“Should I go in for the next grading?”
The text below breaks down the way we improve between grades into 4 stages and hopefully provides some guidance for those considering taking a grading for their next belt.
1. Unawareness – you don’t know what you need to know. Typically this especially applies to beginners where the techniques are perhaps very different to anything seen before.
2. Familiarisation – you’re aware of the syllabus but still very much coming to grips with actually being able to perform the requirements.
3. Improvement – you’re able to perform the techniques to a reasonable standard.
4. Competence - after a suitable time, you feel very confident in performing the techniques, and are ready for the next ‘challenge’. It is at this stage, you should consider taking a grading.
Other things to consider when taking a grading
For most people, pressure and stress are factors which decrease their ability to do any task including martial arts techniques. People have different ways of coping with ‘nerves’ but it’s fairly natural to feel some anxiety in any testing situation.
In practice, this means that the ‘weekly lesson standard’ of performing techniques usually needs actually to be above the level required to pass a grading.
Tension tends to creep in, which affects among other things, speed (and consequently power) and flexibility. You may find your legs won’t go as high as they should for example. If you’re unsure of any of the sequences, this will also become more difficult as under pressure, it can even be difficult simply to remember your left from your right!
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