Thoughts on testing for belts?

I started training in 2012 and received my blue in 2014. There wasn’t a test or ceremony. My coach just surprised me, and another student, with our belts.

I had to move to start grad school and the gym I’m at currently does tests, but the coach also watches rolls before offering the testing opportunity. It just seems a little weird to me

I earned every my Black Belt in 2014 and never did a test with my old coach. I’ve been teaching regular since 2010 and never gave a test to any of my students as I’m hands on instructor/owner. I joined Alliance 3 years ago and they have test for belts. At first I wasn’t keen on doing them at first. Then I saw how it gave the students grading more focus as they drilled after class getting ready for their test. Also their teammates of all belt levels happily helping them get ready. It made the team tighter and it gives the student more focus.

I’m all for the belt test’s now.


I got my black in 2005 and like all old school belts, there was no test. And originally, I was always for that.

Now as I get older, and seeing so many people just playing sport BJJ, with no regard for self-defence or even training against strikes or learning decent take-downs, I can see they have merit.

For me personally, at my school, I test for blue belt and do the rest the old school way. I only have one school though and roll regularly with everyone and still teach all the positions, not just the flavour of the month.


im nowhere near these guys levels^ but i was always watched by prof before a ceremony.

i dont think it has anything to do w him thinking youre worthy of a promotion or not. i figured that decision had already been made beforehand. i always thought it was to see how you performed under pressure, knowing there was a possible stripe or belt on the line.

im sure every instructor has their own method. and like the guy up there said, i think it probably promotes an atmosphere of competition as well as cooperation

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Yea, I have my purple and got watched like a hawk during rolls by my coach, but he also had a test. I got invited to test after doing well with his purples and browns during rolls, but I still thought the test was a little weird conceptually

I’m ambivalent about it. It seems a bit mcdojoish and I’m averse to that, but I actually had to study for the test to shore up some technical holes (mainly defenses) that I realized I had when I looked at the curriculum.

I guess as long as your prowess during rolls is still a part of evaluation then it’s fine?

No tests for brown and black though

I think it sucks and is goofy.

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If it’s a scheduled thing where all the higher belts show up to kick your ass that’s cool. If it’s like drilling and doing kata type demos that’s cattle poop

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I started in 1998. No test. When instructor thought you were ready you were given your belt.

I always felt test were a money grab as I know some schools charge.

And yes it is McDojo-ish.

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For the guys who test, can somebody fail the test?

If yes then how have you managed telling the student they failed as I’m guessing the test is in front of others?

Giving someone a belt promotion without a test is utterly stupid and goofy. That’s like giving students in grade school passing grade without giving them any kind of test.

That’s not a fair analogy. Most instructors roll with their students every class and observe them roll other students every class so it’s clear to know their level.

Teachers in school teach daily but do not quiz or test every day so they are unable to determine if a student is learning.

And again when I started in 1998 (Gracie Barra) there were no tests.

I will put a piece of tape on your belt for $100, bro.

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This is exactly it. Your certficate cost $250.

This is a huge part of my problem with testing. Commoditizing the art. And it creates a gross incentive to make money for the instructor

I like this view.
I’m not really a fan of testing. If you own a school and your there observing and training with your students, then you should already have a lot of insight into their skill set. As you gain experience, you shouldn’t have to execute a book of moves. People develop specific games. I’m not even sure that the defense of every move needs to be displayed as some people “defend” by pre-emptively recognizing and preventing things from going down a certain path.

I can see some testing for a beginner, who needs to show some competency for the basics.

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