When I started learning karate I was given a booklet which outlined all the belt rank testing requirements. Each level was outlined in detail and included vocabulary, basics, kicks, waza, kata, kobudo, sparring and self-defense. I liked having a tangible list. I would often refer to the outline to see what I should be working on and what was next. Some of my classmates would highlight their list after they learned a technique, kata or weapon.
In some ways, things were easier as a kyu rank. You knew exactly what was expected and when the material was required. After black belt, students discover there is more time and less pressure. It will be years…not months…between testing.
When new black belt students in our dojo ask…“What should I be working on?”… I suggest the following:
Continue learning the required material.
Refine your basics and movement.
If you have the opportunity to attend seminars…Go!
If you find a martial arts book that interests you…Read it!
Assist in class.
Recently, the black belt group in the dojo has worked on kata, kobudo, self-defense, knife throwing, tegumi drills, individual kata and two-person weapon forms. On the schedule...a night to video our open hand and weapon kata and a street clothes self-defense class.
If you get a chance, stop by and wish Bob, author of Middle Aged Martial Artist, a speedy recovery. He was the first blog I found when I was researching ACL reconstruction. Bob tore his left ACL in 2007 during the final minutes of his black belt test. He posted last week that he injured his knee. The MRI confirmed he tore his right ACL.