Thinking that exams were over….there was just one more – Kendo grading!
Yesterday saw the first of the two Kendo gradings held in NSW for 2016. Whilst we have many goals and targets in Kendo, achieving higher grades is often a popular motivation for us. Though not the only measure, grades serves a great way for our students to track their progress in the endless path of Kendo.
On the 25th of June the NSWKA grading was held at the University of Sydney Lidcombe Campus. 24 members from our club attempted to grade for the next level – varying from first timers to higher level dan grades.
Now, time for a little perspective…
Majority of these grades for our club were Kyu levels. The highest awarded grade was 1st Dan in our club. Let’s just take a step back – Takayama Sensei achieved 6th Dan last month. Here are the approximate pass rates of the dan levels:
- 1st Dan 80-90%
- 2nd Dan 60-70%
- 3rd Dan 40-50%
- 4th Dan 30-45%
- 5th Dan 20-30%
- 6th Dan 10-15%
- 7th Dan 5-10%
- 8th Dan 1-2%
So its really hard. And it gets harder the higher you go… Some facts about 6th Dan grading
- Amongst Kendo practitioners it is apparently known as kimon （鬼門）- which translates to as the ‘demon gate’. It is such a challenge that even those that made it to 5th dan smoothly often will fail up to 10 times before passing 6th Dan.
- The current youngest record for achieving 6th Dan is 29. Those who know Takayama Sensei’s age, you can now start to understand how remarkable it was that he passed just recently for this…
Pretty impressive huh?
Congratulations to those who passed. Hopefully we all know that grades is not just an end result – it symbolises the level of responsibility we now have. Our efforts are not just ours alone, but many thanks to the help we received by our seniors. Let us now pass this experience on to the next generation and build a better club!