Belt Testing advice

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by DomoArigato, Aug 4, 2017.

  1. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    That depends. Sometimes martial arts is done as a team sport. For instance, at tournaments they've got team katas. Or a particular dojo might compete as a team. Sure, martial arts is less of a team sport than other sports such as football and baseball but it can still be done as a team sport depending on how its done.
    Some people might disagree with you. Some of the people on this forum post messages where they make training in the martial arts sound like being in the military.
    I see where you're coming from. No instructor is perfect and there are times when even the best instructor should be questioned. However, instructors have the experience, and that's why I like to follow their lessons inside the dojo. As you said, a martial arts instructor isn't necessarily better than anyone else as a person and that's why I follow their lessons in the dojo but outside the dojo its a different matter.
     
  2. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    That’s a great mentality, so long as your own standards are at least on par with your teacher’s standards, if not higher than theirs. And/or their standards are realistic and reasonable.

    When someone’s personal standards are lower than their teacher’s standards (barring a teacher with unrealistic/unreasonable standards), then it becomes an issue.

    Teachers should set the bar high enough to reach, but they should be setting a minimum standard and not a maximum.
     
  3. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Not really because if my standards are lower then so what? I'm paying money to be there so my happiness is what's important not theirs and if I'm happy with where I am even if its not at a great level then that's fine with me
     
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  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    That's pretty well sated, PG. When a student walks in, they have their own goals and aims. But if they are a true beginner, they don't really have the knowledge to create their own standard - that's actually a large part of why we need instructors.
     
  5. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    It would only be an issue if that person wants the next rank. If I have a student who's happy being mediocre, the only time I'll have a problem with them hanging out at whatever rank they get stuck at, would be if it translates to being a weak partner to work with - causing problems for others.
     
  6. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    Already been said, but why is that an issue? If my standard involves me learning at a pace where I can know all the material within the next year, and my teacher wants me to know the same amount of material in the next 6 months, or with a certain amount of sharpness, why would that matter? It just means my testing would be delayed. Only issue I could see is if my low standards are disruptive (demotivating to other people, clearly not taking it seriously in class, being a bad partner, etc.), but just general standards shouldn't matter.
     
  7. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think part of the issue is what the standard is applied to. If it's about pace, I can't think of how that would be an issue. If it's a standard for intensity, precision, control, etc., then it could be a problem. So, whether it's a problem or not depends on the nature of the standard.
     
  8. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Agreed. Teachers there to teach students there to learn. How they learn and what they get out of their learning is all down to the student. Teacher just needs to teach that's his job let the student worry about their own standards. Teacher should always be there for advice If needed otherwise its up to the student they're the one paying the money
     
  9. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    You have a point there, your standards are your own and you're paying for the lessons and you took up lessons because you want to get something out of it and what you want to get out of it might be different than what another student wants to get out of it since everybody trains for their own reason or reasons. So a good instructor should not discourage you for pursuing your goals whatever they might be.
     
  10. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    Asking if you can test or asking when you will test has been frowned upon by some of the members of this forum as disrespectful. You've said before that if a student isn't testing they should be able to ask why they're not testing. That can also be seen as disrespectful depending on how its taken. When you ask why you're not testing it could be seen that against your sensei's better judgement you think you're ready and so you're questioning his decision to not yet let you test even though he's the sensei and he's got the experience and he's the one whose teaching. So perhaps its in how you word it. For instance, if the student were to say, "Why haven't I been told I can test?" how would you see that?
     
  11. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Coming out and asking what you’re not testing is disrespectful IMO for the reasons you state. But there’s a way to do it with how it’s worded and the delivery. We can’t have tone of voice here, so that’s not going to come across.

    Rather than asking “why am I not testing?” one could ask the requirements for testing, such as time in grade/minimum number of classes. Sometimes the student may be ready from a syllabus standpoint, it they haven’t reached that requirement. I remember about 2 years ago asking myself why I wasn’t invited to test. I thought I had the minimum number of classes fulfilled, but I didn’t; the requirement jumped from 30 to 60 classes since the last grade, and I was in the low 40s. It made sense after I saw it written in the syllabus.

    One could ask the CI what they need to improve on in order to test, what are the requirements to test, etc. That’s along the lines of why they’re not testing, but not an accusatory, disrespectful, asking to test, etc. way of going about it.

    A student should be able to ask what they need to improve on. They should be able to ask what they need to do to promote. There’s a way to do it without challenging the CI. I’m not sure if anything I write would come across the correct way because there’s no tone, body language nor full context.

    I’ve asked my teacher about promoting a few times, and he’s never given me the impression that I asked the wrong way. The last time I asked him, I remember starting the conversation with “I’m not asking to promote, and I don’t think I’m ready to promote yet...” This was about a week or so before a scheduled test in the dojo (that I wasn’t invited to test during). I basically asked him what’s on the syllabus and the time requirements. I wasn’t quite there yet with minimum classes (but I was pretty close) and I was still somewhat recovering from a 3 month long illness (Lyme disease). He told me he planned on testing me next time (which was 2 months away) because I was still having a difficult time recovering from Lyme and he didn’t want me pushing it too soon. Had it not been for the Lyme, he said he would’ve asked me to test at that time. I completely respected that and agreed. So I guess you could say I was asking why I wasn’t promoting, in a sense, but that’s not really what it was.
     
  12. AlexanderZousky

    AlexanderZousky White Belt

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    I would always practice and study the moves
    When i am preparing for my test, i would always practice with my sensei
     
  13. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    It could be seen that way, but I think it'd take some ego issues for that to happen. If a student thinks they are ready to test but haven't been invited (in programs where that's the progression), then they should ask so they know what to work on. If an instructor gets upset about a question like that (assuming it is posed respectfully), then I have an issue with that.
     
  14. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Something like the difference between:
    • "Why haven't you tested me yet?"
    and
    • "What's holding me back from testing?"
     
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  15. MA_Student

    MA_Student Black Belt

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    Pretty much yeah. If I'm paying money to train and I'm not allowed to test but other guys are then I want to know why simple as that and I have a right to know why as well. It's not disrespectful it's asking a question. If I'm taking driving lessons and my driving instructor says they don't want me to take a test yet and I ask why not that's not disrespectful so why should it be in martial arts.

    To much worship goes on in martial arts and people are to scared to talk to their instructors like humans. At the end of the day an instructor is just a regular guy why should I be afraid to ask another man a question
     
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  16. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    You're right, tone of voice and body language does have much to do with it. However, if its taking me longer than usual to test or promote than I don't see anything wrong with asking or saying something. What do I mean by longer than usual? Lets say it takes me 8 months to get from 2nd kyu to 1st kyu. Now, its been a year and I still haven't gotten from 1st kyu to 1st dan. Considering the time it took to get from 2nd kyu to 1st kyu (8 months) I wouldn't want it to take me proportionally much longer to get from 1st kyu to 1st dan. I can see how it might take a bit longer since 1st dan is a higher rank but not too much longer. If it took me 8 months to get from 2nd kyu to 1st kyu than I would hope to make 1st dan within a year at the most and if a year has gone by I might start asking or saying something. For instance I might say, "I've been 1st kyu for a year now, what do I need to work on to get to 1st dan?" As I said, if its taking me longer than usual I see nothing wrong with asking or saying something.
     
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  17. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    Well yes, there should be nothing wrong with a student asking or saying something if its taking them longer than usual to test or promote as I point out in my post # 136
     
  18. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    And that's the key - you asked what you needed to work on. If a student came up to me with an attitude of entitlement, I'm unlikely to respond well to their question (that attitude may be the thing that's stopped me from testing them yet). If a student comes up to me wanting to be ready to test - or even genuinely wanting to test and willing to fail - then I'm likely to be much more responsive.
     
  19. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    Probably because the other guys are ready to test and you're not. Now, the way I see it there is nothing wrong with asking why you're not ready. Lets say your front kick isn't good enough. When you ask why you're not ready your instructor should tell you that your front kick needs work and so then you work on your front kick and get it good enough so that you can test the next time.

    Now there are some people who don't care about earning rank and if you don't care about earning rank than you wouldn't ask. But for students who do want to earn rank, there is nothing wrong with them asking.
     
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  20. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Exactly. Personally I've never been bothered by rank but if I'm told I'm not testing I want To know why mainly so I know what to work on. Instructors should have no issue answering it and if they do then questions need to be asked.

    It happened to me once I was told I couldn't test so I said "okay that's fine but can I ask why please" and the instructor looked surprised and stuttered and stammered a few things out then said he'd explain properly next time. When next time came after class he told me now I can test...funny that
     

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