Updated: Dec 30, 2019
What are Non-mistakes?
Non-Mistakes are actions that aren’t actually errors, but could really use a bit of attention
to really make them shine. They are generally subtle changes that can be the difference
between good grading and a great grading.
Here are my top 5 Non-mistakes...grab your polishing rags folks!
1. Is It Getting Hot in Here?
So you warmed up off the floor...Great! That’s exactly what you should do, work out
the nerves, warm up the body and focus on those little tough spots and niggles that
anyone over the age of twelve has. If you need to spend ten minutes on that tight
calf or injured shoulder – off the floor is where to do it. That doesn’t mean you get to
cop out of the warm up when you’re on the grading floor. Oh no. If you need help
with warm ups, Click here.(Link to a post about doing warm ups
2. Good Form!
Pulling faces, wincing, sighing, shaking your head, biting your lip, or any one of the
common actions made when you are annoyed with yourself after making a mistake.
For some it’s a reflex action, for others they subconsciously want to indicate to
whoever's watching that they KNEW they made a mistake so that it doesn’t appear
that they don’t know the kata.
Here’s a secret. We KNOW you know it. You are on the floor. Your instructor and
your grading co-ordinator signed you over to the grading panel saying ‘Yep, this
student knows their stuff’.
Don’t worry about it. Cop it on the chin, push through as if there was no mistake.
After all, your grador might have blinked, or coughed or been writing something on
your grading sheet and not seen it anyway.
3. Help Please!
Your best tool in your journey of belts is your instructor. Add to that any equal to you
or higher ranks – use them. Grab them and review what you need to know, work
your defences, get opinions on what you’re doing – there’s nothing better than
another set of eyes.
There’s also a saying - “You don’t know something until you have to teach it”. Grab
someone and teach it to them. Break it down for them. Teaching a form or drill to
someone is the best way to check yourself that you indeed have learnt it.
4. The Flippy Floppy Fringe Fiasco.
I tend to tease a few of the people from my club who have what is fondly known as
a ’emo fringe’...and I mean that in a loving way. It looks great on them, but when
sparring they tilt their head, puff at their fringe and do all sorts of
star-in-a-shampoo-commercial hair-flicks in order to try and see their opponent.
When I stop laughing at this, I find it really annoying. Gel, pins, clips, spray – don’t
care...make sure you can see.
5. Hey You...You Like Karate? See that person from that other club/group/social
circle? Go say hi. Especially at state gradings. And you all have one thing in
common – how easy is that conversation starter!
It’s likely you’ll follow through your ranks at roughly the same pace as the other
people in this group and like distant cousins at the Christmas table, it’s fantastically
fun to catch up and see how they progress. Your fellow gradees can also be a great
source of inspiration and reassurance throughout the lead-up to the big day...
..not to mention you have a tonne of new friends to tear up the floor with at the after
party who are just as tired and in need of a drink as you!
So there you go – my top 5 non-mistakes. 5 things you didn’t get wrong, but could polish
up to make everything go as smooth as possible.