Author Topic: How long should a black belt test be?  (Read 21774 times)

Offline envisiontj

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How long should a black belt test be?
« on: July 15, 2007, 08:59:39 PM »
Hey Mike,

How's it going?  Still waiting for you to be able to come up here to Portland and train.  Well, I watched the whole video and am not sure what to think.  Something to remember about Kajukenbo is that there are a lot of branches and methods, so some things will vary from here to there.  Overall, I think the student that was focused on in this video did ok.  Was she Black Belt quality, well I'm not sure.  It is very hard to judge someone purely off of a 10 minute video of a test.  Sure, there lacked contact and there was a lack of resistance from the uke.  There also seemed to be too much focus on purely prearranged techniques, rather than free flow work, which to me, is VERY important at that rank.

I, of course, do not agree that any kids should be testing for Black and maybe there were more people getting promoted than we would like, however, we don't know the story.  Maybe they were students from various local Kajukenbo instructors, or maybe some were held back waiting for more to be ready.

I do see it as being more commercial than I like and I am definitely TOTALLY against the kids being promoted to Black Belt, but I would still look at it a little more openly until I had all the facts.

Now, I have not read the letter you included yet, and if the person teaching has been removed from Kajukenbo, then by all means, they should remove ALL Kajukenbo emblems, references, etc.  I still have to defend the testee some though.  I think she showed some decent skill level and as I said before, without being there and personally knowing more about her, I can not judge if she is a quality Black Belt or not.  I have seen other videos on Youtube of that family over the last couple of days and they seem ok.  Better than most "sport" and commercial schools I have ran across.

I guess I am just saying that we want to keep an open mind and gather more information before judging an individual.  Just my thoughts Mike.  I really hope to see you here in Portland soon.  I think my classes will be much more to your liking :)

Sifu Trent Junker
Realm Of The Tiger Kajukenbo
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:45:00 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »
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Offline Jason Goldsmith

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2007, 09:32:00 PM »

As I said, it looked like any Kenpo test I've seen. To me it looked like she did what was demanded of her with decent proficiency. Whether what she actually did deserves a Kajukenbo black belt....well I'm not qualified to say.


I don't want to badmouth anyone, but it is my firm belief that a Kaju (in my case a WHKD) black belt exam should be at least 6 hours long, have medium to full contact throughout, and should be intensely cardiovascular.  You shouldn't even be doing forms until you are exhausted several hours into it.  Secondly, at least in WHKD, you are attacked randomly throughout your test.  A 10 minute video should probably include at least one attack, regardless of the activity going on (with the exception of sparring, as that can get dangerous).  Finally, during any of the counters, the Uki should be striking full contact at the person being tested--if they fail, they should get hurt.  They should also resist the techniques; if it's not executed properly, the testee should get hit by a counter-strike, etc.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:45:43 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »
Sifu Jason Goldsmith
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Offline NYKaju

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2007, 09:34:49 PM »
dammit! Goldsmith were you at the Anniversary event in Vegas? I so wanted to spar with you and I completely forgot.  :-\
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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2007, 09:37:24 PM »
Should the counterstrike be in the testee's, knee, or throat.

Offline badsifu

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2007, 09:40:29 PM »
You beat me to it.
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Offline Jason Goldsmith

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2007, 10:08:20 PM »
dammit! Goldsmith were you at the Anniversary event in Vegas? I so wanted to spar with you and I completely forgot.  :-\

Not this year, didn't have enough vacation time.  Next year though, we can roll :)  You can also always come down to NC for a bit.  It's a cheap trip.
Sifu Jason Goldsmith
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Under GM Al Dacascos
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Offline Jason Goldsmith

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2007, 10:09:09 PM »
Should the counterstrike be in the testee's, knee, or throat.

Yes please.
Sifu Jason Goldsmith
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Sigung_Pat

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2007, 12:55:48 AM »
Sifu Goldsmith

Are non-WHKD Kaju practitioners permitted to witness WHKD tests?  If so, maybe an announcement of when testing will occur in the future  along with an invitation for interested persons to attend could be posted here on the cafe? 
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:46:05 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »

Offline Sifu Sin Bin

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2007, 01:21:38 AM »
I don't kow where to start :-\  When did nanchaku and staff begin to be part of the Kaju black belt test ???  It looked more like a dress rehersal for a self defense division than a black belt test :-\
     Sifu Jason where in the world would anybody fight for six hours? I disagree with your premise that the test has to be at least six hours long. The longest fight I have been in on the streets is 1.5 minutes and isn't that what Kaju is about, street sensibility? Where is the sensibilty in testing for six hours? I hope you don't test more than one in a day otherwise it would make for a very long day ;)
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:47:38 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »
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Offline NYKaju

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2007, 01:31:27 AM »
I don't kow where to start :-\  When did nanchaku and staff begin to be part of the Kaju black bekt test ???  It looked more like a dress rehersal for a self defense division than a black belt test

Dead on assessment. I couldn't find the words before to describe it....there it is.
   
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:47:55 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »
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Offline envisiontj

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2007, 01:36:47 AM »
Sigung Rob, I am kind of with you on that one, though I have heard of some VERY long Black Belt tests in WHKD.  I just tested a student for his 1st Degree Black in June - making him my first Black Belt.  The whole test ran 4 and a half hours, including like 20 minutes to talk to the Board members and sign the certificates.  It was only 2 students testing - him for Black and a student for Blue Belt.  I, and some do not agree, like to test some under belts with a Black Belt so that the Black Belt and lead the beginning parts - warm ups, kicks, basic techniques, etc and show some leadership/teachin abilibities.  Anyways, that amount of time coverered ALOT of stuff.  I did miss a couple of things I wanted to test him on, but only like 5 minutes worth of stuff.

So, for me, unless testing quite a few people at the same time, I think a good Black Belt test should last like 4 to 5 hours, with 6 being a really long one to accommodate a few testees.  Again, I have only held ONE Black Belt test and have only been to a few, so I draw from limited experience.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:48:12 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »
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Offline cirillo

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2007, 08:55:51 AM »
lol... well, I think that I have to at least address the issue of test length for WHKD.  The McDojo issue is dead already anyway.  Ridiculous.

In WHKD it used to be that all tests increased in length at each rank.  Black belt tests were always more than 6 hours and often much longer.  Many times it was due to the extensive amount of material tested on.  We used to test EVERYTHING every time.  Now, I must say that I have seen many tests in WHKD and not all of them have been over 6 hours.  For example, the testing we did in 2002 in Hawaii was about 4 hours long and we tested 4 black belts at the same time.  It was in front of a huge panel of Kajukenbo people, including founder Frank Ordonez.  Sifu Goldsmith is correct, however, most of the time, black belt tests in WHKD are over 6 hours even now.  It used to be worse, they were more than one day of testing before 1990.  GM Dacascos used to like to test survival skills along with some other things on a different day and then the full physical test on another day that usually lasts more than 6 hours.  There is now a greater variability in testing because some instructors are trying to take into account the possibility that 6 hours is overkill.  However, us old timers... possibly including Sifu Goldsmith in this, but certainly myself, like to push black belts to their limits and beyond during the test as a test of character, discipline, conditioning and humility... along with the large amount of material that has been learned.  The German WHKD schools are notorious for this.  I have heard many reports of their tests being stopped by more senior instructors because they were being unnecessarily extensive in the testing.  This all comes to why GM Dacascos has a reputation for giving rank very slowly.  Many people just don't want to put themselves through a test like that.  Personally, I don't mind having very few black belts in WHKD because of it, it isn't for everyone.

Sigung Pat Tyrrell... yes, non-WHKD practitioners are sometimes permitted to witness testing.  Most recently, there have been several of these in Hawaii where GM Dacascos is now located.  However, often portions of the test are not 'open', that is up to the instructor.  If you would like to see one, I suggest that you contact Sifu Doug Jones ((510) 531-0898, DJ's Martial Arts) in Oakland, CA.  He is close to you and has students testing for black periodically.  He could inform you regarding when and where these tests would be and whether he would permit guests.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:48:30 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »
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Offline badsifu

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2007, 09:53:03 AM »
Maybe there should be a thread in regards to how long a black belt test should be.  I'll be more than happy to argue points on that when there is one.

I am assuming that this video shows a demonstration for promotion.  It is pretty common to have a day of testing and a day of promotion.  Promotions usually include a number of techniques that the student gets to pick out to showcase their skills to their friends and family.  Make them look good without all the blood and guts.  My guess is that her actual testing day was at some other point and closer to 8-10 hours (wink nudge wink wink.)

Sticking with the theme from the Las Vegas tournament, I would suggest that someone invite the instructor and the student who tested for black belt to respond on this thread personally.  Since Mike brought it to our attention, maybe you can contact these people and provide the information for them to come here and answer some questions.

Are they teaching Kajukenbo and promoting to Kajukenbo rank after GM Maschmeier removed them?
If they are not, then in what style are they promoting their students?
If they are, do their students know that they are not part of Kajukenbo and that their instructor no longer has Kajukenbo rank?
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:48:45 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »
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Offline Jason Goldsmith

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2007, 10:07:53 AM »


However, us old timers... possibly including Sifu Goldsmith in this, but certainly myself, like to push black belts to their limits and beyond during the test as a test of character, discipline, conditioning and humility... along with the large amount of material that has been learned. 

I haven't had the privilege of testing my own black belt yet, but I have been informed by Sifu Al that I definitely follow more of an "old school" approach to testing.  My general approach to the length of the test (including the 30 minute written exam) for each sash is as follows:

Yellow: 3 hours, Orange: 3.5 hours, Purple: 4 hours, Blue: 5 hours, Green: 6 hours, Brown: 7 hours, Black: 8+ hours.  Now these are estimates; I had someone go for blue who was very, very good (over-ripe as I say) and his test was only 4.5 hours.  These tests are a combination of intense cardio, demonstrating all of our techniques in the curriculum, and a series of scenarios that the people being tested have never seen before that they must adapt to.  Plus, they usually have to invent some new curriculum on the spot (for testing purposes only). 

Sigung Rob, I completely agree no real fight lasts 6 hours.  1.5 minutes is a very long fight as you have pointed out.  The purpose behind the length of tests in WHKD is to make the student tired before demonstrating their techniques, so that they are doing them in an exhausted state.  This is to simulate the fear and adrenaline dump (plus the fact that we can't predict when we are going to get attacked--in my case, on the way home from a 24 hour shift is quite possible).  Finally, it keeps the physical standards high, which WHKD likes to do.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:49:03 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »
Sifu Jason Goldsmith
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Under GM Al Dacascos
Instructor--WHKD
Durham NC and Philadelphia PA
www.tkfmma.com

Vala Au

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2007, 12:03:37 PM »
I witnessed a WHKD test here in Hawaii last year.  After 6 hours into it, my testes and ears  hurt.  I didn't see any killer throat shots or knee stomps that purportedly occur.  Although was very physically taxing on the endurance end to the guys being tested.  It should be said WHKD has alot of forms, techniques.

I think the 1st degree test, being a rite of passage, should be intensive and all encompassing.  Show all the material, then get a good beat down.  Mine usually last no more than 2-3 hours.  The panel's mouth is watering for some beer by that time. Subsequent degree test (2nd - 4th) are more about displaying advanced skills and teaching ability.  5th above, demo whatever your forte or contribution to Kajukenbo is about.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:49:20 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »