These are just a few notes to help you feel at ease on the Grading and give you an idea of what to expect that day. If you're concerned about any aspect please ask me. If you have been training for a few months and feel ready, please ask for a grading form.
Gradings are every three months, generally:- March, June, September & December. At the beginning of each new training period session, find out when the next grading is so that you can plan your holidays and other activities around the grading, especially during the summer. When you reach 4th kyu (Purple & White Belt) you are expected to attend at least three of the Black & Brown Belt courses under the tuition of Sensei Cole. These courses are usually held in either Swindon or Bracknell on the Sunday, a week or two week after the Kyu gradings. This is where you will grade for your own Black Belt.
First of all, to those who have not experienced a grading before, there is nothing to worry about - really! If you feel nervous - please don't worry - EVERYONE else is just as nervous. We all suffer from exam nerves, some hide it better than others.
You must attend the pre-grading lesson before you are allowed to take your grading two weeks later. If you are ill or unable to attend, please advise myself or Sensei Cole as soon as possible. If your illness is prolonged or you have an injury and you're unable to attend the grading as well, please give your reason in a letter. You may be able to have the cost of the grading deferred to the next one (but not the cost of the lesson).
Each grade takes between 10 to 30 minutes and is broken down into three parts;-
In the first part you'll be asked to perform a few sets of combinations of basic moves (Kihon), sometimes forwards then backwards. Often you will be shown the moves (combinations) as well as told what moves to perform.
The second part of the grading will be to perform the Kata for your grade. It is the whole Kata all in one go and not done to the count. Don't rush it, if there are slow parts in the Kata, make sure you show good timing. Remember the Kiai at the right point.
The last part of the grading is your Kumite or sparring against another partner. You won't be sparring in Free-Style until you have advanced to Brown belt level.
Once these three parts are complete you will be lined up in front of the Chief Instructor to be told your result and awarded your certificate, your belt and signed licence if you have passed. A training or temporary grade (TG) is issued to those who didn't do quite so well in one small part of the exam, you may wear the new belt for your grade but will you have to re-take that part of the test again at a later date.
The pre-grading day is a one-and-a-half to two hour lesson (without a break) - take plenty to drink and any medication you may need. Please don't forget to bring your licence. A small snack maybe useful too.
The grading lesson (usually two weeks after the pre-grading) is also a one-and-a-half to two hour lesson followed by 30 minute break before the gradings start - again take a drink and for higher grades a second fresh clean Gi is recommended as is could be as long as two hours stood around in a wet cold Gi before you grade yourself. You may wish to freshen up by having a shower if the wait is likely to be long.
Last but not least, don't forget to clip you toe and fingernails. Jewellery, rings, ear rings or studs are not permitted for safety reasons. If you can not remove the item, they must be taped up so as not to catch or cut yourself or another student. Only female students are allowed to wear a white vest/T-Shirt under their Gi top. No shoes are allowed in the dojo. If you have long hair this needs to be tied neatly with a bobble etc.
Don't forget to take any medication you may require if you suffer from asthma or diabetes etc. Carry your emergency or medical bracelet (Medi-Tag) if you have one and inform one of the instructors of your condition and where you keep & how to use your medicine.
If approached by Sensei Cole or another instructor please remember normal Karate etiquette by bowing and saying Oss.
If you must eat breakfast on grading morning, make sure it's only a light meal and you eat a good couple of hours before the grading is due to take place.
Juniors, don't forget to go to the toilet before the lesson starts!
Please feel confident with the fact that I wouldn't advise you to grade if I didnít think you were ready. Find someone of your own grade or higher, mix in and enjoy the day - it's supposed to be fun!
Good luck and give it all you've got; it'll be over sooner than you think!!
Information about Temporary Grades - TG's
Updated: Friday, 10 September 2010