Unlike many American dojos that view promotion as an achievement one can earn, Sensei Freeman’s view is that testing is a gift of responsibility from the Sensei to the student. Rank does not have its privileges here; rank has its responsibilities: the skills that are being evaluated during a test reflect the high quality and standards of Sensei Seagal’s curriculum.
Testing is an important aspect of training at TRA dojo, whether you are an instructor, a participant, or a supporting member of the dojo. Every instructor and member’s attendance is essential and should be viewed as an opportunity to support the dojo family. Therefore, from the newest student to the most seasoned yudansha, please fully participate in all pre-testing, testing, and social events.
Here are some important points of etiquette for testing:
- Please make sure that you arrive early enough to stretch out, warm-up, and walk through the techniques on which you think you will be tested.
- Make sure you have enough time to ask your senpai questions, if you need to.
- Please make sure your senpai has signed off on your testing request sheet.
- Make sure all testing fees are collected by Three Rivers Aikido uchi-deshi or an assigned senior student (well in advance of Sensei's arrival - this could be pre-paid as far as several weeks in advance).
- Please set a schedule to help clean the dojo prior to the testing hour. There have been three tests in the past fifteen years that have been cancelled due to the dojo not being properly cleaned. Lack of care for your training space indicates a lack of care for the training you do in it!
- Please do not be late. Clear your calendar! If the test runs late, it is extremely impolite to leave the test while others are still on the mat, especially if they are the seniors that have helped you get to where you are today.
- Your uniform should be clean and ironed with no rips or holes. TRA patches and your name should appear in the proper place on the left sleeve of your gi.
- If you would like to invite friends and family with cameras, that is fine, however, please make sure they know the etiquette and boundaries of the dojo. Digital copies should always be offered to the dojo secretary or uchi-deshi as a matter of politeness. (There could be something worth posting to the TRA websites in your pictures and videos.)
- Please tell your guests not to be too obvious while walking on the mat perimeter, and to choose an appropriate moment to use the restroom (etc.), as not to interrupt.
- Afterwards, it is traditional to have a toast for the instructors and senpai at the local restaurant &/or sushi bar.
* These are some considerations for testing etiquette, be sure to ask your sempai to review proper dojo etiquette with you.