Failed belt tests/ gradings

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Latikos, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. Latikos

    Latikos Valued Member

    The only thing I found was a decade old thread, so I dare to make a new one instead of reviving the dead.

    I wonder, if anyone here has ever failed a belt test/ grading and what the reasons were.

    Or to the testers (is that the word?): What were the reasons you had to let someone not pass their gradings?

    I admit, I asked the same question in a German forum and found some interesting responses, so I thought I'd try it here as well.
    Hope that's okay!
    (If not just delete or close this thread)

    To be fair, I make the start:
    So far I only had one test and passed that as well.

    But I got disqualified from another ten minutes prior, because I got test anxiety and wouldn't warm up.
    Reason enough for my coach to tell me to please leave the mats for that day.

    EDIT: Just to be sure (since GoldShifter mentioned BB-test) - I mean test for Kyu/Kup-grades as well as BB tests. Or whatever your organization uses ^^
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
  2. GoldShifter

    GoldShifter The MachineGun Roundhouse

    I passed my tests for my 1st and 2nd degree the first time.

    I've failed multiple people as a grader/proctor because they were simply going through the motions during the test. My criteria is if there isn't the effort to do it right .... that's grounds for failure. Also if blocks and strikes, when doing katas or just drills, aren't functional, such as doing an outward block and it doesn't protect you whatsoever because it doesn't go past your torso, are grounds for failure. I don't expect it to be perfect for everything but if somebody doesn't fulfill the minimum expectations set for a black belt, then they had better have a damn good reason for it. One of which, for example, is nerve damage that doesn't allow a person to plantar flex their foot, which would be grounds to fail a regular person on a front kick b/c of form issues. The person with nerve damage doesn't have the ability to plantar flex their foot so ... I just assume that if they could do it, they would.
  3. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    I never failed an entire exam but I have failed parts. Mostly during extended sparring components where my cardio let me down.

    I remember going to a UKTA (taekwondo) grading and being threatened with failure because we (myself and other members from the same club) turned up "late". We turned up earlier than the advertised time, but the senior examiner decided to start much sooner because he wanted to leave for his holidays. He was a total ass. He failed me on my knuckle push-ups because I did them on my palms (I had a broken knuckle at the time). He also failed me on my patterns (katas) because I refused to do sine-wave and told me off for being disrespectful when I disagreed with General Choi's statements in the theory section. My instructor said I only passed by the skin of my teeth because of my technique during line work and sparring ability. I still say the examiner was an ass because he failed my friend for not breaking a board within the permitted two attempts, yet he gave his own students half a dozen attempts and even got out of his chair to break it for her!
  4. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    I came close to failing my first ever karate grading (given a weak pass) because I would only move after watching what the other students did. In fact I couldn't hear the soft spoken examiners' commands. Thereafter I made a point of reminding him at the start of each grading that I was partially deaf.

    I was given a weak pass for the first part of my Shodan grading and told to work on the Pinan kata more as I had not refined them to the level of my later (post brown belt) forms. I wonder how many people would have been spared my opinions on karate if that off the cuff bit of feedback hadn't been given 20 years ago?

    I've failed people in gradings for hesitation/uncertainty in forms or pre-arranged drills, sloppy footwork and hipwork, and lack of intent in attack or defence.

    I've never personally failed a Dan grade candidate when I've been on a panel of examiners conducting a Dan grading, although I have seen promotions to Dan grade level that I thought have been inflated (I would have failed them for a 1 Kyu grading based on criteria above).
  5. Kave

    Kave Lunatic

    The BJJ classes at my school have testing every three months. Everyone is welcome to attend, even if you have only been attending for a few weeks. Many people treat them as just another practice. I would say that at each grading you might get 20 people attending but only 2 who actually manage to go up a grade. That being said, a fair few people at the tests for blue belt and lower (stripes) tend to be higher grades who are there to provide partners to work with. I have failed grading classes, but that would be the expected norm at my school.
  6. raaeoh

    raaeoh never tell me the odds

    I watched a child fail for refusal to do a kata. Genearly when we are tested it is just a formality, We have already earned the belt. Of course there is no set time span for promotions either. When our head instructor asks if you think you are ready, you are already at the next level in his eyes. The next week you are tested for the camera.
  7. GoldShifter

    GoldShifter The MachineGun Roundhouse

    On my earlier point, I forgot to mention that I only grade either going for 1st dan or second dan candidates, just because that's what our school does, our instructor or a 3rd degree grades the 3rd degree candidates. I'm only a second dan but I teach second and third dan curriculum during our training sessions specifically for black belt candidates because I was supposed to have tested and thus learned the curriculum for the third degree but went off to university. On 2nd dan grading, I'm extremely meticulous and one of the pickiest graders at our school, I've heard more than a couple candidates say, "I really hope I don't get Ronald grading me, he fails everybody" I view as the higher up in dan/degree you get, the more perfect your technique should be, especially if you're within your "prime" years, which of course, vary from person to person. If you're late 30 year old father of two with one more on the way, of course I'll grade easier because he doesn't have the luxury of being able to train whenever he wants, he has to take care of his children, his wife, full time job, and he commutes two hours, one way to come to class.

    Our instructor does the underbelts, God bless him for doing so, I'd probably go crazy.
  8. armanox

    armanox Kick this Ginger...

    The only formal test I've ever seen someone fail was a friend of mine who "failed" his second dan test in Hapkido only because he couldn't finish - he severed his ACL during the test.
  9. Latikos

    Latikos Valued Member

    Thanks for the answers so far!
    I would have said thanks earlier, but I got sick as a dog ;)

    Any more answers are welcome, of course ^^
  10. kuntaoer

    kuntaoer Valued Member

    I've failed people for not showing focus or attention to the test. I have a tendency to pressure test my students who are all adults and work within various factions of security.. I was taught this way and tested, so it worked for me and it most definitely works for those who train with me.. I have had more people get the deer in the headlights look when I apply this testing principle to my civilian students.. It gets frustrating and 95% of them don't cut the mustard in the test
  11. matveimediaarts

    matveimediaarts Underappreciated genius

    I've never failed, but I have gotten less rank than I had hoped for once.
  12. Bomber

    Bomber Valued Member

    Failing gradings is common within British Judo as to progress in the dan ranks (unless over 35 or injured) one has to win fights. Therefore only a small proportion of people at each grading pass (BJC require 3 wins from 4 fights + Kata and BJA 5 wins + theory)
  13. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    I would call that a failure of the people testing you.
  14. bodyshot

    bodyshot Brown Belt Zanshin Karate

    I have taken and passed eight belt test in my Martial Arts career. It hasnt been all that hard to do. Ive only had one failure of sorts and that was just a failure to meet pre test requirements before the testing date. I should be able to test for my next belt in six weeks.

    I have sat on one test board in the past. Im not hard but im not easy, if it looks like your lost than Im going to fail you, if you look a little sloppy Im going to pass you then Im going to drill you and the techniques very hard.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2014
  15. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    I failed my judo blue belt test at 17. I could randori and won on against other green, blue and brown in my test, but I knew nothing of the kata. We needed 3 katas to move to blue and I had learnt 1 in class, they never went through the others.
    So of course when asked to do it I had no clue and failed.

    I found afterwards that I had to go to extra special classes specifically to learn the kata, which I could barely afford.

    I carried on with my grade doing newaza and randori with brown and the Dan grades for over a year after, but never bothered with grading again as I couldn't afford the special classes.
  16. Latikos

    Latikos Valued Member

    Never heard of special classes in Judo, to learn certain stuff (which, to be fair, mustn't mean much). I only know (or met around here) that you can go to certain seminars to deepen the knowledge.
    So an honest question: Is that the rule?
  17. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter

    I failed a belt test because I forgot to sign up for it, does that count?

    My coach said I was looking good though and was surprised that I didn't pass.
  18. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Almost all of these fails sound like a failure on the part of instructors, not students.

    That sucks.
  19. bodyshot

    bodyshot Brown Belt Zanshin Karate

    This might be the worst MA story Ive ever heard. Your instructor totally failed you and should have allowed you a scholar ship to take the class since he "failed" to inform you properly. What a jerk.
  20. blazer kenobi

    blazer kenobi New Member

    I haven't failed a test, and I haven't failed any student that I have assessed
    Typically what will happen is that I announce those students who are invited to test for their next grade
    For the other students I give them specific feedback on where they need to be in order to be invited to grade
    So for the ones who are sitting the grading I am reasonably confident they will pass

    Although I haven't failed a test, I have been excluded from sitting a test and never received any feedback - which is the worst
    that you can do for a student. As this was a national test I was aiming for, over years I watched other students get invited to grade while I
    did not have the same opportunity/and was not afforded any solid feedback on why. And that's all I have to say about that

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