Testing Too Early

deadhand31

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I'm currently faced with a moral dilemma at this time. In February, I tested for black belt. The test itself dissappointed me, because I felt that my abilities were not tested enough. (The pretest was harder, where my sabunim was screaming at me to do things. I had ended up bursting several blood vessels in my face from it.) Anyway, I've felt that standards for the chain have grown somewhat lax. I've seen people who I, personally, would not let get past pretest get their new ranks. While I do feel that I'm in a good system, I have a little voice in the corner of my head that there are some of the things which can lead to be labeled as a McDojang.

Anyway, my instructor said that I should be ready to test for Il Dan in October. That would mean I would have been a Cho Dan for only 8 months. I want to wait until next February before I would even think about testing for Il Dan. In the past, I've been assured that I've been ready to test. My instructor has a reputation to maintain as the strongest school in the chain, and as such he only sends people to test if they'll make our branch look good. I can understand that him telling me that I look ready to test is a compliment, but rank is not as much a priority for me as knowing that I live up to the belt around my waist.

I really like my school, and I like the people in it. I have checked other schools in the area, and they seem to emphasize the sport aspect. No other place has as much emphasis on takedowns, joint-locks, and ground-fighting like mine. I know that I will be hard-pressed to find an instructor like mine. I just don't want to be a product of rushed rank promotion.
I need thoughts on this, please!!!
 
T

TKDman

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Your right, but they have to make their money somehow.

Private non-dependant instructors are always the bset.
 
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Jill666

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I don't know the material you are working with, or the expectations for your dan ranks. But jeez-

I don't know dude. All I can say is we have one man testing for his nindan, having only been 1st dan for two and a half years, but he lives kenpo, works at it daily, and is a good fighter and a good man. But it is unusual to move up that fast in the dan ranks at my school. Most would not be ready.

Follow your instincts. I once refused to test, which pissed my instructor off something fierce. Tough- when I earned that belt I felt good about it.
 

karatekid1975

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I agree with Jill. When I did TSD, I didn't want to test for my 5th gup (blue belt). I didn't attend class as much, I just had surgery, and I couldn't spar. I asked my instructor if I can wait. He agreed. Maybe it was because he knew I couldn't do certain things, do to surgery, or what. But I also wasn't mentally ready.

As far as testing for 2nd dan in 8 months ....... That is a little soon, isn't it? I thought one had to wait one to two years between 1st dan and 2nd dan?

If you feel you are not ready, don't test. You will feel more like you earned it if you wait. Specially if you have doubts.
 
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MountainSage

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Deadhand, In a few word you have told me that you are ready to be a 1stBB and will probably be ready for 2ndBB. Its not all about the skills we learn, but also the maturity and ability to control the body. The skills will come with time and reps, but the internal factors aren't learned as quickly. Which style do you practice? As you increase in the dan ranks the testing becomes more mental then physical. Remember, you teacher saw what he needed to see during the pre-test and the test was just for fun.
 
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deadhand31

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I think I need to clear something up. I'm currently a Cho-dan, which means black belt, no degrees, no recognition by the kukkiwon. He wants me to test for Il-dan, which is 1st degree. I study Ji Do Kwon, under the WTF. After this test, I would get registered with the Kukkiwon, which means any WTF school would have to recognize my rank unless my certification were to be revoked. In October, I would have been in the school for 3 years. I think that i would rather be a 1st degree after at the very least 3 and a half years. Personally, to me, the length of the journey isn't as important as the destination. I'd just like to stop and smell the roses on the way.
 

Touch Of Death

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I wouldn't worry about how good the other students are in relation to you. You may posses natural abilities that some students may never posses and visa versa. Tests are ceremonial weather or not you exerted yourself or not. Learn to trust your instructors program. He or she has to make room for new blackbelts and if he leaves you at the first level you will set a standard that will become harder and harder to reach. If rank truly did not matter to you you wouldn't be so troubled with your instructors descisions. What does your rank mean to non-students anyway? Just realize that with three dollars and your second Dan(or what ever) you can buy a mocha from your favorite coffee stand; be sure to tip your server.
 

Zepp

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deadhand, I'm not known for having a high opinion of WTF standards, but it sounds to me like you will certainly be ready for your 1st degree black belt by October. Especially if you're learning a more combative TKD style, which it sounds like you are.

That completely aside:
It's important that you trust your instructor's assessment of your abilities. If you don't, it's important that you discuss it with him. It is possible that your standards are just too high. :)
 
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Cliarlaoch

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We recently had a test in my school in Kingston, wherein the Black Belt was pushing all of the colour belts to test (we only have about 20 people in the class) at once, and they had only been at their current rank for a few months. We only test every few months as is, but many of the higher ranking colour belts (i.e., purple belts, blue belts, the highest guys before hitting brown and black) were hardly ready to test. The one guy who did felt like he had done really badly at the test, but still managed to pass. So I've seen it happen when people are pushed to test early. It doesn't help their confidence in their own abilities, and it doesn't look good on the school.

So, I think you did quite right by deciding not to test until you feel you are ready both physically and mentally, and have been spent enough time to be "worthy" of the test (i.e. you've been put through all the paces and the hoopla that goes with training for a belt rank). Good for you.
 
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deadhand31

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Well, I don't like talking myself up, but I think I'm a special case with my instructor. I usually attend 4-6 classes a week, and the minimum to attend and pass is 2 days a week. I went earlier than I wanted for both my deputy black, and my black belts, but I felt that I did better at those tests than i expected. I want to be better than I am now for my 1st degree. I just want to be sure, that when i get it, that i deserve it. Rank does matter to me, in the sense that the person who has it can live up to it.
 
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Disco

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Just my own personal opinion, take what they offer / give you. You can never know, when at some point in your training you may be restricted from advancement opportunities.
:asian:
 
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ThuNder_FoOt

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I can understand the desire to live up to your rank.

But alot of people who hold themselves back, are sometimes over-qualified for the rank... they are just waiting out the time-restrictions. If you have a good relationship with your sabo, then I believe that you should trust his/her judgements. If your sabo believes in your skill, then you should too.

My sabo visits Korea frequently. He says out there, alot of the students that have black belts dont have degree markings. They can look at your leve of skills and estimate what degree you are.

I must admit, that in acquiring my 1st dan, I wanted my techniques to be on a certain level. I was holding myself back, until my sabo had a long talk with me. He wanted me to test, and I kept saying I wasn't ready. I trusted my sabo's decision, so I followed his instruction. I ended up doing ALOT better than I had expected. I came to the realization that by holding myself back, I was actually decreasing my potential to grow and achieve new levels.

Sometimes you just have to believe in yourself, at other times it may take a little help.

:asian:
 
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deadhand31

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Last weekend, I helped out at the testings, and I was able to watch an Il Dan test. I really was not pleased at all. They had the students do several two-step in kicks, such as two-step roundhouse, two-step spinning hook, wheel, and crossing kicks. There was also spinning hook to switch roundhouse, 4 tornado kicks without stopping, and a few other combos which were done in my first black belt test. Now, there is no doubt that I could pass the test in 4 months. There's no doubt I could pass the test now. The question for me is, Do I want to? While the instructor in my branch holds his students to high standards, I see that those who run the chain do not. I'm currently not sure what I should do, as my branch is probably the best branch in the chain, but I don't like the standards of the chain as a whole. Any advice would be appreciated.
 

Zepp

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Originally posted by deadhand31
While the instructor in my branch holds his students to high standards, I see that those who run the chain do not. I'm currently not sure what I should do, as my branch is probably the best branch in the chain, but I don't like the standards of the chain as a whole. Any advice would be appreciated.

If you like your instructor, stick with him. A good instructor is the most important aspect of your training in any martial art. If he tells you you're ready for the rank, you might as well accept it. The test you'll do for the organization isn't really a test,- it's just a demonstration. The real "test" begins every day you walk through your dojo's door to workout.

I don't think the organization you belong to is an issue until you set out to teach on your own. If I were you, I wouldn't worry about it until then.
 
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abzack

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Originally posted by deadhand31
I'm currently a Cho-dan, which means black belt, no degrees, no recognition by the kukkiwon. He wants me to test for Il-dan, which is 1st degree. I study Ji Do Kwon, under the WTF. After this test, I would get registered with the Kukkiwon, which means any WTF school would have to recognize my rank unless my certification were to be revoked.

I need some clarification on this. I studied TKD and received both my First and Second degree BBs in Korea. In Korea we call First degree BBs Cho Dan, but they are still First Dans registered through Kukkiwon. In Korea, First Dans are not considered to have "degrees", hence, they are called Cho Dans. The basic requirements for Il / Cho Dan testing at Kukkiwon are Taeguk 1-8, basic kicks, strikes, and blocks, and 2 minutes of sparring. Each school may add additional requirements prior to going to Kukkiwon for testing. The next test should be for Ee Dan, which includes the same requirements as above with the addition of Koryo.
I guess my confusion is I am not aware of any rank in-between 1st Gup Red belt and Il / Cho Dan (First Degree BB). Is this something unique to your organization? Do any other organizations use the same grading?
Also, I've heard of some of the outrageous fees charged in the US for BB testing. It sounds like you may be charged twice for the same grade, although I hope this is not the case.
Originally posted by ThuNder_FoOt He says out there, alot of the students that have black belts dont have degree markings.
Many many BBs in Korea do not wear degree markings.
 
C

Cassiopeia

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I'm so glad to find someone that seems to be from a more traditional school like mine. We do a lot of joint locks, non-competition sparring techniques, etc. Like you, most other schools around where I am are all sport. That's great if it's what you want, but it's not for me.

If you respect your instructor, and he says you are ready to test, then test. I too have had dilemas where my instructor wanted me to test and I felt I wasn't ready. We talked at length, and he explained that he would not ask me to test if he didn't think I was ready. Also, techniques are not to be at 100% at test time.

But, I see your concerns with the test looking almost too easy for a black belt test. I think this is a personal decision. While you don't want to keep yourself from advancing, if you aren't proud to be the rank you achieve, it's an empty and unfulfilling place to be. It won't do much to cultivate your lifestyle as a martial artist.


You also sometimes have to put the dojang aside. There is a lot of inside drama that goes on in my school chain, and while I'm not directly involved I'm privy to the information. Sometimes I just have to remind myself I'm training for me, not for my master or my grandmaster. The internals of the school have nothing to do with what I want to and do achieve.

Good luck.. :wink2:
Let us know what your decide.
 

Gizmo

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Being an instructor, I remember two such situations when I told my students that in my opnion they are ready to test for their black belts and they decided not to test. Both of them are excellent students. One answered that he would rather prefer to take the test in six months as he wants to give much better performance (which made it a total of 7 years practiced to 1st Dan and he passed with flying colours). The other, who is 1st Dan, said he doesn't really feel the need of testing for 2nd Dan at the moment as he is happy with his present grade, and as soon as he decides he would like to give it a try, he will asks me for permission then. He has been practising TKD for 8 years now and is several times national champion.

I was really proud to hear their decisions. I feel that at a certain level of proficiency in TKD one has to really "feel" when s/he is ready for the next grading. The instructor's opinion can be helpful, but I would never "order" anyone to test. It's their decision which I respect.

Regards,

Gizmo
www.taekwondo.prv.pl
 

TallAdam85

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i hated to be rushed but also listen to your teacher he knows what he is doing.

But i also do see at some schools when people test to quick.
 
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fissure

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Early testing, particularly at the gup level, is one of the biggest problems facing TKD today. Most org. have set time periods between Dan testing ( 2yrs between 1st and 2nd, 3yrs between 2nd and 3rd,ect.) but usually don't hold dojang to any standard with colored belt testing.
Added to this is the perception of many kids and especially their parents, that martial arts are no different from soccer or baseball. Many adults look upon MA's as an interesting alternative to aerobics or jogging. Most people need quick and constant reward to feel a sense of satisfaction in today's world. In martial arts they see this in belt promotion.
 
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progressivetactics

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I see 2 things here:
1- Does no one trust their instructors opinion anymore? You argue with your instructors about testing for next rank? Who should know better, you Who is trying to get to a rank or the guy who has been there and promoted well beyond that?

2- who are you in competition with? You are as good as, or not as agood as who? Who are you supposed to be as good as? I thought martial art training was about personal acheivement, goal setting, improving ones self....Not about the ability to be the best on the block at doing the highest kicks, most take downs, etc...

Don't forget what you are learning......It ain't all about physical.

bb
 
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