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Tips for Your Taekwondo Black Belt Test

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.

  • Practice, practice, practice!!!!
    • 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.
    • Ask for one-on-one help if needed.
    • Practice at 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 student. :)
  • Work on your endurance.
    • Black belt 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.
  • For parents with 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).
    • Watch your 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.
    • Ask your 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.
  • Pre-test preparation
    • Stretch 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.
    • Check to see if you have all of your gear (i.e. sparring gear) before you leave your house.
    • Bring water!!! You will sweat.
  • Stretching
    • 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).
    • For various Taekwondo stretches, please visit our Taekwondo Stretching page.
  • Kicks
    • You will have to demonstrate that you know all of the kicks.
    • "Air" 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.
    • If you need help, please visit our Taekwondo Kicks page.
  • Forms
    • Make 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 Taekwondo Forms page for free written & video instructions.
  • Sparring
    • 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.
    • Visit our Taekwondo Sparring page for sparring help (i.e. basic attacks and counter attacks).
  • Self-Defense
    • 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).
  • Breaking
    • 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 Techniques page.
    • 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 our Breaking Techniques page and watch the videos at the bottom of the page.
    • 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.
  • Non-testing kids
    • 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.
  • Final black belt test tips
    • Make sure to get photos & videos of this important event.
    • Thank your instructor!!!!!!!!!
    • Get ready to pay your black belt testing fee. :)
    • Go out & celebrate.
    • Wear your new black belt with pride. You have earned it!
    • Start working towards a second degree (second dan) black belt. The journey of a true martial artist never ends.

 

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