Posted by: balladofyoko | January 3, 2007


After class last night, I bought a bokken so that I can practice the kata I need to be able to do for my test. I had a run-through of the kata during class, and quite honestly, it felt and looked clumsy.

I was happy to discover that I can safely practice with the sword in my living room– there’s no danger of hitting lights or scraping the ceiling, and in one direction, I can practice the entire finish to the technique without knocking anything over.

Let me say that I’m terrified of taking this test.

The only way I’m going to get through this fear is to practice a lot. Practice more than I usually do. I usually go to two classes a week– I’m increasing it to three, maybe four every other week until the test. I’m going to practice bokken kata every day at home until I feel like it’s going more fluidly. Feel the fear, practice practice practice.

For the next week, however, I’m putting the finishing touches for the recital. Find good reeds to play on. Practice with my partner for two nights. Run through the music. I have one more page of notes to learn– gotta do that tomorrow no matter what. Practice practice practice. Then play.

I’m feeling less confident, in general, than I usually am. Practicing– physically doing/being the music, the aikido, reassures me, puts me in a better frame of mind. In actuality, I can do the techniques, I can play the music– I need to remind myself that I can.

I can. I will.



  1. You should so go out on Camac and practice. By the way, I am curious about why you doing martial arts? What are your benefits from it? Aside from practicing and taking classes do you do anything else with your ninja skills? Have you talked about this before but I just can’t remember because I have a memory like a sieve?

  2. What weapons-related stuff (kata, defense against, etc.) did you have to do on your 2nd kyu and 1st kyu tests? What weapons-related stuff is on the Kokikai black belt test these days?

  3. Zanti: I think it would be hilarious if I practice out on the street. But I’m not ready for prime time yet. I think I did write about why I’m doing aikido, but it deserves another write-up, so I might write another post sometime soon.

    Nicky: These days, Kokikai doesn’t require any weapons-related stuff until the shodan test. The current sequence goes something like this: for shodan, 1st bokken kata, tanto tori; for nidan, 2nd bokken kata, bokken tori; for sandan, 1st and 2nd jo kata, jo tori. (I’ll have to check the list again to be sure.)

    For whatever reason, I’ve had more training on the 2nd bokken kata and the 1st jo kata and feel more comfortable with those. I can do the 2nd jo kata reasonably well. I have a mental block on the 1st bokken kata, probably because I had been taught it as a white belt and didn’t understand the movements at the time, and then I didn’t bother to relearn it properly. I’m working towards overcoming that block. Luckily, there are plenty of folks who are willing to help me work on it.

  4. i am looking forward to your concert!

  5. You’ve got a big fan club over here on the W coast. Go Yoko!

  6. …and a small one here in Western Europe. :-)

  7. Shasta: yay!

    Wiz and Faighnee: I’m touched! Thanks for the support!

  8. […] The ever-inquisitive Zanti asked, in my last post: I am curious about why you[’re] doing martial arts? What are your benefits […]


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