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Old 10-12-2003, 01:11 AM   #26
Steven Tame
Dojo: Hombu Aikikai /North London Aikido Dojo
Location: Tokyo , Japan
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Bradford Allen- Unfortunately that is not how things work at Hombu there is a set requirement for the amount of days that you must practice

i.e 5th kyuu is 30 days after you start

4th kyuu is 40 days after you got 5th kyuu

and so on

the instructors did not tell me I was ready to test I had to take the initiative and apply to be tested otherwise I would still have no kyuu after 4 months of training everyday....
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Old 10-12-2003, 07:25 AM   #27
Charles
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Brad,

I know that there is no real value in having any particular rank - and yet I allow myself to be disappointed nonetheless. What is really bothering me isn't my situation but my internal response to that situation. That and the way my own ambition has put me here in the first place. If it weren't for my ambition, however humble it may be to want to achieve 5th kyu, I wouldn't have approached the testing master in the first place and there wouldn't be a testing date that I cannot make.

There is value in deserving a particular rank and great value in progressing to that point. I'm continuing to study and prepare myself as if I were to be testing. And I'm going to have to do some more work on renouncing my own desires and expectations.
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Old 10-12-2003, 08:58 AM   #28
Nick Simpson
Dojo: White Rose Aikido - Durham University
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I can understand your frustration Charles, but after 4 years or so of training at least you should be able to beast that 5th kyu test when you do take it! Hope you get the situation sorted out soon, im in a similar situation. I was supposed to take my 5th kyu in june and because of politics it was pushed back to september and then october, but im currently supposed to be taking it in december. I dont really mind though as it means that I'll be testing in front of the head instructor of our organisation and possibly Shihan Ken Cottier (gulp!). Something to look forward too...

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 10-12-2003, 02:34 PM   #29
bca333
Dojo: Nashville Aikikai
Location: Ft Campbell, KY
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Testing

Charles, I have had the same frustrations at times. And I've also had to deal with internal questions such as yours. There certainly is value in progressing up the ranks; I'm not suggesting that anyone should not care about promotions. I know that I did, and I also wondered how long it would take me to reach yudansha ranking. For myself, I took some satisfaction in being able to "hold my own" while training with higher ranking Aikidoka. I was also fortunate to have Sempai who understood the situation and arranged for me to test for some ranks outside the normal parameters. If it doesn't make you uncomfortable, perhaps you could ask to test for the kyu that you would hold had you not missed any test dates.

Stephen: We have similar guidelines as well...a certain number of calendar time must pass before you can test for the next kyu, and you must have logged a certain number of hours of consistent training. These are minimums. However, there is a roster posted a week or so before each test date (there is a kyu test every three months or so), and if your name is on it you are expected to test. We do have to apply for Dan testing, though.

I have also witnessed the following scenario happen to students who do not show up for tests:

A normal class begins and everyone trains. With about twenty minutes to go and without warning, so-and-so is called up with an uke and tests right then and there

Imagine that during a 7:00 A<M< class

Anyway, good luck with everything. We are all beginners, just at varying levels.
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Old 11-12-2003, 09:07 AM   #30
Charles
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No joy. I had thought that I would be allowed to test some other day and indeed I will, three months hence. There have been some reasons for hope along the way. One of the more senior members of the dojo said he'd bring up the matter. A usual list was posted of those eligible for testing at what grade and several of my fellow students seemed startled to discover that I was still a 6 kyu. But last night I had occasion to mention publicly that I would not be available to test Saturday. My sensei replied with a joke. I suppose that it's time to sit down with him and ask if he's trying to tell me something. All of which brings up a question, How does one know that one is just not cut out for Aikido?
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Old 12-11-2003, 10:23 PM   #31
cindy perkins
Dojo: AikiDog Dojo
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"How does one know that one is just not cut out for Aikido?"

I fear I'm showing a lot of hubris to answer this question -- there are teachers here who will answer far better, and I am a raw beginner. But as far as I could figure from my experience, you'd ask yourself:

Do I love doing aikido?

Do I feel a rush when just this once, by accident, I move correctly and the energy flows and the movement and the throw are effortless...?

Do I find repeating the same technique again and again to learn a subtle improvement worth the practice, or do I get bored?

If the answers tend toward "yes," then it seems to me that you're right for aikido.

It sounds to me like the problem isn't aikido, or even the testing schedule. It's a nagging fear that there's really something wrong with you that the sensei isn't telling you and they're deliberately keeping you from testing. Maybe it is time to sit down and have a quiet talk, just to clear the air. If there is something wrong, Sensei should have told you by now. If not, you need reassurance that you are OK.
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Old 12-12-2003, 01:44 PM   #32
Charles
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You've a good grasp of my problem but I'm not sure that I like your answer. I want to know if I'm a slug, somebody who has no aptitude for Aikido. Your answer, which is the same as my Sensei's, is to say that as long as I'm happy being a slug it doesn't matter. I'm happy when I'm training but I'm unhappy when I think of myself as a slug. I suppose that I could work on building a false sense of my place in the world of Aikido, a la Terry Gilliam, but truth has always been important to me. My only saving grace in all of this is that I've discovered someone in the dojo, somebody I respect and who is clearly not a slug, who waited twice as long as I did to take that first test.
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Old 12-12-2003, 05:18 PM   #33
Nick Simpson
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Hi Charles, Im sorry to hear that you are still in the same situation. If you are worried that your sensei may think you an aikido "slug" then I suppose you have to ask yourself a couple of questions:

A) Is my technique any good?

B) Is my attitude towards aikido/others a good one?

From what I have seen these seem to be the biggest reasons for not being tested, I know of people who were technically brilliant but had the wrong attitude and werent allowed to test untill they had corrected that. I also know of people who had a brilliant attitude but because their technique wasnt up to scratch were never considered for gradings.

If you know your technique is good and you know your attitude is decent then I dont see any reason why you shouldnt test. As others have suggested, only your sensei knows why he hasnt considered you for testing, maybe its time to have a chat with him?

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 12-18-2003, 03:20 AM   #34
Steven Tame
Dojo: Hombu Aikikai /North London Aikido Dojo
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I passed 4th kyuu last week

I`m not gonna start a new thread for this so I`ll just add it on to my thred here. I passed my 4th kyuu test at Hombu last week....

now I`m kind of worried cos the next test is 3rd kyuu

As far as I can remember I need to know

ikkyo-->yonkyo from shomen uchi both sitting and standing

shomen uchi and tsuki irimi nage and kote gaeshi

yokomen uchi shiho nage

tenchi nage

sitting kokyu ho

Now the thing is I have been training for 6 months pretty much every day and we have practiced yon-kyo only twice and san-kyo maybe

5 or so times.

We have never practiced tsuki irimi nage or tsuki kote gaeshi

I am nowhere near proficient at any of these techniques....

What should I do?? It is only occasional that there is time to ask a sempai to help me out with these techniques and doing it once a week or less is probably not going to be enough. I wouldn`t say I`m a fast learner but not that slow either. I have brought some Aikido books and it has helped somewhat to get the idea of the techniques but I don`t feel it is enough.

The way Hombu is organised I don`t feel it is something I can talk to one of the sensei`s about... I`m kind of worried about it... I`m due for testing in March... I really like Aikido and it means a lot to me, I really don`t want to fail my test. I know it is a while away but it is something I have to think about now....

thanks in advance for any help and advice
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Old 12-18-2003, 09:13 AM   #35
MaryKaye
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
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Some things that have helped me (your mileage may differ):

I keep a notebook and write down what we did in every class. The notebook also has an annotated list of the techniques I need for my next test (fourth kyu) and I make a point of trying to relate what we did to those tests. We might not practice the shomenuchi shihonage that I need, but if we did any shomenuchi, or any shihonage, maybe I can make a connection. I also note if any part of the technique is recognizably a hitori waza (solo exercise) because those are easy to drill at home.

The note-taking also tells me what my really weak points are (I had never seen one of the fourth-kyu throws at *all*, I discovered) and then I try to seize on sempai when I have a few minutes, for example between classes, and ask specifically for help on the soft spots. It is easier/politer to ask sempai rather than sensei, and they are often glad to help.

Many of my fellow students also form test-prep partnerships with someone else on their level. I haven't been able to do that yet but would jump at the chance if I got it--that seems to help more than anything else. The student who was uke for my fifth kyu test had a regular practice partner, and the two of them together looked very good--calm, confident, well tuned. I didn't...and I think the specific practice together probably mattered.

Mary Kaye
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Old 12-18-2003, 05:49 PM   #36
Nick Simpson
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Well done Steven! I dont know how things work at hombu but it sounds like testing times and testing syllabus's are fairly strictly organised. Do you absolutely have to test in march? If your aikido is so important than perhaps it would be better to spend a little longer practising for your 3rd kyu until you are entirely confident in your abilities. I think that would be better than testing at the earliest opportunity and failing. But then again thats just my way of thinking and I tend to always err on the side of caution, it is better to be over prepared than under prepared. Or to qoute one of my favourite saying's: Proper planning prevents p*ss poor performance

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 01-12-2004, 06:18 PM   #37
Steven Tame
Dojo: Hombu Aikikai /North London Aikido Dojo
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BAF testing sylabus

I have returned to England for a while and asked my Sensei for a copy of the BAF testing requirements. When I saw it my jaw dropped. There were just so many techniques even for 5th kyu. Just a quick comparison to BAF and Hombu. My next test will be 3rd kyu.

Hombu requirements

50 days of practice after 4th kyu

-Shomen uchi

Irimi nage

Kote gaeshi

Ikkyo-->Yonkyo (standing/seated)

-Yokomen uchi

shiho nage

-Tsuki

Irimi nage

Kote gaeshi

-Ryote dori

Tenchi nage

seated kokyu ho

BAF requirements

-katate dori

kote gaeshi

udekimenage (what is this? never heard of it)

kokyu nage seated/standing/hanmi handachi

sankyo

yonkyo

-morote dori

nikyo

shiho nage

udekimenage

-yokomen uchi

shiho nage

ikkyo

kote gaeshi

udekimenage

kaiten nage

kokyu nage

-tsuki

ikkyo

nikyo

-ryote dori

kokyu nage

sankyo

yonkyo

-kata dori

san kyo

yon kyo

kokyu nage

shiho nage

(all standing/hanmi handachi/seated)

-shomen uchi

gokyo

sumi otoshi

uchi kaiten sankyo

kokyu nage

udekimenage

-ushiro ryote dori

ikkyo

shiho nage

kokyu nage

-ushiro kubijime

kokyu nage

ikkyo

I'm wondering why the BAF requirements are so over the top compared to Hombu.

I will be going back to Japan in March and hope to take san kyu at Hombu but after that I will have to follow the BAF requirements since I will be studying at Uni for 2 years in England.

I'm wondering how the gradings can be interchangable with Hombu and BAF when the sylabus is so different. I have 4th kyu from hombu but according to the BAF requirements I couldn't even be a 5th kyu.
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Old 01-27-2004, 03:53 PM   #38
Nick Simpson
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This kind of difference in syllabus seems to be a common thing, but I think the BAF would respect your rank as it comes from the Hombu and is officially recognised by them.

I've also got loads of stuff to learn for my third kyu, plenty of weapons work and suburi, which is why I dont really want to test for a very long time. I would hate my training to become grade orientated.

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 01-27-2004, 07:03 PM   #39
Bronson
 
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In the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), the individual "kingdoms" are allowed to make rules that are more stringent than the national rules but can't be less stringent....maybe it's the same deal here.

I know my sensei requires much more on the tests in his dojo, especially dan tests, than our organization does.

Bronson

Last edited by Bronson : 01-27-2004 at 07:06 PM.

"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 01-27-2004, 07:31 PM   #40
Steven Tame
Dojo: Hombu Aikikai /North London Aikido Dojo
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I suppose the thing is that people would expect that someone with a 4th kyu from hombu would have covered the stuff in the BAF sylabus and maybe more.

I truth is in Hombu I never so much as picked up a bokken or jo. I never used it even once but it seems to be an integral part of the BAF sylabus

Basically as I stated above in Hombu the begginers class basically covers these techniques

shomen uchi irimi nage

katate dori shiho nage

shomen uchi ikkyo

kata dori nikyo

yokomen uchi shiho nage

sitting kokyu ho

basically this covers the sylabus at Hombu up to 4th kyu

occasionally we may do san-kyo, kote gaeshi or tenchi nage.

Normal class starts after you pass 3rd kyu test.

In England all of the classes are like the normal class in Hombu and covers a wide range of techniques and aplications and it has been very difficult for me to adjust and I also have to do a lot of explaining because fellow students kind of expect me to know certain techniques which they assume that I know.

I will be back at Hombu from March and hope to pass my 3rd kyu test in May and move up to the normal class at hombu.

I suppose I just feel a bit weird not being the smae level/experience as same ranked aikido-ka in England
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Old 01-27-2004, 07:54 PM   #41
Bronson
 
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Steven,

Consider it going for quality over quantity.

I've been taking iaido now for a few months. I can do all 12 of the seitei kata....poorly, but I can do them. I recently met a guy who studied iaido for two years and learned the first 3 kata....and he does them really well. Sure I can do more than he can but it just means I suck at more

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 04-25-2004, 03:58 AM   #42
robbsims
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Re: 5th kyu test advice for a begginer

To Steven,
Congratulations. I have also been to the Hombu Dojo. The difference in the testing elements is directly related to image.

In Japan "Shodan" means the beginning. Having reached "Shodan" in Japan, it means that you have the required abilities to really begin training. Before I reached "Shodan", all the dojo Yudansha were very gentle, throws done slowly. After I received "Shodan" all that changed. I was a fellow Yudansha and the serious training began. It was open season on the Gaijin.

In most western cultures (meaning US, Canada, UK) "Shodan" is a mark of excellence. The final hurdle to be overcome, before you become a Aikido teacher. This is why the training takes longer and the testing more comprehensive.

My advice to you is dont worry so much about the testing. Aikido is about your personal development. Have confidence in yourself and it will all work out in the end.

Robb Sims
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Old 04-25-2004, 04:10 AM   #43
robbsims
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Square Re: 5th kyu test advice for a begginer

To Charles,

My advice about not being tested is...

Ask your teacher in private "when can you have a chance to be tested". If he states you are not ready, then ask "what do I need to work on".

It is my opinion that the examiners should make every effort to accomidate examinees who have good reason for being absent.

Hope this helps
Robb Sims
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Old 04-25-2004, 07:55 PM   #44
Steven Tame
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Re: 5th kyu test advice for a begginer

Thanks Robert.... I remember reading something similar to what you said sometime but I didn`t really take it in at the time.
My 3rd kyu test is in 2 weeks now and I feel pretty comfortable about everything except tsuki irimi nage which I haven`t really practiced.
I`ll post back on the results soon.
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Old 04-27-2004, 07:45 AM   #45
Nick Simpson
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Re: 5th kyu test advice for a begginer

Go for it Steven, Nailing people with Tsuki iriminage can be great fun, just imagine your doing it ai hanme but dont wait for them to grab. Im also preparing for my third kyu but it's not until early july, Im just working on new ways of moving into technique from chudan tsuki and yokomen uchi at the minute. I dont want to repeat what I did for my fourth kyu!
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Old 04-28-2004, 03:27 AM   #46
Steven Tame
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Re: 5th kyu test advice for a begginer

Sorry Nick I`m a bit confused about what you mean. Do you mean do it the same as katate dori irimi nage? I had a look at Doshu`s book and there were two ways.
1/enter with irimi to the outside of yhe tsuki and just do the Throw
2/use tenshin and do it kind of like yokomen uchi irimi nage

A yudansha showed me to do it like no.1 but to enter,pivot and continue as in shomen uchi irimi nage.

I`m not sure what will be the standard way for the test though....
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Old 04-28-2004, 05:41 AM   #47
Nick Simpson
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Re: 5th kyu test advice for a begginer

Yeah, the first way sounds like what I meant, Irimi in, cut down the tsuki hand with tegatana and then pivot and apply iriminage. So satisfying when its done right When have you got your test Steven?
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Old 04-29-2004, 11:26 AM   #48
Steven Tame
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Re: 5th kyu test advice for a begginer

My test is on 9th May but I only have 4 practice days left due to all of the national holidays here. I`ve been going through the motions and stuff at home but I need to try the stuff with a real uke before I test.
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Old 04-29-2004, 12:31 PM   #49
mrjam2jab
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Re: 5th kyu test advice for a begginer

My sensei hinted towards possibly me testing for my next step (dont know what Kyu...I am currently white belt--Kokikai)...my only concern is that i seem to have a mental block with the names of the moves. I see you folks listing techniques and I will recognize a few words but couldnt tell you what the tech, looks like. Maybe if somebody were to test before me so i could watch one first, but I am the only white belt there...
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Old 04-30-2004, 09:53 AM   #50
Nick Simpson
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Re: 5th kyu test advice for a begginer

Ask your sensei or a sempai then, im sure they will be more than happy to help you, afterall, knowbody comes to a dojo knowing everything, training is a learning experiance
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