Black Belt Advancement
Below are the requirements for promotion. Please speak directly to Master Gordon or Master Bledsoe should there be any questions. To limit confusion, those are the only instructors handling black belt promotions. Be sure to read the requirements for first degree testing.
All Black Belt exams require spontaneous self defense, board breaks, and sparring. In addition, midterms are as follows:
1st degree will have 5 midterms (every 3 months) to test for 2nd degree
The five midterms are $50 each leaving $50 on test day
At the end of 1st degree cycle, the student will have earned their 2nd degree in Taekwon-Do and Green belt in Hapkido
2nd degree will have 7 midterms (every 3 months) to test for 3rd degree
The seven midterms are $55 each leaving $65 on test day
At the end of 2nd degree cycle, the student will have earned their 3rd degree in Taekwon-Do and Purple belt in Hapkido
3rd degree will have 11 midterms (every 3 months) to test for 4th degree
The eleven midterms are $60 each leaving $60 on test day
At the end of 3rd degree cycle, the student will have earned their 4th degree in Taekwon-Do and 1st degree in Hapkido
Midterms are meant to give the student short term goals without diminishing the industry standards of promotion. When we add the material, you will be responsible for learning it even if it’s material below your current ranking.
Active time is defined as making a minimum of seven classes out of a four week period. Active time is accrued on a month to month basis. Classes do not carry over month to month. So if you’re gone for two weeks on vacation, it will be difficult to get your time in unless you can attend an approved seminar or tournament during that calendar month. Based on active time alone, you will very likely be one testing cycle behind if you miss a two week period. Please also understand that sometimes outside events/activities gets in the way of our progression in martial arts. If you take time off for school functions, family needs, demanding work schedule, injury, etc, then you are taking time off from your “active time training.” This prohibits someone from earning their black belt and then coming back in 18 months saying they are ready to test because “their time is up.” With that said, you are encouraged to keep track of your training and setting goals is very necessary.
Below is a breakdown of weighted classes:
Black belt class – 1 credit for 1 hour rounded to nearest hour
Tournament (participation at some level whether you help or compete) – 3
Half day seminar (typically 3-4 hours with guest instructor) – 3
Full day seminar (typically 5-6 hours with guest instructor) – 5
With all this discussion on active time in training, please understand time is only one part of being ready to test. You must have the right attitude, martial art knowledge, martial art ability, proper execution of required material, age limitations, and ample active training time. With this said, everyone is looked at on an individual basis but fundamentals are not negotiable. One of our own instructors failed their third degree exam for having a bad attitude. So attitude alone caused them to no change.
Again, these are bare minimums. Just because a student has time does not mean it’s been active time nor does it mean they are automatically eligible. There are exceptions for every rule – however unlikely. The one standing exception are black belts that did not come through our color belt program. AFTER the instructors have had the opportunity to know the student better, typically, they are allowed ONE testing IF they have active training time, solid basics/techniques, know their material, feel confident to test, and have the confidence of the head instructor. We will do a pretesting to determine if they are indeed ready to test. After that, they fall into our regular testing cycle and responsible for all material before next testing.