Belt testing is a big part of martial arts schools. Most traditional forms of martial arts utilize the belt system that serves a number of functions. Belts display the level of knowledge and experience, as well as the seniority of the wearer. Belts can also be a source of motivation for the martial artists, as it tracks your progress and can give you a sense of accomplishment. Testing and belts can also provide an added source of income, as many schools charge a testing and belt fee.
That being said, especially with busy schools, it can be difficult to effectively manage everyone’s belt testing. To give you a leg up in your belt testing program, we break down 3 tips to stay on top of belt testing, in order to help you make sure your students are progressing the way they should.
Although it’s not always the best way to measure whether someone is ready for a promotion or not, it can be quite telling. A student’s attendance record speaks volumes and is another important factor. With those two factors combined, you can see when it might be time to look closely at a student, to see whether they are ready for a promotion or not. If someone is showing the dedication and they’re still not ready, try to figure out how they can improve and what might be holding them back. This is an important part of being an effective teacher and can help improve and develop your relationships with your students.
During certain classes, having an activity, exercise or drill that demonstrates one’s skill, ability and knowledge of their rank can help highlight those who might be ready. It can also serve as a way for your students to really put what they’ve learned into action and troubleshoot the areas they are having issues with. Especially in higher levels, where knowledge might not be enough, figuring out where one’s weaknesses are can be a great way to figure out where to put the time in for training. This can also be a good way to identify students who might make good use of private lessons.
The belt testing exam itself should showcase all the skills, ability and knowledge that one should have in their given rank. This differs with every martial art, but they should be fully competent and confident in everything they need to know. Also, it’s important to keep the arts in martial arts, by testing them on different philosophies and even reciting certain creeds or ideas. Your exam shouldn’t be fail-proof; it should really test your student to their rank’s limits. That is why it is so crucial to be fully confident in your decision to allow a student to test for a promotion.
Keep in mind that you want to avoid overcharging for promotion fees or too easily passing students who aren’t ready. Getting a reputation as an ‘easy’ school out to make money will keep talented martial artists away. High expectations should be set of your students and higher belt ranks should really mean that someone has a very comprehensive grasp of all of the fundamentals of the martial art.
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What have been the biggest lessons you’ve learned, when testing your students for promotions? Let us know on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Google+ to stay up to date with all of your ChampionsWay news.