Test Night At Shodokan
We had three people testing tonight. The first was a fourth kyu test. Richard had been a 5th kyu for quite a while. I get the impression he only comes about 2 days a week. That makes the learning curve a little slower. I was partnered up with him a few weeks back and one other time a week or so ago. On the nights where we had an open mat night we worked together on his test. Earlier in the week, he got word to me to ask if I could uke for him for the test. So I was his test partner for tonight.
Overall I think he did a fair 4th kyu test. I did a lot of internal groaning for some of it. I swear he was actually better a couple weeks back when I practiced with him on the mat. I know he was very nervous about the test. Even with the mistakes he did do a lot of it correctly. After the test I was told by both Sensei and other students that he had improved markedly since they saw him working on it last.
I will say this. The test they saw was 100% him. I didn't steer my limbs in any direction or give him any hint as to what he should be doing. If he was going to do a different pin for a technique then what is normally shown I just went with it. If he was doing a particular technique different than I expected I just went with it. I've always felt that my job as uke is to just be there for my testing partner. If nage starts doing the wrong thing, go with it. This even extends to the bowing in and out. If he bows in the wrong order or something.... I mirror my partner.
Tough call but I'd say he probably passed. They are likely going to work on a few of his techniques in the next few weeks to help polish things up.
Next up we had a 1st kyu test. John had tested before in the past but had little preparation. For this test he looked well prepared. He gave a good test. Not an easy thing to do for someone his age and physical condition(he's older and his knees are shot). The best part of it was that Chris was his partner. John throws with a lot of power. Chris was slammed to the mat a few times during the test. They both were winded but came out of it ok. I was really impressed with the test overall.
After that we had a different Chris testing for 1st kyu. A bit thin on hours, I had my doubts as to how he'd do. I have to say that he also gave a strong test. He picked some interesting techniques. He had been training for three months or so on it and it showed. His training partner didn't make it to the dojo for the test so he grabbed Joanna as uke. Her ukemi is excellent. She's very good at following what your doing and in general you can slam the crap out of her and she won't get hurt. Anyway, I could criticize certain things about his technique but the test looked good.
Next up were the freestyles. I was uke for the group that attacked John. John doesn't have any sensitivity. He just does stuff. So you really have to keep up. During the freestyle he got a little excited and torqued my wrist pretty hard. If I noticed it then it must have been bad. I don't usually feel much discomfort in the wrists. He got me with a very fast and direct kotagaeshi. It was not one I could breakfall out of, he shoved it down so I had to go straight to the mat to relieve the pressure. For the most part he was doing a good job keeping people off of him. Right at the end he actually lost his balance but popped right back up before I could grab him or anything.
Then it was Chris's turn for the freestyle. I was excused as an uke so I got to watch. I saw him backing up a lot. I also was amused to see a couple of Osotogari like throws. He had his foot in but didn't sweep it and used it as a trip. Still effective. So he had an ok freestyle. That's not the first time I've seen someone in our dojo do osotgari. You'd think we do judo a lot or something.
So it was a pretty tame night for me. I made sure during the class before that I had Richard so we could get used to practicing together. Then I just did the one test and one freestyle. Pretty laidback. night.
I was prodded after tests about my nottesting. I reminded everyone that I am short on hours.... by a lot. It was pointed out to me that my overall hours is really quite sufficient. It is true that had I tested on time every time I think I'd be shodan by now. I could've tested tonight but I hadn't practiced with anyone so it likely would have looked unpolished for the techniques. I'd like to think my freestyle would have been fine though.
Just before I left Joanna asked me to be her uke for her shodan test. I said sure. So, we'll have to make it a point to work together more. I don't see much of her nowadays as we train on different days.