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Montana
Red Belt
Red Belt

Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Posts: 827
Location: Formerly Kalispell, Montana, now Spokane, WA
Styles: Shorin Ryu Matsumura Kenpo & Kobudo

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All 4 of my BB tests lasted maybe 15 minutes or so each. 3 of which I didnt even know I was being tested.
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Student since January 1975---4th Dan, retired due to non-martial arts related injuries.
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Nidan Melbourne
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 21 Aug 2013
Posts: 2292
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Styles: Goju-Ryu, BJJ, Balintawak Arnis

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Montana wrote:
All 4 of my BB tests lasted maybe 15 minutes or so each. 3 of which I didnt even know I was being tested.


Why were they so short?

I'm curious because every BB Grading I've ever seen or heard of has always lasted in excess of 3/4 hours to multiple days.
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Montana
Red Belt
Red Belt

Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Posts: 827
Location: Formerly Kalispell, Montana, now Spokane, WA
Styles: Shorin Ryu Matsumura Kenpo & Kobudo

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nidan Melbourne wrote:
Montana wrote:
All 4 of my BB tests lasted maybe 15 minutes or so each. 3 of which I didnt even know I was being tested.


Why were they so short?

I'm curious because every BB Grading I've ever seen or heard of has always lasted in excess of 3/4 hours to multiple days.


My first and 3rd BB tests were in front of Sensei Kuda Yuichi, head of the system. Our class had been working with him for several weeks and one day he called each person, including my sensei, to come up and run thru a kata or two, and show a technique or two, then sit down as he called the next in line to do the same. After class was over we were told that we had just tested. We didn't know at the time.

My 2nd Dan test was with a 6th Dan in Minnesota, and again he didn't tell me he ws testing me. We were just working out and he was showing me soem things, then afterwards told me he was promoting me to Nidan (2nd Dan).

My 4th Dan was via videotape to my 6th Dan sensei that lives on the East coast. He'd asked me to tape my kata, basics and my class and send it to him. A few weeks later he sent me my 4th Dan in the mail. Again, I didn't realize there was a promotion forthcoming.

We test differently than most systems, and there's not a lot of emphasis or whoopla on testing. Tests/belts come when they come, especially in the dan levels. Basically, we are tested at each class, and that's what I did with my students. I want your best EVERY class, not just during a test.
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If you don't want to stand behind our troops, please..feel free to stand in front of them.

Student since January 1975---4th Dan, retired due to non-martial arts related injuries.
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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 Mar 09, 2016 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My shodan test lasted about 7 hours. There were 2 of us testing. We started with reading our paper, which was a 3 page or so introspective paper - what we've gained from karate, what we've given back, why we train, and what we envision our future to be. That was followed by a Q&A with our Sensei and the black belts assisting.

Then was unofficial warmups- 100 of every kick, knee, elbow and other strikes each side against pads.

We then proceeded to basically retake every promotional test we've taken. My Sensei had the syllabus in his hand, and I remember him saying about a half hour into it after warmups "just finished the white belt portion." And each subsequent belt after that. Each portion (not that there was any break in between) at a significantly higher level of intensity and held to a significantly higher standard of criticism.

We finished with 30 rounds of sparring. Each round was 2 minutes, knockdown rules, but wearing foam dipped pads. We'd done bare knuckle sparring a bunch of times in class, and I honestly think we were hit harder because we were wearing pads. Each round was against a fresh adult black belt. No one carried you, but no one tried to outdo you either. There were no breaks. After the 30 rounds, we sparred each other for 3 minutes.

The only break I remember was getting to drink some water while putting on our sparring gear. I drank less than half of my water bottle during the entire test.

When assisting with black belt tests afterward, I was told the test is more formality than an actual test; you'll be promoted unless you give up, freeze, or do something disrespectful. The sparring was the most important part; my Sensei wanted us exhausted before sparring began to see if we'd be poised and keep our technique, keep control, keep our spirit, or become sloppy and just try to get by.

It was a test of will and spirit. It was to see what you're made of when you're at your breaking point.

No two black belt tests my Sensei conducted were alike. But they were all to see what the student was made of.
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Montana
Red Belt
Red Belt

Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Posts: 827
Location: Formerly Kalispell, Montana, now Spokane, WA
Styles: Shorin Ryu Matsumura Kenpo & Kobudo

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
No two black belt tests my Sensei conducted were alike. But they were all to see what the student was made of.


Well, this is just my opinion of course, but your sensei should have known what you were made of LONG before you tested for a black belt.

I often wonder if there are instructors out there that never see their students...it sounds that way sometimes.

Personally, and I told my students this often, "I know what you can do BETTER than you do."
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If you don't want to stand behind our troops, please..feel free to stand in front of them.

Student since January 1975---4th Dan, retired due to non-martial arts related injuries.
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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 Mar 09, 2016 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Montana wrote:
JR 137 wrote:
No two black belt tests my Sensei conducted were alike. But they were all to see what the student was made of.


Well, this is just my opinion of course, but your sensei should have known what you were made of LONG before you tested for a black belt.

I often wonder if there are instructors out there that never see their students...it sounds that way sometimes.

Personally, and I told my students this often, "I know what you can do BETTER than you do."


Being in the dojo 4 nights a week, usually taking more than 1 class, and teaching a few, he knew what I was and wasn't capable of. Perhaps it was more for me to find out what I was made of.

I totally understand and respect the way your promotions came. I don't disagree with your way nor his. It's just different. Personally, I rather the long test. I enjoy being pushed to my limits and trying to outdo what I think I'm capable of. But I wouldn't feel cheated if I were handed a belt I earned without a formal test either. If I walked into my dojo today and my Sensei said "you've demonstrated everything necessary to earn this belt" and promoted me then and there, I'd wear the rank and proceed with business as usual, just as I would after a long drawn out test.
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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: Thu Mar 10, 2016 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Montana wrote:
JR 137 wrote:
No two black belt tests my Sensei conducted were alike. But they were all to see what the student was made of.


Well, this is just my opinion of course, but your sensei should have known what you were made of LONG before you tested for a black belt.

I often wonder if there are instructors out there that never see their students...it sounds that way sometimes.

Personally, and I told my students this often, "I know what you can do BETTER than you do."


Some instructors feel, as the one's who have tested you seemed to, "I just need a quick check to see if they have 'X Dan' quality technique." Others feel that, to be a test, it need to also be a test of the student's will & fortitude over many hours &/or days. Most of the latter types of instructors would say, "I want to see if the student believes they can do it." There are also those who are a bit sadistic in their description of their enjoyment of watching a student struggle through a long test.
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

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

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I stated in another thread about a similar subject...

Sometimes the person testing you isn't your Sensei. My shodan test in my former organization was under my Sensei. He left the organization about a week before my shodan test was scheduled. Had he stayed, I'd have tested for it under his teacher/head of the organization.

When I test for shodan in Seido, it will be under Tadashi Nakamura, not my teacher.
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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: Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
As I stated in another thread about a similar subject...

Sometimes the person testing you isn't your Sensei. My shodan test in my former organization was under my Sensei. He left the organization about a week before my shodan test was scheduled. Had he stayed, I'd have tested for it under his teacher/head of the organization.

When I test for shodan in Seido, it will be under Tadashi Nakamura, not my teacher.


There is that thought one's instructor shouldn't be the one to test their own direct students, especially at black belt levels. The idea is that one's instructor might be too biased & expect a lot more from the tester or let the tester slide as having an "off day." Only one of my BB tests were done by my instructor at the time. I have had the same person test me for 3rd & 5th Dans, but she was not my master & has only seen me perform on the floor at those tests.

I like the idea of someone else testing my students for BB rank. However, it gets harder to find someone to test someone as the student becomes higher rank. For Kukki-TKD, one has to travel to Kukkiwon in Korea to test for 8th & 9th Dan. I know some American masters whose master has died so they travel to Kukkiwon to test for rank.
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Being a good fighter is One thing. Being a good person is Everything. Kevin "Superkick" McClinton
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The testing time has lessened today and so have the requirements.
When I tested for Shodan it took on average two days for most. Back then you had to have mastered the beginning Mudansha grades (Hachikyu to Yonkyu) and be very proficient in the advanced Mudansha grades (Sankyu to Ikkyu). You had to demonstrate all of the Mudansha Kata, Applications (Bunkai), Kihon, self defense, terminology, history of the art, lineage and fought (Kumite and not the patty cake crap of today) all of the Yudansha at Shodan and Nidan and been able to continue.
Of course it was held at a higher level than it is today. It was not just another rank and you were expected to be able to defend yourself because you represented the instructor, school and art. A student reflected his teacher, dojo and art and most instructors would not even ask you to test until they felt you were worthy. No time limit. It took me 7 years to be granted the right to test and earn my Shodan. It's different now.
Now it takes about 4 to 5 years and only 4 hours and the requirements are more lax in comparison.
Can't have little Johnny going home with a shinner or briken nose! This was somewhat common place then. It's not now.
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