January 10, 2011
On Friday, 12/17/2010, the dojo came together for winter testing. Thirteen candidates tested for the ranks of 5th through 3rd Kyu, and Scott Friedman, Yuho Baldini's student, tested for Shodan. It was a rigorous, spirited, event, beginning with a 6 pm, all-dojo warmup and mini-practice that was basically standing-room-only (introducing an extra level of challenge to our ukemi: rolling into a dense crowd of limbs!). The testing ended close to 9pm. Highlights included jyodori, randori, and a surprise choke attack. The tension ran high at times, as Sensei exhorted testers to stay connected and show a higher level of ki. But in the end, everybody passed, and Noah Landes was promoted to 2nd kyu. The dojo celebrated afterwards with a delicious potluck dinner and drinks. All in all, it was an extraordinary evening--one that demonstrated the spirit of friendship, hard work, and commitment that makes Brooklyn Aikikai a unique space in the lives of its members.