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Thread: Testing

  1. #1
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    Default Testing

    Not sure this is in the right forum but here goes.

    As a teacher or a student, how many times a year are you or were you allowed to test for your Kyu grades? What I have experienced here in Japan was twice a year. Anything from Sho Dan ( first degree) and above there has only been one testing a year in the Dojos that I have been in. As for the association tests ( Go Jyu Kai) for Sho Dan and Ni Dan or San Dan (second or third degree) there have also been two tests held a year once in Spring and once in Fall. But depending on how long you have waited between tests, they will only let you try once a year. After San Dan I believe there is only one test held a year.


    Has anyone experienced anything different and what are your particular feelings on testing for a dojo or the association test. Should they be held more often?


    I know some of you will say only test when you are ready. Of course this should always be the case but what I am asking is how many chances should one have in a year for the lower ranks? Should there be a test in the Fall as well as the Spring so a person does not have to wait a year, just in case they are ready before that test is held.
    Mark Posselius

    Yep, and the practice goes on!!!

  2. #2
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    A number of karate schools in my area (karate, not just disguised taekwondo) have more than two testings a year. But they also have a substantial number of belts.

    Neither good nor bad. Just a function of the area and market expectations.

    I am not familiar enough first hand with most of these schools to know how they are in regards to testing fees and exact promotion schedule, but I'd venture that you're looking at three to six colored belt testings a year, depending upon the school, number of belts, and how commercial the school is.

    I think that if a school charges monthly dues and charges for belt tests, and has an inordinant quantity of belts (ten or more between white and black is inordinant in my opinion), then it is simply a way of gouging customers.

    Like I said, if the belts are not charged for, then the school can have as many as they want, though it does get silly after a point.

    Daniel
    Daniel Sullivan

  3. #3
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    Mr. Sullivan

    Good insight and opinion. I can sort of remember back to my Tae Kwon Do days and remember a lot of different belts and colors ......it seems. But compared to other schools I am not sure. In the Dojo that I started at in Japan it went from 9th Kyu to 4th Kyu(all white for adults) 3rd to 1st Kyu (brown) and Shodan (black). All the tests and belts were paid for by the students. In the dojo that I am in now, the amount of Kyus are the same but the belt colors are different for everyone. I guess that is to physically show who is a senpai( more senior student).

    Monthly dues are paid. I know in some areas in Japan .......depending on the rent and other things some monthly fees are around $65.00 a month for twice a week. In my dojo it is only 25.00 a month but tests and belts are extra but also this is for three times a week.

    What I have eperienced here so far is that the dojo is an after work profession for the teachers here.
    Mark Posselius

    Yep, and the practice goes on!!!

  4. #4
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    I think that the belt for every kyu is probably imported back to Japan from the US, where there seems to be a preoccupation with and proliferation of belt colors. Some schools even have a camo belt because they ran out of primary colors and combinations thereof.

    Personally, I think that large quantities of belts are fine for kids (so long as it isn't just to rake in cash) but a bit much for adults. Kids often need the little carrot at each level, particularly young kids, to stay focused. Adults should be okay with five or less belts between white and black.

    Daniel
    Daniel Sullivan

  5. #5
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    Hi Guys
    I can tell you of the Dojo I train at, not a McDojo but it is my Sensei's main job. I think it is fairly typical of traditional Shotokan (if that's not an oxymoron) in England.

    Kyu testings are held by our dojo 4 times a year, mainly to cater for the high number of students as most of them only actually test twice annualy. Exceptional progress does sometimes allow faster 'promotion'. We do charge for tests and have 9 kyu tests to take in all, class charges being per session. At most clubs people simply don't fail when they've been allowed to test as senseis fear they might quit, so retesting is a non-issue, but anyone would be free te re-test whenever a grading took place if they had improved enough. As for dan grades we hold 2 per year, but have minimum times between (passing) grades of 1 year 'til Shodan, 2 more to Nidan etc.

    I don't know of a single karate club here that still uses only white, brown and black belts, in fact only at Aikido clubs have I seen it so.

    My thoughts on how often tests should be held is as often as there is demand (there is a limit to how many karatekas a sensei can pay genuine attention to in a day), students should learn to cope with letting tests pass them by until they are ready for it. I think anyone who concerns themselves overly with testing is missing what I take to be the point of karate (of course we all have our own idea of this). But I guess I would say frequency of advancement through grades should be relative to number available, that is to say that what I think counts is how fast the average karateka achieves Shodan. The black belt is what Joe Average recognises as a mark of achievement and what I fantasize about being standardised . This of course raises the question of what does a black belt mean and what is it worth? But that is not neccesarily this topic.

    That will do for now.
    Henry Bellinger
    Kase-ha Karate
    Leicester & Loughborough Shotokan

  6. #6
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    I can really only speak for what is done on the East Coast in Shotokan. For the kyu ranks 9 to 2 there is a testing typically every 3 months or so. If an individual trains 4 times per week, they will often be in a position to ready to test. Obviously some of this has to do with the individual’s ability to learn and how they actually do when put into a testing situation. 1st kyu waits a year before they are allowed to test.

    As to the number of belts, I agree with one of the earlier posts when it comes to children. They often need encouragement to help them stay focused and motivated. Lack of motivation is probably the greatest hurdle students have to over come, especially for brown belts.

    I recently heard that the ISKF have lessoned the amount of time it takes to test between dan levels. I always thought that it took the same amount of time bewteen dan test as it did to get to your last one in total. Meaning one year for Nidan, two for Sandan, three for yondan, 6 for godan, etc...not sure what it is now.

    Kevin
    Kevin S. Allen
    Newport News, Va.
    www.shotokanvirginia.com

    The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on.

    Ulysses S. Grant

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