Following the Blog I wrote on Shinsa (grading) the following is a condensed matrix of the elements that should be considered when evaluating the student’s performance to come to the right decision as to pass or fail. This is by no means complete but will assist in undertaking a structured approach.
|Kata no junjo (Correct order)
|Compulsory for Kihon, Kata and Kumite. If a student is unable to get this right they should not be in front of the grading panel and should be an automatic failure.
|The execution of techniques correctly is a necessity and a key area of failure. Some allowances for age for example in kicking heights or stance depth can be allowed but not to the point of not being able to recognize either when undertaken. This can be broken down in simple terms to Tachi Kata, Kerri, Te, Buki. Key elements such as Ashi Waza, Keri (Kekomi/Keage etc.)Tsuki Waza (Stuki/Uke etc.) should be evaluated.
|Chikara/Kime (Power and tension)
|Power (Chikara) should be clearly demonstrated in the correct areas as well as dynamic tension (Kime). Relevant to Kihon, Kata and Kumite. There should be a natural expression of Kime from Hara and Seishin (spirit)
|Tsukuri Ashi (Footwork)
|Necessary in all aspects but especially in Kata and Kumite. The essence of both must demonstrate Sabaku, Haeru and Sagaru in the right places at the right time. This enables lower center of gravity, Onagi Takusa and Shizen movement. For many this is the most important point of assessment. It shows their understanding and ability and with the right Tsukuri Ashi the torso will follow the right position.
|Translated more as hips this is the fundamental enabler to power and body unity. As the grades move forward the demonstration and understanding of this as a key principle must be shown. Always look for Koshi and weight position.
|Breathing is necessary to balance stamina and unify the techniques with the body and the explosion of Kime. Kiaii is mandatory in the given places and should clearly be in unison with Waza. It also facilitates the essence of Zanshin.
|Paramount in Kata execution and Kumite this is a key component of technical understanding and usage both individually and in use against opponents. Poorly executed it shows the inability to fight in a measured way and Kata is poorly executed. For senior grading, Kata no Merihari(relaxation and tension) should be expected through superior timing.
|Ma/Maii/Metsuke (Distance/space awareness)
|Reading distance and using it effectively is key. To move and block at the right time or side step from a corner when fighting is paramount. The eyes are stage one of the development followed by perception.
|The right amount of time between grades. As the level rises the time scale lengthens and should be respected. Grade jumping is not acceptable and disrespectful to other students.
|Regular training and seminar attendance should be a key component of eligibility to grade. Students who just turn up to grade should not be given the opportunity to do so if they are not attending class regularly and training. Both examiners and students should have the opportunity of proper feedback.