Aikido Testing Nov. 6, 2010
As the time has rolled around again, and I have not updated the blog in a while, I dusted off the old notebook and pen to put up a quick post. As I have added in the past the testing at our dojos (Tanshinjuku, Kiryu Aikido, and Doushinjuku) is a special time of year. To be it is not necessarily the test itself, but the hard work and energy that the students put into their performances/testing.
As an instructor for Kiryu Aikido I take in each test and try to bring these into perspective for myself. I really try to focus and think about one apsect of the test I like to post my thought on. This test I really though about the ukes (the partners to the people testing), and that without a good uke the tests will not look as clean and polished, and the techniques not as strong. For me a good uke is one who makes a strong committed attack and is flowing with the techniques and power given to them. With this their ukemi (way of falling) is smooth and most importantly they can protect themselves from injury.
During the tests from 5th Kyu to Shodan the ukes progressed in level with the level of the tests. At the end for the black belt test there were a lot of great attacks with open hand and weapons to really push the testers to focus on getting off the line and following through with their techniques. There were some ukes that had good ukemi, but did not always attack with full commited attacks. As Izawa sensei stated after the testing the uke is there to be our sharpening stone, and only through these commited attacks can we as nages (one employing the techniques) can develop and become strong Aikido students.
This learning and training to be good ukes must be done during each and every daily practice. This trains our bodies (endurance, strength, etc) and our spirit to become these strong and flexible ukes.
The test went very well and smooth. I want to congraduate everyone on thier efforts to prepare and execute the test techniques. Also, again as ukes help shape out Aikido, our friendship and challenges presented to us from the friendship dojo’s to Kiryu Aikido (Tanshinjuku & Doushinjuku) help us streghten our ties and Aikido here in colorado. Thanks!
Andrew Blevins, Kiryu Aikido