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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: Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:52 am    Post subject: Ideal length of formal BB test? Reply with quote

In Taekwondo, the length of a BB test can vary greatly. Some instructors believe that they know the capabilities of their student (or they can tell the capabilities of a student quickly) that a BB test can be done in roughly an hour. Others feel that it should be a marathon-type test that can last several hours or even broken up over several days with the thought that we are to test a student's fortitude, as well as technique.

Within your style, your org., your school, what do you think is the ideal length of a black belt test? Why do you believe in your answer? I'm not not looking for a correct answer, I'm just looking for how it's done where you train & why it's done that way.

Thanks.
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Wado Heretic
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 23 May 2014
Posts: 484
Location: United Kingdom, England, Shropshire
Styles: Wado-Ryu , Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu (Kodokan), RyuKyu Kobojutsu

PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

7 years, give or take a year or two, and then a few decades to see if they maintain the standard demanded when first awarded the black belt.

I have done several black belt tests over the years and each differed greatly. In two of the kenpo disciplines I did, it was done within class over an hour and a half period. The third was far more demanding, it was done after a competition day, a two hour lesson, and then a two hour closed door grading. Looking back, it was demanding and exhausting, but I do question whether it truly demonstrated my abilities.

My last black belt grading was done at the end of a two day course, and took about 3 hours. It included kihon waza, kata, yakusoku kumite, kata applications, and goshin-waza. It did not include any free sparring, fitness standard tests, pad work or breaking, but in terms of material it was very thorough, and the partner work was done with a level of contact and resistance.

For my nidan grading, it somewhat caught me off guard because it was done without forewarning in class, and I was simply told I was now a second degree.

I only grade up to brown belt but I do try to make every grading equivalent to what could be expected in a black belt grading, and it usually lasts 2 hours but it has gone longer when I have felt I had not seen enough.

Usual routine goes:

1. Strength, flexibility, and fitness testing as a part of warming up.

2. Jiyu Kumite with gloves, helmet, and shin guards; hard contact with clinch fighting for up to 10 seconds allowed, and ground fighting for 30 seconds allowed. This is for two rounds, each round against a fresh opponent.

3. Jissen Kumite against a line up of five; bare-knuckle, with arm grabs, lapel grabs, and clinching for throws allowed but a hold can only be maintained for three seconds before they must break. A single blow can also be thrown during a grab, but it must be broke after the strike is thrown whether it connects or not. Sweeps are also allowed. However, no strikes to the head are allowed, nor ground fighting, as it is a grading and having a grading student get knocked out helps no one.

4. Goshin Kumite: One form of kumite designed to test self-defence skills; this might include unarmed defence against an opponent with a rubber knife, wall kumite (With the grading student against the wall), or semi-free sparring where the participants are designated the role of attacker and defender; where the grading student can only actively defend not initiate an attack.

5. Kihon-waza; this is done against pads, them breaking, before finally being done in a line drills. Quality of receiving techniques is tested through Yakusoku kumite. Ukemi, nage-waza and ne-waza are also addressed.

6. Kata; they must do all the kata up to Passai Sho at least twice, and Passai Sho grading kata as many times as asked. Niahanchi Shodan and Sanchin kata will also be actively tested with a partner, striking the body, attacking a receiving technique, and holding a pad to be struck.

7. Bunkai; must demonstrate applications of Passai Sho and two of the Pinan, of their own devising, and explain to the grading board the logic and principles they are following. They must also demonstrate spontaneous use of kata movements through a semi-sparring drill, against methods of attack derived from the HAPV, and a preselected sequence from the kata.

8. Isolation sparring; this does not always happen, but sometimes it does when I feel certain skills were not aptly demonstrated during free sparring, or the self-defence portion. This can include belt-wrestling, kakei-kumite, or maybe wrestling from a kneeling or sitting position.

9 Kobujutsu: Shuji no kon Sho, and basic ten kumite with the Bo.

Depending on the grading group this can be done quite swiftly in two hours during usual training times, but it is not unusual for it to wander into 3 hours. I generally try to adapt my demands to the age, and base fitness of the student; so if a student came to me in excellent health aged 18 by the point they reach brown belt their fitness standards will be above and beyond someone who came to me in their mid 30s who was looking to lose weight and get in shape for example. I will generally expect more out of students whom engage in competitions during kumite as well. However, saying that, all students must meet the base standards set out above; if they do not meet them all to a base line they will fail.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15712
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 3:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Ideal length of formal BB test? Reply with quote

IcemanSK wrote:
In Taekwondo, the length of a BB test can vary greatly. Some instructors believe that they know the capabilities of their student (or they can tell the capabilities of a student quickly) that a BB test can be done in roughly an hour. Others feel that it should be a marathon-type test that can last several hours or even broken up over several days with the thought that we are to test a student's fortitude, as well as technique.

Within your style, your org., your school, what do you think is the ideal length of a black belt test? Why do you believe in your answer? I'm not not looking for a correct answer, I'm just looking for how it's done where you train & why it's done that way.

Thanks.

To the bold type above...

The length of a Dan testing cycle changes according to the Dan rank. Whereas, a Shodan testing cycle last but mere minutes compared to a Hachidan testing cycle which will last a good part of a week.

Averages:

Shodan - Sandan testing cycles will take 1 day.
Yondan testing cycles will take 1.5 days.
Godan - Hachidan testing cycles will take 3 days.

These lengths vary due to many situations. Rest time...Number of candidates testing per se the Dan ranks being tested for...so on and so forth.

I believe in my answer because that's what our By-Laws said so, hence, it's what Soke said so!!




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The Pred
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 385

Styles: Goju Ryu

PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 4:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Ideal length of formal BB test? Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
IcemanSK wrote:
In Taekwondo, the length of a BB test can vary greatly. Some instructors believe that they know the capabilities of their student (or they can tell the capabilities of a student quickly) that a BB test can be done in roughly an hour. Others feel that it should be a marathon-type test that can last several hours or even broken up over several days with the thought that we are to test a student's fortitude, as well as technique.

Within your style, your org., your school, what do you think is the ideal length of a black belt test? Why do you believe in your answer? I'm not not looking for a correct answer, I'm just looking for how it's done where you train & why it's done that way.

Thanks.

To the bold type above...

The length of a Dan testing cycle changes according to the Dan rank. Whereas, a Shodan testing cycle last but mere minutes compared to a Hachidan testing cycle which will last a good part of a week.

Averages:

Shodan - Sandan testing cycles will take 1 day.
Yondan testing cycles will take 1.5 days.
Godan - Hachidan testing cycles will take 3 days.

These lengths vary due to many situations. Rest time...Number of candidates testing per se the Dan ranks being tested for...so on and so forth.

I believe in my answer because that's what our By-Laws said so, hence, it's what Soke said so!!





Was your Kudan 3 days or more than 3?
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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: Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me I feel like for all black belt gradings should on average last between 4 and 9 hours dependent on the number of candidates.

For instance these were the duration of my gradings for all my BB Gradings:
1st Kyu - Shodan-Ho: 5 Hours
Shodan-Ho - Shodan: 7 Hours
Shodan - Nidan: 5.5 Hours

Each of these gradings we had between 10-15 people attempting a Dan Grading with a small handful attempting a Kyu Grading.

The reason our duration varies other than the number of candidates is due to the difficulty required on the more advanced students along with the amount of requirements for each grade.
For me attempting my 2nd Dan I had to do the following from Kata onwards: Every kata up to Seisan + 2 Extra (Seipai + Shisochin for me), Gekesai + Saifa + Seeiunchin Bunkai, 25 Sanseru Kyogi, 10 Rounds Kumite + 1 Round of 2 on 1.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15712
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 7:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Ideal length of formal BB test? Reply with quote

The Pred wrote:
sensei8 wrote:
IcemanSK wrote:
In Taekwondo, the length of a BB test can vary greatly. Some instructors believe that they know the capabilities of their student (or they can tell the capabilities of a student quickly) that a BB test can be done in roughly an hour. Others feel that it should be a marathon-type test that can last several hours or even broken up over several days with the thought that we are to test a student's fortitude, as well as technique.

Within your style, your org., your school, what do you think is the ideal length of a black belt test? Why do you believe in your answer? I'm not not looking for a correct answer, I'm just looking for how it's done where you train & why it's done that way.

Thanks.

To the bold type above...

The length of a Dan testing cycle changes according to the Dan rank. Whereas, a Shodan testing cycle last but mere minutes compared to a Hachidan testing cycle which will last a good part of a week.

Averages:

Shodan - Sandan testing cycles will take 1 day.
Yondan testing cycles will take 1.5 days.
Godan - Hachidan testing cycles will take 3 days.

These lengths vary due to many situations. Rest time...Number of candidates testing per se the Dan ranks being tested for...so on and so forth.

I believe in my answer because that's what our By-Laws said so, hence, it's what Soke said so!!





Was your Kudan 3 days or more than 3?

3 days.

I didn't include my Kudan testing cycle length because anything above Hachidan aren't testable; it's bestowed upon once one's been elected to the Kaicho post, per our By-Laws.

Please forgive me, but in my heart of hearts, I'm still a Hachidan, and hold little value, if any, to my promotion to Kudan.



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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1876

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best general answer to this is: however long is necessary for the candidate to demonstrate what the instructor asks to see. Many dojo have a physical fitness part where candidates are tested for endurance with a predetermined number of push-ups, sit-ups or running. These almost always make up half or more of the time.

Personally, experience includes both the 4 hour marathon type of test as well as the shorter one based on the demonstration of designated kata, pair and group application drills and breaking(boards, tiles, bats etc). Each candidate is finished in under 30 minutes.
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Hawkmoon
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 17 Jun 2013
Posts: 891
Location: MK in the UK
Styles: Kyokushin

PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I undertook my Sho-Dan grading a few months ago, I can offer that was - 3 days!


Day 1 was intense, all kata, kihon was covered in detail, the following two days were fitness driven but more than I expected demonstrating the same level of focus and commitment to kihon and kata as was shown on day 1.

Ni-Dan testing I understand takes the same amount of time, and demands the same focus and drive where San-Dan requires even more!

San-Dan I understand is 'x' weeks worth of attention culminating in an intense testing exam/cycle like the above.

***
When does a test for this or that DAN grade step over the line form being a test of knowledge, skill and fitness and mind set into somemore akin to torture?

My Sho-Dan was a 3 day test, as will my Ni-Dan exam, so when re-reading this thread I remembered I sat in (unexpectedly so) on my sons club and there grading for black belts, it was a 3 hour test.
So re-reading the thread and my first post (above ***) it seems to me that each school and each governing body will seek and test for traits and and people (by type if you wish) that embodies what they feel is a correct and ideal role model for new students.
That being so a test will be exactly what is needed to do just that be that a 3 day test or a 3hr test.
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Last edited by Hawkmoon on Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Lupin1
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Dec 2009
Posts: 1636
Location: Texas USA
Styles: Isshinryu

PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ours varies based on the person and circumstances.

If we have a lot of adults at the time or several people going up for black belt at once, we'll have about a three hour test. We don't do the whole "stamina" thing with pushups and running and all that. You just have to demonstrate/explain the entire school curriculum along with presenting some academic research you're expected to do on your own.

I basically didn't even have a test. Right now our program is very small and I was the only kyu ranked student with five black belts. About two months before I was supposed to test, they started having me go through a chunk of the curriculum with a few of the black belts every class. I probably went through the entire curriculum three times. I was supposed to test in the beginning of January, but they gave me a surprise promotion the class before Christmas stating the previous month and a half had been my "test". It's such a small program that having us all come in on a Saturday just to see me do what they've been seeing me do for months seemed unnecessary.

Of course, my instructor likes to tell us that the "real" black belt test is whether or not you're still training five years down the road.
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Wastelander
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 18 Oct 2010
Posts: 2622
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the real test is happening all the time, in every class. The official test is really a test of will more than anything. My shodan test took 6 hours, which included a written test, a physical workout with hojo undo equipment and calisthenics, kata performance, kata bunkai, self defense techniques, yakusoku kumite drills, and finally kumite (basically MMA-style) to push you to want to give up.

Now, in my previous style, a shodan test was much more involved. First, you had to submit three essays on the history of the style, a biography of an important figure in karate, and a topic of the chief instructor's choosing. Then, you took a very long written test, which takes several hours. Then, the next day, you had to meet physical fitness requirements, which take several hours to get through. Then, the next day is spent relentlessly drilling the people testing on kihon, kata, three types of formal bunkai (being attacked for every move in every kata, verbally explaining the applications for every move in every kata, and "point method" where you use gestures to explain to a partner how to attack you for every move in every kata), kobudo kata, and three types of yakusoku kumite type drills (one type is for power, one is for speed, and one is a combination) done in up to eight directions with partners. The testing panel is incredibly strict during this, and everyone testing generally has to redo every kata and drill several times for minute imperfections. Sparring only happens if they pass the test, and is typical competition point-fighting.
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