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									 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              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
                                  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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