Ki-Karate-Do Newsletter Issue 5 Kijkl 2012 We are currently trying to work towards the student’s next grade in the class. This newsletter goes over what is required not so much syllabus wise but more attitude-wise. There are a number of ways to gain the next grade This edition of the newsletter concentrates on the subject of in Karate but there are certain criteria that need to be reached. grading’s, the good the bad and A large percentage of clubs in the UK run grading’s periodically dependent the ugly of the Karate world! on how many lessons a student has taken (usually every 3 months at a cost Ki-Karate-Do of about £25 upwards). I have always found this a very unsound practice as www.kikartaedo.co.uk all students pass regardless of ability (you can’t really fail someone who has just paid for their grading!). These grading’s usually take place with a firstname.lastname@example.org couple of sensei’s sat at a desk barking orders at students who line-up in a Wado Ryu Karate Ju-jutsu hall en mass. Keizoku wa chikara nari – Students can also be awarded grades on ability in the class consistently perseverance is power! over a period of time. Students do need to take a minimum number of classes of training in- between grades. The higher the grade the longer time is required from one grade to the next. Just turning up every week will NOT though gain a grade. Karate is just like any other activity whether academic or sport related (you won’t get a degree just by turning up to University every day). Students must try their best and put effort in to the class consistently to reach their next grade. My own experience of grading’s has been very mixed and I have seen every practice under the sun. My first grade for 9th kyu was taken after three months of training with the International Budo Association as stipulated. I continued to train weekly and then took part in a full day Karate course. The head of the International Budo Association was also at the course and informed us all that he had been so impressed that he awarded all of us our next grade (this was my 8th kyu yellow belt). I took my orange 7th kyu also under the International Budo Association about 6 months later. Moving clubs I took my 6th, 5th and 4th kyu grades (up to purple belt) under the British Go-Dai Association, which was an off-shoot of the International Budo Association. Both the International Budo Association and The British Go-Dai Association are both associations that charge nothing or a nominal fee for grading’s and grade students when they are ready not when the calendar says it’s time to grade again. By 1991 due to clubs relocating etc. I joined another club that could quite easily fall in to the Mcdojo category. The Northern All-Style Sport Karate Club (NASSKC) refused to recognise my previous grades as they were through a different association and insisted I retake my grades through them and pay a high grading fee for the pleasure. So nearly 7 years after starting Karate I was stripped of my grades and wearing a white belt again Ki-Karate-Do Newsletter Issue 5 Kijkl 2012 aiming for yellow! Living in a location where there weren’t clubs around to pick and choose from I had to retake my grades and was at the same time taking the beginners and the advanced classes (more money for the club). I was eventually asked to leave the club for not turning up to grading’s as the sensei complained that I had been there longer than his black belts! I think all students have to be very aware that what you put in equates to what you get out. For youngsters, probably the hardest part of the Karate syllabus is the kata (so much so some clubs don’t teach kata to children – which in my mind is like teaching maths but deciding to teach subtraction, addition, multiplication and leaving out division) (a kata is a set pattern of defences and counter- attacks encompassing more than 20 moves per kata). To make it easier all students are given step by step guides to each kata they are learning and there are videos on the club website as an aid. In the class we take the kata apart and teach specific parts separately and explain in great detail what each part of the kata is actually doing. After that the only thing that can hold back a student is their own focus and whether or not they really want to learn it! I’ve seen children aged 6 years old learn up to 4 kata’s with regular practice so it isn’t impossible. Some students struggle with getting power behind their technique. The best way to rectify this is by getting the correct posture and stance. Week in week out I correct students stances in the class and week in week out they insist on reverting to bad stance and posture. A straight back and forward facing shoulders works wonders for martial arts! Too often children sit in a chair slumped forward or walk slovenly along the street, for these reasons children then find it difficult to stand how their body was designed to stand and therefore will struggle with karate. Karate and martial arts works by using the body most efficiently, a punch will carry more power if thrown with the hips and not the shoulders – fact, a roundhouse kick will swing faster if the foot on the ground is turned back-fact, a front thrusting kick will not thrust unless the body leans back-fact, the list goes on. Students who insist to ignore these facts of body movement will not progress in a reputable Karate club. Focus and concentration in the class, it has been said that add 15 minutes to the child age and that’s the most you can expect that child to give his or her all. That’s fine 20-30 minutes with 100% in the class plus a couple of 20 minute practices at home between lessons will suffice to get a young student through the first early grades until they are old enough to give 100% focus for the full 1 hour class plus a couple of practise sessions at home in-between. With regards to what techniques each student needs for their next grading, everyone has been given a sheet listing their requirements (if any student has lost this I always have copies). Karate Kid and Kung-Fu Panda – the bane of all karate teachers! Parents; do not let your kids watch these movies!! Unfortunately kids turn up to class thinking they can be a ‘master’ from day one, big mistake, kids get disappointed quickly and also are in danger of causing an injury to either themselves or other students as they try to do flying spinning kicks that they’ve seen a huge Panda doing!!! (and please, please, please don’t let them copy the ridiculous jumping crane kick from the original Karate Kid movie!!!!!!!). To summarise, if students want to pass Karate grading’s they must come to class wanting to learn Karate. Lack of focus will leave a student lagging behind; remember also that discipline begins at home not at class. Ki-Karate-Do Newsletter Issue 5 Kijkl 2012 If anyone has any questions about the grading requirements or any related question at all please don’t hesitate to contact me.
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