View Full Version : Black belt test

February 28, 2002, 03:51 PM
I am going to be taking my black belt test in American Karate in three weeks. I have been training hard, but I am still sweating bullets about the test. Would some of you who have been through this mind telling me about your test and any helpful hints you may have? Thanks.


Danger Dave
February 28, 2002, 04:10 PM
Don't sweat it - you're either ready or you're not. If it's that close, you're not going to "get ready" in that length of time. Cramming is for book tests - try to push you're body through that, and you could do more damage than good. Keep working out, but don't do a lot of high-risk stuff - it's harder if you're hurt.

Be sure you're hydrated - spend a couple of days getting so. And high-energy foods the day of. Sleep as much as you can.

Mine was 7 1/2 hours long. Techniques, sparring (2-on-1 & 3-on-1), forms, breaking. I made it, but barely. I hurt for days afterwards. But, it was worth it.

February 28, 2002, 09:06 PM
Guro Inosanto told me that back in the old days when he was training with Ed Parker he was frequently asked to conduct such tests. He said that in EVERY one, he knew within the first five minutes whether the candidate would pass or not. As observed above, they were either adequately trained/prepared or not, and it was easy to see. If you feel confident from your training and comparing yourself with others who have passed, don't sweat it. That training and preparation will be readily apparent to the person supervising the test.

February 28, 2002, 09:49 PM
I suggest that you not look at it as a blackbelt test. But rather as another training session. Test can make you nervous about it. Training session will put it more into perspective. After all. What is a belt? What does it prove. Nothing. The ultimate goal is to continuously improve. The belt can represent a level of achievement. But reaching a level could cause one to slack up. And most of the time, the belt signifies a certain amount of knowlege aquired to reach the level. Not all of the time does it represent the skill or ease that one performs the techniques with. So what I'm trying to say is, take a deep breath and don't worry about the test. Train so that you are comfortable and confident with the techniques that you have learned. Because the belt will not impress the attacker on the street, but your response to his attack may.

February 28, 2002, 11:31 PM
I would take it even farther along the same line as Boris - at the school I used to attend, our instructor told us not to worry about tests as such, but to think of them as a celebration of our ability. It's kind of a chance to show off how well you've grasped what you've been taught.

After all, (if your organization is like any of the one's I'm familiar with) you were invited to test because the organization belived you were ready. I don't think most organiations worth a $!@# ask students to test that aren't ready with the intention of flunking and/or embarassing them. You shouldn't have to worry about that...

Have fun with it and congratulations! :cool:

March 1, 2002, 02:30 AM
As always - breathe! Nothing melts away tension like slow, deliberate and correct breathing.

Um. Never mind, there are other things that melt tension better. :)


March 1, 2002, 08:01 AM
In through the nose, hold, out through the mouth, hold.

No soda or coffee a couple days before. Don't forget to stretch out throughly. Someone I know :o was so keyed up before a Hap Ki Do black belt test that he forgot to limber up properly and got hurt. (Ah, to be young and stupid, instead of older and stupid again).

Good luck, since you show concern, you'll pass easily.

March 1, 2002, 08:38 AM
Don't eat too much!!! If you eat like a king the day before you'll be hurting. I recommend eating light the day before, something like rice, grilled chicken strips, etc. And then I would start the day off with a nice Clif bar or something like that. Don't be nervous, you have trained enough to get to this point so don't sweat it. Don't forget to post a followup so we all know how well you did :)


March 1, 2002, 08:53 AM
I do not know if your instructors let you bring a bag in for your gear, but if they do bring a bottle or two of water. I did not bring any in my bag for my test. When you asked for water you had to do push-ups. They are the last things you want to do after hours of sparring and drills.

March 1, 2002, 10:03 AM
Thanks for the tips and encouragement guys. It really makes me feel better. I will do all of the things that ya'll listed.

Let me tell you a little about our test. It last five days.

On Sunday afternoon we meet at a park and have to run 2.7 miles. Along the way we stop and do push ups, sit ups, frog leaps, duck walks, mountain climbers, pull ups, and any other cruel and unusual things that the head instructor can think of. We have 45 minutes to finish.

On Monday night we meet at class. We have to run 1 mile, do 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, and jump rope for 5 minutes. If we do not finish all of this in 25 minutes or less, then we fail. (We have to do this the next three nights as well.) Then we take a 300 question written test.

Tuesday night we do the 1/100/100/5 and then do each of our techniques 25 times on each side.

Wednesday is kata night. After we do the 1/100/100/5, we do all of our forms over and over again. We will probably spend 3 hours doing katas. Some of the black belts have told me that this was their hardest night.

Fight night is on Thursday. We do our 1/100/100/5 first. Then we do self-defense. They line people up in front and in back to attack you. For 5 minutes straight, one attacks, you do the defense and throw them to the mat. As soon as they hit the mat, another attacks. After the 5 minutes, we get a 2 minute break, and then do it again. After that we spar 20 one and a half minute matches against black belts and a few brown belts. After each 5 matches we get a one and a half minute break. If we survive, they take the last stripe off of our brown belt (we go down on stripes as you rank up) and that signifies that you passed the test and are waiting for the Black Belt Ceremony.

We have a brown belt training regimen and diet that we follow. At each level of brown, they add more to it. At the last level we are required to run 1 mile, do 100 push-ups, 100 sit ups, and jump rope 5 minutes (sound familiar) six times a week. I am running 3 miles three days a week and one mile the other days. I am also lifting weights 3 days a week. No too much weight, just lots of reps.

The diet is no processed sugar, no alcohol, no fried food, no caffene, and red meat only once a week. We are also on water only to drink since 30 days before the test. (This is the hardest part of the diet to me.)

Your right, people have failed, but only one or two over 15 years.
And I will look at it as you and Boris said. Not thinking of it as a test, but a chance to show what I have learned.

You so right, but I guess I'll just have to try the breathing, as this is a family organization. ;)

Thanks again to all of you, and I'll let you know how it goes.

March 1, 2002, 03:51 PM
I thought that just for general interest I'd throw in a note on a different approach to testing. One tool that Guro Inosanto uses to keep people motivated on an ongoing basis is to have no formal testing program. He tells students that "every minute you're in class with me, you're being tested." It tends to prevent you from slacking off in a class when you've had a bad day, etc.

March 1, 2002, 08:12 PM
If true, I really like Guro Inonsanto's approach. But then again, he's always been a pioneer in MA.


March 1, 2002, 08:41 PM
Empty yourself of everything.
Let the mind rest at peace.
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches thier return.
They grow and flourish and then return to the source.
Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature.
The way of nature is unchanging.
Knowing consistancy is insight.
Not knowing consistancy leads to disaster.
Knowing consistancy, the mind is open.
With an open mind you will be openhearted.
Being openhearted, you will act royally.
Being royal, you will obtain the divine.
Being divine, you will be one with the Tao.
Being at one with the Tao is eternal.
And though the body dies, the Tao will never pass away.


March 1, 2002, 09:16 PM

I've known Guro Inosanto since around 1966/67, so I can be certain it's true for the FMA I've trained with him. Some other styles taught at his academy, like Thai boxing, are different because an outside master may also be involved in testing and promotions.

Although I generally like Guro Inosanto's ongoing testing system, one drawback is that you never know when you'll be promoted. For some young and/or impatient guys, that can be a bit frustrating. Also, until about a year ago there was no student ranking in FMA classes---only stripes on your sticks to indicate longevity of training. Promotions didn't come until someone moved from student to Apprentice Instructor (and up). About a year ago Guro Inosanto changed the stripes to reflect his evaluation of each student's skill/knowledge level, rather than just longevity.

March 1, 2002, 11:48 PM

I believe it. Personally, I don't care one whit about "promotion." My joy of practicing "martial arts" comes from, not an outside recognition of my skills, but my own joy of realizing my progress.

I just want to be better - all the time!


March 2, 2002, 07:04 AM
Skorzeny. I agree totally. No interest in promotions or belts. My former trainer used to say that he had a closet full of belts. But the only belts that mattered to him was his championship belts. Because they truely symbolized his hard work, commitment and skill. I believe that the belt thing is more Americanized thing now. A lot of schools have too many levels. This is so people can steadily be promoted often and not become disinterested from training. ( Little Billy goes to karate class. As long as he is promoted every month or two, he stays interested. His family moves to another state. He joins another school. This school is more difficult. The teacher demands more commitment and better technique from the students. The promotions come only when the teacher feels the student is ready for promotion. Little Billy becomes disinterested and drops out.) In my experince, for the most part, you can judge the by the amount of students. The cookie cutter classes that promote quickly usually have huge attendance. The ones that work harder and promote only when deserved have smaller classes. Also you can look at the equipment and get an idea about the quality of the school. Cheap vinyl covered foam rubber or quality leather? My OPINION.

March 21, 2002, 02:26 PM
Well four days down and one to go. So far so good. Tonight is the toughest, but I am really pumped up. Thanks for all of the good advice and wishes. I'll let you know how it goes.


March 25, 2002, 02:25 PM
Well I made it. Friday morning I felt like I had been hit by truck. This has been a very exillerating and humbling experience.


March 25, 2002, 03:09 PM
He reached inside and found what was needed.



March 25, 2002, 04:24 PM
Congratulations! I'm sure it is well deserved.