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About the Belt Test

* * * Updated December 2013 * * *

Belt tests are held every 2 months. During classes, the masters determine if a student is ready for promotion. If so, the student receives an application to test for a new belt. Before accepting this invitation, please be sure you can attend and stay for the entire test. Color belt tests last approximately 1-1½ hours. Black belt tests last much longer; if you are testing with black belts, be prepared for a long test.

Belts are usually awarded during informal ceremonies during classes the week following a test. If a belt ceremony day is announced, please plan to attend and stay for the entire event.

A week before the test

Return your completed application, the test fee, and a copy of your latest report card to the master before the test day. Make sure all information is printed legibly. Any special requests or circumstances must be discussed with the master before the test day.

Make sure your name is on your uniform, sparring gear, and gym bag. Put something on your bag to make it easily identifiable. Nearly every test we have students taking home the wrong bags and equipment.

Day of the test

Please arrive a few minutes early. Shoes should be put on the shelf; coats and clothing should be left in the changing room; and sparring gear should be left just outside the changing rooms.

Testing format

The format of the belt test may vary, but it generally is given in three parts and usually in belt order (white to black). The first part consists of basics (kicks, punches, blocks), kicking combinations, and poomse (forms). The second part is sparring. The last part is breaking boards.

Basic techniques and poomse should be memorized before the test. However, young children may be given verbal or visual cues to help them remember what to do. The youngest students may be excused from performing poomse.

After several groups complete the first part of the test, students will begin to be dismissed by belt color to change into sparring gear. Please change in the waiting room or changing room. Return to the test room and sit quietly until it is time to spar.

Sparring is by belt level. You may need to spar more than once, if there are an odd number of testers in a group. Please leave your gear on until the next belt level has finished sparring. After you change, return to the test room and sit quietly.

Breaking a board is a required part of the test. The size and thickness of the board will depend on the age, size, and belt level of the student as well as the difficulty of the breaking technique. After you break, you will be handed the broken pieces. Please accept them with two hands and bow to the person handing them to you.

You may keep the boards you break. Please give the boards to your parents to hold or put them with your shoes and sparring gear. (Parents, you might want to mark the date, belt level, and breaking technique on the boards.) Please sit quietly until everyone has finished testing and the master dismisses you. Do not leave early.

Spectator etiquette

Guests must remove shoes before entering the test room. Please stand at the beginning and end of the test, when we bow in and bow out. Please remain quiet during the test. The hallway just outside the test room must remain quiet, too. If you need to talk, please do so quietly in the waiting room. Please do not block the doorway to the dojang.

Parents, please hold your child's boards after the breaking technique. Please help your child change into and out of sparring gear. Label sparring gear and clothing with your child's name.

Video and Photography

Because of privacy concerns, videotaping is limited. You may record only your family member and only for brief periods – a few seconds here and there. You may not record the entire test or include other students in your video. If this policy is violated by anyone, Master Kim may prohibit all videotaping for the duration of the test.

Photographs of your family members are permitted, but please try not to distract those who are testing. If the photography becomes a problem, Master Kim may prohibit photography for the duration of the test.

After the test, you may ask instructors or masters to pose with your family member for photos. However, please keep in mind that the staff is working straight through two tests. They have very little time before or between tests and are tired and hungry after the tests.

Belt Ceremony

Belts and certificates may be awarded at a belt ceremony or during classes. The date will be announced at the test.

If we have a belt ceremony, please attend the entire event. If for some reason you cannot attend or stay until the end, discuss this with the master before the ceremony day, but not during the belt test.

Black belts are awarded at a belt ceremony durning the next belt test. Be prepared to make a short speech. Consider thanking everyone who helped you to achieve black belt.

Students, wear your uniform and belt. Look sharp!

The master will call students to the front of the room. Please respond to this call with a loud "yes, sir!" or "yes, ma'am" while standing up. Step to the side and quickly come up to the front of the room. Do not weave your way through the other students. Stand where your instructor indicates and do not move or leave until you are instructed to do so.

Follow the instructor's directions. If you are receiving a new belt, you will be told to remove the old one. The instructor will put your new belt on you. If you are receiving a black belt, the master first puts the belt on himself, then removes it and puts it on you.

If you are being awarded a trophy or certificate, thank the master and accept it with both hands. If the master offers a handshake, quickly move the paper or trophy to your left hand so you may shake with your right hand.

At the end, all students at the front receiving belts, certificates, trophies, pins, etc. will be told to bow to the master. Then they will be asked to turn around, face the audience, and bow again. Remember to smile! Someone may be taking your photograph.

Spectator etiquette

Guests must remove shoes before entering the room. Please stand at the beginning and end, when we bow in and bow out. Photos of your family member are permitted and encouraged.