Nidan Test: I’m Doing It Right

30 10 2012

Last week I was lucky enough to do my 2nd degree black belt test in front of Frank Doran Sensei, who is a world-renowned, high-ranking teacher and head of my dojo’s division. With aikido, as with drawing, I often feel like I’m faking my way through, and not actually skilled enough to do what I’m attempting to do. After my test, Doran Sensei made it very clear that yes, I am training at a Nidan level, flaws and all.

Awhile back I wrote a post about drawing how I draw, and training how I train, rather than trying to draw or train in a way that is not appropriate for who I am. My test really affirmed this for me with aikido. Like any art, aikido is a lifelong pursuit, with more questions to answer and more flaws to polish continuously showing up. The goal is not to eliminate mistakes, but to elevate my practice so that the mistakes I do make are appropriate for my level.

It was immensely gratifying to hear that I am doing just that from a trusted authority. If Doran Sensei says I am a Nidan, I can believe it without question. It’s too bad there’s no absolute authority to evaluate my drawing… but if art wasn’t subjective, I probably wouldn’t be so into it.

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