A tale of two gradings

What happened?

Within the space of six days I attempted to grade in Jitsu and Aikido, in that order.

Jitsu notes vs Aikido notes

  • Jitsu: Kyu grades from 8th to 1st.  I went into the grading a 6th kyu.
  • Aikido: Novice, then kyu grades 6th to 1st.  I went into the grading a novice.
  1. Jitsu: Stopped training three times a week four months ago, average six hours a month now.  For reasons see http://wp.me/p45rsu-2  Was training six to eight hours a week.
  2. Aikido: Currently train twice a week.  I train three to four hours a week.
  1. Jitsu: Asked one of my teachers for his view on me trying grading.  His response was, “give it a go, if you fail you can always try again.  You were more ready in June than you are now.”
  2. Aikido: Was informed at the end of a training session that my grading would happen in the next two weeks.

  1. Jitsu: 15 people on the mat grading, plus four non-grading kyu grades to help as uke’s.  The energy level was high, the pace was fast, there was a really urge to prove yourself.
  2. Aikido: Four of us grading, with four uke’s to assist as required.  Two of my fellow novices where trembling with nerves.  It was an challenge to try and summon the energy and intent and I had to reach into myself to find it.
  1. Jitsu: At the attempt to defend against a strangulation I freaked and nearly ran off the mat.  (I dislike people touching my neck.)  This then played on my mind and I couldn’t clear my head.  The result was the rest of the grading was spent with my mind on another planet.
  2. Aikido: I fluffed a basic move.  Rather than let it dominate my thoughts about how that probably meant I failed I put the matter to one side and concetrated on showing I could do the rest.
  1. Jitsu: I damaged my right scapula 40 mins into the grading.  Rather than stop I continued to try.  The result was a poor performance as I couldn’t lift my arm and ended up with a very damaged right scapula.
  2. Aikido: Suffering the effects of that damage six days on, but the techniques called for I  adapted slightly to limit the strain on that muscle set.

The results?

  • Jitsu:  Failed.  Still a 6th kyu.
  • Aikido: Passed. Now a 6th kyu.



Lessons learnt

  • Know my limits!  I knew there was a chance I would fail the Jitsu.  I should have stopped when my mind went.  I should definitely have stopped when my arm was injured.
  • Practice is key. And more practice.  And keep practicing.
  • And focus is the second key.  Mental preperation is important.
  • That even in failing the Jitsu I learnt a lot about what I knew.
  • That even in passing the Aikido I learnt a lot about what I don’t know.
  • That pass or fail I am still the same person on the mat that I was the day before.  The only thing that has changed is I have shuffled up or down the line for when we group rei.


I’m PROUD of BOTH my gradings.

I’m proud I tried my Jitsu , even though I knew not grading was a real possibility.  I’m proud a week later I got back on the mat, nodded at those who are now above my grade and got on with my training.

I’m proud of passing my Aikido and have started in earnest on learning this martial art.

In the words of Mriheri Ueshiba: http://wp.me/p45rsu-1J

And I’m also humbled.  There is so much to learn, I have barely begun.

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