Little House In Ise

More About Testing at Honbu
November 28, 2008, 19:02
Filed under: Aikido, Japan | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

If I train for 139 more days and complete an essay, I will be allowed to test in December of 2009. Different to some schools, the testing staff at Honbu do not flex or fudge numbers in order to test a student who they believe “ready”. They check that all minimums have been met and then schedule tests for everyone who meets the minimum requirements. Given the number of students who train here, the judges often don’t have a sense of the students’ ability before seeing their technique. As a result, they tend to be strict and it is common to see people fail for technical reasons.

The Aikikai Honbu requirements for 3rd dan are

“Minimum 2 years since 2nd dan, with 300 days of practice
Same as above plus Tachidori , Jodori and Taninzugake
Same as above (Topics will be assigned)”.

“Same as above”, means all previous test requirements and an essay. The additional requirements beyond 2nd dan are sword and staff disarming and multiple attackers (unspecified number).

Since I tend to be a bit on the wordy side, the essay requirement doesn’t bother me. The others will be challenging. You see, despite the world-class teaching staff and the resulting high quality students they attract, Honbu has neither sword nor staff training in their official curricula. Multiple attacker practice is also rare. So, what to do?

Do it anyway! After class, before class, outside of class, these are the times and places to add the extra tools to the old Aikido bandoleer. After morning class, Mr. Kamitani has been grabbing me to practice sword disarming techniques. His 3rd dan test is in about 6 months and he is very worked up about swords. When Mr. Kamitani is absent or has found another victim (anyone who went to Iwama with the Russians seems to be fair game), I try to join Murai Senseu for jodori. If neither of them is available, Patrice still seems to enjoy very rough tanto tori practice.

For multiple attackers, I haven’t come up with a plan yet but I think getting a list of willing folks together shouldn’t be too hard. After that we just need to commandeer a corner of the mat and go for it. Only 139 training days till Christmas, Woohoo!


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hi, Interesting info about Hombu testing. I understand the need for time limits and minimum requirements in the testing system, yet it seems unfair to test on material and skills not taught at the hombu itself. One might say that it would spur individual experimentation and cross training. However, as strict as the guidelines are, it appears to be a serious weakness in the curriculum. Good training to you!

Comment by Eddie deGuzman

Howdy Eddie,

The lack of weapons does feel like a hole to me too. However, it does force everyone who aspires beyond a certain level to go out on their own and train above and beyond normal classes. That may not be the reason but it is the result.


Comment by Eric Holcomb

Hi Eric, very true and I’m all for moving to another level. It just seems unfair to make it a requirement in a school that doesn’t teach it. But mat time is precious. Never enough time for everything. Happy falls!

Comment by Eddie deGuzman

This is a Link to Eddie’s Blog


Comment by Eric Holcomb

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: