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Next Standard Belt Testing

All Youth Ranks

Red Stripe Test Week:

9/4/2023 to 9/8/2023

White Stripe Test Week:

9/18/2023 to 9/22/2023

Blue Stripe Test Week:

10/9/2023 to 10/13/2023

Belt Test & Promotion Week:

10/16/2023 to 10/20/2023

Location:

The American Institute of Kenpo

7320 N. La Cholla Blvd. #164

Tucson, AZ 85741

All Junior & Senior Ranks

Red Stripe Test Week:

7/31/2023 to 8/4/2023

White Stripe Test Week:

9/4/2023 to 9/8/2023

Blue Stripe Test Week:

10/9/2023 to 10/13/2023

Belt Test & Promotion Week:

10/16/2023 to 10/20/2023

Location:

The American Institute of Kenpo

7320 N. La Cholla Blvd. #164

Tucson, AZ 85741

There are NO REGULAR CLASSES for the testing rank groups on a belt testing week! Please, if you are in a testing group, only show up for the belt test you signed up for.

Youth Ranks Test Every 2 Months

The American Institute of Kenpo uses a rotational program to teach the Youth Kenpo students. Each year the youth ranks will be exposed to 6 rotations worth of information. As the students complete each rotation they are eligible to test and be promoted to the next rank.

Junior & Senior Ranks Test Every 4 Months

The American Institute of Kenpo uses a hybrid rotational and progressional program to teach the Junior and Senior ranked Kenpo students. Each level in the progression has 3 rotations. As the students complete each rotation they are eligible to test and be promoted to the next rank. Once all rotations in a level are completed they progress to the next level.

Standard Belt Test & Rank Promotion Fees

Included: For students on a standard enrollment, all rank appropriate belt testing on our Schedule are included at no additional cost with the exception of the Junior and Senior Black Belt ranks. See the Black Belt Testing page for additional Black Belt Testing Information.

Make Up / Private Belt Tests: For students who are unable to attend on the rank appropriate belt testing dates listed on our Schedule, a Make Up / Private Belt Test may be scheduled. All Make Up / Private Belt Tests will be subject to instructor availability and must be paid for at the time it is scheduled. Information regarding the pricing for a Make Up / Private Belt Test can be found on the Tuition Information page.

Standard Belt Test & Rank Promotion Expectations

The most important expectation for any martial artist in regards to any rank promotion is that they work on their personal development. Between ranks the martial artist should have a reasonable increase in their skill that is in congruence with their personal potential.

In addition to personal development, to be eligible to participate in a Belt Test and Rank Promotion, the student must:

  • Know all the required Techniques, Sets, and Forms for the rank they will be promoting to.

  • Schedule a Belt Test and Rank Promotion appointment with AIK.

  • Exhibit proper behavior and use manners that are becoming of a martial artist. Youth and Junior Ranks must earn their parents or guardians signature on their prior rank certificate to be eligible to be promoted to a new rank.

  • Attend the scheduled Belt Test and Rank Promotion in a full (clean) uniform. Full uniform includes:

    • Uniform pants

    • Uniform jacket

    • Rank appropriate belt

Standard Belt Test & Rank Promotion Process

The standard belt testing process for all ranks start with 3 stripe tests and concludes with the Belt Test and Rank Promotion. To be eligible to participate in the belt test, students must complete the stripe testing process receiving their red, white, and blue stripes.

The Stripe Tests consist of:

  • The Workout - Though this part of the test is designed to be physically challenging for students of all fitness levels the true purpose is to develop the students will power to persevere through difficult and challenging experiences.

  • The Technical Evaluation - Students will be evaluated and graded on their performance of the required Techniques, Sets, and Forms.

  • Belt Striping - Those students with a passing grade will receive stripes indicating their proficiency in the required Techniques, Sets, and Forms. Those students unable to pass, for any reason, will receive additional assistance from the instructors during regular classes.

 

The Belt Test and Rank Promotion consist of:

  • Technical Demonstration - Students will demonstrate their pattern proficiency in the current rotation’s required Techniques, Sets, and Forms.

  • Rank Promotion Ceremony - Students will be awarded their new rank belt and rank certificate. 

  • Photo Opportunity - Students will participate in a group photo. Students will have the opportunity for additional photos with friends, families, and instructors.

  • Hand Prints (Youth Ranks Only) - Youth students will put a hand print on the wall matching the color of their new rank.

  • Bonus Snack - When aviable students will receive a celebration snack.

Grading System

The fundamental goal of martial training is to increase one's chances of survival. In regards to social interaction and creative development, the skills a martial artist should be developing such as focus, self-control, self-discipline, and personal interaction are necessary to survive in our society. Martial skills are also directly related to ones chances of survival in the realm of violence. Though we hope no one ever has to be in a violent situation, we prefer for anyone in such a situation to have the skills and ability to defend themselves. This is far superior to needing to defend one's self in in a violent situation and not have the skills and ability to do so.

“It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.”

~ A paraphrase of a Chinese proverb

 

Everyone's journey is personal and unique. It is dangerous to compare one's own journey to someone else’s. This is because other people's journey has nothing to do with whether you are reaching your full potential on the journey that is unique to you and your life. At the foundational level of development for any skill, one should be making increases in their ability to apply that skill. This increase in ability and skill will increase one's ability to better survive countless situations.The only way to gage your personal increase in a skill or ability is to compare the You of Today and the You of Yesterday.

 

That said there are static metrics which one can use when evaluating their personal progress and development of skills and abilities. AIK uses the following metrics to help our students better evaluate themselves.

 

Youth Ranks

Ages: 4 to 7

At the youth level, effort is the major metric that is used to assess wether a student is eligible for promotion. If a young child is able to preform the required combinations and techniques at an age appropriate level they will be eligible for the Belt Test and Rank Promotion. This is the foundational requirement because proper effort allows for continued and greater development over time. 

 

Junior & Senior Ranks

Ages: 7 and up

At this level more than effort is needed for reasonable development. Though the differences in age and life experience is taken into account for each individual martial artist, they need to maintain a functional understanding of the self-defense patterns and be able to execute them at a rank appropriate level. In time with more experience the advanced skills can be developed and cultivated resulting in the practitioner being able to preform at a noticeably more exact level of movement, intensity, accuracy, and awareness.

 

To give our students a metric to gage themselves, our instructors provide feed back using the following grading scale.

 

  • F - Failed:

The only way a student would get this grade would be from their failure to make any effort to demonstrate the pattern of motion while standing completely still.

 

  • R - Relearn:

Student performing action unsatisfactory to receive a passing grade due the the complete inability to recognize what they are doing will receive the ‘R - Relearn’ grade.

  • G - Gross Body Movement Proficiency:

If a student can execute the self-defense patterns at the basic pattern level, demonstrating that pattern in a functional and recognizable manner, they will receive a ‘G - Gross Body Movement Proficiency grade. This lets them know they they have the required patterns in place accurately for their respective rank. 

 

Without ‘G - Gross Body Movement Proficiency’  a student can not receive any higher grades regardless of their ‘I - Intensity of Movement’ or ‘A - Awareness of Application, Positioning, and Timing’

 

The ‘G - Gross Body Movement Proficiency’ is a reasonable and necessary level of developmental focus for all ranks, but for the beginner levels (White, Yellow, and Orange belts) this is where the majority of their focus and attention should be. Getting this grade for beginner level students is an excellent level of achievement and should be what they strive for.

 

In a less deadly environment this type of performance can be seen in someone willing to learn how to do a new task while giving the effort and attention needed to complete that task even if they are slow and inefficient at doing it.

 

  • I - Intensity of Movement:

Building on the retention and refinement of the ‘G - Gross Body Movement Proficiency’, the next reasonable area of development is an increased level of intensity. This is achieved through the refinement of ones ‘G - Gross Body Movement Proficiency’ which allows the individual to develop an increased efficiency in their movement. This increase of ability is often visually perceivable as a proper increase of speed within individual actions from that action's initiation to its conclusion.  

 

Without ‘G - Gross Body Movement Proficiency’ and ‘I - Intensity of Movement’ being in place a student can not receive any higher grades regardless of their ‘A - Awareness of Application, Positioning, and Timing'.

 

It is normal for the intermediate level students (Purple, Blue, and Green Belts) to have major gains in their ‘I - Intensity of Movement’ resulting in a noticeable increase in their capability to survive a violent encounter. 

 

In a less deadly environment this might be seen in someone's ability and willingness to engage in any given task, that they are proficient in performing, with a visible eagerness. 

 

  • A - Awareness of Application, Positioning, and Timing:

Once the student has refined their ‘G - Gross Body Movement Proficiency’ and developed an ‘I - Intensity of Movement’, the next reasonable area of development is an increased level of awareness. ‘A - Awareness of Application, Positioning, and Timing’ is an intellectual and analytical capability that lets realtime adaptations and adjustments to be made in response to an evolving situation.

 

Though hard for an inexperienced person to see ‘A - Awareness of Application, Positioning, and Timing’ in the self-defense patterns, an experienced martial artist will intuitively know it it is there.

 

Simple examples of how ‘A - Awareness of Application, Positioning, and Timing’ can be perceived are:

  • If the practitioner is looking to scan their environment when covering out. 

  • If the practitioner is holding their ground and using borrowed force in a technique where the opponent is falling into the strike instead of shuffling forward and jamming their power range. 

  • If the practitioner is waiting the proper amount of time after a strike for it to settle into the opponent to cause them to be in the proper place for the next strike.

 

It is normal for the advanced level students (Brown and Black Belts) to have major gains in their ‘A - Awareness of Application, Positioning, and Timing’ resulting in a tangible increase in their capability to survive a violent encounter. 

 

In a less deadly environment this might be seen in someone's ability to present information during a speech or while teaching with exceptional ability. It manifests its presence through the practitioners, ability to maintaining the attention and interest of the people they are addressing. When the presentation is done with exceptional skill, then that information being presented is received and retained more efficiently due the presenters awareness of how to most effectively communicate with their audience.

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