Promotion Examinations are held every quarter, generally during the months of February, May, August, and November. Students are formally invited to test by the instructors based on their ability to demonstrate proficiency in skill sets mandated by belt rank. Once the instructors feel the student is prepared to test, their eligibility will be symbolized by affixing a stripe on the tip of their current belt. This custom should not be construed as a sign of promotion; rather it signifies that the practitioner is sufficiently familiar with their techniques so that they may practice them correctly on their own. Invariably the student may feel that they have not yet “mastered” these techniques within the required time frame. This is natural. Consequently, techniques taught at a given belt level will be reviewed continuously as the student progresses through the advanced ranks eventually becoming instinctual with each practice session. Once provided with a new set of challenges, however, those of the past routinely appear friendlier by comparison allowing a seamless progression to the next level of training. It should be noted that promotion testing is at the student’s discretion – there is no pressure exerted by the teaching staff to advance in rank; students may proceed at their own pace. Nevertheless, an invitation to test should be taken seriously and considered carefully. The student should understand that it is an honor to be invited to demonstrate their hard earned skills before a panel of experienced judges and must prepare accordingly to test with dignity and confidence. Once the decision to advance in rank is made, the student should remain steadfast in their choice and ignore what are generally unfounded misapprehensions. In the end, perseverance will triumph and a sense of achievement will be realized. This is the mindset that should be practiced throughout the years as a color belt.
Moreover, belt tests should be viewed as measurable goals both short and long term – the journey begins at White Belt with a relatively simple set of skills and represents the short term challenge of reaching the next belt level within a standard three month period. Upon reaching Bodan Belt (Black Belt candidate), the final step in the Color Belt system, the student will review and prepare during the required six month waiting period prior to testing for Black Belt.
Likewise, achieving Black Belt is a long term goal. This can take anywhere from two to three years as a Chosun student. Black Belt Dan examinations are offered twice a year in the spring and autumn. Many wrongly view the Black Belt as a symbol of completion – a diploma in self-defense. Yet, in truth, the Black Belt is a birth certificate of sorts, since 1 st Dan – or degree – is the stage at which the student’s training truly begins in earnest. There are ten degrees within the Black Belt rank structure with Dan testing periods increasing in time proportional to rank. However, Chosun Black Belt students test every three months between Dan grades just as the color belts do thus maintaining advanced proficiency in all aspects of taekwondo. Color Belt and Black Belt Stripe test fees are fixed whereas Black Belt Dan test fees vary according to the desired level of certification.
A Belt Test is a solemn and dignified occasion. Eligible students gather at the dojang or at another pre-determined location and respectfully await their turn to demonstrate their skills before their seniors. Skills required for promotion include: kibon (basic strikes, blocks and kicks), poomsae (forms), il su sik (one-step sparring), ho sin sool (self-defense), kyukpa (breaking), and kyorugi (controlled sparring). Since each belt level is often called upon to perform individually, patience and self-control must be exhibited at all times by those waiting. Silence should be maintained during the kyukpa, or breaking, portion of the examination. Upon the completion of the examination, results will be announced and the belts awarded. Given the honor and celebratory spirit inherent in the occasion, spectators are welcome. Photographs and video cameras are permitted.
Kyukpa , or breaking in Korean, permits the student to demonstrate penetrating, controlled power using hands or feet through the destruction of wood or other appropriate materials. The following guidelines will permit the students to challenge themselves by demonstrating advanced breaking skills at Promotion Test while at the same time ensuring their safety and that of the holders. These regulations will also guarantee that a sufficient supply of wood is available and that the Promotion Test will progress in an orderly, dignified fashion.
Essays represent the academic component of the Chosun Taekwondo Academy curriculum. The practice of committing thoughts to paper allows the lessons and principles learned to crystallize in the student’s mind. Both adults and children are required to submit essays in order to qualify for promotion. Topics vary according to age. The student may choose a subject pertaining to their martial arts training other than those listed provided they obtain permission from the head instructor in advance. The essay need be no longer than a half page for children and one full page for adults. All essays will be reviewed by the instructors prior to the promotion examination and a selected few will be read on the day of the test