Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Whats in a grade?

1 thing I always try and do with my own students is make them earn their grade. All my black belt students do the same grading (or very very similar) as I did, no written exams, no secret tests and nothing in there to try and make them slip up.
I am very fast approaching the date when I will be due for my 5th dan.The trouble is I dont know where I will get my next grade from. Even more troubling is that I dont know if I really even want it?
Let me explain, many of you will know the black belt Dan grading system. Basically there is a physical grading for 1st,2nd and 3rd Dan. 4th Dan is usually awarded as long as you still teach, train and are active within karate. Most associations go by this format. However, I did a physical 4th Dan grading that involved kata, kumite and even brick breaking! I know for a fact that the examiner in my 4th Dan grading did not do a physical grading. So why ask me to do it?
I have approached a couple of groups about my 5th Dan and got very diffrent responses. The first was that I would have to do a physical grading (they couldnt/wouldnt tell me exactly what I would have to do). I would also, again be graded by an examiner that most likely didnt do a physical 5th dan grading (as most people dont do one)
The second response was that I could have my 5th Dan. No questions asked. I would be "graded" by someone that had probably never met me, certainly never seen me train or teach. This got me asking "Why?"
Why do I want a 5th Dan that is basically a gift? And what is the point in adding a new Dan to my CV every few years without doing anything to get it?
I want to earn my grades, all of them. From 10th Kyu to 5th Dan!

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