The first ‘requested' grading by any student of SOMA is for the White Sash.
There are two parts to this grading:-
Part one being:- really ongoing - by constantly showing courtesy, initiative and striving to be an attentive student and helping others.
Also over an approximate time period of about 14 months learning and practising what is shown so that he or she, can construct a class to ‘fit' several training sessions for all levels of student and answer questions and give or show examples to the students.
The second part being:- to test the Gradee's blocking techniques; the implementation of a given set of either defence or attacking applications.
Equally important, the dedication shown by the extra training required and the ability to remain composed under extreme pressure.
This part of the grading takes about 120 minutes during which the entire school (about 20 ‘hand picked thugs') are given the opportunity to "attack" the gradee according to the syllabus required by the Sihan – Senior Student.
ALL ‘attacks' come at full power and at no time does the gradee wear any protective clothing.
It is made very clear well before the grading and prior to it, that this grading is very dangerous and to miss a punch or kick may mean being knocked out or injured!
Gradings are not compulsary and do not hinder the progression of any individual if they decide not to grade.
But it DOES help view the progression of any student who is confident in their abilities.
In the 10 years SOMA has been at Oxford Brookes University , (the 11 th begins in September 2004) 17 'Gradees' have chosen to go for this 'First Grading'.
Of these, only 6 up until the 23 June 2004 have attained it!
Some pulled out and decided against it – without the loss of honour or face at all. Others were knocked out as the grading progressed.
With others, either the Gradee themselves stopped the grading, or our Master and Sifu stopped it, as he saw they could not go on and it would be far 'too dangerous' for them to do so!
Shi-dai (Younger Brother)
Si-han (Older Brother)