GEM, Bill, JD, et al. -
I very much believe testing should simulate some stresses - for a variety of reasons. I am also a BIG fan of cross-training; other styles, even other sports. This shows my UVa roots quite clearly - Bill-Sensei taught me the value of this, after all. Like the tests he brought me up in, I assemble a testing board and follow as exactly as I can the required regimen and flow of a dan test - for kyu ranks. This lets everyone get used to the rigors of an actual test, to include the courtesies and stresses. On these kyu tests (due to the dearth of available Uechi practitioners in Flagstaff and my beliefs in cross-training), I invite practitioners from Wado Ryu, Kempo, and of course anyone from our style(s). To date, agreement has been outstanding on what constitutes passing performances. Which tends to reinforce my belief that good karate is recognized regardless of style (we all appreciate some of Stephen Segalls moves...)
Additionally, within the dojos I run, the Ikkyu test is our in-house shodan test. Students selected for potential testing must pass my test, and if they pass, they are treated as shodans within the dojo from that moment on. I have been quite lucky (even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then...), and have a 100% pass rate to date on my 13 candidates. Until now, I always sent my candidates down to Okinawa for actual dan testing. But here in Arizona, this is no longer feasible...
That's why I came up with all the requirements I use. Because I am only a sandan, and technically unable to even recommend dan testing for candidates, I tend to jump through some hoops. This does not bother me - for the reasons I mentioned above (previous post). It does, however, keep me on my toes...
JD - I work out in Flagstaff Arizona, though I'm moving to Haiti on a 2-year contract in August. I'm hoping to make GEM's summer camp again this summer, as I had a blast and learned all kinds of nasty tricks... About that soapbox - I only need occasional access to it, and will be happy with the back corner.
Bill - I am headed to Okinawa on 2 or 3 May, and will unfortunately miss your visit to my area. If you start to pine for practice, or just want to see some of the Arizona practitioners, there is a great gentleman named Al Saddler teaching in Phoenix. His number is (602)249-3070. I work with him (and his students) every couple of months, and they are extrememly gracious hosts. I have even fed him a few students who graduated from NAU. And my version of 38-special (which is actually 26-not-too-bad) needs your help desparately. Even after all you tried to do, my kicks remain horrible, and are an absolute last resort (though my students have GREAT kicks, since I emphasize them so much)
Out of beer - gotta go. Thanks for letting me pontificate.