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7 Tips for Successful Kihon examination


Kihon grade crossingGrade Passage: 7 Tips for Successful UV Kihon

Today I will explain how to best succeed your grade passages, and more especially we will talk about UV Kihon thanks to some simple tips to apply.

The Kihon part of the rank passages is often much feared karateka. Even though Kihon represents basic work, many are not comfortable enough with Japanese terminology. Indeed, during this part the examiners will speak in Japanese to ask you to perform this or that technique. You have to be prepared because not only is it stressful to feel the eyes of the judges, but if you do not understand what they say it's very hard to get out of it.

What would be a pity is to miss the test because of a problem of stress or understanding, while you have the technical level. The goal of the event is still to show your technical level, so you have to put all the chances on your side to present what you can do.

To feel ready and comfortable during this passage here are my tips:

Tip # 1 : Know the rules and the program.

It may sound obvious, but many candidates show up without knowing the rules. You should first attend one or more specific rank-transfer courses organized by your league, then whatever the country you are in, you must collect from your federation the regulations of the passage of rank to know the program of the 'test. By reading the course of the test you can better target your preparation and you will remove unnecessary stress.

If you are in France, you can retrieve the rules of the CSDGE (Specialized Commission of Dan and Equivalent Grades) on the page « Grade »Of the website of the French Karate Federation by clicking here.

To summarize, the UV Kihon contains 3 parts:

  1. Simple basic techniques, performed three steps, moving forward or backward.
  2. Basic techniques executed on the spot in combat position, in one direction or multi directionally, with or without a start. These are also sequences of 3 maximum techniques to be performed on site. For the multidirectional Kihon, you must visualize an opponent who would move, first to the right then to the left.
  3. Kihon run on target: This is a two-by-two technique mastering exercise that features 5 techniques selected from the following 7 techniques: Mae Geri Chudan back leg, Mawashi Geri Chudan back leg, Mae Geri Chudan front leg, Mawashi Geri Chudan front leg, Gyaku Zuki Chudan, Kizami Zuki Chudan and Oi Zuki Jodan.

Tip # 2 : Learn Japanese terms.

To succeed your Kihon, it requires to know the name of the techniques in Japanese. Do not worry, it can be learned. So if you start karate or you are yellow or orange belt, take the good habit now to memorize the terms in Japanese techniques that you learn and brown belt karate, say you it is never too late !

In general, the techniques are more or less known, but it is often the positions and especially the displacements which poses problem. If you are told to do "Iki Yori Ashi Gedan Barai in ZenKustu Dachi + Ayumi Ashi - Zenkutsu Dachi - Soto Uke Chudan + Zenkutsu Dachi-GyakuZuki Jodan" it will seem complicated to you when in fact it is a simple Kihon.

Here's the translation: While ZenKustu Dachi: 1- Gedan Barai with one step slid backwards, 2- Soto Uke stepping forward and 3 - Gyaku Zuki on the spot. I'm sure you have visualized the translation much better than the fully Japanese version. And yet you should get used to understanding the Japanese version as well.

To help you learn Japanese words, you can watch my video the lexicon of the perfect Karateka". You can also download it below in pdf version.


Receive your lexicon free
perfect karateka

I advise you to write and annotate this lexicon but especially when you learn, try to feel the movement using all your senses. Combine the sounds of the word with the feeling you feel when performing the technique. By associating your senses with learning, your brain will record information much better.

Tip # 3 : Visualize (feel) your techniques.

When you are told the techniques in Japanese, do not just do a verbal translation, but rather visualize the movements in your head. You must already see yourself doing the techniques always using your senses.

Indeed, during the passage of grade if you are in a translation of the Japanese term such as for example Gedan Barai - Blocking down, you will lose time, as well as your concentration. On the other hand if when the examiner announces you Ayumi Ashi-Gedan Barai and that you see yourself taking a step forward by blocking down while feeling the movement, it will help you a lot to realize it. By doing so when we have announced the technical 3, it's as if you had already done once. You did not just translate the words into your head, but you visualized them with all your senses.

Tip # 4 : Do not hesitate!

You really need to avoid being hesitant when performing your techniques. Once you have been told about Kihon's sequence, you visualize it in your head using your senses as I just explained it to you. And then you go to it without hesitation. Even if you make a mistake, it's not dramatic. In any case it is less serious than doing your sequence by thinking and hesitating or looking on the neighbor. You are here to show that you have mastered your Karate techniques so show what you can do without hesitation.

Do not worry if you make a technical mistake about a technique advertised by the reviewers. Better to correctly performed a technique that was not the one requested that to suggest a hesitation during your sequence of techniques. You will probably have a few less points if you make a technical mistake but all the other criteria will be good (Kimé, stability, etc.). And if you realize that you are wrong, correct your mistake in the following repetitions and that's it.

Tip # 5 : Make abstraction of what surrounds you and rely only on yourself.

Try to ignore the other Karateka next to you. This is not a competition so do not try to do better than him at all costs. Do not try to copy what he does. You can not be sure that he is better than you and that he is not making mistakes.

You can and must rely only on yourself. You have prepared for this grade shift, you have worked hard, you are ready, so trust your abilities.

Tip # 6 : Do what you can do. No more no less.

Do not try to do more than usual. You have the level to introduce yourself to the grade passage so do not worry and just do what you do as if you were at the club. Do not risk yourself in a demonstration of extreme speed that you would not master. It is better to perform a technique simply and effectively than to make the examiners feel good by going too fast and bowing their techniques.

Do not forget that the kihon is a basic workso do not try to complicate things, be yourself.


Tip # 7 : Prepare yourself well upstream.

Of course, you must arrive prepared for the exam. And the preparation does not begin 15 days before the exam, but it's a long-term job. Prepare yourself by following my first advice so as not to be blocked by the Japanese terms. Train very regularly to get used to various sequences that you will be asked. Make yourself a long list of possible Kihon and work on them. Do not hesitate to seek the help of your karateka friends or your teacher to train you for this test. Put yourself in similar conditions to a grade pass and repeat this exercise several times, this will allow you to be more confident and comfortable on the day.

Since images are often better than written, to summarize all that, I prepared a video:

I hope these 7 tips will help you prepare for your passing grade. To complete these 7 tips, you can also download my ebook The Guide, how to succeed your graduation »

Perhaps you also have some tips to help you achieve the UV Kihon?
I look forward to your various feedbacks, your stories of experiences and I hope for success!
As usual, express yourself in the comments and I'll be happy to read you and answer you.

See you soon

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"How to succeed your grade passes"


  1. he is not required to know the Japanese terms (it's better because it's a Japanese martial art), for the passage of grade in France which gives a recognized diploma the judges must, if the candidate does not know the terms Japanese translate it into French

  2. In my opinion, it is good to adjust your progress on the 1er dan test. The skills then become elements that contribute to the final success, otherwise we do not know too much, and when we have no course, no wind is good.
    What surprised me in my recent grade passages, compared to other clubs, is the use of Japanese names and memorization that follows or not. So stacking sequences of movements when one hesitates between "I step hunted or not? "After hearing" Tsugi Ashi ", that's a lot, and when we end up remembering the famous" not hunted "we wondered what was the question already?
    To solve this I wrote an ebook, starting from the documentation of the FFKD on the passage of rank. I can review in the subway on my phone, in the toilets at work, queuing at the post office. This is my roadmap.At the passage of brown, I managed a little better but stumbled on sequels of more than 3 movements. The finding is that the vocabulary solves some of the problems but still needs to develop a other skill.
    According to those who have more than a few years of practice and restitution, it seems that it is better to imagine doing the following of movement to the enunciation and not to memorize words. How far we can do that, we do not know where we are not trained. Already, in class, look once and try to redo without looking at friends. After spotting the one that goes faster and try to catch up with it without rushing.
    Finally, we must relax and not too obnubilate, because as the Japanese proverb says "when we reached its target, we are on ... to have missed everything else. "

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