Last Monday, the 22nd of March, about 15 Shiramizu members and myself attended the shodan test (Wadokai Kanto Area Dan Examination, or in Japanese, Wadokai Kanto-chiku Shodan Shinsa, 和道会 関東地区 昇段審査) in Chiba. Because the Shiramizu tournament was on the same day, we participated in the opening ceremony that morning first before rushing off to the exam.
Kikuchi Sensei accompanied us that day and we arrived just in time for the pre-test seminar. There were about 90 people in total I would guess. About 70 were there to try for their shodan (1st degree) and most of them were kids and teens along with a few university students. I think I may have been the oldest person in the shodan category =_=' The other 20 were candidates for nidan and sandan (2nd and 3rd degree) and most of them were adults.
We were all seated on the gym floor and called up 5 at a time to do standing kihon and ido kihon. After a short break we were called up again to do 1 kata (for the shodan candidates) or 2 (for the nidan and sandan candidates). After another break, we were asked to do kihon kumite and free kumite right after that. Now all this may not sound very difficult and in essence it shouldn't be because we should have trained so much that it comes to us naturally when we are up there. The thing that got me the most that day were my nerves. I couldn't even think about what I was doing because I just blanked out. Fortunately, my muscle memory kicked in and carried me through.
It took about 4 hours to get through everyone and in reality we only spent about 5 or 6 minutes in total up there in front of the examiners and everyone else. At the very end, results were announced. Most shodan candidates passed, but only a few of the nidan and sandan candidates passed. Of course, all the Shiramizu members received a pass! It was a happy day for all, except for the fact that we had to miss the Shiramizu tournament to be at the exam =(
Sorry, I was too distracted to take pictures..so there are none for this post. Gomenasai!