I passed my 1st Kyu exam! It’s still sinking in, and honestly I’m not one to brag (too much) of my achievements, here are somethings that pop into my mind about the test:
1. It’s definitely a little nerve-racking when you’re one of your Sensei’s ukes and he’s grading you! Ergo, all in all I felt alright during the test.
2. I mixed up Gokyo with ikkyo (doh!)
3. Got caught surprised by my uke on several occasions when I would turn around to listen to the judges calling out the techniques. Basically I had my back to my uke (a 3rd Dan) when listening and when I turned around the movement would have already started.
4. I made several technical mistakes that include #1 but other than that I felt that at least I flowed.
In conclusion all of the testees passed (a 5th kyu, myself, and another who tested for 1st kyu). In the training afterward Sensei stressed not only the techniques that all three of us had missed, but also how Aikido is a vehicle of personal development.
In the traditional dinner that followed the test and training, myself along with six others listened some history of the dojo and well as the political history of Aikido in the San Francisco Bay Area. Although I won’t divulge the gritty details, I will say that it has a colorful history. Last but definitely not least, we were again reminded that how we should approach Aikido not through the techniques, but through the development of looking past the techniques and using them as guides to one’s personal development through any and every facet of one’s life being.
I haven’t yet settled into the fact that I’m officially a 1st Kyu – the thought of being one step away from my Shodan is a little over my head at the moment. However I can’t help but think that my real training is only beginning. The joke in these parts is that your Shodan is your next white belt, a joke that I will happily agree with. What I’m saying is that as much as I love Aikido and have considered my dojo(s) as second homes, my real training is actually off the mat. I can only imagine that I will form this outlook on any martial art that I encounter.
Thank you to those who gave me words of encouragement; I look forward to your support and gung-ho attitude in the future!