Understanding testing

Congratulations on being invited to test at Kuk Sool Won™ of St. Paul!

One aspect of our curriculum is our belt-ranking system. Belt color and rank identify where a student is in our curriculum – white belts (beginners) aren’t learning blue belt (intermediate) material. Testing is the tool we use to move students through the belt-ranking system.

You or your student will be invited to test via email (unless alternate arrangements are made), and you will need to schedule your test, pay your testing fee, and perform 5 acts of kindness at least 24 hours before your test date. Hint: if you or your student performs and records acts of kindness ALL THE TIME, it’s significantly easier to be ready for testing when the invitation comes!

What can I expect during a test?

  1. Etiquette is the most important thing during testing. You may be nervous and forget material; everybody does at some time. As long as your etiquette is good, you can do well on your test.
  2. Tests are offered in-class and on the first Saturday of the month (usually! Please check the calendar). If you can’t attend a test one month, you or your student is welcome to test the following month.
  3. You will demonstrate all the kicks, hand strikes, falls, forms, and techniques you have been taught. The Kuk Sool Wonä curriculum is cumulative, so tests get longer as you move up in rank.

When is a student ready to test?

  1. When he or she has been taught the curriculum for his or her level, i.e. all the hyung (form) and techniques that the curriculum designates at that level.
  2. When he or she is invited by the Head Instructor. While the curriculum is a good guide for determining “test readiness,” it is always up to the Head Instructor to invite a student to test. Sometimes the material has been taught, but a student is not remembering the material (or older material) well enough to test. Sometimes, a student’s etiquette or behavior in class does not recommend him or her for testing.

When you are invited to test, it is important that you turn in your testing form and fees as soon as possible before the testing date.

Is it possible to fail a test? Yes! But it’s extremely unlikely at first, getting more and more possible, even probable, the longer a student trains.

One of the most important reasons we use testing to move students through curriculum is because it offers them the opportunity to fail. And not just to fail, but to fail and learn how to get through it safely and healthily. Ours is a culture that demonizes failure, yet sets up every person for failure in many ways, every day. We help our students embrace failure for what it is – a way of learning more about your strengths and weaknesses, a reminder to keep focused and apply effort, a chance to more accurately understand what you’re being taught.

Successful failure is not always easy and not something that many students have had a chance to experience before. We guide students through the process in age- and rank-appropriate ways and give them both the support and the practice they need to fail successfully.

Congratulations, and I look forward to seeing you test at Kuk Sool Won™ of St. Paul soon!

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