Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Expectations of Your Involvement in the Ultimate Black Belt Test

Expectations of Your Involvement in the Ultimate Black Belt Test

Toss a rock in a still pond and watch the ripples of the impact fan out from the center. This is how I see your involvement in the UBBT. At the center are your own personal achievements; at the outside is the effect you have on the entire “pond.”


Your commitment to the UBBT, which is your commitment to your personal test, should first be a physical one:

  • Alter your diet by eliminating junk and paying very close attention to what you consume (conscious consumption).
  • Increase your cardio training, in whatever form suits you.
  • Increase your strength training, in whatever form suits you.
  • Practice your martial arts to the point of mastering those skills you’ve decided to focus on for this period of time.

You need to lean out, muscle up, and get rid of that belly. You should come to your final test looking like you’re in the best shape of your life. If you intend to test for rank, this is an absolute must.

Your form should be a masterpiece; as an example:

Here are some Japanese form masterpieces:

Here’s an example of a Wu Shu masterpiece:

Your martial arts skills should show that you prepared yourself with hundreds of hours of practice for your performance.


You are expected to treat your UBBT team exactly the way you would want your own black belts to treat their own teammates. Do it in a way that shows your students exactly how it’s supposed to be done.


Craft your story in journal and video. While you are a student, always, you are also a teacher, always. Your documentation and test-diaries should explain and illustrate the ABC’s of test preparation –to the best of your abilities. After your test is over, you’re students should be able to review your journals and learn from them, they should model your approach to testing. If you are not doing this test to teach others how a test is to be done, they you have missed a significant opportunity.


Your test must engage other people; your students –and your community. At some point, you should realize that your test isn’t all about you, only. In the “ultimate” test, many other people would be affected by your commitment, inspired by your actions, and involved in their own self-improvement because of your efforts.


Your 13 month test should add up to be something more significant that a test of your physical endurance. You need to look for a WOW that can be initiated during your year. That WOW can take almost any shape, but it something indicative of understanding of the expanding role of the martial arts teacher –in the world.

In Closing

The UBBT isn’t just a black belt test, it’s a movement to improve the quality of education provided by martial arts schools around the world. Your test must set an example for the industry, you must, at whatever level you happen to be at, understand each layer of the project –and commit yourself to excellence, even in failure.


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