Testing Observations
Todd Engelman
ShoDan Honbu Gi Yu Dojo Dayton OH USA

Testing at the Gi Yu Dojo is an interesting experience.  After months of preparation, you enter the test relatively confident you know your material.  Overall, it is a straightforward process: demonstrate the required list of techniques, complete a written exam, and then some controlled randori (freestyle) to show your ability to adapt and persevere.  For each test up to shodan, the primary difference is that the level of proficiency and mastery expected of the student for each rank increases accordingly.

Almost as critical as knowing your material is having the right mindset... as is true with many of life's challenges.  You must believe you can do it.  If you are hesitant or unsure of your skills, it will likely show through in your performance.  You must also be able to mentally relax and be "in the moment". 

A personal example was during one of my kyu rank tests.  I knew I had made a small mistake on the previous technique, and ended up focusing on my last mistake rather than my next technique.  This led to another mistake, exacerbating the problem along with my worries.  When I recognized this, I paused, took a deep breath, and put my mind where it needed to be to successfully finish the test. 

Most students are apprehensive about the randori portion of testing.  This is understandable as you cannot practice for it as you can with your regular techniques and academics.  Again, a key point is to relax and be "in the moment".  By the time you have studied long enough to test, you have also acquired the basic physical skills to succeed.  What you need to bring with you is confidence and perseverance. 

At the end of each test, you will feel a renewed energy.  You will walk out the door with a level of confidence in yourself unlike any you have felt before, knowing you can handle any situation the world throws at you. 

Of course the true hard part is yet to come.  Your new higher rank is more than just a status symbol.  There is also much more expected from you in and out of the dojo from Sensei Sandhu.  You've now demonstrated your higher level abilities, so you no longer have the excuse of inexperience for any failings you show in the future (and Sukh Sensei will hold you to fulfilling the potential that resides with in you).   You must now continue to perform at this higher level.  The higher level of scrutiny and higher expectations will push you to continue growing.

I look forward to seeing each of you strive for success.