So, you’ve been training in a martial art for a while now. You can perform poomse/kata. You have practiced one-step sparring. You have worked on self defense combinations. You have sparred with most of your fellow students (and hopefully some of the black belts). Now, what have you learned?

Would you be able to line the class up and bow them in?
Can you say all the commands for drills and forms?
Do you know what the words mean?
Can you LEAD the class?

I’d wager that most think they can…until they get up front and try.

There are many students who earn their ranks and become black belts, but have only spent their time dancing around.

This rambling is truly about students not seeing, let alone working, past what the requirements are. In the Taekwondo curriculum that I teach, poomse testing is done in groups. Each poomse has at least one Kiap (yell) in it. If there is one Kiap in the poomse and four students doing it, they think there should be four Kiaps. When I tell them that I should hear ONE Kiap, I get confused looks. Yes, this is your test but the techniques are only one minor aspect of it. Your group of four is now a team…can you lead the team to do its best?

How about the procedure to take your test? I have watched students supposedly prepared for testing wander about and needing help before they even start their material. Then, after you’ve tested, do you remember how it worked? Can you repeat it? Can you set up and run a test for your school?

My students have heard this many times from me…and I keep hearing it from Grandmasters that I work with… “the physical techniques are only 10% of what you should be learning”. Have you paid enough attention to be able to lead a class through everything that you know? Can you run a test or host special training session for your teacher? If not, why not? I can only think that learning everything your school teaches isn’t important enough to you.

Author: Master Robert Frankovich

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