- Mar 27, 2012
- Reaction score
- Hendersonville, NC
That progression works well. Essentially, you've introduced (and started testing) early. The real test comes later, as you expect each level to show more development of the technique. That's in line with what I was saying - I just might not test it formally the first time (though I do have some things I test early that way). Mainly, I don't like to see things just prepared for a test. I like to see the emphasis on the class and progression, and the test is just verification.One thing we do at my school now, is we have different levels of expectations based on the belt level. A white belt, we expect to know a punch means you shove your fist out, whereas a green belt should be learning to pivot the foot and hip, and a red belt should have a complete understanding of the punch. We introduce spinning hook kick at green belt, and as long as they do a pirouette we're happy (I'm happy I just spelled it right). At blue belt it should resemble a kick, and at red belt it should be a raw technique to the face, and at black belt it should be a crisp motion.
The first belts you learn something it's usually more of a vocabulary test than anything else.
One thing I've done in my testing is add sparring at every level. The sparring requirements progress, which lets me see the progression of their skills. This goes along with the arm-flapping requirements (thanks @wab25 - I'll be using that for a long time!), which still exist, even with my approach. I really assess 3 things:@wab25 My thought is to try and combine the two. Taekwondo is very rank-based in its progression. In fact, the mandated requirements for black belt are 8 specific forms, everything else is up to the individual school's owner (to my knowledge, anyway).
Ideally, I want to do something in between, where some stuff is rank-specific, and other stuff is skill-based, or at least has a transition from rank-based to skill based. For example:
Trying to figure out how to balance those out is a good time waster for me whenever I do have spare time. At this point, it's purely academic/theoretical for me, because nobody is actually learning my "curriculum".
- Blue belt learns a new technique. This technique follows the rank-based model, where as long as the blue belt flaps their arms the right way, they get the red belt.
- Red belt gains a better understanding of the technique, and must be able to properly apply the technique in a controlled setting. (i.e. against passive resistance)
- Black belt gains even more understanding, and must be able to apply the technique in a different setting (i.e. a different setup, against active resistance, or in sparring)
One thing I've done in my testing is add sparring at every level. The sparring requirements progress, which lets me see the progression of their skills. This goes along with the arm-flapping requirements (thanks @wab25 - I'll be using that for a long time!), which still exist, even with my approach. I really assess 3 things:
A strength in one area can offset a weakness in another. "Just good enough" in all 3, isn't quite good enough. And yeah, that's very subjective.
- Technical progress (this is partly correct arm-flapping, partly actual understanding of the principles)
- Fighting/defensive progress (this is mainly in the sparring and in simulation defense lines)
- Personal progress (everyone has to progress every rank, even if they were good enough 2 ranks ago to pass this one)
Belts should reflect a level of competency.
If you get bogged down on curriculum-based belt progressions, students progress but get caught just learning new material (new forms, new techniques, new step sparring, whatever you can come up with).
White belts should learn the basic stances and kicks, and once they have shown proficiency, you give them a yellow belt and they started doing the same kicks as everyone else.
All train roundhouse and sidekick together, and all practice 360 roundhouse and back kick together. Everybody spars together.
By the time you are brown belt or black belt, you have a great 360 or a great back kick. And you are comfortable sparring.
Every rank you learn a new form, new step sparring, but the punching/kicking and sparring training are the same as everyone else.
While lower ranks are still training their kicks, upper ranks can delve into details of kicking and sparring or work on wrist lock and throwing techniques (other elements to fighting).
Black belts should be able to show their knowledge of the material (forms, step sparring, etc.) and really just show a level of proficiency that reflects how they have been training these same kicks for the number of years they've put in.
Your sparring should look like you've been sparring for years. lol.
That's really all for us.
At a few weeks in (supposed to be 5-10 weeks in, but varies by need), there's a test I call "foundation". There's no belt for this test, I just won't progress to the formal NGA curriculum until they pass it. Part of this test is two 30-second rounds of "defensive sparring". That means no offense, just controlling space and angle by blocks, jamming, and footwork - the other person is in constant "attack" mode, but very light and technical.How do you handle the sparring requirements?
I'm not a fan of upper ranks never training with lower ranks (it robs the lower ranks of the experience), but it's good for upper ranks to have time together. That can be hard to do in smaller schools, and larger schools it gets hard to manage mixed classes.This can depend on the size of your school. My old school, this is how we did things, because we had 1 class with about 20 people in it. The school I'm at right now has somewhere in the range of 150-200 students, split into 10 different classes based on age and rank. So our blue belts are only training with blue belts, our red belts only with red belts.
I'm not a fan of upper ranks never training with lower ranks (it robs the lower ranks of the experience), but it's good for upper ranks to have time together. That can be hard to do in smaller schools, and larger schools it gets hard to manage mixed classes.
To me, a Black Belt indicates that the individual has learned the curriculum of the style and has performed it in a testing environment before higher ranks....snip...
What do you think? What are the things a black belt should know, and what are the things you would expect them to learn?
To me, a Black Belt indicates that the individual has learned the curriculum of the style and has performed it in a testing environment before higher ranks.
I also equate earning 1st Degree to graduating from high school. You have learned the basics, now it's time to go to college and do some serious studying.
Per your original question; a BB should be aware of the rules of sparring at every level if that is a requirement of their school/system. Beyond that, only the rules that apply specifically to them would be relevant. This would be very far down on my list of requirements.The reason I bring up the sparring tactics, is because the rules change at higher belts. In the tournaments I've been to, colored belts up through blue belt (at any age) aren't allowed to kick to the head. Red and brown belts over the age of (it varies between 12-16) can do headshots, and black belts (sometimes all ages, sometimes 10-12+) can do headshots.
So the question is, do you have someone preparing for headshots at green and blue belt, so they'll be ready at red or black? Or do you have them start when it's appropriate in the rules, and just hope they don't do a tournament right after getting that belt and then being unprepared?
Does that mean there's no curriculum past your first dan test?
What do you study when you "go to college"?
Per your original question; a BB should be aware of the rules of sparring at every level if that is a requirement of their school/system. Beyond that, only the rules that apply specifically to them would be relevant. This would be very far down on my list of requirements.
Where my son trains....all the techniques are learned for 1st dan. After first dan it is more about perfecting the use of the techniques and accomplishments in the art (teaching, competing, judging, reffing, years of dedication, etc...)
Are there new footwork and strategies introduced, or is it purely about improving what you already know?
You have to ask that question? If your promotions are so easy someone can be working for the Next level, something is amiss. Most styles have techniques that "run over", a front kick for example; a TKD student will do this kick nearly every class they attend for as long as they practice, regardless of their rank. A person has to actively work on improving the kick for the same length of time. That is a very hard thing for some people to wrap their head around and they get disenfranchised with the practice and may end up quitting. This reality of repetition is one of the hardest things for an instructor to learn how to help students deal with.You're looking at this one backwards. It's not about knowing the things that came before. It's about whether as a colored belt they should be practicing for their level, or for the changes ahead.