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Frequently Asked Questions
(For students) For questions less specific to training, please see our General FAQ.
What Are the Exam Procedures?
What is a pretest?
When Do I Select an Uke/Trainer?
What is Sho Dan Ho?
top What Are the Exam Procedures?
At Aikido of Monterey, adult ranks begin with 5th Kyu. After your 5th Kyu test, a white belt is still worn, and your name is added to our nafuda kake (name and rank board) in the dojo. In subsequent tests, 4th Kyu is awarded a blue belt which will be worn through 3rd Kyu and 2nd Kyu is awarded a brown belt which will be worn through 1st Kyu.
At Aikido of Monterey, testing times will be announced at the dojo by the Dojo Cho. Students test for their next rank at the discretion of Sensei. Periodically, on the student roster, Sensei will mark the student's name with an asterisk(*). This means that the student has trained at least the minimum number of days required, and that the instructor believes it's a good time to discuss the possibility of demonstrating readiness for the next rank. If you see an asterisk by your name, talk to Sensei as soon as possible. You do not have to test if you choose not to. If you do choose to test, a pretest will be scheduled.
top What is a pretest?
When Sensei informs you that you are ready to pretest during the next testing period, and you choose to test, be prepared for your pretest. Study and practice the requirements for your rank and the training guidelines for your level. You should recognize everything on the list. Ask questions of the instructors. They will be happy to answer or teach a class including that material. Showing up for as many regular classes is imperative. Also, you should train during the open-mat times after classes as much as possible. Check the handbook for any written or oral test requirements. These requirements exist for all ranks and written requirements need to be handed in before your test date. Ask one of the students in charge of a soji area for a special soji project you can do before the test date. Make sure you have filled out a testing request form which includes a simple statement regarding confidence in one's ability and a request to take the exam.
top When Do I Select an Uke/Trainer?

The uke/trainer you choose will be the person who bows in with you at the pretest and test. They may be your uke for the entire test, though sometimes other students could be called in during the test. It is an honor to be chosen as an uke/trainer. Your uke/trainer should be someone who is one or two ranks above you and familiar with the testing requirements of the rank for which you will be testing. The uke/trainer will help you take material that you know and with focused training, gain a confidence, a polish of details, and an immediacy with which you can respond to called out technique names.

top What is Sho Dan Ho?

At 1st kyu one continues to work with a trainer but an important change occurs. One does not apply to take a dan test. As a 1st kyu student arrives at 200 days, they have the option of submitting a "blue card". The blue card is NOT an application to take the test. It IS a request for special training - a request to commit to Seishin Tanren (Spiritual Forging). The blue card is called an Application for Sho Dan Ho. Sho Dan Ho means Shodan Candidate. A shodan candidate is a 1 kyu requesting to put it on the line. It is a commitment to train at a level more severe than that of general classes and under the direct supervision of senior instructors. It is important to note that not all 1st kyu choose to be Sho Dan Ho. It is perfectly okay for someone to remain 1st kyu for as long as they like, and pass up the intensity of candidate training.

Within this dojo, the advanced yudansha led by Dennis Evans have the responsibility of pushing each candidate to their limit, stretching their capacities emotionally and physically. When the yudansha and trainer feel that a candidate is ready, a matter of weeks or months, Sensei will set an exam date for that individual.

The Art of Peace - Morihei Ueshiba
54 Always practice the Art of Peace in a vibrant and joyful manner.
Aikido of Monterey · 1251 10th Street, Monterey CA 93940 · info@aikidomonterey.com · 831.375.8106

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