Garner's promotion ceremony takes place

Garner’s promotion ceremony takes place

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Garner’s Premier Karate  held another promotion ceremony on July 8 at the Carlinville square location.

Eight students ranging from children, teen, and adult classes were present for recognition. Two weeks ago, these same students presented themselves for and completed their respective tests.

All tests are cumulative, meaning they cover all the material from their first test up through their new material. Testing for a new rank is not only the time for student to demonstrate what they’ve learned; it is also a time for instructors to monitor student’s proficiency and progress.

As practitioners progress through the ranks, they should (and typically do) improve in skill. These tests are the candidate’s time to shine. Grades not only determine if a candidate passes, but also help establish benchmarks on areas where improvements may be needed. However, the test itself is not merely a set of established techniques and drills to demonstrate; it is a test of mental and physical endurance for the student.

Higher ranks are on the floor for a considerable amount of time, and there are few breaks. A student’s strengths and weakness come to bear with each part of the test. Some students are more naturally athletic and have higher endurance, some are more flexible and graceful, and others still excel at the history/memorization part.

On occasion, fatigue or nerves causes freeze-ups or mistakes. A candidate may forget how to properly execute a self-defense technique, or mix up the steps of one form with another. These areas will be noted and opportunities provided in following classes to improve these areas.

“Truth be told,” says head instructor Garner, “the test is just as much a test for proving themselves to themselves as it is for promotion. They have worked hard, and have their own goals—it’s personal to them.”

There was sweat, physical exertion, the occasional tear, and the pushing of oneself to the limit. These students endured the test and scored enough points to pass and therefore, rightly promoted—receiving new belts or stripes on their belt. In front of friends and family members, each student had their names called; certificate read aloud by the assistant instructor and received their new strips or belts from the head instructor.

“While tests are stressful, it’s a pleasure to see the work pay off, promotions received, and the pride shining in the faces of students and family members when Mr. Garner tie the new belt or add the stripe,” says Assistant Instructor James Gotcher.

For those who are wondering, karate belt rank colors are not universal; however most traditional schools/styles have about the same amount of levels. Each school established their standards for their belt-rank levels, or as in the case of GPK, must align their testing standards to the Federation they are a member of.

The ranks are divided into four groups: beginners—two levels of white belt and two levels of orange belt, intermediate—three levels of green belt, and advanced—three levels of red belt. Following that are the Dan ranks, or black-belt ranks, of which there are nine levels.

Garner’s Premier Karate promotional exercises took place last Saturday. Front row, from left, are Marcus Gotcher, Elizabeth Allen and Ayden Burford. Middle row: Elizabeth Gotcher and Joey Phillips. Back row: Assistant instructor James Gotcher, Dalton Pruitt, Isaac Gotcher, Jerry McLeary, owner/head instructor James Garner.