Asking To Test

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by PhotonGuy, Feb 24, 2019.

  1. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    There has been talk here before, that when it comes to testing for rank, asking your instructor "can I test?" has been frowned upon as being disrespectful.

    So how about this, what if it's taking you longer to test than you expected?
     
  2. CDR_Glock

    CDR_Glock Yellow Belt

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    You can ask how your progress is coming along. Is there anything that you can work on?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
     
  3. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Are we talking about a Dan testing or a color belt testing? Usually there is a timeline or curriculum set in place for both but I do feel there is more variability in Dan testing's. If a person has had to start and stop for whatever reason that would explain a lot. I just recently tested and my last test was in 1995. My delays were a combination of life going in other directions and chronic injuries from an accident. I never fully stopped and did a lot behind the scenes but did not really get back into full swing until about three years ago.
    I do feel asking about a color belt test is a bit of a juvenile move. They come around fairly often. If you are already a black belt hopefully you have more of a relationship with your instructor, or (and this is probably a better move)some other higher ranking students within you organization you can bounce it off of first. Their opinion would be more valuable since you have to deal with them face to face.
     
  4. Orion Nebula

    Orion Nebula Orange Belt

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    I would think it depends on your instructor and how you phrase it. At my previous school, it would have definitely been frowned upon for me to say "can I test this next round?" However, it would not have been bad to say something along the lines of "do you think I'll be ready for the next test?"

    At my current school, tests are done with the regional Shotokan organization rather than at the school. From what I've seen so far, it's ok to ask if you can/should take the test (at least for lower belts). My understanding is that they will never actually tell you no, but they will let you know if they don't think you are ready and shouldn't waste your money on fees for a test you will likely fail.
     
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  5. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    As before, I think this will vary by instructor. Some (and it may be cultural, a hold-over from the origins of the art, or just some wonky idea the instructor has) won't appreciate any questions. I don't really get that concept, at all. It seems a reasonable question, and I'd be happy to answer it for any of my students.
     
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  6. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    At my school, we do things differently depending on belt and age.

    • Kids white and yellow belts are told "test notifications are coming" and then a week later "come to my office."
    • Kids purple and orange belts are told the same thing, but can ask if they're ready. If they ask, we'll check for them before we allow them to test.
    • Kids in the green and blue belt are told the same thing, but can ask if they're ready. If they ask, we will go through the test items and ask them if they're confident with them.
    • Kids in the red belt are asked if they're ready.
    • Kids in the black belt are expected to come and ask for a belt.
    Adults, on the other hand, are generally held responsible for knowing what they know and asking to test. There are a few that we need to push into testing because they're more than ready, and need to move up.
     
  7. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm thinking back on how we handled it with kids at my old school (where I was a student, and later an instructor). What you say about adults is very much the same approach we had (and philosophically my approach now, though I often surprise a student with a test...sometimes I even tell them it's a test). With kids, I think we mostly told them it was time to test, doing less "telling" as they got older.
     
  8. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    I could ask any of the sifus I trained with to test anytime I wanted....fo course the response would have been..."Tested in what" :D
    No belts, or ranks, to test for in Traditional CMA
     
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  9. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    Really depends on what testing is for in your school and the testing culture doesn't it?
    Some organizations place the responsibility of testing and when to test on the student who would then make a request to be tested which would not be deemed disrespectful.
    Some require students to test under a different tester than the instructor some don't.
    Some require the student to be invited to test which is something I do. However, I already know the student is ready and is going to pass because they have already shown to me in training, drilling, sparring, and helping others they know the material, can be functional with it and can help others learn it. Such testing is not for me but affirmation for the student.
    If one were to ask about testing I don't take it as disrespect but interest in growth. If they are not ready I'll tell them I don't feel you are ready but if they truly feel they are I'll test them right now. If they pass great, if not they have to apologize to everyone else for not being ready and for wasting everyone's time.
     
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  10. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    IMO the policy of not asking to test is more about the CI avoiding fiascos than anything else. It avoids people trying to test when they haven’t met minimum times in grade, when they’re not ready, etc. It also avoids the bickering of “I’m ready” “No you’re not.” It keeps the CI from being hounded. Basically, it keeps the inmates from running the asylum.

    From a respect point of view, it keeps people from thinking and/or saying they know rank standards better than the CI.

    We have a policy where we don’t ask to promote; the CI invites you to test when he feels you’re ready.

    Everyone is different and one way of bringing it up isn’t going to be viewed the same way for every CI. If I strongly felt I was ready to test but wasn’t invited, I would ask my CI what I needed to do to be ready. Better yet, what do I need to work on to get better.
     
  11. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    We have a window where people ask to test.

    We have 150-200 students, so we take a week off of classes every other month to do testing week. Each testing week we have about 60-80 students test.

    So while we are hounded, we're hounded at specific times.
     
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  12. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Every school/CI does what works for them. There’s no right or wrong way to handle this IMO. If I ran a school I’d probably have the don’t ask to promote policy, but that’s most likely how it’s always been in both organizations I’ve been in.
     
  13. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    And I'm pretty much the opposite, for mostly the same reason - I've always had to ask to set up a testing date, so I expect the same of my students, for the most part.
     
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  14. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    I know different people have different options & traditions, but I think as long as the student isn't hounding the instructor about it, it's fine. We eliminated the whole issue by going to a stripe system. Students get a little tape stripe on their belt for demonstrating different aspects of the curriculum in class (forms, sparring, kicks, etc). If they have all their stripes, they can test. If they don't, they can't. We still get kids sometimes asking, but we just remind them - "do you have your stripes?" and they go yes, or no, and if they don't.... "okay, which ones are you missing? Make sure you keep working on that".
     
  15. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Yet another one of those areas where I am confused why there is even an issue.
    Students sometimes ask if they're ready to test. We tell them if we think they are or are not, and if not we tell them what they need to work on to get ready.
    Students sometimes don't ask. When we think they're ready, we tell them we think they're ready and what they should work on to get more ready.
     
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  16. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    To me it depends on how you ask. For a mock situation: It generally takes someone 6 months to go from 2nd kyu to 1st kyu. It's been 7 months and you haven't heard anything.

    If you mention it seems to be taking longer, and you want to know what you're lacking so you can work on it, IMO that's perfectly fine.

    If you mention it seems to be taking longer, and you feel you should test, that could sound like you are informing the teacher that you know more than him/her about when someone needs to test.

    It's all in the presentation.
     
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  17. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    My thoughts exactly. Where there’s a don’t ask to test policy, if you say you should be testing then you’re basically telling your teacher you know the standards better than he does. And if that’s the case, why are you training there to begin with?
     
  18. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    I don't get the issue with asking to test, if I'm paying to train and I want to advance I have every right to ask it. If I am testing I want to know to step up my training and if I'm not I'll want to know so I can train harder so I can next time. I've asked numerous times if I'm testing. Not because I was that bothered but simply I felt I should no. The conversation usually went like this.


    "Hey am I testing this time round?"

    Either

    "Yeah your testing"

    "Sweet cheers."

    Or

    "No not this time sorry."

    "Okay no worries"


    That's it it's a simple question with a simple answer no big deal
     
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  19. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    For many people it’s not a simple “okay no worries.” If everyone acted like a normal human being, there’d be a lot less eggshells to walk on.
     
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  20. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    You beat me to it this time. Gonna second what @JR 137 said. Unfortunately, people don't always stop the convo there.
     

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