Spending Time In Grade Is A Necessary Challenge In Karate

Child Looking At TimeThis is a commonly used word in the martial arts world that is practiced to make students stay a certain amount of time at various levels before they can progress to the next belt rank.  And, sometimes it isn't because they are not talented enough to actually pass the exam, rather, there are characteristics that the instructor is trying to bring out of the student, thus having a "time in grade" is imperative for the development of a student. An example is that the first 4 colored belts at The Dojo of Karate require that a student stay at each rank for a minimum of 3 months.  But, that can also be extended due to training consistency, progression of achieving stripes, knowledge of techniques and curriculum, ability to execute moves, etc. And, time in grade is extended even more so at the Green & Brown belt levels. Most students need to be at both levels of Green belt between 4 to 6 months, or longer.  While all 3 Brown belt levels require that a student stay at a rank for at least 6 months.  Those two belt colors alone make up at least 2 years of training! See, in this world of instant gratification, people "feel" and "believe" they deserve to be at the next level for any given reason -- rather then trusting their teacher, coach, or sensei. That's what we're hear for... to help bring out the best in our students, no matter what it takes.  And, sometimes that means keeping a student at a certain level for an extended period of time.  Usually what happens is it makes the ones that truly desire the next level to shine at special moments or when the time is right. Just to give you guys another example about time in grade, in Brazilian Jiujitsu, it takes about 7 to 10 years to earn a Black Belt!   There aren't very many belt ranks to keep students motivated and stripes aren't awarded very easily. Usually, a Purple belt in BJJ is considered a VERY high rank with exceptional skills.  Good enough to teach BJJ classes, but maybe not good enough to open a dojo, yet... For a student to spend time in grade, is a common practice and the student should trust their sensei that they have a success plan for them to achieve their goals. The Dojo of Karate prides themselves in making sure that all students spend a minimum amount of time at each belt rank.  Lessons can always be learned at every level, no matter how talented or skilled one is in Karate. So, next time you or your son / daughter thinks they've been at a certain level for "too long" ask yourself... "what have they learned at this level?"  If the answer is "I don't know", then the student may not be ready to advance quite yet.  Or if you say "I know my kata"... do you know your kata, or do you KNOW your kata. Trust that a good sensei wants the best for their students because a student is a reflection of their sensei. Ultimately, I look forward to the day that my students begin to outperform me.  When that happens, I've succeeded. Next week we'll be discussing why I think failing is good.




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