Monday, August 29, 2011

Impressions from a Rank Promotion Test

Sunday's rank promotion test went off without a hitch. The candidates were ready to roll and the volunteers running the RPT did a fantastic job. My son received his 5 Kyu and is now ready for some bunkai, kotigitae and kyu kumite. Unfortunately, I could not watch him perform the whole time as I was judgng one of the other candidates in his group. I did get to see his sparring and that was fun. I was pretty impressed with how well a lot of the students performed, especially the beginner ranks. There were lots of good fundamentals on display.

Judging was a treat. It was my first time on the test board and I have to say I really like it. It was nice to see some old friends who were there on the test board and as candidates, one who was promoted to 1 Kyu. Judging is also difficult. You need to be fair. And some performances were a bit shaky in parts. For example say someone testing for 7 or 6 Kyu makes mistakes they shouldn't be. How do you handle it? Mark them down, maybe fail them? Probably/maybe if it's an adult. Our school has pretty strict standards, I know from my own testing experiences. But what if the candidate is 7 or 10 years old? They certainly are nervous, you can see it in their eyes. But you also know they are ready for the next level, having seen them in class. So would you fail them? In the end it's a judgment call and I learned a lot about judging and scoring from Master Folta, 7 Dan and the 1 Dan who I sat next to on the board (FYI, I don't use names from my school unless it's pre-approved by the person in question). Oh, no one failed. :-) We also had some really good free sparring at the end.

We were very lucky to be able to have the RPT as the worst of Hurricane Irene just barely missed us. We had a lot of rain and high winds - and sticks for my son to pick up. I know many people who were hit very hard by the storm in the Southern and Eastern parts of Virginia and Maryland. Luckily no one was seriously injured. We all wish for a speedy restoration of electrical service and all repairs. So count your blessings and help out your neighbors and fellow martial artists caught in the storm's path. Get more information here.

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