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#245635 - 04/13/06 12:32 AM Testing questions.
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
Should a student be notified of when a test is in advance?

Should it be a surprise?

What would or should a test for Sandan consist of?
_________________________
The2nd ammendment, it makes all the others possible. <///<




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#245636 - 04/13/06 03:58 AM Re: Testing questions. [Re: BrianS]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Just how we do things -

1. we dont 'test' as such, asses over 6 months then present the grade.

2. IMO no, students are told and wear a stripe on their current belt to signify the 'assesment' period. (not after shodan though)

3. sandan where im from is a Sensei grade, it consists of assesment ofthe entire sylabus up to sandan level. A minamum of 12 years training, for a student to be a minamum of 30 years old. It also involves the 'teachers' written test. The student will have also acted as a proper assistant instructor (ie not just taking the warm up)for a min period of 1 year. They would have to be a superb example to other students and present the dojo/art in a posative light.

_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#245637 - 04/26/06 03:34 AM Re: Testing questions. [Re: BrianS]
Sensei Paul Hart Offline
Banned Member

Registered: 12/05/03
Posts: 279
Loc: Lehigh Acres, Florida
What a Sandan test should consist of would vary depending on the art. If it were shito Ryu it could have many Kata, with applications of all of them. If it were Aikido it mayhave no Kata per se, but a lot of waza and two man drills. I will follow along with Soshin on this, a 3rd degree should know almost all his art, and be able to perform it with correct technique and power. This is a teaching grade, one that most consider to put you in a position to run your own school. The Sandan may not be a "Master" yet, but should be well along the path to mastery of the art, IMHO.
_________________________
Paul Hart http://allshorin.org

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#245638 - 04/26/06 07:30 AM Re: Testing questions. [Re: Sensei Paul Hart]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
As a point of view, the problem with most "tests" is that it isn't a test at all, but an endurance drill. If a sensei doesn't know what his student is capabable of doing, he/she hasn't been paying attention. Tests should be "evaluation cycles" and only conducted when the sensei is unsure of what to focus the student's attention on from that point.

None of us do everything perfectly every time, and the testing reveals where the weaknesses are, and where to focus the training. What gets lost in that equation all the time is that "new rank" only means that you can now start training in the techniques for that rank, or be given the "further explanations" of details of kata, etc.

I've been part of way too many tests where they were simply an opportunity to brutalize a student to submission, and those that went that far usually did more harm than good. I like to see someone's technique's tested, but it should be in classes and with someone stopping the action to correct the detatils rather than putting it all into a "test" and just beating the crap out of a student.

They should be "formal", they should be "thorough", and they should be done with the kind of thought process that will improve the art, not just punish the student standing in the circle. I've seen too many of the other kind.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#245639 - 04/26/06 08:29 AM Re: Testing questions. [Re: BrianS]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
The only formal examination we use is the sho-dan initiation. There is no other testing, students training is continually monitored at all levels and when they're ready to move to a new 'level' they're promoted on the spot.

Initially there was no warning before the sho-dan examination, but over the decades, as it was more difficult to get the participating members together it became a 'scheduled' event, thought the entire testing review is never known by the one testing.

As for dan promotion, the procedure followed is the same, when an individual merits a different level of instruction they're promoted.

This was how my instructors studied on Okinawa, and this is how they taught me and in turn my students remain on the same path.

Promotions are never recognition of accomplishment, they're only admission to newer training opportunites.

In dan training, the group has no desire to follow the modern 'tradition', and we only use 3 dan levels, with 2nd dan being someone pursuing lifetime training for thier own goals, and 3rd dan being someong pursuing lifetime training for the greater good of the practice (a subtle distinction, especially as the 3rd dan must also be pursuing 2nd dan too). The distinction isn't on the material studied (which is identical), but in the personal committment made.

Dan rank is just a black belt.

Instructor training is separte from dan ranking, but the person must be in 3rd dan training, have trained continiously for at least 15 years in our art, and have undergone a mentor program taking at least one group of new students the entire way to sho-dan. And the mentorship does not stop on reaching instructor, its an unending study in its own right.

No one not in instructor training or being an instructor ever teaches. All else have one role, train correctly.
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victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#245640 - 04/26/06 06:41 PM Re: Testing questions. [Re: Victor Smith]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Victor,
Quote:

Promotions are never recognition of accomplishment, they're only admission to newer training opportunites.





What you've said here is a great introduction to how MA training should be conducted. Instead of "opening the floodgates" with shodan "masters", put them in school. Instead of having kyu ranks training lower kyu ranks, put them in classes taught by somebody that actually knows in depth what they're doing.

Quote:

Instructor training is separate from dan ranking




That's a big plus, because the systems tend to use "whoever's available" in a lot of cases to train somebody; so, we end up with people who spend as much time "unlearning" what they know as learning something. In the meantime, they've screwed up a couple of dozen other students in the process.

I'm a firm believer in the "mentor" programs, because the individuals not only have a personal bond, but a sense of the understanding that the person has that's their student. I've told people before that there are two ways to "bird hunt"... one is to pick a bird, aim your shot, and then fire... the other is to shoot in the air and hope something flies into it. "Targeted training" is always more effective, and especially when the expectations are already known by both parties.

I had a great teacher when I took Isshin Ryu as a newbie. He was one of Don Nagle's students, and an excellent human being. His mentoring was what kept me in the martial arts for the past 4 decades, and anytime I have a question in my mind about what to do, I think back to when I trained with him and how he approached the situation. Mentoring works, and while it's not one that brings the droves of students into the dojos, it's certainly one of the things that keeps them there.

_________________________
What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

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#245641 - 04/27/06 02:50 AM Re: Testing questions. [Re: Victor Smith]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
Thanks for the feedback all. Some of us seem to be on different plains for whatever reason.

I'm sure every system and school within each system is different and has their own take on what a sandan is and is not.
_________________________
The2nd ammendment, it makes all the others possible. <///<




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#245642 - 04/27/06 10:26 AM Re: Testing questions. [Re: BrianS]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Brian:

It is not "necessary" to tell a student when they test. However a certain amount of notice helps when you hope someone will add just a pinch more of "X" (or several ingredients) to what they are already doing in practice away from class.

<<Should it be a surprise?

Dan testing should have more notice than other tests. Surprise is unnecessary, as THEY will bring plenty of that to their techniques regardless of the particular testing!

<<What would or should a test for Sandan consist of?

Rhetorical? Honed dignity would be my basic answer. Mistakes should be present, far far fewer than previously. It is never the mistakes per se, rather how they are handled when they occur. Make them and collapse or occur and unfased continue as if they were correct technique?! What a given test consists of would depend on the previous requirements of the particular practice/art. Sandan, lets see.... I suppose an absolute minimum of 10 years consistant practice would be a starting point. Personally prefer a 12-15 year minimum myself. Being an adult would be absolutely mandatory, no children period.

I like the Advanced First Aid & CPR certification by one of the national groups, Red Cross, Heart Assn. , etc.

I would contend the ability to discuss in depth any aspect of the art on any level another necessity. But I contend that requirement mandatory for shodan folks. It is meaningless if the limit of my skills is the physical. If I cannot conduct a full-fledged conversation in a depthful manner with anyone who is not a practitioner of whatever my practice... and do so without cyclical jargin... my training is insufficent. Forgive my digression...

What else... ok, a sufficent understanding of what you do such that, you can observe another art, another practice and understand the basic concepts, mechanics of that action/s. Meaning having studied your own practices meaningfully, depthfully for a decade, decade and a half... you can see what "they" are doing, and understand some of the basic what & why's they do so.

I like a basic comprehension of a particular weapon(s). Not mastery by any account, merely a decent fundamental knowledge by that point.

Kata. A tangible credibility in both the presentation and explaination thereof of any within ones syllibus. Such that any piece can be examined, explained and have some credibility. Further investigation, exploration obviously required.

In terms of physical technique, and the capasity to defend oneself... even here, I do not maintain one MUST be able to "win" an encounter. I can make no mistakes and still "loose". The question I advocate ~...was a very "price paid" for ~engaging~ me...~ is a better question than the must defeat, must-win mind set... IMHO.

At third dan as others have already suggested might be a full-fledged teaching ranking. Whereby first or second dan are excellent technicians, good representatives of what they do... by the level of third dan, (and testing for third dan) the ability to completely instruct a class with complete autonomy is well within ones skill set. Very young children, adults... one should have experiences in teaching lots of different groups.

I am not a fan of academic exercises; book reports, written tests, unless, UNLESS a storehouse, a library of such materials is kept for posterity and to build a knowledge base for others whether in-house or outside groups usage. What you do academically (papers and such) I can get verbally at any time prior to the physical testing. By third dan, we know each other very well, as people, not exclusively as "practitioners". If someone wants to probe my views, beliefs on something, ask... My written command of my native language demonstrated with/by written presentation is superflous...

Merely my opinion, I could surely be mistaken,
Jeff

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#245643 - 04/27/06 04:45 PM Re: Testing questions. [Re: Ronin1966]
tkd_high_green Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 1031
Loc: Vermont
Since we regularly test at our school every three to four months, it is not necessary to give advance warning of an upcoming test, my instructor usually gives just enough time to make sure that students will be able to adjust their schedule if necessary. Testings occur during the students regular class time, although makeups are allowed. The only real question is whether or not you make the list, and most people have a pretty good sense of whether or not they'll make it.

Laura

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#245644 - 04/27/06 04:55 PM Re: Testing questions. [Re: shoshinkan]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
re surprise testing etc etc, when we asses rank advancement (6 months) a stripe goes on the belt for white-green, green-brown and brown-black.

I expect the students with stripes to be training regulary, with right attitude and show respect to all, inc the dojo.

In this period the little tests come in, ie can you open up for me next week, please take the warm up, fancy training 7pm next wednesday? All silly but it does show ones dedication and enthusisum to the art. This is up until shodan anyhow.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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