Martial Arts Blogs A Journey to Shodan: Grading Prep

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Grading Prep

Recently I was put through my Kata paces in a scenario similar to what I will experience in my Shodan grading. The table was set up, the table cloth spread out (not ironed as usual, but my neat-freak side will have to let that go), chairs in position and my Sensei sitting on the other side with a pen and paper.

I did my 13 Kata one after the other, and only momentarily blanked on one of them - Tekki Shodan - which I acknowledge I haven not been practicing on a regular basis. The rest seemed to just come to me which was a relief. When I was finished, my Sensei shared with me his notes explaining what I did well, and not so well.

To my horror, I would have been made to repeat seven out of the 13 katas. Thankfully all for minor things that I can work on leading up to grading day, but frustrating just the same. Here is the list of notes (as far as I can remember). Now, I would be able to reference my Sensei's notes had he not immediately chewed them up and spit them out after sharing them with me...(to my own surprise I actually resisted the urge to fish it out of the GC after class).

Taikyoku Shodan - passed
Heian Shodan - passed
Heian Nidan - augmented block is in a front stance, not a back stance, all momentum moves forward (oops)
Heian Sandan - don't let my knee fall in as I make my turn for the last two moves
Heian Yondan - passed
Heian Godan - passed
Tekki Shodan - blanked momentarily, but have since practiced the H-E-C-K out of it
Basai Dai - back stance!! slow them down and make sure to complete each one properly
Jion - hmmm, trying to remember... but I know there was something I needed to fix... shoot
Kanku Dai - don't step up into the sidekicks, draw back with hips
Empi - back stance!! after the double punch, make sure I hit all back stances properly when doing the shutos
Hangetsu - passed (huge victory for me on this one, as my relationship with this kata has never been a good one)
Tekki Nidan - passed

Overall comments: 1) Remove the pauses in my kata, 2) Watch that my lead knee doesn't fall in on front stances and 3) Don't let my soto uke fall too flat, fist should be shoulder height.

So, I feel like I'm about where I should be in my training. Next big step is to focus on Bunkai, I better get that in gear. Now that I have had a countdown put on my blog, I get nervous every time I look at it. Don't know if that is a good thing, but it keeps me focused and stops me from thinking 'I have loads of time...'


  1. Such an exciting time! Trust your training and you'll be great when it is time to officially test. Keep training :-)

  2. Thanks so much for the encouragement Felicia - time is ticking and I'm working my butt off - through the highs and lows. I can't believe how time is flying by, it will be the 24 of Feb too soon!