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Thread: Testing Questions.

  1. #1
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    Default Testing Questions.

    Hello, I am just wondering if it's possible to take 4th & 5th kyu tests on the same day in Aikido.. if I am already over 120 days in practice?

    I am about 12 days lacking so I missed the last test and next test will be in 6 months.. would really appreciate any answers.
    thanks!

  2. #2
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    Hello

    Welcome to E-Budo.

    The kyu and dan ranking systems are as much an expression of a vertical relationship between student and teacher as they are of a general level applicable anywhere -- and some find this disconcerting. I have known students skip a grade and even start their grades with shodan. Are you in a position to ask somebody in your dojo? I think it will depend on your dojo culture.

    Best wishes
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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    Hello Cara,
    Why such a hurry, aikido is for life, it is not something you can learn in a few month, if you'll have enough patience, in a few years you will understand. Please enjoy the way.

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    A journey is seldom undertaken without at least some idea of the destination. We usually have some idea of how far we will be travelling and how long it might take. We choose to pace the journey depending on the distance ahead and how much time we think it will take. If we are pressed for time and the distance is short then we may choose to jog or run, if we can see it is further than that we may choose to consere energy and walk at a steady pace.

    The people who have responded to your question have both been travelling quite some time. They probably sprinted as fast as they could when they first started out. Everything seemed so urgent then. Now they have found a steady pace that they can maintain indefinitely and are probably content with that. When they (or you or I) first began, they wanted/needed distance markers to come up at regular intervals so that they could judge how far they'd travelled... now they know that they're headed in the right direction, they don't need those reminders so frequently. They probably wonder why they needed so much reassurance before.

    Your dojo will have its own rules. The instructor may well be following something that has been set by some distant governing body or he might be in sole charge of the decisions about who grades to what and when. Asking the question here can only produce the vaguest answers, as your own dojo may well be slightly different from others.

    You just have to ponder the first part of my post. Do you see yourself taking this journey for the rest of your life, or are you hoping to "finish" it as soon as you get to Shodan? Six months is nothing if you are here for the long term.
    David Noble
    Shorinji Kempo (1983 - 1988)
    I'll think of a proper sig when I get a minute...

    For now, I'm just waiting for the smack of the Bo against a hard wooden floor....

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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tripitaka of AA View Post
    A journey is seldom undertaken without at least some idea of the destination. We usually have some idea of how far we will be travelling and how long it might take. We choose to pace the journey depending on the distance ahead and how much time we think it will take. If we are pressed for time and the distance is short then we may choose to jog or run, if we can see it is further than that we may choose to consere energy and walk at a steady pace.

    The people who have responded to your question have both been travelling quite some time. They probably sprinted as fast as they could when they first started out. Everything seemed so urgent then. Now they have found a steady pace that they can maintain indefinitely and are probably content with that. When they (or you or I) first began, they wanted/needed distance markers to come up at regular intervals so that they could judge how far they'd travelled... now they know that they're headed in the right direction, they don't need those reminders so frequently. They probably wonder why they needed so much reassurance before.

    Your dojo will have its own rules. The instructor may well be following something that has been set by some distant governing body or he might be in sole charge of the decisions about who grades to what and when. Asking the question here can only produce the vaguest answers, as your own dojo may well be slightly different from others.

    You just have to ponder the first part of my post. Do you see yourself taking this journey for the rest of your life, or are you hoping to "finish" it as soon as you get to Shodan? Six months is nothing if you are here for the long term.
    Hello David,

    Since it is quite relevant to Cara's question, I thought I would give some response to your comment -- and you can compare this with your own experience in SK.

    I began aikido towards the end of my student career in the UK. My (Japanese) teacher was also a student and was only indirectly connected with the Aikikai headquarters in Japan. In fact, we were never graded, ever. In the US, also, my dojo did not really have a kyu grading culture, for the grades that mattered were dan grades and these were given only at the summer camp, which for various reasons I never attended.

    Back in the UK after a few more years of training, I was requested to take a grading test, with about two hours advance warning. I passed and received the rank of shodan. This would be about nine years after starting aikido. The reason was extremely practical and had nothing to do with journeys, destinations or the other 'spiritual' reasons some people give for continuing training. The dojo was fairly young and the (Japanese) chief instructor wanted to create a group of junior instructors to provide cover for occasions when he was away giving weekend seminars. I was one of these instructors and until I left for Japan I received very valuable instruction on how to teach.

    So, and this goes back to Cara's question, it never entered out heads to ask about kyu grades, for they were never mentioned and we did not even know what they were. We knew only about dan ranks -- black belts, and so our grading histories began from there. Now, here in Hiroshima, the situation is somewhat different. We have large children's classes and parents like their kids to go through a kyu grading system, since the kyu diplomas also come from headquarters and are signed by Doshu (this is unique to Japan). I think the younger kids start from 10th kyu and receive the same kind of diploma as their older peers. However, there is no culture of testing: the point of the kyu grade is group solidarity and the kids who fall behind, usually for various reasons unconnected with aikido, are encouraged to catch up. So we now have a group of young yudansha who started aikido when they were in elementary school. (Japan has a 6-3-3 school system and the youngest start aikido when they are about 7 or 8 and the minimum age for receiving shodan is 15.)

    Best wishes,
    Peter Goldsbury,
    Forum Administrator,
    Hiroshima, Japan

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    Hello Prof Goldsbury,
    Thank you for sharing your interesting beginnings in Aikido. I like the thought and think it is the philosophy in Aikido not to bother about grades or ranks and I also prefer to use the white belt until you get the black belt, not the coloured belts some dojos use. Our teacher knows when we are ready for a test.
    In Spain we begin with 6th Kyu,and after 3 month training, I was pushed to the test, thinking that I was not ready. After 2 years being 3 Kyu, I changed dojo and had to change the form I used to do a technique, this is more difficult than to begin from 0. So it took more time to get the shodan than usual, I had no hurry

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    Drat Peter. Now you've got me. I came up with some vague "fortune cookie" faux wisdom and if I go into my own training history my qualification to post will disappear. It will be like the moment when Toto the dog pulls the curtain away to reveal that The Wizard of Oz is just a travelling salesman with a sense of showbiz.

    I began my Shorinji Kempo career when I was encouraged to watch a class by my schoolmate and drinking buddy. What he had been doing for a few months turned out to be something exciting and intriguing that I just had to try. I trained for a few sessions in my T-shirt and tracksuit bottoms and when the Instructor asked if I was ready to buy a dogi I realised I was hooked.

    In the UK at the time (and still currently as far as I know), the Children and Adult classes were both taught from a set syllabus which had certain elements of kihon and techniques to "master" (be tested on) before moving on to the next set of techniques. We followed the kyu system that was went from 5th kyu, 4th, etc. In fact, the adult students in Japan only went from white belt to brown then black, but on arrival in the UK the instructors felt that the Western students seemed to crave some tangible recognition to keep their interest, so we were taught and graded according to the syllabus that was used in Japan for the childrens classes.

    This is where my experience is totally different from Peter's. I was encouraged by the "milestones" of regular gradings and the thrill of receiving a new colour belt to mark the elevation to my status was undeniable. A very simple way of rewarding the hard work and encouraging commitment, it has been adopted by many arts whose instructors see the students as "customers". I did not feel that was happening in my training, but it certainly can be abused by unscrupulous teachers who use grading fees and belt sales as extra sources of revenue.

    One of the reasons it worked well in the Shorinji Kempo classes where I trained, was the effect it had on standardisation. In order to ensure the quality of the training, instructors were being observed and "judged" by the performances of their students. In hindsight, this may have been one of the main reasons why it was done like that. Mizuno Sensei was keen to encourage his students to open their own clubs when they were ready, in a period of expansion. To keep tabs on their abilities as instructors, getting to see their students at gradings was probably a valuable tool. In the end, all the students benefitted from this as the "levelling up" process would ensure that weak links could be strengthened. If my mixed metaphors aren't too confusing.

    There were set time limits and a tally of training sessions attended, to try and ensure that people didn't get carried away with racing toward the next grade. The pace was steady and the rewards felt earned. Compared with the free-flowing nature of Peter's experience, it now seems very rigid and formal. I recognise this now, as a format that is as much to do with "Quality Control" for instructors, as it is for providing a clearly marked path for training. In the end, every student has to find their own ways to fit training into their lives, but the kyu system can help them to see their place in the big picture. When a kyu grade student, gradings that are six month apart can seem like an age.. then you hear about dan grade students who go decades before moving up - it seems unreal.

    My training? I started aged 19, trained for around five years and stopped just after I got my Nidan. I am just a keen armchair fan now. I had to stop training for reasons unrelated to Shorinji Kempo and would have liked to continue but it was not possible. Many people that I trained with are still active in Shorinji Kempo and I would like to think I would still have been training.
    David Noble
    Shorinji Kempo (1983 - 1988)
    I'll think of a proper sig when I get a minute...

    For now, I'm just waiting for the smack of the Bo against a hard wooden floor....

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    Thank you everyone for the response, I really appreciate it. As for me.. since I don't have a rank yet, in a way I guess.. I just want to make sense of my training and mark a milestone and feel like I am moving forward and then there's a feeling of actually belonging to the club once I become 5th kyu ... I know it's a long journey.. I am shy to ask my sensei and him thinking I am rushing and is just after my belt... it's not about the belt.. we remain white belt until black.. but it's more about my feelings about it, the sense that I am moving forward and not stagnant. But okay, no rush, I guess it will come. Thank you!

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