Little House In Ise

Kids Testing
December 29, 2009, 12:22
Filed under: Aikido | Tags: , , ,

Ray and Kokoro took rank tests on the 20th. Kokoro was testing for 6 kyu jun and Ray for 2 kyu jun. The “jun” ranks are “pre” ranks put in place to make kids take twice as many tests between one full kyu and the next. The kids have colored belts (Aikikai in general sticks to the white belt/black belt plan) that change color in unclear (to me) increments.

Honbu uses white, yellow, orange, blue, purple and brown. After brown, the kids must wait until they turn 15 before they are allowed to test for black belt. For some, I think this may end up being a bit frustrating but it makes good sense since black belt really needs to mean something. Recent tradition holds that it is awarded at the first step or shodan (初段). It has been said that black belts are awarded when a student knows enough to *begin* learning. Based on that idea, it is hard for me to believe that most kids younger than about fifteen, no matter how physically talented or martially gifted, are really ready for shodan. My son, about whom I dearly love to brag (so please bear with me), started training at five. He is now ten and has just tested for a 2nd kyu rank (2nd and a half if you prefer). At his current pace he will hit brown belt and have to wait for promotion for several years. It’s harder to imagine with Kokoro but she may end up in the same boat too.

The most pressing concern however is Ray’s belt. He has had the same purple belt for almost two years and he has grown a lot in that time. He now ties the knot with the tips of the belt and really needs a longer one to hold his jacket closed. 🙂 We hope he passes for his sake but as a fashion forward father I really would like to see him in better fitting clothes. 🙂

The tests themselves are held in private. The doors are closed and parents are not allowed in to watch. There were a few parents who were shocked but I think they got over it. One worried mother whispered in strongly accented English, “But she does not understand the Japanese!” Her daughter probably did fine — Aikido was the common language not Japanese.

My kids described the event completely differently. Kokoro focused on the pain of having to sit and wait her turn. She didn’t care much about the techniques she said she did whatever they asked (shomen uchi iriminage and “something else”). Ray went into wild detail. His test was thorough and included techniques from seiza and hanmihandachi as well standing. There was a katate-tori jiyuwaza (free techniqe from hand grab) portion about which he was very pleased. All in all, the kids reported that the test went well.

Several days later, one of the judges bumped into me in the hall and said that both of the kids “Ganbatta” (頑張った: did their best). I can’t ask for more and am very proud of them both.


2 Comments so far
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Good for you aiki-Dad!

Comment by Eddie deGuzman

Thanks Eddie!

Happy New Year!


Comment by Eric Holcomb

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