So it’s a few weeks since the KMG national student grading in Scotland and it’s time to reflect on the events of the day. It was a big day for me on a couple of fronts, firstly I had guys testing on the day and secondly I had been asked to assist KMG global team instructor Rune Lind with the testing.
By far the most important part for me was the students I had testing that day. Some were going for, their first grading (P1) so there was a serious fear of the unexpected. The others were going for P4 which I knew would be hard however the guys have all shown a fantastic commitment to training and I was confident that all they had to do was perform the way I knew they could and they would get their pass..
I have sat my fair share of grading’s so I am well aware of what goes through the mind on grading day, especially your first ever test. Self-doubt can creep in to even the most confident practitioner: Did I work enough on this technique? What was that stabbing defence again? I hope he doesn’t make us do rolling!! Go on, how many of you have thought that on the day? Everyone has these thoughts pre grading but the real trick is to trust in the process of training, practice and repetition. If you have put the time in and are training enough then as soon as that problem is presented to you, muscle memory will kick in and before you know it you are moving and scanning away from the attacker with the job successfully completed. Only repetitive training delivers this and your muscle memory transfers directly to a real life situation be it on the street, pub or club.
I get nervous when my students grade as I know exactly what they are going through. This time round though I had to put the empathy aside as I had the responsibility of grading students (not my own!), which was a first for me and a daunting task if I am honest. Coming to this for the first time, like the P1’s I had the fear of the unexpected.
It’s quite a responsibility to have to say whether someone has performed well enough to pass or not. No one likes delivering bad news however unless we are really challenged, we don’t improve no matter what level we are at. KMG were challenging me again.
Douglas Shearer (who was also assisting) and I met Rune and John Miller (Director of KMG Scotland) the night before the grading to discuss the grading and marking process and what was expected.
The day kicked off with the P1 grading of which there was around 30 participants from all over Scotland. We started with introductions and what was expected of the students during the testing. From there we all split into groups with Douglas John and I taking grading groups and Rune overseeing.. The test went well with everyone giving their all and getting stuck in, which made our job a lot easier. From there it was onto the P2 grading for more of the same.
For P2 it is expected that all participants nail the basics from the P1 syllabus every time so things like moving and scanning and getting to safety, getting off the line etc. from there it was time for a break while John and Rune graded the P3’s.
After a short break Douglas and I were asked to take the guys grading for P4 and P5 to another hall and warm them up and start grading them on P1 to P3 as the P3 grading were running over a little. So once in the hall we explained what was expected and off we went. Douglas had the P4’s and I had the guys going for P5. After around an hour we took them back downstairs to continue with the grading for their respective grades. From there Rune oversaw myself and Douglas and went between both groups to watch the participants giving it their all. The guys put in a great performance during their grading and I was proud to have been a part of it.
It was a long day from, around 6.30am to 6.30pm. Having to concentrate continually was mentally draining and left me knackered even though I didn’t break a sweat all day.
Grading’s are a great opportunity to test yourself and the knowledge you have gained through training. It’s also a great way to test what you know under a different kind of stress, that of the test itself. The result is dependent on the work you put in at training and how you perform on the specific day. We can all have bad days though where some things just don’t go to plan, even a small number of mistakes due to nerves can add up and affect your overall mark on the day. As I said before no matter what the outcome of the grading if it was a pass or fail, it is an opportunity to learn and get better.
A pass is never guaranteed and to be fair if it was, it would be worthless. It’s a great feeling knowing that you earned something and your hard work was rewarded. If you weren’t successful then take on board the feedback and challenge yourself to do better. Give yourself a new training goal to improve and come back and nail it next time. Take pride in the fact that you had the bottle to stand on that line in the first place and give it a shot.
A big well done to everyone who was involved that day it was a pleasure to be a part of it and I’m looking forward to the next one.
See you at training