As most of you know, we have a promotion review regularly about every three months. This is just a time when we formally take stock of where we are and what we need to work on. It’s also a time where we can get together and train with people we might not otherwise have a chance to meet. Training together like this is a fun and rewarding experience in and of itself.
Students are moved to the next rank, when they are ready, based on several criteria. Some of these are easily explained such as performance of kata, fighting, and executing techniques. Other requirements are more subjective and harder to explain in detail. For example, effort, spirit, focus, and determination are attributes we consider. What does it mean to perform a particular movement or exercise “like a yellow belt”? There is such a thing, but it is hard to describe. This is another reason we perform these reviews with multiple teachers and seniors present, as well as my own teacher. It provides an opportunity to gather feedback and discuss such things amongst ourselves.
Please know that we are watching and evaluating constantly. We are concerned about everyone’s progress and it is our primary goal that everyone improves and reaches their maximum potential. Not everyone changes belts at every promotion review. So don’t worry that you or your child is “falling behind.” Belts are generally attained quicker for the initial ranks and then slow considerably towards the senior color belt ranks (yellow to brown). Each student’s progress is their own. Some people move a little quicker than others, but in the end that does not matter. It only matters how each person grows — and not necessarily relative to anyone else.
Most importantly, students earn their belts. They are never given away. Because of this, everyone can (without reservation) be proud of what they have accomplished. The belt is certainly recognition of a student’s accomplishments. However, it is also a reminder of our responsibility to ourselves and each other.
Please try to attend to support each other and enjoy the camaraderie. If you are unable to attend, please don’t worry about it. Just keep training hard and working every day!