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Getting ready for your next grading

One of the biggest days of your karate year is often overlooked. Or at least the preparation leading up to the big day is. Sensei Mark explains.

When should you start training for your next grade.

There are some differences between training for a kyu grade and a yudansha (black belt) grade, but there are also some similarities. When it comes to a kyu grading, most people approach the grading in the same way they might approach training for a tournament. They check the date, and then plan ahead so they peak around the date. Whilst there is some merit to that, many fail to understand when training date for a grading actually begins. It's not 30, 60, or 90 days from from the grading date. In truth, it starts the day after your last grading. And whilst you think you will be examined on grading day (and you will) you are also being examined in the days leading up to the date.

Things to consider

Do you know what is required for the grading?

  • Check your syllabus

  • Ask someone that already has the grade you are wanting to attempt

  • Ask one of your instructors

Can you perform the things that will be required

  • Do you know the kata well, and can perform it on command?

  • Can you do the fitness test items? (eg the press up requirement for your grade)

  • Have you learnt any of the special routines or techniques needed for that grade?

  • Do you know the Japanese words required for your grade?

Are you entitled to grade?

  • When was your last grading?

  • What has your attendance to classes been like?

What if you are not sure if you are ready?

  • Have you checked everything on the list above?

  • If you have, and you're still not sure, you are welcome to ask one of the sensei if you can grade.

There is no shame in waiting until you are ready. Much better to do an awesome grading than to feel that you might have scraped through by the skin of your teeth. But don't wait too long either. Start training for it today!

Be your own critic

There are two things you have to do to be successful in Kyokushin karate. You have to come to training, and you have to practice at home. Whilst you're at the dojo, there is the opportunity for your instructor to see how you are getting on - so train hard so they can see you at your best, and look for ways to polish your technique.

But when you are at home, a good way to check your technique is to record yourself with your phone, and then replay it back to yourself. Often we are our own biggest critics. You will see the errors, and be able to correct them. But don't be too hard on yourself.


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