Author Topic: How long should a black belt test be?  (Read 21775 times)

Offline NYKaju

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2007, 12:08:47 PM »
Well I guess I'll just throw out my idea on testing. Every day is testing. Every class is testing. Students learn moves, techniques, counters, and apply them in sparring, rolling, and fighting. When they can successfully perform what you would expect live on other students of varying size and experience, you whip them silly with their new belt. Nothing wrong with formal testing, but I do very much like surprise beatings/whippings ;D
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:49:32 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »
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Offline lairkenpo

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2007, 01:50:22 PM »
A quick nod to NYKaju ansd handsofstone2: As you both stated, every class session is a test. I've had "conditioned" runners, college football & baseball players, and so-called "MMA" fighters puke after our warm-ups, not even making it to the training part of the class! Six rounds of shadow-boxing, then heavy bag, then double-end bag, then teardrop bag work, then focus mitts, exhaust even the best. Add the repetitive self-defense drills (yes, with the contact!), and...well, I think you get the picture! Kajukenbo/Hawaiian Kenpo is not for everyone...nor was it intended to be! A test should take as long as it takes. Wear 'em out, see what they're made of! Hearts of steel beat fists of iron!

Kajukenbo forever!

Mahalo & Aloha to all!

   Sifu Robert Windle
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:49:47 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 #17 on: July 16, 2007, 02:29:30 PM »
A quick nod to NYKaju ansd handsofstone2: As you both stated, every class session is a test. I've had "conditioned" runners, college football & baseball players, and so-called "MMA" fighters puke after our warm-ups, not even making it to the training part of the class! Six rounds of shadow-boxing, then heavy bag, then double-end bag, then teardrop bag work, then focus mitts, exhaust even the best. Add the repetitive self-defense drills (yes, with the contact!), and...well, I think you get the picture! Kajukenbo/Hawaiian Kenpo is not for everyone...nor was it intended to be! A test should take as long as it takes. Wear 'em out, see what they're made of! Hearts of steel beat fists of iron!

Kajukenbo forever!

Mahalo & Aloha to all!

   Sifu Robert Windle

Funny you mention that. I've found unfortunately that depending on the gym many MMA/BJJ/Kickboxing gyms don't push the conditioning as much unless you intend to fight for them. I found it odd that when Matt began demanding basic warmups and cardio before each Jits class, that quite a few guys just didn't have it in them (initially) to keep up. Guess that's why we have them before every class now. We do burpees (spring squats), sprawling pushups, bridge n' rolls, leg switches, pushups, V-Crunches, forward/backward rolls, shots, and shrimping while running for 10-15 minutes. Nothing too outrageous, just enough to get the muscles warm for training.

Not everyone was happy though with the sudden demand for physical conditioning, with the phrase "If I wanted to work out I'd go to the gym, I come here to learn to fight" being muttered under a few guys breath. I suppose I understand where they are coming from, but in the end, I see being physically fit and loaded with a full tank of gas being two of the most important things you can train.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:50:10 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 #18 on: July 16, 2007, 02:45:02 PM »
I remember one such "unknown" test when I was a brown belt.  Our summer Belt Ceremony is held in the woods, usually at Clear Lake, CA.  The test (unannounced to me) was to perform under pressure.  In near darkness (we had flashlights), I had to lead the "underbelts" in assembling a large, old-fashioned tent, the kind with about a hundred parts, each unique.  The "overbelts" stood around and taunted us, trying to fluster evryone involved.  We all had to keep our cool, but Grrrrrrrrr.  In the end, the tent stood.



Gimme a PM when you guys come up here.  I am not too far away from "Clearlake."  For those of you that have swam in Clearlake, you know why I put that in quotations.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:50:34 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 #19 on: July 16, 2007, 02:52:01 PM »
In near darkness (we had flashlights), I had to lead the "underbelts" in assembling a large, old-fashioned tent, the kind with about a hundred parts, each unique.  The "overbelts" stood around and taunted us, trying to fluster evryone involved.  We all had to keep our cool, but Grrrrrrrrr.  In the end, the tent stood.

????????

They made you erect a tent in the woods while trying to make you mess up? Did you have a toga party afterwards?
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:50:47 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »
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Ronin Martial Arts
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BJJ under Matt Serra
Judo under Mark Staniszewski
"You don't rise to the level of your expectations, you fall to the level of your training"

Offline Jason Goldsmith

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2007, 03:06:54 PM »


I think an unknown element should be a part of the test for higher ranks.  Giving someone a nunchaku and asking them to use it without hitting themselves in the head is a decent test.  Chuckle.   I remember one such "unknown" test when I was a brown belt.  Our summer Belt Ceremony is held in the woods, usually at Clear Lake, CA.  The test (unannounced to me) was to perform under pressure.  In near darkness (we had flashlights), I had to lead the "underbelts" in assembling a large, old-fashioned tent, the kind with about a hundred parts, each unique.  The "overbelts" stood around and taunted us, trying to fluster evryone involved.  We all had to keep our cool, but Grrrrrrrrr.  In the end, the tent stood.



That's a great point.  I like random attacks, making up your own forms or other techniques, etc to be a part of every test.  It shows how much the student has really mastered, by applying concepts and skills to new situations.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:51:10 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »
Sifu Jason Goldsmith
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Under GM Al Dacascos
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Durham NC and Philadelphia PA
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Offline Gints Klimanis

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2007, 03:59:09 PM »

Gimme a PM when you guys come up here.  I am not too far away from "Clearlake."  For those of you that have swam in Clearlake, you know why I put that in quotations.

Sure, Dan.  Though, I usually drive in after midnight on Friday night and scramble back on Sunday.   Yes, the lake isn't always very clear, but I enjoy the stay.  After the long workout/ceremony (6am-noon, started with a four mile run), everyone crashes and snoozes.

« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:51:22 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »
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Sigung_Pat

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2007, 06:08:48 PM »
I don't know.  Maybe I'm confused.  Maybe I'm reading this wrong.

Jason Goldsmith says WHKD tests are 6 hours long.  Well, yes, they can be if you have more than one person testing.  Our black belt testing at the Reyes school was an entire weekend -- actually two, if you take into account the grueling black belt run (approximately 15-20 miles) in the heat of midday during indian summer that preceded the testing.

We would have somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen -- perhaps more -- people testing.  It was at least 6 hours per day.  Now, if you are counting time as "uke" -- then I guess you could say our black belt tests were well over 12 hours long over the course of a weekend. 

So if WHKD has more than one person testing, is it 6 hours per person -- which means testing is 12 hours long if there are two people, 18 hours if there are 3 people, etc?  Or are you group testing people on basics, taking a break, and testing individually in different self-defense areas, kata, freeland, ad hoc, etc. ? Is writing an exam part of that 6 hours?  What is the "pace" of a test?  Is it fast paced, nonstop?  Are there breaks?  Clearly, if the tests are 6 hours long, there must be water and bathroom breaks.  And for people with blood sugar problems, there would need to be breaks for that, too, as needed.

Guess I'll contact Doug Jones.   

P.S.  I agree -- and have repeatedly said -- testing is every day.    So maybe we have 4 year long (more or less) tests?   ;D



« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:51:40 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »

Offline cirillo

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #23 on: July 16, 2007, 10:01:53 PM »
Just for your information Sigung Pat, I have never seen more than 4 black belts test at once in WHKD.   I have only seen that happen once.  Most tests are of a single black belt student.  I have seen a few (less than 5 tests) that tested 2 at once.  That is over the past 24 years in the system.  Tests are continuous, though they will allow breaks (bathroom and water only, from what I have seen, and that only happens rarely in my experience, maybe once a test maximum).   Tests will vary from school to school, instructor to instructor and student to student.  Hope that makes sense... at least it does to me. ;D

Sifu Goldsmith also said that they were usually LONGER than 6 hours, not specifically 6 hours.  My test, for example, was about 8 hours (personally, I can't remember for sure, I think I was delirious).  I tested by myself.  From what I understand, Sifu Goldsmith also tested by himself.  That is the usual situation.

Blood sugar problems?  Really, I am not sure I have seen that one before in our system.  Hm... guess I would have to ask.  Not that diabetics don't exist and aren't common, because they are, just that I have never met one in our system or seen what the panel would do about it in a test.  Boy, you guys think of everything, don't you?  I guess I will worry about that one when it happens.

I am sure you will enjoy meeting Sifu Jones.  He can certainly give you a good flavor of what our tests are like.  Say hello to him for me.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:52:00 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »
Sifu Jeffrey D. Cirillo,  7th Degree Black belt in Wun Hop Kuen Do under GM Al Dacascos and 3rd Degree in FaChuan (Blossom Fist) under Sifu Bill Owens with over 35 years experience in the martial arts.
College Station, TX

Offline Jason Goldsmith

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #24 on: July 16, 2007, 10:46:17 PM »
Sigung Pat,

Sifu Jeff took the words out of my mouth.  If more than one person is testing (which is rare, but it happened in Portland a few times while I was there, typically in groups of 2), the tests are run in parallel/concurrently, not consecutively.  So, if two people are testing, the test is still 6+ hours long, not 12+.

As for medical conditions, those are taken into account during testing, at least in my experience.  My story is a good example of such case.  I originally tested for my black belt with Ed Ferrigan, whose was a black belt under GM Al Dacascos, back in 1998.  The test was ~8 hours long and I tested with my father and one other person. GM Dacascos sat on my board.  However, for a variety of reasons, I decided to retest under GM Dacascos himself (for my black sash again), in 2003.  That test was only 6 hours long, due to the fact that I had been recently diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis about 5 months earlier, and was just going into remission.  I had more bathroom breaks than a typical test (due to the nature of the disease); but I was at full intensity and in the best shape of my life throughout the test.  However, at the end my disease reared its ugly head (with debilitating pain), and the testing board decided after a little more than 6 hours that I had shown adequate skill and I could stop--I argued to continue, but in the end, the board won the argument, as they always do :).  So WHKD tests do take into account physical illnesses, disabilities, etc but only if you can prove your stuff and still carry on.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:52:14 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »
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Under GM Al Dacascos
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Durham NC and Philadelphia PA
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Sigung_Pat

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #25 on: July 16, 2007, 10:56:04 PM »
I am well acquainted with Sifu Doug Jones.  We go way back.   Thanks for the clarification.  I think I will still connect with him to see testing (again, if permitted). 
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:52:42 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »

Offline Gints Klimanis

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #26 on: July 16, 2007, 11:11:13 PM »
Our black belt testing at the Reyes school was an entire weekend -- actually two, if you take into account the grueling black belt run (approximately 15-20 miles) in the heat of midday during indian summer that preceded the testing.

Ok. I'll have fun with this one.  15-20 miles?  Not sure about the extra five miles?   I'd notice those extra miles if I had to run that.   Will it be 20 miles in another ten years?  Was it 10-15 miles in the story told ten years ago?  Your club ran 20 miles and then did a full workout?   No one needed even a little rest ?  They were in full form as if they didn't even notice the run ?

I'll joke about my club.  There is one fellow that tells everyone the story about the four mile run in the grueling heat.  Every year, the story gets bigger.  The run gets longer.  He runs faster.   And of course, the old run is harder than the new four mile run (3.8 miles up and down a hilly road, measured with my car)  The problem with his story is that I also ran the old route twice.  The elevation change of the old run is nothing compared to the current run, and the new run starts at the bottom of the hill, which is so much harder to do when you've just rolled out of bed in the morning.  Although he finished, I remember passing him on the way back, thinking that I've never seen anyone run so slow and still say they've run.  Anyone can run four miles in an hour, but can they call that running ? One time, I broke his story and told the group that the old run was cake compared to the current run.  Now, I let him tell the story, knowing well that someday I'll be telling fish stories.



« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:52:57 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 #27 on: July 16, 2007, 11:20:22 PM »
I heard stories that when Matt was training with Renzo he had to shrimp up and down 7th avenue from 15-40th street....and back then it was uphill both ways.....and it was snowing....and not this wussy snow we get nowadays...the old snow burned....and it was sprinkled with broken glass....yeah...us new guys must have it easy today.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:53:08 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 #28 on: July 16, 2007, 11:29:07 PM »
I'll have fun with this one too Gints.  Looked at Mapquest to get a ballpark figure:

From Alamo in Vacaville to Texas St. in Fairfieid is a little over 10 miles.  The loop back takes you to Cherry Glen Road and Pleasant Valley Road (which is a misnomer btw.)  It is a back route to get to Vacaville as opposed to the direct way.  So I think the run was over 20 miles.  Testing was done the following weekend.  In October in Solano County it can get pretty hot.  The weekend of the Oakland Hills fires happened one year we were testing.

So mom is pretty right on, but she was erring ont he side of caution.  Especially since part of that run was on goat trails.  I am not sure if they still do the run.  They started it because she was out running marathons and kicking the guys okole's in class.  So Alan Reyes told us that the boys need to be able to do what she is doing too. 

I have had this discussion with Goldsmith already about 6 hour long tests.  I am not sure what the point of having a test that long is other than perhaps comparing the size of one's phallus.  He sites the wisdom of GM Dacascos.  I am sure there is some wisdom that I have yet to understand in my limited experience.

I personally hate testing.  Watching testing.  Sitting on a panel and watching basics.  Watching pre-prescribed ceremony of attack and defense.  Only done after the person is tired, broken, and can't defend themselves anyways.  Believe me, it is more painful for the people that have to watch than it is for those that are doing.  I am never out exercising for 5 hours and then get jumped.  I am not so un coordinated from drinking that I can't throw down.  Testing should be everyday.  Your rank should be re-affirmed everyday.  You step onto the mat and you earn your spot - from beginner student to master instructor - everyday.

Like I wrote before, this thread should get split into two.

edit:  And for the record, I don't think I finished the run "running."  I hate running.  Hate running more than I hate testing.  Hate is a strong word.  It is the only word that fits my feelings towards running.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2007, 11:53:27 PM by Sifu Sin Bin »
Dan Tyrrell

Offline NYKaju

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Re: How long should a black belt test be?
« Reply #29 on: July 16, 2007, 11:52:27 PM »
Quote
I hate running.  Hate running more than I hate testing.  Hate is a strong word.  It is the only word that fits my feelings towards running.

Only time Dan runs....

Sensei/Coach James Mayors
Ronin Martial Arts
Kajukenbo under Dan Tyrrell
BJJ under Matt Serra
Judo under Mark Staniszewski
"You don't rise to the level of your expectations, you fall to the level of your training"