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Old 01-27-2006, 12:45 PM   #1
Ed Stansfield
 
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Reasons for testing

Hello,

What would you say is a good reason for wanting to test?

So, if your teacher said to you:

"Tell me why we should put you in for this test"

What would you say?



Best,

Ed

It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.

Winston Churchill, 1930.
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Old 01-27-2006, 01:19 PM   #2
John Boswell
 
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Re: Reasons for testing

The Truth.

Why do YOU want to test? Is it for rank? You put your time in? You think your worthy of the test/rank? What is it?

Any number of people could answer a dozen different ways. Why others would want to be put in for a test doesn't matter because they are not you.

Speak from your heart. Tell your Sensei the truth. If he agrees with your reasoning, he'll test you. If you thinks otherwise, he may have you wait a while. But NO answer anyone here can give will ever be YOUR answer.

Sorry, but you've gotta do this one on your own.

Best of luck to you and the test!

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Old 01-27-2006, 04:50 PM   #3
James Davis
 
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Re: Reasons for testing

Quote:
Ed Stansfield wrote:
Hello,

What would you say is a good reason for wanting to test?

So, if your teacher said to you:

"Tell me why we should put you in for this test"

What would you say?



Best,

Ed
Because I want to know if I'm capable of passing.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 01-27-2006, 05:20 PM   #4
Karen Wolek
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Re: Reasons for testing

I dunno. He never asks that

He just says, "Start practicing for your test."

I don't think he's too interested in my opinions about testing, LOL.

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 01-27-2006, 09:21 PM   #5
ESimmons
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Re: Reasons for testing

Honestly, I find myself irritated when filling out test applications. Going through the kyu ranks at my dojo, assuming one never or rarely misses class and doesn't hit a stumbling block in one's training, one tests for a new color belt every 3 months or so (depending on the scheduling of tests days).

If I were to fill out my test application for 4th kyu today, I wouldn't really have a better answer than the one I put down for 7th kyu a year ago. I like aikido, I show up to class and have the necessary class credit, I have given 100% up to this point and believe I can demonstrate this level's techniques and those prior to the best of my ability, and (of course) I want to continue the cirriculum. To me, all that should pretty much speak for itself, although every time I fill out an application and am asked "Why do you wish to test?", "How has aikido training benefitted you thus far?" or "How do you think you will benefit from advancing?", I find myself searching in vain for something new and worthwhile to say.

Although I possess the capability of writing something profoundly introspective, I personally prefer to take the obvious route. Feel free to do that or not. If you are a dedicated, I am confident that you will be graded unless your motive for testing is to attain mastery of the nine magics so that you may slaughter those weaker than yourself and strike fear into the hearts of women and children.
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Old 01-28-2006, 11:00 AM   #6
Edwin Neal
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Re: Reasons for testing

every moment is a test...
"tests" are then the same as every other moment
i spend my moments in aikido to become better than i was last moment

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-29-2006, 03:01 PM   #7
odudog
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Re: Reasons for testing

I find it interesting that some of you have to answer questions on why you would want to test. I don't have to do that at my dojo and we are proactive in the sense that we tell Sensei when we want to test. This just clues him into our thinking and then he starts to watch us like a hawk to see if we are actually ready. I kind of like that. You are responsible for your own advancement.
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Old 01-29-2006, 03:51 PM   #8
Edwin Neal
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Re: Reasons for testing

this is talked about in another thread... but again you are testing every time you are on the mat... testing should never be about passing or failing, if you would fail you are not ready to test... testing is a milestone a chance for you to test yourself not see if you measure up to senseis standards... sensei already knows that from your daily practice... asking when will i test sensei, when will i be a black belt shows an improper attitude in your training who cares what your rank is... what can you do?

Edwin Neal


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Old 01-30-2006, 09:50 AM   #9
justin
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Re: Reasons for testing

is it considered the norm to ask to be tested i always thought you should be invited to test from previous experience.
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Old 01-30-2006, 10:08 AM   #10
Simbo
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Re: Reasons for testing

Quote:
Justin Thomas wrote:
is it considered the norm to ask to be tested i always thought you should be invited to test from previous experience.
My dojo just switch from the system where sensei says "Are you ready to test?" to everyone tests at the end of the semester and if you pass and have enough time under your belt, yippie. Don't know exactly how it was before since I never got asked to take the test.
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Old 01-30-2006, 11:19 AM   #11
justin
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Re: Reasons for testing

Quote:
Steven Imboden wrote:
My dojo just switch from the system where sensei says "Are you ready to test?" to everyone tests at the end of the semester and if you pass and have enough time under your belt, yippie. Don't know exactly how it was before since I never got asked to take the test.

i am still very new to aikido hence my question if my instructor asked me if i was ready to grade dont think i would ever get passed 6th kyu
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Old 01-30-2006, 12:20 PM   #12
Matt Molloy
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Re: Reasons for testing

Quote:
Eric Simmons wrote:
If you are a dedicated, I am confident that you will be graded unless your motive for testing is to attain mastery of the nine magics so that you may slaughter those weaker than yourself and strike fear into the hearts of women and children.
You mean that those aren't valid reasons?!?!?

Damn and I was so close.

With regard to the original question, I just wait until I start getting messages reminiscent of the old, "You can run but you can't hide" variety and the "what grade did you say you were again?" in that tone from the head honcho then I know that it's probably time.

Cheers,

Matt.
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Old 01-31-2006, 06:44 AM   #13
Nick Simpson
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Re: Reasons for testing

I get told when I test. I like it that way. Nice and simple.

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 02-01-2006, 06:21 PM   #14
Michael O'Brien
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Re: Reasons for testing

Quote:
Nick Simpson wrote:
I get told when I test. I like it that way. Nice and simple.
Nick,
Same here and it is a whole lot simplier. LOL

You walk in and there is a notice on the bulletin board that says:

"The next testing cycle is between Date ?? and Date ??"

Then the names of students will be listed and the ranks they will be testing for. If you can not make it to class during the testing cycle then it is your responsiblility to inform Sensei (and have a good reason for not making it)!

Harmony does not mean that there are no conflicts,
for the dynamic spiral of existence embraces both extremes.
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Old 02-01-2006, 11:54 PM   #15
Edwin Neal
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Re: Reasons for testing

I like the surprise testing method, more than the regularly scheduled testing ie end of semester, every x months... anytime a whole bunch of aikidoka get together at seminars, camps, etc you have to know it could be your time... you should 'be prepared' as the boy scouts say... i usually add 'always' to that...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-02-2006, 12:32 AM   #16
eyrie
 
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Re: Reasons for testing

Well, if you're always prepared, then tests are pretty much irrelevant aren't they?

What fun would there be to test someone who was prepared? The real test happens when we aren't prepared.

Ignatius
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Old 02-02-2006, 01:18 AM   #17
Edwin Neal
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Re: Reasons for testing

no ignatius... as i have said elsewhere it IS relevant to YOU... a sort of milestone... a chance to test yourself, your performance, your conviction, and to measure yourself against yourself... your second point is my point exactly... if you cram for a test, and parrot it back, then relapse until your next cram session that would be considered by most educators and students a poor type of performance or learning strategy...

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-02-2006, 04:11 AM   #18
eyrie
 
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Re: Reasons for testing

I think I was generally agreeing with you, Edwin. See the big grinning green smilie?
All I'm saying is that it shouldn't be a "surprise" if you're (always) prepared.

In terms of my conviction, my performance and an opportunity to measure myself against myself, that already happens, whereever I happen to be at the time, not necessarily on the mat, or at a camp.

Ignatius
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Old 02-02-2006, 04:27 AM   #19
Edwin Neal
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Re: Reasons for testing

oh i see what you mean... it may not be a surprise but it is usually surprising when your name is called if you get my meaning... true we are alway testing ourselves, but usually only in our minds not in front of everybody else with all eyes on us!

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-02-2006, 05:29 AM   #20
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Reasons for testing

Quote:
Eric Simmons wrote:
If I were to fill out my test application for 4th kyu today, I wouldn't really have a better answer than the one I put down for 7th kyu a year ago. I like aikido, I show up to class and have the necessary class credit, I have given 100% up to this point and believe I can demonstrate this level's techniques and those prior to the best of my ability, and (of course) I want to continue the cirriculum. To me, all that should pretty much speak for itself, although every time I fill out an application and am asked "Why do you wish to test?", "How has aikido training benefitted you thus far?" or "How do you think you will benefit from advancing?", I find myself searching in vain for something new and worthwhile to say.
I am surprised that you are asked these questions for kyu grade tests. Is your dojo a large dojo, where the instructors do not know intimately the technical strengths and weaknesses of each student? In my own dojo we hold tests twice a year, in June and December, and the timing corresponds to the tests held in the central dojo. (Kyu tests are held by each local instructor, while dan tests are held in the central dojo.) So students who train regularly advance and can expect to take a test for the next grade.

Thus, the questions seem rather pointless in my opinion. They appear to assume that anyone can give the benefits of (continued) training and advancing to the next grade immediately and in a pithy sentence that can be written on an application form. We use the Aikikai Hombu application forms that do not have these questions.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 02-02-2006, 09:14 AM   #21
ian
 
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Re: Reasons for testing

Your question Ed, is a bit like a zen koan. The answer to it is dependent on what your sensei is trying to make you realise. Assuming that it he doesn't ask that because he thinks you're not ready I suppose reasons for testing are:
1. because you believe testing helps to bring order to the techniques you are doing and make you feel a sense of progression (being able to seperate aspects you are comfortable with, or have focussed on, compared to other bits you still need to learn).
2. because you need an aim to ensure you focus your training
3. because you need to see how you behave in a more pressured environment
4. because you want to kick some worthless uke ass

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 02-02-2006, 01:02 PM   #22
Edwin Neal
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Re: Reasons for testing

Ian you are right on... 1 and 3 definately/obviously, by reviewing how i felt the experience of the test, by feed back from other aikidoka, and by reviewing video of the test, 2 the aim/focus is to get better, whatever that may mean to me, and 4... i like to be the worthless uke ass, but if my uke doesn't mind... well sure, i'd like that too... just gotta be careful and not break them!

Edwin Neal


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Old 02-02-2006, 04:53 PM   #23
Ed Stansfield
 
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Re: Reasons for testing

As the OP, I should start by thanking everyone that's replied. I tried to phrase the original post in general terms but it was of course a question I'd been asked. I'm not particularly superstitious but I wanted to wait for the answer to my answer before I posted again . . .

Taking some of the things that people have raised:

Quote:
Eric Simmons wrote:
Honestly, I find myself irritated when filling out test applications
and
Quote:
Peter Goldsbury wrote:
The questions seem rather pointless in my opinion. They appear to assume that anyone can give the benefits of (continued) training and advancing to the next grade immediately and in a pithy sentence that can be written on an application form
We're usually a "get told" rather than "ask to test" organisation, so we don't have application forms and its not a situation I've been in before. I do feel that, in general, application forms may well be the root of all evil, but that's another matter.

Quote:
Edwin Neal wrote:
asking when will i test sensei, when will i be a black belt shows an improper attitude in your training
I agree . . .
As I said, it's not a situation I've been in before. I didn't really think about it too much before hand, I just felt that it was something I wanted to do. Afterwards, I spent most of a weekend thinking about my motivations.

Quote:
Ian Dodkins wrote:
Your question Ed, is a bit like a zen koan. The answer to it is dependent on what your sensei is trying to make you realise. Assuming that it he doesn't ask that because he thinks you're not ready I suppose reasons for testing are:
1. because you believe testing helps to bring order to the techniques you are doing and make you feel a sense of progression (being able to seperate aspects you are comfortable with, or have focussed on, compared to other bits you still need to learn).
2. because you need an aim to ensure you focus your training
3. because you need to see how you behave in a more pressured environment
These are all good reasons, as was
Quote:
Because I want to know if I'm capable of passing.
and as John Boswell said at the beginning, it's not something that anyone else can answer for you. The issues of focus and pressure are certainly motivating factors.
Quote:
Ian Dodkins also wrote:
4. because you want to kick some worthless uke ass
Yes, I'm going to go out on a limb here and put that in the "reasons not to give" column.

I think that one reason for him asking the question was to make me focus my mind on the commitment I was making and make a clear statement of it.

The grading in question is Nidan and in our organisation that's the last "on the mat" grading, so another reason was effectively to say "if your motivation is to get that grade, what are you going to do afterwards?"

When I was at school (well, in the middle of my A levels but you know what I mean) I used to do a lot of hill walking. Also, I had a girl friend who lived a couple of miles away so I used to do a lot of walking in general. The day before my english exam, I went up to the Lakes with two friends and we climbed most of the peaks in the Scafell range. That's no big deal as far as mountains go but it was a big deal to me at the time; as a kid it had been sort of mythical to me. The reason why I still bore people with this story though isn't to do with getting to the top of somewhere high, its that
Quote:
A. Wainwright wrote:
It does a man good to realise his insignificance in the general scheme of things, and that is his experience here.
When I think about Shodan, I think about what we did to arrive there. That journey is where the quality is for me. I think that's my answer . . .

Anyway, enough for one night.

Best,

Ed

It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.

Winston Churchill, 1930.
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Old 02-03-2006, 08:49 AM   #24
ESimmons
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Re: Reasons for testing

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
I am surprised that you are asked these questions for kyu grade tests. Is your dojo a large dojo, where the instructors do not know intimately the technical strengths and weaknesses of each student?
I attend a private dojo. There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced aikido evening classes. In each class, there could be anywhere from a few to ten or fifteen students. Senior students and instructors are always hovering around. There's a lot of observation and one-on-one instruction going on.

Quote:
In my own dojo we hold tests twice a year, in June and December, and the timing corresponds to the tests held in the central dojo. (Kyu tests are held by each local instructor, while dan tests are held in the central dojo.) So students who train regularly advance and can expect to take a test for the next grade.
We hold a test day, I'd say off hand, approximately once every month-and-a-half. Most kyu grades require ~3 months of training to test for, although it's measured in attendance and test dates will obviously not align perfectly with your schedule. (I tested three times last year, though theoretically it should have taken only 9 months.)

Quote:
Thus, the questions seem rather pointless in my opinion. They appear to assume that anyone can give the benefits of (continued) training and advancing to the next grade immediately and in a pithy sentence that can be written on an application form. We use the Aikikai Hombu application forms that do not have these questions.
I can't speak for Sensei, but my guess would be that they're there to give the student an opportunity to write anything that the dojo administration should be aware of. For instance, a question that is on there that I didn't mention is, essentially, "What are your goals/future plans with your training/our dojo?"

Like I said, I don't know that you wouldn't be tested for not filling them out; I just always do, since they're there.
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Old 02-03-2006, 09:00 AM   #25
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Reasons for testing

Hello Mr Simmons,

Many thanks for your reply.

My own dojo is affilated to the local Aikikai prefectural organization, so we follow the Hombu and prefectural guidelines.

As the chief instructor in my dojo, I hold kyu examinations, but use the grading forms supplied by the Aikikai Hombu. It is the usual practice outside Japan to use these grading forms for shodan and upwards, but we use them for 5th kyu and upwards and the kyu certificates come from the Hombu and are signed by Doshu.

As I stated, the Hombu grading forms do not have any of the questions you mentioned in your earlier post.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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