Grading Ahoy!

Posted: June 24, 2012 in Aikido, Diary
Tags: , , , , , ,
English: vector version of Judo blue belt.png

White Belt (Aikido/Judo/Karate, etc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before my recent sabbatical, I was told the next grading would probably be in July. On returning to the club, I found the date was set and despite my recent absence, I was being invited to grade as 6th Kyu. This is the lowest rung on the Aikido ladder, or more appropriately the first step on the Aikido road.

The list of techniques required for demonstration at this level is fairly short. However, they all need to be done in Ura and Omote forms and of course left and right handed. In addition we are expected to execute Omote variants of the same technique as the uke is regaining is posture following the Ura version.

Over the last couple of sessions, I and a few others have been given some extra coaching on the basics. Usually the class is a mix of grades all attempting the same techniques – ranging from basic to quite advanced. The good news is that some things are coming together and my understanding of the basics is significantly better than it was.

The club I belong to is quite traditional and does not award coloured belts until Shodan (1st degree black-belt), but I will still feel a great deal of achievement if I pass. It’s been remarked  that the 6th kyu grading is designed as an easy introduction to the art – not sure if that makes me feel better or worse!

Its also been said that the 6th kyu techniques form the foundation of practice at higher levels – this is a recurring comment at the dojo and from other bloggers.  The recent coaching sessions have been very useful in correcting faults in technique at all levels.

Despite my current weaknesses with some techniques (notably Tenchinage and Sumi Otoshi), I am quite looking forward to the grading as a benchmark (one way or the other) of my current ability. I recall having difficulties with the Judo forms of Sumi Otoshi too. As with all assessments you do for the first time, it’s difficult to judge the pass criteria or how your memory and body will react on the day.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

I have also found that there are some fairly vast departures in Aikido technique in books and on the web – notably YouTube videos, causing significant confusion. I have been trying to distil the advice and coaching into some universal axioms I can apply.

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