Grading and failure
By Myoken Dojo, Apr 11 2016 09:40AM
Yesterday we had the grading at the BKA Spring Seminar in Cambridge.
Unfortunately we had a couple of failures in the lower grades which, while not impossible of course, so many is a little unusual. These lower grades are the foundation on which all your later development will be built. This is why we must be a little severe at the basic levels. Not overly, but it is important that we don't give the message to the applicants or anyone watching, that the foundations don't need to be sufficiently secure. Not perfect, this doesn't exist. The foundations are built through shodan - sandan, without which yondan is impossible. it is much more difficult to reinforce inadequate foundations while you are building on them than it is to make them strong in the first place. This means that if you don't get it sufficiently correct now you will have severe problems incorporating it later. From this perspective I hope you will see that "failing" the grade, i.e. being told you haven't yet achieved the required level, is for your long term benefit and should not be considered too much as a failure in the short term, except inso far as it (I hope) inspires you to press forward.
If you failed to show the required level in your embu yesterday, apart from the couple who had the kind of unusual accidents that you hope to leave behind you in pre-grading embu practice, there are, I think, 3 basic areas to continue working on.:
1. read the ZNKR book as translated into your native language. It is available in English, translated by Mansfield Sensei and available from Nine Circles.
2. get the foot work right. Work from the ground up. If you are standing in the wrong place or facing the wrong direction nothing that happens above it can be correct.
3. Don't stop when there should be no stop. Practice these actions so that you can make them as a single uninterrupted movement.