Thursday, 25 February 2010
Black Belt testing will be tough!
When I started karate I don’t think I realised just how physically demanding it can be! Since the New Year my instructor has been racking up the pace, pushing us harder and being generally more demanding.
There is a black belt grading coming up in May and we have several 1st kyu’s preparing for it. I am not in this cohort – I have over a year before I am ready for black belt. However, we are all included in these vigorous preparations!
The black belt grading is going to be tough. Of course, one would expect it to be tough – it wouldn’t be worth having if it wasn’t. Let me give you an idea of exactly how tough it will be:
There are 15 sections to be tested on. The first two sections alone involve demonstrating 6 punching combinations and 6 kicking combinations. Each combination will be demonstrated many times and you have to demonstrate correct technique as well as power and focus. This is exhausting! We have been doing this in class recently to build up our stamina and your arms and legs feel like lumps of lead by the end of it.
Sections 3 and 4 involve demonstrating longer, more complicated combinations, one of which is set on the day (so no prior practice). These will no doubt be repeated several times.
Sections 5 -7 are demonstrations of 3 kata along with 3 bunkai applications for each. Two of the kata are black belt katas and the third can be any previous kata the student has learnt.
Section 8 is gobon kumite, section 9 is demonstration of 8 different makiwara waza techniques (against a pad – not a makiwara post).
Sections 10 and 11 are ippon kumite with 3 defences against each of 3 attacks, followed by goshin waza, again 3 attacks with 3 different defences against each.
Sections 12 and 13 are drills – a ground fighting drill followed by a break falling drill.
Finally sections 14 and 15 are sparring – a few rounds of jiyu and shiai kumite!
That all sounds like a lot of hard work – and no allowances are made for age!
The classes recently have been exhausting but enjoyable. I’m not sure my fitness is yet at the level it needs to be to sustain a grading like this but I have over a year to prepare. It is very useful for us to get a taste of what black belt testing is all about – at least we know what we are aiming for.
What was your black belt grading like – was it really tough? Did you feel ready for it?
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