Saheli*: Musings and Observations
Monday, February 14, 2005
 
Kyu Test

Envision these colors: The off-whites of canvas and wall and Japanese paper, black, and some natural wood tones. The colors of Aikido and my Dojo and my Sempai and Kohai. (Well, their gis and hakamas really; they themselves come in all of the usual human colors. Add those in for good measure). Keep these colors in mind. Click the Timestamp to read why. (Rest of the post)

Dedicated readers of the blog might remember that I somewhat casually started taking the beginner's class back in early June of last year. My friend Scott talked me and Emily into trying it out, and it was a bit of a lark, inspired by his enthusiasm as much as any native interest I had in martial arts. Partially because of this very blog, I took an increasingly serious interest in it over the course of the summer, and the blog often seemed like Aikidoblog. I was immediately amazed by the mysterious tumbling and falling, relentlessly compared to my experience as a Bharat Natyam dancer, and watched a student become a black belt. Oddly enough, it's after I stopped blogging about it regularly that I really became a more involved student, with a regular membership and at least biweekly visits most of the time. By the time the holiday party roled around, I had snagged some new close friends and a sense of community. So when I came back from Japan, two weeks ago, walked into the Dojo and saw my name on the bulletin board as up for the 6th Kyu* with two weeks to prepare, I was both terrified and touched. I still have a lot of trouble with the forward rolls that first so amazed me--they're significantly less mysterious, but terribly difficult for me.

I didn't feel ready for the test, but my name on the board served as a challenge, a vote of confidence, and a dose of psychic adrenaline. The last two weeks have seen a drastic increase in my training. I got Jacob to be my Uke--a senior student, or Sempai, to practice with me before hand, and receive my techniques during the test. He patiently and cheerfully egged me on in my rolls and coaxed loud kiais out of my strikes. He's also extremely tall which forced me to really work on my techniques. Sara was going to be my Uke, until she realized she'd be out of town, but before that she worked on my rolls with me after every class. There are a bunch of students up for kyu tests later this week, which really added to the air of intensity and preparation. Josh, an extremely helpful yudansha I haven't gotten to train with in a long time, was up for his second Dan on Saturday, and his renewed presence added a level of intensity and another expert to grill. I went to every class I could possibly make it to, even a Saturday morning class. Last Saturday we had a special class for Josh's Dan test, with lots of Yudansha, and time for a few rolls afterwards. I actually got to train with Peter, who's usually an instructor! Josh's test went wonderfully, of course. I don't think there has been a single adult training in the Dojo at the same time I've been in the Dojo who didn't at some point train with me, watch and point things out for me, or at least heartily encourage me. Even former students who came back just to see Josh's Dan test took some time out from their reunions to watch me roll and give me feedback.

And it all led up to tonight, my 6th Kyu test. Earlier, when Scott asked if I was ready, I said I was in as much as I wasn't ready to quit. My forward rolls--still not so great. I would have to do them with everyone watching. It was pouring rain and I had been hiking around town for much of the day so I was already sore. My gi managed to rip in the knee just in time for the test. It's been a long weekend. I was pretty nervous.

When I got to the Dojo, pinned on the door was a note of encouragement from Yudansha and Kids Class Instructors Lars Erik and Martha--they had to chaperone a dance, but they would be thinking of me. Right before the test Sara gave me a big hug and told me that when I went up I would look out and see my fellow students sitting there and watching, and they would all be sending me vibes of love and good wishes and encouragement, willing for me to succeed. Well, if nothing else hers alone would probably do the trick! I nodded, I didn't really understand. After a long class during which I felt increasingly awkwrd, the instructors, Peter and Alberta, lined us all up and then called me out. Jacob and I "stepped" forward from the line to knee-walk to the front, bow to the Shomen, bow to them, and bow to each other. Jacob flashed me a big, bright, encouraging smile. I didn't breathe that well. I didn't get my feet over my head that well. I lost my balance a couple times. I got confused at one point between the technique I was demonstrating and a subtle variation we'd been practicing in class earlier in the evening. I was totally nervous and terrified of forgetting to bow properly. But boy, did I feel the love. I certainly couldn't focus enough on the line of students watching to make out their individual faces--they were just one blurry line of gi's and heads and affection.

You might recall my earlier Valentine's Day post about how love comes in all colors, not just red and pink. I hoped you'd have a good Valentine's Day, regardless of what color you were on. Tonight I found I was on a new set of colors--the ones I asked you to keep in mind at the beginning of this post. I hope you had as lovely an evening as I did.

p.s. Oh yeah--I passed.


* Aikido, like most Japanese martial arts, the Game of Go, and other pursuits, uses a system of Kyus and Dans to rank. You start with a high Kyu number--at my Dojo the first ranked Kyu is 6; I suppose ostensibly before your 6th Kyu test you are 7th Kyu. In the Game of Go it starts around 30 or 29. As you get more advanced, your kyu ranking goes down. 1st kyu is the highest kyu ranking. From 1st Kyu there is a switch over to Dans, which go up in number--first Dan (Shodan) being the lowest, second Dan (Nidan) being higher, etc. I'm not sure what the how high Aikido goes. Dan ranking are black belts in the martial arts, and in Aikido people with Dan ranking wear billowing black pants, or hakama, over their regular white gi uniforms, and are called Yudansha.
 


<< Home
Saheli Datta started this when she was a journalism student at Columbia in New York. Now she lives in the Bay Area. *Old people call me R. New people, call me Saheli. Thanks! My homepage. Specifically, my links. Email me: Saheli [AT] Gmail [dot] Com

ATOM FEED



Spring 2006: Guest Bloggers!
Colin!
Rishi | Scott | Emily
Echan | Robert | ToastyKen

MAIN:ssrdatta.blogspot.com
Email me!
Ways to help the Tsunami Victims Here

Want this badge?

ARCHIVES
01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 / 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 / 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 / 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 / 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 / 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 / 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 / 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 / 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 / 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 / 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 / 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 / 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 / 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 / 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 / 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 / 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 / 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 / 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 / 09/01/2014 - 10/01/2014 /


Blogs I Read (Or Try To)
113th Street
american footprints(Nadezhda & Praktike)
ANNA's Diary
Apartment Therapy
Armchair Generalist
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
Dave Barry
The Bellman
Mine's On The 45 (Brimful)
Campaign Desk (CJR)
ChennaiCentral
ClimateBoy
Combing the Sphere
Crooked Timber
Daily Dose of Imagery
The Daily Rhino (Bong Breaker)
Dark Days Ahead
The Decembrist
Brad DeLong
Atanu Dey on India's Development (Deeshaa)
Daniel Drezner
Ennis
Ephemera
Cyrus Farivar
Finding My Voice
Forsv
Neil Gaiman
Ganesh Blog
Geeky Chic 2.0 (Echan)
Geomblog
Green Ink!
Heliolith
Alexandra Huddleston
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Indeterminacy
India Uncut
InSpiteOfEverything
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter et al
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Jesus Politics
John and Belle Have a Blog
Mark A. R. Kleiman
KnowProse (Taran Rampersad)
1Locana
Maenad (Nori Heikkinen)
Scott McCloud
Mind Without Borders
Electrolite: Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Corey Pein
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Kevin G. Powell
QuakeHelp (South Asian Quake)
Radiation Persuasion (Nick)
Reneebop
Rhinocrisy
Scott Rosenberg(Salon.com)
Rox Populi
Felix(&Rhian)Salmon
samVaad
Nick Schager
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Sepia Mutiny
Amardeep Singh
Snarkmarket (Robin Sloan & Matt Thompson)
South-East Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Blog
SreeTips: New To Sree
Steprous (Bear)
Robert Stribley
Subjunctive.net:klog
Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall
Tech Policy
TiffinBox
A Tiny Revolution
To The Teeth
TreeHugger
Unfogged
VatulBlog
Venk@
Manish Vij
Vinod's Blog
War and Piece
Nollind Whachell
Wonkette
WorldChanging
Matthew Yglesias:Old
Yglesias:Tpmcafe
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham
Ethan Zuckerman
Zwichenzug



Some Categories

Blogs focusing on policy, politics, and national security:
Armchair Generalist
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
The Decembrist
Brad DeLong
Daniel Drezner
Eschaton(Atrios)
Green Ink!
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Informed Comment: Juan Cole
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Irregular Analyses
Jesus Politics
Mark A. R. Kleiman
Liberals Against Terrorism(Nadezhda & Praktike)
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall
War and Piece
Wonkette
Yglesias:Tpmcafe

Photo Blogs
Daily Dose of Imagery
Ephemera
Alexandra Huddleston
Radiation Persuasion (Nick)
TiffinBox

Columbia Journalism Folks
Apartment Therapy
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
Campaign Desk (CJR)
Ranajit Dam
Cyrus Farivar
Alexandra Huddleston
InSpiteOfEverything
Corey Pein
Nick Schager
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham

Literature, Fiction and Entertainment
Dave Barry
Neil Gaiman
Electrolite: Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Scott McCloud


A Note on Comments
Haloscan is not very good at counting comments. If a comment thread is more than three months old, and you think there might be comments, please click the comments link even if it indicates zero comments. It won't display the true count properly. Thanks!


A note on permalinks
I find that a lot of people don't know about permalinks. When you want to have someone read a specific blog entry, then you should find that blog entry's permalink, click on that, and send them the resulting browser address. Otherwise they will just be sent to the blog in general, and between your reading the blog entry and your correspondent's or audience's getting to it, a whole slew of material may have pushed the entry off the front page. In this blog, the permalinks are the timestamp at the end of the entry. (Feel free to frequently send your friends and family permalinks from my blog!)







Weblog Commenting and Trackback by 
HaloScan.com Powered by Blogger