Saturday, August 16, 2008

Why I'm Not Testing

I've been asked this question a lot lately. I have more than the number of practice days needed to test for 3rd kyu at this point. Actually, I've had enough days in that I could have tested a few months ago.

I have no doubt that I could pass a 3rd kyu test. I'm sure I could demonstrate the required techniques in a proficient enough manner. However, there are aspects of my practice that I'd like to see come along a little further before I test for 3rd kyu.

I feel it's necessary. In my mind, tests should be taken when the time is right. Not just when the bell rings indicating you've put in x amount of days. My rate of progression for aikido will not be changed on whether or not I take the test. Don't get me wrong, I don't avoid testing when needed, I just feel that having more of a 'buffer' for passing is important.

The downside of this of course is that people blow past me in rank and in fact, someone that started aikido much later than me is planning on testing for 3rd kyu at the end of this month. I'm fine with this... in fact, I'm likely going to be uke for her for the test.

Think of it this way..... when the time comes for me to take a test.... any test... I'd rather there be no question in the examiners minds as to whether I should pass or not.

Go for the knock out... Don't leave it in the judge's hands.


At August 18, 2008 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you. Better to be overprepared than just eek by. A test to me is several things. First a measure of my knowledge. second a reflection of my teacher and third, an opportunity to experience the closest thing to a real attack situation that I ever want to be in. The pressure of a test lets me practice calm in the face of chaos. That being said however, sometimes we judge ourselves on standards much higher than the rank we are testing for. That is why if your main instructor recommends you for your test you should assume they know your aikido well enough to have confidence in your ability to pass. So by all means feel good about when you test but listen to your sensei's too. I always used their cue that I should test as a starting point to practice for the test, usually 3 to 6 months for me. But in the lower ranks 1,2,3 kyu, maybe 6-8 weeks or so 3 times a week. Good luck Rob

At August 18, 2008 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that being thoroughly prepared is a good idea. Even though I think aikido tests, especially kyu tests, are really more demonstrations of all you have learned rather than tests (I've rarely seen anybody fail in the years I've been at NEA,and I've seen some bad ones), I always wanted to have the confidence that comes from being prepared. Good luck with your training and testing, whenever it happens to be.


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