For this month we are trying to go back to the basics after a long time spent on special items, like swords and tai chi. We have incorporated the Yang style short form into our school’s curriculum permanently, and we teach it slowly over all of the belt levels. It is a good kata for learning to move your subtle energies, and like anything, you could make a life practice of it. In fact, this subtle energy will become more important as we go through this month, along with the gross and causal portions of the self.
This class was spent on some administrative stuff. We had a promotion to do. Testing for belt ranks is something that evolves for me over time. I suppose you can view that through stages too. A Beige view of testing would be to not have a test. At Purple, it would be more ceremonial like a right of passage. At Red it would be about power and whether the person testing the student can beat them into submission before they pass. At Blue, it becomes about following the book and whether the curriculum as been met. At Orange, it’s about technique and how perfectly executed it is, or perhaps the achievement of beating a higher belt at sparring. At Green, it’s got less to do with skill and more to do with inclusion and service to the school…. There may not even be a test.
However, eventually I think testing comes back. You have to shape the test to where the student is at. If the student has special needs, you need to test to those. If the student has particular hangups, you need to harp on those a bit during the test to show them their growth or where they need to improve. The test is a tool for helping the student grow and see where they are headed.