Testing and Promotion
Testing is an opportunity to solidify the techniques and understanding achieved through diligent practice, with the goal of reaching the next level of training. Testing provides the opportunity for the student to demonstrate his/her achievements, an experience that is shared by the entire dojo. A successful test honors Sensei and his teachers, the senior students, and the entire dojo.
Students are responsible for their own advancement. O’Sensei wrote that only a small portion of the “Way” can be taught. The majority needs to be discovered by the student. Therefore: read the test requirements, train after class, and ask for assistance from students who are more senior than you. This is how Aikido has always been transferred. Sensei will be constantly evaluating your achievements and will begin pre-testing you when he feels you are ready.
Prior to a test, the student must formally ask a senior, higher ranking student to be “UKE”; a partner and mentor for the test preparation. James Sensei will spend extra time and provide individual attention to ensure that each student is thoroughly prepared for the privilege of taking a rank examination. When Sensei begins pre-testing you, the entire dojo participates and shares in your experience.
Promotion requirements include understanding and clear demonstration of technique, understanding of the history and philosophy of Aikido, understanding of dojo etiquette, contributions and commitment to the development and health of the dojo, and consistent demonstration of respectful and honorable character, before, during, and after training, inside and outside the dojo. With rank comes privilege and responsibility.
Adult Aikido students follow the Iwama tradition of wearing only white belts until they earn their black belt. Teenage Aikido students can decide whether to adopt this tradition, or may instead choose to wear a progression of color belts. In all cases, students are awarded rank certificates that are recognized by dojos worldwide. For those taking black belt exams, James Sensei may test them in the presence of Patricia Hendricks Shihan, as well as other leaders and members of the Aikido community. Black belt ranks will be registered officially and honored worldwide.
Shugyo Aikido Dojo is officially recognized by: the California Aikido Association, the world Headquarters Aikikai Hombu Dojo in Tokyo, Japan, and the Ibaraki Shuren Dojo and Tanren Dojo in Iwama Japan. The present Doshu, Moriteru Ueshiba the grandson of O’Sensei, will authorize ranking of first-degree black belt and above. Members of Shugyo Aikido Dojo who are in good standing may avail themselves of all official dojo activities, and represent themselves in the worldwide Aikido community as members of Shugyo Aikido Dojo. Students who are in good standing are eligible to receive rank and promotion.
Shugyo Aikido Dojo is located at 33511 Western Avenue, Union City, California 94587, and provides martial arts instruction in the Tri City area of Union City, Fremont, Newark, and Hayward.
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