It seems like the squillionth grading I've been to without actually grading myself :-) Well, I clocked up three years of BJJ on October 25, so I'm sort of becoming part of the furniture. So it's not really surprising that I've seen a grading or three.
Being a blue belt and (slowly!!) heading for purple, I'm not going to grade myself any time soon, which gives me plenty of time to observe and work with and help the guys which are still in the lead up to blue belt and do gradings relatively often.
At our school, gradings are a pretty casual affair. Yes, the guys have to work, and from fourth stripe white, they have to push the boat out a bit. Their attitude and determination is as much on display as their technical knowledge. But there is no paying for the priviledge, no airs and graces, and coloured belts get handed with the same minimalist outlook on ceremony as stripes. And this in a traditional Karate school. There are no belt whippings, ceremonial throwings or any of that stuff. Just a bit of bowing and lots of handshaking and congratulations from fellow grapplers. I love it, it's great.
So we had a grading. Three guys were promoted to blue belt. Danny, Justin and Mark put in a lot of hard work and so deserved it. Hunter and Glenn got their fourth stripe. All these guys had to do a lot of rounds of rolling in addition to their technical demonstrations, and I had the pleasure to be able to step in and be part of this. They did great. Several more people gained 1st, 2nd and 3rd stripes on their white belts and from what I saw, they all showed great technique.
All round, it was a long, hard but fantastic Friday evening. I really was proud of them all :-)