Fifth Month of Tae Kwon Do

Mikey: Fifth Month of Tae Kwon Do – Grading/ SE Open

Welcome back to my martial arts journey in this blog we will dive deep into what this month has brought me, from doing a grading to going to a competition. This blog will cover everything that we did in the months leading up to the grading and the competitions.

Update on the Gradings:

As mentioned in my previous blog our Sabeom (teacher) was changing how the gradings would unfold from the content that was going to be delivered to what we would be tested on. In my opinion, this was a step in the right direction as the first grading I went to felt rather relaxed for a grading.

The Old Gradings:

  • Three theory Questions
  • Line Work
  • Patterns (done in the examiner’s time)

The New Gradings:

  • Three Theory Questions
  • Line Work
  • Patterns (in our own time)
  • Pad Work
  • 3-Steps
  • Sparing

Overall the new styles of grading were more demanding and allowed you to tell who practised outside of lesson time, another rule was also added that everyone would have to do some type of sparing. My opinion of these changes is positive as I believe you should be practising at home as well as during lesson time, for the grades are meant to be a checkpoint for you and the examiners to know and understand some things:

  • Where you are in terms of physical skills
  • Where you are in terms of confidence
  • How determined and committed you are
  • How disciplined you are

The grades for me are a checkpoint for you to also know where you are in terms of others, while most people will tell you to refrain from comparing yourself to others you can gain a good amount of knowledge on where you are in your studies by looking at others. The people around you are a great way to learn not just about yourself but about them as well.

Week One:

Week one was spent perfecting each step of my form from start to finish as well as running through 3-step sparing. A lot of people when practising things tend to go as fast as they can but when it gets close to grading I like to slow things down and work on the transitions between each step as well as driving power to each block & punch. For the step-sparing, I was taking it slow focusing mainly on my spacing on the first step as this is the one they look for the most (if there is a big height difference you will slowly drift apart as the moves go on, so they look for the first step to grade you on).

Week Two:

For this week we mainly focused on sparing and pad work, now that pad work was in our gradings we have focused on combinations including switching from punches to kicks. we also ran through every technique and what part of the foot we were meant to kick the pads with. The sparing side of things – while I didn’t have to do it in grading – it was still beneficial as the more experience I have before I have to do sparing the better I’ll be.

For me sparing has always been a good part as – even though can’t make contact – it allows me to practice my defence and my reactions towards different kicks, as I know that I can attack but defending is my weakest part.

Your only as strong as your biggest weakness

For many people I find that they have quite a relaxed guard even at close ranges so I’ve been working on tightening my guard and working on my aim more often.

Week Three:

As the time for the grading was closing in we were asked for areas we wanted to focus on and I suggested that we run through everything as if it were a grading. So we did he ran through everything we would have to do from pad work to patterns. We then ran through the theory questions as I struggle the most with the theory, it’s scientifically proven that you retain 10% of the information you read compared to the 75% that you retain when you practice (this is often known as apply – all this comes from Edgar Dale who created the cone of experience that was later renamed the learning pyramid theory by the national training laboratories institute).

The Week of Grading:

As this is the week of grading we began by studying theory and then ran through everything we would need to be able to pass. Our Sabeom (teacher) then ran through with us how the gradings would work for one last time and then told us the times we would need to be there.

Sunday Morning:

On our way to the grading, I was running through the final parts of the theory to increase my confidence, when going through the questions I then realised that I would probably be fine as I knew most of the answers anyway. We started the grading with pad work and power shots, this was so they could check our stances, and that we were hitting the pads correctly. Then it was on to line work where we were told to do many different things including, snap kicks into punches, middle blocks into punches, and sitting stance punches. Then it was onto the pattern side of things which I was very happy for as – for me at least – the patterns (forms) are the most enjoyable things and I enjoy learning and practising them, especially the form that I’ll learn next if I pass my grading. Next was the step-sparing which I felt ready for considering I knew the steps since white belt so I was prepared for them, we then moved on to the final part of the grading which was our theory and the questions I got asked were:

  1. When was Tae Kwon Do founded (ITF) – Monday 11th April 1955
  2. How Many Moves in Chon-Ji (my Form) – 19 moves
  3. What’s the Meaning of Chon-Ji – Heaven and Earth, it is believed that these were the first things created, therefore Chon-Ji is the first pattern that is taught

The Result:

After the grading was done we had to wait till Monday to find out whether or not I passed but we waited. I had passed but not only passed I scored max marks and got an A+ as my grade making the total score 2/2 for A+ on both my gradings was a great track record and one I will try to keep. The goal now is to learn everything I need for my new grading in the next two months and then have the last month to nail it down.

The South East Open Tournament:

On the 3rd of March were going to the SE Open tournament to compete against others, I would be competing in patterns, my little sister would be competing in patterns, and my dad would be competing in Patterns & Sparing, Wish us all luck and I’ll catch you in the next one!


Adam Reeves

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