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Godan Test
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Recently I received an e-mail from a student asking how to train for the Godan test.

I passed my godan test 1993 after surviving a serious gang attack in NY where I had been attacked from behind. The following is my feeling on the Godan Test from an interview with Jeff Ochester of the Dayton Bujinkan Dojo;


The Godan Test


JO – “The concept of the Godan test The Godan test of the Bujinkan is administered by Hatsumi Sensei or one of his Shihan in his presence. It requires the student to sit in Seiza no Kamae with their eyes closed. Sensei then steps behind the student and raises a wooden sword or shinai to Jodan no Kamae. After a few moments, when Sensei feels the time is right, he cuts down from above to the floor without a kiai. If the student is able to avoid the attack using taihenjutsu, they pass. If they get hit, they fail. As of 2002, there were approximately 1300 Godan or above in the Bujinkan. can mean many things to many people. But in the end, the physical test simply requires the student to avoid getting hit from behind. Lately, you have been showing a lot of different training drills and skill sets to play with concerning this. In your opinion, what do you think is important for everyone to understand concerning the uniqueness of the Godan test?”

SA – “I think it is important for you to learn that you can not sense something from behind. When it does happen [and you get out of the way of this type of attack], take it as a gift from the gods! (Laughing!) Never become the type of person who thinks, “I can sense from behind”. The point of this type of training is to realize that there lays your weak point. And you have to be aware. The only way to have eyes in the back of your head is to have eyes on the back of your head! You will have to be so aware, and position yourself so no one can attack you from behind. This is the human body's common weakness. It is as simple as when you enter a room, you should be aware enough to keep your back to a corner. You have to practice zanshin. There is a lot to be said about this subject, and I am not a master of it at all. I passed my Sakkijutsu test [Godan test] without knowing I passed. I moved without knowing, and it seemed like a dream to me. It was already over with when I realized what happened. I don’t remember feeling a thing. I sometimes want to giggle when I hear people talk about what they felt, because even Sensei says it cannot be understood. Perhaps others who have passed it really did feel something, but this was certainly not the case for me. Maybe it is because I had already been stabbed from behind In the early 1990’s.

>>>Sean Askew was stabbed in the back during a physical confrontation in Albany, NY.
>>>Hatsumi Sensei had him write about it in Sanmyaku Volume 1, Number 3:
“One day, on entering a cinema, a man apparently smoking drugs tried to provoke a fight with me. At first I did not pay any attention to him, but he attacked like a savage animal, and so I was compelled to fight back. The man fled, so I sat down. Then, over a dozen men came up behind me, they surrounded me, shouting and screaming. The animal who had fled was amongst them. I suddenly felt something like goose bumps on the back of my neck, so I kicked the seat and jumped up. But at that instant, the animal apparently stuck a knife into my back. Another one of them punched me in the face. I immediately pulled out the knife which was stuck in my back, and fought against fifteen opponents. I downed two of them who looked the most strong. The other thirteen hyenas fled.
The next morning a policeman came to the hospital where I was, and took me to the five hyenas who had been arrested for identification, and asked me about the event. He asked me, “Sean, did you really take on fifteen people by yourself?”, and so I replied “Yes.” The five, looking scared, also confirmed that this was true, and so the policeman finally believed it too.

Thank you for teaching a living Budo, Hatsumi Sensei, with it I was able to live.”. The guy was trying to kill me, but by luck I did not get killed – the guy was trying to put the knife through the back of my neck.



SA - I knew that when I sat the godan test that someone from above – well, I don’t want to say someone from above because that refers to a Christian Heaven – but some being wanted me to pass the test, or Hatsumi Sensei passed me. There’s nothing more to it. I don’t believe that anyone can truly sense from behind. “

JO – “This kind of thinking goes against a lot of what other Bujinkan Shidoshi think concerning the Godan test. It really is quite a radical way to think about it, compared to what some Shidoshi may put on their websites and advertising.”

SA – “There is a lot to be said about the [Godan] test. The training that we do when someone has a knife from behind, and sensing whether or not someone is a friend or foe, that is a sensitivity drill. And there is sensitivity that can be developed. But don’t rely on that. That is the point. It is like rank, just as we were talking before – before training in martial arts, rank is just rank. Then, when you put hard training into martial arts, you learn what rank is…”

JO – “But in the end, rank is just rank! (Laughing!) “

SA – “Yes, that is it! (Laughing!) It really has nothing to do with skill! To keep going, and to polish one’s skill is much more important. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you understand the Godan test.”


Shikin Haramitsu Daikoumyo


Sean Askew
Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo
www.onimenkai.org



Posted on: 2005/7/13 4:04
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Sean Askew
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Re: Godan Test
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Quote:

SeanAskew wrote:
Recently I received an e-mail from a student asking how to train for the Godan test.

I passed my godan test 1993 after surviving a serious gang attack in NY where I had been attacked from behind. The following is my feeling on the Godan Test from an interview with Jeff Ochester of the Dayton Bujinkan Dojo;




Sean, doesn't this mean that you "survived" your Godan test rather than pass it? I mean, you did get stabbed didn't you?


Posted on: 2005/7/13 7:04
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Re: Godan Test
Kutaki Postmaster
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I don't feel Sean shihan is saying he passed the godan testing..per-say... I feel he is referring to a higher but yet normal human feeling that is beyond as well a really void of testing.

r.severe, kamiyama

Posted on: 2005/7/13 7:18
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Re: Godan Test
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Quote:

antizen wrote:

Sean, doesn't this mean that you "survived" your Godan test rather than pass it? I mean, you did get stabbed didn't you?


My 2 yen ...

To some people (I'm not one of them), the principles hinted at in the Godan test are not "something mysterious that Soke does" -- they are life and death.

Literally.

I've had the privlege of talking with special forces guys (including one former BUDS instructor) as well as some folks from law enforcement. One cannot leave a SF school without "getting it" well past what we're tested at for fifth dan, and LE says that once on the street they "get it" pretty darn quick. (A "trial by fire" sort of thing.)

That doesn't make them invulnerable.

There are many, many (did I say many?) levels to this stuff; his experience is not the same as the test Soke gives us. To me it's like comparing driving on the New Jersey freeway to taking your driver's test in a nice, safe, "no cars anywhere but you" testing lot.

Posted on: 2005/7/13 7:45
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Re: Godan Test
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ok,this is just what i remember reading and i probably only got the top layer of understanding of it.

but i remember reading Hatsumi say that the godan test was merely a stunt but with a purpose.as a way to see who was truely willing to risk all for what they believe or a way to weed out,u know.thats not word for word or anything.and that may be totally out of context or wrong.im just a fan,not a highly trained bujikan dude.=)

now im sure somthing of this sorts were used by warriors of olden times in any land by ppl who lived by the sword.


i really like nihonto/blades as u can look at it and see its grace like a person and its history.like some ppl will get blades and polish away the scars,dents,etc.....but to some,thats part of its charm.scars are nice reminders of lessons.

just a thought.

just curious were u chasing them when the fight went all out?truely a great moment.im sure those losers wont try that again nice man

Posted on: 2005/7/13 10:51
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Re: Godan Test
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Each person who has passed the go-dan test has proven that there is something beyond their five senses. It is when you "tap into" this danger sense that you are capable of doing things normally thought impossible. No, it doesn't make you super human, but it does prove to you that you have other capabilities then the normal five. I think that because of this that you can continue to grow in ways that otherwise you would not. The test really is given for the one taking it.
Ed Martin aka Papa-san

Posted on: 2005/7/13 14:41
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Re: Godan Test
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If anyones interested, there is a good article on Phil Legares site on this topic.

See here. http://shinkentaijutsu.com/content/article_43004.php

Posted on: 2005/7/13 16:27
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Re: Godan Test
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From my point of view, Godan test is not only to those who is taking it but also to her/his instructor. Furthermore, it is now also the test to Jyugo-dan instructors who are doing Godan test.

Posted on: 2005/7/13 17:12
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Re: Godan Test
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Hi
I'm not sure that you can train specifically for the godan test, but maybe just training will make you ready (it certainly did for me).
I have thought long and hard about my godan test and I honestly can't remember very much of it. I remember being totally freaked out afterwards - much as though I had just been in a fight - but not much of the test itself.
My advice to the student in question would just be to get on with the training. If you try for godan and you pass then good, but if you fail then that's good too, it's all experience...
Justyn

Posted on: 2005/7/13 18:02
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Re: Godan Test
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It is very easy:

If Hatsumi-sensei deceides that you pass the Godan test, you pass it.

If Hatsumi-sensei deceides that you're not going to pass it, you're not going to pass it.

Watch the videos again and you'll notice that (at least nowadays) he stops the cut and recuts. If he does not do this people get hit. This means no one would escape his cut without his help.

Posted on: 2005/7/13 18:13
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