My “day job” has always been in education. The current title and position label me as an administrator, but most of my adult life has been spent teaching. If only I had a quarter (inflation you know) for every time I heard “Is this going to be on the test?” The concern was always about making sure that they knew what material was to be covered so they could focus their time on what mattered – the material that would get them the best grade or at least allow them to pass. How much material are they going to be held responsible for?
I often see the same sort of response from my martial arts students. Whether it is Tae Kwon Do or Goju-Shorei Weapons, students tend to be extremely concerned about knowing, in as much detail as possible, what material to study in preparation for each test. Nothing odd about that really - it makes sense. They want to be prepared and they want to do well.
Goju-Shorei Weapons tests are cumulative, so that makes it simple. Everything you have studied at all the previous levels are potentially part of the upcoming test. Yes, you are still responsible for all the previous material. It is cumulative. But paying attention to how much you need to have prepared is just the beginning really.
Testings and advancements are obviously about quality, not just quantity of skills and information. Thing is, when I say this, most people are like “Well, I’ll do my best, but you know I’ve only been working with this last bit for a couple of ... [days, weeks, months, years, insert whatever time frame you want to here].” I do realize that. Which is why I’m always looking hardest at the stuff you learned first. This is the area where I’m going to be most critical. The stuff you learned at the beginning is what you’ve spent the most time with. If you are an upper rank going over your yellow rank material, it should not look the same as it always has. It needs to be better, smoother, faster, more comfortable, and more natural.
Remember that as you advance and more and more time passes between each rank, and you are going to need that time. This is not because you need to learn “one more form” or more concepts or more anything. You are going to need that time because every time you learn something new, you should also be going back over your previous material; making it new and fresh through your increased mastery of it.
Director, Goju-Shorei Weapons System
4th Dan, GSWS
7th Dan, World Taekwondo Federation
7th Dan, AAU Taekwondo