Do you train to grade or grade to train?

Date: 9th May 2019
Author: Master Bonthuys

When grading time comes around, are you the sort of student that chases the new belt, or chases the knowledge?Do you put everything else before your attendance, or are you a disciplined martial artist that follows the art by building their training schedule into their life? Remember that each lesson you miss, misses out on the knowledge shared...


Like many MA schools, 2-3 weeks before a grading MAW always has full classes. Impending gradings are a sure signal for the “belt chasers” (who have been absent from regular classes) to start coming to lessons once again.

Sadly, they are very often unable to grade due to:

  • Poor attendance
  • Poor syllabus knowledge
  • Poor skill level

As instructors, our job is to teach and impart our knowledge to facilitate progression in the ranks, to develop individuals and to create martial artists = the BEST version of YOU!

A grading is the culmination of 2-3 months of hard work and preparation by both instructors and students.

The very next lesson after a grading, the Instructors job goes back to zero, as they start to lead you on the next part of your journey.

If you attend classes regularly, you should be able to grade well and get a well-deserved promotion (subject to your ability). The problem that many instructors face is that some students decide to “take a break” after a grading, and then show up in class some time later… usually after the regulars have already learned a high percentage of the new syllabus!

This causes a real problem for the instructor because it’s not fair on the regulars to have to “start again” (due to the fact that someone wanted to “take a break”). The late-start-attendee expects the instructor to teach them the material that they have missed - due to their own lack of commitment or poor attendance!

Often this leads to disappointment for the student that rushes their learning to a poor standard that is below their actual capability.

The very best way to progress is to ensure that you always make the effort to attend as many classes as possible.

Gain the knowledge, and you will find that the belt is a formality.

TRAIN HARD > GRADE EASY!


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