Home > How do we train? > Gradings > What a grading's like

What a grading's like

| Print this page |

It was very warm outside and very hot and sweaty in the dojo. The white, yellow and orange belts had been on the mat from 11.30 and green and above (six green, three purple and four light blue) went on at 2pm, so it was nice and warm in there even before we started. We did no kneeling ukemi but started with standing forwards and backwards, quickly moving onto forwards over and backwards off someone (James Garvey) in a leapfrog position. We did 'over the belt with no-one there' on both sides and then a cutaway one after the other down the mat. Then we did the old 'backwards out of a chair' routine followed by diving over the chair (easy after diving over James).

We then paired off and did a run-through of locks (arm, head and leg) and counters. Then, hair grabs and strangles from front and back; body grabs from front and back.

Onto the throwing. We had to complete the yellow-belt throws as fast as we could, shouting out the names, then various other randomly selected throws from different parts of the syllabus, straight into kesa gatame and juji gatame from a throw. Then ude garami and ude gatame. Then various other gatame waza. As for strangles, we just had to demonstrate any one we liked. No nage no kata in the true sense but we did have to do some throws in the sprit of embu – uki otoshi, ippon seoi nage and a couple of others.

We then had a quick water break, because we were literally dripping with sweat.

Then we did circles and two-man attacks. Circle was the usual except that purples had no greens attacking – just other purples, along with the light blues and brown belts in the form of Andre and Barry. Usual – knife, cosh, broken bottle, chain with the slightly more esoteric long, blue, plastic water pipe (used as a cosh) and hockey stick (in the stead of Mr Bokken).

Two-man was in the form of two unarmed punchers, two unarmed kickers, two coshes, two knives. They didn't ask all of us to do two-man, myself included, which worried me cos I thought it meant I had failed (even though my circle was good).

We were finished by 4pm.

So in sum, I think he (Mark Newall) just wanted to sample what we could do and grade us on that basis, rather than exhaustively test us on every part of the syllabus. Whether this was due to the heat or that he normally does it that way, I don't know. The other thing I would say is that it was surprisingly quiet – not a lot of shouting. As could be expected, when various first and second dans were asked to take charge of us there was the usual shouting and derision but the circle was quite strange without all the usual shouts of "kill him", "hurt him" etc, etc, with only a few prompts to get in there and attack (particularly when one of the light blues was in the middle).

Pick a grading