In the Steel city of Sheffield 16 candidates from Ki Taekwondo and Pilsung Taekwondo tested for 1st Dan/Poom or higher at the very 1st Dan Promotional grading hosted by the Pilsung group. The grading panel consisted of Master Craig Wallace, Master S. H. Blomeley and 4th Dan Raymond Richards at the Springs Academy Sheffield. October 7th 2018. Master Blomeley has an old friendship with Pilsungs old Chief Instructor and was asked if he could assist them in lending his experience, which he was more than happy to do. Therefore it transpired that they decided to make it a joint Dan grading between the two groups as Ki Taekwondo had students eligible and ready to test too.
The Grading itself consisted of 4 sections which were basics, Poomsae, Step Sparring and Free Sparring finishing with destruction for the senior adult students. A big emphasis was placed on the students to go through a system of basic techniques first which gave all the examiners chance to look at and assess every candidate individually plus it gives them a considerable amount of time on the floor. Master Blomeley believes that if you follow this system first it gives chance for the students to build into the test and also candidates can’t hide on the floor and be easily missed, especially if there was a large group grading. Also, certain students may have special requirements which again gives them a chance to overcome some limitations they may have which the average student does not. The students were well tested in the first section but not to the point they were overly fatigued.
The second section of patterns or poomsae was next and as the students were by now fully enmeshed into the grading you could see a relaxation within them and their performance of the poomsae which are a very big part of Dan promotion.
The students had to perform the compulsory patterns for the grade they were going for plus at least another 4 were picked at random from the whole range of poomsae that they should know. The usual 1 step sparring, 1-2-1 and free sparring were assessed with all candidates being rotated around all the others to give a decent time factor on the floor in full sparring gear and body armour. Even the older group of 40+ were put through their paces to showcase their attacking and counter-attacking skills. Self-defence was also incorporated into the test with the candidates having to demonstrate releases from locks and holds of varying degrees dependent on the level of Dan they were going for. Destruction was on wood which most candidates agree is a far better process than the plastic break boards.
The Taegers with crowd favourite Aaron Cook