United States Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu Gennankai


Instructor Forum

Is it Fear or Concern?

Ken Young, 2006-10-01

By now, the students who were nominated as candidates for examination have received their notification and may be concerned about the upcoming test. I can understand the concern as I have been in the sword arts for over 20 years and have witnessed my fair share of examinees taking their respective turn on the floor. Some pass…some do not.

Simply put, you are your own worst enemy. Every year since joining the Instructor ranks, I see this event unfold and try to impart some comfort to the prospective candidates. Many of the things that I state now have been discussed at length in my other classes, but bear mentioning to all because at some time you, the reader, will face a test. Perhaps it will not be a test for a martial ranking, but it will be a test nonetheless. As of this writing, all students (martial or otherwise) who have listened to my thoughts have been successful.

“If you are performing as expected every single time, you will succeed.”

This quote will be familiar to some of you. The explanation all Deshi need to understand is that when you perform Kata for a test, you perform no different from your regular practice with me, any other Instructor, Tsumaki Soke or (as the title of the letter implies), an examination. If your practice is consistent from the training floor to the examination floor (in correct fashion) you will succeed. Performance should not change simply because you have a test, in other words, your form should be no different regardless of whether you are in a test situation or not.

A few years ago, two of my students were facing their respective examinations and told me they were scared (and visibly shaken). The gist of the discussion was that my students were afraid…of letting me down. I explained to them that the fear they feel is not so much fear as concern for performing Kata correctly. That is to say, my students were not afraid…they cared. When I explained this point, all my students in the class understood clearly (and with a sudden visible change in demeanor from fear to great confidence, I should add). Any fear you feel regarding your examination is not fear at all, but actually deep concern and care for the art of Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu. Please understand that all of us in Tamiya Ryu, from Japan to Michigan, wish you the greatest success in your examination.

As is my customary practice, I will probably be walking amongst you all before the examination/ group training begins and will most likely reiterate what has been written here as I have the greatest confidence in all of this year’s candidates. This school year, I have had the pleasure of working with all of you at one time or another and look forward to your respective elevations to the next level in Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu.

Minasan, Ganbatte Kudasai!!
Respectfully submitted,

Ken Young, Fourth Degree
United States Tamiya Ryu Iaijutsu
Instructor/ Honbu Dojo Assistant Branch Manager