Relying on What You've Got in a Taekwondo Grading
Beginners have no clue of martial arts - they've got to learn fewer techniques; intermediate and advanced students can learn more techniques and are able to learn them faster. Beginners have no clue of how to apply techniques - they've got to have commitment and faith to make the few techniques work; intermediate and advanced students are starting to gain some experience, timing, and mental tools - and are able to work on game plan to win.
So the issue for grading at the basic level is to not only see the technique, but to judge whether or not the technique is going to pull its weight when need to. So strikes have got to have clarity and blocks have got to provide good coverage. The point to note is that the beginner doesn't know any of this - it's hard enough to coach yourself when you're expert level, the beginner shouldn't know what to look out for. Neither do we have mirrors for them to see themselves anyway.
So the lesson for those who just took their grading (and who did really well, I might add), is that each technique needs you to have full commitment and total faith that the technique will work.
Really in a combative or self defence situation, if the beginning student has no faith in the technique nor commitment to striking or blocking - ALL IS LOST. The grading is just a way in which to ascertain that you've got what it takes to pull it out of your hat for real.
Fist in the Frost: New Brown
Fist in the Frost: Brown Day 1