Describe the perfect black belt test.

mango.man

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Well the subject pretty much says it all. Since there has been some discussion here and on other forums about kids getting black belts, retarded adults getting black belts, geriatric 90 year olds getting black belts etc, I ask of you to detail what a black belt test should consist of in order to properly weed out those that you believe are not worthy of such a rank.

Please be as detailed as possible and it must be the same test for everyone, start to finish. If you can't pass it due to gender, age or disability than you just can't be a black belt.

Example of what I am looking for here would be:

Demonstration of physical strength:
200 push ups
200 sit ups
50 pull ups

Detailed knowledge of forms:
Precise performance of all forms up to that for which you are testing. Those testing for a Kukkiwon first Dan will perform:
Basic Poomse 1-3
8 Palgwe and or 8 Taegeuk
Koryo
Before beginning each form, state its name and meaning. Be prepared during the form to be told to stop and explain the purpose of the technique you are in the process of performing.

Demonstration of speed & power by gyeokpa:
Break equal number of bricks to the dan level you are testing for with a prescribed hand technique.
Break series of 5 boards in under 15 seconds using 5 different techniques.

Demonstration of self defense skills:
Spar full contact 1 on 1 with a 23 year old 6'5" 230 pound black belt for 3 rounds, 2 minutes each.
Spar full contact 3 on 1 with 3 23 year old 6'5" 230 pound black belts for 3 rounds, 1 minute each.

Understanding of the meaning of Taekwondo:
Prepare an 8-10 pages typed (double spaced) thesis on the meaning and history of Taekwondo.
Deliver a 3-5 minute speach on how you will use your Taekwondo skills to make the world a better place for all.

So what is your idea of a real black belt test that should be given to everyone in your organization to pass before being granted the rank of black belt regardless of age, gender, disability etc?
 

MBuzzy

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I think that a lot of this depends on your personal philosophy toward Black Belts.

I do believe in standards and meeting standards. I do believe that a black belt should need to be able to perform the techniques. But I do not believe that there are no exceptions and that a person has to be superman to pass.

If I had to pick only one test for everyone, it wouldn't hold up to the standards. There are other ways to ensure that a person can do what is required of them.

I have learned a great deal from those who are older or have physical problems that prevent them from jumping or doing 200 push ups. It would be a shame to prevent so many incredibly talented people in other areas from achieving their rank and their dreams.

The military has graduated standards based on gender and age, why shouldn't the martial arts?

So my answer is that my perfect Black Belt test would be a graduated test based on age and gender...where exceptions are allowed within reason, with solid excuses.
 

Twin Fist

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NO pushups, or sit ups, or any of that crap, thats for class.

A thesis paper, on some element of TKD history

Oral QnA

ALL katas from white to Black

ALL techniques, strikes, kicks, blocks

free form and set Self defense

knife defenses

kick defenses

club defenses

Bull In the ring self defense.

minimum 20 fights, one on one, 2 on 1, 3 on 1, head, groin and take downs allowed

breaking, minimum 10 boards
 

level7

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I never understood what breaking boards demonstrated. I think its just showboating, the same as bench pressing 300lbs or ripping a phonebook in half. Now, if its used to measure punching or kicking force then that's something else.

I think the test should be graduated because of age. You should be able to do the forms, sparring with point scoring would be close to fair and flexible enough to let people that are boardline pass but not let weaker ones pass.

We have to uphold standards or the belt becomes meaningless (which is irrelevent to me anyway).
 

Twin Fist

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In my original school, you were kept out there fighting untill you puked or passed out, to see if you would rather and insist on continuing.

Everyone did
 

BrandonLucas

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I agree that standards should be set for blackbelts, but I don't think that all blackbelts should test under the same requirements.

People are different. They have different limitations. I personally think that a blackbelt test should be administered by the instructor, and the only person testing should be the 1 student in question. The instructor should know the physical limitations that the student, and conduct the testing in such a manner as to push the student as far past their limits as they can go. The student should have absolutely nothing left physically...but this does not mean the test is over. For the student to become blackbelt, they must have the heart to pick themselves up off the ground and ask for more.

There is no way to list what specific techniques would be required for the test, other than the forms should be performed from white to black belt by memory in the student's own time.

The way I see it, there is no one perfect black belt test. Each test should be taylor made for the student.
 

granfire

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I never understood what breaking boards demonstrated. I think its just showboating, the same as bench pressing 300lbs or ripping a phonebook in half. Now, if its used to measure punching or kicking force then that's something else.

I think the test should be graduated because of age. You should be able to do the forms, sparring with point scoring would be close to fair and flexible enough to let people that are boardline pass but not let weaker ones pass.

We have to uphold standards or the belt becomes meaningless (which is irrelevent to me anyway).


Breaking boards demonstrates the correctness of your technique. granted, wood is forgiving to a point, but if your delivery is off it does not work. And the plastic boards are even less forgiving. If I had to speed break those I'd quit, especially in the above proposed amounts.

I agree, the push-ups etc are for class. But then again I have a required minimum of classes I need to attend the 4 month before tests, I know I will have put my share of those in by the time I bow to the judges.

I like the Q&A, SD idea (though the 6'5" opponent is maybe a little far fetched... ;) )
 

shesulsa

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Admin Note:

The use of the term "retarded" has brought some attention to this thread and another discussion on black belt tests and ranks.

For clarity's sake:

We understand others are more sensitive to this label than others and that in other parts of the world that any use of the term is considered insulting.

Since our board is located in the United States, we currently operate under the following guideline: if the term is used appropriately (e.g. to describe the medical condition of a person or group of people whereupon it is justified and authentic) then we will allow the term so long as it is used in a respectful discourse and in a technically correct manner.

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YoungMan

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I agree. Derogatory terms like "retarded" or "gay" have no place in civilized discussions. If you can't act or talk like an adult, then don't waste our time.
 

Drac

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I agree. Derogatory terms like "retarded" or "gay" have no place in civilized discussions. If you can't act or talk like an adult, then don't waste our time.

Well said...
 

YoungMan

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My idea of a perfect black belt test:

All the judges meet with our Grandmaster beforehand as he talks about the state of Taekwondo, his plans for the coming year, and what he wants to see.

Every stuent who is testing for black belt does Palgue Chil and Pal, Koryo, Kumgang, and/or Taebaek in a way that makes me say "well done".

The free fighting is well executed, incorporates good steps, and uses a variety of well-placed and executed kicks. Instead of the same old-same old, I see spinning, jumping, and jump spinning kicks. Fighters are knocked back but there are no accidents.

Breaking is well executed, with variety, and done the first time. I see basic techniques done for 1st Dan, with more advanced techniques performed for 2nd and 3rd Dan.
 

JadeDragon3

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Breaking boards is crap. I mean come on, lets admit that a 5 year old can break a half inch pine board. There is no secret to doing it. Whats the purpose? I can understand and see why a brick, but a board?????

I would start the test with a nice long jog. Then conditioning exercises such as push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, standing in a horse stance for a long period of time, and do handstand against a wall for long period of time. This would be more to test their mental attitude to see how badly they want that black belt. Next I would test on all kicks, hand strikes, self defense techniques, chin na techniques, forms (both empty hand and weapons), and punch defenses (all 40 of them). The last thing would be to have the student sparr with another black belt and also sparr 2 on 1.
 

Twin Fist

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and do handstand against a wall for long period of time.

you teach TKD or gymnastics?

handstands are about 100% less relevant to TKD than breaking is. Breaking is arguably more traditionaly a part of TKD than most other arts,

And if you need to make them jog, or do any other warm up garbage, to test thier conditioning, you shouldnt be letting them test in the first place.

And if i want to test thier resolve, I make them spar more, and harder. That works for conditioning too come to think of it.
 

BrandonLucas

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Breaking boards is crap. I mean come on, lets admit that a 5 year old can break a half inch pine board. There is no secret to doing it. Whats the purpose? I can understand and see why a brick, but a board?????

I would start the test with a nice long jog. Then conditioning exercises such as push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, standing in a horse stance for a long period of time, and do handstand against a wall for long period of time. This would be more to test their mental attitude to see how badly they want that black belt. Next I would test on all kicks, hand strikes, self defense techniques, chin na techniques, forms (both empty hand and weapons), and punch defenses (all 40 of them). The last thing would be to have the student sparr with another black belt and also sparr 2 on 1.

Actually, board breaking can be made to be quite difficult...and can often be set up to be as difficult as brick breaking. Not to mention that it is easier to set up multiple boards (3, 4, or more) in positions for techniques than it is to set up bricks. And then, when broken, the pieces of board won't be as destructive to bystanders and the dojang itself as pieces of brick are.

I can't see setting up bricks to break with a jumping front kick without having pieces fly everywhere, not to mention having to figure out a way to set it up.

On another angle of breaking either boards or bricks...it shows proper execution of technique, speed, and strength. It can also show a degree of concentration and the ability to effectively block out your surroundings.

I don't think, personally, that breaking should count as much as the other portions of the test, but I think that it's a valid testing point.
 

garrisons2

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Mango man, I'm 50 years old with a completely messed up shoulder from a ski accident, there is no way I would be able to do half the push ups, pull ups you mentioned. I agree with some here that believe it should be based on the person. I also have a torn ACL and have worked hard to compensate for it, however the flashy jumping stuff is out.

I'm about 6 to 9 mths away from possible black belt testing if all goes well.
 

BrandonLucas

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Mango man, I'm 50 years old with a completely messed up shoulder from a ski accident, there is no way I would be able to do half the push ups, pull ups you mentioned. I agree with some here that believe it should be based on the person. I also have a torn ACL and have worked hard to compensate for it, however the flashy jumping stuff is out.

I'm about 6 to 9 mths away from possible black belt testing if all goes well.

In this respect, adding to my previous post....

I think if someone has a physical or mental disability or handicap, the test should be based on them working within their means...if they don't have picture perfect side kicks, but can execute a side kick well and deliver it for it's intended use, then that is what should be considered.

If we were to hold up everyone to the exact same standards, there would be many deserving blackbelts that wouldn't make the rank if the standards are set to high. Conversely, if the standards are too low, then we'll have everyone and their grandmother in a blackbelt, and the rank would lose its value.

That's why I say that everyone should have individual tests.
 

Drac

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Mango man, I'm 50 years old with a completely messed up shoulder from a ski accident, there is no way I would be able to do half the push ups, pull ups you mentioned. I agree with some here that believe it should be based on the person. I also have a torn ACL and have worked hard to compensate for it, however the flashy jumping stuff is out.

I'm about 6 to 9 mths away from possible black belt testing if all goes well.

I hear ya garrisons...I'm 55 and with more injuries from previous hardcore training in my youth and dealing with the scum of society while on duty that I could NOT pass the test that he outlined...Working on my 2nd Dan hopefully the beginning of next year..
 

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