Dojo shodan grading – Neil Neilsen Sensei

When it comes to milestones in an Aikido practitioner’s journey, testing for shodan is one of the biggest. With this in mind, I had the privilege today to convene a shodan testing panel for one of our dojo’s founding members – Neil Neilsen.

One of the great aspects  of the culture at our dojo is that grading milestones are a community event. It’s important to all of us that those being tested not only pass but pass with “flying colours”.  Neil’s grading was no different with everyone banding together to help him train for his test though the Christmas/New Year break.

As for the actual grading event, Neil readily exceeded the technical testing requirements and continually opted to do the “extra mile”. When it came to the 3 person attacker component (sanningake), for example, he resolved to take 4 attackers.

Similarly, after completing the formal requirements in the syllabus, and despite being understandably tired, he requested to have his ukemi tested (a dojo tradition).  This essentially involved him being the uke in 6 consecutive taninzugake (free form practice), each with a different dojo senior.   Neil effortlessly took endless breakfalls and other complex ukemi as part of this.

The video below gives some of the grading moments captured by our resident photographer Eden.     


Congratulations to Neil on his grading and a huge thank you to all the ukes who participated. Big thank you also to Michael Sensei (Bald Hills Dojo) and Mike Nash Sensei (Aikido Republic) who joined us on the day to support Neil and participate in the grading.

Have a great weekend.

Ian Grant
Head Instructor
Aikido Warrior Dojo Brisbane


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