When should I test?


Taekwon Do International has set 30 classes as a general guideline for the interval between tests. This is a recommendation, not a hard and fast rule. Many people are ready to test after 25 classes, but as each person’s skill and ability differ, students will be invited to test at the discretion of the head instructor. If you have not been invited to test, and feel you are ready, by all means ask the head instructor and discuss your preparedness with him/her.

The number of classes attended is important, but this is only a small part of being ready to test. The instructor will factor in basic techniques, board breaking ability and pattern demonstration. It is not enough to know the pattern, you must master your pattern and execute it beginning to end without mistakes and with confidence. As you progress through the ranks, your patterns become increasingly difficult and more time may be required to perfect them.  During a test, you should not be worrying about making mistakes.  You should know for sure that you know the pattern very well.

Black belts take an interim test only every 6 months, and it is years in between dan levels (black belt degrees). Being told you are not ready to test is not a punishment; the instructor wants you to do well, both for your confidence and because your performance is a reflection of the instructor’s teaching. Tests are scheduled every six weeks; the extra 10 or 12 classes can take your basic techniques and pattern from just okay, or even poor, to great. It is important to not get stuck in the mindset of “I test every 3 months”. If you attend 3 or 4 classes a week, you may be ready after only 2 months. Conversely, if you attend only 2 classes per week, you may need 4 months between tests.

When you were a beginner, a white or yellow belt, the next belt level was fairly easy to attain, provided you attended class regularly. Once you get to green belt, it becomes progressively more difficult. Don’t rush! Enjoy the belt level you are at; you can’t ever go back and be a lower belt.

 

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