Saturday, April 01, 2006

This Is Only A Test

Goal settings, and actualizing them are one of the main attractions of the martial arts. The satisfaction and elation of receiving a new belt is something that must be experienced first hand. Belts can be acquired at intervals through formal testing, but as an instructor of mine once noted, students should be "tested" (i.e. inconspicuously observed) everytime they attend class.

It behooves the student to devote time in preparation for the test. Unfortunately, you're not only being tested on what you know, you're being tested on how well you test. Although this may seem unfair, it prepares the student to deal with stress in a positive manner. The ability to relax under any circumstances is a natural by-product of the experience, confidence, and well being that results from dedicated training. While some may regard acquiring rank as a source of ego-inflation, the student would do well to realize that true nobility is derived from forgoing any type of self-aggrandizement or narcissism.

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Blogger Stephen Irwin said...

Every lesson is a test. People ask me when the next test is scheduled. I tell them they are being tested right now.

Even a "fail" is an opportunity to grow and develop - because it's not really a fail, you're just being guided on where you need to train next. If that isn't progress I don't know what is.

I "failed" my 2nd kyu, but went on to gain shodan first time round under difficult circumstances.

I don't see grades as ranks, more a measure of progress along the path. Rank implies hierarchy, but we are reall just a group of people training together at a level that suits each individual. So we might all be doing the same physical techniques, but in a way that is suitabe for each person.

6:38 AM  
Blogger Mir said...

Cheers to the main idea of this thread! So many students focus on the goal of achieving the next rank that they tend to push aside the whole reason of testing in the first place.

Rank is not the real goal, but improving oneself physically, mentally, and spiritually is the goal.

Rank is the side effect of the progress achieved within.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the idea of this post too. Although I wish I could just get there, to the not feeling stressed when testing.

I think part of it is because I had several months off to have my daughter. I've lost my karate mojo so to speak.

I have an instructor who says that once you reach black belt, that's when you start really learning karate. I think that's true and can't wait to learn it from a black belt's perspective

10:18 PM  
Blogger Miss Chris said...

I couldn't agree with you more on this post. I try to practice as though I am testing and always strive for perfection. This makes testing much easier. I may not always be perfect but I will always do well. Thanks for your words of encouragement about my broken knuckle. I'll work through this and be a stronger person for it.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Mathieu said...

Point taken.

As always.

1:14 PM  

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