Your 1st Dan testing..

BrandonLucas

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I'll have to dig out the article, but earlier this year, Blackbelt magazine interviewed a man who had devised an "Ultimate Blackbelt Test" which took a year. Needless to say, there were a lot of non-martial aspects to the test. It involved philosphy, spirituality, being a good citizen, volunteering, artistic areas outside of the martial arts, such as poetry and painting, and of course, an essay.

Daniel

Now that sounds like an in-depth test...and I can 100% see the merit in that.

Now, I'll throw this out there for some more discussion:

If a person knows that they're being tested, do they perform any differently than they normally do? If this is the case, then wouldn't a test be self-defeating? How can a person deserve to wear a blackbelt rank that changes their M.O. only for the test?

Just food for thought and good, healthy discussion....
 

KELLYG

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If Black Belt candidates are being picked or advised to test by their Masters than they should have shown the black belt spirit in class. The test at that point has already been taken and passed. The actual black belt test is just a formality and important one but a formality just the same.
 

Sukerkin

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In line with what Brandon said above, for both of my post-kyu grade promotions, I never knew that I was being tested. That's how it should be in my book. It shall certainly be how I conduct things if the time should come where I stand in the shoes deciding such matters.
 

<_>

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3-4 forms, 3 breaks and a couple fights wont tell you the most important thing:

Do they have HEART

Do they have WILL

Do they have FIRE

My system used to make people fight till they passed out, just to see if they would get back up.NO ONE got black belt without passing out or throwing up.

to see if they wanted it bad enough.

My own instructors have had me take a (adult) person testing for 1st dan and just manhandle them in sparring, grab thier gi, work thier ribs over till they couldnt breath right, sweep them and stomp on 'em

to see if they had HEART

If every school did this, we wouldnt have the curse of 5 yr old BB's

If every school did this, TKD would still be a respected SELF DEFENSE ART, not some Olympic slappy sport

First Degree Black Belt SHOULD be an endurance test, IMO

my student's tests will be

In fact,, i showed them the tape of my BB test after class on sat so they will know what they have in store for them


You need self defense, and it should take more than a few years to get there to. I like the idea of the 5 mile run, you might throw in something like cpr training to.
 

Miles

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I have done black belt tests which were nearly 72 hours straight through and black belt tests which were only 4 hours long.

When I test someone for black belt, I already know what they can do since I've been watching them for 4-5 yrs. But I want them to demonstrate how much they want it to the other students and any spectators who might be there. I recently tested a 12 yr old for his 1st poom (jr black belt). He did all basics, demonstrated footwork and kicking drills, all 8 Taegueks, he broke boards with every kick I could think of, then he sparred. He had to spar one-on-one about 6 times, then 2 on 1 for 4 minutes. One of his opponents is his 320lb father (3rd dan) who gave no quarter.

My point is that the black belt test is an important milestone and it should be memorable (bruise-worthy). I don't need to have anyone get knocked out, but I want them to sweat and work their butts off. The students represent me, and by extension, my instructors and Taekwondo. I want them to be good ambassadors for TKD which has a bad enough reputation anyway.
 

Raistlin

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YoungMan,

I believe that the kind of test you are referring to and the kind of test that some of the others on this board are referring to are two different kinds of tests. The one you are referring to tests the skills of an individual to see if they are at black belt level. In that case, 20 minutes is certainly long enough. The tests that I administer are not to test their skill level. I already know their skill level before the test starts. If it was not at black belt level, I would not be testing them. I am testing their indomitable spirit. I want to see if they will give up when they are pushed to their limits. I want to see if they can still perform when they are exhausted. I push their buttons to try to confuse them and make them lose their temper. I want to see that they can master themselves and focus. This is what separates a black belt from the rest. I want to be confident that my students are able to defend themselves. In a street fight, your adrenaline gets pumping, you get exhausted quickly. You have a lot of emotions to battle (fear, anxiety, excitement). It is not at all like a sparring match when you are fresh. I can take a gymnast and make him look like an impressive martial artist in a short time. There is a big difference between demonstrating some techniques for 20 minutes and showing focus and determination through extreme adversity and still have the ability to perform.
 

Sukerkin

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It should also be remembered that the Black Belt is the start and not the end. It's a cliche but it's the truth.

The only absolute arbiter of skill is combat and we're not going to be getting that usually in modern society (thank goodness). Turning a belt test into Endurance (the game show), as I said before, makes a mockery of the process, turning it into a "Just how ****ing hard are you then?" question.

From my own reasonably lengthy experience of the arts (twenty five years or so), this Action Man Movie testing is a recent, mostly American, phenomenon. When I was doing empty-hand rather than armed arts, you didn't need a three-week test to know who was good and who wasn't.

If it makes people feel good about themselves and their school then fine - just don't confuse it with martial arts.
 

BrandonLucas

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It should also be remembered that the Black Belt is the start and not the end. It's a cliche but it's the truth.

The only absolute arbiter of skill is combat and we're not going to be getting that usually in modern society (thank goodness). Turning a belt test into Endurance (the game show), as I said before, makes a mockery of the process, turning it into a "Just how ****ing hard are you then?" question.

From my own reasonably lengthy experience of the arts (twenty five years or so), this Action Man Movie testing is a recent, mostly American, phenomenon. When I was doing empty-hand rather than armed arts, you didn't need a three-week test to know who was good and who wasn't.

If it makes people feel good about themselves and their school then fine - just don't confuse it with martial arts.

I'm not sure about the line that I've bolded within your reply.

I agree that the fanfare and pomp that goes along with blackbelt tests these days is more of a mondern thing...but I don't know about what you're saying.

I think that the method of testing should be up to each instructor and should be individual for each student. Not everyone can test on the same material under the same circumstances, so there's really no fair way to test everyone the same.

To me, (and this is just my opinion), martial arts are very individual. Each martial art gives the student the blueprint to work from, and then the martial art is molded to the student's needs. This, IMO, is where the "art" comes into play.

Now, since each person is working off of a blueprint, but the end result can often vary, then I don't think it's fair to subject each student to the same test for blackbelt.

I do agree with what you're saying about it being the start of the journey, though. It's up to the instructor's discretion as to whether the student is ready to embark on that journey. IMO, it's also up to the instructor as to how they decide the student is ready.

Either way, I still consider it 100% martial arts...as long as the student has honestly earned the right to wear a blackbelt.
 

Flying Crane

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Each candidate does Palgwe Chil and Pal no count, free fights at least three different people, and does a break that they feel represents their best technique. We don't make them run through every form they ever learned because it is unnecessary. Red belt forms should represent your cumulative technique up to that point.

Coming into the discussion late, and not a TKDer myself, but this comment by YoungMan was made a couple times here, and I wanted to comment on it.

Personally, I think it can be a good idea to test the full system, because I think a lot of people tend to focus on the newer material and put the older material on the back burner. In my opinion, learning a martial system is cumulative. New material, while often based on and built upon earlier material, does not replace that earlier material. Instead, it should ALL be a part of regular practice. But sometimes people become too focused on the new stuff and forget to keep up with the earlier stuff. So the earlier forms may become sloppy or rusty, or, worse case, be forgotten.

If someone cannot competently demonstrate all the material that they have learned so far, then I might question their rank. After all, the rank is an indicator both of skill and having a body of knowledge. If the knowledge is leaking away, then is the rank merited? So testing it all is a way of making sure the student is keeping up with it all.

If the curriculum is very large and this would require an unreasonably long test, then perhaps not everything needs to be tested. Instead, there could be a random selection of things that the testers want to see, but they can choose anything from the entire curriculum and not just the most recent material. This way, the candidate at least has to be prepared to do anything, because he won't know ahead of time exactly what will be called.

Anyway, this is just my thoughts on it. I kind of feel that if the formality of a test is to be done, then do it all and make the candidate work hard for it. I don't know that I agree with a multi-day test, but for some people that works. But testing the entire curriculum, and making it last at least a few hours seems reasonable to me. Force the candidate to show his heart and spirit and committment.

AFter all, by the time someone reaches shodan, he should have a genuine personal committment to training. He shouldn't need the teacher to push him to train. And part of this personal committment means being mature enough to recognize the value in the complete system.

On the other hand, Sukerkin has raised another valid point, that being that some schools don't test at all, Instead, they are constantly testing the student daily. When they see the skill and committment and body of knowledge necessary shown daily, then the rank is simply given. This makes a lot of sense to me, and perhaps in a perfect world this would be the best way to do it. I think this kind of thing works best with a small group, where the teacher really works closely with every student and therefore knows exactly where the student is in his developement. In a larger school with lots of students, it may be more difficult for the teacher to keep such close tabs on a student's progress.

anyway, just my thoughts here...
 

KELLYG

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I understand where everyone is coming from. I think that the black belt tester should demonstrate cumulative knowledge. This cumulative testing could also be used by the Masters as a training tool. They see a group of people all a the same level would they not also see where the holes in there teaching are? If something is glaring apparent, is wrong, then this information could be used to make all students better?

Question. Are your black belt tests pre-formated or are the more off the cuff?
 

bgirl-kr

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I took my 1st dan grading at the age of 12 so i cant really remember all of the details.
But i travelled for 3 and a half hour to reach a TAGB grading hall. We warmed up for an hour and then 6 students were called into a hall by themselves were they were instructed on line work to do (a series of movements selcted for us) in front of a panel of 5 official tae Kwon Do masters. We were then tested on out pattern work, we had to perform the pattern for our grade, a pattern of their choice and then a pattern of our choice.
I was then taken individually into another room where there were 4 other masters and asked theory questions. they consisted of meaning of patterns, translations of moves, the background of the art meanings of colours and many others. in all i think i was asked about 9 questions.

After that i returned back to the hall i was in previously to spar. we have 5 opponants, each spar lasting about 3 minutes.
after that we showed our respects to the masters andhad to leave the room. We had to wait around until the whole grading was over, before we were aloud to leave the building. i then had to wait 4 days for my instructor to find out if i had passed or not.

Fortunatley it was good news
hope this helps Katie
 

TKDHermit

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Interesting - is that the way it's done elsewhere too? At our (mc)Dojang, the "black stripe" (1st Gup) is half black, half red and the poom uniforms are red, with a black belt with gold print. THe instructors are the only adult BB's there, and their uniforms are white, black or blue.

Our 1st geups wear a maroon belt [which is why our 2nd and 1st geups can be interchangbly called brown/red, no idea why they dont wanna make a clear distinction to unify the "color"] with a black stripe [duct tape] on both edges of the belt, with the white-collared v-neck dobok[all coloured belts wear this type of dobok].

Our poom holders wear the half-black half-red [top black bottom red]-collared v-neck dobok, with the half-black half-red[top black bottom red] belt. Belt embroidery colours are usually gold, although I've seen other colours.

Our dan holders wear the black-collared v-neck dobok with a black belt. Belt embroidery colours again are usually gold.

Our doboks are standardized in such a way that they are all v-neck, with SINGAPORE TAEKWONDO FEDERATION printed on the back, and a patch with the STF logo stitched on the left upper arm. Only these 3 types [one type, 3 colours of collars] are recognized by the STF. Doboks not meeting the requirement of the STF will not be allowed to be worn to competitions.
 

terryl965

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I took my 1st dan grading at the age of 12 so i cant really remember all of the details.
But i travelled for 3 and a half hour to reach a TAGB grading hall. We warmed up for an hour and then 6 students were called into a hall by themselves were they were instructed on line work to do (a series of movements selcted for us) in front of a panel of 5 official tae Kwon Do masters. We were then tested on out pattern work, we had to perform the pattern for our grade, a pattern of their choice and then a pattern of our choice.
I was then taken individually into another room where there were 4 other masters and asked theory questions. they consisted of meaning of patterns, translations of moves, the background of the art meanings of colours and many others. in all i think i was asked about 9 questions.

After that i returned back to the hall i was in previously to spar. we have 5 opponants, each spar lasting about 3 minutes.
after that we showed our respects to the masters andhad to leave the room. We had to wait around until the whole grading was over, before we were aloud to leave the building. i then had to wait 4 days for my instructor to find out if i had passed or not.

Fortunatley it was good news
hope this helps Katie


Welcome Katie, you should go to the meet and greet section and do a formal introduction.
 

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