View Full Version : Getting Ready for Black Belt Rank Test
01-24-2005, 06:45 PM
Okay, my instructor walks up to me the other night in class and said that he wants me to go up for rank this summer. I know that for us we hold a pretty grueling rank test. It consists of 3-4 hours of basic technique then Kata, following by self defense and full contact sparring.
I need some advice on some training methods that won't entail 3-4 hours a night and that won't burn me out. I am currently am working the clubbells using some of the old workouts by John Myers along with mixing in some jump-rope. (I am slowly trying to build up the endurance). As it is, it is only taking up to 30 min to go through. I am working in Warrior Wellness and Body flow in the mornings about an hour before my regular workout.
I have learned a great deal from Rmax over the past year that has altered my training methods and thinking. I want to slowly build up to where I peak at the Rank test and while I don't have an actual date, I figure it will be sometime this summer before my impending deployment.
I know my Kata for the test and the rest is just a matter of training my body and mind. So any help and ideas to keep thing fresh for me so I won't burn out would be appreiciated.
01-25-2005, 05:57 AM
Sounds very familiar...
Jump rope and other conditioning tools will help but give this a shot. I had 11 forms when I went for my Black and one of my Instructors advised me to try this out and I must say after 5 hours of testing, I felt I could go on for another day..partly the adrenalin and some part the conditioning too...and I am no young puppy!
- Do all katas applying dynamic tension.
- Repeat without dynamic tension, in moderate speed but no tension at all except in lockout positions BUT focus on your breathing patterns.
- Now repeat all the katas as you would normally do on your test.
11 forms took me some 20 - 30 min. to do. Boring it may be but you will see benefits not to mention improvement in form and structure.
Do this on alternate days and spar on the other days. If you have heavy boxing gloves 12- 16 oz. that will help. Break up your sparring session into 5 - 10 rounds of 1 min each with a 1 min. breather.
Just my humble opinion. Good Luck.
01-25-2005, 06:15 AM
Firstly, congratulations on your preparation to test. A coach wouldn't ask you if you weren't already there. Remember that when you feel the urge to try and push yourself so you're "ready."
Preparing for such a long slow duration event (punctuated with burst-recover-burst sub-events) is a challenge. What's the physiological profile of the activity: long slow duration, punctuated with burst of high intensity intervals between which you must quickly recover.
I would suggest that you keep your training daily for now, progressing as you are, and begin training less frequently but longer in duration. Create composite circuits which give you bursts of activity, then walk around rest, then bursts, then recover, et cetera. Once a week would suffice, and is the standard for even marathon training.
On the off days, perform very light, short Warrior Wellness sessions as warm-ups, and then very light, minimal ("Selective") tension in your kata rehearsal. Remain as relaxed as possible, and view them not as 'practice' but rather as dynamic relaxation. Remember it is not your skill which is a concern or you wouldn't have been asked to test by a quality coach. Your goal now isn't skill development, but rather efficiency.
01-25-2005, 08:47 AM
Thanks for the advice. I wasn't sure about how to be able to mantain such a high level of readiness without burning out. I figure I can spiral up slowly. The Dynamic tension hit me right between the eyes! I realized that my Kata was always a bit tense for my likeing. I had speed and power in the Kata s but was never quite relaxed to a point where it flowed through out the whole Kata.
I can "sense" the flow in parts but could never quite put the whole thing together in a way where I was personally happy. I guess that's because I've thought of Shotokan as a "Hard-Style" Martial Art and therefore required rigidity and hard block and punches.
Circuit training has been a long time favorite way of training of mine for years. I do feel it helps with the burst-pause-burst way of training in both Karate and SCA fighting.
01-25-2005, 11:00 AM
The only advice I can give that hasn't been covered already is to get yourself mentally prepared as well. I've been through a few black belt tests myself, and I can tell you from experience that the mental aspect of your test can wear you out just as much as the physical. I would find some time after each workout to sit down, close your eyes, and relax. Clear your mind of distractions and focus on breathing.
You can prepare forever in the physical portion, but if you're not ready mentally you may run into some trouble.
GOOD LUCK! Please let us know how you make out.
01-25-2005, 11:04 AM
Thanks Josh I'll definatly keep that in mind.
01-25-2005, 01:14 PM
Stay focused on the specific goal and remember that you have already done the hard work (the years of training), so train hard , but remember to exhale, Smile and enjoy your accomplishment. Take care!
01-25-2005, 01:32 PM
Yeah they all think I'm a little crazy anyway. I can just see me at my rank test yelling: "YOU CAN"T SMOKE ME SENSEI!!!". :twisted:
On another note though, one of my instructors and myself were grappling the other night and he commented afterward that my joints were stronger and that I had more muscle density that the last time we grappled, so I figure I'm doing something right! :wink:
01-25-2005, 01:34 PM
I've participated in a few black belt tests as well as both tester and testee and i've never seen anyone try to test without already posessing the physical attributes required. The "failures", whether my own or someone elses were always due to fear...nerves...etc.
The best advice I could give is to remember that in the great scheme of things it really doesn't matter. It's an accomplishment to be sure, and one to be proud of - but you'll be no different afterwards than you were before. You'll still be working to try and better yourself just as you did before. You'll still be training as hard as you were before, in other words you'll still be on the same journey. The belt test is merely another stop along the way.
Relax, have fun and enjoy it.
01-25-2005, 03:50 PM
I guess if ranking in a system had always been my thing, I would have been a black belt years ago. To be honest, I would be happy just learning but, I want to be able to help my school because we are a small but excellent school with some great Instructors who have always had an open mind to martial arts.
01-25-2005, 03:53 PM
A rare quality to be proud of, Dale!
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