Testing Standards

MJS

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I know topics like this tend to offend some people, so I'm going to preface this post by saying this: This thread is NOT directed at any one particular person. It was simply sparked by something that I had read on another Kenpo forum. Understand that whatever replies are posted are simply that persons opinions. Like them or not, everyone is entitled to his/her opinion.

That being said....this is really a 2 part question.

1) What standards do you use or what do you feel should be used, to determine when someone is ready to test for another rank?

2) Do you use or what do you feel should be used, to measure time in grade? This not only applies to lower belt ranks, but black belt ranks as well.

In this other thread, which was more of a congrats to someone who'd advanced to 6th degree black after 15yrs of training. The thread went on with people debating whether or not 15yrs was too little time or enough time.

Thoughts?
 

Twin Fist

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1- when they know the material required well enough for the rank in question. What i mean is, an orange belt 5 swords wouldnt not be as good as a black belt 5 swords.

2- if the promotion is a skill based promotion, see above, if it is a combination of skill and TEACHING, then look at thier students.

in general i am not a fan of hard set "3 years" rules, but whatever works for you
 

morph4me

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1) I believe that a student is a reflection of his teacher, and if I promote someone to a rank that he's not qualified for it reflects poorly on me, so my standard for promoting someone is " Will I be embarrassed by his lack of skill or lack of ettiquette if he were to go to another dojo in my association.

2) I don't really think time in grade should be a measure of anything. If you have a particularly gifted and hard working student who can perform the requirements early, the you promote him. Time in grade is just the average time it takes for the average student to get from 1 rank to the next, some people will get their faster others slower.
 

Jdokan

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A famous American has quoted (in this forum) the average student doesn't get their BB......Always liked that saying.......
 

yorkshirelad

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An instructor should be able to rank a student as he or she sees fit.
When I was living in Dublin I trained at a studio that was open from 12:00 to 22:00 Monday throught Friday and from 12:00 to 15:00 on Saturday. 8 hours Monday through Friday was allocated to Kenpo and Arnis and for the last 2 hours there was Mugendo kickboxing or Ving Tsun on alternate nights.
You could train as many hours as you wanted everyday and the price was 20 pounds per week (before the euro). I left England to train in Ireland so I worked nights and got to the studio at 13:00 daily. It didn't matter how many hours you put into training, but you could not get your black belt in under 3 years. That was the rule, you had to put both mat hours and the requisite number of years into training. This system seemed to work. It was unusual for part timers (3 nights per week) to get their BB in under 5 years.
I suppose it depends which Association you train under also. MJS mentioned a 6 Degree who had been training just 15 years. I don't see a problem with this considering the fact that this guy is a full time student of a very respected master and has been such for all the years he has been training.
 
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MJS

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I'm not a stickler for the set time in grade, but I do feel that there should be something. I've had some students that picked things up so quick it was amazing. Is it fair to keep them at whatever rank for whatever time? Well, if you did, now you run the risk of the student getting bored...God forbid, and you also run the risk of moving them so fast, they'll be a BB in 3 mos. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

I suppose it all comes down to how sharp you want the student to look. Can they really perform these techs under stress and resistance, vs. doing them relaxed in the air? Do their basics suddenly suck when you put an attacker in front of them? If that happens, it may be a good idea to think twice about moving them along. IMO, there is more to just doing the material.

As for BB level...that is the area that I do feel that there should be more strict time frames. Personally, I'd rather see something like a year for every degree that they're moving up. Ex: going from 1st to 2nd, its 2yrs. 2nd to 3rd, 3 yrs, etc.
 

Tensei85

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I'm not a stickler for the set time in grade, but I do feel that there should be something. I've had some students that picked things up so quick it was amazing. Is it fair to keep them at whatever rank for whatever time? Well, if you did, now you run the risk of the student getting bored...God forbid, and you also run the risk of moving them so fast, they'll be a BB in 3 mos. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

I suppose it all comes down to how sharp you want the student to look. Can they really perform these techs under stress and resistance, vs. doing them relaxed in the air? Do their basics suddenly suck when you put an attacker in front of them? If that happens, it may be a good idea to think twice about moving them along. IMO, there is more to just doing the material.

As for BB level...that is the area that I do feel that there should be more strict time frames. Personally, I'd rather see something like a year for every degree that they're moving up. Ex: going from 1st to 2nd, its 2yrs. 2nd to 3rd, 3 yrs, etc.

I agree, makes a lot of sence.

It seems there's too many belt factories out there now adays.
 

Blindside

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As my instructors like to say "promote the student when they are ready," makes sense to me. We had one guy make it to black in 3.5 years and in the same class had brown belts with 9 years of experience. The standards are simply whatever they are for the school, with the acknowledgment that most schools use a sliding scale for those particularly talented students or those with any particular disadvantage.

For black belts we do use a minimum standard of "years per belt" which probably explains why our head instructor with 35 years in the art is a 6th. In addition, there is a fairly nebulous "when you are ready" criteria as there is no longer any testing for ranks after shodan/first degree. Most of us blacks don't make the minimum time, as an example it took three years for my 2nd and was technically eligible for my 3rd in '06 (and am still a 2nd). I really like this system because it really takes the emphasis off rank chasing which I did quite enough of as an underbelt. Your goal as a student and an instructor is to get better, and when your instructor feels you are good enough, you get the rank. This system is is probably only viable in a small school format.
 

Danjo

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They're ready when they're ready.

It also depends on the art in question. If it's one of those sport oriented arts that use points and tourney wins, then that's what it is. In judo, for instance, I think they use those things to determine rank.

In other cases, it is like an educational system like college or high school. In those cases, it depends on when you have passed your minimum required proficiencies (Unit hours plus demonstration of the material). Some will go much faster than others in these cases.

Others it's more like a family thing where loyalty, reliability, time in grade as well as proficiency is used to determine advancement. In these cases, rank is as much about seniority and respect as anything else.

Then there are the ones who just sell the rank. Far too many of those now a days (even if they try to disguise it with BS requirements).

So it really depends on which type of system you train in.
 

Milt G.

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Hello,
I believe in the following guidelines:

* Knowledge of the material.
* The ability to apply it.
* Service to Kenpo.
* Time in grade.

Pretty much in that order.
Of course, there are possible exceptions depending on individual skill, ability and circumstance.
I do think that 15 years in Kenpo, total, to Rokudan is a bit too soon. Not my promotion, though. So, none of my business, really. Of course, I am taking nothing away from that individual as far as skill or ability is concerned. I have never seen him, but have been "surprised" many times on my Kenpo journey. I expect that will continue. :)

Thanks,
Milt G.
 

Kenpo17

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The amount of information one should learn before testing at least in the WKKA is that you need to know 25 techniques, learn half of a form. Every other belt you need to learn a whole form, which I think is rediculess. You should need to know a whole form for each belt period. You also need to know the sparring drills for your belt level and then you can test.
 

Xinglu

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I have no problem in seeing a 6th dan with only 15 years in the art so long as he knows the material and can apply it effectively.

Time and grade is okay... but exceptions should be allowed for exceptional talent. I view time and grade as an "estimated expectation," for some it will take longer, for others it won't take as long.
 

shaolinmonkmark

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They're ready when they're ready.

It also depends on the art in question. If it's one of those sport oriented arts that use points and tourney wins, then that's what it is. In judo, for instance, I think they use those things to determine rank.

In other cases, it is like an educational system like college or high school. In those cases, it depends on when you have passed your minimum required proficiencies (Unit hours plus demonstration of the material). Some will go much faster than others in these cases.

Others it's more like a family thing where loyalty, reliability, time in grade as well as proficiency is used to determine advancement. In these cases, rank is as much about seniority and respect as anything else.

Then there are the ones who just sell the rank. Far too many of those now a days (even if they try to disguise it with BS requirements).

So it really depends on which type of system you train in.


i concur with Danjo, throw time out the window, and only look at:
The skill level- how do they flow/react to different situations???
Do they understand what every tyechnique is really all about??
such as, this strike to the groin bends him forward, etc... so you can do this next move, which allows you to do this.

It's all about what you have learned, and how well you KNOW your material, plus skill.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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It does and should come down to skill level. Not a fixed set of time or other requirements.
icon6.gif
 

mwd0818

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I look at time in grade standards for post-black belt progression to be ideas. Your art, if you are working on it, will get better with time. Therefore, the idea that 2 or 3 years from 2nd to 3rd is just that you should show that much progression. For some, that might happen in 18 months, for others, it might take 18 years. Normal student training a normal amount and staying dedicated it should take 3 years.

However, we then have the next problem:

Is the "normal" student going to make it to 3rd Black? How about 6th? I would say that once your material learning is finished (3rd Black in most EPAK schools, although you might pick up additional weapon forms at 4th and 5th), further progression can and should be limited by the individual's abilities; certain people simply "don't have it." I'm all for fair progression, and getting people to push themselves and reach new limits. I completely think that ANYONE, with proper time and dedication, SHOULD be able to reach Black. Past that though, I don't want a 5th or 8th degree Black Belt running around who worked really hard to get to a base level of proficiency to be a Black Belt, and then has just kept muddling along since then. They probably won't be able to share and showcase the art as an advanced practitioner, and they shouldn't be someone who is wearing a half-dozen stripes or more.

To the original post:

1) Standards for rank are knowledge of material for that rank and all previous, ability to perform it at an appropriate level (earlier comment about 5 Swords from an Orange Belt should be different than one for a Black Belt is spot on), and knowledge of concepts appropriate to that rank. Time is a guiding factor, but not critical at all. When I've taught underbelts, I keep track of their last test date and actually have a database. I know, that on average, progression from white to yellow takes 2 to 4 months. I had a little system designed that would pop up and tell me that student John has been training now for 2 months. My job as an instructor was just to double check on his progress - how has he been doing and does he need much more material? His name would pop up again at month 4 with the idea being that as an instructor, I should be looking at him as ready to test. If he wasn't, was it him not training, missing classes, etc? Or was it him getting overlooked or an instructor problem? It wasn't a "forced" to test, but it was to make sure students were being watched. It was great at upper ranks of Green and Brown where sometimes time between testing is 10-18 months, and it's easy to think "Oh, John still needs this form, but we'll do that later." And later, with all the students and classes, ends up being almost 2 years.

2) 15 years for 6th is fast. Wrong? Don't know, let me see him, but I would put that one under the microscope because it goes against the time in grade guide. He says he's been a Black Belt for 15 years and is a 4th or 5th, I'd be more willing to accept it. Then again, I go back to my statement that the number of stripes on your belt only matters when you have more stripes than skill.
 

still learning

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Hello, Testing Standards will vary school to school and systems to systems....NO such thing as ONE size fits all!

In Kona many of the Judo schools require you some time, but more important...you must beat everyone in your rank before promotions (can vary here too)..tournaments can be a requirement to beat those from other schools in the same rank too)-additional tests.

Time- No standards on amount of HOURS -1,000 hrs,4000's, 10,000 hrs?
How do you measure skills? ....automatic reflexes? 60% or 80%? or etc?

Can there be a standard test for promotions? ...that will fit ALL?
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So far it is up to each Sensi/ Instrutor who feels what is best for there own schools..
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Joe Lewis was promote to BB in less than 8 months..because he kept beating up all the BB in class(Okinawa)....( Promotion base on SKILLS)

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Also: Physcial fitness....should be a big KEY to promotions too....a person should meet certain requirments...numbers of push-ups, jumping jacks,etc...

Also remember there will always be many levels of each rank...same for Black Belts- each person will NOT be the same as the next Black belts in the same ranks...

Has the Black Belts lose some of there meanings?

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What a Black Belt means to many? ...one who can fight well!

Aloha, ........Americans love promotions, titles, and Black belts...$$$ and some times thats all you need?
 
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