Sifu Lloyd Fridenburg at Waterloo Kung-Fu Academy

By Sifu Lloyd Fridenburg


Here we are, tomorrow is the 1st of March and last night it was -30. If you’re not over 40 you likely can’t even remember a winter like this in terms of both snow accumulation and extreme cold. Oh well, warmer days ahead. I expect that May 24 will be about 30°.

Speaking of May 24, which for those of you that don’t know is the date of the Intermediate/Advanced grading, we still have a lot of potential grading students sitting on the fence. I know many of you constantly put up your hand indicating your intention to grade, but the first name went on the list just a couple of days ago. The deadline to get your forms stripe for blue and brown sash students has passed but greens still have until March 24, which coincidentally is the grading cutoff date for blue and brown sash students.

Personally I feel that if you cram at the last minute to get your forms stripe or if you wait until the last minute to ask that your name be added to the grading list you are already questioning yourself and hedging your bets for as long as possible. Don’t feel that you’re committing because we (the instructors) want you to; do it because you’re doing it for you. I won’t ask Int/Adv students if you want to be put on the grading list; it’s up to you to approach the instructors. Just as a point of clarification the following instructors can approve you for an Int/Adv grading; Sifu, Sifu Lloyd, Sifu Eric, or Sifu Sydney.

We know that everyone is busy with school, home life, family, and jobs and we don’t expect you to sacrifice your schooling, family, or job to train for a grading. But at the same time, we won’t change our expectations because you have another priority. Sometimes you have to make a tough decision and sometimes the right decision is to postpone a grading until you can commit the necessary amount of time and effort. I often tell students that training for a high belt grading is akin to training for a major athletic event; because that’s exactly what it is. Would you rather take more time and really learn your skills well, or would you rather test sooner and either squeak through or have an unsuccessful grading.

This can be a difficult change for parents of adult students to adjust to as well. When your young adults were still in the Junior program you brought them to a couple of classes per week and they had the opportunity to grade several times a year. Now that they are in the adult program different expectations kick in and students are expected to attend a minimum of three classes per week on a regular basis, and that expectation increases once a student commits to a grading. Yes, you might need to drive them to class

4, 5, or 6 times a week for a couple of months, but that’s what it takes to be successful in the adult Intermediate / Advanced program.

Every instructor in the school is in your corner and wants nothing more than to see you have a successful grading. We will give you all the help you want or need, but regardless of circumstances, ability level, or outside commitments, there are no free passes. If you fail to prepare; prepare to fail!

So, if you’re intention is to test in the May grading it’s time to step up to the plate and formally declare your intentions. Once you do, flip that internal switch to “training mode”; train hard, train smart, and feel good about your grading.