Eleven karateka graded yesterday afternoon/evening. Nine brown belts were seeking Shodan, including friends Kelly and Chris from Higashi dojo. Paul Arsenault from New Hamburg dojo was graded for nidan and myself for sandan.
The grading panel consisted of Sensei Shane Higashi ( seiko shihan ) and renshis Ferri, Chong and Hart.
Again we were put through our paces-waza, kihon, kata and bunkai.
Thankfully, the 'evaluation' process was a very good preparation for the grading and most of my nervousness was gone.
The grading ( once I finally was called upon ) seemed to zip by. I am pleased to report that i had no 'senior moments' during the whole evening.
All dojo heads, including sensei Debbie Brooks from Burlington Chito Ryu were in attendance to monitor their students' progress.
After all of us were done the panel convened to the front office to decide our fate while we tidied up the dojo and cleaned the floors.
The panel rejoined us and sensei Higashi read out each students results and gave every student a personal lesson regarding flaws in their stance or techniques. He gave most students 'homework' or areas of skill which they needed to study further. This took about 45 minutes and was very educational and enjoyable.
The only damper on the evening was one student's failure to graduate on this night. He withdrew quietly while the rest of us were congratulating each other.
I sincerely regret not being able to speak with him-( I don't even know his name but will find out ) I want to encourage him to continue practicing and to remind him that most of us have been unsuccessful on a grading at least once in our career. I was unsuccessful 4 years ago at this same exam. I returned to my training and to teaching, and eventually found my way back to the examination process.
So, while I congratulate the new shodans and nidan, more importantly I sympathise with the gentleman who went home empty-handed and I encourage him to find the peace and the strength to perservere.