It’s coming to the end of year Gradings. It’s an exciting time at the Bushido Bristol Dojo as students advance their preparations, working hard to put the finishing touches to their Kata’s & Waza’s. Even if you are not grading, you will benefit from the buzz, the atmosphere and the camaraderie that this challenge creates.
The end of year gradings represent a chance to finish the year on a high, and create a fresh start to 2017 opening up new potentiality.
7 Ways To Approach Gradings
1/ Micro Practice
Micro sessions are short periods of practice that help training become a habit. Find opportunities to practice in short bursts. Maybe a few strikes or blocks. 20 seconds and you can remind your body of movement patterns & techniques. Find time in the spaces that life naturally presents to you.
For example when making a cup of tea, in the time it takes for the kettle to boil, see how many techniques you can get through; or practice one technique with an increased level of attention to detail. If you have two cups of tea a day then you have just carved out 2 practice sessions a day. These micro sessions create a familiarity with martial arts which allows the techniques to be absorbed.
Visualisation is in two parts for a grading. The 1st part is to visualise yourself going through the Kata’s and Waza’s. Visualize yourself performing the techniques to a high standard. This beds in the structures and increases your knowledge of technique.
The 2nd part is to visualise the grading. See yourself performing the katas instinctively as if they have become part of you. You must see a successful event where you embrace the atmosphere and indeed add to the event. This helps to keep self doubt at bay. Positive focus always.
3/ Peak Training
Six weeks before a grading is a long time if you train with intensity, up the anti significantly in this period and for six weeks try and make martial arts training one of your priorities. We cannot train at this level all the time, it’s not healthy or sustainable.
But in six weeks you can take huge step forwards in your ability using the gradings as a goal. If you begin to tap into what you are capable of, then self worth will also increase, and the buzz of achieving your grade, will stay with you as you chill out over the Christmas period.
4/ Ask Questions
As you practice and explore martial arts more deeply your knowledge will increase, and as it increases so does your need for new knowledge. Ask questions and absorb as much information from the instructors as possible. When you ask the questions you begin to take responsibility for your own progression, this creates a great foundation for achieving true martial arts ability.
5/ Express Yourself
The truth is, the gradings are not really a test, if you get to the gradings you have already passed. This is because your instructor would not send you unless you are ready. So gradings are not about pass or fail, they are about how you feel you did. Hold nothing back and express yourself, enjoy the event and let rip. Gradings are about building self worth and vanquishing self doubt, I don’t send students to grade, I send students to find out what they are made of.
6/ Discipline And Etiquette
Learn the discipline and etiquette of the event. Respecting the grading environment is as important as anything else. The way you enter the room, how you warm up, how you stand, the effort you put in; these all contribute to an amazing event. Bushido is not about ticking boxes and gaining different coloured belts. It is about atmosphere, standards, ability, it is about the spirit of excellence.
Gradings are not easy, Bushido is not easy, Martial arts are not easy.; this is what makes them worthwhile. Embrace this and you’ll find a key thats opens a door to your will. Let the gradings effect your desire, and let your desire effect the gradings, this is what makes them a powerful opportunity for self growth.
7/ Gradings Are Events To Be Savoured
When you the put the effort in, you are showing that you care about your ability, about gaining the grade and about quality. When we care, we walk a fine line between positive action and mental anguish. If you care, you put things in place to succeed or to bring some kind of value to whatever it is you care about. However, if we look closely at the things we care about, we will see that we sometimes exert a kind of mental effort that has no positive effect on the outcome. This kind of mental effort can effect our sense of inner well being negatively. Worry will not make you a better martial artist, doubt will not make you a better martial artist. We must recognise when doubt and worry set in, you may even be reading this and wondering if you have what it takes? You do.
Enjoy your training, enjoy the process of learning, embrace the challenge and step up to the plate. Gradings are part of the journey, they are events to be savoured, they will become cherished memories.