The higher the grade, the longer it takes to the next one so the once-a-year Black Belt Grading is a big event. There were 7 candidates and a few just training (all welcome). The Grading Panel were: Derek Collins, Elaine Jaycock, Clive Double, Clint Hosking and Ian Wainwright.
The weekend started with the usual Sennen Friday club night training with insights from Derek on how a few basic principles govern our techniques (less is more).
Saturday, and the grading started promptly at 9. The next 3 hours were packed with techniques from around the syllabus. Remember: moves for your grade should be fair, for previous grades, good and lower grade moves should be near perfect! To everyone’s relief, time for lunch (thank you Les) but no rest! – time for the theory exam, questions on our style and the body. Another shorter session then it was time to make way for the next hall booking – a world famous circus trapeze theatre group (really).
Just time for a few hours chill then a gathering at Clive and Lesley’s. Sunday came early as the clocks stole an hours sleep. The session started with good advice: don’t be over-awed – go for it! We started with much footwork and movement (12 to 1 was interesting).
The session continued with kata, releases, falling and line-up work – faster counters needed! What followed was an excellent test of self-defence and self discipline: a double line-up coming in FAST. This was done with good spirit and control. The session ended with light sparring (or should I say paired free technique practise).
Time for some serious thought from the panel. Some had struggled on Saturday but redeemed themselves on Sunday; some had been OK throughout and some had shown a consistently high standard (ideal!) Grades were presented then it was pack up and on to the First and Last pub for their excellent roast.
This event is such an opportunity to train with our Chief and our fellow karatekas from other clubs. You don’t have to be grading to participate – see you next year.