Time in each rank

Milt G.

Purple Belt
Jul 11, 2009
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Hillsboro, OR.
This is my official first post!
I just ran this article in my school news letter after I lost a student because she was passed over for testing.
The Importance of Rank Testing
Sensei Brian
When will my child be ready to test?

It is very important to understand that not everyone will progress at the same speed through the ranks in the Martial Arts. There are many factors that lead to advancement. Some factors we can change, but some will always be there. Lets discuss a few factors that might be obstacles for yourself or your child.
The first one is a matter of the chemical makeup of ones brain. You cannot teach a child to be more competitive by nature, however, thats not to say that we cant encourage it. Although it may not seem that some students are outwardly competitive, that doesnt mean that he or she cant set and achieve intrinsic goals for themselves. This is where Martial Artists excel. The nice thing about our program at Kempo Defense Systems, is that we realize that each of our students are very different and their needs as Martial Artists vary. Some need self control more than others.
While some may need to work more on their focus and paying attention to simple directions, or some might lack in motor skill coordination. As Martial Artists and parents, it is quite evident to us what child has what need. These needs are not weaknesses or character flaws, but merely what individualizes all of us as human beings.
Another factor that may lead to a slower rank progression in the Martial Arts is a very simple one to recognize. Some students dont have the drive to practice at home. They may be spread too thin with school activities or a hectic family schedule, they may have to many distractions at home with the television, computer or video games. Whatever the case may be, Martial Arts is like anything else, you get out of it what you put into it.
And finally, the level of maturity of a student has a lot to do with rank progression. Age is definitely a factor, but what better way to grow in maturity than in an activity that positively reinforces self control, discipline, manners, respect and healthy physical activity.
Bottom line is that we are all different, and we cant measure our own personal growth against someone elses benchmark. Thats not fair to anyone. Our promise to you as parents is an easy one to keep. We will never test a student that isnt ready to test, and we will never hold back a student from testing thats ready. Personal growth in the Martial Arts is just that, personal. I encourage your comments and appreciate that as parents, you hate to see your child not test when others are testing, I have children in the martial arts as well, and have felt that way also. I assure you that I have no personal favorites, I enjoy the opportunity I have to interface with all my students, and each one is equally as valuable to me. That is why when they work harder to achieve what seems unattainable to them; they have a better sense of accomplishment and a clearer view of how hard work pays off in every aspect of their lives. This is a knowledge that cant be bought or learned in any school. This only comes from personal experience
As young Martial Artists your students will learn very valuable life lessons. They will learn to deal with the disappointment that comes part and parcel with any sports or academic program. They will not always test with other students at the same time. But unlike any other sport, they hold the key to their own success. There is no team to depend on or to let them down. A Martial Artist learns to become self reliant, this builds their confidence and their self esteem. These are all basic needs, remember how thrilled your child was when they learned to tie their own shoes or ride their bike solo. This is the same feeling that they will get every time they reach a new milestone in the martial arts.
If I give a student something that they havent strived hard for, I am sending out a message that good things come with minimal effort. That would be great injustice, one Im not willing to deal them. What I will do for my students is teach them that hard work pays off, and that if you want something bad enough it can be yours, but you have to be willing to trade hard work for reward. In the end, they will become better and more productive members of society knowing the best things in life come from the fruits of their labors.


Well put, and a good post! Thank you.

Milt G.


Yellow Belt
Feb 18, 2008
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I'd weigh in on the "long enough" angle...

Yes, I think that there should be "average" times...guidelines, more or less, just to work out how long it should take to cover the material in suitable depth. As an instructor, you want to be sure that your students understand what is being taught in the techniques, not just that they are able to mimic the movements well enough. (Well, ok, at least I would HOPE that people would want that....)

Some instructors may move people along faster or slower, depending on their knowledge of the material and abilities. I don't think that anyone should necessarily be held back or held to strict guidelines if they have proven that they have met the standards; conversely, I don't believe someone should be promoted based on length of time in a belt. Bad juju either way, IMHO.

If it's done right, I would think that the final decision would be the instructor's unbiased discretion -- that the instructor would ok for testing all those that were ready for testing, not just those that were most persistent in asking, or those longest in the rank, etc.

As always, just my opinion.