Our Martial Arts School based in Basingstoke held a grading on Saturday 8th December with members attending from both our Alton and Basingstoke classes. The grading itself was split into four different groups dependent upon age and ability. This was also one of two opportunities for Black Belt candidates to be examined during 2012.
Congratulations to the many people who came away with new belts, your own hard work, effort, perseverance and determination paid off. For those that were disappointed this time, listen and consider the feedback given to you, to help you come back stronger next time. Gradings at our club are examinations, you simply don’t pass for turning up, you have to prove that physically you can do the techniques correctly and that you understand the principles behind them. At a senior level you have to also understand the theory that goes behind it and be able to pass that knowledge on to others.
Many of the children excelled what they did, I’d like to mention particularly Samantha Butcher who is 11. She attempted her Junior Black Belt grading, for her this meant conducting a warm up in the younger age Children’s class, also teaching them a couple of groundwork based techniques and acting as the coaches assistant when necessary. In the second part of her grading session with the 10-15 year olds, she had to present two things to the group:-
- Explain why a Black Belt always has to take themselves out of their comfort zone and what this means for their progress
- Explain what you think the most important part is in learning a Martial Art
It’s not uncommon for the presenter to get asked questions about the topic that they have presented and this proved to be the case again with Samantha being asked some challenging questions about her presentations.
In addition to this she then had to take part in over 25 fights, some in a competition scenario where the objective was to win the match and some, where she just had to keep going against both more senior students and against multiple fighters. Finally she finished up with performing her respective forms and katas. Samantha’s performance was excellent, it showed a lot of confidence in her skills and also a maturity. Without doubt she had proven her right to wear the coveted Black Belt that she earned.
Mention should also go to Louise Kelly, Ewan Furness, Hannah Boyle and Amelia Pomerance who all achieved double grades during the Children’s grading sessions.
The final session was the adults grading commencing at 7:30pm. These are always more nervous affairs because the people taking part in these are always taken outside of their comfort zone and don’t know exactly what they will be asked to do. Nine of people attending this grading were being examined for Brown Belt or higher, so it was fair to say that the intensity was somewhat high as were the expectations from the examiners.
Congratulations go to Mark van Meerkerk and Emma McDade who passed their 1st Dan Black Belt examination and to Jonathan Swift who passed his 2nd Dan Black Belt. All of whom demonstrated strong physical techniques, determination, discipline and fortitude. Like Samantha all three had to also present various topics including their thoughts on ‘Deeper Training,’ ‘What makes a good student’ and ‘Defending against Knives.’ With several senior black belts present during the grading, it’s fair to say that the push-back to them was quite strong.
After a near 3 hour grading which included padwork, body evasion, knife defence, sparring, forms and teaching for the higher grades, I’m pleased to say that all of the adults passed and some are now ‘looking forward’ to their own Black Belt examination in the next year or so with some advice on things to concentrate on in their own practice.
Mention should also go Rob McDade who double graded.