Feeling nervous about the upcoming grading?
Well, you don’t have to be!
We’re here to help relieve this tension of yours by giving you 6 tips to help you (and your child) prepare for it.
1. Know what is required of you (or your child) for grading
For the Little Ninjas, what we are looking for are some of the basic blocks, kicks, punches and self-defense techniques that they have been taught in class. It may seem like there’s a lot for them to know, but your little ones are far more capable of remembering it than you may expect!
Junior Samurais and Teen Warriors would be expected to demonstrate their awareness of the 4 basic blocks, 4 kicks, 4 strikes, self-defense techniques against wrist grabs and last of all, the Taikyoku Kata that we have been going through in class. Essentially, we want to see that they know the ‘shape’ of each of the above technique and are aware of positioning themselves at a safe distance from the attacker.
2. Prepare your mind for it
If you have been invited to move up to the next belt, it shows that your sensei thinks that you’re ready to wear the new belt. Even if you might think that you or your child is not ready for it, trust in your sensei’s judgment. Tell yourself, “I’m ready to step up!”
Focus on being one with your movement
Practice your karate techniques with a calm, relaxed mind. Close your eyes and focus on doing the movement. Visualisation is a very powerful tool.
The focus here is on your techniques – no judgments on achieving perfection of what you’re doing!
Even if you made a mistake, correct yourself and just keep going.
3. Ensure your physical self is in great condition
We want you to get enough sleep for grading day itself so you can do your best for it!
Healthy and Light meal
Ensure you have your meal before the test that is light and nutritious. Eat some food that will provide you with the energy to last you through grading. However, make sure you allow sufficient time for your meal to digest – its not advisable for you to eat 30 minutes before the grading and physical exercise.
Water, water, water! Our body is composed of 70% water and your mind might lose its focus without it. Hydration is key to a focused mind!
4. Practice, practice, practice!
Besides listening out for instructions and practicing in class, have the discipline to practice those skills and techniques at home. As Sensei always says, having self-discipline is doing something even when you don’t want to, without anyone else reminding you to.
Practice the different blocks and techniques in class. Revise your kicks after class. Practice your lower blocks before you sleep. Do a few rounds of the Taikyoku Kata before you go for a bath. Just do a little bit of each technique daily (without destroying anything at home) before grading day to get it into your system – that little bit of self discipline will go a long way.
For the little ones, it would be good if parents can get involved! Hopefully, you would have picked up some skills during class to practice with them at home, if not, it’s all good.
All we really want to see if the students know what to do when Sensei gives the command on the action to do during the grading.
5. Give yourself a rest the day before grading
Be confident that what you have put in will get you the results you are looking for. Stay calm and relaxed. YOU GOT THIS!
6. Show up early for grading day
Staying calm is the most important thing you can take with you for the grading, so you wouldn’t want to be stressed out over being late. Have your parents take you out of your house early, taking into account any traffic conditions that may arise. Prepare your uniform, belt and your essentials the night before. Wake up a little bit earlier on the day itself. Remember, being prepared for grading does not just mean that you know all your techniques, you have to be entirely prepared!
Everyone will be a little bit nervous and anxious on grading day – don’t think that you’ll be the only one! Help each other out on the day itself, we’re all in this together. The instructors would like to see you succeed as much as you would want to!
Belt gradings are essential in one’s karate journey, however we also need to remember that your victories have been won little by little as you overcome your physical and mental obstacles during class when you perfect your techniques and skills slowly. Most importantly, your attitude towards learning and being better is what counts the most.
Good luck students – just remember to stay calm and enjoy the journey!