Longtime students at RVTKD know that the format of our promotion exams has remained basically unchanged since the school’s founding in 1997. Like most of our practices, it carries forward traditions passed down from previous generations of instructors.
Over this past winter, the partners of our dojang developed several refinements to this testing method. We summarized our proposals and sent them to Mr. Owen. After incorporating his thoughts and guidance, a new testing format has been approved, and we will use it in our upcoming promotion exam on June 29.
The most noticeable change is the addition of a group activity that will include everyone in attendance, followed by brief skills demonstrations by all students who are not candidates for promotion. Dan holders will also demonstrate their progress. This new segment provides a chance for each student to show themself, as well as their comrades in training, a snapshot of where they stand at regular intervals throughout the year. Just as importantly, it brings the school together so all will have a role in every test, not just students who are eligible for promotion.
You may also notice minor refinements to the way students will be notified in advance about their eligibility to test and their promotions afterward. We hope this will clarify the way candidates are chosen and rewarded for their daily training and progress within our school.
BEFORE THE TEST
Two months before test day, RVTKD instructors will remind students that selection of testing candidates will happen in one month. Students who hope to be eligible to test should ask instructors if they’re on track, and if not, what they should do to increase their likelihood of promotion. One month before test day, a list of candidates will be posted in the dojang. This list will show which students have the potential to test, but candidates may be dropped from the list if they don’t maintain their level of practice. After this list has been posted, additional students won’t be added until the next test cycle.
- All attendees (including those who will be testing and those who won’t) will perform all Pal Gwe poomsae that they know. As Geup level students reach the limits of their knowledge, they will drop out of lines and watch the remaining forms from the side.
- After the performance of poomsae, each Geup level student who is not testing will perform two skills that show a snapshot of their progress at that moment in time. Instructors will choose one skill that is solid and one that still needs work. The focus will often be on techniques, although it might be combinations or sparring, depending on individual challenges and achievements since their last promotion. Geup level students who are not testing will not be asked to spar or break.
- Dan holders who are not testing will also be asked to demonstrate a skill. This may be a form they’ve been studying in depth, weapons work, a break, or another project of special interest.
- After skills demonstrations by those who are not testing, there will be a 5-10 minute break while tables and chairs are arranged for the judging panel. Students who are testing should use this interval to stretch and get warm again.
- After the break, the test will proceed with the familiar format we’ve used since the dojang was founded.
- The only new element being added to the promotion exam itself: an oral component will be included for Dan candidates. This will take the form of 3-5 minutes of questions from the presiding judge(s).
AFTER THE TEST
Promotions will be posted on an announcement board on evaluation day. Evaluations will be held one week after the test, at which time we will announce the dates of next test and the deadline for determining candidates’ eligibility.