Today, i watched students in my dojo (training facility) test for different purple and brown belt Kyus (rank or level).  My sensei (karate teacher or head teacher) said that i could retest for second brown or 2nd Kyu, since the kata (form or series of moments) for 2nd Kyu is “Jion” (the name of a big temple).  In my former dojo, “Jion” was a black belt kata (a form you learn once you are a black belt).  Back in the day, i was 1st Kyu (next rank is black belt), but since i’m coming back after an 8 year hiatus, i felt that 2nd Kyu is a great place to jump back into the action.  Even if i fail, i still get to wear my brown belt  =)

Here are some tips for perparing for a rank test:

  1. Videotape yourself doing a kata and watch the tape.  Look for the little things.  Are you winding up correctly on all blocks?  Are your stances correct?  Are you looking down instead of straight ahead?  Watching yourself do a kata is the best way to improve.  You’ve seen the teachers do it correctly, but you really don’t know what you look like until you watch it on TV.
  2. When you are about to begin a kata and go to “Yoi” (a ready stance), think to yourself, “I’m going to show them how it is done.  I’m going to impress them with my kata.“  For me, this gives me the little extra boost of confidence that i need right before I’m going to do kata in front of ten or 100s of people.  So much of karate is just having confidence. 
  3. If you feel like you missed a stance or you were wobbling just a bit, chances are that others didn’t notice.  of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to correct this.  what i’m saying is, “don’t get discouraged, and definitely don’t let it show if you do get discouraged.“

hope these tips help.  Let me know if you have any.