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Nidan Melbourne
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 21 Aug 2013
Posts: 2163
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Styles: Goju-Ryu, BJJ, Balintawak Arnis

PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:34 am    Post subject: Black Belt Gradings; elibility and promotion Reply with quote

Each of us as instructors and club owners act as a form of quality control within’ our own associations or clubs to ensure we promote those to the Black Belt Level and that it was warranted.

I have 2 questions for everyone here:

1) How do your 1st Kyu’s or Current Black Belts become eligible for promotion? Do they have to meet certain requirements in-grade (ie. pass x tests to become eligible) and/or be at that rank for a certain amount of time?

For my club; our 1st Kyu’s must achieve a minimum of 4 tags (Basics, Combinations, Kata & Pre-Arranged Sparring (gyakusoku, bunkai + kyogi); sparring is the 5th tag.

Often our students are at 1st kyu for anywhere between 4 and 12 months. 4 months if the student is of high quality. Some students take much longer depending on them. I took just under 2 years to be eligible to grade.

All our Black Belts (Shodan-Ho - Sandan currently) must actively train in class for x amount of time. So for a Shodan-Ho it is 18 Months, and I as a Nidan must wait 3 Years; which means i can grade in 2018.

The time begins from the last grading you attended and passed.

2) How does your club or association dictate promotions?
Do they have to meet an overall score? Do students have to do any additional work in addition to the above question?


Our students must achieve a minimum of 3 of 5 to be considered for promotion. If they have 3 they are considered a Borderline Pass; but they are scrutinised even more to determine if they pass or not.

That usually comes down to attitude and effort levels.

If any student achieves a 4 or 5 they are an overall pass, given the right attitude.
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singularity6
Red Belt
Red Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 790
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I won't be testing for black any time soon, but I've been a spectator for 3 people who tested for first dahn. here's what I've gathered:

1) Our red belts (first geup) train for at least a year before testing for black. In order to test, you must be able to effectively defend yourself against one attacker, and multiple attackers (unarmed, ) with both Tae Kwon Do and Hap Ki Do. At this point, all our techniques should be performed with a high level of accuracy, power and finesse.

2) There's a point system (100, I believe) that's split between forms (we need to do all the Palgwe forms, and Koryo;) napa; matt work, sparring - unarmed attacker; self defense - armed attacker; sparring - multiple unarmed attackers; self defense - armed attackers.

We are also tested on knowledge of terminology, tenets, oath, and we have to write a 5 page essay about why we aspire to earn a black belt.

Overall, someone testing for first dahn should expect to be performing for a couple hours.
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5th Geup Jidokwan Tae Kwon Do/Hap Ki Do

(Never officially tested in aikido, iaido or kendo)
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Bulltahr
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 08 Mar 2015
Posts: 482
Location: NEW ZEALAND
Styles: Shotokan, Seido Juku

PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1st Kyu, 18 months, invited to grade.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 13594
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
1) How do your 1st Kyu’s or Current Black Belts become eligible for promotion? Do they have to meet certain requirements in-grade (ie. pass x tests to become eligible) and/or be at that rank for a certain amount of time?

2) How does your club or association dictate promotions?
Do they have to meet an overall score? Do students have to do any additional work in addition to the above question?

No student is guaranteed to attend any Testing Cycle, and no student is guaranteed any type of promotion...NONE WHATSOEVER!!

The SKKA/Hombu maintains each and every member of the Student Body a Hard Card on file. This Hard Card is strictly protected in a secure and locked room, whereas, only 3 of the Higher Hierarchy are permitted entrance into that room, as well as being accompanied into that room with the current Executive Secretary. This room holds every sensitive material that's of the SKKA/Hombu.

Gaining access into this room is akin to gaining access into Fort Knox, or the White House, or NORAD; that room in our Hombu is equipped with some of the most very sophisticated state of the art security devices known to man...and that is no exaggeration whatsoever!! An exact copy of these sensitive materials are also kept in a Safe Deposit Box in the SKKA/Hombu Bank with, in which only the Kaicho and/or the Kancho have access to that Safe Deposit Box!!

These Hard Cards are meticulously maintained to insure that the information about said student is absolutely correct as regards to their history is concerned. For example, Approved/Not Approved, Rank, Date of Testing Cycle, Pass/Fail, Age, Rank Tenure, Gender, CI's name of the student, Date their journey began, etc and etc. For proprietary reasons, I will not disclose the entire information that's recorded/stored on these Hard Cards. Just know this, no student is granted an invitation from any CI UNLESS the SKKA/Hombu approves it first. Scoring 75 points is required to earn a passing grade; the passing grade was recently upgraded from 73 to the current 75 points, as approved by the Instructor Team, which was approved by our Executive Team and our Administrative Team.

Rank tenure is one of the very first things that the SKKA/Hombu looks at first whenever a CI has submitted to the SKKA/Hombu their list of Testing Cycle Candidates.

A lot of cross checking to verify the Hard Card to insure the integrity is as pure as it can be!!

Age is one of the other things that the SKKA/Hombu looks at, especially when a Testing Cycle Candidate is in the Kyu ranks of Sankyu to Ikkyu. The SKKA/Hombu will NOT promote any student to Shodan if that student is not at the minimum age of 18 years old; no exceptions.

Rank is one of the other things that the SKKA/Hombu looks at, especially when a Testing Cycle Candidate is applying, and yes, all students MUST apply to their CI for Testing Cycle Consideration, for Godan and above. ALL students that have been approved to attend those type of Testing Cycles MUST be tested at the Hombu; no exceptions!!

From time to time, the SKKA/Hombu will forward an approved list of Testing Cycle Candidates to the appropriate dojo within the SKKA network, stating those students whom are qualified to attend the Annual Testing Cycle held at the Hombu annually in June/July. Yes, that list is tiny, in that the only name on that list might be the CI her/himself!!

Now, any and all student can refuse, and it does happen quite frequently from time to time, to attend their approved Testing Cycle invitation. No harm, no foul; after all, the journey is for that student alone!!

Finally, the SKKA/Hombu trusts the integrity of each and ever CI, and once a Testing Cycle Candidate has been approved by the SKKA/Hombu, then and only then, can a CI invite said Testing Cycle Candidate.

This is a very, very brief glimpse answer to your questions. Behind the scenes, well, that's another thing, and a very, very detailed explanation would take quite a lot to post here with all that's involved within this topic.

Know this!! We, at the SKKA/Hombu take promotions of any type quite very serious, and will not tolerate any appearance of impropriety whatsoever, both directly and/or indirectly, and we will harshly discipline anyone found to have violated the sanctity of the SKKA/Hombu's integrity, up to, and including termination, as well as to expulsion, and/or prosecution to the very Nth letter of the law!!!!!!



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**Proof is on the floor!!!


Last edited by sensei8 on Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1585

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The methods for keeping track of everyone’s level and progress depends on the number of students. Usually large schools or schools that are the head of an association such as sensei8’s will have some sort of highly organized and elaborate system. For smaller schools, it is much less complicated.

When a single instructor has just a handful of students(less than 50) it is possible to do everything from memory with very little detail recorded except maybe for names and dates of grades.

As for gradings, these are scheduled when the instructor has explicitly told the students that they are ready to attend an evaluation. It is possible to fail these, but in principle they are more like a formal recognition of progress. Actual evaluation is done in regular training.
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singularity6
Red Belt
Red Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 790
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spartacus Maximus wrote:
The methods for keeping track of everyone’s level and progress depends on the number of students. Usually large schools or schools that are the head of an association such as sensei8’s will have some sort of highly organized and elaborate system. For smaller schools, it is much less complicated.

When a single instructor has just a handful of students(less than 50) it is possible to do everything from memory with very little detail recorded except maybe for names and dates of grades.

As for gradings, these are scheduled when the instructor has explicitly told the students that they are ready to attend an evaluation. It is possible to fail these, but in principle they are more like a formal recognition of progress. Actual evaluation is done in regular training.


Indeed. Our school is quite small. I think my student number is 623, or something. I'm not sure when the count was started, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was 20+ years ago.
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5th Geup Jidokwan Tae Kwon Do/Hap Ki Do

(Never officially tested in aikido, iaido or kendo)
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Lupin1
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 15 Dec 2009
Posts: 1569
Location: NH USA
Styles: Isshinryu

PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My school is very, very, very small. It used to be a bit bigger, but it has always been under 40 students. Right now we only have about a dozen kids and only five adults-- all black belts.

Because we have so few people, everything is very individual. We have no set time in rank requirements, no application process, not even a formal testing process.

1st kyus become eligible for promotion when the instructors feel they're ready based on observing their in class performance. Most stay at 1st kyu for around one year if they're attending regularly, but actual time in rank depends on the person.

When a student achieves 3rd kyu brown belt, they're considered to be a black belt candidate and are given the black belt exam guide, which is a 30+ page guide with an outline of the shodan test as well as a start to the student's historical research. During the test students have to give an oral presentation on the history of karate, the history of Isshinryu, the history of our school, and the history of each kata they perform. A bit of that information is in the guide, but students are expected to do outside research as well. Once the student receives that guide they can start working more methodically on making sure they're ready for every part of the test. When a 1st kyu has shown in class that they know everything in the guide, a test is scheduled for them.

Since my school doesn't have formal testing cycles (for every rank but Shodan the rank is just awarded in class when the student is deemed ready), a test has to be scheduled. In the past when there were multiple black belt candidates testing, the test was scheduled for a Saturday morning. All the school's black belts are invited to attend as judges and to help congratulate the candidates and welcome them to black belt. Only black belts can attend. No family or friends or lower ranks. It's a private thing for the black belt group to welcome a new member. The test itself is more of a formality. The real test in is the build up when you have to prove class after class that you're ready. The test is considered more of a culminating demonstration of everything you've learned than an actual test and thus no one has ever failed.

When I tested two years ago, this format wasn't followed. Because our school is so small right now, it was deemed unnecessary to do a formal test. They made me think one was going to happen and we spent months in class and I spent months at home preparing for it. But about a month before I was set to have my formal Saturday morning test, after a particularly hard night where we ran through almost the entire test together as a group during class, I was awarded my Shodan. It was a complete surprise to me, but the other black belts had been planning it for awhile and had been testing me during class in the previous month or so.

So, in conclusion, it's an extremely small school which allows the testing process to be extremely personal and flexible depending on the student and the circumstances. It's more about the student showing they're ready during classes than any kind of formal test or requirements.
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1192
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Matsumura Shorin Ryu Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Black Belt Gradings; elibility and promotion Reply with quote

Nidan Melbourne wrote:
1) How do your 1st Kyu’s or Current Black Belts become eligible for promotion? Do they have to meet certain requirements in-grade (ie. pass x tests to become eligible) and/or be at that rank for a certain amount of time?


There is no minimum time in grade for us. You must meet skill and knowledge requirements before being considered to test. Once the instructor feels they have met these requirements and is ready to test they will inform the student. Unlike the Mudansha gradings where the instructor already knows they have passed, the Yudansha grading's are in front of a panel and the instructor does not have a say in whether their student passes. Our Shodan and Sandan grading's are the hardest tests to pass so an Ikkyu will take the time they feel they need to prepare before telling their instructor they feel they are ready. There is no guarantee that the student will pass these tests. Its not up to the instructor but rather up to his instructor and other Kodansha that make up the testing board.

Nidan Melbourne wrote:
2) How does your club or association dictate promotions?
Do they have to meet an overall score? Do students have to do any additional work in addition to the above question?


Yes and no. Some testing board members will use a tally sheet and others do not and base it on what they feel qualifies for that grade.
Yes. The student must research and write an essay prior to testing and must meet before the testing board to answer questions prior to the skills portion of the test. The test can take up to 3 days depending on the student and their endurance level and how many breaks they require. To say the least it is a grueling ordeal. And again there are no guarantees. About 40% of the students that attempt the test for the first time do not pass.

As far as Nidan, Yondan to Rokudan - the test is a 6 to 8 hour day and not as demanding. Nanadan and above do not have formal grading's. Mudansha grading's like I said are not so much to determine if the student deserves the grade, as the instructor has already determined that they have. It's more about the student gutting it out and getting through it so they feel a sense of accomplishment and more important so they prove to themselves that they earned it.
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The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails-but the one who moves on in spite of failure.
Charles R. Swindoll
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 13594
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Nanadan and above do not have formal grading's.

Must be nice!!

Nanadan and Hachidan do have formal grading's per our Soke and per our By-Laws.



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**Proof is on the floor!!!
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1192
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Matsumura Shorin Ryu Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes it is to a point. This is in some instructors cases, a reason to slow down, slack off and take it easy.

However just because you don't take a test doesn't mean there are not requirements to meet. Teaching, contributions to the art (could be anything from producing high quality instructors to research to writing articles to sitting on the board, etc.), etc. The grade is not given without the board feeling that you are deserving of it. It used to be that Shinshii would determine these grades personally. There were a lot fewer slackers back then.

All curriculum is learned and tested for by Rokudan. Some like me continue to study the art further but others, like I said, use this as a permission to slack off.
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The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails-but the one who moves on in spite of failure.
Charles R. Swindoll
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