It is interesting to see how Belt Testings are viewed. As an Instructor I view them as a challenge for my students!
Individuals assume that testings should be spread out otherwise a student is not truly learning the curriculum.
First, that is for a Master/Instructor to decide. The cultural aspects of respecting your Master/Instructor/Teachers from Korea are represented in Martial Arts; while students may not understand the reasons initially, that is part of their individual journeys.
Second, this underlies the misconception that the Black Belt is the end of a journey, when in actuality, it is the beginning. A Black Belt, in South Korea, is achieved in a year. Colored belt testings are showcasing replication of techniques done in class. Black Belt is understanding those techniques at a deeper level.
Third, I believe in challenging students. If one sets the bar low, that is what will be achieved. If one sets the bar high, then the achievements are shocking! It is beautiful to see students not only accepting a challenge put in front of them, but then realizing that they can set these challenges for themselves! I have two 8 year olds & a 10 year old request to jump over a chair and did so amazingly.
Fourth, while I may hand them a testing sheet with things that I want them to study, it is not the only thing I am looking for. Some students have a hard time focusing-are they focused this time? Some students have a hard time believing in their own capabilities-how about now? Some place unnecessary barriers that stiffen their belief to excel in a test-how about now? A test is not simply the physical elements of success, but also a mental test.
As cliché as it sounds, “with great power, comes great responsibility.” As teachers/Instructors, students look up to us to guide them towards a better version of themselves. Therefore, to hold them back gives a nonverbal gesture that we don’t believe in them. As my Master Instructor likes to say- “let them surprise you.” My responsibility to my students is to help them reach beyond their goals and aim for the stars. Testings & Martial Arts are tools and a means toward a journey of self-realization, growth, leadership, achievement, and much more!
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