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Old 04-29-2006, 11:33 PM   #26
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

New Student, it seems to me like you're confusing rank with testing. Testing is important, for yourself and your instructors. Rank, not so much (ideally).

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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Old 04-30-2006, 01:59 AM   #27
Hanna B
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

Quote:
It does (and will continue) to pain me that Aikido, or at least my brief experience with it, is so much like life in general...
Since the people in aikido are just like other people in all aspects except they like to roll around on mats and twisting each other's wrists wearing white pyjamas, this is to be expected.
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Old 04-30-2006, 05:11 AM   #28
raul rodrigo
Location: Quezon City
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

Quote:
It does (and will continue) to pain me that Aikido, or at least my brief experience with it, is so much like life in general....
And why shouldn't it be? Is simply practicing aikido a sign of some kind of moral superiority? That our values are more advanced than other people's? Sorry to be blunt, but it is you who is making a big deal about testing. And it seems to me to be vanity in reverse, that somehow you're trying to be above it all. And maybe you are, or maybe you're not. But taking or not taking a test, or passing or not passing a kyu or dan test has very little to say about one's moral standing. You can be a terrific aikidoka and a miserable human being. Or the other way around.
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Old 05-01-2006, 12:23 PM   #29
Adam Alexander
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

Quote:
I'm been "invited" to test for 6th kyu next month. What is the big deal with formal testing?

I'd personally be perfectly happy wearing a very dirty white belt for the next however many years it takes to acheive Shodan. Once acheiving Shodan, I'll tie my dogi with a black belt and confidently answer that I know very little about AIkido to any kyu ranked co-students.

So, I have 2 questions:

Can I respectfully request that I not take the test?

If I do have to take the test, can I respectfully request that I may continue to wear my white belt?
I liked Rebecca Montange response the best. However, there's a couple points I'd like to add.

I don't know the why's of testing importance, but since that's what my organization does, it must be important. (It's taken me a few years to figure out that gem.)

I've been an anti-tester for YEARS now. I thought it all started because I developed the romantic notion of a belt that's black with dirt that I read about and some seniors talked about. I also thought I was not testing because it was a challenge to an Aikidoka's ego.

However, the truth is that the first couple years, I really wanted to test. I wanted to instruct and I wanted the ego-gratification that the next belt provided.

For me, there was a few things that happened. First, I was caught during a transitionary time in my dojo. A total friggin' moron who's advice I was supposed to rely on gave me bad direction that resulted in me not testing for a very long time. As a result, people could walk in off the street and be my rank in a matter of months while I had been training for a couple years. So, I became an anti-tester because I resent the system that allowed that jack-*ss to misguide me.

Second, the same jack-*ss and another guy who was equally senior talked about that "white belt turned black with dirt" stuff. Well, between them and all the reading I did, I fell for it. While waiting for my last test results I was worrying about whether or not I passed, so I built up a fine shelter for my ego--not only did I no longer want a different color belt, I no longer cared if I passed because "I know what technqiues I know and no belt is going to give me anything more than that." Sort of like "age is just a number" or "it's not how old you are, it's how old you feel." Well, let me tell you, both perspectives are loaded with it that I suspect have everything to do with protecting the ego from reality.

Third, the last time I considered testing within this organization, no-one at my level had technique that I thought was pretty enough to test with. Arrogance...anti-testing.

But why? Because my peers had all passed me long ago.

Fourth, I'm one of the biggest *ssholes you could hope to meet. Not that I'm unpleasant to be around (LOL. Actually, I think I'm generally pleasant), but I literally believe I know nearly everything...Including Aikido. (This is hilarious. I never realized how bad it was/is till now.) I don't want to practice escapes because "I KNOW" the reason escapes are taught and don't want to "waste my time" practing techniques that way.

Maybe I do know most of it, maybe I don't. I'm betting on the latter. Sure, I know some significant stuff about technique. However, being on the outside looking in, I think one of the things that makes Aikido a long-enduring and pleasant experience is doing it with others. I let my at-one-time-peers pass me by. To help shield the jealousy, there's arrogance: anti-testing.

I don't know. I kind of went off here. I guess the point is that you can do what you want--if you look, there will be a lesson in it for you whichever route you take. Seeings that you seem to suffer the same arrogance as me, I figured I could offer a better piece of advice (see, I'm arrogant ). Here it is: Be honest with yourself and think about following your Sensei.

Ask what you're looking for out of Aikido. For me, I was looking "to be bad." Well, I'm not worried about anybody taking me anymore. I've tested it a few times.

However, I found that there was a lot more Aikido had to offer me. I got a taste of it, but because I'm wrapped up in arrogance and resentment, I'll not receive the rest of it.

F' it. That's life.
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Old 05-01-2006, 01:44 PM   #30
Lyle Bogin
Dojo: Shin Budo Kai
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

If testing isn't a big deal, why avoid it?
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Old 05-01-2006, 01:50 PM   #31
kaishaku
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

It's much better to have a positive, enthusiastic attitude about it.
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Old 05-01-2006, 02:00 PM   #32
Ron Tisdale
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

Jean,

That was an excellent post.

Regards,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 05-01-2006, 04:06 PM   #33
Adam Alexander
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Jean,

That was an excellent post.

Regards,
Ron
Yeah, thanks. I guess a blind squirrel gets one once in a while. LOL. Too bad that I've irrevocably lost opportunities that people would kill for. Goodness, if I understood those things then that I do now...or did you just mean that it was good that I recognized that I was an a**?

Last edited by Adam Alexander : 05-01-2006 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 05-01-2006, 10:09 PM   #34
HooverGurl
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

Personally, i dont see what the issue is here. I mean, I dont mind testing. I'm one of those people who have to try and train really hard in order to understand the basics of a technique. My sister is not. She's surpassed me in every rank since we started. Thats life. Aikido comes easier to her than it does to me. Tests, to me, are a way to prove to myself that i have improved. Its my way of showing that yes, hard work and dedication can pay off.

Last spring I took two months off of training b/c school had me bogged down. So, in reality, I ended up missing abt three and a half months throughout the spring semester. When the summer came, I ended up taking four classes a week instead of two. It was exhausting. I was sore. I had to work really hard. But it paid off. I tested and got my new, very pretty, blue belt. And to me that was an accomplishment b/c I didnt really think i could do it.

To sum up this rather long post, tests are a way of growing and improving. Yeah, they're scary and it takes a lot of hard work to prepare. But with each passing day, we grow and learn. And that's whats most important to me.

Someone save me if you will
And take away all these pills
And please just save me if you can
From my blasphemy in my wasteland
Save Me, Shinedown
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Old 05-01-2006, 10:33 PM   #35
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

Testing is par for the course, like high school graduation. Any moron can graduate from high school.
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Old 05-02-2006, 07:17 AM   #36
Ron Tisdale
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

Quote:
Jean de Rochefort wrote:
Yeah, thanks. I guess a blind squirrel gets one once in a while. LOL. Too bad that I've irrevocably lost opportunities that people would kill for. Goodness, if I understood those things then that I do now...or did you just mean that it was good that I recognized that I was an a**?
Oh no, certainly not the latter.... I really like the posts where someone looks as honestly at themselves as possible. It's a real challenge to do that, and I respect it when I think I see it.

Best,
Ron (working on my own self honestly, but poorly)

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 05-02-2006, 09:48 AM   #37
Steve Mullen
Dojo: White Rose (Sunderland)
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

This is on the website of the organisation i belong to, its Shihan Cottier's views on grading

http://www.whiteroseaikido.com/kencottier.shtml

when you have done reading that have a look around on the site, the video section has got some very good stuff in it, and a few clips of Shihan Cotteir teaching on a course i was lucky enough to train on.

"No matter your pretence, you are what you are and nothing more." - Kenshiro Abbe Shihan
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Old 05-02-2006, 12:14 PM   #38
Adam Alexander
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Oh no, certainly not the latter.... I really like the posts where someone looks as honestly at themselves as possible. It's a real challenge to do that, and I respect it when I think I see it.

Best,
Ron (working on my own self honestly, but poorly)
Yeah, I've read a few that made me nod my head and think "very nice." Thanks for the compliment.

I found this

http://www.aikiweb.com/testing/rock5.html

Go figure, I could of looked under the "Testing" articles and received the wisdom without the work.
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Old 05-04-2006, 07:27 AM   #39
Mark Uttech
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

everyone knows that someone who says they are "humbly this, or humbly that", or even humble at all is a liar.
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Old 05-04-2006, 01:10 PM   #40
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

My determination to continue aikido--which had been getting pretty shaky due to the amount of trouble I had learning to forward roll--was solidified once and for all by the first testing seminar I attended. I got to see the whole series from my blundering rankmates and me, up through the amazing abilities of the ikkyu candidate. I also got to see the ikkyu candidate screw up repeatedly (we are still teasing him about that test to this day, though he is now shodan) and that was important to me too--it said to me "These people aren't perfect, maybe I can do this too."

I don't know if all of those other students, some of whom may have been reluctant to test, had any idea how important they were to the nervous fifth-kyu candidate in the back of the room. But they were a huge part of how I found the drive and enthusiasm to continue with aikido. After that testing seminar I finally tackled the thorny problem of training more than twice a week without driving my husband and myself mad, and also the equally thorny problem of actually learning the Japanese technique names.

So, it's not just about the person being tested. It's also important to the rest of the community. Each of those students who nerved him or herself into getting up there and demonstrating was giving me a gift which I appreciate very much.

(I would say, "And I strive to do the same" but it would be a lie, because actually I love testing. I'm a ham....)

Mary Kaye
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Old 05-04-2006, 03:36 PM   #41
"New Student"
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

Mark,

Sorry that you think I'm a liar. Here's a definition of humble:

A humble person is generally thought to be unpretentious and modest: someone who does not think that he or she is better or more important than others

Coincidentally, that is the jist of my whole initial question. Clearly, we now know your opinion.

Good Luck
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Old 05-04-2006, 04:21 PM   #42
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

Thanks.
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Old 05-04-2006, 05:21 PM   #43
RebeccaM
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

If you refuse to wear a colored belt in a dojo where color belts are worn, you are not being humble.
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Old 05-04-2006, 07:11 PM   #44
raul rodrigo
Location: Quezon City
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

When a shodan or nidan says that there's no big deal about testing, they've earned the right. When a no-kyu "humble person" says the same, I tend to be skeptical and sense some false humility in the air. Pass the tests, learn the techniques, and then we can talk fruitfully about how you're now "past all that" or above all that. A test is like the ladder that Wittgenstein spoke of in Tractatus: you need it to get over a wall, but once you're over the wall, you throw the ladder away. But first get over the wall.
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Old 05-04-2006, 07:20 PM   #45
aikigirl10
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

Quote:
I'd like to hear thoughts on why so much emphasis seems to be placed on testing. I've been studying Aikido since the beginning of the year and proudly wear my white belt.

I'm been "invited" to test for 6th kyu next month. What is the big deal with formal testing? All my fellow students approached me after class congratulating me and what-not. It's like I've been bestowed some huge gift...

I'd personally be perfectly happy wearing a very dirty white belt for the next however many years it takes to acheive Shodan. Once acheiving Shodan, I'll tie my dogi with a black belt and confidently answer that I know very little about AIkido to any kyu ranked co-students.

So, I have 2 questions:

Can I respectfully request that I not take the test?

If I do have to take the test, can I respectfully request that I may continue to wear my white belt?

Thanks for your comments.
I'm just gonna say one thing so as not to start any arguments.

"Those who make themselves great will be humbled. Those who humble themselves will be made great."

^^ I just absolutely love that saying.

It seems like you're headed in the right direction, but be wary, this sort of behavior can be seen in other ways too. Just talk it over with your sensei.

*Paige*

Last edited by aikigirl10 : 05-04-2006 at 07:22 PM. Reason: add
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Old 05-04-2006, 08:28 PM   #46
krammer
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

I understand how you feel about being a white belt forever, I feel if you want attention I'll spare a little time and express my thought. I think you should keep the white or better yet pass it on to whom who is interested in Aikido and you move on the on-line with Aikido!!
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Old 05-04-2006, 08:56 PM   #47
Aristeia
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

Excellent post from Jean. To be commended.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 05-06-2006, 12:51 PM   #48
Adam Alexander
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

Quote:
Michael Fooks wrote:
Excellent post from Jean. To be commended.
I heard a story about a guy who was studying patience. He went off to a cave to meditate or something. A fellow came along, asked what the first was doing. The first explained he was being patient or whatever. While leaving, the second yells back something to the fact of "you're a such-n-such" the patient guy reflexively yells "go to hell."

thanks for the compliment.
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Old 05-09-2006, 06:11 AM   #49
Steve Mullen
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

I have never really sat back and thought about gradings per say, they have just been something that has come up every now and again, i have dug in, trained harder and (thus far) passed, i have also enjoyed the whole experience, from the almost killing myself training to the anxious wait to finding out i had passed and the celebrations afterwards.

Recently however, from September last year, i was meant to go in for my 2nd Kyu, i was very much looking forward to the usual, preparing myself mentally and physically reading the syllabus etc. However, i got the chance of a job that i simply couldn't turn down, but it meant living away from home (and thus my Dojo) for two months. I asked around and tried to find a dojo near where i was staying, and found one, but a mixture of work and (if im honest apathy) meant i didn't go to it. So after two months out i started trying to get back into my training and hoped to grade.

However, this job lead to one closer to where i lived which meant that i couldn't train as much as i would have liked to, which meant i couldn't grade again. And i realised that i was getting frustrated at not grading. This came as a bit of a shock to me as, like i mentioned above, gradings to me, were just something that happened.

So I'm back in Wales again on business and I have had free time (in airports/trainstations etc) to sit and think why i was frustrated at not grading. I have heard many people say that grading is not important, they don't want to grade etc, i didn't think that "climbing the ladder" was all that important, i was training and enjoying it. But then i realised that in a roundabout way i was.

When on a big course in our organisation Sensei Riley often splits the group into Hakama wearers and non-Hakama wearers (in our org you get hakama at 1st Kyu) He does this to manage the numbers better, and to be able to teach the advanced students more advanced/powerful etc technique. The problem is that i love training with the higher grades, and want to take this advanced instruction off my sensei, so i do want to get to that point, i do want to 'climb the ladder'

So to me the big deal with testing, at least for now, is that it gives me the chance to know that im always going to be able to get that advanced tuition. I think it also gives back something to the organisation. If they have high grades on the mat who can impart wisdom or technique to the newer students it benefits the group as a whole, testing is a way to give something back for the teaching you have received

Well, that's my journey of self discovery over for now.

So

"No matter your pretence, you are what you are and nothing more." - Kenshiro Abbe Shihan
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Old 05-09-2006, 07:00 AM   #50
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
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Re: What is the big deal w/ testing???

Steve,

Your time will come, relax and enjoy where you are at the moment.
To a 5th Kyu you are a higher grade, they want to practice with you, so that you can impart what you know to them.
We all look to those who have gone before to gain more from them.
Sometimes there is more to be gained by giving to those wo follow.
I found that I only really understood an exercise when I tried to teach the principles to a beginner.

Life happens, gradings come and go, at the end of it all it's not what colour belt you have in the casket, it's how well you lived.

just a few thoughts,

regards
Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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