How do you test techniques at your dojang?

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I'm curious what other schools do to test the simple techniques when doing a belt test. To clarify, by "simple" I mean the technique itself or the technique in a small combination, as opposed to something like a form or a complicated one-step drill.

My memory of my old school is a little bit fuzzy (since it was over 20 years ago that I left), but I believe we would line up and demonstrate the techniques together. Mostly it would be kicks, and if I remember right we would kick and replace our foot. I don't even remember if we did that, or if we just did the forms and sparring.

My current school, we have rote-memorized combinations. For example, our colored belts have 1-8 punching and 1-8 kicking. So if my Master says "do #4 punching" then everyone knows which punch combo to do, and if he says "do #5 kicking" then everyone knows which kicking combo to do.

Which leads to my questions:
  1. Do you test simple techniques at your school, or do you only test on forms/one-steps/sparring/breaking?
  2. When you test simple techniques, do you just test the individual kick or punch, or do you test them in combinations?
  3. When you test simple techniques, do you test the kicks and punches in place, or do you combine footwork as well?
  4. In regards to #2 and #3, are the combinations prescribed before the test and rote memorized by the students, or are they dynamically called during the test?
  5. If the techniques and combinations are dynamic, how is it handled when a student misunderstands a command?
  6. When you test the simple techniques, do you expect to see students perform them for speed, power, or form?
If there's any thoughts you have that don't relate to my questions, then I'd love to hear them, too.
 
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In my school, every technique or combo has a name such as:

- Inner hook, scoop
- Double hooks
- Neck wiping inner hook
- Knee strike inner hook
- ...

IMO, to use #1, #2, ... is not a good idea in the long run.


Do you do belt tests at your school?
 

Danny T

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We have combinations of movements. Then we have application of those movements with several variations along with empty hand, blunt object, knife, countering variations and re-countering variations. Then we add in multiple opponent's variations
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Do you do belt tests at your school?
Yes!

blue belt - 30 principles of butterfly hands.
1st degree black belt - 30 principles of 4 sides and 2 doors.
2nd degree black belt - tournament record.
3rd degree black belt - entering strategy, finish strategy, counters, and combos.
 
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We have combinations of movements. Then we have application of those movements with several variations along with empty hand, blunt object, knife, countering variations and re-countering variations. Then we add in multiple opponent's variations

How do you test the different variations? Are students expected to know the specific ones tested before-hand, or do you call out which ones you want to see during the test?
 
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IMO, to use #1, #2, ... is not a good idea in the long run.

I just want to clarify: I agree. I understand why my Master does it this way, and for a couple of reasons I do like it. One of which being that I am very good at memorizing things, so the memory part of the tests is very easy for me. On a more serious note, it's an easy way for inexperienced instructors to lead warm-ups. It means there should be no confusion what you have to do on testing day. It makes it so you don't forget to practice any of the techniques, and it kind of forces you to practice to be ready for the test (since you need to practice it to memorize it).

However, when I become a Master (probably anywhere in the next 6-10 years), I don't know that I want to use the same teaching style as my Master uses. I disagree with some of his methods and opinions on teaching. For now, I teach his way, because he's the Master and it's his school, and I'm just an employee working for him. So I do things his way. When it's my own, I don't think I want to do it that way. One of the big changes I want to make is I want to focus a lot less on memorization, and focus more on concepts and application of the techniques.

This is the reason I'm making this thread. I know how to teach the technique the way I want to. But I'm not sure how to test it. I was hoping someone would have some ideas so I didn't have to reinvent the wheel on this.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I know how to teach the technique the way I want to. But I'm not sure how to test it. I was hoping someone would have some ideas so I didn't have to reinvent the wheel on this.
1. You teach a technique.
2. You teach how to counter that technique.
3. You teach how to counter the counter of that technique.
 

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So in shaolin kempo: There were specific techniques we learnt at each belt. On the tests, we would need to be able to figure out how to adapt those techniques to whatever punch/kick came our way (among a lot of other things).

In nanzan budokan kenpo, the focus was on the attacks: we knew a lot of different defenses to 'attacks', and when certain attacks came during the test we would need to respond to them appropriately.

In pekiti kirsia kali...I honestly don't know. I know that I've randomly been informed i've gotten a new certification, but I don't know what causes that. i know there's specific things to learn at each belt, so I assume its a combination of learning new techniques and improving in sparring. Either way doesn't appear help you, unfortunately.
 

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In my school, every technique or combo has a name such as:

- Inner hook, scoop
- Double hooks
- Neck wiping inner hook
- Knee strike inner hook
- ...

IMO, to use #1, #2, ... is not a good idea in the long run.

Why not? As long as everyone is able to recognize the term, it's not a big deal in the long run. In the short run, names are probably easier to associate.
 

Gerry Seymour

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I'm not in TKD, but you know I'm going to post, anyway. :D

I'll share how NGA schools - from my limited experience seeing tests at other schools - tend to test strikes. I share it as an example of testing that doesn't have much utility, IMO. Strikes and blocks are done in their simplest form, in the formal stances, etc. only. So a front kick (rear leg kick to the front) is done from a front stance, hands on hips (a formal position designed to keep hands still). Usually 10 kicks at most (just to see that it's done correctly), then change sides. No targeting (all just "air kicks") or power checks involved. Some "snap" is expected as rank increases.

I think this kind of isolation test is okay at early stages (just to see that they can actually do that kick), and might be useful to revisit later (to make sure potential instructors are maintaining good form in the traditional drills). But it doesn't really do much to test development of the kick, nor application of it.

I'm still working on how I want to test things formally. My classes are quite small, so most of the application testing and such happens during drills, rather than during a formal test. But I don't want any student who might decide to teach to misunderstand that as me only testing the formal positions.
 

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How do you test the different variations? Are students expected to know the specific ones tested before-hand, or do you call out which ones you want to see during the test?
Again, some input from outside TKD - I've done this both ways. There's more memorization stress on the student in being expected to remember what they're tested on and produce the results without prompts (pretty standard in the NGAA and most mainline schools, from what I've seen and heard). Having the instructor call them out means they don't have to recall the list in that moment, but don't get to do them in their favorite order. It also gives the option of not actually testing every single technique, while the student still has to prepare every single technique, not knowing what will be called (kind of like an academic test).
 

Earl Weiss

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e have a requirement sheet for each rank. People get the first one when they join, and the next after passing the test. These sheets serve as a type of checkoff to make sure the student is ready to test as well as actual test sheets although students are reuired to know and perform all prior material. The sheets has sections such as Hand Techniques, Foot techniques, Combinations, Patterns, Ho Sin Sul etc. New Hand and Foot techniques will be tested individually so we are certain the student knows the name. Then these same techniques may appear again in the patterns and combinations.
 
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Why not? As long as everyone is able to recognize the term, it's not a big deal in the long run. In the short run, names are probably easier to associate.

I could be wrong (and re-reading it, maybe I was) but I read his post to mean that focusing on specific combinations could be bad in the long run.

I'm not in TKD, but you know I'm going to post, anyway. :D

I'll share how NGA schools - from my limited experience seeing tests at other schools - tend to test strikes. I share it as an example of testing that doesn't have much utility, IMO. Strikes and blocks are done in their simplest form, in the formal stances, etc. only. So a front kick (rear leg kick to the front) is done from a front stance, hands on hips (a formal position designed to keep hands still). Usually 10 kicks at most (just to see that it's done correctly), then change sides. No targeting (all just "air kicks") or power checks involved. Some "snap" is expected as rank increases.

What I'm trying to figure out is how to test something beyond just the simplest form. For example, even with just roundhouse kicks, I'm looking for a testing mechanism where I could test things like:
  • Roundhouse kick into tornado kick
  • Roundhouse kick, return the leg and tornado kick the other way
  • Footwork moving forward, backward, or laterally in combination with the kick
I'd be focusing on combinations of 1-3 kicks with various types of footwork in class, and I'm trying to figure out how to translate that into a test.

Again, some input from outside TKD - I've done this both ways. There's more memorization stress on the student in being expected to remember what they're tested on and produce the results without prompts (pretty standard in the NGAA and most mainline schools, from what I've seen and heard). Having the instructor call them out means they don't have to recall the list in that moment, but don't get to do them in their favorite order. It also gives the option of not actually testing every single technique, while the student still has to prepare every single technique, not knowing what will be called (kind of like an academic test).

At my current school, we have that, because my Master has all of the techniques numbered. Although for the most part, we do ALL of them, just not necessarily in order. We may not do everything else in the curriculum, though.

However, I'm trying to get away from rote memorized numbers. Using the example above, if I say "roundhouse kick, return and tornado kick", I might be looking for specific footwork, and they might understand it slightly different and do the combo differently. (This is based on how well people copy our dynamic combos in sparring drills).

e have a requirement sheet for each rank. People get the first one when they join, and the next after passing the test. These sheets serve as a type of checkoff to make sure the student is ready to test as well as actual test sheets although students are reuired to know and perform all prior material. The sheets has sections such as Hand Techniques, Foot techniques, Combinations, Patterns, Ho Sin Sul etc. New Hand and Foot techniques will be tested individually so we are certain the student knows the name. Then these same techniques may appear again in the patterns and combinations.

This is definitely something I plan to do. We have these sheets as well. I'm just trying to figure out how to go from all the stuff in class to making the test itself actually work.
 
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1. You teach a technique.
2. You teach how to counter that technique.
3. You teach how to counter the counter of that technique.
Like @gpseymour said, I'm looking for how to handle this during a test. At that point I hope the teaching is done!
 

Danny T

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How do you test the different variations? Are students expected to know the specific ones tested before-hand, or do you call out which ones you want to see during the test?
There are base line applications that are expected to be known depending upon; Age, Level, Ability. As the levels go up there is an expectation greater knowledge of the what and how as well as the when and why.
I teach a combination of movements (techniques) base upon certain principles driving the movements and positions. For each application of the movements there are baseline counters and re-counters to be known. Then I may ask to see a different application for the technique combination.
So there would be the baseline application, a counter, and a re-counter to be shown.
Then for example; Show me that same technique vs a stick strike angled from your left to right side. Now get on your back and show me that technique vs a person punching you from either mount or guard.
Or I may, again depending on the level being tested. Let's see that technique combination with 2 opponents.
I may ask to see a drill we use and ask to take a portion of said drill and show me what is the drill designed to develop and how that development can be utilized in an application.
 

dvcochran

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There are base line applications that are expected to be known depending upon; Age, Level, Ability. As the levels go up there is an expectation greater knowledge of the what and how as well as the when and why.
I teach a combination of movements (techniques) base upon certain principles driving the movements and positions. For each application of the movements there are baseline counters and re-counters to be known. Then I may ask to see a different application for the technique combination.
So there would be the baseline application, a counter, and a re-counter to be shown.
Then for example; Show me that same technique vs a stick strike angled from your left to right side. Now get on your back and show me that technique vs a person punching you from either mount or guard.
Or I may, again depending on the level being tested. Let's see that technique combination with 2 opponents.
I may ask to see a drill we use and ask to take a portion of said drill and show me what is the drill designed to develop and how that development can be utilized in an application.
Very thorough. I like it.
 

dvcochran

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Do you test simple techniques at your school, or do you only test on forms/one-steps/sparring/breaking?
We do not test simple technique in the finite it sounds like you are reaching for. If teaching and practice has been adequate, 'simple technique' quality will be displayed in the actions of gross skills. We do break down individual techniques into the component parts when teaching them.

When you test simple techniques, do you just test the individual kick or punch, or do you test them in combinations?
See above. Are we talking two different things now? I consider a full kick a gross skill. Grouping it into a combination is a different skill set and is weighted differently based on several factors like rank, age, ability, etc...

When you test simple techniques, do you test the kicks and punches in place, or do you combine footwork as well?
Both. Footwork is an integral part of most forms but can be singled out if desired.

In regards to #2 and #3, are the combinations prescribed before the test and rote memorized by the students, or are they dynamically called during the test?
We do not do rote memorization in the context described. Techniques are displayed on both sides in no particular order.

If the techniques and combinations are dynamic, how is it handled when a student misunderstands a command?
"Do I again." Is the usual response. Minimal direction is given during testing.

When you test the simple techniques, do you expect to see students perform them for speed, power, or form?
All of the above. Form is a very, very subjective component.

If there's any thoughts you have that don't relate to my questions, then I'd love to hear them, too.
We do Not test someone until it is apparent it should be no more than a formality. Time in grade (heavily weighted by quality time)is the greatest factor. If the practice time/class time is quality the test is, at best, a head game for some people.
 
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See above. Are we talking two different things now? I consider a full kick a gross skill. Grouping it into a combination is a different skill set and is weighted differently based on several factors like rank, age, ability, etc...

I think we're talking about two different things. If you differentiate between "technique" and "gross skill" and consider a full kick to be a "gross skill", do you not consider a kick to be a technique?

Both. Footwork is an integral part of most forms but can be singled out if desired.

The footwork used in most forms is not the type of footwork you would combine with strikes in a real situation. The footwork in forms gets slightly more power at a huge cost in speed and maneuverability. The footwork is good for transitioning into a throw, but not for throwing punch and kick combinations.

We do not do rote memorization in the context described. Techniques are displayed on both sides in no particular order.

I think we're talking about two different things here. For example, our #1 kicking is front kick and 1-2 punch. We'll do both sides over and over again. We may not start with #1, we may do a bunch of other ones first. However, whenever my Master says "Kicking #1", we all have rote memorized what our next 3 techniques are going to be.

"Do I again." Is the usual response. Minimal direction is given during testing.

(Using the example I used of a roundhouse kick followed by a tornado kick). If you wanted to see me do a kick, replace my foot behind me and tornado kick the other direction, but I did a roundhouse kick, landed in front of me, and did the tornado kick, would you simply say "do it again" until I figured out what you want to see? Or would you provide feedback "not that direction, the other direction"?

My Master does the former during testing, but we also have rote memorized what our combinations are supposed to be.

All of the above. Form is a very, very subjective component.

What I mean is if the kick is done for speed (i.e. looks like it would be most likely to score a point in point sparring), power (would probably hurt most if hit by it), or form (graceful, precise, controlled).

We do Not test someone until it is apparent it should be no more than a formality. Time in grade (heavily weighted by quality time)is the greatest factor. If the practice time/class time is quality the test is, at best, a head game for some people.

Time in grade is the biggest factor? Yikes.
 

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