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ashworth
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 13 Nov 2006
Posts: 659
Location: UK
Styles: Shotokan, IJR Karate, Iaido, Kobudo

PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2022 6:30 am    Post subject: 4th Dan Grading! Reply with quote

There could be a few differing opinions on this one, so initially I was going to avoid announcing/posting this. but have decided to anyway out of curiosity to see what your thoughts are...

Basic background... I have run my own small club for 12ish years now which is pretty much a Shotokan based club with a few extra things, 10 years ago I graded to Sandan with a multi-style organisation that I was with at the time.

for the past 3ish years I have been trying to find a way to attempt my Yondan, organisation I was with at the time couldn't offer an in person grading so said I could get it on other requirements (Time served, status of my club) which I refused.

Then lockdown happened anyway which delayed things even further, but gave me time to really focus on my own training and make a few changes to the club. I look back at where I was 10 years ago when I got my Sandan and where I am today and a lot has changed. I feel like the club and myself has evolved a lot since then, and I do feel ready for my Yondan.

Since coming out of lockdown we joined a new organisation. When I enquired about an in person grading with them it didn't seem feasible again, but they offered a vocational grading option which they only offer to people in my situation. after a lot of thought I decided to go ahead with it. We decided on a syllabus for me to grade to, in this case the KUGB Shotokan syllabus was used. and I had to record a video of me performing everything that they asked me to based on that syllabus. Using the help of a black belt student to help demonstrate the kumite aspects.

Despite this not being a formal in person grading I still felt very nervous performing for the video!

They send the video to a panel of higher grade Shotokan instructors who determine success or failure... took them about a month to come back to me, but I got the news this week that I was successful!

They confirmed that the panel issues a straight pass and acceptance of my new grade, with no makers or critical review points to feedback. A couple of the panel felt my transitions within Jiyu Kumite were particularly clean and of an excellent standard!

I know that there are a lot of conflicting view points with gradings like this and not being done in person. I had these views myself before deciding to attempt this, but I am happy with my decision now and rather happy with the result and the positive feedback.
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Ashley Aldworth

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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29283
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2022 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see any problem with this approach. Using technology to our advantage shouldn't be shunned by the Martial Arts community. It sounds like you did your part diligently, and with integrity, and the review board took their time and made careful calculations in coming to their conclusions.

I say, congratulations!
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15712
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2022 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you satisfied across the board?? Seems like the Testing Panel were satisfied across the board!! Therefore, no matter what others might think, you EARNED that Yondan according to that Governing Bodies By-Law!! Opinions and the like don't matter whatsoever against what transpired in order to earn your Yondan.

I've a friend who lives in the USA and his Sensei lives in Okinawa. My friend has taped himself whatever was required and/or asked of him, then he sends the tape to Okinawa to his Sensei. This is how a majority of his Testing Cycles were conducted. Yes, my friend traveled many times for training in Okinawa under his Sensei. My friend didn't pass every Testing Cycle. My friend earned his Kudan via Testing Cycle video tape. His Sensei was Master Shian Toma of the Seidokan.

Congratulations on earning your Yondan!! Key word here is...EARNED!!




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ashworth
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 13 Nov 2006
Posts: 659
Location: UK
Styles: Shotokan, IJR Karate, Iaido, Kobudo

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2022 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you both! I do still feel like I earned the grade. I even treated myself to a new belt! my current one I got about 11/12 years ago, back then I was very skinny. I have built up a little bit since then! so have a slightly longer one arriving next week
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Ashley Aldworth

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aurik
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 248
Location: Denver, CO
Styles: Shuri-Ryu, Uechi-Ryu

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2022 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations! You put in the time and the work in order to earn that promotion. Whether you performed the testing in-person or via video, you had to perform the techniques to the satisfaction of a board of higher-ranked instructors.

Well done!
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Patrick
KF Administrator

Joined: 01 May 2001
Posts: 28218
Location: Los Angeles, California

PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2022 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats Ashley.

Patrick
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DarthPenguin
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 03 Dec 2021
Posts: 69
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Styles: Shotokan, Judo, BJJ

PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2022 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations, sounds like you approached the process with integrity and were not just wanting to be "given a belt" which is always important!

At the skill level you will have going for your Yondan it seems reasonable that they can assess you this way - realistically your technique should already be very good or you wouldn't have made sandan, so if they have things they are watching for / want to observe they can just watch for them.

Also, being in a video could even make it harder - there isn't the chance of someone else being tested at the same time splitting attention / something else in the environment distracting them - they will be solely focused on you. If they are unsure if something is correct they can actually rewind and rewatch it, rather than having one chance to watch it in person and either make a decision or ask for a reperformance.

You've put in the time and the work, satisfied a panel of grading instructors, and obviously performed to a high standard.

So well done!
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ashworth
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 13 Nov 2006
Posts: 659
Location: UK
Styles: Shotokan, IJR Karate, Iaido, Kobudo

PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2022 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks

After I submitted the video that's exactly what I thought! (about it possibly being harder) any mistakes they might not necessarily pick up straight away they can re-watch and pause. Made me even more nervous!
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Ashley Aldworth

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DarthPenguin
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 03 Dec 2021
Posts: 69
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Styles: Shotokan, Judo, BJJ

PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2022 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ashworth wrote:
Thanks

After I submitted the video that's exactly what I thought! (about it possibly being harder) any mistakes they might not necessarily pick up straight away they can re-watch and pause. Made me even more nervous!


Understandable, but also then should be more pleased with the success!
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ashworth
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 13 Nov 2006
Posts: 659
Location: UK
Styles: Shotokan, IJR Karate, Iaido, Kobudo

PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2022 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed I am certainly happy with the result.

My new belt arrived and the other sensei in the club decided it would look funny to present myself with the certificate :

https://servimg.com/view/20104976/22

(tried to insert an image... it didn't go so well!)
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