Monday, 20 May 2013

Pre-dan for Nidan


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On Saturday I had my pre-dan course. This is an assessment of your ability to meet the standard for the dan grading a few weeks later. Like I mentioned in a previous blog, I was expecting to grade for nidan at the end of June.


However, the verdict of the grading panel at the end of the course was that I was ‘borderline’ and they have left it up to me to decide whether I want to give it a try or postpone until the next dan grading session in November. My husband (and martial arts partner) has been given the all clear to grade for nidan in June.

Prior to the pre-dan course I would have imagined this scenario of whether to press on regardless so that we can grade together or grade on separate occasions would have been quite a dilemma for me. As it happened the decision seemed very clear cut. Before I had even left the changing rooms I had decided that I would postpone my grading until November and concentrate on helping my husband to pass his in June.

We have graded together on every occasion since white belt, which, if you include our kobudo gradings amounts to 17 gradings; but it was inevitable that at some point our grading schedules would part company. I have done well to keep up with him this long but this time I just can’t keep up, I’m not ready for nidan grading yet and he is. My husband has four years more experience in martial arts than me, he did jujitsu before karate and holds a black belt in that art as well, and this experience massively influences his ability to do karate.

I don’t want to hold him back and I don’t want to risk failure for myself so it makes sense for us to grade separately this time. I would hate to be one of those passed it by the skin of her teeth or pulled it off on the day people. It’s just not budo. I want to feel comfortable in my skin with nidan so I need to be patient and wait.

There are advantages for both of us in grading separately. It is doubly exhausting to both grade yourself and be a grading partner for someone else at the same time. You have to remember their techniques (which may be different to your own) so that you can remember what kind of attacks they want from you at different times during the grading. It will be easier on both of us if we only have to concentrate on one role at a time!

I can now focus on helping my husband to finish his preparations for his grading and make sure I am fully familiar with his techniques so that I can be a good partner for him. I know he will return the favour for me in my preparations for November.

So I soldier on! I will have to do another pre-dan assessment in October which I won’t particularly look forward to (they don’t tend to be very positive experiences for me) but hopefully I will get the all clear next time!


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10 comments:

Colin Yates said...

Sounds sensible. Not being mushy, but I really enjoy reading this blog for your honesty and humility.

Martial arts would be better off with a few more grounded people like yourself.

Colin Yates said...

Oh - and get rid of that thumbs down - the whole thing is very very positive.

John Coles said...

Do you know how I got my 3rd dan.

Never thought about nor trained for 1st dan. Just focussed on the next grading because it was a focussed means of learning. Half way through 1st Kyu I thought, Good God, I'm going to get a black belt. Never ever thought of it.

Shodan was all good. Never thought of any higher grades. No humility, just no interest. One of my instructors needed a partner to progress his dream of completing the grading system. So I agreed to do so, and in the process ended up being the only 'student' to complete the grading system.

Your relationship and explanation has a very familiar ring.

Charles James said...

My thoughts, go for it anyway. Look at it as a type of shugyo if you wish. Marginal may just be a test itself. Work diligently along side your husband with both of you focused on doing well. You could have had a mental glitch day and that came across as marginal. It may be that you will be on the day you actually test.

If you are awarded Ni-dan on that day or not it is still a means to show your desire to accept any and all challenges. Look at it as if your attacked on the street. The adversary will not give a rats ass if you are marginal or not and if you defeat your adversary you defeat them and whether you did so by marginal or by excess you still win the fight.

Go for it regardless. You were asked and now your being tested with this pre-test marginal thing. What you do with it means something. Is it possible your giving up on this one or is it possible your not?

Sorry, used marginal over borderline but you get my drift.

Felicia said...

Hi, Sue. I was in the same boat - only it wasn't my hubby but my training partner. We tested together from when we met (3rd kyu or so) through shodan and I was quite disappointed when we were informed that he was ready to grade for nidan but I was not. But like your husband, he had quite a bit more MA experience than I did (he started as a teen and took a seven year hiatus, which was about the amount of time I'd been training in total), so it made sense that he was where I was not yet. I did what you are planning to do - settle in and work to be the best uke/partner for him. I learned a lot along the way and when it came time for me to grade (about a year later), I was comfortable - and ready.

It's tough, but I totally understand you wanting to wait. For me, a lot of it comes back to being one of the few women in the dojo. I instantly feel that I will become the representative and benchmark for ALL women when I grade - whether it goes stellarly or not. I always want to make sure I am prepared to give it my best (which is why I also wouldn't grade if I was ill with the flu/asthma flare or right after being away from the dojo for a long time - like I was after my surgical reconstruction). It may sound silly, but I can't really explain it any better than that. But I think that as long as YOU are comfortable with your decision, all will work out well.

All the best to you, Sue. Knowing you, the learning will not stop - and there will be some really great posts about your journey between now and then as well :-)

Sue Wharton said...

Colin, I don't mind a bit of mushyness now and again ;-) I'm glad you like reading my blog and thanks for taking time to comment.

John, I keep reminding myself that its not about the grading but the training. I'll grade when I feel ready, it seems the best way.

Charles, I get what you're saying here but I have been in contact with my instructor about this and he agrees that I should wait until November - it's not long. I'm not giving up on it Charles, just biding my time.

Felicia, I remember you blogging about you not being able to grade with Ed for nidan and I did think about you when I was making my decision so you did influence me a lot. I'm quite happy it's the right decision so thanks.

The Strongest Karate said...

I won't tell you that you shouldn't feel one way or the other about this, Sue. If it were me (and some day it will be) I would feel like I had on some level failed. Though, on the other, I would try to focus on the fact that if I were to train brutally in order to test then I'd run a risk of injury that simply isn't worth it - especially with another test only a few months away.

You made the right call, Sue.

Sue Wharton said...

Brett, The pre-dan did make me feel like I was failing which was made worse by the fact that I thought I was doing ok - so it was a reality check as well! Another 6 months of training and preparation will hopefully make all the difference. Thanks for your support.

Charles James said...

Six months, a lifetime, good luck Sue.

Sue Wharton said...

Thanks Charles but I hope 6 months isn't MY lifetime!

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