Graduating and the rewards therein are a perrenial part of our life. We graduate from crawling to walking as an infant, from training wheels to solo rider as a child, we pass our HSC in our teens and graduate to adulthood at 21. We recieve promotions and demotions in our chosen jobs and careers and often spend time comparing ourselves to others – another form of grading ourselves – I believe modelling is a powerful tool, but ultimately you must find your own voice and your own path. We begin our martial journey for a myriad of reasons: fitness, self defence, self confidence, it’s seldom to obtain a black belt, that usually comes after being immersed in the mat culture for awhile and even then we take it one belt at a time. Gradings give us realistic yet challenging goals and goals are good. No goal, no destination can kill motivation -the rudderless ship. Gradings give us a focus something to zero in on and focus is good. There is truth in the statement “it’s not the destination its the journey” but a map really helps. If the idea of a grading gives you pause for thought and the challenge is a little daunting, then it is already becoming a parallel to the challenges we face in life and challenges are good. Remember that success leaves clues, just look at the advanced belts on your mat, they have all faced the challeges you now face. The evidence of success is right in front of you. So map out your course, tap into the wisdom on your mat and keep your eye on the prize. Gradings are awsome.