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Sunday, February 21, 2010

IJKA Yorkshire Kyu Gradings

Kato Shihan 9th Dan IJKA World Chief Instructor was at Selby for the whole weekend. Following the Saturday and Sunday sessions karateka took part in the IJKA Yorkshire gradings.
Over 30 students graded and all achieved either a full grade or a temporary grade - Congratulations!
Selby students achieved 10 Full grade passes and 7 Temporary grades.
If you click on the member button in the sidebar you will see that all your grades have been updated.
I would like to share with you a little information about karate Kyu gradings in the IJKA, which will hopefully help karateka and parents alike.

Grading Levels
There are Childrens (Pee Wee) grades 12th Kyu to 10th Kyu and Adult grades 9th Kyu to 1st Kyu. Each Kyu grade is a step towards you Black Belt. Karate is not a Sport, it is a martial art.
The study of the art requires a maturity and originally there was only adult Kyu grades (9th to 1st). To enable younger children to take part the Pee Wee grades were developed for children who started Karate before they are 11 years old. After their first three grades a child will commence "Adult" grades, this could be at a relatively young age ( 8 or 9 years old).
9th and 8th Kyu are beginner grades where the examiner is looking for a basic understanding of stances, technique and kata.
7th Kyu (Yellow) to 4th Kyu (Purple/White) are the mid Kyu grades, significant improvement between grades is expected and the standard between each grade is very demanding. Each step in these mid grades is likely to take a student 24 to 30 training sessions (very rough guide). A child/youth is likely to take a little longer than a adult. If you only train once a week it is likely to take 6 months between full grades.
3rd to 1st Kyu grades, the Brown belts is another big step up. Most karateka who train regularly will take a lot more time between these grades. Youths / cadets and young adults tend to progress faster than older karateka. It is not uncommon for Students to be a brown belt for a considerable time and indeed not all Brown belts will have the determination to develop to a Black Belt.

Grading Elements
When you grade the following Elements are tested:
Kihon- Basics (Single or Multiple technique combinations dependant on grade)
Kumite - Sparring (Stationary, 5 Step, 3 Step, 1 Step, Semi-Free or Freestyle dependant on grade)
Kata - Set pattern of Moves (Heian Shodan to Bassai Dai for Kyu grades)

Each of the three elements are tested and the examiner is looking for evidence that you have reached the required standard to receive a full grade. They will note if your effort has fallen short of the "Full Adult" standard, if you have achieved the standard, or if you have excelled.
To improve your chances I have the following tips:

Train regularly at your dojo - It is very difficult to achieve full gradings to Yellow belt and beyond if you are only training once a week. If you can't train twice a week at the dojo, you should be practicing at home. If you were learning a musical instrument you would practice....karate is no different.
Look confident. It is easy to look confident if you are confident so follow my first tip.
Spirit. You must show an appropriate level of martial spirit.Whether it is a Kia!, or the execution of a technique.
Effort. You must demonstrate 100% effort during your grading. We are all different ages, shapes and sizes, we will not all be able to perform the same technique / kata in the same way but we can all give 100% effort.
Mistakes. They don't matter, if you have taken on board all of the above. The examiner will ask you to try again. If you have poor technique and no effort, this is not mistake and you will probably not be asked to try again.

Grading Results
The following results are possible:
A full grade Pass = You have achieved the required standard and will progress to the next level.
A half grade Pass = You have fallen a little short of the required standard in usually two or all of the elements. You will progress to the next level and will be able to wear the appropriate belt. At the next grading you will be re-tested on your current temp grade as well as the next grade.
Fail = You have fallen short of the required standard probably more than once on two or three of the elements. You have not achieved the standard to progress on this occasion.
Double /Triple Grade Pass = You have excelled in all three elements of your grading. You have a high skill set and have shown 100% effort. Multiple gradings are normally awarded to a talented Karateka that for some reason has missed the opportunity to grade and may have trained regularly (twice a week) for 9 months or more without grading. It is fairly rare to multiple grade and is usually only at the beginner Kyu grades (12th to 8th)
Removal of grade = The examiner is entitled to grade you at what ever level commensurate with your performance. He can reduce your grade. You should listen to the advice of your Sensei. If you are new to the Association or indeed the style of Karate your instructor will recommend when you are ready to grade. You can of course put yourself forward to grade and you will be graded on your performance on the day. ( I would not recommend this)

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