‘Little Ninja” gradings take place 3 times a year (roughly early May, early August and end November/early December
Pre-junior and Junior Gradings take place 4 times a year, at the end of each term for white, yellow, orange and blue belts
Pre- Junior and Junior Green and purple belts grade 3 times a year, roughly early May, early August and end November/ early December
Junior Red and Brown belts grade twice a year, in June month and late November/ early December.
Students are prepared strategically according to criteria for each assessment.
With regular twice a week attendance, students will be prepared for these assessments. There are rare occasions in which students will not be sent for grading, namely:
- If their attendance is less than 85% or
- Their behaviour and training attitude is very poor in class. This does not occur often as classes are done in a disciplined but uplifting manner and instructors carefully deal with any bad behaviour early so that is does not escalate and effect the student’s progress.
Grade levels are achieved in the form of ribbons that are sewed on the belts. Please refer to the chart that outlines the belt progression from white to black belt.
- ‘Little Ninjas’: Constitutes 8 different coloured levels.
- Pre-Juniors: Defined with green ribbons on their belts
- Juniors: Defined with blue ribbons on their belts
- Seniors (adult grades): Defined by red ribbons on their belts
NB: Gradings take place for students up until black belt level. Thereafter every degree on a black belt is achieved through continual assessment relating to the student’s attitude and training time on the floor, that allows good progression in technical abilities.
Grading assessments are done in a format that is formal. Students are assessed in groups relating to their ability. They are assessed by a panel of instructors and the student’s class instructor is always present (only exception being if they are ill)
Although the grading procedure is formal and the “counter” (person counting and directing the technique) is strict and precise, the manner in which the whole grading is conducted allows the students to be comfortable but still peak in performance
Children especially are given that extra bit of encouragement during the assessments. Our focus is on passing the students at their assessments. It is very rare that students fail a grading as they are well prepared during class training and are only sent for assessment if they are deemed ready.
We also welcome the attendance of parents, friends or relatives at the gradings. There is also time for photo opportunities
Senior gradings take place on Saturday mornings twice a year
Junior gradings take place during the week in normal training time and usually at the venue in which the student trains regularly.
- ‘Little Ninja” group (grades 0, 00 and R). This is our 4 to 6 year old group. Excluding grade 1
- Pre- junior group: Ages 6 (grade 1) – 9 years old
- Junior group: Ages 10 – 15 years old.
- Senior (adult) group: Ages 16 years and older.
AGE DIVISIONS AND RELATED CONTENT
‘Little Ninja” group:
This is a carefully constructed developmental programme that allow children an introduction to martial art technique, through the use of the body in various ways
We focus on eye-hand and eye foot co-ordination, balance, spatial orientation, direction, ground work, partner work, knowledge of the body parts as well as movability and fluidity.
Through focus on the above mentioned facets, gross and fine motor skills as well as muscle tone is improved.
The ‘Little Ninja” programme is an excellent foundation for any child that then wishes to continue his/ her development in the martial arts when they arrive in grade 1
Classes are taught in a disciplined but enjoyable way. This manner, as with all martial art training allows the student to absorb information and improve focus and concentration but still enjoy the process.
This programme begins from grade one up until 9 years of age.
Children work with the karate based techniques that allows the use of the whole body. Focus is on striking techniques using arms and legs. Posture, balance and a good base are very important to develop here. Eye- hand and eye-foot co-ordination remain integral in this teaching phase and concentration skills develop as the student progresses.
The child’s own internal power and will are developed and encouraged to emerge with the use of bag work.
Children work quite a bit with partners in this stage of development. This teaches them important inter-personal skills and allows them to exercise good control of technique and tolerance with their peers.
Kobujitsu is also introduced in this age group. We utilise the bo (long staff) and the nunchaka (only the rubber ones at this stage). Basics technique together with a bit of movement are taught. Partner work with the Long staff will come later when their bodies are more disciplined and controlled.
Submission grappling training is not a priority in this age group. The children are however introduced to an element of groundwork.
This age group is about strengthening the body and getting a good foundation with the techniques. Self discipline and body control are integral parts of this training phase.
Our junior group runs from the age of 10 years until 15 years of age. Any students who transitions from the Pre-Junior to Junior phase do not loose and belt levels. There is simply a follow on process with the same belt levels. This age group is just defined with a white stripe through the centre of the belt.
From the age of 10 years, the student now has better body control and concentration. We now begin the grappling training programme. One of the 2 classes a week is devoted entirely to this element.
During the other class of the week, we continue the students development in the unarmed karate training, bag work and weapons work. Weapons work continues with the Bo and the nunchaka. As the students are ready in terms of skill in this age group, we introduce them to the wooden nunchakas. Precision is now worked with in the practice of weapons.
Bo practice is expanded on and we begin with partner work that is carefully controlled to avoid any injuries.
Most students in this phase of training, transition from about the age of 13 years into our senior/adult class. This is highly dependent on maturity, and skill.
Senior/ Adult group:
All the basics are now well in place and the students that have now transitioned into this phase have a very good understanding of technique, self discipline and control.
The pace is quicker and the intensity is higher but the training is exciting as skills are improved.
All three facets of martial art training in our school are expanded on. The addition to this class level is an introduction to a new weapon, the tonfa (please see weapons description under Kobujitsu.
Control, perfection and advancement of technique is an ongoing process from this level and it has no end. There is always room for improvement and the journey of learning never stops
Martial art training enriches ones life. It builds confidence as abilities improve and one realises
We have clearly defined classes from beginner to intermediate to advanced and children transition from one class to the next under the careful guidance of their instructor. Classes are not only belt level dependent, they are also age level dependent. Class levels form guidelines for student’s abilities but within those guidelines there are sometimes exceptions with age, maturity and ability that warrant us moving a student to the next class phase.
e.g. We may have a few advanced pre-juniors training in an intermediate Junior class.
All students from beginner to advanced are placed where they can perform at their best in terms of what their capabilities are. All instructors keep a close eye on this.
It is important to note that our school has a fully developed programme that allows students to transition and development in a systematic way from the ‘little ninja” level all the way through to black belt and beyond.
BEGINNER students are welcomed at any age and are attended to either separately or within an appropriate group, lead by a very experienced instructor together with an assistant.
On making contact every beginner student will be placed in the most age and grade appropriate class for them
We always encourage students to try out a lesson of 2 to be sure that what we are offering is a good match for them. This is especially important for parents to also view the manner in which the classes are conducted.
For adult beginner students, 2 to 3 trial classes are usually sufficient to grasp whether the martial art training we are offering is a good fit.
Beginner students are welcomed throughout the year.
Techniques that are taught in martial art training can be dangerous and devastating when put to use in full force. This is the benefit of gaining the skills to protect yourself in a serious situation of self defence
Having said that, control is of the utmost importance when training with these techniques. From day one and going forward, good discipline and control of the body is taught. Injury factor is thus VERY MINIMAL ( a few bumps and bruises may happen in the higher grades)
Our Academy instructors all understand the importance of protecting growing bodies from injury and are attentive at all times to any lack of control, from junior to senior adult students.