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  • My first Shinsa!

    Greetings! I have been practicing Kendo for a few months now, and was just informed yesterday that I should test at the next Shinsa in two weeks. There are a few of us new guys testing, and we are all a little nervous.

    Is anyone else attending/has attended the EUSKF Shinsa, coming up in two weeks (I think its Dec 3rd)? What should we expect? There are three of us going who have not earned our bogu. It may be a little early for us to test, but as our testing only comes up once a year, and Sensei believed we wouldn't be wasting our time and money, he said we should go for the experience and maybe to earn at least some rank.

    He said Kata would not be expected of us, I have seen some things saying that some places do test Kata. I probably could pull off 1-3, but its been a while for some of them...

    I have also heard our Hakama must be ironed and well pleated etc. I washed mine after I first wore it, and have never managed to get the pleats back into it nicely...the creases pretty much vanished except where they are sewn at the top. I have a fairly cheap tetron hakama. Can one iron a tetron hakama? Should I starch it?

    It was really a surprise that I was asked to test, I was expecting to wait until the next Shinsa a year from now. But, Sensei has been doing this for quite a while, and if he thinks I am ready, I'll have faith in his judgement.

    I'm not looking for ways to "cram" for my test...just curious about what to expect, any no-nos that first timers do, and the like.

    Thanks for any help!

  • #2
    FWIW, I've never seen or heard of anyone testing without bogu.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by MyrddinWyllt View Post
      Greetings! I have been practicing Kendo for a few months now, and was just informed yesterday that I should test at the next Shinsa in two weeks.
      Hello and welcome to the forums!
      As you may have guessed by now, most folks on the forums will probably raise an eyebrow at your Sensei's decision to test you after only a few months (3?) and no Bogu. My gut tells me this may not even be possible.
      Is your Dojo part of the AUSKF or FIK?
      Which grade are you testing for, and it is it youth or adult?


      Originally posted by MyrddinWyllt View Post
      Can one iron a tetron hakama? Should I starch it?
      I use the very lowest iron setting, and I use a cloth on top of it.
      be careful though, as the tetron is easy to melt and become all shiny.
      (That’s bad)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Kenzan View Post
        Hello and welcome to the forums!
        Thanks! I've lurked around here before, but never really had anything to say, so I never bothered joining

        As you may have guessed by now, most folks on the forums will probably raise an eyebrow at your Sensei's decision to test you after only a few months (3?) and no Bogu. My gut tells me this may not even be possible.
        I thought this was strange myself, but if Sensei says I am ready to test, I guess I will go with his judgement until the Shinsa judges tell me otherwise...in any case, at least it will be a good experience, and even if I do not pass, at least I will know what to expect, so I can really impress them and get hachidan next year (in which case, I will promptly go find a different club that does not use a dart board grading system). Any experience can be a good experience, even if it ends poorly.

        Is your Dojo part of the AUSKF or FIK?
        Which grade are you testing for, and it is it youth or adult?
        Our Dojo is affiliated with EUSKF/AUSKF and IFK (which I believe is also known as FIK...), if I have read the web page correctly. Our site is here. I will be testing for adult level 6 kyu or 5 kyu. I am currently unranked. As far as I can tell, the requirements for 6kyu are 3 months of training (I have about that, you guessed correctly), correct wearing of keikogi and hakama, a smorgasbord of strikes, but does not require bogu or kata. The 5kyu requirements seem to be the same, with a few more strikes and some time at 6kyu. These requirements were found here, but again, this is off of our web page. We are directly affiliated with the Eastern United States Kendo Federation (EUSKF), and my Sensei, David Yang, sits on the EUSKF board of directors. We also have regular visits from other Directors, as well as the periodic appearance of Sensei from other schools, generally during one of the seminars that are held periodically.




        I use the very lowest iron setting, and I use a cloth on top of it.
        be careful though, as the tetron is easy to melt and become all shiny.
        (Thats bad)
        I will do my best not to melt it...I could see that ending poorly for me. Is there a good way to hem it and keep the pleats from goofing up? I have read here that the front is longer than the back (did not realize that before...good to know)...would maybe a small stitch at the bottom help hold the pleats in place?

        Thanks for your fast replies

        Comment


        • #5
          I have heard that it is a good idea to iron the pleats inside out - although I have neither tried this or seen the results of someone who has. There are a couple threads here and there. The search function should help.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MyrddinWyllt View Post
            Is there a good way to hem it and keep the pleats from goofing up? ...would maybe a small stitch at the bottom help hold the pleats in place?

            Thanks for your fast replies
            Exactly.
            This is what I have on mine. You'll need a good Seamstress/Seamstrer? and hem the pleats along the ridge. It will save headache later on.
            Good luck on your Shinsa!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kenzan View Post
              Exactly.
              This is what I have on mine. You'll need a good Seamstress/Seamstrer? and hem the pleats along the ridge. It will save headache later on.
              Good luck on your Shinsa!
              Hmm...maybe I should find someone other than myself to do the hemming, then...

              Thanks, I am attending an optional practice this weekend to get a little more practice in before the Shinsa, maybe they will have some other seeds of wisdom for me, there.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tango View Post
                FWIW, I've never seen or heard of anyone testing without bogu.
                Yeah 6th kyu at least test with Do and Tare. But then the Australian Renmei rules say you have to be training for at least 5 months before grading (rules were updated at the end of october) and if you are not in at least Tare, Do and Kote by then - then something is wrong.

                As for ironing hakama - I fold it and peg the pleats - then put it a laundry bag and wash it on the gentle setting in the machine. I hang it up with a pants/skirt hanger - those over door hanger things are great for this (as well as hanging keikogi on poles) keep it pegged - then I ironed out the creases on the back parts first (by putting the ironing board through the leg) then do the pleats - neaten and then iron.

                If you are concerned about damaging fabric - then use a tenugui, pillow case between the iron and the hakama. Maybe next time I wash it I will make up a manual - and chuck it up online
                Last edited by subygal; 20th November 2007, 08:49 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MyrddinWyllt View Post
                  Is anyone else attending/has attended the EUSKF Shinsa, coming up in two weeks (I think its Dec 3rd)? What should we expect? There are three of us going who have not earned our bogu. It may be a little early for us to test, but as our testing only comes up once a year, and Sensei believed we wouldn't be wasting our time and money, he said we should go for the experience and maybe to earn at least some rank.
                  You know, I think that's a pretty good idea. I didn't test for my first couple of promotions, I was promoted pretty much just on my teacher's recommendation. A couple weeks ago I took the ikkyu test, which I'd been dodging for about a year. To be honest, it wasn't that big of a deal, but because I'd never seen or done any of the tests before, I was kind of stressed about it. I think if I'd tested for an earlier kyu rank, and gotten some experience in testing before hand, I wouldn't have sweated it at all.

                  So testing for 6 kyu or any of the other kyu ranks, seems like a good idea to me.

                  That said, the shinsa I was at was for ikkyu and above, so I don't know what the expectations would be for rokkyu, but the biggest factor for the ikkyu test I took part in was the kata. I think the couple of people who didn't pass were pretty shaky during the kata, not necessarily flubbing it and making some big error, but just overall not quite having it down.

                  Once the kata was over, it was pretty much smooth sailing.

                  ymmv, and I could just be all wrong.

                  -Charles

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by subygal View Post
                    Yeah 6th kyu at least test with Do and Tare.
                    Once more, with feeling - kyu gradings vary by region. For my kids, I say they have to pass gokyu to be allowed to wear bogu, ipso facto the test is sans bogu. Adults test for bogu too, but we don't give them any rank until they take the CKF ikkyu exam. But that's just our club rules - CKF doesn't care about anything below ikkyu.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      re: Tetron hakama: I am slightly ashamed to say that i abuse my one to b'jesus and the pleats just don't shift. Must have got lucky. I iron my one in a slightly different way though: plenty of steam through a towel onto it. No direct heat, just permeated moistness of a temperature enough to get the fabric to do as it is told.

                      Can someone quickly clarify something for me (apologies for the slight high jack) : Are the grades below ikkyu "official" I'm pretty clueless about this and i thought that ikkyu was the lowest grade awarded by the kendo kings; is that just in the UK? Also, i have heard people going for ikkyu, not quite up to spec and leaving with something like yonkyu or whatever; here it is pass or fail Or at least, so i'm told.
                      So, do you grade for "A kyu grade" and then a panel awards you what they think you deserve based on the performance?

                      Good luck, hope you enjoy.

                      A little bit of a tip for during your grading: Do Kendo!

                      ....seriously: Big, straight kendo.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ikkyu is the first grade most national federations care about. But some regional federation have official kyu grades. In other words, there's no standard about kyu.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JoDuncan View Post
                          (apologies for the slight high jack)
                          No big deal, we are all here to learn

                          So, do you grade for "A kyu grade" and then a panel awards you what they think you deserve based on the performance?
                          As far as I can infer from what people have been saying, the lower Kyu ranks in our Fed are a bit strange for testing. Much of the lower ranks are based on a good basic understanding of Kendo (understandable) and then there is also a lot based on your Spirit...show confidence, and have big, bold Kiais (Kiai? No idea what the plural would be...) and you may get bumped up even further in the ranks.

                          Good luck, hope you enjoy.

                          A little bit of a tip for during your grading: Do Kendo!

                          ....seriously: Big, straight kendo.
                          Thanks! That is what I have heard, don't rush, reset yourself between strikes, and be LOUD

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JoDuncan View Post
                            Can someone quickly clarify something for me (apologies for the slight high jack) : Are the grades below ikkyu "official" I'm pretty clueless about this and i thought that ikkyu was the lowest grade awarded by the kendo kings; is that just in the UK? Also, i have heard people going for ikkyu, not quite up to spec and leaving with something like yonkyu or whatever; here it is pass or fail Or at least, so i'm told.
                            So, do you grade for "A kyu grade" and then a panel awards you what they think you deserve based on the performance?
                            It depends on the grading. If you check the BKA calendar you will see there are kyu gradings where you can go to experience the procedure, and the one I have seen, at Bolton, you actually had far more to do than in the ikkyu grading I undertook this year. It was an open grading and you did indeed come away with what the panel believed you were worth.

                            It was exactly the same situation when I did my first grading 12 years ago, just with the old katas. It was slightly more intimidating with Salmon Sensei and Budden Sensei on the panel back then when nowadays your own dojo should have significant qualified instructors to run their own gradings to nikkyu.

                            However I am sure you can just leap frog all those grades and go straight to ikkyu, your sensei will be the best judge of that. There's pros and cons to both approaches.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I have done ikkyu Dwez, but i am still unsure if the "international kendo grading" procedure.

                              I would have thought every country would be the same i.e. for ikkyu you must have practiced kendo for at least 6 months, know the reiho, have the gear and be able to do 3 kata (here it is kihon keiko ho, used to be the nippon kendo kata; now first 3 proper kata for shodan) and jigeiko.

                              If you are good, that's it, you get ikkyu. Nothing else. You go home empty handed, which happened to two guys at my grading.

                              I assumed it must be like that all over the UK (BKA) (is it not?) but have no idea about other countries.

                              I'll remind myself of what a grading is like when i have my shodan... shiiiit, only a few months!

                              Cheers!

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