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Old 06-20-2002, 01:46 AM   #1
Bronson
 
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Do you ask to test?

Hey all,

I was wondering. In your dojo do you ask to test for rank or does your sensei inform you in some way that you can test? I've heard of both being used and was just curious as to what the majority on the forums did. Oh, and of course if you'd like to elaborate on why you do it the way you do please feel free

Thanks,
Bronson--our sensei let's us know

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-20-2002, 07:30 AM   #2
Ali B
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Hi Bronson,

I have been thinking about the grading thing for a while. I don´t have a grade as I have moved around lot - different styles, teachers, etc.

I once got to green belt in my first association, then changed schools and have been ungraded for 4 years. It didn´t matter to me until recently "your belt is only for holding up your trousers" was how one of my teachers put it to me.

Now I feel I would like to...I have been feeling a bit put out when I go to a new club and I´m treated like a complete beginner by the kyu grades (my ego gets bruised). I also get the feeling that time is awasting... not getting any younger and all that

My teacher thinks it is important to "level up" now and again, although we all wear white belts anyway.

In my club we discuss whether we are ready to or not...As I said in another post, my teacher thinks that there are more important things to test than only technique. He often says when he sees the control there he will tell us...
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Old 06-20-2002, 07:57 AM   #3
Jim ashby
Dojo: Phoenix Coventry
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Hi all.
We have regular gradings every four months for Kyu grades. There is a list put up on the notice board where you put your name and the grade that you will be taking. The instructors keep a log with the actual "mat hours" that you have put in. There are minimum time requirements that are posted but those that do just the bare minimum are less likely to shine at grading time. If you have been intermittent in your training or if you have blasted in the minimum hours in the last few weeks before grading you can be asked not to take it(that's happened to me). For Dan grades you are invited. The Dan gradings are held once a year in September and the whole thing is a big event. Further than Shodan is purely by invitation.
Have fun.

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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Old 06-20-2002, 08:51 AM   #4
akiy
 
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People sign up at the front counter for our kyu tests (which are held, I believe, about once every three months).

People are asked by our main instructor to test for any of the dan gradings. This may happen a good chunk of time before the test, but it may not; I was asked to test for my last dan exam on ten hours' notice...

-- Jun

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Old 06-20-2002, 09:53 AM   #5
SeiserL
 
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In Tenshinkai Aikido, we just train and Sensei Phong tells us when we will test. We tend not to ask. He tells us, but that usually means he already knows we are ready.

Until again,

Lynn

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 06-20-2002, 03:39 PM   #6
Kat.C
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At our dojo sensei tells you when you are going to test once he feels you are ready. I think kyu tests are twice a year. In fact kyu tests are being held this Saturday,(after a four hour workshop ) and my husband will be grading. Sensei did mention once that if a person feels they should be testing that they could of course mention it to him.

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 06-20-2002, 09:29 PM   #7
giriasis
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At my school if someone really wants to test our sensei will let them. But usually, when you have your time in your name is posted a couple of months before the next test. We usually don't test right away after reaching our time requirement. We usually schedule a private (usually two-four students) with our sensei, where we review the testing requirements and learn what we need to work on. If our sensei doesn't feel we're ready during the private, he will tell us to wait till the next test.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 06-21-2002, 11:27 PM   #8
Bronson
 
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Thanks for all the input. The reason I asked was that we recently had a guest instructor from another dojo in our style and he said that he wants his students to show the initiative to come up and ask. This sounded a little different than most everything I'd heard about other dojo, so I was just curious. I guess it really comes down to "his dojo, his rules".

I guess as the starter of the thread it's only fair that I contribute.

We have kyu testing every 4 months. There are minimum hour reqs. and you must have instructor approval. There's the rub. Every time testing comes around the dojo-cho tallies everyones hours and hands the list of eligible people to sensei. He goes down it and decides who to place on the testing list. He doesn't really like the asking thing all that much I don't think. He did say that if you know you have way over the required hours and you don't end up on the list it's ok to ask what you need to work on to be considered (it may also be a book keeping error )

Again, thanks for the input

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-22-2002, 09:41 AM   #9
Peter Goldsbury
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bronson
Thanks for all the input. The reason I asked was that we recently had a guest instructor from another dojo in our style and he said that he wants his students to show the initiative to come up and ask. This sounded a little different than most everything I'd heard about other dojo, so I was just curious. I guess it really comes down to "his dojo, his rules".

I guess as the starter of the thread it's only fair that I contribute.

We have kyu testing every 4 months. There are minimum hour reqs. and you must have instructor approval. There's the rub. Every time testing comes around the dojo-cho tallies everyones hours and hands the list of eligible people to sensei. He goes down it and decides who to place on the testing list. He doesn't really like the asking thing all that much I don't think. He did say that if you know you have way over the required hours and you don't end up on the list it's ok to ask what you need to work on to be considered (it may also be a book keeping error )

Again, thanks for the input

Bronson
Hello Bronson,

I think we have kyu tests four times each year and dan tests twice a year. But I am somewhat perplexed by your post. Your dojo-cho tallies the hours and hands the list to Sensei. But usually Dojo-cho and Sensei are the same person. No? So does this mean that you are in a branch dojo and the head of your dojo (i.e., dojo-cho) and the head of your organisation (i.e. sensei) are two different people? In Hiroshima, I am the head of my dojo (Dojo-cho) and also the Sensei, though I never use this latter title.

I am sending this post as a chief instructor (= Dojo-cho / Sensei). The required hours for each kyu are so minimal for aikido that I will keep to this schedule only for the lower kyu grades. I want to encourage them, so I will usually allow them to test and pass them. But things change around 2nd kyu, 1st kyu and shodan, especially around shodan.

I personally do not believe that the kyu / dan system has any objective value. I would like to believe that all 2nd dans, for example, have the same level the world over, but I know very well that this is not the case. It is simply an estimation given by the instructor. Thus, if someone comes to my dojo and says he is a 2nd dan, I will want to know who gave him the grade. And the questions would be more severe, the higher the grade, up to around 5th dan. After that it will usually be obvious, unless it is a 'geriatric' grade, given for 'services to aikido'.

Thus, I will hold a 4th dan grading examination in Europe this summer. The initiative has come from the candidates themselves, who have told me that they would like to take a grading examination, rather than be promoted by recommendation. But I have also told the candidates that they might fail, because it will be a severe test.

In my opinion, it does not matter very much who initiates the grading procedure, the student or the instructor. I will pass those students whom I think are ready and fail those who are not. But I can think of students who would benefit from a test, just to see how they perform under pressure.

Nevertheless, I do not think an instructor should allow his/her students to be undergraded unless there is a reason for it (and I can think of no such reason).

Best regards,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 06-22-2002 at 09:52 AM.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 06-23-2002, 12:12 AM   #10
Bronson
 
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Quote:
But usually Dojo-cho and Sensei are the same person. No? So does this mean that you are in a branch dojo and the head of your dojo (i.e., dojo-cho) and the head of your organisation (i.e. sensei) are two different people?
In our dojo the dojo-cho takes care of the mundane aspects of the dojo. Bill paying, paperwork, arranging for building maintenance when it's outside the abilities of the students . Sensei sets policy and teaches. Of course he's an integral part of the day-to-day running of the dojo, but the responsibility of getting it done falls to our dojo-cho. I guess she would be comparable to a modern day office manager (not to mention an awesome aikido practitioner/teacher in her own right...one of my aiki heroes ).

Thanks for sharing,
Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-26-2002, 07:47 PM   #11
batemanb
 
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Back in the UK, we didn`t tend to focus on gradings much, I only graded 4 times in 9 1/2 years of regular training. Gradings tended to be done in the early days when Sensei felt like it, or felt that someone was ready. After a health scare, he took a sabbatical, leaving the dojo in the hands of the Sempai. During this time there were no gradings, the sabbatical became permanent, consequently gradings ceased pretty much altogether. The situation changed after the the sempai became adopted by a couple of Sensei from other clubs. Now gradings are held regularly again, usually by recommendation.

Our Aikikai gradings here in Japan are based on the number of sessions trained. There are a minimum number of sessions required for each kyu and Shodan, a record of attendance is kept, once these have been reached or surpassed, one of the Sensei will let you know and give you the form to fill in to apply for the next test. Tests are held every 3 or 4 months.

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 06-27-2002, 02:26 AM   #12
JJF
 
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We test four times a year. Twice in spring and fall in our own dojo (up to 1. kyu) and once during easter where we allways have an international seminar plus once sometime in the fall at a national seminar. At the internaitonal seminar only dan-grade gradings are done and on the national seminar upper kyu-grades and dan-grades tests are performed.

We have minimum time between grades and minimum trainin-days. However for kyu-grades these demands can be taken lightly if our sensei chooses. We are encouraged to take kyu-tests when ever we formally have the right (enough time and training days since last grading. Dan gradings can only be taken when you local sensei allows it.

Sometimes our senseis will put pressure on someone to get him or her to grade if they seem to have lost the drive. Sometimes the desire to test just comes from within each person.

Now and then on the international seminars our visiting sensei will point out who he would like to se going for a grading (allways dan) and sometimes he hands out dan-grades by recomendation. This year one of the senseis in our dojo received a 5. dan by recomendation and he was very sad since he now had to go home and tell his wife that he would have to spend a substantional amount of money on a piece of paper which wouldn't be in his hands for another year or two

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

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Old 06-27-2002, 02:40 AM   #13
PeterR
 
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I'm at the very delicate point where I think I'm ready, I want to test, but the word did not come down.

I wish I could ask, I really do. I keep telling myself that it will come, no need to rush but then find myself looking at others who have taken the test and KNOW I could do better.

I guess this is part of the process.


Note: My tongue is firmly cheek, I would never ask but there are subtle ways of indicating that you are willing and able.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-27-2002, 02:50 AM   #14
JJF
 
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Hi Peter!

I believe going to the dojo one hour before practice and working on you grading program could probably send the right 'signals' to the rest of the dojo. Just a suggestion

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

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Old 06-27-2002, 02:54 AM   #15
PeterR
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by JJF
I believe going to the dojo one hour before practice and working on you grading program could probably send the right 'signals' to the rest of the dojo. Just a suggestion
Don't worry Jorgen - like I said my tongue was firmly in cheek.

I am in Shihan's hands and he knows more about my Aikido than I know myself.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 06-28-2002, 08:42 PM   #16
Steven
 
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I was brought up in a system where if a student thought he/she was ready to take an exam, they had to first pre-exam for a designated senpai. He/She would determine if that person was ready and let sensei know.

Currently in my dojo, I make that determination and encourage my students to not worry themselfs about taking an exam. Rather, focus on learning the techniques. I love a good surprise exam. Except for when it's done to me.
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Old 07-01-2002, 07:40 AM   #17
Bruce Baker
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Ready, set, test

Yeah, most testing is done on a quarterly or by yearly schedule, but that doesn't seem to be crux of practice lately.

Most of the testing is approached as 5th kyu within the first year, 4th kyu in the second to third year, and then meeting the minumun hours set up within the USAF along with showing proper technical ability in class. If the student is ready, my sensei asks them if they think they are ready for an upcoming testing session.

Kind of round about, but then again, it allows for student and teacher to reach a level of confidence in preparation and training.

As for me? My goal for Aikido was to keep from hurting others ... and right now ... I am doing pretty well at that.

Now if I could get that belt to either hold up my trousers or keep from coming untied, that would be a miracle.
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Old 07-21-2002, 07:30 AM   #18
alex
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hi all

i think your belt does show your skill and level but its main reason is to hold your trousers up! people might be higher rank then you but it doesnt mean there better at every thing. Iam hopefully going for my green at the summer school 2002.Is anyone else going please reply!
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