Martial Arts Testing
Testing days in martial arts are special days. For the student, they are a gauge of where you are in your training. They show you what you do well and what you need to work on. They’re also an exclamation point that marks the end of one level of training and signals the beginning of another. For instructors, tests are a way of determining which areas of the curriculum could benefit from some extra attention, and they also are a stop gap…a way of making sure everyone is where they need to be in order to progress to the next tier of techniques.
There’s no doubt about it: Tests are nerve wracking!! They are supposed to be and it’s actually for the student’s benefit. Execution of techniques under pressure and exhaustion gives you a true measure of how well you truly grasp a technique. Expectations and difficulty increase as the student reaches higher ranking, and occasionally there are gaps in the techniques (especially after hours of pushing their body hard), and the tester will have some additional work to do to fix these minor issues. Motivated students, ones who are training for the right reasons, will appreciate the challenge and do what it takes to reach their goals, knowing that victory is sweeter when it’s truly earned…even if it takes more than one try.
It is essential that all students be on the same page when it comes to technique in each level (in most of our systems the levels are Basic, Advanced, and Masters Path) because the levels build on each other. For example, let’s say in Basic Krav Maga you learn a block for a haymaker punch that is followed with some simple combatives. In Advanced, you may take that same block and transition to a throw. In Master’s Path, you learn how to reverse that throw if it’s ever used on you. If students in a Master’s Path class can’t properly execute the initial throw, the class has to be stopped and the throw (a technique that should have been learned in Advanced) is re-taught. Thus, all of the students in the class are held back which over time renders the entire tiered system ineffective, leading to stalled progress, frustration, and injuries. The execution of the techniques does not have to be perfect (until Black Belt level, that is), but the proper pieces need to be there. Everyone is capable of executing those pieces, although each individual will have certain techniques that are more challenging for him or her. Like anything else in life, that means you need to spend more time on those pieces. Heck, I aced every spelling test in school without studying but needed a math tutor from Kindergarten on!! That’s just life. It doesn’t mean you give up! Shadowboxing at home is an excellent way to get more repetition and build your body’s muscle memory and reactions. Private lessons or small group privates can also be a helpful tool if you’re stuck on a technique. But the techniques do need to be correct in order to advance, and they cannot be watered down if we’re to give the proper respect to the system and to our fellow students. This is true for all of our systems, from Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) to Muay Thai Kickboxing to Kali/Silat to BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu).
Despite the above discussion, the evaluation and testing of techniques are truly not the most important parts of a test. Tests are supposed to present you with adversity and challenge, and how you respond to adversity is one of the most important things in life. The support and effort you put forward, both for yourself and for your teammates, is vital. Additionally, never quitting and never allowing your teammates to quit is a true test. Heart and perseverance are much more difficult to teach than techniques! Nothing makes instructors more proud than to see students push through pain and exhaustion to rally each other, push each other, and hold each other up to reach for a goal. Students at Elite are a team, and through teamwork everyone will achieve their goals. Keep up the great work!
Elite Training Center
1628 South Pacific Coast Highway,
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Martial Arts Testing
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