Congratulations to all of the Seitou Ryu Karate students who passed their grading tests at the weekend!
With a last minute change in venue, everyone still managed to make it in and give it their all throughout the day. The morning grading had a 100% success rate, with 14 students grading to 8th kyu (yellow belt) and 9 students grading to 7th kyu. This was followed by a packed out kata workshop where 40+ students turned up to study their kata in more depth by exploring the bunkai (applications) of Gekisai Ichi, Gekisai Ni, Saifa and Seiyunchin. The groups were taught by Seitou Ryu instructors Sensei Mick Simmonds (2nd Dan), Sensei Martin Lawrence (2nd Dan) and Sempai Samuel Parker (2nd Dan) as well as myself and we were all very pleased with how all the students picked up the techniques and principles, especially those who were there for the first time. I think everyone managed to move up a level on some part, moving from 1 – 2, 2 – 3, or even possibly 3 – 4. Don’t forget to make some notes if you haven’t done so already!
In the afternoon we had the intermediate and advanced kyu grade tests, where 25 students attempted 6th kyu (green belt) up to 1st kyu (brown belt). This was a more challenging grading, as no visual prompts or assistance are given so the students were truly tested to see if they really knew their stuff.
Gradings and standards are something that we take very seriously in our club, we are not now, have we ever been or ever will be a club that gives belts away just because a student has trained for “X” amount of time or completed “X” amount of lessons or because they are friends with the instructors. Every grade in Seitou Ryu is earned through the students proving their worth from training hard and consistently so they gain the necessary skills to move up a level. We as instructors do our very best to prepare all of our students and we will only put them forward if we feel they are absolutely ready rather than just barely ready. Unfortunately nerves and other factors can sometimes have an effect on the day and this does occasionally happen and results in students being unsuccessful in their tests. For those who didn’t make it this time around, we urge you to get back in the dojo asap and work on the areas that you need to so that you pass with flying colours next time.
Well done to those who passed on the day. When you get back in the dojo I’m sure your instructors will let you know what I am saying now, your belt has changed and whilst we want you all to enjoy the moment, know that our expectations of you have now risen. We expect you to be training harder, be more focused, disciplined and consistent as there is still much to learn. For those very few who have been training once a week, you need to be training twice a week now as the difference between you and the rest was noticeable on the day. For green and blue belts, if you’re only training once a week then you’re only going to be eligible to grade once a year at the earliest, but in reality it will probably be longer as there is so much to learn. Purple and brown belts must be training twice a week, it’s just not possible to maintain the standards required by training less than that.
We have just 2 weeks left of training before we break for Christmas so enjoy this time and get ready to kick it up a gear or two when we come back in January.
Once again, congratulations to all of you and I’ll see you in the dojo.
Sensei Richard Hang Hong
Amelia Hang Hong