Getting your Taekwondo black belt is a big day in the life of a martial
artist. I have listed some black belt test "tips" below
in order to help you make your
Taekwondo black belt test memorable... and successful.
If you do not
feel that you are ready, ask your Master/instructor for more
time. However, once a final testing date is set in stone, you
need to practice like crazy. While each school can be different,
you will need to demonstrate proficiency in kicking/strikes,
forms, self-defense, sparring and breaking techniques.
Go to as many
Taekwondo classes as you can before the test.
one-on-one help if needed.
home and concentrate on your weak areas. If someone sees you
practicing your forms while you are brushing your teeth, they won't
think that you are insane... if they are another Taekwondo
Work on your
tests are long. While the length varies by school (check with
your instructor), an average black belt test lasts between one &
half to two hours long. However, some schools are much tougher
and the test can be even longer.
children taking a Taekwondo black belt test
Help them to
practice at home.
Take them to
more classes. Participating only 1 or 2 classes per week is
usually not enough for your child to look "proficient" at
Taekwondo (let alone outstanding).
child and look for their weak areas (i.e. memorizing the forms
or generating enough power during their breaks). Then work
on improving these elements.
child's instructor to
switch them to a later black belt test if you feel that your child is
not physically or mentally ready for the test.
If your child
is having trouble during the test, please don't yell at them.
Try to encourage them.
FYI - We had a
student at our school who is infamous for crying for half of his black belt test. He
was too young and his parents were not overly supportive during his
numerous mistakes. After this fiasco, he never came back to our
school. Avoid this fate... Make sure your child is ready so he/she will
enjoy the test, will pass with flying colors and will have fond memories of the experience.
before the test. Get warmed up before you arrive at the test
because your Masters/instructors may be running late and
they could cut the stretching down in order to make up time.
see if you have all of your gear (i.e. sparring gear) before
you leave your house.
You will sweat.
Stretch in between each segment of the test so you don't tighten up. This
will help to prevent potential injuries (i.e. torn calf muscle)
and keep you flexible for the more "dynamic" sections of the
test (i.e. breaking).
Focus on your
problem areas (i.e. weak hamstring).
You will have
to demonstrate that you know all of the kicks.
(demonstrating a kick in the open versus kicking a target) can
be difficult. They often look
sloppy (because you are used to hitting for power versus for
"style"). Practice these air kicks in front of a mirror.
sure you review all of the eight WTF Taekwondo color belt forms
because your Master/instructor will ask you to demonstrate these
forms in various combinations. If you need
help, please visit our
page for free written & video instructions.
If you like
sparring and go frequently to your school's sparring classes,
this section of the test will need less training. However, you
will be tired because it is often later in the test after you
are already semi-worn out. Moreover, you might have to spar with
two or three students. Therefore, work on your endurance.
If you are not
a frequent participant in your school's sparring sessions, you need to focus on
improving quickly. Go to as many sparring classes as possible
before the test and ask for one-on-one help from your instructor
(i.e. work on counter-attacks). During the test, just focus on
the basics (versus trying a tornado kick). Block, punch and
simple kicks (i.e. roundhouse and back kicks). You will look
better and perform more effectively in front of the crowd.
This is another
area that needs lots of practice. You want to look crisp and
move quickly. I always find this segment as one of the most
crucial in Taekwondo because it is a martial art. You don't want
people to think that your Taekwondo training is a joke (and they
could easily take you).
For kids, they
will have to show off most of their basic kicks and hand/elbow
strikes. The main problem for children during this portion of
the black belt test is generating sufficient power to break the
wooden boards. As I said above, you do not want your child to
spend 10 minutes trying to break a single board. Ask your
instructor for additional help if this is a problem area or have
your child practice at home with a re-breakable
plastic practice board. For information about tests & breaking,
visit our Breaking
For many adult
tests, you will have to create your own breaking techniques. So
have fun and create some wild & crazy breaking techniques (i.e. leap
off a chair and perform a double break with a jumping double axe kick). However, pick
a kick that you can actually accomplish... you don't want to be
one of those semi-embarrassed students who needs 15 tries to
finish one break! If you need some breaking ideas, please visit
Techniques page and watch the videos at the bottom of the
Many people use
Taekwondo shoes during their breaking test... even if they use bare
feet in their normal Taekwondo classes and for the rest of their
black belt test. They don't want people to see them grimace if
they miss slightly and jam a toe/foot.
Make sure that
you have family or friends who can look after your non-testing
kids. You want your children to share this moment of glory but you also
don't want them distracting you or your testing child because
they are feeling left out.
Make sure to
get photos & videos of this event.
Get ready to
pay your black belt testing fee. :)
Go out &
Wear your new
black belt with pride. You have earned it!
towards a second degree (second dan) black belt. The journey of
a true martial artist never ends.