Martial Arts Blogs A Journey to Shodan: November 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My impending grading.

Well, the date has been set for my Shodan grading – Friday, February 24.
When training through the ranks you know that if you stick with it the day will eventually come, but it always feels so far off. It is officially 94 days off for me.
One word: Yikes.

Each class has now been spent focusing on the details, from foot and knee position, turning without over-rotating, and adding Kime to everything I do. It really feels like my training has been kicked into overdrive and I’m no longer just ‘going to Karate’, it is more purpose-driven than ever.

Requirements and things to remember:
  • Basics: Kime, and don’t let my lead knee fall in as I push off back foot.
  • Kata: As long as I practice ‘from the ground up’ and turn my brain off during the test, I should be OK. Put on my Karate Mask and find a rhythm.
  • Bunkai: We rarely spend any time on this during regular class, so the prospect of having to do this for my black belt test in front of an audience is causing the most anxiety for me. It feels like I need to spend lots of training time learning something completely new.
  • Sparring: Again, we so rarely do this in class that I feel like if I am asked to do it in a test, it would be a hot mess – all form would fly out the window and self preservation would kick in. 
I guess it does come down to caring what other people think, and assuming people expect someone testing for their black belt to be sharp, crisp and in control – I certainly would. I believe for Basics and Kata I can pull this off, however, Bunkai and Sparring are a different matter, both I consider relatively new skills I need to develop. My opinion? These are skills that should be introduced and practiced regularly throughout the ranks, and with only 94 days to go, I’m just not comfortable cramming and exhibiting either of them, alone, in front of a crowd.