Kids–how do you pass your upcoming karate grading? Follow the dozen steps below and you will be on your way to your next rank.
Before the Kids Karate Grading
Ask the Sensei what will be on the grading. Many instructors will give you a handout that includes all the techniques on the actual grading–just ask for it. Some instructors will even let your parents video or photograph the techniques required.
Take the list home and mark the techniques in which you are not 100% sure; next class ask the sensei how to do them.
Once you have all the techniques down, have someone call them out one after the other. Now try to do it faster. Then do it in random order. By doing this, you are preparing yourself for the stress of the actual test, and you will know each technique by sound.
The forms or kata will take the most practice since they are the most difficult. Do them facing all directions and then do them with your eyes closed. Pay particular attention to the stances as that is what the sensei will look for. Do each form with intensity (imagine attackers coming at you), even while practicing.
Go to class early (or stay late) and ask one of the black belts to take you through a practice grading. Most will be willing to do this. The sensei will notice your initiative.
If your kids karate grading involves sparring, get yourself fit for it. Run, bicycle, hit the bags, anything to build up your heart and lungs. Do as many rounds of sparring as possible, even if it is only against a moving kick bag.
During the Grading
Get there early to warm up and stretch. This will help you get those kicks up and prevent injury. You do not want to pull a muscle on grading day. Even though most kids are naturally flexible, don’t take a chance.
Perform your techniques with full power. It is amazing how many people do not do this.
Spirit is really important. Yell your kiai each time you do a technique. Pop back into position so you are ready for the next move.
Do not let your classmates throw you off with their mistakes. Keep a razor-sharp focus on your imaginary opponent, right in front of you. Other kids may try to talk to you during the grading. Ignore them.
You will make mistakes, it is human nature and no one is perfect. Do not let it get you down. Improve on the remainder of the test and you will still have a good shot.
After the Grading
Pass or not, always ask the sensei how you can improve. This will help you next time you grade. It also shows the sensei that you care enough to ask.
Note: After this article was written, an excellent post at My Journey to Black Belt was written. In it Sue referred to many of the principles in this post. Thank you Sue.