Pleasingly, despite my reduced commitment to my Karate training regime, I was allowed to grade the Saturday before last, grading for Brown Kyu 2, in other words Brown two stripes (where I was currently Brown three stripes).
The grading took place on the Saturday morning at the quaint Mondeor Eco-School in Somerset West (just next to Monkey Town on the N2), the same location where I had previously graded for my Purple belt. As per usual time estimates were a fair bit off, but I was in truth pretty thankful for the extended delay before we got to my group, as it gave me a chance to run through my syllabus a few more times, just to make 100% sure that I knew what I was doing!
This was the first grading since my very first grading to Yellow that I was actually nervous of standing and performing my karate on my own in front of Sensei Birgitt and the panel of all the black belts, not feeling confident in terms of what would be required of me – and this was all based squarely on my now rather spotty training schedule that I’m going to have to live with for the next couple of years!
Anyway, by the time my group was finally called up, I was pretty warmed up and had a firm grasp of my syllabus, meaning that the nerves were now calm and it was just a matter of getting on with it. As per usual, I gave it my all, full power and nice and vocal, and despite making a few silly mistakes of which I’m not so happy with myself for making, the grading went pretty okay, meaning that I could proudly accept my new certificate at the end of the ceremony.
So now one more level of Brown to go, before that year long slog to Funakoshi Karate Black – which is after all, my ultimate goal now isn’t it? ;)
I sit with a bit of a dilemma on my hands with regards to my karate training, and the decision is a big one – should I continue or should I stop?
It’s important to understand why this dilemma has arisen. First, you must understand that I still enjoy practicing my karate and certainly enjoy training, but simply put, the reality of family life has had a big impact on my extramural activities – and this is a cold hard fact.
Last week was a little special – due to circumstances with Chantelle’s work, I was actually able to attend both training sessions for a change, but believe me, this is a pretty rare thing to be able to do.
Chantelle and Andy share the duties as managers of Gordon’s Beach Lodge, and this of course means shift work, covering both morning, evening and weekend shifts. Previously this obviously wasn’t such a big thing because I would simply continue doing my own thing if Chantelle was on duty, but obviously with Jessie around, this has completely changed.
In terms of my training, I am guaranteed at least one late shift a week that falls either on the Monday or Wednesday, meaning that I can now only attend one karate training session a week – which is only a hour long and thus computes to a measly 4 hours of karate a month! (Not to mention all the events I find myself having to withdraw from!)
Needless to say this is not nearly enough in order for me to keep up with the rest of the group, and subsequently I am well behind in my syllabus necessary for the upcoming grading come early December.
And this simply isn’t fair on Sensei Birgitt or the rest of the class as far as I’m concerned.
So now I sit with the question as to whether or not I continue to limp along as I have for the last couple of months, or throw in the towel for now, until Jessica is old enough for me to cart along to the venue, and pick it up later again?
Sigh, I guess I can’t really complain about this though. One knows that there will be a lot of sacrifices which need to be made if you want to bring a child into this world and more importantly, raise them properly! Decisions, decisions, decisions…
The following items make up the required syllabus in order to grade up from a brown belt 3rd kyu to a brown belt 2nd kyu level. The items are divided up into Saiten Kentai Waza (Grading Forms), Katas, Basic Kihon and Jiyu Kumite. Note that a set amount of classroom time is also required to have been completed in order to grade.
These requirements have been laid out by Dai Hanchi Edwin Ward (2011).
- F7A Mae Tobi Geri
- Shi-ho Geri Waza – Mae geri / Yoko geri / Mawashi geri / Ushiro geri (4 Way Kicking)
- Naihanchi Kata 1 (Tekki Shodan)
- Kamae Kata 1
- Kamae Kata 2
- Kamae Kata 3
(From Kamae stepping 3x forwards and 3x backwards)
- Chudan oi zuki in zenkutsu dachi
- Sanbon zuki (jodan/chudan/chudan) in zenkutsu dachi
- Jodan age uke / chudan gyaku zuki in zenkutsu dachi
- Chudan soto uke / jodan uraken /chudan gyaku zuki in zenkutsu dachi
- Chudan uchi uke / kizami mae geri / kizami zuki / chudan gyaku zuki in zenkutsu dachi
- Jodan yoko geri keage / jodan uraken in zenkutsu dachi
- Chudan mae geri kekomi / jodan taisho in zenkutsu dachi
- Chudan mawashi geri in zenkutsu dachi
- Chudan ushiro geri in zenkutsu dachi
- Jodan mae tobi geri in zenkutsu dachi mate in kamae
(predetermined one point attack)
One point attack, the attacker only calls the area (jodan, chudan, gedan). They are free to choose any attack they wish from the list below, as long as they deliver it to the announced target area. The defender may use any uke block to deflect the attack.
Purple. Not the most manly colour I have to admit. Nevertheless, it feels good now find it snugly wrapped around my waist.
In all the excitement that made up the last couple of months of my life, it completely slipped my mind to mention that back on the 4th December 2010, I successfully graded for my purple belt making it officially the highest colour belt I have ever achieved, and more importantly, one big step towards that ultimate goal of my first ever black belt.
Purple belt carries with it a fair bit of work, as it can be seen as being one of the toughest lower belt gradings because you are required to grade over the entire karate syllabus going all the way back to white belt, not to mention the introduction of some new, particularly mentally challenging forms like F6B Ushiru geri and Kamae Kata 3!
I achieved my Purple Belt under the Funakoshi Karate International South Africa style in December, at the grading held at the friendly little Mondeor Eco-School in Somerset West. It was a good grading and I was pleased with my performance, which always makes receiving your belt from your sensei feel that much sweeter! :)
[subvertedgallery link=”file” columns=”4″ orderby=”title”]
Last Friday has come and gone and apart from the joyous occasion of seeing my child blob in its full black and white ultrasound glory, the other highlight to come out of the day was my successful grading for blue belt under the Funakoshi style.
Lack of a hired venue meant that come Friday evening, I stepped onto the dojo floor (albeit a dojo lined with chairs along either side and headed off by a judging table), dressed in my dogi, a little stiff and sore from a week’s worth of weights training, but absolutely ready for what was about to come.
The new increased length of grading sessions thanks to the increased syllabus items required to be preformed in order to gain a pass meant that the day had to be staggered and when the first batch of seniors’ chance finally arrived, I found myself standing next to buddies Ian (green belt) and Gerhard (blue belt), ready to address Sensei Birgitt and the rest of the Black Belt judging panel and hopefully advance to the next level in our martial arts journey.
As luck would have it, there was nowhere to hide as I was called up first, and unfortunately for me, I didn’t exactly get off to the greatest of starts, completely unable to hold my balance during my four-way kicking demonstration. Thankfully though I could recover my composure and went on to give a pretty okay Grading Form 4A and Grading Form 4B (Ren-geri) performance, before going on to deliver a pretty good (apart from one small annoying misstep when I lost concentration for a split second) Kata 4.
At this stage my stamina was already beginning to give a little and I was breathing like a runaway ox, but I transitioned well into the Kamae Katas and moving basics, performing all three movement sets to great effect.
With the final pre-set parts of my grading behind me, I was beckoned to step off the stage and then sat down to watch Ian tackle his routine, before being called back up again where I squared off against Ian and we put together a great example of moving, choreographed kumite set.
As we stepped off, Gerhard stepped up, and worked his way through his slightly longer grading sequence, before I was again called up to partner up with him for his kumite set.
And that was that. The judges broke into a huddle to confer, we stepped forward, and with applause from all, received our passing certificates – plus that all important new stamp in our Funakoshi Karate International record book!
So now I’m a blue – and proud of it! Osu! :)
Eish, I didn’t realise that my next grading is literally lurking around the corner. This time around I’ll be pushing for my blue belt under the Funakoshi style and by the sounds of it, the amount of people grading out of my class appears to be pretty small – so I’m quite motivated to do as well as possible come the big day.
One teensy hassle though. The new expanded syllabus under Edwin Ward means a new expanded grading, and according to the list handed out by sensei Birgitt at training, this means that on the night I have to solo tackle four way kicking (mae-geri keage/yoko-geri keage), grading form F4A (yoko-geri keage), grading form F4B (ren-geri), kata 4, kamae kata 1, kamae kata 2 and finally kihon sanbon zuki which is bascially three step moving basics focussing on uchi-uke/gyaku zuki and soto-uke/gyaku zuki.
Phew, talk about a truck load of solo work I need to know and perform on the night, all on my lonesome and with no one to crib off should my mind do its usual wandering off trick! As it stands, I’m not entirely sure that I am in fact ready on about half of the things needed to grade on, so I’m pretty much going to have to roll up my sleeves and put in some extra practice whenever I can in these last upcoming days.
One thing is for sure though, I really, really want to move up to the next step – still got a long way to go before I finally reach a more respectable belt colour! :P
So, come Friday evening, 4th of June 2010, you know where you’ll find me – sweating in the middle of the practice hall, showing off my skills and hoping to crack the nod from the black belt instructors.
Can’t wait! :)
Moving to Funakoshi Karate International South Africa comes with a revised grading schedule and more importantly, a revised grading syllabus. Taking into account that gradings are now held on a bi-annual basis, reaching that coveted black belt status should potentially take a student five years to realize. So something well worth working towards in other words!
The following list details is thus the new required syllabus for each belt level advancement, ordered from lowest to highest ranking:
Grading from White to Yellow
So, moving up to the next grade was successfully achieved last night with a completion of my second ever Funakoshi grading, held once again at the Gordon’s Bay Primary School.
The weather outside was pretty miserable and the rain on the roof made it quite difficult to sometimes hear the instructions from the panel in front, but once again the parents and friends of the Boland Funakoshi karateka showed up in force to support their loved ones, so there was a nice warm atmosphere around the rather empty hall floor.
This time the routine that we as yellow belts needed to complete was just that bit longer and more complex than what we had to do for our previous grading some time ago, but thankfully we’ve been undergoing quite a bit of intense training and focus on our katas and grading forms over the last couple of weeks and by now most of it is pretty much old hat – plus having had taken part in the tournament at the start of the month seemed to have helped quite a lot in burning the routine into memory as well.
Unfortunately for me though, yesterday was pretty hectic in terms of work, and in fact I had to down my tools half way through the emergency job in order to come and take part in the grading in the first place, meaning that my mind really wasn’t focussed on karate by the time that I arrived at the school hall. Thankfully though the low level that I’m still find myself at means that I didn’t have to wait all that long before our belt division were called in to run through our grading, meaning at least I didn’t have enough time to completely let my mind stew on work-related tasks alone!
For a change, I found myself being part of the early batch of yellow belts to be called up to perform, meaning that the whole anticipation time was completely cut down to an insignificant chunk and when I did finally take the floor, I found myself pretty calm and actually breathing for a change, completely unlike last time when I nearly exploded at the end of my grading form due to my self-inflicted lack of breath! :)
Like I mentioned though, my mind wasn’t completely at the job at hand and I must admit that I stumbled through the 2A Mai-Geri grading form and my Kata Ichi just a bit, annoying myself internally to great extent but thankfully not looking bad enough to the outside world, and Shihan Sanette in particular, meaning that I got a pretty decent enough rating on my final scorecard.
And that’s that, meaning that starting from tonight I’ll be training with a little orange belt tied around my waist for a change. Nifty.
(Oh, and as an added bonus, all my yellow belt training buddies managed to pass through as well, meaning that our little group remains intact and we can continue to bumble our way through the new upcoming katas together – which always turns out to be a load of fun and games! :P)