After a week or so I can now take stock of the grading and think about what went well and what didn’t and how the preparation helped…or not?
My main concern leading up to the day was memory recall of the techniques. I’ve grained long enough to know them to a fair standard (some better than others, granted) so this didn’t trouble me so much. I did however *still* get muddled up with the Japanese names and find that there is lag between being asked for a technique and my brain processing it and outputting it as action.
So what to do?
Well as Matt Klein commented, just swat up on techniques and have someone call was a at random. Over and over again and over some more this worked quite well and in the grading I was confident that I could manage.
The second issue did not know who I would grade with. As shoring compo is based on pair work this can have an effect on performance. Naturally techniques should be able to apply to anyone but in a grading it comforts you to know who your partner is. As it happens when I met mine and we had a chance to go through ember I felt a lot easier. He knew his stuff and was fluid in movement.
In fact during feedback Munoz sense made this very point about grazing. To him a grading is useful as it pressure tests technique. Yes they make allowances for the fact that sometimes we don’t have a chance to practice with a partner beforehand but in real self-defense you have to make the technique work. And this is grading: making it work under pressure. It’s no good asking an adversary on the street to stop and start again “coos I wasn’t prepared”.
Lastly it’s worth mentioning sweat. I know it’s not pleasant but on a hot spring day in a packed Tojo it becomes an issue when you’re trying to apply wrist locks.
Think creatively. Go with the flow of the technique and focus on the outcome (immobilizing an opponent, trapping an opponent or maybe throwing). It was trickier but a valuable lesson.