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Simply, how tough should rank testing be? How much leeway should we give students for gup tests or black belt testing?

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Looking forward to hearing the feedback on this one!

I myself would like to wait and see a few opinions before I state mine.

Wow no comments yet! Where are all the teachers/ dojang owners???

Me personally, I test my people on deployability of individual skills. We have an association curriculum we have to follow fairly closely but are free to plug and play other skills as well. I have a few primary concerns that are universal, regardless of technique:

1. Is the student protecting their self as well they could be? (hands up, "in base," hands open and relaxed both for trapping and for less threatening appearance, etc.)

2. Is the student using the basic principles of the technique?

3. Did it work for the student? I'm not going to ask one of my students who is 6'2 and 220 pounds of solid muscle and the Subject Control and Arrest Techniques instructor for his Police Department to do a technique the same way as another student who is 5'3" and maybe a buck twenty soaking wet who struggles to do a proper pushup? No. To do so would be ludicrous, insulting their intelligence and my own, as no technique is one size fits all. 

4. Did the student adequately secure the "attacker?" If the technique is a control hold, not every technique for every person will allow the "textbook" securing hold for that technique. I would rather a student secure an attacker SOMEHOW instead of vapor locking "Oh, I messed up, can I do it again?"

5. Can the student justify their variables, such as distracting strikes or reverting to a striking based response in the event something "doesn't work right" or they make a mistake? If you slapped the face instead of kicking to the shin or stomping the foot, why? Maybe I can learn from your reason, I'm human and make mistakes and I certainly don't know everything, maybe you found a better mousetrap. Also, so you didn't secure the lock at the end... Okay... Did you take a course of action that would allow you to prevail? That determines whether it's simply a "Why did you do that?" "------" "Do it again, please" or a negative mark on your evaluation form. This goes back to #1, did the student protect their self?
6. Does the student seem to understand the technique? Is it fluid and smooth, or rough and choppy? Slow is smooth and smooth is fast, even more so under stress. I don't care if they move in a blur, I just don't want a robotic "one, two, three, step, lock" approach as that isn't fluid or fast. If they're choppy and robotic (or just plain don't understand it... which is my fault, not theirs) then that skillset is not deployable for them, as they haven't made it work for them yet... meaning to me, they don't fully understand it yet. 

In addition to these, each technique would have it's own parameters, specific to the individual technique.

I guess I'm kind of in the middle. I leave a lot up to the student and as such have pretty loose requirements as far as the specifics of the technique. But when it comes to those general parameters I mentioned above, I'm very hard nosed about it. A technique has to be the particular technique, but if it takes Mongo the Caveman 3 steps to his training partner that is half his size taking one, see above. I'm not a dogmatic "My way/GM's Way is the only way" kind of guy and frankly those kinds of people get on my nerves, but I am a perfectionist and my only all out demands on my students are:
1. Effectiveness

2. Efficiency

3. Follow the Concepts of Motion particular to the technique. 

I know for me it is tough testing for 1st Dan, But getting second Dan is a feat in itself. I hold students to an extremely high standard.

Tough enough to let the sudent know that the techniques work, that they have been worked into muscle memory and that at the end they feel physically and mentally drained, but proud of their accomplishment.  Gup testing with us is generally only the technique of that rank until you reach brown belt then it is all technique up to rank.  black belt is all current rank technique and any other material our instructors request.  Our GM also has all black belts attending a testing (but not testing for rank) demonstrate current rank technique.   

NONE! no leeway, if its not practiced %100 the right way then its %100 WRONG no matter what. any time an instructor gives leeway or lets a student slack on testing then they are only hurting the student in the long run and hurting their own reputations and standards as well.. Here if we show any leaniance it will have to made up before the next testing and only then will they be able to progress. we try not to test them at all if there is any chance of them not knowing their requirements..

Meant your own reputation.

I look at testing two ways...in my opinion, testing is simply the period at the end of a sentence, and then one moves on to the next phrase; but more importantly to me, testing is something that should be going on everyday in every class, if a student is being taught correctly, the need to "test" them is mute...they should have been getting corrections and applying knowledge all the time.




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