March 23 was our semi-annual exam for kyu ranks (non-black belt testing), and the awarding of new ranks was Thursday. I was proud of all those who tested; everyone did close to their “personal best” and in a couple cases even seemed to exceed it. I and the other sensei noted some systematic technical shortcomings, which indicates flaws in our teaching, and we are now addressing those.

This exam featured some significant changes to our test requirements and our testing practices going forward. In this sense, I thought of March 23 as a “test of the test” as well as a test of the individual karate-ka (karate students). The new requirements included falling, flinch reactions, irimi tenkan and randoori from aikido, and self-protection scenarios. These all went really well as things being tested for the first time. The randoori with random order of attackers performed by the purple belts (with Josh as a fourth) was especially a pleasure to watch.

Donnelly sensei awarded medallions for overall contributions to the dojo to Praachi (for dedication), Eric (for effort), and Alex V. (for leadership), and a vase to Sue for the best test performance.

Arigatou to the teenagers who showed up to help out with the test even though they weren’t themselves testing.

Everyone came through the test with flying colors (?) as did the test itself. Congratulations to all!