Peter A Goldsbury
I remember a grading examination in Holland, way back when Mr Bacas was active. M Kanetsuka (MK) was examining the kyu grade students, but M Fujita (MF), as the visiting shihan, had to be present at the tests. The morning kyu tests took for ages as MK went through the book. MF actually had knee problems and began to complain (to me, kneeling right beside him) about the time this was taking. In the afternoon MF held the dan examinations and everything was finished in about ten minutes.
Nothing was ever stated about the difference.
That sums up the difference between my sandan and yondan grading examinations!
On the first occasion, it was a rare year at the BAF Summer School when we didn't have a visiting shihan from Hombu, so Kanetsuka Sensei led the grading himself, and - as you say - he wanted to make sure that anyone who passed was up to the mark. It was a very hot, humid week, and I was out on the tatami
along with two yondan candidates; after two hours of every combination of attacks and ukes
I was literally the last man standing, and even then a few days later I ended up at A&E with kidney stones.
On the second occasion, Fujita Sensei was in charge of the yudansha gradings. It had been a busy week and there had been more than the usual number of candidates for the preceding gradings. The four of us going for yondan came out nervously with our two assigned ukes and after the rei
Fujita Sensei said "Anything!". After consultation among the grading committee, it was confirmed that Fujita Sensei wanted us to show whatever we liked, from any attack we chose. My heart sank, as I felt I was in for a long ordeal, and in my nervousness I knew I would forget half what I knew. After about fifteen minutes, Fujita Sensei called out "yame",
and it was over! It turned out that his knees were particularly uncomfortable that morning....