Monday, June 23, 2014

Good Suggestions

Recently, I conducted a Black Belt test for a couple of my students. I asked all members of the panel to submit to me any suggestions they might have for future tests... I'm always looking to improve. Here was an email from one, (and my responses in italics):

1. Instructor has to sit on the sideline and can only offer encouragement. Other than that, the instructor is not part of the testing process.
Then who calls out what techniques shall be done?

2. Testees will have an assortment of ukes available. All techniques are demonstrated on all ukes and all techniques are performed on both sides.
It would be nice to have enough students to do this. We had two potential ukes (aside from the examinees themselves) available that day, one of whom suffers from severe migraines and asthma and had to withdraw before the test was complete.

3. Exercises happen BEFORE board gets seated.
Board members are welcome to join the examinees in the physical endurance portion. *Two* of them did. 
What would be the purpose, then of demonstrating the physical fitness portion? The idea is to have witnesses.

4. Ages of testees are announced prior to testing.
My bad entirely. I totally forgot your organization's requirements for Black Belt, as they are of no consequence to me. 

5. Testees will have to name the techniques they are performing if the technique wasn’t specifically requested by a member of the board of examiners.
Again, see part 1. Would be easier to have a moderator call out the required techniques.

6. I’d like to see some striking/kicking attacks and defenses. I would like to see at least 1 karate kata integrated into the process.
striking/kicking response: we did this during the first 30 minutes of the self defense portion. 
karate kata response: I teach jiu-jitsu. If I was teaching them karate (which I am fully qualified and competent to do), then you would have seen multiple kata.
Moving forward, I intend to adopt (at least somewhat) a variation on the Gracie University's "Blue Belt Qualification Drills" - this should provide a kata-like demonstration. 

7. I would like to see more judo integrated, especially throwing techniques and standing immobilization/finishing techniques out of a throw.
Throw response: We have 8 throws in our curriculum. They were all presented. We teach practical jiu-jitsu for self defense, not Judo for sport. I was hoping that was made clear throughout the exam.
Standing immobilization response: This is a sparring and live response based jiu-jitsu, not the wristlock stuff that went out of style with the foundation of Judo. I was hoping that was made clear throughout the exam.

8. Since Kosen Jiu Jitsu is a self defense system, I’d like to see more standing finishing techniques.
Because it is a self defense system, we stick to reality. The standing arm lock presented is about the only realistic option. There are others, but our distance management and clinch curriculum addresses those while giving the student a very simple response path to multiple attack possibilities. 

9. I would like to see some weapons training, both offensive and defensive. Firearms are, of course, included in the definition of weapons, but not the only weapon included in the training. If firearms are to be included as a weapon of choice, there needs to be some type of documentation for the training.
It was stated, we teach required knife defenses to 1st Dan black belts. Before then, we simply give the student some fundamentals (like distance management) that work against a wide variety of attacks - weapons included. It is my opinion, as well as the opinion of many others, that successful defenses against edged or projectile weapons is not a clean environment, and will likely end in the death of one or both parties. 
Oh, and I'm the only one of whom I require firearms training. 

10. Board members should be familiar with the art they are testing in.
Agreed... but that would have precluded you, too, my friend.  :)


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