Reflections on Testing

Today's post is from Mike, reflecting on his recent nikyu test.

The test was a blast, one of the best times I have ever had in my life. I have received many compliments on my performance in the test, so I think that might have shown. I can't wait to see the video, to see what everyone else saw. Not being able to fall (because of a back injury) has made learning the techniques much more difficult than the process otherwise would be. Getting thrown by a technique, and falling from it, goes a long way toward teaching your body how to do the technique when your turn comes around.

When I was called before the testing board I bowed and answered what questions I could. I missed several but that didn't matter to me. Not because I didn't care, but because I was relaxed and had decided that I would just have as much fun with the test as I could. Instead of high-speed "slammy" waza I strove for slower, more controlled Aikido. I just wanted to show that I was relaxed, focused, and in control. The outcome of the test meant nothing to me, nor did any missteps or other errors. Instead of how I usually am, which is kind of like a hurricane (if you ask any of my friends), I became the calm eye of the storm.

It is the closest I have ever come to takemusu-aiki, or infinite martial creativity. it is also the closest I have ever come to being able to see the world as it truly is, rather than the distorted image we all perceive through the lens of our egos. Now here is my favorite part: some of that stayed with me. I feel as though I am still somehow tethered to that moment. I honestly can't say exactly what changed, but I am no longer the same person.

And I like the change.

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