Monday, March 06, 2006

Second Stripe Grading

Tonight I added another ring to the target on my back; I graded for second stripe white belt and passed.

Gradings are an opportunity for Professor Schilling to assess our ability to preform techniques listed in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu curriculum for our team. For each stripe there is around 20 to 40 specific defenses, offenses, guard passes, and movements that need to be understood and demonstrated before moving forward in rank. This is in addition to "how we roll" in class.

But rank is more than just an addition of a stripe to our belt; it is an addition of responsibility. If I have one stripe on my belt, I should be able to help out a no stripe teammate with any technique for my level. And as I progress and my technique catalog increases, I should be able to be able to help out junior students more and more, not only with my immediate belt level criteria, but everything I have learned to this point.

There were three specific things I did to help me with my grading.

  1. The first was make it to class regularly and often. Being in class and training hard helped me establish the physical tools needed to preform my techniques, as well as apply my knowledge.

  2. The second thing I did was mark off all the items on the curriculum that I had a pretty firm grasp on. I would not mark off something I was not too sure of. This helped me narrow down what I needed to work on step by step and one technique at a time.

  3. The third and most valuable thing I did in my preparation was set up a couple of private lessons with Professor Schilling. I can not express how important and helpful these sessions were. We covered the curriculum step by step with points I needed to focus on. This gave me a high level of preparation for not only the grading, but my regular training as well.
I would not have passed if it were not for my teammates as well. Unlike Karate, Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do or any of the other form based martial arts, you can not do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu alone. My team forms me and I them. My rank is a reflection of the teamwork we all put into our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training.

The one thing I will always remember from earning my Shodan in Goju Ryu is the rank is not a destination; it is a starting point. And like with anything in life, knowing where you are and where you have been helps you with where you are going. And I just took another step forward...


P.S. Congratulations to everyone on the team who graded. And thanks for helping me with my training; you all rock!