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Old 04-23-2006, 01:30 AM   #1
AikiWeb System
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Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

AikiWeb Poll for the week of April 23, 2006:

How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?
  • I don't do aikido
  • I don't think there should be testing in aikido
  • 0-5 minutes
  • 6-10 minutes
  • 11-20 minutes
  • 20-30 minutes
  • 30-60 minutes
  • 1-2 hours
  • 2-3 hours
  • 4+ hours
Here are the current results.
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Old 04-23-2006, 07:29 AM   #2
Ed Shockley
Dojo: aikikai of Philadelphia
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Re: Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

My experience both as a tester and as audience for numerous shodan tests is that both the sensei who has sponsored the student and the examiner are aware of the student's proficiencies prior to the event. As such, it is more a demonstration of Aikido or performance than a proficiency test. Having a student suffer through a long, grueling, trial seems pointless at the shodan level unless there is a real question of their grasp of Aikido technique. This would, in fact, be a comment on the respect for the Sensei. I have watched my former sempai, with more than ten years experience, falter with performance anxiety and fumble foundation techniques. A longer test would only have exacerbated her humiliation and toward what purpose?
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Old 04-23-2006, 11:38 AM   #3
billybob
 
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Re: Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

Not as qualified as the above poster. I'm biased. I have yet to take my shodan test, and nervousness cut my endurance in half on a recent nikyu test. I hope thirty minutes is enough. sheesh!

dave
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Old 04-23-2006, 01:16 PM   #4
Chuck Clark
 
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Re: Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

I agree with Ed Shockley. We don't do "tests" in Jiyushinkai. We have demonstrations during special occassions as a right of passage event for everyone. Everyone is being tested every time they practice and the instructors and teachers know what's going on with every student. No one is notified to prepare a demonstration if they aren't ready for the promotion. I see these demonstrations as a means of celebration, showing the state of our practice, and letting the instructors and teachers know what they need to work on to pass on the knowledge properly.

Duration of these demonstrations varies appropriately.

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 04-23-2006, 03:14 PM   #5
MikeLogan
 
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Re: Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

I would love to hear explanations for a test lasting 4+ hours, excluding the above description of testing. I'm not certain of the flight time involved, but I'd bet a dollar the world's 2 nuclear engagements were individually less that 4 hours in transit. What I mean is that the longest engagement an aikidoka might ever be faced with, barring a zombie catastrophe, couldn't be much more than half an hour.

That, and consider the 30 or so shodan tests judged at NY-Aikikai's Christmas seminar... That's only 5 days straight worth of testing.
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Old 04-23-2006, 05:02 PM   #6
Lucy Smith
Dojo: Samurai Dojo
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Re: Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

I've been told that my 5th kyu exam will take 15 minutes, so I suposed a dan exam would take longer since there's a lot of techniques to be tested; so I voted 20-30. Plus I've been through 5 hours lasting Karate exams, which were torture, so I think no exam should last more than 30 mins.
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Old 04-23-2006, 06:15 PM   #7
Dominic Toupin
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Re: Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

Hi,

My first exam that I've done for a shodan in karate lasted 3 hours and the second for a shodan in jiu-jitsu last almost a full day 8 am to 4 pm. It's not a full day of action, but each student have to demonstrate the curriculum one by one, section by section so it last a full day. I also think that a formal testing where the student have to demonstrate their endurance and resilience is a good way to insure that everybody going for shodan are in a good shape and with a good mind ( can do the technique properly, without hesitation, with control and effectiveness.

A shodan test is a challenge where you have to prove that you can exceed yourself...

Last edited by Dominic Toupin : 04-23-2006 at 06:18 PM.

Dominic
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Old 04-23-2006, 07:10 PM   #8
Don
Dojo: aikido of charlotte
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Re: Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

I'll take somwhat of a contrarian viewpoint. As a preface, my longest test was nidan, and I demonstrated I think pretty much everything. It was probably 30 minutes worth including the randori.

Everything Ed has said is true. In our school, we don't just leave it up to the student, particularly at the low kyu levels to get ready. So when they test, they (hopefully) are demonstrating and not being suprised by anything. It is also true that the tester or testers at the Shodan and above level have a fair idea of the ability of the testees before the actual test.

That all said, I have witnessed several tests where the students obviously did not know individual called technique and only their randori saved them (and if they were males, it was more an exhibition of strength). I have also witnessed the converse where the candidate did well on called techniques and faltered on randori. That is in some cases more forgiveable I think.

I believe that aikido like other arts to a greater or lesser extent suffers from "promotion gifting". A sensei wants their student to keep coming so they push them up even if they are quite not ready. (Yeah I know no one will admit to this but I've seen it more than once, and I know some of you have too...)

Particularly at Dan levels where you may later be expected to teach, I think you do need to demonstrate well-done called techniques. These should take a while to cover the repitore. You should be expected to demonstrate good ukemi, again since you may be called upon later to teach that. And finally you should be expected to demonstrate both jyu-waza and randori. That all should take a while. You should be made to feel that you are EARNING your rank. Of course extraordinary age or health circumstances may modify those criteria some. I'm fifty now, and if I test for sandan in a few years, I hope I can demonstrate what I have just described to the best of my ability. No one really WANTS to feel deep down in their heart that they didn't really earn the rank I hope...
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Old 04-23-2006, 08:35 PM   #9
DCP
 
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Re: Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

My ikkyu test happened to be twice as long as my shodan exam. I think this was because ikkyu was my sensei's last official "grading" of my rank, where shodan was an organization's panel.

I personally have mixed feelings about proper length of time. A shihan should be able to watch a candidate for just a while in order to see if he/she has "the stuff." However, if the candidate has proper technique (ie- not forcing/muscling), should he/she tire in 30 minutes or less?

I guess it's a matter of what/how much the shihan or panel wants to see . . .

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.
- Aesop
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Old 04-23-2006, 09:38 PM   #10
SeiserL
 
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Re: Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

As long as the organization and Sensei feels appropriate.

Our last round went 3 nights, about 3 hours each night, for about 9 candidates. Do the math.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 04-23-2006, 10:11 PM   #11
Don_Modesto
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Re: Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

Quote:
Chuck Clark wrote:
We don't do "tests" in Jiyushinkai. We have demonstrations during special occassions as a right of passage event for everyone. Everyone is being tested every time they practice and the instructors and teachers know what's going on with every student. No one is notified to prepare a demonstration if they aren't ready for the promotion. I see these demonstrations as a means of celebration, showing the state of our practice, and letting the instructors and teachers know what they need to work on to pass on the knowledge properly.
Nice.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 04-24-2006, 03:27 AM   #12
Hanna B
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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Re: Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

Is the question how long time each candidate should be doing techniques, or how long the whole event should take? The last option is, to a fairly large degree, depending on the number of people testing.
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Old 04-24-2006, 07:05 AM   #13
Amelia Smith
 
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Re: Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

Quote:
Don McConnell wrote:
I believe that aikido like other arts to a greater or lesser extent suffers from "promotion gifting". A sensei wants their student to keep coming so they push them up even if they are quite not ready. (Yeah I know no one will admit to this but I've seen it more than once, and I know some of you have too...)
I certainly have seen that, too but sometimes people deserve to be promoted for reasons other than technical ability, perhaps if they have demonstrated a lot of dedication to the art that is also important (through other contributions, such as teaching, showing up a lot over the years despite obstacles, etc.... but I do mean a lot ). I think that testing or promoting someone to get them to keep coming is ridiculous. I've seen people (I'm thinking of one example in particular, not from my current dojo) who get a really arrogant attitude when they are fast tracked. If an organization has established standards for promotion, I believe that those standards should be applied in a fair, consistent, and even-handed manner.

I almost wish that my own shodan test had been longer. I was exhausted after 15 minutes, but I could also have kept going for another 10-15 minutes, and I didn't get a chance to do a lot of what I had practiced. I had to sit a while before my turn for randori came around, and I really would have liked a longer randori -- I was just getting started! But, as a spectator, 15 minutes per test, plus randori, is plenty long.
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Old 04-26-2006, 05:37 PM   #14
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Re: Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

A shodan test should be long enough to cover the kihon waza required with a variety of ukes, (preferably people you either don't know, or have never trained with).
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Old 04-26-2006, 06:40 PM   #15
RebeccaM
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
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Re: Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

Quote:
Dominic Toupin wrote:
Hi,

My first exam that I've done for a shodan in karate lasted 3 hours and the second for a shodan in jiu-jitsu last almost a full day 8 am to 4 pm...
Good God... That seems almost excessive really.

PhD qualifiers don't last that long. Nor do the defenses. There's lots of ways to test knowledge. You can either tae someone through the entire curriculum to mkae sure they know it, or you can make it short but leave it completely open-ended. As in, you're up htere for 15 minutes and anything your sensei thinks you should know is fair game. And maybe even things you don't know and never learned (if examining committees at universities can do it so can aikido senseis :P).

My shodan test was about half an hour. My nidan test was somewhere in the 15-20 minute range. I took each test under a different instructor, and with the nidan test I was warned ahead of time to expect the unexpected. There was a requirement list, but that didn't mean anything.

It was like taking quals all over again, but four times shorter. And the stakes were a wee bit lower (no one gets thrown out of the dojo for failing a yudansha exam).
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Old 04-27-2006, 12:01 PM   #16
siwilson
Dojo: Kenshinkai Yoshinkan Aikido
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Re: Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

If I had had my way, both time I tested for ShoDan would have been in the 0-5 minutes bracket!!!!!

The first time was about 20 minutes, 20 techniques, 4 Jiyu Waza and then 13 Jo Kata. My Nidan was longer though, Kamae, Kihon Dosa, Rensoku techniques (Kokyu Nage), 5 Jiyu Waza, 20 techniques, 13 Jo Kata and 31 Jo Kata.

The second time I took ShoDan (different organisation) I also took my Instructor exam at the same time. There were 3 of us testing - one to NiDan, another doing his instructor exam, and me doing both ShoDan and Instructor. We were on the mat for a total time of 2 1/2 hours on a blistering hot July day. Most of it was done together, with us being Uke for each other too.

I voted 30-60 minutes, but it depends on the organisation and the Sensei.

Osu!
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Old 04-27-2006, 12:09 PM   #17
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

ehem, Si?
What you think, depends on the Sensei?

Weird ....

Cheers Dirk
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Old 04-27-2006, 12:31 PM   #18
siwilson
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Re: Poll: How long do you think a shodan exam in aikido should take?

Quote:
Dirk Hanss wrote:
ehem, Si?
What you think, depends on the Sensei?

Weird ....

Cheers Dirk
Of course, for example, the in the exams I have taken, the Sensei chose which technques I was to be tested on and also which Jiyu Waza I did, also how long each Jiyu Waza was. Different Sensei, sifferent techniques, different test. Also, some other things can be asked for by the Sensei, like some ask for an essay of Aikido or add on to their organisations syllabus requirements for their dojo.

Osu!
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