OMAC tests call for the development and demonstration of the martial arts spirit
Message from Master Young P. Choi
Testing for a yellow belt or a black belt is both a difficult and exciting challenge for martial artist students and their families. It is the final task of the first stage for all martial artist students. In these tests, students summarize their dedicated training in many areas, including physical fitness, skills of self-defense, artistic performance, understanding of philosophies in life as well as opening their minds to the martial spirit.
GENERAL PROMOTION TESTS
Martial Arts Spirit
The ultimate test for students who wish to progress to the next rank is the development and demonstration of Moo Do Jung Shin , the Martial Arts Spirit. In addition to learning all the rank requirements for their next test, all students should cointinually strive to recognize and fulfill becoming the best human being they can be in keeping with the traditions of the Oriental Martials Arts College and the Moo Gong Ryu system. This is the most important requirement for advancement in the Martial Arts.
In order to test to the next higher rank, a student must learn all of his requirements. These include:
Forms : Forms help us learn basic martial arts skills, and develop those techniques that promote balance, speed, and power.
- Tan Jan breathing is important in martial arts movements. Before beginning a move, we breathe in deeply and gather Nature's energy. Then we tighten the tan jan area to push the energy throughout the body as we strike. Then we repeat the breathing as we make the next move.
- Learn the pattern first. Slowly go through the first steps, and repeat them until we comfortable. Then add some more steps, repeating everything until we are comfortable with the movements. Then we add more steps, until we have learned the whole form.
- Then come back and focus on the stances . Stances help us maintain our body movements and balance. Then we add power , sharp and hard movements full of energy. We gradually put it all together, building our accuracy, speed, and power.
Self-Defense Steps : Each belt rank has designated self-defense movements that put our martial arts skills together. These self-defense movements provide us with a resource of quick and natural moves for different situations.
Stripe Test : Before we can test for the next higher rank, we must demonstrate that we know our requirements. As we practice in class, the instructor observes those who know their forms and self-defense steps, and recommends to Master Choi that they receive their stripes for each requirement. Once a student has received a stripe for all requirements, s/he is eligible to sign up for the next promotion test. Senior Belt s, however, must receive direct permission from Master Choi before they can test.
Break Technique : Every belt rank has a designated techniqe for breaking a board. Each student must ask the senion belts what this technique is, and learn it before testsing.
Test Form : Students must turn in a test form at least one week before a promotion test. The form must be completely filled out, and the student should go over the form with one of the senior belts, to make sure the form if filled out correctly. The test form includes martial arts terminology, and the student should use those that s/he already uses (the name of the form, martial arts phrases, the names of punches and kicks, etc.). The studnet should study and practice what s/he has written on this form and the terminology carefully, since this will provide the basis for the oral questions during the test. Parents can help by testing their children on the form contents before the test.
You can print a copy of the test form by clicking here.
Practice : In preparing for a test, practice hard. Develop the stances, body coordination and balance, power, etc. It is this continual practice that helps us improve as martial artists.
In a promotion test, all students in the class line up, then move to the back of the class and sit down.
When the master calls a name, the student should answer loudly, and run up front, where a senior belt will place him/her.
The test consists of five requirements:
- Forms : All students are asked to do the basic GhiCho forms, then their own requirements.
- Defense Steps : Next, students will be paired and demonstrate their defense steps.
- Sparring : Students will then free spar with their partner. Generally there is no contact, but the student should demonstrate good techniques, combinations of moves, alert avoidance, etc.
- Breaking : Then students will be called up one at a time to break a board with their designated technique. Confidence, power, speed, kicking all the way through, and a loud kiap will ensure success in breaking the board.
- Oral Test : All testees will sit down, and the master will call on them one by one. When a student's name is called, s/he should say "Yes Sir!" loudly, stand up, and bow to the master. The master will ask the student questions based on the promotion form, and the student should answer loudly as best as s/he can. When finished, bow to the master before sitting down.
Belt Award Ceremony
In the following class, the students who tested will recieve their new belts and certificates. When the master calls a name, the student should answer "Yes Sir!" loudly, stand up, go to the front of the class, bow to the master, and joing the line of people getting their new belts. When the master calls a student to receive a new belt, s/he should answer "Yes Sir!" loudly, move in front of the master, and bow. When the master presents the belt, shake hands, take the belt with the right hand, and bow. Then turn to the class and bow to the fellow students. Rejoin the line until everyone has received their belts. Then everyone should bow to the class again, and turn and bow to the master again before leaving.
Students should keep learning after they have received their new rank. Earlier skills help develop new skills, and as we develop our skills we can improve our performance on earlier requirements. We can always keep learning in mind and body. Practice .
BLACK BELT TESTS
In order for a student to test for a Black Belt, a period of two and a half to three years of dedicated physical and mental training is required. This requires discipline, dedication, patience, and humility. The student must learn over 20 forms and 50 defense techniques, fighting skills, and breaking techniqes, as well fast for three days and meditate for one day to cleans the body and mind. The student must also writes a thesis on the martial arts. For years, the student has been testing the human spirit striving for excellence.
It is no wonder that the students of OMAC who follow thorugh this kind of training obtain outstanding abilities that offer them strength and wisdom to accept and overcome various challenges of everyday life. The student's role in life becomes transformed to a positive model for our society.
However, becoming a Black Belt is not the end of the study. A student who earns a Black Belt is considered a great beginner, who then enters the true world of Martial Arts. Training of the mind and body continues as life goes on until the last moment of its destination. Challenges of life come from all directions. Those who earn a Black Belt should apply wisely what they have learned through Martial Arts to overcome obstacles in life.
Grandmaster Young P. Choi
We have two black belt promotion tests a year, in June and in December. Other masters in the OMAC system, including Grandmaster Joon Pyo Choi, come to participate in the test.
Who is Eligible to Test for a Black Belt?
When a Master feels a student is ready to test for a Black Belt, he will tell the student. The student should show patience, and wait until the Master tells him or her to test.
Black Belt Test Requirements
In addition to all earlier and current rank requirements, a student must also complete the following special requirements before testing for a Black Belt:
- Attendance is important for the master to observe when someone is ready to become a black belt. Particularly important is regular attendance at the weekly senior classes
- Fasting : Black Belt testees are required to fast for three designated days. Other students may also fast for any or all of this period (one meal, one day, or more). Rules for fasting include:
- The purpose of the fasting is to cleanse and renew the body. A positive mental attitude is most important during the fast.
- Plenty of fluids are advised, but only water and/or herbal teas. If necessary, fruit or vegetable juice is permissible; prescription medication is also permitted. (No vitimins, coffee, alcohol, or smoking are permitted.)
- Expect to get a mild headache in the evenings.
- When the fast is broken on the last evening, start slowly, eat only a moderate amount of mild foods such as soup and salad, and chew slowly. (Salt is not recommended.) Add foods over the next few days, but in general get in the habit of eating only healthy foods after a fast where the body has been cleansed.
- Meditation : Black Belt testees are also required to meditate for a day. Other students may join meditation for part or all of the time (30 minutes, one hour, or more). Meditation procedures include:
- The purpose of meditation is to renew the mind.
- Get a good night sleep beforehand. (Meditation is not sleeping, but a relaxed mental state.)
- Arrive at the school at 7:30 am.
- Wear the required uniform. (A sweatshirt under the uniform is permitted.)
- Stretch before beginning meditation, and during breaks.
- Sitting posture is important to ensure a straight spine and proper breathing. (Bring a thick cushion or pillow.)
- Thesis : In addition, black belt testees are required to prepare a thesis on how martial arts training has been beneficial in their lives and development as human beings. The thesis and test form is due to Grandmaster Choi by Monday Dec. 10.
The masters say that when a student becomes a black belt, this is a new beginning. New doors open to a way of life and higher levels of concentration and skills. Becoming a black belt is only a beginning in the development of the martial arts spirit.