Let’s talk about Belt Testings!
Many styles of martial arts, like karate, Tae Kwon Do, and even kung fu use a set of ranks, and students advance between these ranks by testing. But what is testing and what is its place in your child’s martial arts adventure?
In a Skillz school, like 4GK Martial Arts, testing is a celebration of a student’s hard work. The event itself is a culmination of their efforts and the reward for learning to overcome challenges. The “Test” is actually nothing more than performing the skill stripe requirements that they demonstrate at the end of every class! It is the child’s chance to show off what they have been learning.
Our staff at 4GK Martial Arts is trained in age-specific Martial Arts and understands students develop at differing rates. Sometimes parents are convinced their child is not yet Physically or Intellectually “ready” to test and therefore choose to hold their child back. This is especially common in parents who may have had previous karate or taekwondo training in more traditional martial arts schools, usually when they were kids themselves. We encourage parents to communicate with our instructors if their child has a challenge with any skill or technique. Our goal is to set each student up for success by recognizing a student’s capabilities Physically, Intellectually, Emotionally, and Socially. The great thing about a SKILLZ test is that by the end of the cycle each student should be able to perform well at and pass his or her “Test”.
If they do have a particular struggle we encourage the students to come to extra classes, seek advice from the instructors and/or schedule private lessons with their favorite instructor. We will rarely hold a student back that meets the stripe and attendance policies because we understand that it may be more retroactive for the child to not test while their peers move on without them. Often, the testing (or new belt) can be used as a means of encouragement to motivate the student to put forth more effort, improve their grades or adjust their behavior abroad. We also recognize that skill-based learning sometimes means that we are helping the kids develop in areas that may not be readily apparent in their techniques, but that their martial arts techniques will continue to improve as the base skills are integrated into the student’s behaviors and thought processes.
Another common issue that may prompt a parent to hold their child back is because they are having Emotional or Social issues in class. What is important to understand is that in order for our students to grow Emotionally or Socially, they still need to progressively advance in skill-based milestones so that the challenges can also foster maturity. Our program has both daily (skill stripes) and monthly (Belt tests every 10-weeks) checkpoints. In the end, having them test and reach new challenges will prove to be far more effective than remaining stagnant at the same rank. Even if they are showing similar social and emotional challenges over time, it is important to recognize that they are doing so even as the pressures of higher levels of learning challenge them in new, more intense ways. This in itself shows a certain advancement in a child’s ability to self regulate.
Our challenge as instructors is to make sure that we can set every student up for success. With communication, we can assist by offering solutions to help your child become the best they can be! (Be sure to check out our article on supporting your child in their martial arts training.)
If you would like more information on our age-specific martial arts classes for kids, simply click the button below: