Gradings are a BIG DEAL at Teach Me Kung Fu Schools! We give students the opportunity to grade every 3 months which we feel is the perfect interval to test learning.
Our incredible team of instructors are keen for students to feel properly ‘tested’ without making the grading experience too stressful which is a careful balance! For our youngest students, the grading is a simple test of what they’ve learned. We want them to be built up and encouraged by the grading process!
As students progress through the syllabus, the testing does get more and more robust until our Adult Technicians are tested by an external assessor as well as Si-Fu Chris. We want to make sure that our grades stand up and this means testing against other styles of martial arts so we invite instructors from other disciplines as well as instructors from other schools teaching Wing Chun.
At some points in the syllabus (those attempting the final part of their black sash for instance), students have to face the blindfold challenge! This involves being blindfolded (bet you didn’t see that coming!), being turned on the spot 10 times or more and then having to defend attacks by feel alone! Many students have done this and triumphed because of the training that goes before it. Our style of martial art is tactile and relies on muscle memory and reaction to pressure so the response should be instinctive!
We dedicate a whole weekend to grading because we have so many students to test. We hold gradings in March, June, September and December each year and students must have attended at least 8 sessions to be able to attempt a grading. This is because we need to be sure each student is capable of passing. This is due to safety as well as making the grading a positive experience. You wouldn’t ask a swimmer to attempt a swimming badge that was way out of their capacity and for the same reason, we won’t let a student grade if we don’t feel they are ready. While we want all our students to progress, the pace and timing of this will be different for everybody.
Has a student ever failed a grading? Yes. However, it’s almost always because they’ve let their nerves get the better of them and they can’t (or won’t) show us what they can do.
For our younger students, we celebrate their achievements at a graduation ceremony the weekend following the grading. Unfortunately, the pandemic has meant that we haven’t been able to hold a graduation for 2 years so the one this month will be extra special, although it may look a little different! We invite parents and family members and showcase some of our amazing students and what they have learned. Then we present each student with their new sash and certificate and finish by sharing some food together!
So as you can see, our gradings are an opportunity for us to get together, test what we’ve learned and celebrate the achievements of our students. What’s not to love?!