Why should we test for Taekwondo rank?


Why should we test for Taekwondo rank?


I recently heard of a student who told one of us that they didn’t see the point of testing. I’ve been pondering this a while and one of the best ways for me to ponder is to write.


So think about testing from a high rank perspective.  When we were fourth degrees, why test for senior 4th?  The form requirements and testing requirements were exactly the same. (At that time.) We would not be learning anything “new”.  So why bother?   


For me the answer is simple.  It’s not the result of the test but the process to ready myself for the test that is the benefit.  Most of the high ranks slack off a bit in the middle of the rank.   When you realize you are eligible to test next year, you start ramping things up the closer you get to Testing.  You add more classes and more personal training times, beefing up the strength and conditioning.  The last thing we want to do is embarrass ourselves in front of a panel of Masters.  Now this period of slacking off isn’t a bad thing.  We don’t want to constantly be working out at our max level because we will burn out both mentally and physically.  Our bodies and minds need periodization; times where we work hard followed by times we ease up a bit for long term health and wellness. 


We usually have high rank testing in the afternoons of the tournament.  I can always tell who is high rank testing by their tournament performance in the morning competition.  “Wow they are doing great!  Oh yeah they are testing this afternoon.”  Hence Ms. Bartko’s 5 first place trophies in March!  She worked really hard to get ready for testing and it showed up in her tournament results as well.


So in a nutshell, why taekwondo rank test?

1.     We all need goals to work toward for our workouts to be fresh.  Measurable goals are the best.  So Sr. Fifth here I come.  If I don’t pass then I know I’d better start working harder. 

2.     For high rank testing there is the Journey Document to get ready.  This makes internal contemplation a priority. 

·      Why am I doing this? 

·      What am I doing with my life? 

·      Where have I come from and where am I going?

·      Have I been stretching myself reading and studying something more, something I wouldn’t normally choose to read about? 

3.     The process of pushing myself to get ready for the test makes the test worthwhile.  Think about how hard you would study for a history class if you knew there was no test at the end.


I think this translates to lower rank testing as well even though the testing times come around a lot quicker.  The process of getting ready to test pushes us to work harder on our form and sparring, which helps us to become better martial artists.  Without that goal it’s really easy to get lazy and coast in our training. 


We notice, especially with children, the ones that do not test tend to be the ones that are quitters.  Parents get frustrated that their kids don’t want to come to class, but don’t follow through and make sure they test.  Sometimes following through means buying some private lesson packages to work on those basic skills or bringing the sparring to the next level.  Or making sure class attendance is consistent.  Or sometimes it is simply making sure you as a parent read the notices on the door, Facebook, and e mail that testing is coming up and sign up for testing!  Testing is part of the process that takes a child or adult to the goal of having a black belt attitude.  Or in the case of high ranks, testing is part of the process to having a Master’s Attitude, an I can!  I will! Attitude!