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Old 05-12-2009, 03:58 AM   #1
Arashi Kumomura
Dojo: Tsuki Kage
Location: Torrance, CA
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 18
United_States
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Testing or not testing...

I've been training for a few years now in the same dojo and I have not yet tested for rank. I'm fine with this; I don't feel the need to test and my sensei told me that if I ever showed the desire or asked to test then my sensei would schedule for an exam.

Our dojo is pretty small (which is good for me) and I can understand the reasons for not yet being tested. The other students in my class do have ranks, but I don't think they've been tested since I joined (though I could be wrong about that).

I mostly go to learn as much as I can and to enjoy as I progress. I'm enjoying Aikido and I find the experience to be invaluable. I don't think any of us have as much interest in rank as much as just want to learn as much as we can and enjoy.

I was wondering if it would be a good idea to request an examination and if other people thought it was bad or perhaps irresponsible that I haven't been tested. I was also wondering if anyone could give me advice as to what to expect on a test. Since I haven't technically advanced via evaluation, am I still a rokkyu?
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Old 05-12-2009, 04:56 AM   #2
Tim Ruijs
 
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Dojo: Makato/Netherlands
Location: Netherlands - Leusden
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 395
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Re: Testing or not testing...

Hi
In my dojo the students get ranked as I see fit. There are no tests in the sense that they need to display several techniques which I then judge.
Aikido is about self realisation. How can I determine how far someone has developed, let alone judge that?
Their behaviour in the dojo is important. Do they merely practice and go home? Do they help out in the dojo, do they approach newcomers and explain what exactly the dojo is and how it operates?
In a technical sense I can off course see their progress or lack therein. But who am I to judge? I can only show them the path.
They must want to follow it themselves and explore.

We easily notice the student that is late, not how much effort was made by the student that is on time.
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Old 05-12-2009, 07:21 AM   #3
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
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Re: Testing or not testing...

Considering what your instructor said, I think if you want to test, you should ask.

I don't think its bad or irresponsible one way or the other. I do think testing *can* provide valuable insight into your self and your keiko.

Each dojo and each instructor is different. If you want to know what testing is like in your dojo under your instructor, you should ask your seniors who have tested. It is also a good idea to go to the tests of your classmates...it builds good relationships and it is a good way to see first hand what you are currious about.

Best,
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 05-12-2009, 10:29 AM   #4
Phil Van Treese
Dojo: Tampa Judo and Aikido Dojo, Tampa, Fl
Location: Tampa, Florida
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 171
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Re: Testing or not testing...

I never tell my students when they will test. If they know it, they know it. If they don't, then it'll show. I tell every student that every class is a test---to be able to grab what is being shown, to be able to understand the technique, to push yourself, and, more importantly, to be able to give it back by helping another student etc. Anyone can learn a technique, study it, apply it during a test and then forget it. Not telling them when they test makes them want to retain what was taught and relate to whatever else they have learned. Works quite well. When they realize just how much they know, they always leave the dojo smiling because they have retained a good part of what they were taught.
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:14 AM   #5
StevieT
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 20
United Kingdom
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Re: Testing or not testing...

Quote:
Storm Rhode wrote: View Post
I've been training for a few years now in the same dojo and I have not yet tested for rank. I'm fine with this; I don't feel the need to test and my sensei told me that if I ever showed the desire or asked to test then my sensei would schedule for an exam.

Our dojo is pretty small (which is good for me) and I can understand the reasons for not yet being tested. The other students in my class do have ranks, but I don't think they've been tested since I joined (though I could be wrong about that).

I mostly go to learn as much as I can and to enjoy as I progress. I'm enjoying Aikido and I find the experience to be invaluable. I don't think any of us have as much interest in rank as much as just want to learn as much as we can and enjoy.

I was wondering if it would be a good idea to request an examination and if other people thought it was bad or perhaps irresponsible that I haven't been tested. I was also wondering if anyone could give me advice as to what to expect on a test. Since I haven't technically advanced via evaluation, am I still a rokkyu?
I would ask to be tested, simply because I think testing is a good experience. It's an opportunity to practice your Aikido under scrutiny and under a little bit of pressure, which don't exists in normal training. In my dojo (which is independent), real testing in a "requirements to make the grade" sense doesn't start until the higher kyu ranks at least. For lower grades, testing is seen partially as a way of providing some reference points in the development of your Aikido but also as a part of training (bringing Aikido out under pressure). Gradings are also quite a buzz! You might find you enjoy it.
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:36 PM   #6
Anidan
Dojo: Aikido Kenkyu Kai, AIS, Belconnen
Location: Canberra, ACT
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 13
Australia
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Re: Testing or not testing...

For me testing/grading is a way of acknowledging my progress. I'm the sort of person who likes a frame of reference to work in and clear goals to aim for. I've always said that conceptually if you put me in a box, I'll quickly figure out a way to get out, but if I'm in the middle of an open space I'll freeze and not know what to do because there's too much option.

That's just me though, other people in my dojo have made a decision not to grade. They like to train, to know the art and to go with wherever their aikido takes them.

I think that if grading would be meaningful to you, then ask to grade. If the rank is not going to make a difference to how you feel about your training, then don't test, but keep training with the knowledge that you're still improving your aikido.

Go gentle

Anidan )O(
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Old 05-16-2009, 12:31 PM   #7
Joseph Madden
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 160
Canada
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Re: Testing or not testing...

If you want to test...ask.
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Old 10-15-2009, 01:24 PM   #8
MattMiddleton
 
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Dojo: MUN Aikido
Location: Paradise, Newfoundland and Labrador
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 43
Canada
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Re: Testing or not testing...

I found committing to my 6th Kyu test really helped with my aikido overall, not just the techniques I practiced for the test. It really helped me focus my training; prior to committing to the test, I feel I was kind of drifting, learning little bits and pieces but never really bringing it together in to something cohesive.

That being said, some people may be able to bring it together without the focus of a test. If you're one of those people, great!
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Old 10-16-2009, 12:14 PM   #9
Shadowfax
 
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Dojo: Allegheny Aikido, Pitsburgh PA
Location: Pittsburgh PA
Join Date: May 2009
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Re: Testing or not testing...

When I first began training I really had no plans or intentions about testing. I was only there to experience Aikido and see if and how it could help me with self discovery.

Now I'm less than two weeks form taking my first test and actually am looking forward to it. When Sensei mentioned he thought I should begin thinking about it I actually became more motivated to learn...not that I was not motivated already, but my intensity rose a bit. I think that bit of pressure, knowing a test was coming actually enhanced my training. Not to mention it has been a great confidence builder knowing I have progressed to the next level.

Will having a rank cert change my life? Probably not.It won't get me a better job or bigger paycheck. Even without testing Aikido has already enhanced my life. But I think those tests as they come can only enhance the overall learning experience.
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Old 10-17-2009, 09:14 AM   #10
barron
Dojo: Calgary Aikikai
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 57
Canada
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Re: Testing or not testing...

I ask this this same question every time I test.

I swore that I would not test again after shodan but now am thinking about testing again and still questioning whether I should or not.

My aikido is not "the test" but rather what I do every class when I either practice or teach. I think it is tested the most doing children's class as it really makes me focus on basics.

If I ran my own dojo would I have testing.

Yes and No. It would depend on the student and what would suit their needs as an individual learner. Of course, and I can see the posts now , some might argue that this would not be "fair" to all and how would I decide who would test and who would simply be promoted. This is where open communication and explanation of the process and how there were many ways to show mastery and each person would have to find out what worked best for them to reach the level that they expected for themselves.

Still asking the testing question years later.

Andrew Barron
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Old 10-17-2009, 12:40 PM   #11
heathererandolph
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Dojo: Kokikai Aikido Boston
Location: Boston
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 117
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Re: Testing or not testing...

Testing is a good time to show yourself and others what you know, to have something to compare your progress to and see your performance under pressure, more similar to actually being attacked than doing technique during class. It is also helpful to me as an instructor to help students to prepare for testing, giving us all something to look forward to.

It is helpful to me to have all students test at regular intervals so that their levels reflect their actual achievement in the sport. In our style, students are expected to test regularly, though. I think probably that the reasons to test probably outweigh the reasons not to test, although if one has gone years without testing, that first test can seem pretty scary, I'm sure.
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Old 10-19-2009, 01:28 PM   #12
ninjaqutie
 
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Dojo: Searching for a new home
Location: Delaware (<3 still in Oregon!)
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,003
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Re: Testing or not testing...

Uck... I am a few weeks away from testing and I am dreading it! My old style didn't require testing so it wasn't an issue. When I first joined, Sensei told me I would more then likely not test until 3rd kyu. Well, thanks to a certain person, they are now going to test all those who are ready for 5th kyu. I asked if I could not test and I just got "the look". Looks like I will be testing if I show up.....

As far as asking versus not asking. Some look at it as if you are eager to learn. Others look at it negatively as if you don't take their judgement on your abilities to be accurate.

Is there anyone else there who started about the same time as you? Does your dojo require hours and certain techniques? Look around at the people who are at the rank you want to test for. Do you look anything like them (and don't be biased here!)

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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