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Old 10-07-2007, 11:26 PM   #26
Dojo: Kobayashi Dojo in Fuchu, Tokyo
Location: Tokyo
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 22
Intensive Training Camp and Promotion test in November

The annual three-day intensive training camp is over today. The Kobayashi Dojos have this camp on the consecutive holidays in October every year: Saturday, Sunday and Sports Day. People from various countries come to this camp such as Korea, Brazil, Hungary, UK and US. The full schedule on Sunday is: early morning keiko, breakfast, morning keiko, lunch, afternoon keiko, evening keiko and dinner followed by a friendship party.
I didn't participate in it this time, but I am sure all the participants had a wonderful time with the excellent instructors.
The participants are divided into some groups according to their ranks and experience and they have keiko with their instructors. Black belts can take lessons directly from Dojo-cho (the head master Yasuo Kobayashi Sensei).
When this camp is over, we are heading toward the end of the year already, but before the year-forgetting events, there is another shodan (promotion) test to be held on November 18th for fifth kyu up and on 25th for sixth kyu and lower ones.
Students can take the lower tests from 8th to 6th at each of the local dojos, but when we take the 5th kyu and up, we have to go to the honbu(headquarters) dojo in Shinjuku, which we call the "honbu debut".
There are three opportunities for taking the promotion test a year, in March, July and November. We can take the test on any one of these three days depending on the number of lessons we have taken.
At our Fuchu Dojo some will take the test for the first kyu and second kyu and a few will take the first dan on the coming November test. Probably almost all of us except for black belts will take the test for higher ranks.
So, after the intensive camp in chiba, we start doing keiko (lessons/practice) really hard and seriously for about one month up to the very previous night before the shinsa (test).
I like both the relaxed time when everybody smiles while practicing and the serious time when everybody looks kind of stern. At the tea time after the keiko and sweeping and wiping the tatami, though, we chat, joke and laugh a lot at either of the times.
There is no competition in Aikido. This is true, but actually there is a slight competitive "mood" because of the difference in the belt color. Also the hakama puts you in a different status whether you may like it or not because at our dojos we cannot wear the hakama until we get the first dan.
In our dojo, people who started Aikido there earlier are sort of senpai (more experienced students) regardless of their ages, but we are all busy because our jobs, and in some cases kohai(lower-year students) who started after their senpai get black belts before them. Among young people there seems to be slight competion as to who gets the brown belt first.
But all in all, we think that we are practicing Aikido to have fun, to enjoy learning techniques and being thrown, doing a flip, doing ukemi, getting sweaty, learning the jo(staff) and ken(sword), although our sensei is thinking that the real Aikido is more fearful and powerful and dangerous.
In fact I feel that people with the 2nd dan up are strong and can be dangerous if they need to. I feel that their levels are awfully different from people with just the 1st dan. I often forget to breath when I practice with a second dan or third dan. They are quick to respond, good at ukemi, and they have strong force you cannot repel. I just hold my breath for the whole time of their executing a technique being prepared for being thrown hard to the mat, or for my wrist or arm being broken though they don't actually do that. The fact that I would never be able to escape their attack if they really did it threatens me a lot.

Last edited by EKoba : 10-07-2007 at 11:30 PM. Reason: corrections
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Old 10-12-2007, 04:56 PM   #27
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1
Freaky! Re: promotion test

Etsuo Kobayashi wrote: View Post
You can see some photos of the anniversary activities here.

Could you please tell me where I can get the Aikikai tecniches for 3er dan grading. I will appreciate it.
Thank you very much
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Old 10-13-2007, 08:47 PM   #28
Mary Turner
Dojo: Joshinkan
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 56
Re: promotion test

Thank you for your post Kobayashi-San!

I feel that you describe so many subtle parts of training so well.
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Old 10-15-2007, 02:32 AM   #29
Dojo: Kobayashi Dojo in Fuchu, Tokyo
Location: Tokyo
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 22
Re: promotion test

Thank you very much for your response.

Our test rules may be different from those of Aikikai.
You can see what kinds of and how many techniques
are tested for san-dan (third dan) at the site below.


So many techniques are tested, and all of them are

It's getting colder day by day here in Tokyo, but still the leaves, cherry trees and gingko trees, are green. I like this season toward the end of November with the crisp air and occasional drizzles. Time for harvest to prepare for winter. Traditionally it's time for autumn festivals but we don't pay attention to this tradition any more because most foods come from other countries outside Japan. Some are seasoned with heavy metals and chemicals. Such a pity.
Well, I hope you are having happy keiko(practice), nonetheless.

Last edited by EKoba : 10-15-2007 at 02:39 AM.
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Old 01-31-2008, 12:16 PM   #30
Terry Lane
Dojo: Acadia Aikikai
Location: Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 4
Re: promotion test

Erik Calderon wrote: View Post
Congratulations! I heard someone say once, that black belt is just the beginning.
Really!!!? I hope not. It's taken me 11 years of continuous practice (6 hours a week) to get to first kyu. It better all be the journey 'cause if shodan is the begininnig then I've lived in pre - beginner land for a very long time.
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