Little House In Ise

Monday Morning Quarterbacking My Own Test
December 7, 2009, 18:20
Filed under: Aikido | Tags: , , ,

My test for 3 dan was held Monday morning (2009/12/7). The judges were Seki Shihan, Kobayashi Shihan and Ito Shihan. This test was the culmination of several months of planning and additional training focusing on just plain passing. As I write this, I do not know if I have passed as results will not be posted until Wednesday. So, now that the sweat is dry and the adrenaline is gone from my system I wanted to chew on what little I remember before I lose it completely.

Upon discovering that Aikikai Honbu uses 3 dan as a wall of sorts, I realized that if I wanted to pass I would have to focus a lot more intently than I had been previously. So, I scouted tests watching who called what and what stickler details were most frequently pinpointed during the comments. I attended classes taught by one of the senior teachers, who most frequently was the head judge. This was in order to get a feel for what he felt was the “right way” to do Aikido — I even learned a couple variations that are almost unique to his way of demonstrating. In the end, none of the instructors who I was expecting showed up. Fair enough.

So, after several months of nokori geiko (残り稽古: staying after class to practice) the weekend of my test arrived. That Saturday, I attended Doshu’s morning class as usual. Apparently Doshu also had the tests in mind as he taught knife disarming. I had never seen him do that before — excellent! After that I ran to Cosmic Center to train some more. This time it was not for open-mat with the usual suspects but to attend a weapons disarming seminar taught by Inagaki Shihan of Iwama. His focus was sword and staff — again excellent! The training was awesome and I used his demonstration to plan what I would show during my test. The test requirements are actually pretty basic: 3 knife disarms, 3 staff and 3 sword.

Monday morning class lasted half an hour and then we lined up by seniority right to left (facing shomen) and with me on the far left. There was one other fellow testing for 3-dan, a wonderful Aikidoka from France whose attitude and energy I have always appreciated. I wish that I could have seen his test as I am sure it was quite excellent. In fact, the 2 dan test that came before us was wonderful as well and left me wondering if I could perform at that level — last minute jitters.

The following is my abused memory of what was called.

tachi (立ち:standing): Shomen uchi ikyo
tachi: Shomen uchi iriminage
hanmihandachi (半身半立ち: standing vs kneeling): Shomen uchi iriminage
hanmihandachi: katatetori shihonage
hanmihandachi: ryotetori shihonage
zagi (座技: kneeling): Shomen uchi nikyo
zagi: Shomen uchi nikyo
tachi: yokomen uchi jiyuwaza (自由技: free techniques)

Other? Really, I don’t remember for sure. Even the above was vague. The only thing I remember for certain is being cautioned during jiyuwaza to do only throws. I threw.

Weapons were brought out and all of my careful planning went up in smoke. From the first knife strike everything changed. I think the jo (staff) portion was similar to what I had planned but mostly it wasn’t what I had in mind at all. I disarmed the fellow but I did almost nothing that I had planned. Shit. What a waste of stress.

I had hoped to watch the taninzugake (多人数がけ: multiple attackers) portion of my friend’s randori test but I spent it doing deep-breathing exercises and really not being present at all. I don’t think anyone noticed my absence as I was sitting in front of them the whole time but I really have no clue if my buddy did well (I *assume* that he did). Then it was my turn.

During all of my multiple attacker training I have been constantly warned not to use much strength, to focus on moving and lowering my center. That was my mantra when I visualized how I wanted that part of the test to go. In the end, I felt as though I was ripping arms out of sockets rather than the smooth flow from one person to the next that I had aimed for. There was one moment of satisfaction that I remember well: I threw one of my uke straight at another and moved straight into the throat of the third. Other than that this is the fuzziest portion of all.

Afterward there were some very nice atta-boys but I’ll see on Wednesday.

I want to thank the following people for their help and patience:

Antakly-san (Sorry about your wrist!)
and pretty much everyone else in Hombu Dojo morning class.

Happy rolling!


11 Comments so far
Leave a comment

WOW. Here’s another atta-boy!

Comment by lukasa

Thank you!

Comment by Eric Holcomb

Good luck Wednesday (^-^)

Comment by Lene

I passed! Megumi prepared her idea of an “American meal” to celebrate:

2 different cuts of steak
mashed potatoes
3 small vegetable dishes

The huge pile of meat made me smile a lot and life was excellent! 🙂


Comment by Eric Holcomb


Comment by Lene

Your mother asked if I had received an email from you. I told her “No.”

Disappointment registered!!!!!!!!!

Then came delight when she checkered her email.

“My boy- no – My man is Sandan!!!!!!!!

Yes we are delighted.



Comment by Harvey Holcomb


Congratulations! Keep going. There is no end to it (-:

I made a post based on your comment to one of my earlier posts and I mentioned that there.

Comment by childsplay


Comment by executivepagan

Merry Xmas!

Comment by Uchi Deshi

Way to go Eric! I attended a practice/testing under Suganuma Shihan a couple of weekends ago, kyu through 3rd dan. It’s a pretty thorough test. Congratulations! And happy holidays!

Comment by Eddie deGuzman

You are very welcome!(Jun-san)LOL

Comment by Jihwang Yoon

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