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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15511
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2021 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Imagine if there was no testing whatsoever, no matter the industry. Anarchy? Perhaps, of some degree. Significant tests? Well, have to have recognized authority for said test to be significant. However, without tests, then how can one become recognized? By just an agreed census by the masses? Perhaps or perhaps not.

The good thing is that no one's forced to take any test because we're of free will. I respect that.

Sure, tests can be quite overwhelming, which can cause fear, and fear brings severe doubt of oneself. Guess what? The Testing Cycle will take care of itself!! Worrying or whatever else one might be feeling about an upcoming test won't make the test go away, nor will it make matters of the test easier.

The proof is on the floor, and not in the test. Therefore, the test will take care of itself. Want to remain Shodan?! I respect that; it's the practitioners choice, and no one else. Don't want to test anymore, or at all, I respect that too. That too is the practitioners choice, and no one else.

That's the beauty of choices; they're yours alone, just like your MA journey is.



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Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1817
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2021 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
The proof is on the floor, and not in the test. Therefore, the test will take care of itself. Want to remain Shodan?! I respect that; it's the practitioners choice, and no one else. Don't want to test anymore, or at all, I respect that too. That too is the practitioners choice, and no one else.


This sums it up really nicely. The first sentence affirms, I think, what any good teacher would tell any student. We're not giving you a test that we don't think that you will pass with flying colors. Tests are largely a formality. Can you fail tests that you would otherwise pass? Absolutely! But in general, I have found that these people didn't lack the skill necessary to rank up, but rather showed a lack of the proper attitude during the test to be considered for the rank.

Here's an example. Matsumura-Seito has a Nunchaku Training Kata that you learn at Ikkyu (1st kyu). I dislike this kata greatly. There is nothing about it that I enjoy, therefore, I practiced it daily. I wanted to do a good job on it for my test. During my test, 5 moves in, the kata just leaves my brain. I had forgotten it completely. TO THIS DAY, I could not do the kata for you. I practiced it until I wanted to throw my nunchaku out of the window, but during the test? Gone. So I improvised. I did something that was close to the kata without missing a beat. At the end, my testing board gave me compliments on the kata, said that my technique looked good. Then my Sensei, with a grin on his face, asked if I would be able to do that again. I smiled back and said "No, Sensei, I forgot the kata 5 moves in. I think nerves got to me and I lost the movements." When I passed this test, this moment was cited as one of the reasons. It was not only my ability to improvise effectively without giving away my mistake in the moment, but the humility that I had to admit that I failed on an aspect of my overall training.

All of that to say, tests are tests. They are nerve wracking and anxiety inducing. However, a good teacher isn't going to set up students for failure. They know you know the material. If you want to stay at a certain level, great, but an effective teacher will continue to push you forward because it reflects positively on them to have students who meet the expectations of a certain rank. Will they also respect wishes to stay at Shodan? Certainly! You're paying them to learn and at the end of the day if the customer wants something that is easily achievable by the business then why not?
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Himokiri Karate
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 13 Aug 2009
Posts: 325

Styles: Boxing, Korean Karate

PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2021 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
Imagine if there was no testing whatsoever, no matter the industry. Anarchy? Perhaps, of some degree. Significant tests? Well, have to have recognized authority for said test to be significant. However, without tests, then how can one become recognized? By just an agreed census by the masses? Perhaps or perhaps not.

The good thing is that no one's forced to take any test because we're of free will. I respect that.

Sure, tests can be quite overwhelming, which can cause fear, and fear brings severe doubt of oneself. Guess what? The Testing Cycle will take care of itself!! Worrying or whatever else one might be feeling about an upcoming test won't make the test go away, nor will it make matters of the test easier.

The proof is on the floor, and not in the test. Therefore, the test will take care of itself. Want to remain Shodan?! I respect that; it's the practitioners choice, and no one else. Don't want to test anymore, or at all, I respect that too. That too is the practitioners choice, and no one else.

That's the beauty of choices; they're yours alone, just like your MA journey is.




As someone who has trained in boxing, kung fu and sambo, I am vibing hard ( new youth slang) with everything mentioned. Boxing training for me was pretty much my 20s in a nutshell. If you got footwork, you got good footwork, if you got a good jab then that is what you got. In boxing, people count the specific weapons you are carrying. Some trainers label you as a primary and secondary fighter.

Maybe your primary weapon is your in-fighting and some boxers are good at long range fighting. This is how things are measured in boxing.

However we do have a problem:


While boxing is incentivized by the offerings of fame, money and glory. Karate is not. That and human beings love the idea of validation and attaining a sense of achievement. Belt systems offer that sensation. It also allows the teachers making ends meet.


My personal love for Karate came from the fact that the training really enhances boxing techniques. That and the structure, the names of the move and ranking gives the art an organized appearance that allows you to see what you need to work on. One problem with boxing is, guys show up in the gym and start wailing on the bag. The students neglect developing awareness of side-stance, squared up stance and even stances that are pertained for exercising the body as oppose to just combat.



Hence its more than just a belt. But belt gets people to the door but real skills will keep the students.
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KarateKen
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 12 Nov 2021
Posts: 9
Location: Dojo
Styles: Karate

PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2021 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zaine wrote:
KarateKen wrote:
Part of that might have been testing anxiety I was experiencing about the upcoming belt test I had, but I have been thinking that way for a while. First degree BB is enough for me to feel satisfied. Besides I hate testing. I don't see myself as a Karate lifer.


Keep an open mind, my suspicion is that by the time you get to Shodan that you will feel differently. An adage that we like to repeat, both here and as Karateka in general, is that Shodan is just the beginning. Testing anxiety does suck, but we all feel it. I've been doing Martial Arts for 19 years and a I just tested for gokyu (green belt) and I was anxious. I've been a gokyu before, I've been a Shodan for over a decade, I practiced, and I new I had nothing worry about; but I was still worried. A good sensei does not test students who they don't know aren't ready to move up.


It's possible I could change my mind, I've been known to do that. And I agree that we do not test until we are ready.
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