On Sunday 27th of November the Nederlandse Naginata Renmei had a Central (National) practice hosted by Erasmus University Naginata Club.The practice started at 11:00 am and would continue until 13:45 followed by kyu exams.Since the date of the practice had moved a few times and the eventual date was decided quite late, attendance was relatively low. Only 9 people attended.These people were split up into 3 groups.We had some ungraded people, someone going for the 5th kyu exam and 2 people going for the 3rd and 2nd kyu exams.
In the Netherlands we start our
exams at 6th kyu. Exams are not skipped and people go for grading when
their Sensei thinks they should. Opportunities are usually twice a year.
It is very common that people don’t grade on every opportunity. It is better to pass the grade with a wide margin instead of being just at the minimum level of that particular grade.It may be a bit obvious, but the goal is to have people be an example for the people with lower grades. Once they get to the higher kyu grades their responsibility in the dojo grows and they should be able to run a practice with confidence.The kyu people of now are the dojo leaders of the future.
On the path from 6th kyu to 1st dan within the gradings we hold, it is clear to see the difference in level of the people for each grade. Yes, some people get more stressed or nervous by gradings than others. But still their level is always shown as superior to those taking the lower kyu exams. So to speak, the people grading visualize the path by their individual abilities in Naginata.
Even though attendance was low, I feel that we had a successful day of practice and exams.All people grading showed their advancements and passed their exams and received feedback on what to work on.
We hope our next exams will be on Sunday April 2nd at the NNR Spring Seminar in Rotterdam.We hope to have the honor to host a Japanese Sensei again as we did before the COVID crisis.Please let us know if you are interested in joining us.