Sunday, 26 October 2014

Warning to others who want to join a karate dojo these days

Did anyone read my post about how I once left my Shotokan dojo and went on to study other stuff? Well... to sum up anyway before I continue this post I got fed up with the entire school here at the time after a grading in which I got failed while I watched others with much less skill get their black belts.

Now- here's the story of my return to Shotokan and my departure from it for good:

It was early in 2014 when my sensei from back then came back to Nelspruit after a long absence. A long enough absence for me to learn Jeet Kune Do and a whole lot of cool stuff and to develop my own style which I have come to treasure.

Now Sensei Roelf was quick to ask me to take up karate again. And I agreed and soon found myself showing up for the first couple of classes in which I was to reacquaint myself with kihon and kata that I have unlearnt over the years. Not kumite, though. Nobody touches my way of fighting!
If you want to teach me a better way to fight- then face me!

From month 1 I had to hear that I was to grade the next month. Grading fee nowadays is 
R 1 050.00!This- I will tell you is not money that I leave lying around all over my home! 

Missing this grading due to illness (those close enough to me knows what had happened), I had waited out a month to recover again and go back to class. This while continuing to pay the R 250.00 class fee which I later heard I was the only one paying!

Well- one of my class-mates- actually an instructor I respect a lot- became a Sandan- and another fellow 1st kyu got his Shodan grade. Judging by his skill level I deemed this grading a piece of cake...

Well- I was back and had the persistent reminder of a coming grading and a syllabus to know- so there was no time for self defense lessons, skill development and those things...
Noooooooooo... Now it was more importantto make sure my hikite was pulled back far enough, my toes pointed down when I did ushiro geri and many related stuff...
Anyway- my legs got a good workout!

Now- the grading approached. I got my form and with the date of the grading- 25 October 2014- 2 days away I was to get another surprise:


Seriously now- on a Fiday?!! I am to travel in work time after getting leave on a 2 day notice?! Just exactly what are you people smoking?!!!

But, hey! It gets even better-

I manage to get accepted for the grading in spite of me not having attended the R 300.00 gashuku that Friday and am as excited and ready for action as I ever was. Met some really cool people and...

Wait- another surprise! I simply MUST write a R 900 exam NOW!!! before I grade...

Well... I breathed deeply- kissed R 900 goodbye and wrote the exam in record time which I actually passed! (I don't mind failing the referee's exam, because I never liked competition much anyway...

Now- exam done and R 900 spent and me smiling outwardly while cursing inside "can we grade now?" I finally get to the grading part...

My grading consisted of kihon (I actually love it), kata (always been fun) and lastly kumite (something I had spent a decade of developing WITHOUT the help of any of Shotokan's instructors).

Well according to a minority on the panel it went like this...

Thank you for at least SOMEBODY acknowledging hours of exercising, months of getting beaten up and a decade of rebuilding my broken confidence to come and take this grading again!

As for those who had this to say (or who just failed me):

(for some reason I just can't get this image rotated into position so please just bear with this outraged individual...)

I want to say: I have come to the conclusion that we have irreconcilable views about karate...

But I am not done yet!
At the end of the grading ceremony I get called aside and told that I was to receive my Shodan certificate with no grading and at no extra cost IF I attend another gasshuku in February (date yet to be announced at the last minute probably) in Durban which, to readers from abroad is about 500 km from my home town.  

Anyhow- I think I am done with this type of karate.

Anyone ith similar stories are welcome to reply.


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