Black Belt Test Format?

Phil680

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Hello all.

I am a TKD instructor in texas. I have been teaching for about four years now and i have my first round of students coming up for black belt. When i recieved my Black belt i felt a little cheated. My test followed the same format as my regular color belt test and only took about an hour and a half.

I have been trying to come up with a quality format for a black belt test but am having trouble.

What did you do for your BB?
Any suggestions?

I have worked very hard to feel as if my students deserve there belts and have waited longer than the average in my area to test them just to make sure. I feel they are ready. I just want to conduct a quality test. any advice or suggestions are welcome Thanks.
 

DArnold

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Hello all.

I am a TKD instructor in texas. I have been teaching for about four years now and i have my first round of students coming up for black belt. When i recieved my Black belt i felt a little cheated. My test followed the same format as my regular color belt test and only took about an hour and a half.

I have been trying to come up with a quality format for a black belt test but am having trouble.

What did you do for your BB?
Any suggestions?

I have worked very hard to feel as if my students deserve there belts and have waited longer than the average in my area to test them just to make sure. I feel they are ready. I just want to conduct a quality test. any advice or suggestions are welcome Thanks.

Well first off, congratulations.
Some comments and suggestions:

Do not hold the black belt test in conjunction with the color belt test.

Distinguish them with seperate dates.

In our organization, Each rank is required to perform everything below (or what came before) so a BB test is always going to be longer and harder.

This way you can never miss anything and no one complains about how hard the test is to the upper ranks as theirs are always harder. And besides, a higher rank should know everything below them anyway and by this time the lower stuff should only get better and better.

Do not make them an endurance gauntlett as I have seen some instructors try to make this a marathon. (3 days) It doesn't show what the students can do. Only that they can last three or four days.

Your question is a good one as it runs the razors edge on "the students feeling they earned the rank" vs. "everyone else being boared out of their mind because you went crazy with the requirements".

I do not need to see a student do 100 front kicks to know if they can do them good, or where their head is at.

If you feel they have earned the rank then this is more of a show for them than you (Not meaning that they don't have to perform). But everyone makes mistakes, and they will durring testing. It is how they handle themselves and move past the mistakes that makes a great testing.

Having the testing run as such a gauntlett is demoralizing and looks bad to anyone watching.

The format should not be standardized as this will not test your students.
You should have them do what they know but you should also throw them a curve or two to test their mental ability.

So have fun and you will learn as you go.
 

WMKS Shogun

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If you do not mind my asking, how many Black Belt Candidates do you have? Have some parts of the test be for candidates seperately. (For example, have them do their latest form or forms seperately). I do agree that Black Belt tests should be done seperately from colored belt tests. Different day, etc. I know in some schools, they do the test then have to await the test results, others award the belt right then and there. If you wait, do some sort of special Black Belt award dinner or ceremony. I will try to think it over and see if I can come up with other things.
 

IcemanSK

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I agree with Mr. Arnold on this. A separate day than colored belts & there's no need for them to run a marathon, either. My recent 3rd Dan test was held with folks testing from 1st to 6th Dan. While the expectations on the higher ranks was greater than on the lower, we all went over the same material (basics, forms, one-steps, sparring, grabs & chokes, & knife defense) At the end, there was how many push-ups & sit-ups we could do in a minute, but no marathon run. It still turned out to be a 3 hour test. Breaking wasn't done due to time contraints. The judges all saw what we had & we able to make an informed judgement as to our abilities. That should be the goal of a black belt test, IMO.
 

tshadowchaser

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Baxk in the stone age when I tested for my first in TKD my test was given on the same day as the rest of the testing and yes I only had to do the needed forms and SD that at that time where being taught.
I think a black belt test should show a little more knowledge than this and should make the student show that he really has some knowledge and is able to think outside the box a little. He should also KNOW at the end of the test (read hours.day( that he has been tested to his fullest and given his all .
Again only my personal view of any BB test
 

Drac

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At the end, there was how many push-ups & sit-ups we could do in a minute, but no marathon run. It still turned out to be a 3 hour test. Breaking wasn't done due to time contraints. The judges all saw what we had & we able to make an informed judgement as to our abilities. That should be the goal of a black belt test, IMO.

How does the number of push ups and situps you can do in minute or a marathon run determine weather you are worthy of a Black Belt rank???
 

IcemanSK

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Baxk in the stone age when I tested for my first in TKD my test was given on the same day as the rest of the testing and yes I only had to do the needed forms and SD that at that time where being taught.
I think a black belt test should show a little more knowledge than this and should make the student show that he really has some knowledge and is able to think outside the box a little. He should also KNOW at the end of the test (read hours.day( that he has been tested to his fullest and given his all .
Again only my personal view of any BB test

I don't disagree with you on testing depth of knowledge & ability to think "outside the box." If one is expected to parrot only rote SD techniques, it's certainly does not test that. The test needs to include things new to the student so that they are tested on whether they understand the concepts behind their training as well.
 

jks9199

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How does the number of push ups and situps you can do in minute or a marathon run determine weather you are worthy of a Black Belt rank???
Y'know... That's an issue I have with several systems black belt testing.

I don't disagree that there should be a fitness component. But it shouldn't be a major element of the testing process. Instead, to me, the skills testing should be strenous enough to give insight into the fitness of the candidate. I can deal with the push ups/sit ups test; to me, that only takes a few minutes (say 10 or 20 minutes total, depending on the number of people and how quickly they move and report).
 

Drac

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Y'know... That's an issue I have with several systems black belt testing.

I don't disagree that there should be a fitness component. But it shouldn't be a major element of the testing process. Instead, to me, the skills testing should be strenous enough to give insight into the fitness of the candidate. I can deal with the push ups/sit ups test; to me, that only takes a few minutes (say 10 or 20 minutes total, depending on the number of people and how quickly they move and report).

I have sat in on more black belt tests that I care to remember and I have NEVER seen push up or situp requirments...I have seen self defense techniques, weapons, kata ( forms) and at one there was a written exam prior to the physical one..
 

DArnold

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Hello all.

I am a TKD instructor in texas. I have been teaching for about four years now and i have my first round of students coming up for black belt. When i recieved my Black belt i felt a little cheated. My test followed the same format as my regular color belt test and only took about an hour and a half.

I have been trying to come up with a quality format for a black belt test but am having trouble.

What did you do for your BB?
Any suggestions?

I have worked very hard to feel as if my students deserve there belts and have waited longer than the average in my area to test them just to make sure. I feel they are ready. I just want to conduct a quality test. any advice or suggestions are welcome Thanks.

Most everyone I deal with does not test their own students.
Then this is also a test of you as an instructor.
You sit back and go, "GOD did I really miss that"

So there is no set in stone testing as long as you pay attenting to how your students perform and make the next testing better.
It is no different than being a student all over again.
 

Father Greek

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Having taught from a strictly SD standpoint I can only make a few suggestios.
1. When doing Sd tech. have the uke impart Murphy's law. Whatever can go wrong will and see how the BB candidate reacts.
2. Make situations up and see how they react example: you are putting the key to your apartment in the door and are thrown against the wall from behind.
3. At the very end of the test, blindfold the BB candidate and put them in the middle of a bunch of attackers. Each attacker wiill have a different attack and the candidate will have to react accordingly. (make sure the uke's can move out of the way fast)

And yes I agree that BB tests should be held separately.
 

cali_tkdbruin

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Welcome aboard Phil. If I might ask, which style or arm of our TKD are you affiliated with? We all have our different methods of conducting black belt tests, so nothing is exactly the same. Each dojang is different in many ways, but we should all be the same in the basic Taekwondo techniques in which each BB candidate should be competent.

BTW, I'm sure that the master 4th dan BB or above, who'll be present to test and promote the students, as it was at my 1st dan test, will be wise enough and know if they are proficient practitioners to promote to the dan ranks. Good luck... :asian:
 

Drac

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Having taught from a strictly SD standpoint I can only make a few suggestios.
1. When doing Sd tech. have the uke impart Murphy's law. Whatever can go wrong will and see how the BB candidate reacts.
2. Make situations up and see how they react example: you are putting the key to your apartment in the door and are thrown against the wall from behind.
3. At the very end of the test, blindfold the BB candidate and put them in the middle of a bunch of attackers. Each attacker wiill have a different attack and the candidate will have to react accordingly. (make sure the uke's can move out of the way fast)

And yes I agree that BB tests should be held separately.

I have seen BB tests conducted by Father Greek they are GREAT..No push ups or situps seen..Plenty of techniques...The things that are REALLY important and necessary...My 2 cents...
 

jks9199

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I have sat in on more black belt tests that I care to remember and I have NEVER seen push up or situp requirments...I have seen self defense techniques, weapons, kata ( forms) and at one there was a written exam prior to the physical one..
I wasn't saying that they're a necessary component -- only that I can see it as being a reasonable componentthat can be done fairly quickly.

Again, to me, the primary thing in a black belt test should be SKILL testing. That should be plenty strenous to figure out someone's general fitness level. I know of some tests that are nutty; where the PT testing portion takes up more of the testing process than skill assessment, for example.
 

Drac

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I wasn't saying that they're a necessary component -- only that I can see it as being a reasonable componentthat can be done fairly quickly.

Again, to me, the primary thing in a black belt test should be SKILL testing. That should be plenty strenous to figure out someone's general fitness level. I know of some tests that are nutty; where the PT testing portion takes up more of the testing process than skill assessment, for example.

Understood jks..
 
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Phil680

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Thanks for all of the replies. I apologize for not taking an active roll in this discussion but I was temporarily banned for not completeing my (profile)?

Any way. There has been a lot of good advice and i think that this will help me structure the test to be most effective.

I do not plan on this being a marathon style test and no, it will not be conducted with the color belts, they wont test until the end of august.

There will be two tests though. One for me to make sure they are ready and dont need some last second corrections and then one in front of my grand master.

---cali_tkdbruin.
I am Chung Do Kwan, WTF. Although if you were to see my adult students im not sure that you would think that i teach TKD at all lol. My emphasis is on actual practicality of the techniques and less on points. We do very little olympic style sparring and a lot of situational drills. Very little flash and a whole bunch of leg kicks, knees and elbows and more hands than most dojangs.

Thanks for the help!
 

DArnold

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I have seen BB tests conducted by Father Greek they are GREAT..No push ups or situps seen..Plenty of techniques...The things that are REALLY important and necessary...My 2 cents...

Drac,
I would say you have a fantastic oppertunity here.
It sounds like push ups and sit ups are outside the box for you.

Then that is probably how your students are thinking also.

I have found that one of the, as you say, major, important, necessary things (besides punching and kicking) is how a student thinks and reacts.

Therefore a good mental test would be to throw this curve ball at them.
Not for the physical aspect, but for the mental test!

Without explanation will they hit the floor and immediately do what you tell them?

Will they ask for an explanation?

Will they grumble and do it slowly?

Will they complain?

Do they think that what is written down is all they need to work on or know?

How much loyality/trust do they have in you? (Do you really have to explain everything after this many years?)

Many things can be shown by the basic, the inane, the mear physical!
Who knows? I've never done a push-up or sit-up yet that has hurt me!
:ultracool
 

IcemanSK

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Drac,
I would say you have a fantastic oppertunity here.
It sounds like push ups and sit ups are outside the box for you.

Then that is probably how your students are thinking also.

I have found that one of the, as you say, major, important, necessary things (besides punching and kicking) is how a student thinks and reacts.

Therefore a good mental test would be to throw this curve ball at them.
Not for the physical aspect, but for the mental test!

Without explanation will they hit the floor and immediately do what you tell them?

Will they ask for an explanation?

Will they grumble and do it slowly?

Will they complain?

Do they think that what is written down is all they need to work on or know?

How much loyality/trust do they have in you? (Do you really have to explain everything after this many years?)

Many things can be shown by the basic, the inane, the mear physical!
Who knows? I've never done a push-up or sit-up yet that has hurt me!
:ultracool


This is a great point!

A few months ago, I used something similar for the same purpose. I was interviewing prospective Summer Camp counselors. My part was to ask them in a group of 8 how they would react to differt scenarios (creepy guy at the park around the kids, or, an accident). I knew they would need to think on their feet with these questions, because that's how these things come up. So, I brought them into a room & had them run in place. And when I said, "go" they were to do 2 push-ups then stand up & continue running. I did this a few times & then said, "Ok now, you're at the park with the kids & you turn around & Johnny is missing. What do you do?" As they talked about ideas I was able to tell them that this is how it works. You're having fun with the kids & then bang! something odd happens & you have to think on the fly about what to do.

In a class situation, it's obviously less important, but it does speak to how a student takes direction & handles adversity. Not to mention fitness is a part of MA.
 

Telos

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My ideal format for black belt testing would be this:

ON DEMAND TESTING

Because too often i see people becoming black belts as if it were oanother standardized rank test.

With On Demand. You are tested on teh spot by whatever the master asks of you.

Why? Too many people forget tehir curriculum as they advance. And only re study it because its listed as a requirement.

true black belts and candidates don't forget curriculum. It becomes part of life and they should be ready to demoostrate it at any time any where.

You should also have tournament experience under your belt as well. Because how do you justify and validate being a black belt if you never tested your training all this time?
 

jks9199

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My ideal format for black belt testing would be this:

ON DEMAND TESTING

Because too often i see people becoming black belts as if it were oanother standardized rank test.

With On Demand. You are tested on teh spot by whatever the master asks of you.

Why? Too many people forget tehir curriculum as they advance. And only re study it because its listed as a requirement.

true black belts and candidates don't forget curriculum. It becomes part of life and they should be ready to demoostrate it at any time any where.

You should also have tournament experience under your belt as well. Because how do you justify and validate being a black belt if you never tested your training all this time?
I don't disagree that a prospective black belt should be subject to some unscheduled, unprompted evaluation -- but there's also good reason for formal testing.

But... I do have a problem with your justification for requiring tournament experience. Too many tournaments have no relation to real fighting; they're stop and start, with little or no contact, and way too many rules for the "fight."

Also, a good black belt may need to refresh their memory of how specific forms or drills are done. It doesn't mean they've forgetten the principles -- but the simple reality is that their training shouldn't be focused on the same drills that a brand new student does. The black belt should be working more advanced exercises. They should be able to quickly refresh their memory, and be able to correct any of the fundamental drills or kata -- but that's different from being able to perform them on demand.
 
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