Posted by: balladofyoko | March 11, 2007


Shodan: beginning level

Throw away all impurities– find the correct feeling.


This year’s Winter Camp was a great experience for me. I got to know a lot of new, interesting people, reconnected with good folks from other dojos, and had a great time with my friends from my dojo. Above all else, I value these connections highly– this is what makes camp worthwhile.

My first-level black belt test went well. I was fairly calm, but felt winded by the end– I still have to work on aerobic exercise to condition myself. I am very relieved to have done the test, and feel good about it.

The real work starts now. As ever, I need to refine my techniques– power and grace. I’d like to learn how to teach well, too. If all goes well, I hope to test for the remaining two levels over the next several years.

I’m very grateful for everyone’s support, and I hope to continue practicing aikido, both on the mat and off, for as long as I’m able.



  1. Congratulations Yoko! “a bit winded” is to be expected – the black belt tests I’ve seen have all been incredibly intense! Rock on, and congratulations on embarking on a new level of practice.

  2. Congratulations!

  3. Congratulations Yoko.

  4. Absolutely excellent, Yoko.

  5. Omedetou gozaimasu Yoko!!!!!!!!!!
    Kansei shimasu yo~ subarashiiiiiii ^_^

  6. Thanks, everyone!

  7. kick ass!

  8. Hi, I’m one of Nicky’s students, occasionally mentioned in his journal as “Foxfire”. I dropped in to congratulate you. That’s all the detail you have on your test, huh? %-}



    P.S.: So, when are you coming to a Shusekai class?

  9. Sean: thanks!
    Foxfire: Hi! Thanks for the congrats! Yup, that’s all the detail I have for now. I do hope to come to a Shusekai class eventually!

  10. Congrats! What a big accomplishment! I’m jealous. I almost got to my 4th kyu but my knee crapped out on me.

  11. […] last test was only a couple months ago. Some moments are very clear: I felt nervous right up until the time I […]

  12. Oh, I meant to say: Nickykaa showed me your test at Kensei’s housewarming party, a couple of weeks ago. Congratulations! (Nick also told me that the part I liked least, the “here, have this knife back” part, was Not On You.)

    ::polite applause::


    P.S.: I wrote up my own yudansha test in exhaustive detail. %-} Of course, I expect it to be the last Aikido test I ever take…


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