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My Black Belt test is this year, so what should I be doing to prepare?

The next 12 months look to be busy ones for the Prestwich, Oldham & Middleton Centres (most likely across the other Centres too). Not only will we be teaching classes, supporting Graduations, running Seminars & making sure a couple of our Instructors are ready for their Masters Test - we will also be preparing quite a number of students for their Dan Assessments. There could be over 40 across the three NMFMAC Centres!

Group of Black Belts

We know what we’re doing - we have a proven formula - but do you know what YOU should be doing to make sure you are ready?

1. 1st Gup Assessment

Make sure you have taken up the opportunity to have a 1st Gup Assessment with your Instructor. When you get to the top Gup Level (Red Belt, 2 Blue Tabs), your Instructor will do a review & create a plan with you to make sure you’re ready. Have that sit down with them & take their advice on what you should be focussing on with a year go.

2. Take control of your own training

Focus on the things that your Instructor puts in your plan for you (see above), but make sure you are focussing on the things that you think are your weak points. Develop your training & fill in your gaps. Use the time before, during & after classes to work on them. Ask other senior students & Dans to help you - most will be only too happy to help.

3. Get your a** to class

Feeling blue - go to class. Feel a bit under the weather - go to class. Busy with other things - make time to go to class.

If you train once a week and you have a year left to prepare, each class missed means you knock a couple of percentage points off your chances of being ready for your Dan Assessment. And remember, you don’t start on 100%. It may only be an 80% chance of being ready for Assessment - miss ten classes and that reduces to 60%.

Practice at home too - reinforce what you are learning in class & help commit your Hyungs & Hol Sin Sool to memory.

4. Up your numbers

Come more often. Speak to your Instructor to start attending more often, even if it’s just for that last 6 or 12 months. It makes a massive difference to your training and hence your chances. We’re not saying you should all do this but both Mr Nelsons trained 14 hours per week in the run up to their Dan Assessment - hopefully that shows!?!

Attending class more often will also increase your confidence & your resilience when things don’t go to plan.

5. Up your Game

Forget goofing around; focus! Concentrate on your training; assess how well you did each class; and decide what you’ll do better/harder/faster next time.

Remember, you don’t go to your Dan Assessment by right - you are invited so when your Instructor is looking at who to invite, your attitude in class and towards your training will impact that 'Yes/No' decision.

6. Get all the key dates in your diary & work to them

If you need to attend a certain number of Graduations to get to the required level, have them in your diary (don’t forget to attend the required classes too!). There are Seminars that are put on to help you prepare - get them in your diary as your Instructor will be using these as part of that Yes/No decision.

And don’t forget the actual Assessment & Test dates too - they only come around twice year and are non-negotiable so don’t miss out because you've double booked yourself.

7. Set a target date

Have a date in mind (that you can attend) and work towards it. If you just say ‘I’ll do one in the future’, experience shows that you’ll never make it!

8. Start your revision

Get the Leadership Handbook and learn it cover to cover. Practice your Hyungs & Hol Sin Sool too. Cover both the mental & physical aspects of Tang Soo Do. Remember, that not only do you have to pass the physical skills test - you also have to pass the written test too!

9. Find a mentor

It doesn’t have to be a formal relationship. Find someone who you think is a good student (or ask your Instructor to tell you who they think are good) and model your behaviour, attitude & training on them. If they’re a Black Belt & they’re good - copy them and the chances are you’ll be the same!

10. Ask the question - both of yourself and of your Instructors

Ask yourself ‘Am I giving the very best that I can?’ and ‘Am I doing enough to get me to my target date?’. Ask your Instructor ‘What else can I be doing to be ready?’ and ‘What do you think I should be working on to make sure I’m ready?’. The answers to these questions should help focus your training.

So these are our top ten things that you should be doing. You may have or be able to think of more, but they should get you off to a cracking start & maximise our chances of joining the elite Black Belt Club.

Be the 1 in 10,000

1 in 10,000 Black Belt quote

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