You know you've prepared for belt testing, but you're nervous anyway. And you are wondering, "Will I do well", "I hope I don't make any mistakes", and "Please don't let me embarrass myself today!". Butterflies are in your tummy, and you wipe the sweat from your forehead.
Sound familiar? But it doesn't have to be this way. Think of this as a demonstration. You are center stage and you have the opportunity to show what you have spent months learning. Visualize your perfect stance, crisp movements, sharp execution, and awesome sparring techniques. See that smile...
That smile is you meeting the challenge of the belt test. It's your time to have some fun and show off a little. It's your time to reach the goal of achieving the next level of martial arts ranking - getting your next belt color.
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Do you know where confidence comes from? Confidence comes from knowledge. Each time you take the belt test, you demonstrate that you understand and can execute the required minimum basics to meet your new belt level.
Each time you test, you reaffirm your past knowledge and display your new found knowledge and skills. At the end of the test... celebrate! It builds your confidence and self esteem and you deserved it. If used properly, built into the American Karate System is this terrific tool called the belt test. Display your new knowledge - build upon your confidence level - one step or one rank at a time
Imagine how difficult it would be if there were no method to determine if your martial arts instructor had minimum knowledge to teach you? How could you pick a quality martial arts school? How would you know how good YOU were? How does your knowledge compare with others training in your style?
The testing and ranking system is the heart and soul of the Martial Arts, yet it is the hardest over which to maintain control and order. Any student or students that see little or no value and are allowed to disrespect the testing system or order in our schools infects the entire system and compromises the integrity of the structure. It is the responsibility of the Martial Arts Masters to prevent the demise of the system if those in authority compromise its integrity.
Your Belt has meaning, it is our integrity that gives it and allows it to keep its meaning. Without belt testing one student would presumptuously rank himself higher than his training would allow, while another student would perceive his achievements as failures. Testing levels the playing field for both students. Both are validated by rank which is commensurate to their training.
An exceptional freshman college student who has to take English Composition 101 must take the same final exam as the freshman who struggles to get passing grades. The test is necessary to not only document the fulfilled requirements, it validates the student’s placement, or in our case, rank.
Two students may eventually hold the rank of black belt or black sash and earn the same level of respect and honor, providing both are loyal to the system which molded them. Even though one may have more athleticism than the other, they both are loyal to their system and have trained to be the best that they can be.
So no excuse can be given for attempting to miss mandatory testing. Fear of failure, rebellion, or financial hardship cannot be used to relieve one from testing. Fulfilling the terms of your training is an expression of the character qualities that we try to cultivate in each student. And the test is part of the program just as learning how to punch or kick is a part of the program.
This may sometimes be difficult to understand as beginners.
“As children we hated many of the rules and regulations which were imposed on us by our parents. The older I became the wiser my father became. The longer the student stays in the system the more they agree with our teaching and philosophies. Experience seems to be the greatest teacher.”
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