As you are aware, the further you travel along your karate journey, the time between gradings increases. As a white belt you needed only 6 classes to achieve your yellow tip. After this, your next few grades were generally 3 to 4 months apart. As you moved further up the grades, the time between gradings was increased to 6+ months.
While this time between gradings increased, so too did your understanding and appreciation for karate. The very fact that you are here today suggests that you came to the realisation that the journey itself, not the destination (gradings) are the most important and exciting part of karate. By comparison, those students who suffer with what we will call ‘destination disease’ dropped out when their time periods between gradings started to increase.
While you may have been focused on the journey, it’s likely that for many of you, a grading on the not-too-distant horizon further fuelled your motivation to continue training and developing your skills.
Having reached Shodan (1st Dan), you now find that the distance between gradings increases greatly. The absolute minimum time for a student to grading to Nidan (2nd Dan) is 2 years.
While it’s great to desire, and set a goal for Nidan, more than ever before do you need to ensure that you are focused on your journey rather than purely chasing a grade.
Shodans who suffer with destination disease often flounder in their motivation and intensity during training for a long period. This may even last a year or more. And it is only when they see, once again, the possibility of a Nidan grading show up on the not-too-distant horizon again that they suddenly find their drive to excel again.
To compare these students once more, those who are ‘journey focused’ will have an ongoing source of motivation to get to training, focus, work hard and develop in their knowledge and skills. And the result is that these students – who aren’t overly concerned with gradings – inevitably end up grading anyway. Ultimately, grading is a by-product of your ongoing desire and dedication to grow and progress. It is obvious to appreciate that as you develop your skills, understanding, and overall maturity in karate, that you will be recognised for your growth.
Therefore, as a Shodan, be sure that your focus is on your ongoing development, not because you are aiming for a grading, but because you wish to continue your journey to grow.