Really bummed about my recent test

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by skribs, Oct 12, 2020.

  1. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    At my school, you can get 3 possible outcomes on your tests: re-testing, pass, or outstanding. I have gotten all Outstanding results up until now. Every colored belt test, every dan test, and every intermediate test between dan grades. (At my school we have "gups" between the Dans, think of it like Black Belt v1.2 or v3.1).

    I was testing for 3rd Dan, 3rd Gup (v3.3). I got "Pass." Not Outstanding.

    I know I made some mistakes. One of our 20 punch combinations I messed up one of the several times we did it. One of our 23 kick combinations I messed up once out of the couple times we did it. I messed up one step in one form (literally one step) and had to redo the form. I struggled once on a kip-up, and I fell down at the end of a made-up form that features a 540 hook kick into a kneeling position. This is out of an hour-and-a-half test, where we did around 6-8 forms, all of those punch and kick combinations, 12 jump kick combinations, and a bunch of weapon forms and drills. I made around 4 mistakes total, which is actually a lot better than I usually do.

    I went into his office to talk to him tonight. I asked why I got "Pass" instead of "Outstanding."

    He listed a TON of mistakes that I know for a fact I didn't make. He told me I messed up a half dozen of the punch combinations, that a couple of my forms I messed up, that I made mistakes on two of my sword forms. For each of the around 20 mistakes he listed, I'm 95% certain I didn't make the mistake. For example:
    • Our #3 punching, he told me I was on the wrong leg and he had to say "switch feet" a lot. I know I did it right. The only reason he told me to switch feet is because the combination ends on the same foot, and he wants to check both sides.
    • Our #17 punching, he said I made a mistake on (didn't tell me what). I know I did it right.
    • Our #18 punching, he said I messed up which side I'm on. I know I didn't. (Or if I did, I'd have noticed). That's another one that you end on the same side, so if he said "switch feet" it was to see the other side.
    • Our #19 punching ends in an arc strike. He said I did a ridge-hand two of the three times. I know 100% for a fact I did an arc strike. I know, because in that moment, I was proud of myself for doing the arc strike every time.
    • Our Sword #2 and #3 he told me I messed up my footwork. I know I did the right footwork. He checked me briefly in his office and I did it right...and I did it the same as I did on my test.
    There were a number of other things, but this is the kind of thing he said I messed up. I'm 95%+ sure on each of them I didn't make that mistake. I'm 100% sure I didn't make all of those mistakes. Or even half of them.

    He also said at the end of the test, he asked "what do you need to work on?"
    I answered "a little bit of everything." I knew he wanted something, and my biggest problem is I might mix up a technique here or there.

    He took that to mean I'm not confident in anything, and that I deserve a lower grade because of that.

    He offered to let me retest this Friday for a better grade. I'm 50/50 on whether I want to re-test or quit. I was already planning to quit after I got my 4th Degree. At this point, I'm not sure if I even want to stay for it.

    If it was just that he wanted me to do better, I'd just take the pass and move on. If it was one or two things, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt. But I have no idea why he says I made all of those mistakes, when I know I didn't. The only possible reasons I can find are:
    • He's lying to try and teach me a lesson
    • He wasn't paying attention to me and just assumed I made a mistake
    • He attributed the mistakes the others in the test made to me
    I don't see how any of those are fair.
     
  2. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

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    Do you respect the master or not? If not, why are you there? If so, why won’t you accept his critiques? You’re considering quitting because you got a “pass” instead of a “pass +?” I’m sorry, but this kind of thinking seems like it should be beneath you.


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  3. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    Less and less lately. He's good about 95% of the time, but every once in a while he does something that really gets me ready to leave.

    At this point, for my next belt degree. That will give me the rank required to get my Master Certification, at which point I can open my own school and teach things my way.

    Why didn't you spell the word "critiques" correctly?" Why did you not use a question mark at the end of your questions? Why did you not use a comma before "but"?

    Do you accept me critiques on your spelling and grammar?

    I don't accept his critiques, because I'm sure I didn't make the mistakes he said I made. He gave me several concrete examples of things I know I never did. Maybe I misremember one or two of them. I know I wasn't that oblivious. Maybe I made one or two mistakes. But I don't remember him correcting me, and on a few of them, I remember being proud that I didn't mess them up.

    I know I made mistakes. I know there's things I can improve on. If those were the reasons I didn't get Outstanding, then I'm fine with that. I'll just get Pass from here on (because I don't think I could do the entire curriculum perfect with no mistakes). But he listed a ton of mistakes I know I didn't make. I don't accept the critique, because I know I didn't do it. I have a pretty good memory, and I know what I did and didn't do.
     
  4. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

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    How do you know? I can look at the physical evidence of your examples to see that I didn’t make the mistakes you mentioned, but you’re talking about “knowing” you didn’t make these mistakes in a long test because you remember? Do you have video evidence?

    You mentioned that maybe the master was trying to teach you a lesson. What lesson do you think he might be trying to teach you?


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  5. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    If there was video evidence, I'd have just showed him.

    I trust my recollection of events more than his. That's always been true. I have a very good memory for things that happened. I also have a good memory for the curriculum (it's how I've grown so fast in his school, and why I'm the main instructor).

    On the other hand, he has a tendency to forget advice he's told us. For example:
    • He'll give me a piece of advice one week. The next week, I'll be following his advice, and he'll ask me why I'm doing it that way and tell me not to do it. Then a week later he'll give me that advice again.
    • He'll change the way he does something. For example, one of our hand grabs sometimes ends with a standing armbar, sometimes ends with a punch. It goes back and forth. He'll say "I've told you 100 times" even when he's changed it from how it was.
    In this case, I know I'm right because:
    • Some things he said he had to tell me to switch feet because I was on the wrong foot. I know he didn't tell me.
    • Some things he said I did wrong and didn't notice. It's possible I made one or two of those mistakes, but not the half-dozen that fall into this category.
    • Some things he said I did wrong, when I remember specifically noticing that I did correct. And it's not like he doesn't like the way I did the technique. He says I did the wrong technique (a ridge-hand instead of an arc-hand).
    If he said I needed more power, more speed, better form, better stance, louder kiyhap, or anything like that, I'd have accepted the result. If he said I'd need to go through without making the mistakes I did notice, I'd also accept it. I don't know that I can accept these, because I know 75% of them I didn't make, and I'm pretty sure I didn't make the other 25% either.

    It might be something about overcoming adversity. It might just be a kick in the rear to work harder (which I quite literally can't; I'm already there for 4 hours a night after my day job, and he knows how hard I've been working to learn and improve on everything already).

    But if that is his goal, I don't think it's fair the way he's gone about it.
     
  6. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Do. MMA.
     
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  7. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    No.

    I might do BJJ though. Although I would need to wait until lockdowns are over to start...
     
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  8. KOKarate

    KOKarate Green Belt

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    So you’re upset because you didn’t get the grade you wanted and apparently he’s making stuff up? How many people actually know they’ve had mistakes? Very few that’s why it’s always better to have an instructor so they can point it out.

    honestly don’t even know why he’s saying he’ll retest you....that’s the grade you got it’s not a fail maybe not as high but that’s life we don’t always get what we want deal with it. You’re a third dan? personally I wouldn’t expect any of my third dans to be complaining so much about a pass grade
     
  9. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    I'm not complaining about the pass. I'm complaining because as far as I can tell, he either made a ton of mistakes grading me, or he's just flat-out lying.

    The two examples I know 100% I didn't mess up are that he said he had to tell me to switch feet (he didn't) and that I did the wrong strike on #19 (I checked myself each time we did that on the test and I did the right one).

    If he'd told me that what I did wasn't the quality he expected, then I could improve on that. But what he said I did wrong simply isn't true.
     
  10. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    If he is right and I did make all of those mistakes without noticing it, then I'm not good enough to get my 4th degree and never will be.

    Even if this test was fair, and I'm the one misremembering, I should quit anyway. Because if that's the case, I know I've reached my ceiling.
     
  11. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Senior Master

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    Have not much to offer, but sorry to hear skribs... doesn't make much sense. It wouldn't make sense that he was teaching some lesson, if it was teaching humility, lying about the techniques you did wrong and trying to get you to lie to yourself and admit he is right doesn't seem a good way to go about it.

    Didn't realise you were planning on leaving the school at some stage soon. Might be worth sticking it out until 4th degree, but it's your call in the end. Not sure what I'd do in the situation, but I'd be pretty puzzled. Moreso about the stuff I knew for certain I performed correctly. Perhaps it is a case if him changing how things are done and forgetting he said that, like you mentioned..

    Were there any other instructors there that were also assessing you that you could ask about how you went?
     
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  12. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    If you think of martial arts like a house with rooms, where each room is a skill set then the following is true.

    Everyone has a ceiling. If you reach the ceiling in one room, then go to another room

    If you think of fighting systems like a house with room, where each room is a different fighting system then the following is true.
    Everyone has ceiling. If you reach the ceiling in one room, then go to another room.
     
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  13. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    a pass is a pass, take it and move on.

    if you thibk he is an idiot or pickibg on you, dont give him anymore money, certainly not for a restest, thats just a silly thing to do and if you were going to quit anyway, say stick it up your %$%$ and quit now.

    i would,

    of course there is the possibility that your just not outstanding,
     
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  14. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

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    Sir, Instructors are human- and make mistakes. You need to accept that unless you think it is something else. If video taping tests are allowed you may want try that in the future.. Then if such issues arise you can review the test. I recall an instructor telling me I made XXX mistake in pattern YYYY. I said "Yes Sir, I will make certain to correct that." Later, after I thought bout it I realized I didn't do pattern YYY for the test. Like Jobo said, you know what they call the Med Student who barely passes his licensing boards? - "Doctor".
     
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  15. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    There was one other judge. She is a step below me (2 steps below me now) and she didn't have my paper.

    Her comments to me at the end of the test were something like: "You should compete more, because you'd win a lot of gold medals. Your power, stamina, etc. were amazing. It's inspiring to watch you test." She didn't say anything about me cleaning up mistakes. I'm going to message her later today and see if she noticed anything.

    I had considered that. There are a number of things that if he said, I would have accepted. If he would have said that the mistakes I did make were too many, I would have accepted that (because there are a few mistakes I know I made). If he wasn't happy with the quality of the techniques, I would have accepted that.

    But he said I made the wrong techniques or used the wrong footwork in a bunch of places that I know I didn't.

    The tough part for me is it wasn't one mistake. He says I made tons of mistakes throughout the test. To me, that's not just one mistake. Maybe it's just one big mistake. But it's not like he said I made X mistake on Y pattern. It's that I made ABCD...L mistakes on OPQ...V patterns.
     
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  16. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    well thats his opinion , accept it and move on, there is noway you can prove him wrong ir get him to change his mind

    i cerraibly would give him the oppertunuty to ve wrobg again by retesting abd tou passed anyway so whats the point, it still wont prove he was wrong
     
  17. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    I kind of see that if I retest I'm admitting I made those mistakes.

    The other guy who tested with me suggested I do private tests from now on, so he doesn't see anyone else make a mistake and attribute it to me as well. I actually think that may have happened, because I do believe this other guy made the mistakes that my Master said I make. I know he was getting called to switch feet or to do something again because he missed something. I know he struggles with some of the things my Master said I did wrong.
     
  18. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    he is not your master, coz your not his servant, your a paying customer who has got bad service, that would make me cross, not that he was wrong , that happens ,so much as i was paying him to be wrong

    he had one job!
     
  19. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Sounds to me like you’ve got some issues to work out between yourself and your teacher and your position and membership with the school.

    Take a step back for a moment and look at some of the things you’ve written here. How would you expect your teacher might react, if he read through this thread? You have heavily criticized his judgement and have gone so far as to say that you really aren’t sure if you respect him anymore.

    You are airing quite a bit of laundry here. Perhaps this isn’t the place for that. If he found and read this thread, this decision just might be made for you. If I had a student going online and talking about my poor judgement and how he doesn’t respect me, that would be the end of it. I cannot imagine a teacher wanting to keep a student who has made it public that there is no respect.

    I really do not understand your gripe at all. You passed your test and got your rank. But you didn’t pass high enough for your ego to accept. You got a B but you wanted an A++. Nobody else will ever even think to ask about these kinds of details. If you open your own school someday, nobody will care what your passing grade was on your third Dan test. I think you’ve got a warped perception of rank. Maybe that’s because of how your school does things, or maybe that’s just your perceptions. I just don’t get it.

    So now you are thinking of sticking around to get your fourth, so you have a credential to teach. But you don’t respect your teacher and you aren’t happy there. You’ve got to take a hard look at your situation and make some decisions. And I think you need to be really careful about airing your dirty laundry in the public forums where people you might not want to see it, might see it.
     
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  20. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    I've criticized his curriculum plenty on here and on reddit and he hasn't said anything. I'm not worried about him seeing this. It is a public forum, but I also refrain from posting personal information. That's one reason I wish to remain mostly anonymous here.

    One thing I've thought as a result of this is that if I do continue and go on to open my own school, I would videotape every test. That way, if anyone complains, we can look at it together.

    There have been other tests in the past where I've been upset at the grade other students got. For example, there was one test where all of the purple belts did a great job, but he didn't give a single one of them outstanding. I remember being shocked, because I had given my students all A's.

    I'm not upset at the grade. I'm upset at the reason why. He is saying I made tons of mistakes, when I know I didn't. That is what I take issue with. One or two...okay, maybe he messed up a bit. But he listed over a dozen things I'm sure I didn't do. That's what's frustrating.

    I can't get better at not making mistakes that I didn't make in the first place.123
     
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