Grading / Reiho

Fourteen more sleeps until my grading. I'm trying to decide if I'm nervous about it at all. I know they don't expect too much from people testing for ikkyu - do the waza in order, don't drop your sword. It's all pretty simple in that sense.

But, I don't like public performance, and I don't want to screw this up - because I loathe embarrassing myself, and I don't want to embarrass my sensei by sucking any more than is expected of me at my rank, and by fucking up. His reputation is on the line also. Every time one of us is at a public event or testing, I feel like we have a little something extra to prove - not for ourselves, but for him.

Am I ready… yes. In a technical sense I am.

This is an old-fashioned method of standing reiho (etiquette or respect, but that doesn't fully define it) - now we keep the sageo (the cord hanging from the saya (scabbard)) all in the right hand. Otherwise, this is the bow I will do when I start and when I finish during testing. It's far less complicated than the bowing we do at the start and end of classes, which is comprised of four separate bows - two to the kamiza (spirit seat/shrine) - one standing and one sitting, one to the sensei, one to the sword. But it's also more complicated than it looks, and is open to a lot of booboos that could lose you passing a rank, especially at higher levels. They count reiho for a huge portion of your grading, even more so than the waza. In some cases, once they see you doing your reiho properly, they stop looking at you. Proper reiho shows depth of practice.

I still lose control of the sageo sometimes, but the trick is not to show it. Don't make a face. Keep going on like nothing happened, and you could still pass. Because schooling yourself is also part of the art, the game, and if you can master that, then you can master the art of psyching out your enemy so you can win before you even begin.

2016 11 12 - 14:29