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Shodan Grading

Updated: Apr 29, 2023


Thandi san receiving her black belt from Michael Sensei at Kihon Aikido in Melbourne Victoria
Thandi san receiving her black belt from Michael Sensei

Gradings, that heavy feeling whenever I see someone up for their tests. You wish them the best and hope their energy carries them through. You have seen them do the techniques many times, you have been their uke’s so you know what they are capable of. Shodan, Nidan and Yondan tests today. Lots of anticipation and nerves. Have been there before, you just want to get through the test and be done with it.


Focus on these tests is for accuracy not speed but with energy, control, and coordination.



Thandi grading practice with uke Kim Davies at Kihon Aikido in Melbourne Australia
Thandi grading practice with uke Kim Davies

First group was the Shodan tests. Shodan tests are always the hardest. However, once they got going, you could see they’re in the zone, eyes glazed. Many training hours have paid off and everyone performed their best.


Tim practicing is shodan grading at Kihon Aikido dojo in Melbourne Australia
Tim practicing his shodan grading

Next up Nidan, and I was Pat’s uke. Glad to get moving after sitting in seiza during the first tests. One of the things that the examiner is looking for is staying connected. As uke, staying connected was one while getting thrown is another. Pat did a wonderful job in both areas.


Yondan test was another level. So much raw energy that left me in awe. Ulf’s comment of the day was for Jiuwaze techniques, not to kill your ukes.

And finally, the buki waza component. This is where things can come undone cause you’re on your own, no uke to help you here. But the guys did well in maintaining their composure throughout the tests. Regardless of what happens next, I’m so proud for them.


While the panel of Senseis deliberated, we waited outside to take a breather and patted everyone’s back for the good work.


Congratulations to everyone for passing their Dan tests. Tomorrow we celebrate, Kanpai



writer: Thao, 3rd dan at Kihon Aikido


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