Belt Test Process

The below information will cover the testing requirements for each belt and advice on how to properly conduct and pass a test.
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Orange Belt

Purple Belt

Blue Belt

Green Belt

3rd Brown Belt

2nd Brown Belt

Red (1st Brown) Belt

Black Belt

Welcome to the Virtual Kenpo online Testing Center

Once you have mastered all the techniques in a belt rank, you will have the opportunity to digitally record yourself performing the techniques, strikes, katas, etc. for review. These videos will be uploaded in the Testing Center for evaluation by Virtual Kenpo instructors. An instructor will provide detailed feedback on your performance, so you know your strengths and weaknesses. You can adjust your training habits accordingly. If, upon completing the Belt Test, your techniques and reflexes meet the Virtual Kenpo standards you will receive rank certification from the International School of Kenpo Karate (this is VK's certificate) and Tracy's Karate Worldwide. 

How Tests Are Scored

We score our physical belt tests using a scorecard which automatically calculates a score for the test.  This helps improve consistency around testing and ensures we take the same aspects into account for all students. 

Passing Grade is 80% or higher.

INDIVIDUAL REQUIREMENT SCORE
Each Technique, Hand Strike, Kick, etc. starts with a max score of 5 points each on the scorecard. As we review the test we deduct points from the 5.  

Points Skill Level
1 Forgot / Completely Incorrect
2Partly Incorrect
3 Correct / Low Speed or Poor Form
4 Correct / Medium Speed / Good Form
5 Correct / High Speed / Good Form

SECTION SCORE
Some sections of the test have overall scores for specific areas of focus.  These also start with a maximum score of 5 points each. 

Self-Defense Techniques
  • Speed
  • Stances and Form
  • Spirit

Kata
  • Teachings Of The Animal Related To Kata
  • Speed
  • Stances and Form
  • Spirit
  • Memorization
  • Directions


DEFINITIONS


Speed
Speed is regarded as 4 levels.  Students should start the bottom level and increase as they become move proficient in the movement.

  • Low - just learning. Ensuring it is correct and form is correct
  • Medium - technique is know, and now your are putting it to permanent memory.
  • High - practice with high level of confidence in movements
  • Combat - can perform the technique effectively in the street

High speed is expected as the minimum for belt tests. Combat speed is expected for Black Belt.  

How do you tell the difference between High and Combat speed?  High speed is your daily comfortable running through a list of techniques speed. You are getting good practice and a nice work out. Combat speed is the speed required for use effectively in the street. It is normally as fast as you can perform the technique while still maintaining your power, form, and correct timing.

Stances and Form
All techniques, katas, kicks, or hand strike has proper form and stance. When performing any movement students should strive to use the correct stance with the proper form.  This also applies to kicks and punches.  Each hand or foot strike has a proper form required to make the strike correct. It is expected the student applies the correct path and foot / hand position for each strike.

Spirit
This includes the students confidence, focus, and motivation while performing requirements for the test.

  • Students should not appear to question themselves.
  • Students should be focused on the task at hand.
  • Students should appear motivated to perform the test not just half heartedly, slowly, ho humming through the movements. 
  • Students should not be chatting with the camera. Stay focused.


Memorization

Students should know the required movements.  No more than 3 seconds should pass from the time the student identifies the next item on the test and the student beginning to perform it. Reading a name on a sheet and then stepping around and looking at the ceiling and then finally performing the movement is not acceptable. 

Directions
Ensuring you are striking to the correct direction is extremely important.  Once a fight engages the attacker / target may end up anywhere, but during training we can visualize and focus on the most probable location of the attacker / target. Practicing striking the to the correct location builds muscle memory and provides the best possible outcome to the technique.  Example:  You step to 10:30 to move off-angle around his attack. Then you Palm Strike to 12:00. If you do you will miss the Attacker because he is actually at 2:30 from your current position.     So knowing the location of your attacker in techniques and katas and striking or moving the in the correct direction is very important to your training. 

CONCLUSION
All of the above are requirements for performing a successful belt test. Do not rush to test. Take your time and run through the test process and requirements 2 or 3 before submitting you final test to be graded.  If you have any questions or concerns about the scoring please contact the Instructor. 

Video Upload vs. Live Test

Your Yellow Belt Test can be conducted in one of two ways, Video Upload or Live Testing. Regardless of which one you choose  we do not charge a fee for  your first 2 attempts to pass the test.  If you fail to pass the test on one of the first 2 attempts a $20 fee will apply to all future test attempts for the belt. Each time you submit a test it is thoroughly reviewed by an instructor. These evaluators will provide in-depth personalized feedback providing notes for improving performance, and summarizing your general strengths and weaknesses.  Due to this it is extremely important you are prepared for your test before taking it.  Please use all available resources to prepare yourself.

Video Upload

You may submit your Yellow Belt Test through the Virtual Kenpo Video Evaluation Program.  Record yourself performing the techniques as stated by the Yellow Belt Testing requirements. Upload the videos using the online upload area so an instructor can evaluate your test. Listed below are some important details regarding the Video Evaluation Process:
  • Have a Reader: You are performing many techniques in a short period of time. Having someone read each of the items from the Practice Guidelines sheet will speed up your test and allow you to focus on performing rather than checking to see what is next each time.
  • Conduct practice tests. Do not just get to the last weekly lesson and then record a test video and send it in.  Run through the testing process two or three times to make sure you have it down and it flows smoothly.
  • Continuous Shot: We prefer you shoot your entire test in one video, but if you need to break up the test into one or more videos do so by sections ex. Self-Defense Techniques, Kata, Kicks, Hand Strikes, Basic Motions. You may also combine several sections into one video.
  • One Day: All material must be performed and recorded in the same day. Preferably within the same hour.  Belt testing doe not only test your knowledge, but also your endurance.  Normally a test should not take more than 45 minutes to conduct until you reach Green Belt. 
  • Clear Video: If we cannot see it then we cannot grade it. Ensure your video and sound are clear. 
  • Steady Camera: Please make sure the camera is positioned on a flat, steady surface or a tripod during the recording process.
  • Introduce Yourself: At the beginning of each video, introduce yourself.

For additional testing tips, including help on recording/uploading your evaluation videos read next section of this page.

Live Testing

If you would rather perform a live test than the video upload option, we invite you to set up a time to conduct the test via video conference using Zoom or MS Teams. The test will be administered by a black belt and it will take approximately 45 minutes to conduct the evaluation and provide feedback.

Here are some important details regarding the live testing process:

  • Equipment: Ensure you have the correct equipment to conduct the live video conference. You will need a webcam and microphone.  You may use a tablet or laptop, but we do not recommend using a phone due to the size of the screen. 
  • Relax: In person testing can be more stressful than performing for a video.  Stay relaxed and and do not rush nervously through the techniques and jeopardize the quality of execution. Although it is important that your techniques are conducted reflexively, you must remain calm and only go as quickly as "perfect technique" will allow.
  • Prepare Diligently: With the Video Testing Process, you can re-shoot your execution of the test drills as many times as you like before you submit them. During a live test, however, you will not be able to retake, so all mistakes will be seen by the instructor. If your performance does not meet Virtual Kenpo standards, you will fail the test and must retest at a later date.

Altogether, the test will take approximately 45 minutes and unlike the Video Testing Process, during a live test you will have very little rest time between the techniques. Due to this is is important you prepare diligently before setting up your live test to minimize the amount mistakes and to ensure you are physically capable of finishing the test.  

To set up your live testing click the button below and select an open testing time.

Video Recording and Uploading

You do not need professional video equipment to record and upload your videos. A simple smart phone or digital camera will suffice. Make sure you follow the below guide when creating and uploading your video. 
  • Keep the file under 1 GB
    - This can be done by reducing the recording settings on your device or using software such as HandBrake
    - If needed, make more than one video for your test or review and upload each
  • Ensure audio can be understood
  • Do NOT upload separate videos for each technique, kick, hand strike, etc.  If you need to upload separate videos break them up by sections of the test. Example of testing sections: All Techniques, all kicks, all hand strikes, etc.

After The test

Pass Test
If you pass the test you may expect the following: 

  • You will receive two certificates (one from International School of Kenpo Karate and one from Tracy's Karate Worldwide)
  • A physical Belt.
  • Added to the ISKK and Tracy's Karate Worldwide family trees
  • Video Upload Test: Receive a detailed report via your submitted Yellow Belt Test Assignment specifying your general strengths, general weaknesses, and critical errors for each technique.
  • Live Test: upon completing the live test, the evaluating instructor will provide immediate feedback, explaining each mistake you made during the test to guide you in the right direction as you continue your journey.
  • Access to the next Belt Training course


Fail Test


  • Requires a minimum of 1 full week ( 7 days) before you can attempt the test again.
  • If you fail to pass the test on one of the first 2 attempts a $20 fee will apply to all future test attempts for the belt. 
  • Video Upload Test: Receive a detailed report via your submitted Belt Test Assignment specifying your strengths, weaknesses, and critical errors for each technique.
  • Live Test: Upon completing the live test, the evaluating instructor will provide immediate feedback, explaining each mistake you made during the test to guide you in the right direction as you continue your journey.

Tips For Testing

Ensure you submit a top quality test by keeping this advice in mind.

Introduce Yourself

To help us verify that the videos you submit are associated with the correct Virtual Kenpo student, please introduce yourself (first and last name) at the beginning of the belt test.

State Name and Attack

Before performing each Self-Defense Techniques, state the name and the attack, so we know you aware of when the technique should be used.

Distraction Free Zone

Ensure the area you chose test is in free of distractions. This is for your benefit as well as ours. Distractions can cause both the student and instructor to lose focus during the test.

Where Are Your Feet

Make sure we can see your feet in the video.  We cannot assess stances and footwork if we cannot see them.

Combat Speed

Perform the technique once slow and the again at Combat Speed.  Demonstrating the technique does not mean you know it effectively. Show some speed and intensity when you perform them.

Tripod The Camera

If possible use a tripod to stabilize the camera.  If you can't use a tripod, please ensure whoever is holding it, keeps it steady. 
DON'T MAKE THESE

Common Testing Mistakes

Lack of Attention to Details

The number one testing mistake is lack of attention to the technical details presented in each lesson. For example, many students believe just performing the technique or strike indicates proficiency. Others believe doing it as fast as possible indicates proficiency. 
The reality is each step from setup through finish is equally important, since a mistake at any one of the critical points could "make or break" the technique in a real fight.

Bottom line: You are 100% accountable for learning any and all details presented, however briefly, in each of video lesson. The only way to internalize every detail to this extent is through several hundred dedicated training hours and countless viewings of each video lesson.

Internalize The Techniques

In order to earn your belt, you must be street ready. This means that you must execute your techniques without hesitation.  If you have to think about the technique for more than a second before performing it, you are not ready to test.

Memorizing a technique takes one hour., but internalizing it to the point of developing subconscious reflexes takes hundreds of hours.  Repetition is key to your training your body to perform the movements. However, pay attention to detail, so you train your body properly. 

If you demonstrate the technique or strike without conviction and confidence borne of many hours of repetition, the street effectiveness of your abilities will be questioned, and you will not pass your test.

Follow The Requirements

Each belt exam has a list of requirements you must perform during the test. These requirements ensure you cover all the material and displays your endurance, which should be improving as you continue to train. 

If you do not follow these requirements, it may result in an automatic failure of the test.

Stances, Stances, Stances

Pay attention to your stances. This is your foundation and without a strong one you will find it harder and harder to complete the more advanced techniques and you may find yourself losing stability in a real fight. If you don't have good stances then train until you do before taking the test. They don't have to be perfect every time, but they should be close. 
it is up to you

How To Train and Prepare

Train Regularly

Train a minimum of 24 hours per belt. That is only 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week. Recommended is training time is 30 minutes 5 times a day; which, comes to 40 hours per belt rank. By the time you reach Black Belt you should have approximately 455 hours of training over a 3.5 year time period.

Watch The Videos Over and Over

Do not stop viewing the video lessons. Even if you think you have it down, every time you view a lesson, you'll pick up new details. Don't focus on going as quickly as possible for the rank, but focus on gaining the knowledge and skills. The rank will come on its own. 

Be Accountable

An instructor is not present when you are practicing. Even though the complete instruction is provided in the videos, an instructor is not with you when training to correct your mistakes.  One way to help address this is to film your self performing the technique or movement. Then play it back side by side with the instructional video to compare the movements.  This allows you to identify mistakes and make the corrections before you train for hours incorrectly.

Live Coaching Sessions

Take advantage of the free live group sessions and if needed the private sessions for an additional cost.  During these sessions, you receive live feedback on your performance, get a little workout, meet other students, and learn from others asking questions as well. 
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