It’s testing time at the dojo, and Aiki-Doh!-ka was sharing his observations about shinsa with me. Turns out he’s a bit of a balladeer as well as an aikido fiend, and he expressed himself in the form of a song:

“The Twelve Days of Shinsa

(Sung to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”)

On the first day of shinsa, my sensei said to me,

“Are you sure you’re prepared to test?”

On the second day of shinsa, my sensei said to me,

“Think carefully, are you sure you’re prepared to test?”

On the third day of shinsa, my sensei said to me,

“That is not nikajo, think carefully, are you sure you’re prepared to test?”

On the fourth day of shinsa, my sensei said to me,

“Work on your ukemi, that is not nikajo, think carefully, are you sure you’re prepared to test?”

On the fifth day of shinsa, my sensei said to me,

“You call that kamae?

Work on your ukemi, that is not nikajo, think carefully, are you sure you’re prepared to test?”

On the sixth day of shinsa, my sensei said to me,

“More suriashi!

You call that kamae?

Work on your ukemi, that is not nikajo, think carefully, are you sure you’re prepared to test?”

On the seventh day of shinsa, my sensei said to me,

“Be a better uke, more suriashi!

You call that kamae?

Work on your ukemi, that is not nikajo, think carefully, are you sure you’re prepared to test?”

On the eighth day of shinsa, my sensei said to me,

“Why don’t you ki-ai, be a better uke, more suriashi!

You call that kamae?

Work on your ukemi, that is not nikajo, think carefully, are you sure you’re prepared to test?”

On the ninth day of shinsa, my sensei said to me,

“Keep moving forward, why don’t you ki-ai, be a better uke, more suriashi!

You call that kamae?

Work on your ukemi, that is not nikajo, think carefully, are you sure you’re prepared to test?”

On the tenth day of shinsa, my sensei said to me,

“It’s elbow power, keep moving forward, why don’t you ki-ai, be a better uke, more suriashi!

You call that kamae?

Work on your ukemi, that is not nikajo, think carefully, are you sure you’re prepared to test?”

On the eleventh day of shinsa, my sensei said to me,

“Stop using muscle, it’s elbow power, keep moving forward, why don’t you ki-ai, be a better uke, more suriashi!

You call that kamae?

Work on your ukemi, that is not nikajo, think carefully, are you sure you’re prepared to test?”

On the twelfth day of shinsa, my sensei said to me,

“Let’s see some zanshin, stop using muscle, it’s elbow power, keep moving forward, why don’t you ki-ai, be a better uke, more suriashi!

You call that kamae?

Work on your ukemi, that is not nikajo, think carefully, are you sure you’re prepared to test?”

Only one more sleep to testing day…

Kevin

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