The value of failure in belt testing.

TSDTexan

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Last night we had a kyu exam.

Last night, i failed. big red F.

My Shihan said i was right on the cusp.

I nailed my new forms.

but durring the exam I and another student (brown belt) were asked if a white belt had done a certain white belt form correctly.

The brown belt said yes.
then I was asked. I said no.

I had spotted mistakes.

I was asked to perform that form.
I wasn't prepared to do that form.

It was a form I had not done in a long time.
at this point, i have 20 forms that I am working on. I am struggling on some of them. Some i had polished until they were textbook perfect.
Others had been neglected, as they weren't important enough to me.

Because I didnt step up and demonstrate this whitebelt form I was held back.

Failure will happen. Try not to focus on the mistake or on negative emotions. Focus on the lesson they teach. Dont make excuses for failure.
Dont beat yourself up either.
And never give up.

#failingforward

The reason, it was explained to me, is because this dojo expects sempai to know what they know in order to help the cohai.

I am disappointed in myself. And...
I am slightly peeved the brown belt graded Ichikyu after the test though. I feel that his promotion should have been held back for the exact same reason mine was. I feel that I was singled out.... or that selective enforcement of standards was in play.

nonetheless, I will correct my errors. and let my perception of preferential bias, go.

but this has actually helped me a lot. to focus.
 
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jobo

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Last night we had a kyu exam.

Last night, i failed. big red F.

My Shihan said i was right on the cusp.

I nailed my new forms.

but durring the exam I and another student (brown belt) were asked if a white belt had done a certain white belt form correctly.

The brown belt said yes.
then I was asked. I said no.

I had spotted mistakes.

I was asked to perform that form.
I wasn't prepared to do that form.

It was a form I had not done in a long time.
at this point, i have 20 forms that I am working on. I am struggling on some of them. Some i had polished until they were textbook perfect.
Others had been neglected, as they weren't important enough to me.

Because I didnt step up and demonstrate this whitebelt form I was held back.

Failure will happen. Try not to focus on the mistake or on negative emotions. Focus on the lesson they teach. Dont make excuses for failure.
Dont beat yourself up either.
And never give up.

#failingforward
so you and the other guy were tested differently,you answered he question correctly, he was wrong , you were asked to do an extra form, he wasnt, you failed ,he passed ?

that sounds grossly unfair to me, I would be leaving there and finding somewhere else that has a level of equity.

at the very least I would refuse to ever take another test, till I had a firm promise it would be done fairly
 
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TSDTexan

TSDTexan

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so you and the other guy were tested differently,you answered he question correctly, he was wrong , you were asked to do an extra form, he wasnt, you failed ,he passed ?

that sounds grossly unfair to me, I would be leaving there and finding somewhere else that has a level of equity.

at the very least I would refuse to ever take another test, till I had a firm promise it would be done fairly


if I had done the very basic form i would have promoted. I didn't. therefore i failed.

i didnt meet the standards for promotion.

fairness isnt relevant.

my teacher has knowledge that I want.
classes are dirt cheap.

and this is the only okinawan karate school in my area.
 

wab25

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So, if I get this right. You and the other candidate watched a white belt perform his kata. You were asked if he did it right. The other said yes, and was promoted. You said no, he made mistakes. You were then asked to do that same white belt kata and you did not perform it. You were not promoted. Did I get that right?

The instructor could be making many points, assuming the above is correct.
  1. Even at brown belt, you need to know all the kata up to your current set. (you can't forget the first ones)
  2. Don't correct or pick on students doing things you can't do. If you were going to call out mistakes by the other student, be sure you can demonstrate how not to make that mistake.
  3. You can't hold everyone to the same standard. Sure, all brown belts should be at the same standard. But each level has its own standard. The white belt standard might be ok with a few small mistakes.
Finally, I wasn't there and don't know your kata... but could the white belt have gotten it right? Could you have been mistaken about his mistakes?

In my opinion, if you were going to call out a lower ranked student on a kata... you should be able to that kata, without making the same mistakes.

However, I always look up to folks who fail a test, then go back, study, make the corrections and retest. First, it means the test has value and that in passing it, you accomplished something more than signing a check. Second, learning to accept and overcome failure and continue forward is a more valuable thing than any belt, stripe or title. I am glad to hear you are sticking with it. Thats more important than correct arm and leg flapping, by you or the white belt.
 
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TSDTexan

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So, if I get this right. You and the other candidate watched a white belt perform his kata. You were asked if he did it right. The other said yes, and was promoted. You said no, he made mistakes. You were then asked to do that same white belt kata and you did not perform it. You were not promoted. Did I get that right?

The instructor could be making many points, assuming the above is correct.
  1. Even at brown belt, you need to know all the kata up to your current set. (you can't forget the first ones)
  2. Don't correct or pick on students doing things you can't do. If you were going to call out mistakes by the other student, be sure you can demonstrate how not to make that mistake.
  3. You can't hold everyone to the same standard. Sure, all brown belts should be at the same standard. But each level has its own standard. The white belt standard might be ok with a few small mistakes.
Finally, I wasn't there and don't know your kata... but could the white belt have gotten it right? Could you have been mistaken about his mistakes?

In my opinion, if you were going to call out a lower ranked student on a kata... you should be able to that kata, without making the same mistakes.

However, I always look up to folks who fail a test, then go back, study, make the corrections and retest. First, it means the test has value and that in passing it, you accomplished something more than signing a check. Second, learning to accept and overcome failure and continue forward is a more valuable thing than any belt, stripe or title. I am glad to hear you are sticking with it. Thats more important than correct arm and leg flapping, by you or the white belt.


you make a lot of really good points.

I would like to throw some more info out there.
i am not a brown belt.
i am 6 of 10 kyu belts. which is orange in this system.

the brown belt was 8 of 10. Ichikyu. (after the test 9 of 10, after last night, his next test is for shodan).

Yes. you are absolutely correct that i should be able to do Pinan Nidan. And i can. Which one of the 3 version should I do? I know the Tang Soo Do, the Shotokan and the Doshinkan versions.
Part of my problem is the basic ones i need to polish to the degree where there is no bleed thru. will resume on my lunch break
 

Flying Crane

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So a question that I dont think was clearly answered: were you or the brown belt correct, when asked if the white belt did his kata correctly? Regardless of your performance of the kata.
 

jobo

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if I had done the very basic form i would have promoted. I didn't. therefore i failed.

i didnt meet the standards for promotion.

fairness isnt relevant.

my teacher has knowledge that I want.
classes are dirt cheap.

and this is the only okinawan karate school in my area.
of course fairness is relevant, if they had been fair you would have past, failing because they treated you differently to another students isn't failing. its discrimination.

your clearly peeved at the unfairness, I picked that up were you said " I am peeved" but then you start to defend them. like your in a cult.if your going to let yourself be treated 7nfairly, people will continue to treat you unfairly. learn to stand up for yourself, for goodness sake
 

wab25

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Yes. you are absolutely correct that i should be able to do Pinan Nidan. And i can. Which one of the 3 version should I do? I know the Tang Soo Do, the Shotokan and the Doshinkan versions.
Which class were you in? If you were in a Tang Soo Do class, the Tang Soo Do version would probably be the one to go with.

Part of my problem is the basic ones i need to polish to the degree where there is no bleed thru.
I am not sure that that was the issue. (granted this is my reading of you half of the story on the internet...) I think the issue was that you found fault with someone doing a kata you should be able to do, but then were not willing to demonstrate that same kata.

I think that this testing situation had many successful answers to it. First, you could have said: Yes, he did it right. You would have passed. You probably could have said: Yes, he performed it well for a white belt. But, you said: No, he made mistakes... and you were asked to demonstrate. The test failure came when you didn't demonstrate. Note that the demonstration did not have to be perfect. So the second way to succeed here would have been to demonstrate the kata. (choose the version that the class you are in does) If you can do the kata well, no worries. If you are worried about doing the whole kata flawlessly... you could lead with: I saw he had trouble with steps 3 and 8, because I had trouble with those. I have worked and cleaned those steps up. Now, people are looking at steps 3 and 8, which you just have to do better than the white belt.

You should probably also continue to polish those basic katas.... but thats why people train in those arts, with those kata... to spend time polishing and studying them.

Anyway, I wasn't there and can only give my opinion on the one side that has been presented here. I wouldn't make too much out of it. Just roll with it, learn what you can from the experience and move on.
 
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TSDTexan

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you make a lot of really good points.

I would like to throw some more info out there.
i am not a brown belt.
i am 6 of 10 kyu belts. which is orange in this system.

the brown belt was 8 of 10. Ichikyu. (after the test 9 of 10, after last night, his next test is for shodan).

Yes. you are absolutely correct that i should be able to do Pinan Nidan. And i can. Which one of the 3 version should I do? I know the Tang Soo Do, the Shotokan and the Doshinkan versions.
Part of my problem is the basic ones i need to polish to the degree where there is no bleed thru. will resume on my lunch break

Resuming.

WAB25...
one point i want to address... I didnt call anyone out.
I was put on the spot. I was asked directly Is this kata correct?
A. No. it is not correct.
B. Yes. it is correct.

B. would for me be making a statement that i know or believe to be false.
I make it a point to be honest. I value my name and reputation.

I didnt have to perform the kata to address the specifics of the kata... and the whitebelt who performed it.

Yes, some slack can be given, if and when a situation does merit it.

in this tradition, we have 4 whites then yellow then orange. this individual is 4th white. his form was a 2nd white form. I counted 6 errors. some major some minor.

Had i been expecting to demonstrate this form I wouldn't have been working on the ones that I was working on.

The simplest answer is devote more personal time to training the whole of the Doshinkan curriculum that I have been exposed to and have tested on, or in process of learning.

I have been teaching and continuing in TSD this whole time. So I am juggling two large tasks, in addition to a full time job, two wives, and a 6 & 1/2 yo boy.

So i need to cut something out of my schedule, to fit more time for training my Doshinkan kata
 
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TSDTexan

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Which class were you in? If you were in a Tang Soo Do class, the Tang Soo Do version would probably be the one to go with.

I am not sure that that was the issue. (granted this is my reading of you half of the story on the internet...) I think the issue was that you found fault with someone doing a kata you should be able to do, but then were not willing to demonstrate that same kata.

I think that this testing situation had many successful answers to it. First, you could have said: Yes, he did it right. You would have passed. You probably could have said: Yes, he performed it well for a white belt. But, you said: No, he made mistakes... and you were asked to demonstrate. The test failure came when you didn't demonstrate. Note that the demonstration did not have to be perfect. So the second way to succeed here would have been to demonstrate the kata. (choose the version that the class you are in does) If you can do the kata well, no worries. If you are worried about doing the whole kata flawlessly... you could lead with: I saw he had trouble with steps 3 and 8, because I had trouble with those. I have worked and cleaned those steps up. Now, people are looking at steps 3 and 8, which you just have to do better than the white belt.

You should probably also continue to polish those basic katas.... but thats why people train in those arts, with those kata... to spend time polishing and studying them.

Anyway, I wasn't there and can only give my opinion on the one side that has been presented here. I wouldn't make too much out of it. Just roll with it, learn what you can from the experience and move on.

No. I am a 3rd dan and an instructor in TSD. I have a humble student body of 2-6 students at a given time. I could have a lot more, my classes are free after all. But I choose to work with students that meet my standards, and have schedules that work with mine.

I would have loved to just point out the specifics.
But my Shihan has a method. "notice, think, do" is the English shorthand. we are expected to learn by direct observation and comparisons between a modeled example and our own performance of a specific form drill etc.

Yes, i could have kept my yapper shut. but that only would have been less than beneficial for the whitebelt and for myself.

it was of value for myself, because it shows an area for self improvement.
 

Buka

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So you keep training and take another test at some point. You were going to keep training anyway, yes? So it really isn't a any big whoop. And maybe down the road you'll be able to council another student about tests in the dojo.

And to me, if a dojo is going to test, it should be just that.

Go gettum', brother. Keep at it, fix that form and have a ball doing it.
 

Flying Crane

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Resuming.

WAB25...
one point i want to address... I didnt call anyone out.
I was put on the spot. I was asked directly Is this kata correct?
A. No. it is not correct.
B. Yes. it is correct.

B. would for me be making a statement that i know or believe to be false.
I make it a point to be honest. I value my name and reputation.

I didnt have to perform the kata to address the specifics of the kata... and the whitebelt who performed it.

Yes, some slack can be given, if and when a situation does merit it.

in this tradition, we have 4 whites then yellow then orange. this individual is 4th white. his form was a 2nd white form. I counted 6 errors. some major some minor.

Had i been expecting to demonstrate this form I wouldn't have been working on the ones that I was working on.

The simplest answer is devote more personal time to training the whole of the Doshinkan curriculum that I have been exposed to and have tested on, or in process of learning.

I have been teaching and continuing in TSD this whole time. So I am juggling two large tasks, in addition to a full time job, two wives, and a 6 & 1/2 yo boy.

So i need to cut something out of my schedule, to fit more time for training my Doshinkan kata
Cut out the 6 1/2 year old boy. ;)
 
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TSDTexan

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of course fairness is relevant, if they had been fair you would have past, failing because they treated you differently to another students isn't failing. its discrimination.

your clearly peeved at the unfairness, I picked that up were you said " I am peeved" but then you start to defend them. like your in a cult.if your going to let yourself be treated 7nfairly, people will continue to treat you unfairly. learn to stand up for yourself, for goodness sake


no jobo. if it had been fair... the brownbelt wouldn't have promoted, nor myself.

Not defending anyone. I have deficiencies, and i am resolved to fixing them.

I did fail. and for good reason. But if I want to obtain the whole curriculum, I have to get with it.

Yes, it could be very unfair. It could be I am biased.
At either case, complaining doesn't fix it. Fixing my karate, and earning the promotion gets me down the road.

Eventually, I will have my education, and I can discuss my concerns with my teacher.
 

Yokozuna514

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Last night we had a kyu exam.

Last night, i failed. big red F.

My Shihan said i was right on the cusp.

I nailed my new forms.

but durring the exam I and another student (brown belt) were asked if a white belt had done a certain white belt form correctly.

The brown belt said yes.
then I was asked. I said no.

I had spotted mistakes.

I was asked to perform that form.
I wasn't prepared to do that form.

It was a form I had not done in a long time.
at this point, i have 20 forms that I am working on. I am struggling on some of them. Some i had polished until they were textbook perfect.
Others had been neglected, as they weren't important enough to me.

Because I didnt step up and demonstrate this whitebelt form I was held back.

Failure will happen. Try not to focus on the mistake or on negative emotions. Focus on the lesson they teach. Dont make excuses for failure.
Dont beat yourself up either.
And never give up.

#failingforward

The reason, it was explained to me, is because this dojo expects sempai to know what they know in order to help the cohai.

I am disappointed in myself. And...
I am slightly peeved the brown belt graded Ichikyu after the test though. I feel that his promotion should have been held back for the exact same reason mine was. I feel that I was singled out.... or that selective enforcement of standards was in play.

nonetheless, I will correct my errors. and let my perception of preferential bias, go.

but this has actually helped me a lot. to focus.
I applaud your outlook and your desire to look at the brighter side of life even when it comes to passing a belt grading. I think you correctly surmised why you didn't pass and that seems logical to me (ie: Asked to do a form and not being able to do it.). If you remove the fact that you were both asked this question before you were asked to do the form, you may not have written this post.

Although you may feel slightly disappointed in yourself and slightly peeved that the brown belt graded to ikkyu this minor setback now will save you from larger setbacks like this in the future. Like all good karateka we should leave our egos at the door and just train. Good luck moving forward.
 

skribs

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I agree with you on the outlook regarding your failure, but I have to agree with the others - it sounds like this guy is a higher belt than you, which means he should be held to a higher standard than you. Where you may not have been able to perform the kata, he either wasn't paying attention to the white belt or didn't even realize there was a mistake to be made.

Now, to fail him for not knowing that would seem strict, but when you were failed even though you were further in your knowledge of the form than he was, is what I find unfair.
 
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TSDTexan

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I agree with you on the outlook regarding your failure, but I have to agree with the others - it sounds like this guy is a higher belt than you, which means he should be held to a higher standard than you. Where you may not have been able to perform the kata, he either wasn't paying attention to the white belt or didn't even realize there was a mistake to be made.

Now, to fail him for not knowing that would seem strict, but when you were failed even though you were further in your knowledge of the form than he was, is what I find unfair.


Here is the real rub. Shihan never asks trick questions to begin with. Ever.
So the brownbelt should have known something was incorrect. Just by the question alone.

Then Shihan has very clear and easy to read body language. His body language when Brownbelt said it was correct was very clear. And the other Blackbelt who was sitting in on the test showed the same disbelief at the answer.

Shihan again asked him. He asked him twice before calling on me.

Ultimately, i am not in charge. Fair or not... it doesn't matter. If i want to finish obtaining instruction in Okinawan Karate... i will improve my own practice, and let go.

I am not privy to the why. and it doesn't matter. I cannot do much about it anyway.

I am considering switching to Uechi Ryu and commuting 2 hours for class in Portland Oregon.
8 forms altogether.
 
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