Shirindo Jujutsu: This was a particularly special session at Shirindo Jujutsu, as today I had the opportunity to be an Uke for a grading. This was a fantastic opportunity to help out the club, support my fellow training partners, and for me to get a first hand look at what to expect when I grade. As some one who is not a complete newcomer to Martial Arts, I had an idea of what to expect; that said, the Shirindo Jujutsu grading was considerably more engaging than any I have been to before. Much like previous grading’s I had been to from other schools, the Shirindo grading involved a panel of instructors assessing the participants skill by calling out the name of a technique and then carefully watching and taking notes on the Tori’s execution. Where the Shirindo grading was particularly gratifying for me was seeing the participants skills being tested through live sparring, which I think is too often forgotten in a Martial Arts grading. I was thoroughly excited to have the opportunity to be the first to participate in a round of newaza sparring for a purple belt grading. This was a quick two minuet round, and I was aware that although I find sparring fun, I was involved in a display of skill, contributing towards whether or not my partner would obtain his next Jujutsu grade. I decided to come in with a low intensity, and I think my propensity for counter attacking would have been advantageous towards my partners ability to showcase his technique. Over the course of the two hour grading I thoroughly enjoyed watching a few rounds of sparring and various displays of skills and technique; but, above all else I loved being an Uke, lending myself to being put in all sorts of locks and throws… I’m not a masochist, but one throw in particular was bloody awesome – one moment I’m throwing a punch towards the Tori, the next I’m slammed in to the tatami, flat on my back (bad break fall), gasping for air. It hurt!

There were varying degrees of grades being tested for, and its awesome to say that all those who participated did really well and passed! I was genuinely happy for my training partners as I watched them walk across the tatami to obtain their fresh new belts! I’m really glad I participated in the grading, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to having the opportunity to test myself in front of my instructors.

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