Our governing body, the World Ju-Jitsu Federation have implemented a change in regards to how gradings are to be carried out within clubs.
All major gradings held in clubs will now require the presence of a senior coach from outside of the clubs usual coaching pool. The aim of this change is to ensure a consistent teaching and grading standard across all WJJF clubs, by having an “outside set of eyes” help assess students as they grade. The visiting senior coach will do so alongside each clubs own coaching team.
For us, the nearest clubs with senior coaches are all in Norwich, with the most senior of those being Sensei Robert Howes who visited us last May. Therefore in future we will have to coordinate with Sensei Howes and/or other senior coaches when we want to hold gradings here in Aylesbury. This is partly why we did not hold a grading session at the end of November like we did last year.
Just as before, all Kyu gradings (White Belt to Brown Belt) will still be held in club while Dan gradings (Black belt and above) are held at the WJJF headquarters in Liverpool. We are not expected to send students to another club for them to be graded.
We will be allowed to hold minor grading for individual students without the presence of a senior coach. These will primarily be used for any students that miss a planned grading due to illness or in the event they failed to pass their grading and were to be given a re-test.
A notable benefit for students in this approach, particularly for clubs like ours that are located quite far away from the WJJF headquarters, is that they can have a familiar face when they attend the WJJF for whatever reason. Doing your black belt grading may be scary enough, but doing so in front of relative strangers is a prospect not even some adults are comfortable with. Having even one familiar, friendly face there is a massive moral boost, even if you don’t get to interact with them that day.
As for our next grading session, we are looking into when we can arrange a visit from a senior coach to facilitate a grading and hope to announce more information once we have a confirmation.