OnlineAikido.

com – Aikido Grading Basics
Aikido grading basics
First edition
January 2009.
1
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
Table of Contents
Introduction ........................................................................................................... 4
Aikido Grading Basics ......................................................................................... 5
Why do I need to grade? ................................................................................... 5
Etiquette .............................................................................................................. 7
Who are you going to grade with? .................................................................. 8
Exa !ear and "stage#!e$er% .............................................................................. &
'rder o! techniques ......................................................................................... ()
*hoosing the s+eed o! your grading ............................................................. ()
Breathing ........................................................................................................... ((
Which $ersions o! a technique? ..................................................................... (,
-tarting a new technique ................................................................................ (,
.orgotten technique ......................................................................................... (/
In case you get too tired des+ite your initia0 assessent and choice o!
s+eed .................................................................................................................. (4
*ontro01 !ight and harony ........................................................................... (4
2er!ectionis .................................................................................................... (5
Assessent ....................................................................................................... (3
.ina00y4 5+on +assing your exa .................................................................. (7
*onc0usions ......................................................................................................... (&
The intellectual property rights of the material in this document belong to Szilárd
“Connor” Pál, Zoltán “Zolley” Szlávi, and !nline"iido#com#
Some rights reserved#
$or the licence description see Page %&#
2
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
Opening soon!
OnlineAikido.com Online Trainings
We are soon going to open an online dojo where you can take part in
our training programme over the nternet.
!ollow our Online "rainings and we can guarantee they will give you wings to develop yoursel#
$uicklier.
%on&t 'e late #rom the trainings (the eti$uette says so).
*riority noti#ications a'out the trainings availa'le via our Online "raining +otice ,etter-
htt+466trainings.on0ineaikido.co
.
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
Introduction
A coon question that arises in 7eginners and aikido students with on0y !ew
gradings 7ehind the is what to do exact0y in a grading1 how to 7eha$e1 and how to
answer their "what i!8% questions. 9ou ay not know what the exact etiquette o! your
grading is1 or : as we ex+erienced in our own gradings : you can easi0y !orget the
i+ortant +oints o! a grading1 !or exa+0e1 i! your do;o ho0ds gradings on0y twice a
year. <his e#7ook is aied to he0+ you so0$e these kinds o! +ro70es1 and answer your
+ossi70e questions with res+ect to your $ery !irst kyu tests.
In this e#7ook1 we suarised the ost i+ortant +oints o! a grading to the 7est o!
our know0edge1 and we sincere0y ho+e that 7eing aware o! these +oints can
draatica00y increase your chances to +ass1 and to 7ecoe a 7it ore re0axed a7out
your test. A0so1 as any senseis a00ow their students to grade on0y i! they know that
their students +ossess the technica0 know0edge to +ass1 this e#7ook can he0+ you
o$ercoe your exa !ear and stress. We are sure that when you go to a grading1 you
can do it1 you can +ass. =owe$er1 an exa situation is not on0y a7out technica0
know0edge 7ut the deonstration o! that know0edge in !ront o! other +eo+0e who are
watching you and taking notes o! your o$es. <hey exaine you to ake sure you are
there not on0y technica00y 7ut enta00y as we001 and they take notes so that you can
de$e0o+ yourse0! !urther a!ter your grading. Ad$anced students are ex+ected to grade
with 0ess and 0ess stress showing u+ >ree7er1 aikido is su++osed to 7e a7out re0axed
o$eents? 7ut 7eginners ight not ha$e so uch contro0 o$er their +hysica0 and
enta0 7eha$iour1 that is why this e#7ook is +riari0y recoended !or !irst tie
grading aikidoka.
/
0,i#e itsel# is always a trial. n training1 you must test
and polish yoursel# in order to #ace the great
challenges o# li#e. "ranscend the realm o# li#e and
death1 and then you will 'e a'le to make your way
calmly and sa#ely through any crisis that con#ronts
you.0
O23ensei 4orihei 5eshi'a
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
Aikido Grading Basics
In the !o00owing su7sections1 we wi00 discuss se$era0 +oints that we at
'n0ineAikido.co think are i+ortant to know !or a success!u0 grading. We wi00 co$er
7oth etiquette issues and tricks to "sur$i$e% your +ossi70y $ery !irst grading. @earn1
en;oy and good 0uck with your testA
Why do I need to grade?
<his is a question that is usua00y asked 7y +eo+0e who are not so +er!orance and
goa0 oriented. BWe don%t ha$e co+etitions1 why do we ha$e gradings?C @et%s 0ook
into this question to understand a 7it ore a7out traditions1 and to 0earn a7out the
necessity o! gradings.
<o start with +ersona0 exa+0es1 neither o! us had this question in ind when we
started aikido >and got c0oser and c0oser to the date o! our !irst gradings?. We si+0y
acce+ted the syste we got into. -trange0y1 the goa0 o! 7oth o! us was to get to a certain
grade. I! you a0so think sii0ar0y1 e.g. BI want to 7e a 70ack 7e0tC or BI want to wear
hakaaC1 it ight see straight!orward that you can on0y get there ste+ 7y ste+1
grading 7y grading.
Gradings and grades are use!u0 to 7e a70e to di!!erentiate aong +eo+0e at $arious
0e$e0s o! know0edge1 7ut grades are a0so use!u0 to indicate your 0e$e0 o! know0edge i!1
!or exa+0e1 you ha++en to continue training in another country. <hey ight acce+t
your kyu 0e$e0 and you ight not need to start o$er1 a0though in any cases you wi00
need to start again. Dan grades are usua00y acce+ted ore easi0y1 so you ight ai !or
a 70ack 7e0t and set it as a goa0 to achie$e.
-oe tie ago1 I >*onnor? read in a 7ook a7out kendo students that : in the context
o! co+etitions : the "!ights% are not he0d to show how uch +ower and doinance
you ha$e o$er an o++onent 7ut to show how uch +re+ared you are and how uch
you ha$e i+ro$ed since 0ast tie. I think the 7ackground o! aikido gradings is
soething sii0ar. Gradings show how uch you i+ro$ed and what 0e$e0 o!
know0edge you are at.
9ou ay ask now what the +oint is in grading i! ost o! the aikido do;os don%t
ha$e co0oured 7e0t systes1 there!ore e$eryone wears white 7e0t unti0 shodan >!irst
degree 70ack 7e0t?. <his is right1 7ut ree7er that you sti00 get soe sort o! certi!icate
a!ter your grading1 and knowing your !e00ow students >and how any certi!icates they
ha$e? can he0+ you deterine the order in which you sit down in seiEa at the 7eginning
and end o! trainings1 i! nothing e0se. >By the way1 did you know that it is a0ways the
senior students who sit in the 0ine c0osest to the door so i! soeone sudden0y coes in
and attacks e$eryone then the ;unior students can 7e +rotected 7y the ore
6
0+either human applause nor human censure is
to 'e taken as the 'est o# truth7 'ut either should
set us upon testing ourselves.0
8ichard Whately
9,i#e is growth. # we stop growing1 technically and
spiritually1 we are as good as dead.:
O23ensei 4orihei 5eshi'a
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
ex+erienced ones??
<here ight 7e do;os where +eo+0e do not grade in a syste that we descri7e in
this e#7ook. -oeties +eo+0e are awarded grades 7ased on their hard work and
de$e0o+ent in trainings. It%s soething 0ike the traditiona0 aikido syste where a7o$e
4
th
dan1 grades are awarded and there is no !ora0 grading where you need to throw
and +in down +eo+0e and so on. A sii0ar syste1 it ;ust a++ears in a 7it ear0ier stage.
It has to 7e added1 though1 that a 4
th
to 5
th
dan aster has a0ready done a 0ot o! training1
and done a 0ot !or aikido itse0!. At 7eginner 0e$e0s1 this is usua00y not the case and
re0ati$e0y !requent ce0e7rations >and a 7it o! sweat to ake the signi!icant? are good
oti$ators as we00.
<o discuss gradings !ro a di!!erent ang0e1 0et%s consider techniques needed !or
$arious grades. Di!!erent grades coe with di!!erent techniques that you need to know1
and you a0so need to know the at di!!erent 0e$e0s. A grading shows whether you are
ready to study the next 0e$e0%s techniques which are care!u00y se0ected 7y your -ensei
or organisation 0eaders. A grading a0so shows i! you are ready to 0earn a technique
!ro a higher 0e$e0 ty+e o! attack. <his is why koshinage >hi+ throw? techniques are
usua00y not taught to 7eginners. <hey are not ready yet1 their ukei >ro00ing1 !a00ing?
ski00s are not de$e0o+ed enough to 7e thrown sa!e0y1 and they are not ready to throw
others sa!e0y with the right 0e$e0 o! accuracy and consciousness.
@et us now consider an iaginary story to i00ustrate soewhat di!!erent0y why
gradings are needed. Iagine that you wa0k on a +ath and you get to a gate at soe
+oint. 9ou can continue your ;ourney on0y i! soeone 0ets you in and you ste+ through
the gateway. =owe$er1 to 0et you in you need to +ro$e that you are ready to recei$e
and acce+t the teachings and cha00enges that are on the +ath 7eyond the gate >can you
de!eat a @e$e0 5 dragon??. <he gate is one o! your gradings1 and your -ensei can decide
i! you are worthy o! 7eing 0et through. I! you don%t get the keys !ro the gatekee+er
you can%t gain access to the wea0th o! know0edge >and the cha00enge to !ace the dragon?
that ight 7e 7eyond the gate. In ters o! aikido1 i! you don%t e$en atte+t to go
through the gate you wi00 sti00 +ractice the sae techniques o$er and o$er again1 and
won%t 0earn a7out new techniques1 new as+ects1 and new +rinci+0es to i+ro$e your
know0edge o! a0ready known techniques1 so 7asica00y you can go 7ack and !orth
7etween this gate and the +re$ious one.
9et another +oint a7out gradings4 think a7out the grading syste as soething
that is not s+eci!ic to your do;o and -ensei 7ut to your who0e organisation. 9ou can !ind
that the existence o! an organisation or a artia0 art%s schoo0 is strong0y re0ated to the
grading syste. <his is 7ecause know0edge is +assed down !ro asters to senior
students and new asters1 who +ass it down to ore ;unior students. I! there are no
grading systes and we00 de!ined 0e$e0s it is $ery di!!icu0t to decide who is worthy o!
7eing a00owed to teach others1 to +ass the Faster%s know0edge !urther down. Without a
grading syste1 a schoo0 wou0dn%t 7e a70e to !unction +ro+er0y1 and they cou0dn%t
!o00ow the 2ath de!ined 7y the .ounder.
I! you had dou7ts a7out the use!u0ness o! gradings and you can acce+t any o! our
a7o$e +oints a7out the necessity o! gradings1 you won%t 7e 0ooking !or excuses to ski+
gradings +erha+s to hide your insu!!icient know0edge or 0ow se0!#con!idence. Instead1
you wi00 oti$ate yourse0! to de$e0o+ your aikido ski00s to a 0e$e0 that is good enough
to +ass your next grading1 and 7y getting to higher 0e$e0s1 soe tie you wi00 7e a70e to
gi$e soe know0edge to your ;uniors as we00. We are sure that there wi00 7e students
who wi00 7e +er!ect0y a70e to 0earn aikido !ro you1 who wi00 get the essence o!
;
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
techniques and +hi0oso+hy !ro your ex+0anations 7est1 e$en i! you teach the on0y as
a senior student and not as a -ensei >and indirect teaching starts rea00y ear0y1 7ut it
shou0dn%t start too ear0y ?.
-o i! you dou7ted the use!u0ness o! gradings +0ease do not do so. Acce+t the as
necessity1 as i0estones1 as gates. @ea$e a sign at the gate that +ro$es you were there at
soe +oint in your 0i!e1 and continue your ;ourney on your +ath which wi00 7e !u00 o!
!urther i0estones1 and in!inite aount o! know0edge to gain1 so ;ust go !or it.
Etiquette
What is the etiquette o! a grading? What ha++ens in a grading and how you ought
to 7eha$e? =ere is the way it ha++ens in our c0u7s and organisation >+0ease note that
there ay 7e di!!erences in this1 so a0ways consu0t your aster a7out etiquette and
consider this section as a guide0ine?4 When a grading 7egins1 usua00y e$eryone sits in
0ines ;ust 0ike at the 7eginning or end o! a training. <he exainer1 or their assistant1
ca00s the naes o! each student to 7e exained. When you hear your nae you shou0d
7ow at 0east1 7ut it is o!ten required that you say G=ai -enseiG >H9es1 -ensei? to show
your res+ect and to con!ir that you heard your nae. A!ter this1 you shou0d go to the
+0ace the exainers instruct you to go to. <hey are 0ike0y to +oint to a +0ace on the at
where you shou0d wa0k u+ to. I! the distance is short !ro your origina0 +osition it is
ad$isa70e that you wa0k there in shikko dachi >knee wa0king?. When going !or 0ower
grades1 it is usua00y +airs o! students who are ca00ed out to 7e exained together >i.e.
there are !ixed +airs o! +eo+0e deterined 7y the exainer1 and you stay with that
+artner !or the who0e o! your exa?. <his eans that e$ery second +erson ca00ed needs
to sit down next to the +erson who was ca00ed right 7e!ore1 as the ca00ed +erson wi00 7e
+aired with this +re$ious0y ca00ed student >to !or +airs?. I! you are a second +erson in
such a syste1 you shou0d sit down in seiEa1 next to your +artner1 7ut kee+ing a
distance !ro the so when the exa starts you can co!orta70y turn towards each
other and 7ow. Iatura00y1 7oth o! you shou0d !ace the exainer>s?. It is +ossi70e that
the syste your sensei uses !or grading is di!!erent. We ha$e seen gradings where
e$eryone was ca00ed out !irst and +airs were !ored a!terwards. Whate$er the syste1
;ust hu70y !o00ow the instructions you recei$e. 9ou ight acknow0edge the
understanding o! the instructions 7y 7owing towards the +erson who instructs you.
Bowing is ne$er !rowned u+on1 so i! you are unsure1 7ow.
Iow the grading can start... Be!ore 7eginning to do the techniques >or +erha+s
ro00s1 i! your exainer wants to see how you ro00J +erha+s they want to see the 7ase
ste+s as we00? you shou0d 7ow to your exainer and then to your +artner to show your
res+ect. When you shou0d 7ow is o!ten deterined 7y your exainer >or the assistant?1
too4 they ight say KreiK >7ow? to signa0 that you shou0d 7ow to the exainer. <hey
ight say KreiK again indicating that you need to 7ow towards your +artners. A!ter
these1 the grading continues with the techniques. 5n0ess the tradition at your do;o is
di!!erent1 or when there is no direct instruction1 it is usua00y the +erson who was ca00ed
!irst who wi00 start as tori >de!ender1 aka. nage?1 and the other +erson wi00 7e uke
>attacker? !irst. What technique1 what attack to do1 when to ake a ro0e swa+ shou0d 7e
done according to the instructions you recei$e1 and you wi00 a0so recei$e such
<
9=ti$uette is saying that it>s really O? to 'e
nice.:
*eter *ost $uotes.
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
instructions1 so kee+ your ears o+en and do not iss a technique or ro0e change.
<here are di!!erent traditions !or how to deonstrate techniques. -oeties you
do the who0e exa without continuous0y swa++ing ro0es >so you !inish your grading
as tori and then you swa+ and 7e uke !or your +artner unti0 the end?1 7ut o!ten there
are ro0e changes a!ter e$ery 4#5 techniques. -oeties this change is 7ased on ty+es o!
techniques >e.g. suwari waEa tori#uke1 then hani handachi waEa tori#uke1 etc.?. -o
si+0y !o00ow the instructions you recei$e. I! you donKt know a7out how an exa goes1
you ight ask your sensei in ad$ance a7out it1 7y showing interest you can +ro7a70y
earn soe good +oints >7ut do not o$erdo itJ do soe research yourse0!1 ask other
students1 kee+ reading this e#7ook1 etc.?. When you recei$e instructions1 a+art !ro
when you are asked to do the next technique1 it is recoended that you 7ow again.
When the exa ends1 you shou0d natura00y 7ow again1 +ro7a70y a!ter hearing the word
the word KreiK. <hen you go 7ack next to your +artner and sit towards the exa 7oard
un0ess you are instructed otherwise1 which ight 7e to go 7ack to the 0ine to the other
students who were ;ust watching how you ha$e 7een +er!oring.
Who are you going to grade with?
In other words1 who are your +artners going to 7e1 can you choose a +artner1 and i!
so1 what rank can they 7e?
As we discussed in another +oint o! this e#7ook1 it is usua00y your exainers who
deterine who you are going to grade with. =owe$er1 there are cases when no one e0se
is going !or the sae grade as you. When this is the case it%s hard to guess who your
+otentia0 +artners are1 and soeties your exainer asks you to choose a +artner !or
yourse0! who you wi00 use to deonstrate your know0edge. Who can you choose when
this is the case? Lee+ reading !or the answers.
When you are a00owed to choose a +artner1 you can%t choose +eo+0e ;unior to you in
their grades1 7ecause they do not re+resent the 0e$e0 o! know0edge you are ex+ected to
deonstrate on and with the. .or exa+0e1 it wou0d 7e +retty awkward i! you went
!or /rd kyu and you had to throw a 3th kyu around. <hey wou0dn%t know how to !a00 at
your 0e$e01 they ight not e$en know soe o! the techniques you wou0d do on the1
and so you can%t choose the. <o !o00ow this +rinci+0e !urther1 you can on0y choose
+eo+0e who are at the 0e$e0 you are going !or1 or higher. -o in case there is noone there
at your 0e$e0 then you shou0d choose soeone one grade senior to the 0e$e0 you are
tested !or. In co+uting ters1 it is ca00ed u+ward co+ati7i0ity.
<he sae +rinci+0e a++0ies i! it%s your exainers who choose a +artner !or you1 so
knowing how they ight se0ect your +artners1 at 0east1 you can guess who your
+artner>s? wi00 7e. 'nce you ha$e the +artner candidates it is ad$isa70e to %i+ro$e
your harony 0e$e0% with the1 which eans to +ractice as uch with the as
+ossi70e so your exa wi00 not end u+ 7eing a !rustration a7out your %inco+etent%
+artner >+eo+0e usua00y 70ae their +artners !or !ai0ingJ kee+ reading the +ersona0
de$e0o+ent entries o! our 70og !or detai0s and sii0ar to+ics4 2ersona0 de$e0o+ent?.
When you +ractice !or your test1 it shou0d not 7e a7out aking the technique work at
a00 costs and +racticing counterattacks 7ut a7out aking sure you do things the way
your exainers wi00 want to see. <hey want to see !0ow and contro01 ne$er !ight and
@
0Grading is necessary to keep the
competitiveness in some people alive.0
3Aampus 1B<22<.
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
strugg0e.
Exam fear and ‘stage-fever’
<his +oint is not s+eci!ic to aikido on0y1 as it ha++ens to e$eryone 7e!ore any tests4
9ou ight 7e a 7it worried or tense 7e!ore or during any tests. De+ending on your
+ersona0ity ty+e1 you wi00 +ro7a70y ex+erience a 0itt0e1 or a 0itt0e ore tension within
yourse0! 7e!ore or during the grading. We don%t think that "stage#!e$er% can 7e switched
o!! co+0ete0y1 7ut ay7e it shou0dn%t 7e switched o!! at a00 7ecause soeties it has a
+ositi$e e!!ect1 and you ay 7e +er!oring 7etter than usua0. Lee+ your +ositi$e
attitude towards your grading1 and know yourse0!. =ow you wi00 7eha$e during the
grading can 7e contro00ed 7y you to a certain extent >and the !urther you go in your
studies the ore contro0 you wi00 ha$e?. 9ou can contro0 your 7eha$iour i! you know
how you genera00y 7eha$e in sii0ar situations.
It ight a0so 7e i+ortant to know that your exainers usua00y ha$e a +ositi$e
attitude towards your grading1 i.e. they wou0d 7e $ery ha++y1 too1 i! you +assed. <hey
want to see your 7est1 they want to see what you know1 they want to see that you know
what you are su++osed to1 and soeties they want to see what they know you can do
7ut e$en you are not aware o! 7eing a70e to do that yourse0! . -o the key is !or you to
kee+ a +ositi$e attitude and ake6think the 7est o! e$erything. <hinking soething
0ike BI don%t know the techniques we00 enoughC1 or Bwhat i! I !orget to do an i+ortant
ste+C are 70ocking thoughts. Lee+ te00ing yourse0! soething +ositi$e instead. <hink BI
ha$e nothing to 0oseC or BI cou0d do it in training so I can do it nowC. I! you !orget a
technique that%s not the end o! the wor0d 7ut i! you 70ock yourse0! you ight not e$en
notice the he0+ing instructions you ay recei$e. Be +ositi$e and things wi00 7e +ositi$e1
there%s no need to worry too uch.
A sii0ar +hi0oso+hy4 i! you understand that you are in a situation in order to 0earn
soething !ro it then not knowing soething or e$en !ai0ing the exa is a situation
that akes you a ore ex+erienced +erson1 a situation you can use to ake yourse0! a
7etter +erson. -o i! you are worried a7out !ai0ing try not to $isua0ise !ai0ure 7ut think
that e$en i! that ha++ens >and we ho+e it won%t? you wi00 ha$e 0earned !ro it. .or
exa+0e1 i! you used your usc0es the 0ast tie so uch that you got too tired too
ear0y1 and you 0earned !ro this1 you wi00 +ro7a70y not use too uch o! your usc0e
+owers in any o! your !o00owing gradings. Again1 you can on0y winJ you can on0y gain
know0edge and ex+erience1 so nothing to worry a7out1 nothing to 0ose. I >*onnor? saw
a o$ie soe tie ago in which they said that a +erson is ost dangerous i! they don%t
ha$e anything to 0ose4 i! this +erson cannot 7e 70ackai0ed1 i! they don%t care whether
they 0i$e or die1 etc. <his is sii0ar to the saurai way o! thinking. I! you know you
ha$e nothing to 0ose then you wi00 7ecoe unusua00y ca01 7ut a0so !ocused and shar+1
you wi00 7ecoe "in$inci70e%. -ii0ar0y1 i! you don%t care whether you +ass or !ai01
whether you can do a technique or not >7ut you ha$e +racticed enough 7e!ore the
gradingA? you wi00 +er!or 7etter1 you wi00 +ass uch ore easi0y and ree7er the
techniques and their i+ortant +oints as we00.
I! you think a7out it1 a !ight is usua00y won 7y the +erson who has a ca0 and c0ear
B
4y great concern is not whether you
have #ailed1 'ut whether you are content
with your #ailure.
A'raham ,incoln
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
ind. 9ou can "win at your exa% i! don%t 70ock your own se0!1 i! you 0et your
o$eents !0ow natura00y >0ike you ha$e 0earned and used these o$eents in
training?. Fartia0 art asters a00 say to ca0 down your ind !irst. Be ca01 7e o+en. I!
you can do this your exa wi00 not 7e a7out your thoughts trying to contro0 e$ery
o$eent o! yours >conscious thought ight 7e too s0ow in a artia0 art? 7ut it wi00 7e
a7out your 0earned o$eents coing out natura00y.
Being aware o! the +oints discussed in the a7o$e +aragra+hs # we ho+e # can he0+
you to conquer your exa !ears.
<o 0earn ore a7out +ositi$e thinking1 ha$e a 0ook at our re0ated +osts in our 70og
>Aikido 70og +osts a7out "+ositi$e%?.
Order of techniques
I! it%s your !irst grading you ight ha$e $arious ideas and assu+tions a7out it.
<hese ight sound co+0ete0y reasona70e and 0ogica0 assu+tions a7out your grading.
'ne o! these things is to assue that i! you ha$e a +iece o! +a+er with a 0ist o!
techniques and exercises >ro00s1 ste+s1 etc.?1 your exainer wi00 ask you to deonstrate
those1 on0y those and a00 o! those1 in the order you ha$e it on your +a+er. <his sounds
0ogica0 indeed1 7ut it is o!ten not the case in an aikido grading and you shou0d not 7e
sur+rised i! it%s not the 0ist that is read to you when doing the test. -oeties there is
no tie >!or whate$er reason? to go through the entire sy00a7us1 soeties sensei
0ea$es out soe techniques >!or whate$er other reason?. It ay a0so ha++en that you
are asked to do a technique you ha$e ;ust 0earned in the training ca+ or seinar at
the end o! which you are grading1 7ut this does not ha++en too o!ten. <he thing is then
not to eorise the 0ist you ha$e on your +a+er 7ut 7e a70e to associate a nae with
the corres+onding technique. .or exa+0e1 i! you know it%s the third technique which is
su++osed to 7e iriminage 7ut the exainer says soething 0ike tenchinage instead1 it%s
good to know what tenchinage is and not to eorise it as "the !i!th technique which
coes a!ter the !ourth in which we needed to gra7 the attacker%s neck%. In the
7eginning1 it ight 7e a 7it hard to ree7er a00 the techniques you need1 7ut try to
!ind out soe way to eorise the. .or exa+0e1 I >Mo00ey? eorised tenchinage as
"the technique I won%t 7e a70e to do +ro+er0y e$en in ten years tie%. Fay7e not the 7est
way 7ut it worked !or e. Another good association wou0d 7e to actua00y use the
eaning o! the word1 so tenchinage is the hea$en#earth throw so one o! your hands
need to +oint to the earth1 the other to hea$en >and they eet at the end o! the
technique?. Kokyuho !or e was the "hoooo1 how high I shou0d raise y handA%
technique1 and eorised other techniques sii0ar0y. .ind an association that works1
+ossi70y use ore than one o! your senses >co0our1 sha+e1 sound1 etc.?.
Choosing the speed of your grading
1C
9We adore chaos 'ecause we love to
produce order.:
5nknown
9,iving in a constant chase a#ter gain
compels people to eDpend their spirit to the
point o# eDhaustion:
!riedrich +ietEsche
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
We recoend that you do not start your exa with a high s+eed o! technique
execution1 as you wi00 need a 7it o! extra energy at the end o! your grading. 9our exa
ight take 0onger than you ex+ect >or ight see to 7e taking 0onger? and you
certain0y donKt want to co00a+se ;ust two inutes 7e!ore the !inish. We recoend that
you +ractice 7e!ore your grading s0ow0y and near Kin the streetK s+eed as we001 then try
to se0ect an a++ro+riate s+eed !or your exa 7etween these two. Lee+ your s+eed
steady during the grading. It doesnKt 0ook $ery nice i! you do kotegaeshi !ast and
iriminage s0ow0y1 and you shou0d de!inite0y a$oid starting a technique with one s+eed
>e.g. ste++ing in s0ow0y? and !inishing >e.g. cutting down? with another. <here shou0d
7e a s+eed at which you can execute a00 the required techniques1 at a 0e$e0 a++ro+riate
!or your as+ired grade. Lee+ in ind that doing a technique a 7it s0ower 7ut nice0y1
sooth0y and haronious0y is usua00y regarded higher than doing it !ast >again1 un0ess
you are s+eci!ica00y instructed to do otherwise?.
reathing
Breathing a++ro+riate0y can he0+ a 0ot to kee+ your energy 0e$e0s u+ and to 7e a70e
to work at grading s+eed !or 0onger. 9ou are +ro7a70y to0d in training how to 7reathe
+ro+er0y 7ut here it is e$en ore i+ortant as you won%t ha$e tie to rest as when
sensei sto+s the c0ass and deonstrates a new technique or ex+0ains soe +articu0ars o!
other techniques.
9our 7reathing needs to !o00ow the o$eents o! your 7ody when doing a
technique. When the 7ody is in an ex+anding o$eent1 e.g. you stand u+ or raise
your ar1 itKs tie to 7reathe in. <his way other +arts o! your 7ody wi00 a0so he0+ you
get soe ore !resh air and itKs not on0y your dia+hrag and chest usc0es that do the
;o7. When !a00ing1 0eaning1 contracting your usc0es and 7ody and1 7y these eans1
7ecoing Ksa00erK you shou0d 7reath out. <his is 7ecause the dia+hrag wonKt work
against your contracting 7ody and you can sa$e energy >a 0ot?. Doing things the
o++osite way >e.g. 7reathing out when raising your ar or 7reathing in when !a00ing?
wou0d ake you 0ose a huge aount o! energy1 not to ention that it is 0itera00y
dangerous to 7reath in when !a00ing as air can easi0y get stuck soewhere inside or 0et
your interna0 organs co00ide with each other 7ecause o! their 0oose connection when
your usc0es are not contracted. We are 0ucky that we do aikido and +ractice circu0ar
o$eents 7ecause one ha0! o! a circ0e can usua00y 7e used !or a 7reath#in cyc0e and
the other to 7reath out1 or $ice $ersa.
<here is one ore thing regarding 7reathing. <ry to take dee+ 7reaths to get as
uch oxygen as +ossi70e >7etween techniques or1 e$en 7etter1 when doing the
techniques these0$es. Do not o$erdo the !orer one?. I! you are hy+er$enti0ating1 try
to ca0 down your 7reathing conscious0y1 +aying attention to the harony 7etween
your ex+anding6contracting o$es and the cyc0e o! 7reathing.
11
9Breathe in and let yoursel# soar to the ends o#
the universe7 'reathe out and 'ring the cosmos
'ack inside. +eDt1 'reathe up all #ecundity and
vi'rancy o# the earth. !inally1 'lend the 'reath
o# heaven and the 'reath o# earth with your
own1 'ecoming the Breath o# ,i#e itsel#.:
O23ensei 4orihei 5eshi'a
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
Which versions of a technique?
Fost o! the techniques ha$e at 0east two 7asic $ersions. .or exa+0e1 ikkyo has
oote >aka. short or inside? $ersion and ura >aka. 0ong or outside? $ersion. <here are
any ore $ersions and soe techniques do not ha$e these as their ost 7asic
$ersions 7ut this ight 7e the easiest way to di!!erentiate 7etween $ersions. When you
deonstrate techniques1 show a short $ersion to 7oth sides >one !ro 0e!t and one !ro
right hani? and show a 0ong $ersion !ro each side as we00. 5n0ess you are instructed
otherwise1 kee+ going with these $ersions1 doing two o! one and two o! the other.
<here are any other $ariations !or techniques1 which you ay know. I! you want to
deonstrate other $ersions as we00 >which ay 7e a good thing in the eyes o! the
exainer1 7ut it%s not necessary at a00 to show o!! with your know0edge o! in!inite
nu7er o! $ariations ? do the $ersions you know we001 that you ha$e +racticed a 0ot1
and ost i+ortant0y1 $ersions your +artner is ready to recei$e ukei !ro. >We are
sti00 ta0king a7out tests !or re0ati$e0y 0ow grades1 in case you are wondering why we are
writing these "si+0e% recoendations?. Nee7er that it%s sa!er to deonstrate a
coon0y known $ersion we00 than to get stuck in a $ersion you don%t know so we00.
<e+tation to deonstrate 0ess +racticed $ersions usua00y coes u+ i! you are grading
at the end o! a training ca+ where you saw soething new. I! you and your +artner
are 7oth 'L with it you ight try the new $ersions in addition to the 7asic $ersions. -o
the ost i+ortant thing is to 7e a70e to show an oote and an ura $ersion nice0y and
kee+ a0ternating 7etween these two un0ess you are instructed to do otherwise1 and unti0
the next technique is ca00ed. It ight easi0y ha++en that a00 your exainer wants to see
is a cou+0e >,? o! oote and a cou+0e >,? o! ura $ersions. -o i! you do two o! each they
ight si+0y ca00 the next technique1 whereas i! you kee+ doing oote then you ight
not 7e asked to do the next technique unti0 you do an ura $ersion or unti0 you do (4 o!
this one $ersion. 9our exainers wi00 7e a70e to see your 0e$e0 c0ear0y !ro the 7asic
$ersions. I! 7oth you and your +artner are ready and con!ident though1 you can inc0ude
soe other $ersions as we00.
!tarting a new technique
<o a$oid con!usion4 a technique needs to 7e done !ro 7eginning to end. <his ay
sound o7$ious 7ut +ractice shows that ner$ousness and wanting to do iediate0y
what sensei says can cause you do things otherwise. In case you hear the nae o! the
new technique in the idd0e o! your technique execution then !inish it !irst and
+roceed to the asked technique a!terwards. 9ou ight not want to do a !u00 +in or you
can ake it shorter 7ut donKt 0ea$e it out co+0ete0y. Interru+ting a technique can
cause serious in;uries as your uke can 7e in a +retty awkward situation i! you sto+ the
technique ha0!way1 es+ecia00y i! you are su++osed to throw soeone one way and sto+
when they wou0d !0y soe other direction >+erha+s into another +air o! grading
students?.
12
9 sometimes ponder on variation #orm and
it seems to me it ought to 'e more
restrained1 purer.:
Fohannes Brahms
93tart with the end in mind.:
3tephen 8. Aovey
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
It ight 7e needed to ention that i! the exainer doesnKt say the nae o! the
attack !ro which the technique shou0d 7e done1 and says on0y the nae o! the
technique1 then it eans that the attack reains the sae as !or the +re$ious technique1
and you on0y change the technique itse0!. Ie$er ask KAnd what is the attack?K -ii0ar0y1
un0ess they say so1 the initia0 setu+ a0so reains the sae1 so i! you do techniques in
suwari waEa and you hear a new technique nae >and6or new attack? you wi00 sti00
reain in suwari waEa and do the next technique >and6or new attack? there.
It ight ha++en that you don%t understand what the exainer was saying. @ook
around quick0y1 see what the others are doing1 you ight get it then. 'therwise1 turn to
the exainer and i! they see that you ha$e a +ro70e they wi00 +ro7a70y re+eat the
instructions. 'therwise1 !o00ow the etiquette1 7ow1 or do soething sii0ar that is +o0ite
and res+ect!u0. .ina00y1 your +artner ight he0+ you out 7ut e$en i! they te00 you the
nae it shou0dn%t 7e audi70e to others.
"orgotten technique
<his usua00y ha++ens in !irst or second gradings4 you know the techniques 7ut you
donKt know which one is the one ca00ed KikkyoK. In other words1 you hear a technique
nae 7ut you donKt know which one it is. .orgetting a technique can a0so ha++en i!
you are $ery ner$ous a7out your grading... it ha++ened to ost o! us at one 0e$e0 or
another. What you can do under this stress!u0 situation is (. 9ou sto+1 stand there
doing nothing >not the 7est so0ution? ,. @et your uke 0ead you a 7it to ree7er where
you need to ste+1 where your ars and hands shou0d go1 etc. 5n!ortunate0y1 this can
usua00y 7e noticed 7y senseis and ore ex+erienced e7ers o! the audience 7ut itKs
'L i! itKs one o! your $ery !irst exas1 and you don%t resist the +ush or +u00 o! the
"he0+ing hand% to uch. /. 9ou 0ook around quick0y to !ind out how others1 who are
grading with you >+airs next to you?1 are doing it. I! you are 0ucky and they do the right
thing >any stories ha$e 7een 7orn when this wasnKt the case? then a!ter their !irst
o$es you shou0d 7e a70e to ree7er what you are su++osed to do. <his is
considered to 7e the 7est so0ution1 7ased on ad$ice !ro se$era0 o! our asters1 too.
5n!ortunate0y1 o+tion / can on0y work i! there are at 0east ,#/ +airs o! students grading1
it doesn%t work i! you are the on0y cou+0e o! students grading1 !or o7$ious reasons. 4.
<here is one ore o+tion4 i! o+tions , and / are not doa70e and you kee+ doing o+tion
( >standing sti00? your exainer wi00 +ro7a70y gi$e you soe kind o! instruction or
hints in order !or you to continue your exa. At your !irst exas1 standing sti00 is
usua00y excusa70e. DonKt 7e scared or worried too uch when sensei gi$es you hints !or
how to +roceed !ro your standsti00. 9our exainer>s? a0so want>s? you to +ass1 it
wou0d 7e their +ride1 too >un0ess your sensei is away and co+0ete0y di!!erent aster is
exaining you1 7ut this is not high0y 0ike0y?. @isten to what they say and try to !o00ow
their instructions to your 7est. It o!ten ha++ens that the !irst cou+0e o! words instant0y
reind you a7out what and how to do and you can carry on with your exa1 +ro70e
so0$ed.
1.
0"he test is to recogniEe the mistake1 admit
it and correct it. "o have tried to do
something and #ailed is vastly 'etter than to
have tried to do nothing and succeeded.0
%ale =. "urner
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
In case you get too tired despite your initia# assessment and choice
of speed
We001 this can a0so ha++en1 we are a00 huan. 9ou ight get tired 7ecause you
started !aster than you shou0d ha$e or too !ast !or your 0e$e0 o! staina. Exa stress
ight i+air your ;udgent o! s+eed and tie. Becoing $ery tired can a0so ha++en
si+0y 7ecause the exa is /)#4) inutes 0ong1 soeties e$en 0onger. DonKt wait
unti0 you are co+0ete0y exhausted. 9ou know your own 7ody1 so i! you !ee0 that your
are running out o! air or energy des+ite your 7est e!!orts1 there is a KtrickK you can do
ost o! the tie4 +in down your uke a 7it 0ongerA -tretch their ars a 7it ore1 a 7it
ore s0ow0y and !ocus on your 7reathing1 take a sa00 rest. '7$ious0y1 you shou0dnKt
o$erdo it 7ecause e$en a nice and thorough +in doesnKt i+ress your exainer i! it
goes on !or inutes. I! you are uke1 you o7$ious0y ha$e soe tie to take a 7reath
when you are 7eing +inned down 7ut in case your +artner doesnKt ho0d you down 0ong
enough you can sti00 signa0 the >not $er7a00y? to s0ow down that +art. As discussed
a7o$e1 stress can ake you want to !inish ear0ier1 so you ight s+eed u+ a 7it and
don%t a00ow your uke to rest e$en when they are exhausted. 9ou can +ossi70y agree on
a secret gesture with your +artner 7e!ore the exa1 +ro$ided that you know who your
+artner wi00 7e and that your +artner is +artner in this gae1 too.
-o this is how you can take a 7it o! tie to reco$er without 0osing uch technique
execution s+eed.
Contro#$ fight and harmony
It is i+ortant to ree7er that you shou0d show that you can do techniques with
a good contro0 o$er uke 7ut a0so that you are a70e to work with the in harony. In
other words1 techniques need to "work% 7ut they need to 0ook nice as we00. In a training1
when you study a technique1 you can ex+erient and try di!!erent o$es1 $arious
0e$e0s o! contro01 and ake things work e$en you ake the work 7y strugg0ing a 7it
!irst. =owe$er1 in an exa you do not study techniques1 you deonstrate the1 and it
is you who is 7eing studied. <his is why there is no +0ace !or ex+erienting with
contro0 in a grading >again1 un0ess s+eci!ica00y instructed so?1 you shou0d 0et soe o! it
go and 0et you and your uke 7e a tea. Don%t strugg0e or !ight1 7ut work together.
-how that you know it1 7ut don%t !ight1 +u00 uke here and there too uch too !ast. I%
writing this 7ecause o! a recent grading I saw4 +eo+0e were trying to i+ress sensei
with their "working% techniques so hard that it 7ecae a kind o! a !ight and it didn%t
0ook haronious at a00. -o work together. Nee7er that you can he0+ your +artner
when they start to 7ecoe exhausted or when they don%t know what to do or how to
do it. Iote that it is rare to 0et one student +ass and !ai0 their +artner. I! you are 7etter
1/
9"here are no contests in Aikido. A true
warrior is invinci'le 'ecause he or she
contests with nothing. %e#eat means to
de#eat the mind o# contention that we
har'or within.:
O23ensei 4orihei 5eshi'a
9t is our 'est work that God wants1 not the
dregs o# our eDhaustion. think he must pre#er
$uality to $uantity.:
George 4ac%onald
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
>or in 7etter sha+e?1 he0+ your +artner so 7oth o! you can +ass. I! you are 0osing your
strength1 0et your +artner he0+ you so you can 7oth +ass. =e0+ and 7e he0+ed.
Deonstrate harony. Whether your technique does or doesn%t work wi00 7e $isi70e
whether you try harony or !ighting1 so why not choose harony then? =ow wou0d
you 7eha$e i! it wasn%t a grading 7ut a deonstration in !ront o! your 0oca0
counity? <hink a7out that. Iagine it 7ut !orget a7out the "I wi00 i+ress the 7y
!0ying () !eet across the ats% +art1 ree7er that your grading is considera70y 0onger
than your +art in a deonstration.
A re0ated issue4 do not ta0k to your +artner. 2articu0ar0y1 do not correct your +artner
7y te00ing the how they are su++osed to do things. -oeties you ight !ee0 that
your +artner is "ho0ding you 7ack% and you can%t show your 7est1 7ut ree7er that
te00ing or showing the that they are not good enough is not the answer1 you wou0d
;ust ake the situation worse that way. <he grading1 and !or that atter aikido as a
who0e1 is not co+etition and is not a7out co+etition1 you are a0ways going !or a win#
win situation. -oe +eo+0e get !rustrated1 which ight 7e 7ecause their +artners are
not good enough1 or 7ecause they perceive that their +artners are not good enough1 or
they are not good these0$es1 or there is not enough connection1 etc. <ry to a$oid these
thoughts1 or hand0e the a++ro+riate0y once they a++ear. <ake res+onsi7i0ity !or your
grading and 7ring the 7est out o! it. *utting ;ust a 0itt0e 7it !aster or harder to show the
other to "wake u+% doesn%t he0+ uch. It wi00 ;ust worsen the situation1 strugg0e wi00
esca0ate. I! such !rustrating situations coe u+ consider the as your own cha00enges.
<hey can 7e $iewed as your interna0 tests where you need to ho0d on to your re0axed
usc0es and indset1 and +erha+s to use soe non$er7a01 gent0e ethods to trans!er
your ca0ness to your +artner. We ho+e that your grading wi00 7e a00 haronious1
though1 why wou0dn%t it 7e?
I! you know in ad$ance who your +artner wi00 7e it%s 'L to counicate with
the in a 0e$e0 that is not noticea70e to others1 7ut no audi70e $er7a0 counication is
a++ro+riate in a grading. <his is 7ecause you are ex+ected to deonstrate +hysica0
counication1 connected o$eents. 9ou can ta0k and agree on your 7eha$iour
7e!ore the grading1 and you can discuss how it went a!terwards in the +u7 >or is the
0atter s+ecia0 to our do;os??.
%erfectionism
<here are +eo+0e who are +er!ectionists1 inc0uding yse0! >Mo00ey?. 2er!ectionists1
unex+ected0y1 ha$e a tendency to try to do e$erything +er!ect0y. =owe$er1 they can
o!ten 7ecoe $ery !rustrated i! things do not turn out to 7e going +er!ect0y des+ite
their 7est e!!orts. Iot doing a technique as +er!ect0y as a aster is de!inite0y the case
whiche$er kyu 0e$e0 you are going !or >and dan 0e$e0s1 0ater?. It is i+ortant to
understand that there are kyu and dan 0e$e0s in aikido >and 7asica00y e$erything in
Oa+an? 7ecause there are 0e$e0s towards achie$ing +er!ect technique execution. 3th kyu
won%t 7e1 and won%t need to 7e tota00y +er!ect. Ieither wi00 5th1 4th1 etc. kyu 0e$e0s.
<hey wi00 need to 7e ;ust !ine !or their res+ecti$e 0e$e0s. E$en i! you are a co+0ete
7eginner1 you wi00 soon get an idea o! these 0e$e0s when you train with 3th1 5th1 etc.
kyu students. <heir 0e$e0 wi00 show you what you shou0d know when you get to grade
16
9=ven the 'est needles are not sharp at
'oth ends.:
Ahinese *rover'
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
!or these 0e$e0s soe tie.
-o do the techniques the 7est way you can 7ut don%t ex+ect yourse0! to do the the
7est way +ossi70e in genera0. Lnowing this wi00 ake you ore re0axed which wi00
natura00y he0+ you do 7etter aikido.
9ou ight now say that you see a 0ot o! istakes in your own technique. <hat is
natura01 this is how we 0earn. When you start aikido1 e$en a 3th kyu o$es $ery nice0y.
<hen you start noticing istakes you or others do. <hen you correct these istakes in
your own o$eents1 on0y to notice e$en ore istakes and +oints to !ocus on. 9ou
work on correcting these and you go on to the next 0e$e0 o! know0edge and awareness.
*an you see? <hese are 0e$e0sA Oust as we ha$e 3th kyu1 5th kyu and other 0e$e0s. 9ou
can do a +er!ect 3th kyu with the knowledge of a 6th kyu and the awareness of a 6th kyu1
the 0atter eaning that you see a0ready what you need to work on in order to 7ecoe a
5th kyu.
&ssessment
9ou ight 7e wondering what exact0y is assessed when you are grading1 and how
it is assessed. BWhat ha++ens i! I don%t know soething? Is there a nu7er o! "70ack
arks% a!ter which I !ai0 autoatica00y?C BWi00 they assess y ro00ing ski00s whi0e
taking the ro0e o! uke?C In the next +art1 we suarise what the !actors1 that genera00y
deterine the outcoe o! your gradings1 are.
<o answer the !irst ty+ica0 question 0isted a7o$e1 there are usua00y no "70ack arks%.
<his is 7ecause it is not on0y the quantity that atters >e.g. Bthere you didn%t ste+ a
co+0ete tenkan so that%s one arkC? 7ut qua0ity as we00 >e.g. whether you are 7a0anced
enough !or the grade you are 7eing tested !or. : <his wou0d 7e hard to quanti!y?. -o
qua0ity and +erha+s quantity can coe together and +ro$ide a resu0t !or your grading.
<here are di!!erent 0e$e0s at which soeone%s +er!orance can 7e assessed. <he
!actors that deterine the o$era00 resu0t and outcoe can 7e the !o00owing.
Grave mistakes – @et%s start with the !actor that has one o! the ost draatic
e!!ects. <here ight 7e certain istakes that : !or whate$er reason : are not to0erated
7y exainers o! your do;o6organisation. I! you coit at 0east one o! these and at 0east
once you ight 0ose quite a chance to +ass1 you ight e$en 7e asked to sit down and
watch the others !inish their grading. <his +aragra+h is rea00y not to discourage you. I!
your exainers ha$e such istakes to watch !or you wou0d certain0y hear a7out the
in your trainings1 not once and not twice 7ut +ro7a70y uch ore o!ten. .or exa+0e1
one o! the things ost o! the +eo+0e are $ery conscious a7out in our organisation is that
in hanmi-handachi waza ryotedori shihonage you as tori ha$e to stand u+. Io7ody
coits this istake 7ecause we know this is soething that wou0d contri7ute to
!ai0ure1 7ig +art. We don%t e$en ree7er cases when soeone didn%t stand u+ !ro
this technique. We are we00 conditioned not to coit it.
Small mistakes – <here are errors that you ight coit during your grading and
sti00 +ass. What constitutes a sa00 istake can di!!er !ro exainer to exainer 7ut 7y
grading 0e$e0 as we00. .or exa+0e1 a 3
th
kyu ight not 7e required to 7e a70e to kee+ an
u+right +osture and nice tegatana at a00 ties1 7ut i! you go !or (
st
kyu and 7end
!orward too uch too o!ten it ight 7e an indication that you ight need ore tie
1;
“...life is not a multiple choice test,
it's an open-book essay exam.”
Alan Blinder
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
and training !or that 0e$e0. Being sta70e at the end o! technique execution is a0so
desira70e 7ut there are 0e$e0s to that as we00. -oe sta7i0ity 0e$e0s are 'L !or 4
th
kyu1
soe are not 'L !or 5
th
kyu. 'nce you coit a istake 0ike this and you notice it1
!ocus ore when doing the next technique1 and show that you don%t coit it again.
<his wi00 show that you know you ade a sa00 istake and that you know a7out it1
oreo$er1 you are a70e to correct it. Don%t worry too uch a7out these istakes
though. Nee7er that i! -ensei 0et you grade it%s +ro7a70y 7ecause you know what
you need to do1 and you can do it we00 enough1 with the occasiona00y a00owed errors.
9ou ight notice that your exainer takes notes whi0e you are grading. I! you are not
7usy enough with your task and notice this indeed1 take it as what it is4 notes. Iotes
are not necessari0y istakes written down1 they ight 7e +oints they +articu0ar0y 0ike
in your o$eents1 or +oints that are not needed !or your grading now 7ut you ight
want to +ay attention to the !or your next grading and !urther de$e0o+ent.
Harmony level – =ere coes the +oint a7out which we wrote 7rie!0y in a +re$ious
section. 5sua00y1 you and your +artner +ass or !ai0 together. -o i! you are a 7order0ine
+ass and your +artner is a 7order0ine !ai0 as indi$idua01 you 7oth shou0d 7ring the 7est
out o! the situation and 7e at 0east a 7order0ine +ass together. Work together.
Deonstrate your know0edge. -how that1 in addition to 7eing in harony with
yourse0! and knowing the techniques1 you can 7e in harony with others as we00. <his
!actor is soething that is hard to quanti!y. <he exainer can see i! you work in
harony at the required 0e$e0 or not. <ry to train with +otentia0 +artners a 0ot so this
as+ect can 7e taken care o!. I y $iew >Mo00ey?1 this is the hardest as+ect 7ecause you
don%t ha$e +er!ect contro0 a7out it. <here is a0ways a +artner who either throws you or
0et%s hise0!6herse0! 7e thrown >ore or 0ess?. =owe$er1 this is the 7est and unique
thing in aikido1 tooA 9ou 0earn co#o+eration. And sharing success is a0ways 7etter than
;ust ce0e7rating yourse0!. BWe did $ery we00AC instead o! BI was greatAC.
Overall picture – '7$ious0y this is quite i+ossi70e to easure using arks or
nu7ers. Does it 0ook 0ike a nice Pth kyu grading or not? Are you re0axed enough? Are
you con!ident enough? Do your techniques and o$eents !0ow enough? Aren%t you
exhausted 7y the ()
th
inute? Is your suwari waEa 'L? *an they say you worked we00
enough to your 0e$e0? Etc. A7o$e a certain 0e$e0 o! ex+erience1 exainers ight si+0y
nod at the end or not. <hey can !ee0 that you are good enoughJ they don%t need to say
why exact0y. <he o$era00 +icture and harony 0e$e0s are strong0y connected. -o to
answer the other question in the introduction o! this section4 yes1 your ukei ski00s are
a0so assessed. Exainers watch you whether you throw soeone or take ukei. As
uke1 you are not si+0y an assistant1 uke work is not an easy one1 it a0so has 0e$e0s1 it is
+art o! the o$era00 +icture a7out you.
And now1 +0ease !orget a00 these 0itt0e things and uni+ortant +oints you ha$e ;ust
read in this section1 0ea$e the !ie0d o! Bwhat i! I don%t6can%tC#s1 and !ocus on 7eing
relaxed, flowing, punctual and connected in your grading. 20ease read the next section
though1 so you wi00 know what ha++ens when you +ass.
"ina##y' (pon passing your exam
A!ter !inishing your exa and sitting 7ack in 0ine or next to your +artner1 it%s
e$a0uation tie. <here are $arious setu+s !or these. -oeties the grou+ o! exainers
1<
0"he test o# any man>s character is
how he takes praise.0
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
discusses who +assed and who shou0d coe 7ack 0ater1 what are the ain +oints1
coon istakes to high0ight and 0earn !ro1 what are the ain +oints !or
indi$idua0s1 etc. -oeties you wi00 get your resu0ts iediate0y. I want to note here
that i! sensei 0ets you do the who0e exa and the duration o! it is not sus+icious0y 0ong
then you +ro7a70y +assed >7ut don%t take this indication !or granted1 I% ;ust saying
that soe +eo+0e !inish their exa ear0y and coe 7ack next tie1 and soe +eo+0e are
asked to sweat ore 7ecause the exainers are unsure a7out the?. -o 0et us su++ose
that you trained hard1 took the ad$ice you were gi$en and you +roduced a nice
grading.
-ensei wi00 +ro7a70y ha$e +re+ared and signed your certi!icate and s6he is ready to
gi$e it to you1 or i! not1 the !o00owing +rocedure wi00 take +0ace whene$er the
certi!icates are ready4 9our nae wi00 7e ca00ed again1 and you res+ond with a 7ow and
"=ai -ensei%1 ;ust 0ike at the 7eginning o! the grading. De+ending on the syste you
use1 sensei ight te00 you what you did we001 what you need to i+ro$e u+on1 so they
wi00 gi$e you a genera0 e$a0uation1 and they ight te00 you that you +assed. 5+on
hearing that you +assed your grading >and sensei says which grade you +assed?1 the
others ight want to start a++0auding you1 and you shou0d do the sae when you
hear others +assing1 e$en i! you ha$e your certi!icate a0ready and wou0d 0ike to
exaine it. When students 0ine u+ !or the resu0t announceents and !or certi!icates to
7e gi$en to success!u0 students1 there is usua00y a ga+ in the idd0e o! the 0ine1 right in
!ront o! sensei1 so when your nae is ca00ed1 7owed and heard your grade and that you
+assed1 you quick0y wa0k to that ga+ >not in !ront o! the other students1 7ut usua00y
7ehind the !irst 0ine o! +eo+0e?1 and do the !o00owing +rocedure. 9ou sit down in seiEa
and 7ow. <hen you wa0k u+ to sensei in shikko dachi and sto+ a cou+0e o! !eet in !ront
o! hi6her1 so 7oth o! you wi00 ha$e enough s+ace !or 7owing. 9ou 7ow !irst. <hen
sensei wi00 hand the certi!icate o$er to you1 ho0ding it with 7oth hands1 with a 7owing#
0ike o$eent. -ii0ar0y1 you 7ow whi0e reaching with 7oth hands and taking the
certi!icate. Iow you +ut it down next to you and 7ow towards sensei as usua0. -6he
wi00 a0so 7ow to you. <hen you take your certi!icate and go 7ack to the ga+ in the 0ine1
in shikko dachi1 wa0king 7ackwards. It is $ery i+ortant to ree7er that1 sii0ar0y to
when sitting down in seiEa in or at the end o! a c0ass1 you ne$er show your 7ack to
sensei 7ecause that is considered to 7e $ery rude and i+o0ite. -o that is why you wa0k
7ackwards. When arri$ing at the ga+1 you ight 7ow again1 and then quick0y go 7ack
to your +0ace1 +ut down your certi!icate and see the others get their certi!icates as we00.
1@
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
Conclusions
It is good to know certain things 7e!ore you go and start your kyu test. E$en i! you
do know these things and graded se$era0 ties a0ready1 it ight 7e use!u0 to reind
yourse0! 7e!ore your next grading1 quick0y re$ise what a grading is a7out and what it is
0ike. <he $ery !irst thing we suggest you to do when starting to +re+are !or your
grading is to go and ask your -ensei and senior students in your do;o. Di!!erent do;os
ight ha$e di!!erent exa +rocedures1 so these +eo+0e shou0d 7e your +riary sources
o! re!erence. =owe$er1 we tried to 7e genera0 in this e#7ook1 so ost o! the +oints we
ha$e co$ered wi00 +ro7a70y 7e use!u0 !or your grading.
Based on the sections a7o$e1 here is a suary o! what you need ost !or a
success!u0 grading >we 0e!t a cou+0e o! 70ank 0ines at the end in case you want to +rint
this docuent and add your own ites?4
1. <o 7e +re+ared technica00y1 +hysica00y and enta00y.
2. <o know the etiquette1 what ha++ens1 when and how.
3. <o 7e re0axed and o+en inded.
4. <o 7e a70e to 0isten to and !o00ow the exainers% instructions.
5. <o 7e a70e to think +ositi$e0y.
6. <o 7e in harony with your +artner>s?.
7. <o know certain tricks or techniques to ake sure you deser$e your new grade.
8. ....................................................................................................................................................
9. ....................................................................................................................................................
10. ....................................................................................................................................................
11. ....................................................................................................................................................
12. ....................................................................................................................................................
13. ....................................................................................................................................................
14. ....................................................................................................................................................
15. ....................................................................................................................................................
1B
0!ail at love1 and the other tests don>t matter.0
8ichard Bach
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
Congratulations! Having read tis e!"ook# no$ you kno$ $at to e%pect &rom
your grading. 'ou ave also "oosted your cances o& passing to a good e%tent.
(emem"er to revise te points o& tis "ook "e&ore your ne%t grading# and pass tis
e!"ook to your &ello$ grading students in order to increase teir cances# too.
)n te meantime# keep practicing regularly and $it a$areness o& your "ody and
mind. )& you need &urter assistance# visit our *ikido +log or our *ikido
)nstructional ,ideos pages. Ho$ever# don-t &orget tat# in addition to training
your inner sel& "y reading e!"ooks suc as tis# and $atcing videos a"out o$ to
do aikido tecni.ues or "reak&alls# it is regular practice troug $ic you can
advance in your aikido studies. /0e secret to improving your aikido is to keep
turning up.1
Good luck &or your grading!
2.-. I! you ha$e any questions regarding this e#7ook +0ease do not hesitate to contact us
$ia our we7site >ttp233onlineaikido.com3contact?. A0so1 we wou0d a++reciate i!
you cou0d 0et us know how use!u0 this e#7ook has 7een !or you. We wou0d a0so 0ike you
to send us any additiona0 +oints which we ay not ha$e co$ered yet >we are going to
ex+and this e#7ook constant0y?1 or !urther "secrets% to a success!u0 grading. <hank you.
2C
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
"his work is licensed under the Areative Aommons Aommons Attri'ution2+onAommercial2+on%erivativeWorks
,icense. Gou are #ree to use it1 'ut you cannot change it or sell it and copyright notices must 'e le#t intact.
!or details o# the licence see
htt+466creati$ecoons.org60icenses67y#nc#nd6,.56
"he authors cannot 'e held responsi'le #or possi'le misinterpretations o# the contents o# this work and resulting
damages.
21
OnlineAikido.com – Aikido Grading Basics
A 0ast quote at the end4
B<he !act that I can +0ant a seed and it 7ecoes a !0ower1 share a 7it o! know0edge and
it 7ecoes anotherKs1 si0e at soeone and recei$e a si0e in return1 are to e
continua0 s+iritua0 exercises.C
@eo .. Buscag0ia
22