Saturday, November 07, 2009

When to test for your next grade?

I often get asked: "Can i test for the next grade soon?" And i always think that i am not the right person to ask. Yes, i teach the stuff and yes i administer the tests, but i will try to explain some of my feelings on this subject.

In my opinion, one should develop the personal insight to know when to test or when to wait a bit. Everyone is of course different in the sense that some people will be ready to test in a matter of a couple of months and for some its a way longer process. However; if you are not confident in the execution of whats on the syllabus, then *get* confident or wait until the next opportunity to test. One can also look at the level of the people that have the same rank as you do and if they all seem like they are miles ahead, then wait. If they seem like they are not approaching your level at all, then test immediatly.

Then my next point: Try to stop caring so much bout the result and more about the process leading up to the test and where to go after it. (Regardless of passing or failing) I think the ranks of karate is a neat trick to make sure there is some structure to what we learn and to force people to focus so as to facilitate improvement. That said (and some will resent that i say the next part) i do not think what color belt you are wearing should matter much, seeing as your grade is not a by-product of a uniform standard. There is no such thing. Yes, we like to imagine that a brown-belt should be *this* good and a black belt has to be atleast better than *this*, but its not working like that. There are great brown-belts out there and there are also some very funky high-graded black-belts. So what; Karate should be about *you* and *your* improvement.

My best advice; Struggle to improve, make sure you *know* whats expected of you for the next rank and test when you feel confident that you will look at least decent while testing. Then, after that, deal with the result in a constructive manner. Too many people give up on themselves if they have *one* bad test. Hello?? Karate is supposed to build confidence, mental resilience and a spirit of never giving up... Quitting cause of a bit of resistance is not gonna make you feel stronger.

I fully expect to fail a test someday, and i can assure you that when i do, i will learn from that and test again as soon as i have fixed whatever part that i failed.

To wrap this up; I am for the most part ok with anyone testing, as long as they have fulfilled the minimum time-requirement since last test and are willing to take any result in a constructive way.


Shameless plug: Its about 5-6 weeks until the next test and if you are worried bout being ready by then, then maybe you wanna invest in some private tuition. I charge 4000 for an hour session and 5500 if you bring a friend. I am available from 0900 to 1500 monday to thursday, all day on fridays and in the afternoon on saturdays and sundays.


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