Sifu Lloyd Fridenburg at Waterloo Kung-Fu Academy

By Sifu Lloyd Fridenburg


Every instructor at WKFA wants you to be successful. Here are a few things for you to consider when you start to look towards your next grading:

1. I’ve been going to class 3 – 4 times a week prior to the grading and now I’m ready. That might be OK up until the time you reach Orange or Green, but after that it isn’t enough. If you’re grading for a rank of Blue or higher I strongly recommend that you develop a training plan that includes at least 7 hours of training a week, outside of your regular classes.

2. Instructors aren’t making classes tough enough to get me ready for a grading. The instructor’s job is to teach Kung Fu; getting ready for a grading, especially a high rank grading is your job. Make every class a tough class, regardless of the pace the instructor sets.

3. I felt good in my last grading so I’m going to do the same thing to get ready for this grading. Whatever you did to get ready for your last grading is not good enough for your next grading. WKFA gradings become exponentially more difficult; but so does your fitness and knowledge.

4. I earned my black stripe so I’m ready for the grading list. Receiving your black stripe is always a milestone on the way to your next rank, but the primary purpose of the black stripe is to let instructors know that you have learned the gross moves of your current forms. At WKFA you will be required to present every curriculum form that you know at every grading, so until you can perform every form with confidence, every sequence with confidence, every drill, and every technique with confidence, you’re not ready.

5. I can perform all my current and past requirements with confidence so I’m ready to grade. Our gradings are demanding and knowing your requirements, regardless of your confidence level is not enough. Now you need to work on your overall fitness so that your forms and techniques look sharp even when you’re tired…because you will be.

6. I was allowed on the grading list but didn’t pass my grading. Why would I be allowed on the list if I wasn’t ready? Having your name put on a grading list only means that an instructor feels that you “have the ability” to pass. It doesn’t mean that you will pass! “If you fail to prepare; prepare to fail!”

7. What is the advanced rank commitment list, and why is it necessary? This may come as a surprise but it’s primarily a way for Sifu to determine if we will be holding an Advanced grading (Blue/Brown) in the spring, or and Intermediate/Advanced grading (Green, Blue, Brown).

8. I pass or fail based on my grading day performance. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve seen advanced students completely crumble on grading day and still pass. Is that because the instructors were playing favorites? Absolutely not! It’s because 50% of your grading result is based on your day-to-day training.

9. I’ve been at my current rank for a long time, so I guess I should grade. Go back and read this article from the beginning.

10. I don’t feel quite ready but don’t want to wait until the next grading. Again, “If you fail to prepare; prepare to fail!”

11. Instructors don’t understand what I’m going through in order to grade. You may be correct; but do you understand what your instructors went through? Particularly at higher ranks everyone has made sacrifices and until you’re ready to make your grading a priority you’re not ready. I know students that were Brown for 3, 5, 8, years, or longer; there’s no time limit. We’ve all been through it and your circumstances likely aren’t unique.