For those wondering what 0,5kyu is.. our chief instructor has recently added a new belt between 1st kyu (brown/red stripe) and black. the reason is he didnt want students to go a whole year without having something to aim for so after 6 months you take a cut down version of the black belt grading, then in the next 6 months when you take your full black belt grading he can see the progression and improvements made over the last 6 months. Overall I was feeling pretty happy coming up to the grading. The morning of the grading I suddenly remembered I hadnt practised any bunkai for hein godan and as we could be asked to perform bunkai for any hein kata i thought id best get something in mind. managed to rope in my dad as my punchbag and tried a few things out in the garden a couple of hours before i left for the grading. Turned up, got changed and warmed up a bit then got asked to help out with some of the lower grades as they had odd numbers of students so i was asked to be the attacker during the kumite sets. that warmed me up nicely so once that was done i went over to my corner with the others at my grade and off we went. basics first and i actually had a hard time hearing the instructor as i was the other end of the line. i said as much and she spoke up which helped (the other instructor that was with her apparently told her to speak up as well as he could barely hear her and he was sitting at the table next to her!) made things a little annoying when you couldnt hear what you were being asked to perform. joys of a noisy sports hall with 100s of people there. basics all done we moved onto kumite sets (4 & 5 kihon ippon and jiyu ippon) i rather like set 5 jiyu ippon as it has a lot of throws in, but as we were on hard wooden floors i had to basically pick up my opponent and lower them down. made the techniques less fluid but got it done without any problems so that was good. finally kata time and for this the chief instructor is present. kanku dai was our main grading kata and were were asked to do taikyoku shodan, hein sandan, hein godan and tekki shodan as well. had no real problems but my brain did rebel part way into kanku dai and i almost skipped a set of moves. went to do the move and then realised and corrected myself. it wasnt mentioned so he either didnt see it or didnt mind as i corrected myself and continued properly. i did make a mistake apparently though that wasnt noticed. as i pulled up both times apparently my foot wasnt in the proper t-stance as it should have been. my instructor was watching from across the hall and noticed it. luckily the chief instructor didnt. frustrates me when i do something like that that i know full well what im meant to be doing but my body doesnt do it in the heat of the moment. although if my worst crime of the day was my foot was 45 degrees in the wrong direction then on averages id say im doing ok, heh Afterwards my instructor said him and a few others were going out for a curry and would i like to come along. can never turn down a curry, plus its a good opportunity to socialise with some of my 'seniors' (i put that in quotes as 2 of the nidans that were out with us were around 13-15 years old - very good though, very mature for their years. one helped teach me through my previous grading.. 13 year old teaching a 30 year old.. strange, but he definitely knows his stuff) Had a good chat about various things including bunkai, courses, deeper techniques of karate (beyond the obvious kicking and punching) and had a general good laugh. Overall, not 100% perfect but a damn good night none-the-less. Next stop.. black belt grading!