Every studio is different, but at BeRyong, a first degree black belt test has 10 stages. This test generally lasts about three hours and is non-stop.
At Be Ryong, Master Yun won’t even let you take the black belt test until he sees that you have mastered all the lower belt kicks and forms. Ultimately, the test is one of endurance.
At the end of the test, you’ll understand why Master Yun says that a black belt test is a physical and mental test.
Here are the 10 stages.
- Warm-up (a bunch of jumping jacks) and stretching.
- Kicking. You do each belt’s kicking combination up and down the studio.
- Push-ups. You do a lot of push-ups during a black belt. You start with 20 push-ups at white belt and you add 10 push-ups as you go up the belts. By the time you’re on brown belt, you’re doing 120 push-ups. Yes, you end up doing 770 push-ups during the course of the test.
- Forms. You run through all the belt forms. If Master Yun doesn’t like one person’s form, you may all be asked to repeat a form.
- Sit ups. Same as the push-ups, you do sit ups with each belt, starting with 20, until you do 120 at brown belt. Yep, you end up doing 770 sit ups during the test.
- Squats. After blue stripe belt, the squats start, starting with 10, adding 10 more with each successive belt.
- After you’ve gone through all the forms, you do three rounds of sparring. The first 2 are against 1 black belt; each round lasts 1.5 – 2 minutes. During the third round, you go up against 2 black belts, alsso for 1.5 – 2 minutes. Yes, you will take a beating. Why sparring at the end of the test? Because any martial arts-trained person can fight fresh; the black belt test shows you can fight even when you’re exhausted.
- Breaking. Prior to the test, Master Yun will work with each student to develop three kicking combinations of three kicks each. So you’ll end up breaking 9 boards (10 if you do a double kick).
- As the Grand Finale, you do hand breaking. If you are under 8 years old, you break 5 thin boards, over 8 you break 5 thick boards, and over 18 you break a 2 inch thick slab of concrete. If you’re over 18 and you don’t succeed in breaking a slab of concrete, you’ll be presented with 5 thick boards.
- At the end of the test, after all the kicking, forms, sparring and breaking, you get to eat Korean Food!
by CJ, 13, black belt in TKD