How To Ace Your Next Belt Test
Rank and status (your position in life) are important, especially in the martial arts, which should be received by hard work and with personal satisfaction. Some martial artists say, “you only wear a belt to hold your pants up” when they are describing their view of the non- importance of belt rank, is usually said by those whose martial arts style lack substance and stability. Those who have sweated for, became sore for, and who have trained long and hard for their belt promotions, know the importance of earning the various belt levels.
Yes, there are still the belt factory schools that are only interested in making big bucks, while also enhancing their own foolish egos, and duping parents to open their wallets and purses wide. In a real self-defense situation these foolish people will find that the belt tied around their waist will soon be pulled down to their knees. Maybe someday, standards of some type will be set and these folks will fade away into the dark side of martial arts history. However, most martial arts studios and programs are honest and legitimate. These instructors pride themselves on the quality of their students that they promote, and not on the quantity of the money that they receive. Their belt rank tests are hard and demanding, and it is to these programs that we give our attention to.
1. The first rule of thumb is:
2. Give extra special attention to the belt rank that you are testing for. Don’t look back on past tests, and do not look ahead to what may come later. As any baseball pitcher knows, he throws one pitch at a time and concentrates only on the batter at the plate. He totally prepares himself by knowing his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.
3. Be prepared. Know your material inside and out before going on to the test floor.
4. Do your homework. Home training is a must, especially as you enter the higher belt ranks. Going over your material at home allows you to polish the required information. And it becomes easier to learn what your instructor teaches.
5. Constantly practice any and all past material that you have learned on your lower belt charts. You never know what your instructor may ask you to do at test time. The higher that you advance in rank, the stronger these past techniques, mat work, kata, and weapons should become. White belt material should look like blue belt material when performed by a blue belt.
6. Purchase any and all information that your school and style sells, whether it be books, videos, weapons, training aids, etc. The more you know the better prepared you become.
7. Set goals - pick a date that you want to earn your next belt by and determine to do it. Of course, this must be within your school’s guidelines, and your Instructor always has the final say. Short term goals (earning lower belt ranks) are stepping stones to long term goals (obtaining a black belt.)
8. Create muscle memory. Repetition of learned material begins in the conscious mind, with training, moves into the subconscious mind, and finally over much time, becomes a part of your muscles, sinews and bones. Your body automatically reacts to an outside stimulus that it has prepared for. You should be able to perform any technique, kata, throw or weapon that you have been taught without ever having to think about it. In the martial arts, thinking slows down the action, while inbred memory produces great reflex action.
9. While preparing for your test, ask questions. Determine to understand what exactly you are doing and the reasons behind it.
10. Don’t be a robot, be an innovator. Each person has things that he does well. Each test should show your individual flair, whether it be flexible kicks, or powerful punches, or strong stances, etc.
11. Attend class often. The more time that you spend training, the faster the needed material should be absorbed.
12. Train at your own pace. Everyone is different, so do not compare yourself with other students. You are only in competition with yourself.
13. Spend some time performing your test material in slow motion, thus allowing you to absorb each and every move.
14. Practice with a partner of your ability and determine to take the test together. In this way a rhythm will be established and each partner will make the other one look that much better.
15. And finally, exude confidence. You are ready, you know your material, and you have practiced long and hard. Now show off. Strut your stuff. Show the testing board and the audience what you are made of. You are on the floor to put on a show. “Look out martial arts world, here I come.”
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This page was last updated on 02/20/11