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.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Time is passing too fast!

I cannot believe that it is just over 3 months before I go to Japan. This has been a long time coming. Better knuckle under and get some work done! Even worse, Sue and Grace go to Dubai in just over a months time.

Don't think the Disability karate is something I will continue with at this stage in time. Too many things to weigh up. We'll see what happens in the future. Sorry guys.

Geocaching event has now been set for Sunday 19th July. Looking forward to seeing as many TSKC students and families participating.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Story So Far

I can't believe the last blog was back in September 2014.

So What's been happening? Here's what I can remember.

  • Passed my Yondan grading 4 days after my last blog
  • Resigned from the Shotokan Karate Lodge but it wasn't accepted
  • Had Xmas
  • Got another year older
  • 3 Kyu gradings have passed by
  • 4 DAN gradings and courses
  • New Black belts in the club
  • Attended Junior European Championships in Germany as a Referee. First time outside UK as a D Licence referee.
  • Opening of a new dojo in Buckingham and 
  • Very recently some very good results at the National Championships in 2015. We have 2 individual National Champions in the club and a National Team winner.
What's coming up?
  • Disability karate
  • Squad selection in September
  • Geocaching trip
  • New venture at Swanbourne House school
  • Trip to Japan to take licence qualifications
  • Four Nations Championships in October
  • Following the latter, Kyu grading at TSKC
Disability Karate
The Disability karate has certainly been an eye opener for me. Last year I was approached by a guy called Ray Sweeney who is trying to set up a National association about teaching karate to the disabled. I think it is a worthwhile and noble achievement and wanted to be a part of it. I'd had a meeting with ray at Stoke Mandeville and then heard nothing from him until 3 weeks ago.

A meeting was setup at Stocklake Park school in Aylesbury and I must say that it was an eyeopener on many more levels than I ever thought possible. I have much to think about.

Plans are afoot to have a geocaching event in the very near future. Keep an eye on the website for more information.

Along with a few other members of JKA England, a trip to Japan has been planned. Air ticket bought and hotel booked. Just need to start studying for the exams now.

Competition and KYU Grading
Both on the same weekend. Looking forward to that!

My second year serving the Province of Hertfordshire as an 'escorting' officer comes to an end in September. Had such a great time! Thank you Paul.

On another note I joined the Knight Templars. Wished I had done it years ago.

Looking forward to a lot more things happening this year.

Lester Wellington
Chief Instructor TSKC