View Full Version : Budo Spirit
Here in Japan I don't grade my students. Every three months I gather those of my flock that are ready to grade and make the trip up to the main dojo and put my students, and by extention me, under scrutiny. My assistant and I also put in time as uke for those who are grading. With travel time and beer drinking included it is a very very long day.
I put a lot of emphasis on zanshin. From the beginning kyu grades they are required to remember kata is a stylized fight with control maintained throughout - before the techniques, between the techniques and at the end. Usually they do pretty good but yesterday I was - well embarrased.
The day before the student in question had done a very good practice test at our regular dojo. When it came to the actual test he got a little confused between right and left. Now this is understandable as the test is in Japanese but he's not. I could also understand some nervousness as this was only his third test. However, what followed was almost a total collapse. He looked sheepish the entire time leaving the impression that his mastery of the technique was far worse than it actually was.
Does anyone have any ideas or experiences in preventing this sort of thing from happening?
Perhaps your student had a burn out? Maybe he tried too hard during the run up and was not relaxed enough for the real test.
Perhaps the journey to the main dojo proved too much. I don't know; just talking out aloud.
How to get over this... Have you tired getting that student to conduct a short part of the class in Japanese, get him to teach a technique. That way, he has to get his left and right correct; and it'll be a good way for him to feel comfortable doing something in front of other people. :bow:
How to get over this... Have you tired getting that student to conduct a short part of the class in Japanese, get him to teach a technique. That way, he has to get his left and right correct; and it'll be a good way for him to feel comfortable doing something in front of other people.
Not a bad idea - I've already had him help a kohei who can only speak Japanese.
One thing I am considering is practice tests for the month preceeding the actual grading but these things eat up the time and we don't really have that much of it. The only saving grace is that his next test isn't for six months. Perhaps he was grading too soon and wan't sure enough of himself so that a minor thing blew up out a proportion.
As I mentioned his technique really wasn't that bad just that his presence was well out there.
May be your student did put too much pressure on himself to pass succesfully the test. I can easily imagine under what kind of pressure you must feel when you are about to show your skills in front of a Japanese Master. I think it could be a nervous break down, it happen's when you really want to make your best, if the test begins badly, then you lose confidence and everything simply goes the wrong way.
Probably your student wanted to show that he had got an excellent training and wanted in a way to honor you by performing superbly in front of a Japanese audience, but then the pressure was may be too high.
It reminds me when my girl friend used to come and see me when I was practising, I wanted to make my best but in reality I was unable to perform even the most basics waza.
The only saving grace is that his next test isn't for six months
I guess that you will have plenty of time to analyse how and when things went the wrong way, you will probably have to talk a lot with your student because he must be very disappointed right now. You have to go beyond the technical teaching and try to make him recover his confidence.
I have no doubts that next time, he will perform much better.
We had several beer last night - I emphasized the good, was clear about the bad and we both know where we want to go with this.
That's good to hear Peter.
My Judo SHodan test went wonderfully until I was asked to name the three parts of a through -- Kuzushi, -arggg, and kaki. I was ableto say the words in English but the Japanese for the second part would not be found in my memory. By now I was thinking I was going to look pretty bad in the test and started pantomining the actions of throughs and saying the parts. Then the examiner stopped me and said -- "You just said it?" "Said what? -- oh Tsukuri!" Whew.
From that day I have CUT A LOT OF SLACK for someone who appears to be having a brain fart. :bandit:
IMHO, how one trains is how they perfrom. By that I mean that closer the traning context is to that of the testing, the easier its is to transfer and generalize the knowledge. Retrival is easiest to closer the conetxtual markers are to the input. Learning is all very context specific.
Duplicate the testing context.
Practice making mistakes (startle them) and getting back in attitude and rhythm.
Well anyhow the student did past the kyu test.
In the Shodokan system the first three tests, although increasing in difficulty, are mainly designed to get you to increase the level of your ukemi, get used to taking tests and some familiarity with the range of techniques that will be encountered.
8th Kyu - back breakfall, side breakfall, three techniques, movement exercises
7th Kyu - kneeling forward role, three techniques, hand blade movements
6th kyu - standing forward role, three techniques
as you can see not much to them although at least one of the techniques in each test can be quite complicated. The third of the 8th kyu techniques for example is also one of the required techniques for 4th Dan.
The next one though is a biggy with way more techniques. I personally had to repeat part of it when I went through the system. I think though that the student will do fine because he really did understand what a loss of concentration at any point can mean.
One student missed the grading this time because of business but that was a windfall. He could also have passed but barely. Now he has three months to perfect one and six months to learn the one after that. Here grades are done every three months assuming you have put in the hours. I must admit getting carried away trying to develope a range of kyu grades for the dojo and pushing people faster than I should have. Live and learn.
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