Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Promotion Time

We will be holding our first test for rank promotion at Mid-Cities Arnis at the end of the month.

We have two testing for their Yellow Bands.  At MCA, we use wrist bands vs. belts in our program, just as we wear a school shirt and shorts/pants vs. a gi.  It's part of the way we emphasize that we are a "modern" martial art.
Getting ready for the death-match portion of the test.

We have designed our curriculum to be a rotating curriculum, with three "Tracks" made up of three "Sets" each.  White, Yellow and Orange bands are in "Track 1".  Some core material - such as brush, grab, strike and supported blocking and block/check - are repeated more than once in each set in Track 1.

The idea is that students in the same Track will work on the same material in class, regardless of the rank they hold.  This makes it a little easier to teach class.

It's an interesting time, as we are working to make sure our students we are testing are reviewed on the material and ready to test.  But we are also having to explain to our longer-term white bands who are not testing why they are not cleared to test.

These two are our youngest students - one of which is my younger daughter - and both of them have trouble paying attention and doing what is asked of them in class.  They have not come close to mastering the material we ask for the next rank, so they won't be allowed to test.

Demonstrating the 12 Angles of Attack

It's a disappointment for them, but it's just the way it has to be.  They have to spend a lot more time in class working on fundamentals they should have down by now - such as the proper grip - before we'll promote them.  They are young, though, and this is not unexpected.

I understand the impulse of many teachers to go ahead and promote students who are not ready for their next rank, especially if those students are young.  It sucks when they see students progressing ahead of them, and they don't understand (quite) why they can't get that next rank.

I am not one of those instructors.  People will not be promoted until they demonstrate a basic understanding of what is being asked of them to master for promotion, end of story.  Even the youngest kids (our program starts at age 7 for the most part) and even if it disappoints them.

Promotion from "Zero" level to White Band

Tell me about a time when you've worked with people getting ready to test for rank.  Have you had an experience where you or someone you were close to weren't allowed to test for rank because they weren't ready?  How did that go?  I want to know!