Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2016

It's at times like this when Instructors, such as myself, have the time to reflect over the year that has past and realise just how lucky we are to have such good quality students (I am not talking about the standard of their karate either!)

Thank you, each and every one of you for being a member of TSKC! Here's looking at next year and the pleasures it has to bring.

We have at least three competitions to look forward to with the possibility of going to another two. So let's hope that more of you participate this year having sampled what it was all about earlier this year. You've got to be in it, to win it! so they say.

We are trialling our next Kyu grading on a Saturday and we will be inviting my personal friend, Sensei David Paulus from Yushikai, to join me in taking the grading examination. The remaining dates for the year need to be arranged.

Both David and I will be going to Japan in April to take some examinations ourselves and once again, enjoy the hospitality of the Japanese.

We currently have 16 active 1st Kyu grades in the club, so potentially, we have at least 16 new black belts in the club for 2017. Wishing them all the best. Maybe, after our great success in December's grading they will all train harder than ever before and follow in their predecessors footsteps.

Hope you have all had a very Merry Christmas and / or Hanukkah and wish you all a very prosperous New Year for 2017.


Friday, November 06, 2015

Old Times

Obviously tried and tested matters are the best way to find out what works best. I promised earlier this year that I would revert to having 4 regular gradings during the year and it has been done! In 2016 we have gradings in March, June, September and December. What does this mean to the TSKC student? Well, the cynical side of me already thinks that the idea of having 3 gradings a year would give students more time to prepare for their grading and give them extra time to reach the required number of lessons needed to grade actually meant it gave some students more time not to reach the required number of lessons required to grade.

The committed students didn't need the extra time and as a result of the change, they were the ones that were being made to wait. The students who didn't show the commitment in the first place still didn't reach either the required  standard or number of lessons anyway.

So what will these changes mean? Simple really. Nothing - to those students who are committed to their training already. It does mean that those students who aren't will not be in a position to fulfil the criteria for grading every three months.

What are those requirements? Well let me remind you.

10th Kyu (White Belts)
For novices, they need to have attended 12 lessons and have waited at least two months prior to the first regular grading to 9th Kyu.

9th Kyu - 1st Kyu (Orange - Brown/2White stripe Belts)
Students must wait a minimum of 3 months between gradings and attend 20 lessons. Additionally, they must also meet the required standard to take the next grading.

1st Kyu - Black Belt
There must be a minimum period of 6 months before grading, have attended 44 lessons, have attended at least 2 National / International courses - one of which within 12 months of the grading date. The course on the day does not count towards a course for that grading. Any student trying for their Shodan (first Black Belt) must also pass a Shodan Assessment which consists of a written exam as well as a practical test. 60% pass in each one is required to take your grading.

We will just have to see whether reverting to 4 gradings is the right thing to do. Personally, I think it is as it gives every student the opportunity to get the best out of themselves. Here's looking forward to a busy 2016.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Exams seem to be working

For those who are not aware, our Association has a process where 1st Kyu karateka must undergo and pass an assessment before they can take their Shodan grading. TSKC have gone one step further and this came about when I realised that too high a percentage of 1st Kyu grades did not know enough of the basic knowledge I think they should know.

What on earth am I talking about, you may ask? Well a good example that comes to mind is the fact that a lot of students did not know the Japanese for Front Stance, for instance. I think things like this are a necessity if you are a Black Belt.

So, at the beginning of the year, I introduced a written exam which TSKC students must take AND pass as well as the physical assessment. Both having a pass mark of 60%. I then surprised around 85% of the club's 1st Kyu's and Black belts, by asking them to complete the exam. Most of the Black belts soared 50% or more and only 30% of the 1st kyu's reached 50% or more.

Initially, I think it worried the members that I was introducing it but with ALL of the information either being accessible on the website or first hand during regular classes, it has  been proved that my fears were not confirmed and to date, the students knowledge base has increased significantly.

Last Saturday, we had our assessment for the upcoming DAN grading in September. Four students took the Assessment and contrary to my expectations, all four passed the written part answering some of the harder questions correctly and some silly mistakes on the easier ones. I am sure that at the end of the day, the students, the club and the Association will benefit.