Monday, March 10, 2008

4th-kyu test

Well, I finally was able to take my fourth-kyu test. I missed the last two or three tests for various reasons, and it was really starting to get on my nerves. I know rank doesn't matter, and I consoled myself with that, but on the other hand, being a fifth kyu with almost 200 hours is just silly.

So on the one hand I felt very well prepared. On the other, especially since I was out sick for a whole week, I felt like I really could have used just one more day to prepare and nail things down. You know, I figured I had a whole week left to work out my exact strategy, details, etc. I didn't get that, so I was a little apprehensive. But missing yet another test was out of the question, so I just went for it. As usual, Sugano-sensei and Mike Abrams sat at the big desk.

After the 5th kyus, all of us testing for fourth were called up by name. That's when we can figure out who will be our partner, as we don't get to choose. I had a fellow student from the dojo, though I don't know him well. He was a big, nice guy, bigger than me, in fact. Not too many of those around. This was going to be interesting.

We started off with shomenuchi nikkyo. I went for omote first. I was taken slightly out of rhythm when my uke went down too early. If you think about it, there is no logical reason to go for the nikkyo if uke is already on the ground, but I did what I had to do. I don't remember any problems with ura. It's vague.

Next was yokomenuchi shihonage. I can't recall any major problems. I guess it was OK.

Tsuki iriminage was interesting, too. The testing requirements don't specify omote and ura for this technique, but I was told it was a good idea to do both anyway. I know most other people working on the test did so. I went right in for omote and I could sense my partner's surprise. (Sure enough, when it was his turn, he didn't do omote.) But we seemed to get through it all right.

Ushiro tekubitori sankyo was the worst moment for me. For the omote, I was in the habit of repositioning uke with the sankyo before the throw. Don't forget, he's a big fellow and I guess simple pain avoidance wasn't going to do the trick for him. He just stood there while I was trying to move him. So... I had to just hunker down and be sure my center was involved in it, and I finally got him to move. I assumed the other side would go more smoothly since now he had the idea. But you know about assumptions, right? So on the left side I again expected uke to follow the repositioning. No action. I really didn't get it. But there was certainly no time for a discussion, so again I just settled myself and tried not to muscle him as I finally got him to move.In my mind, that was a horrible moment! But I am sure I'm over blowing it. Ura went better. (Note to self: Investigate sankyo more. Obviously, it can be improved.)

Next came, ushiro ryokatatori kotegaeshi, which I think went well. I can't remember much about it, so I'm assuming that's a good thing. ;) Again, I did omote and ura even though the requirements don't state them. One good point about having such a big partner was I didn't really have to worry about taking it easy on him. His wrists weren't going to injure too easily. At least in my mind, this was the best part of the test.

Then it was time for suwari waza. Have I mentioned on this blog that I hate suwari waza? (Then again, does anyone really like suwari waza? Come on, be honest.) Shomenuchi ikkyo and katatori nikkyo went OK, I think. Again, no specific memory. Katatori sankyo was also on the list, but Sugano-sensei didn't ask for it. I was very surprised. When we switched and it was my turn to be uke, we did all three suwari waza techniques. Go figure.

At the end of the test, when Mike Abrams announced all the fourth kyus passed (yeah!), Sugano-sensei talked about paying attention to detail and he mentioned staying connected during katatori nikkyo. For some reason that rang a bell with me and I was sure he was talking about my performance, but since he didn't go into specifics about what he was talking about, I'm not sure. If I see him soon, I'll ask him more about that comment.

Part of me feels my test wasn't too bad, but the other part thinks I should have done much better, but isn't that always how it is?

All the tests I observed were pretty good. Especially the lone first kyu test and the second kyus. They were great. First kyu guy rocked.

So, all's well that ends well. It's 100 hours till third kyu, which I'm looking forward to! That test looked a bit more detailed.

I saw a few video cameras. If anyone posts a vid, I'll be sure to post the link (if it's not too bad, that is...)

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