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Old 07-16-2002, 08:04 AM   #26
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,243
DaveO wrote:
Mr Goldsbury:
Thank you for your excellent reply, sir; I appreciate it.
I am curious about one point. You said: "In Japan, it is the custom for the instructor to tell students when it is time to take a test and not the other way round." Is the reverse true in some places? That would sound kind of odd to me - the instructor is the one who knows when a person is ready.
Well, I have experience of just two dojos where the decision to take a test rests with the student and not the instructor. One dojo was in the US, the main dojo in a large city; the other was the Aikikai Hombu in Japan. My feeling is that in the US dojo, the chief instructor (who was Japanese) left it to the students as a kind of training: "By all means test if you wish, but you might fail". Perhaps this was in keeping with his idea that Americans are taught to show individual initiatuve. The Aikikai Hombu is a kind of aikido Penn Station, with so many instructors and students that no one person knows all the students intimately enough to tell them when it is time to test. Thus in both dojos there was a testing schedule (dan tests twice a year; kyu tests more frequently) and students chose to test, usually on the advice of their more experienced friends in the dojo.

In all other dojos where I have trained, and in the dojo where I am now the chief instructor, the instructor has told the student to test, but, of course, this has never meant that the student would pass the test. Further, if a student tells me he/she would like to test, I will not normally refuse such a request. But such a request would be more likely to happen in Europe, where I also regularly instruct, than in Japan.

Best regards,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 07-16-2002 at 08:16 AM.

P A Goldsbury
Kokusai Dojo,
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Old 07-16-2002, 07:40 PM   #27
Deb Fisher
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 145
Hello Mr. Organ, et al.

I'm going to be taking my 5th kyu exam in a few weeks myself - and have been watching this thread evolve and thinking about my own upcoming test and what I learned from my last test. I have always been a person, perhaps like yourself, who does well at things. I breezed through school and college (and now graduate school) pretty much cock-sure that I would excel at whatever was being evaluated, picking up each new skill with ease and grace.

And I'll tell you something, my 6th kyu test scared the sh** out of me.

Not only did I prepare for it more thoroughly than any other single evaluation in my life, but I *felt* less prepared than I have ever, ever ever felt once I was up there alone with my uke. I am one of the most confident people I know, and I was red as a beet and shaking like a leaf and making lots and lots of stupid mistakes.

Why? Still not entirely sure. Perhaps I wasn't accustomed to the whole sensei thing, perhaps it was because everyone else in the dojo knew soooooooooo much more than I did. But I came away from that experience incredibly humbled, and prouder of myself than I have ever been of any A or acceptance letter or great job offer etc.

This is hard to put words to, but I think I understood for the first time in my life that I was an utter novice at something that others knew in a truly deep way. Or maybe I understood for the first time the difference between being a quick study and having a knowledge that is, in itself, impressive.

Whatever - I can't spend too much more time on this post, but I felt it was important to remember and honor the agony of my first test, and the arrogance that it illuminated in me, as well as the opportunity it presented to be less focused on quick study.

On that note... Here's to both of us doing well and learning a LOT, because that's the best part.

Good luck on your exam,

Deb Fisher
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Old 07-16-2002, 07:46 PM   #28
Dojo: Great Wave Aikido
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 543
Thanks, Deb - and good luck on yours as well.


Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 07-16-2002, 08:40 PM   #29
Location: Western Australia
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 241
DaveO wrote:


Colleen, I apologise for my rash response. That your post unintentionally touched a sore nerve is no excuse for my answering is such a fashion. I hope you will be able to pass it off as a misunderstanding. It won't happen again.


Well done Mr Organ and all the best for you grading .

Also, to Ms Deb Fisher, best of luck for your grading too.

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