When Do I Get To Test?

I've heard this question asked a number of times over the years from students. Not always from students that I interact with, but also from those in different schools or arts. Usually the student asking is under the age of 15, and usually below a 5th gup rank. I have heard a number of different responses to the question like "next week," "maybe next time," or even "ask soon as you meet the requirements."

I used to tell my students every couple weeks, "Every day is a test, but we don't always write down scores." This was meant to help them realize that they should be testing themselves every class to try and do just a little better than the last class. It worked for a number of students - it gave them small goals to shoot for, or it helped motivate them to want to do better.

I've recently changed that saying to, "Every day is part of your test." Why the change? Tthe goal was too short, too easily reachable. In order for a student to have feeling of accomplishment, there needs to be some kind of struggle involved, some time needed for them to actively think about the goal and how to get there. 

The requirements that our school has for testing is fairly well laid out in student manuals. There are a number of physical requiremenst as well as some knowledge requirements. Students are expected to know certain techniques, patterns, drills, philosphy, and history items for each step up in rank.

In addition, there is a number of classes requirement. Being ready physically and studied up from a book is not enough to advance. Students must be given the opportunity to find obstacles and overcome them. It also gives our instructors opportunity to push them to improve; whether it is utilizing better stances, refining targeting, or tuning timing.

Sometimes students are ready to test on knowlege and physical material quickly, but they must still wait for eligibility with attendance. There are other times that a student will meet the attendance requirements, but may take longer to refine the physical material or knowlege pieces. This time spent waiting for their next exam gives them a new challenge: to have patience and self-motivation. Extra time is sometimes needed to mature in the material, better absorb the lessons. This doesn't mean they are doing better or worse, it just means that it took a little longer for them this time. All of these experiences lend to help build study or practice habits that will hopefuilly contribute to their lifestyle and build leaders within the community.

When do you get to test? This is part of your test right now.