We tested three students for the sankyu ranks yesterday and they all passed. This is the first of the brown "belt" ranks--three ranks even though we don't use actual belts. There was a little added pressure being out in the 98 degree weather in the field, with the sun in their eyes. It adds to the difficulty of the test by distracting them with discomforts and stress.
Their kesa-giri on half goza was generally good, although some had to take their 1 do-over to get it right from both directions. All of them can cut their kiri-ages as well on the half-goza which puts them ahead of their rank now.
I invited sempais Andrew Dicenso and Steve Waldstein to do the testing as well. As shodans, it is their responsibility to learn the testing procedures and protocol. We split one test per person and I'll turn in each of those to the KDK Yudanshakai. Seeing three sets of paperwork perhaps may be confusing for them, but better that it's officially on record.
Sadly enough, the Hanwei XL Light katana is already bending, after only about 10 total (different) days of use. That's not a good sign. I'm sure there's some abuse going on, but I don't expect this to happen so soon. There's about a 10-15 degree bend in the monouchi (cutting area). I may have had something
I actually look at that as what a student should be able to do: when going in for testing at any rank, they should know or be able to perform the skills at the rank above them, even if they're not being tested at the higher rank. If they can barely make the current test requirements and not exceed them, then they may start leveling off soon. I think as a policy there are no double promotions in our system (to two levels above), but this will still show who is already accelerated.
I have had that as my own personal standard for many years now, all the way from Rokkyu. At this point as sandan, I can make the cuts at yondan level nearly 90% of the time, and godan level about 60%. But cutting isn't the only thing. Keep that in mind.