BB Technical Grading

Phew, that was a relief! Not only is the most challenging bit of assessment over with, but my handbook has been submitted, and I’ve not been recalled for Friday 😀

Unlike Thomas’ Technical, this one took place in the evening during the week and was a much larger group with students from other Dojos. As with Thomas’ Requalification at Camber Sands (more on that in a future post), this was also a social event: it is always great to meet up with people one has trained with periodically over the years.

One disadvantage of a larger group is that we did not have time to go through the take downs or wrist locks. This left me with a familiar post-exam sensation of having been tested neither on my strengths nor on the things I had revised most.

As part of the warm up we went through boxing drills one and two — it was clear to the instructors that only Ashford Dojo had been trained in BD2, but Lee thought we looked pretty good, especially as all of us maintained the ‘Karate happy face’* and said nothing. This shows what it takes to be a BB: not just possession of a can-do, positive attitude, but the ability to follow instructions and perform techniques in a new pattern on the fly.

We performed all Pinan katas, plus Kushanku — Thomas & the other requalifyers had to do Chinto. I think everyone made mistakes, and you can see my big booboo in Sandan in one of the videos — my legs were trying really hard to do a longer kata. Thomas claims he made mistakes with Chinto, but I can’t see them 😉

Last but not least, all us deputy blacks performed our creative katas individually. Unlike Thomas’ technical, time was running short so we were not grilled by the instructors on meaning, how to improve, and other aspects of our kata. There were some really fabulous efforts — Bo snapping into Eskrima, gymnastics, incorporating music & dance — and as usual I think the youngsters far outshone even the best of the adults.

Looking at the video, I can see that it was far from my best performance: Lee reckons I did better in the garden. Nonetheless I should be proud of myself for being able to perform not just one, but two katas in exam conditions without totally losing the plot — six months ago at Thomas’ BB Grading I repeatedly had to ask to restart my Pinan kata, and afterwards my fellow students were genuinely concerned for me, I was in such a state.

On Sunday, at the BIG grading, Thomas will need to perform his Kama Kata, and I will have to do a kata of my choice — we will all need to do take downs and wrist locks. And killer warm-up, sparring, boxing drills, learning new & alien Taekwondo techniques, and at the end of the four hours, 1,000 kicks + 1,000 punches. I am looking forward to it, it will be much easier than Tuesday’s Technical!


Bettina: Pinan Sandan
Kata Katastrophe III 😉

Bettina: Kushanku
Kata Katastrophe IV — actually not so much a disaster, there were more mistakes than Sandan, BUT everyone has their own Kushanku issues, even instructors

Thomas: Chinto
You can really see the difference in quality between a full BB & a deputy

Bettina: Creative (Ha To Tsume)
Bit soft & slow & short, but thankfully no disastrous heart attack

* Identical to the Karate sad face, in agony face, ecstatic face…ie expressionless


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