
Location: Vissenbjerg
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 801
Actually your focus upon what is important might have shifted a bit, which made your 5. kyu techniques look stiff. When we get better we get new points of interest in our practice, and we have to incorporate these new aspects in every technique. Your 5. kyu techniques might be very good compared to what a 5. kyu grading focuses on, but in your own eyes you see something missing.

That is one reason why specific techiques for a specific grading is not allways good. One should allways expand ones new knowledge to every technique ever praticed. Maybe that's one reason why there is ever longer time between gradings You must accumulate more and more.

Is this making any sense at all ?

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 08-01-2003, 11:14 PM   #4
Dojo: Great Wave Aikido
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 543
Thanx guys; I was talking about it with Jill Sensei today; it was our first full class together since the test. She told me that: Yes; the 5th kyu stuff wan't very good, yes, they should have been better, but Tsubaki Sensei tested them considerably harder than most 5th kyu tests; certainly harder than my actual test I took last November.

Also; it was an odd test to begin with; she suspected that might have thrown me off. There were two of us testing; she for her Shodan and myself for yonkyu. Tsubaki Sensei had us do our tests at the same time - we did hitori-waza and ORE's together; then she knelt seiza while I butchered the 5th kyu; then I'd sit seiza while she did fantastic on her test. Then we reversed again; I did the 4th kyu (not too badly) and she finished her weapons work and randori. She suspected Tsubaki Sensei might have been forcing the 5th kyu issue a bit in order to rattle me; seeing if Id lose ability on the 4th kyu - he'd been doing a lot of that during the seminar. Fortunately; the 4th kyu techniques went off with only one fault called - looking at uke during the pin in ikkyo. Under the circumstances; she said I did all right; and approves of my intention to start from the beginning again.

So; I feel a lot better about the test; not that I was really bummed before. I was looking forward to throwing myself into the 3rd kyu work; now I'm looking forward to really delving back into the 5th kyu - so all in all; I think the test produced some excellent results.


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Old 08-03-2003, 11:17 AM   #5
Paul Laxon
Dojo: Aikido London
Location: London, Ontario
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 6
Congratulations on passing your test. Oddly enough I found my 5th and 4th kyu tests to be a lot more stressful than my 3rd, and the potential # of techniques I needed to know was 50+ (which seemed a lot at the time).

It's always difficult to tell how you did on a test. I always feel like I didn't do as well as I should, and most people feel the need to say you did well, so that makes it hard to judge. Best thing to do is get someone to videotape it for you and look at it later (you'll still be overly critical of yourself, but you'll also see the good things you did )
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