When I look at a black belt candidate–a high-ranked student who is getting close to black belt–I usually rely on a gut feeling to tell me whether or not they’re ready for black belt.
By black belt, I mean 1st degree. Provisional black belts are not yet black belts, they are on probation and have to prove themselves worthy of that rank. By “candidates” I mean everyone from brown belt to provisional black belt–people who aren’t yet there but are trying to get there.
The demo team bows after their performance.
Today, instead of relying on my gut, I want to try to articulate some of the things I’m looking for in black belt candidates: all brown, advanced brown, and provisional black belts.
One of the things I do a lot (probably too much) is watch martial arts videos on YouTube. I watch a lot of form tournament competitions, but I also really like to watch Karate bunkai videos.
Karate bunkai (or bunhae in Korean) means analysis or application. Bunkai partner drills involve using moves from a form to defend against an attacker.
I’d like for our students who read the blog, as well as whoever is interested, to take a look at this video. It is bunkai (bunhae in Korean) for the Shotokan-ryu Jion, and it is a very good video with useful information.
Then I have a few notes on Jion for those of us who are interested in and research forms lineage. Continue reading →