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Old 12-08-2004, 12:29 PM   #1
Location: Chicago
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 10
Question Observing tests

Hello all,

I'm new to Aikido, having just completed a six-week intro course. I plan to become an ongoing student at this dojo, upon my sensei's recommendation. Plus, it helps that my experience there has been nothing but positive. I'm inclined to stick around.

Anyway, rank tests will be given at the dojo this weekend and I'm going to swing by to observe some of them.

Is there anything in these tests that you suggest I pay special attention to? Any etiquette to watch for that might be applicable to my experiences on the mat in class? I was told that checking these tests out is pretty educational, and I want to be an informed student.

Thanks a heap!
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Old 12-08-2004, 12:33 PM   #2
Qatana's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Petaluma, Petaluma,CA
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 834
Re: Observing tests

I got to watch a series of tests about three weeks after I started training. I had absolutely no idea what I was looking at, but i'm sure i Got Something from it.
Seing your first shodan test when you don't know what you're watching is pretty intimidating, but the next time we had tests I was suprised at what I already "knew". Still am!
Just Watch. Absorb,but don't try to remember any of it, it'll come in its own time.


"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 12-08-2004, 12:42 PM   #3
Location: Chicago
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 10
Re: Observing tests

Are non-blackbelt rankings different than blackbelt rankings? That is - are the tests conducted differently? Both are occuring this weekend, but I'm not available to check out the blackbelts. (I'm not up on the correct names for much of this, yet. Shodan = blackbelt?)

Thanks for the feedback so far ...
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Old 12-09-2004, 10:15 AM   #4
bryce_montgomery's Avatar
Location: Tupelo, MS
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 180
Re: Observing tests

I have heard Jennings Sensei explain the kyu tests as being like dance recitals and the dan tests being like actual performances that are being critiqued. This being said, I'd say that you should always watch anything that is happening on the mat, from the bowing to the announcement of the technique to the face planting...everything. As stated before I wouldn't try to remember the different techniques that the participants are performing, just relax and see how everything works. Remember, it's a recital that is sure to keep you interested... ...As far as differences in tests, you perform different techniques for different ranks and the dan tests include randori which is always exciting to watch.

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Old 12-09-2004, 10:47 AM   #5
Greg Jennings
Dojo: S&G BJJ
Location: Springboro, OH
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 1,125
Re: Observing tests

Hi Bryce,

You've quoted me correctly.

Our early kyu tests are less formal and the students have more leeway. As the student advances through the kyu grades, the tests become more formal and strict. The idea is to gradually prepare the student for testing for dan grades with instructors who may only have seen him/her at seminars once or so a year. I won't invite anyone to test for an early kyu grade that I don't think is ready and no one is going to fail. Fail someone for 1st kyu, though? You bet.

What makes it work for us is that we, both in Montgomery and Tupelo, are small and the instructors get to observe and partner with every student on a regular basis. Not every dojo has that luxury.

PS: I'm glad to see you taking an interest in posting.

Best regards,

Greg Jennings
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Old 12-09-2004, 02:58 PM   #6
Location: Chicago
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 10
Re: Observing tests

This has framed the testing for me juuuust enough to give me a bit of an idea of what I'll be observing this weekend.

Thanks a bunch!
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