Dojo Testing (March 27, 2010)
The testing time for our dojo has come and gone agin. On March 27, 2010 Kiryu Aikido along with Tanshinjuku and Doushinjuku got together for Aikido testing through Aikikai. This time around we had a good amount of people testing from all levels from 5th kyu to 2nd Dan. The testing went by smoothly and I was very happy to see the work that the people from my group and the other groups had put in from the last test.
The students testing for black belt went through their testing techniques, and I had seen these students test previously. There had been much improvement from their last test and I think they were happy with the results. The testing included open hand, weapons (tanto dori, tachi dori, and jo dori), and randori (multiple attackers). Each dojo’s instructor calls out the techniques for their students especially at the black belt and above levels. Each dojo has their own flavor of what they require their students to employ during the test, but the fundamental techniques are the same.
I personally enjoy testing with different groups of Aikido students and instructors. This really helps keep the motivation up and also that extra push of wanting to do their best in front of the other students and instrutors. We must think of these testing sessions as the sharpening stone for our own swords. To keep it sharp shows in each of our techniques, preparedness, zanshin and martial spirit. Once we stop trying to always progress there is no need to train anymore. You can see the differing levels of that spark in each of the students eyes. I believe the more we are exposed to this wonderful art (Aikido) that spark continues to grow and this in turns fuels our practice.
I always try to think hard after each test for what I learned and what I want to really push in myself and my students after the test. A lot of times the same lessons that we need to focus on keep popping up again and again. That is probably the nature of Aikido and martial arts. The basic tenants are simple, but not always easy to follow each and every day.
This time I had a thought on basic ettiquite during our testing. I really try to press my students for how to walk up to the testing area, how to bow and what order and other things we should focus on. If we focus on this early (5th kyu and above) then in theory each test this should get better and better. Each school approaches ettiquite during normal classes differently. However, we (Kiryu Aikido) try to work on this every class. It should not be something we force like trying to fit a semester of learning the night before the final. However, this can be a gradual thing we accumulate throughout our daily practice.
The last thing I really want to focus on after the tests is our martial sprit. Aikido is a martial art and should be treated as one. Our attacks should be committed and really show our intent to strike our partner. This gives our partner the true feeling and practice of how to deal with attacks. This again helps us sharpen our skills and our mental focus on our techniques and surroundings. I think this is an important part of our training and we can always refocus after the testing on the things we need to work on even if we do well.
Congratulations to everyone who tested from the three dojos. From Kiryu good job to (Keith, Benjamin, John, and Jason). For everyone keep up the hard training and lets redouble our effort! Also, thanks to Marquita Izawa Sensei for taking the time to help coordinate the test this time and provide the testing location (Tanshinjuku Dojo).
Kiryu Aikido © 2010