Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Anatomy of a Black Belt Test

I am still a long way from my black belt.I would be six months closer, but I have been skipping belt tests. I have a lot of anxiety about the black belt test. It is a big deal. So I thought if I watched the test, it would help me be not so nervous about it.

White Belt Test:

Even when I was a new white belt, I was so nervous about the fitness portion of the test. We had to do 30 push-ups, 30 sit-ups and 30 squats. I can do the squats all day, but as of 30 days till the test, I could only do a few push-ups, about a dozen, and 15 sit-ups. They weren't pretty either. Those sit-ups would have me struggling at 5 and barely eaking out number 15 before my body would quit. The push-ups, my arms would give way underneath me.

Everyday I would work on those sit-ups and push ups, except for the day before the test. Sempai Scott graded me. Kihon (basic punches, blocks and kicks) were graded pretty well. Needed a bit more pivot on the base foot when I kick, nothing major. Then came fitness. It started with push-ups and I got to 20 before I had to change my hand position to a flat hand from my knuckles. Then came sit-ups. I did it. Barely but I got all 30 out.

Black Belt Test:

I felt better about my other tests since then because I knew what they were all about. The black belt test is more of a mystery because the first half of it is held the night before the test for everyone else. I knew that there were more of the same fitness as well as other fitness tests.

Most kyokushin styles have the same requirements for black belts, but the formats are different. In my dojo, we have the test split into two days. The first half, for black belts only, is Friday night.

The test started at 5:30 with katas. Katas are funny things. There is a core group of katas that Mas Oyama had prescribed, then there are others that are made up by the dojos. My Shihan is not the exception. As well as the katas Mas Oyama had made, he must have a dozen more that he has us do.

Then the fitness part of the test came. Time for the part that makes me the most nervous. For the Shodan (black belt) they had to do 1000 jumping jacks, walk on their hands for 15 feet, handstand for 60 seconds, 50 knuckle push ups, 100 sit ups, 100 squats,20 bo tobis.

Bo tobis have to be the worst thing about it. You grab a dowel by both ends and jump over it and than over it again backwards without letting go of the stick. I don't think I can do such a feat.

The next day, bright and early, 9AM is the rest of the black belt test and the belt test for everyone else. This is when all belt levels go over their kihon and ido geko, by levels. As your level is done, you sit out. Then we did katas to our level. The future black belts had to go over the katas once again up to brown belt with a stripe level. We then did fitness with the future black belt helping the grading by keeping count and checking form.

After a quick drink it was time for kumite. After five matches everyone but the black belts and the candidates sat out. They sparred five more times for a total of ten matches. Then everyone but Sempai Scott sat out. One at a time there were ten more matches. He had to fight 20 matches for his NiDan belt (second stripe on his belt)

All in all it wasn't horrible and think that I will have less to worry about now that I have seen it. I will probably not miss another test, well at least until brown belt.