A grading is a great lesson in the human experience. You see you will go through a journey on your way towards black belt. On this journey there will be lots of tests, lessons experiences, mistakes, realizations along the way. They play a very important role in the learning and developing process, and here i will explain why. There are several thing's going on here. We all like to pass a test. A form of achievement in any given field. So the test itself is a motivation towards a point. What point? One that is further down the line. So what happens when you reach this point? Celebrate, relax, ponder. And then set a new point to aim for that takes you further down the line again. Keep moving your study and your potential is limitless. Learning is fluid and should not become static. Tests are a motivation that drives you to progress.
I have in the past taught simultaneously students who have taken on the challenge of gradings and those who have not. Those who have opted out of gradings always start with good meaning and promise to go away and practice. And some do. Initially. Though always quite quickly the pattern is developed, and its just to easy to settle for just turning up for your lessons. Practice stops as the motivation is not being driven. Think of for example a wedding. How many wish to get in to great shape so that they look great in the wedding photos. So they work at it, fueled by the knowledge of a future event. You see. To achieve growth as a martial artist there must be a challenge. Challenge provides a battle. Adversity. A story that you live through. It brings struggle though this just amplifies the gain waiting for you. Gradings give purpose to your practice. The persistent student learns to work through this. More importantly they develop and enhance the tools to enable them to work through. Discipline and the correct mindset. And therefore the ability moves on, though because of the test. Students who challenge themselves are excited by lessons. Learn to appreciate the rewards of the journey they take. Those who dont challenge themselves. Who say that gradings are not necessary for their lessons, dont understand what it is that fuels the process. Inevitably they tend to drift away as they find the journey becomes stale. They dont witness change in themselves so they perceive the lessons to be not working. Again we are back to the mentality of the gym member who goes twice a month, yet claims they cant understand why they dont Acheive results. My biggest job as an instructor is to ignite the passion for the subject within the student. This happens when the student feels their own growth. Then the value of the lessons holds a new meaning for them. When the student is just as excited by training as the instructor now you have a magic environment. The driven student also finds inspiration away from the formal lesson. When somebody comes in to a lesson with a question or a story for the class that is of their own free will, this is a great sign. It means that they are taking an active part in their own development. They are driving their own growth now. This is what the instructors are doing all of the time. Remember that they are on their own journey. We are students just like you. Weve just had more lessons that all. You can learn from my excitement for training yes, though when you are developing from your own passion, this is something special. Think of films like Billy elliot, footloose. Dancing in their everyday. The karate kid. They were excited therefore couldn't help but play around when away from class. Though all driven by an upcoming event. Passion fuels practice, practice fuels passion. This is the positive power that an event can have. If we all think back to teachers at school, mine was the science teacher, or even the music teacher. Monotone voices. I hated those subjects. Or at least i thought. it wasnt the subject that was the problem. The environment was not one that inspired the students. The teachers job is to create the space for the students journey to become possible. How can you not get excited about music. We all sing in the shower or our cars or after a shandy. So music inspires us all. Passion is the key.
So how to sum up. Engage with the learning, and the subject will transfer across to you. Sure, this takes time, though if you stick at it we have a lifetime to make this happen. So when you come away from a Grading, having achieved a pass, wearer of a new colored belt, be proud of what you have achieved that day. Though the real reward is not a material gain. Its a gain that you feel on the inside. Advancement as a Martial artist. Growth in confidence as a Person. A reminder that when you have a forward thinking mindset, you can achieve great things. You have worked your mind, body and developed a spirit that will only grow for this great subject for as long as you allow it to.