Tips for Testing

In some point of your training you’ve gone to testing to advance in rank or complete a midterm. You’re asked to perform different skills and the requirements to pass differ based on organization and/ or instructor. Skills that may be required for testing may be forms, sparring, weapons, self-defense, fitness and board breaks. Testing can be exiting for some and nerve racking for others. For me, there were times when I was excited to test and times when I was nervous. Here are some tips  to prepare and how to make testing less stressful.

At Testing, you will be asked to do the form that goes with your current rank. By this point memorization should not be an issue. The judges look for proper technique, intensity, controlled power and stances. Ask your instructor about details in the form you’re not sure about and for area to improve on. Also make record yourself doing your form. I find that I catch myself making mistakes in my technique. You also may be asked to demonstrate lower rank forms so make sure you stay sharp with them. Finally if you make a mistake doing your form, move on and don’t look at the judges, that will make you nervous

Another testing requirement could be fitness. Demonstrating strength and endurance is crucial for advanced students. Push-ups, sit-ups combinations, running, may be required. It’s based on the organization and/or instructor. For example, I’m apart of ATA, which has standards for the fit test. 30 push-ups, 50 sit-ups, 10 sets of Strike/Kick Combinations  10 sets warrior kicking combos: 17,18  and 10 warrior punching combinations 1-4 which is a total of 300 good quality techniques. For ages 39 and under the time limit is 5 min 40-59 the time limit is 6 min for 60+ the time limit is 7 min. The goal of the test is to 300 good quality techniques within the age appropriate time limit. My instructor pre-test the fit test to save time at testing. For the color belts, fitness is a stripes requirement.

Sparring is another skill that could be required. The purpose of sparring at testing is to demonstrate proficiency in footwork, speed, blocking, countering, control  and use of combinations. Even though I earned a state title in sparring, I still got a low score in this area because I used the same moves over and over again. Part of being a black belt is using a variety of kicks and combinations.

Board breaking can be a stressful part of testing. You may be fearful “what if I don’t break it what if I break my fingers or toes”? Replace fear with “I will break my boards on the first try.” To prepare for a board break, start with pads and gloves and sparring boots once you gain confidence and hit with the correct part of the body then try  breaking boards. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t break the first try. and Finally hit the center of the board and penetrate.

If you have to demonstrate a weapon whether its a form or a drill. Make sure you make your strikes crisp but controlled. If you drop the weapon make sure you pick it up correctly.

If you have to demonstrate self-defense make it crisp and without hesitation. Self- defense requirements depend on instructor so talk to your instructor about self-defense.

So testing is right around the corner. Make sure you keep practicing. Here are some final tips for the day of testing

  1. Get a good night’s sleep
  2. Arrive early so you can stretch
  3. Eat a healthy snack: yogurt, granola bars, fruit
  4. Don’t doubt your self
  5. Finally do your best!

I wish you good luck this coming testing and remember to celebrate your accomplishments. If you don’t pass use this as an oppourtunity to improve and by the next testing you’ll be even better.


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