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IcemanSK
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Posts: 1084
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Styles: Taekwondo Chung Do Kwan

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as whether some schools are too lenient in their testing, I go by the old Polish proverb: "Not my circus, not my monkeys." If they're not my students, it's not my concern. Master Ken is really funny. But when I run into real life "Master Ken's" I walk away. Too many self-important folks who think it's their job to dole out unsolicited advice to every else is not someone I have much time for.
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2442
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To add to my previous post...

My belt is my belt. No one else's. There's a reason why I don't let someone else wear it (under normal circumstances). There's a reason why I don't wash it. There's a reason why I don't throw it out when it's worn out/tattered/frayed. There's a reason why I don't throw it out when I earn a new one. It's mine. My name is embroidered on my old black belt for a reason. It's a physical representation of what I've worked toward and achieved.

Mine will always be mine. Yours will always be yours. Mine will never elevate or downgrade yours. Yours will never do the same to mine.

Doesn't matter what anyone else's standards nor lack thereof are. I know mine. So long as I'm at those standards, everyone else can wear a platinum belt with a million carats of diamonds in it. That's there prerogative. Doesn't change what mine represents to me.

I would like that platinum belt though. It would pay for a lot of things my family and I need and want. 😀
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Luther unleashed
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 661
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We'll I guess that's the point of federations and what not. They try to establish a standard in which rank becomes a standardized thing, they also focus on style consistency and preservation of course, but from the standpoint of belt testings and standards that is a goal I suppose.

Problem is there will always be multiple federations with different standards as well. I don't belong to a federation, I have my own standard in what I'd like to see from my students or any practitioner. I think good karate (or martial arts in general) is about the students reaching for their personal best, and being open to the mental side of things. I think that's what makes a successful grading.
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Luther unleashed
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 661
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boy really a lot of great posts I agree with very much, particularly the 2 above mine!
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Luther unleashed
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 661
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's another angle that many who teach will surely understand. I held my third testing last night. I had two students unable to perform under the pressure. One was performing Pyung Ahn Cho Dan, and the other Pyung Ahn Ee Dan. Both couldn't perform and I could have failed them, In fact I was ready to fail my first students. I took a not from my previous instructor and had them step to the side with my assistant instructor , my wife while I continued the testing process with my other 9 students... They perform perfectly.

Some may think this was too lenient but I personally get a great deal of children with mental and physical issues. One student from last night may have messed up, but they have improved so much in the small amount of time that I started teaching that it just wouldn't make sense. He has always had a very hard time with sense of direction and he's very stiff. To the average onlooker they may say, that kid shouldn't pass. But, isn't martial arts about personal growth? His amazing growth should be set back because of a small mistake? We know our students better then the average onlooker and in terms of karate, better then their own parents. What looks sloppy to you, may be night and day improvement to me and why would I go by what you see, and not my own intimate knowledge about a particular student?

They both earned their rank, they were embarrassed, they understood by the look on my face and the 30 people staring at them that they better work harder. Next testing will reveal weather my decision to pass them pushed them to excel at a higher level, or simply continue on a average path.
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2442
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know your students better than everyone else. You've also got a good understanding of what will most likely happen if they pass and fail. Rank is a personal thing.

I don't teach nor own a dojo, so my views are a bit skewed... My take on it is it shouldn't be a test. It should be a demonstration of what's been learned, in a way. The student should have earned the promotion before the test. A one-time bad performance shouldn't undo the last few months of achievement. The student should be pushed harder than what they're used to/comfortable with physically and mentally, but to what their personal limits are.

If a student hasn't consistantly demonstrated the required techniques and other expectations, they have no business promoting, let alone testing. Testing a student who shouldn't be promoted to begin with is on the teacher, not the student. In that scenario, the teacher fails, not the student IMO.

There are rare instances where failing a promotion is acceptable to me. The student quitting and/or being disrespectful are justification to fail IMO.

If a student freezes up, work with the student. Make them comfortable. Give them a chance to prove themself. The lower the rank and/or age, the more chances/encouragement you give.

From your post, it seems like your students earned the rank before the test started. Everyone should be allowed some leeway every now and then. Use it as a teachable moment for them and the rest of the school, including yourself and your assistants.
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Luther unleashed
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 661
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
You know your students better than everyone else. You've also got a good understanding of what will most likely happen if they pass and fail. Rank is a personal thing.

I don't teach nor own a dojo, so my views are a bit skewed... My take on it is it shouldn't be a test. It should be a demonstration of what's been learned, in a way. The student should have earned the promotion before the test. A one-time bad performance shouldn't undo the last few months of achievement. The student should be pushed harder than what they're used to/comfortable with physically and mentally, but to what their personal limits are.

If a student hasn't consistantly demonstrated the required techniques and other expectations, they have no business promoting, let alone testing. Testing a student who shouldn't be promoted to begin with is on the teacher, not the student. In that scenario, the teacher fails, not the student IMO.

There are rare instances where failing a promotion is acceptable to me. The student quitting and/or being disrespectful are justification to fail IMO.

If a student freezes up, work with the student. Make them comfortable. Give them a chance to prove themself. The lower the rank and/or age, the more chances/encouragement you give.

From your post, it seems like your students earned the rank before the test started. Everyone should be allowed some leeway every now and then. Use it as a teachable moment for them and the rest of the school, including yourself and your assistants.


Your totally right in your thinking that they earned tier rank prior to the test. I teach much like I was taught as a foundation. I was always told that our test was all month long, and the "test" is really more of a day to show your stuff. In martial arts, I think of the test itself much like the "game " if your into a sport like soccer or basketball. It's the day family comes out to see you perform, it's your big day. This is my thinking anyways.

Also you know, I'm trying to get some adults in their again, but until then I feel that islts safe to say that the kids, especially depending on age, need to be tested, trained, on a different level, even held to a different standard as adults really. As you said a student who is disrespectful or something is going to fail. For what some of my students may lack in physical ability, most easily make up for in their growth in mental areas such as self awareness, respect, and so on. Especially with the kids these concepts are every bit as important as the proper kick or block.

Great insight In your response BTW
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JR 137
KF Sempai
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Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2442
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Luther -
The concepts of respect, focus, etc. are more important than techniques at that age. Obviously the techniques are important, otherwise they most likely would be doing something else.

When I did my master's in physical education, we spoke a lot about the "hidden curriculum." The things the kids were learning that weren't written down and being officially assessed. Stuff like properly waiting their turn, raising their hand to speak, how to act when they win and lose, etc.

At this age, you can consider promotion tests as part of the hidden curriculum. They're learning how to block out the distractions of a crowd watching them perform. They're learning that their parents will (hopefully) still love, support, and be proud of them even if they don't perform to what standards they've built up in their heads. They're also learning that they can't control someone else's actions nor reactions, only their own. As adults, we even have a hard time with that one.

Yes, they need to learn how to act when they fail. But failing for the first time in front of 30 or so adults and all their classmates? It's a tough pill to swallow for an adult to not pass in front of an entire class and 30 spectators (including immediate family), but for a kid? It'll destroy all self confidence. Isn't that what your really trying to build up at this point?

You did the right thing. If they don't master the requirements for the new rank by the time the next test comes, then they don't test until they have. Not the end of the world. Far better than failing a test in front of everyone. This test isn't like a test at school where their grade is written on a piece of paper and only the student and their parents are supposed to see it; this test's grade is revealed to everyone who's there.

If the point of the kids' program is to get them ready for the adults' program, the testing and ranks don't mean that much; it's the process.

Just my opinions. Some will look at kids' programs as another way to entertain their children. I think that's a side effect. A very good side effect, but not the actual intent.
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Luther unleashed
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 661
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
Luther -
The concepts of respect, focus, etc. are more important than techniques at that age. Obviously the techniques are important, otherwise they most likely would be doing something else.

When I did my master's in physical education, we spoke a lot about the "hidden curriculum." The things the kids were learning that weren't written down and being officially assessed. Stuff like properly waiting their turn, raising their hand to speak, how to act when they win and lose, etc.

At this age, you can consider promotion tests as part of the hidden curriculum. They're learning how to block out the distractions of a crowd watching them perform. They're learning that their parents will (hopefully) still love, support, and be proud of them even if they don't perform to what standards they've built up in their heads. They're also learning that they can't control someone else's actions nor reactions, only their own. As adults, we even have a hard time with that one.

Yes, they need to learn how to act when they fail. But failing for the first time in front of 30 or so adults and all their classmates? It's a tough pill to swallow for an adult to not pass in front of an entire class and 30 spectators (including immediate family), but for a kid? It'll destroy all self confidence. Isn't that what your really trying to build up at this point?

You did the right thing. If they don't master the requirements for the new rank by the time the next test comes, then they don't test until they have. Not the end of the world. Far better than failing a test in front of everyone. This test isn't like a test at school where their grade is written on a piece of paper and only the student and their parents are supposed to see it; this test's grade is revealed to everyone who's there.

If the point of the kids' program is to get them ready for the adults' program, the testing and ranks don't mean that much; it's the process.

Just my opinions. Some will look at kids' programs as another way to entertain their children. I think that's a side effect. A very good side effect, but not the actual intent.


I like your points, especially about testing for them being a process! Great post and well writen!
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Titanium
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 08 Aug 2015
Posts: 259
Location: Chesterfield, UK
Styles: Wado-Kai & Shotokan

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They certainly can be.

I am aware of some dojos which give black belts away for the right price.

I mean, seriously? Dedication, sweat, blood and tears goes into achieving a black belt; why should it be easy?
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