How to Prepare for a Martial Arts Examination

Methods for preparing and training for a martial arts examination. Though shotokan karate and tae kwon do are my specialty, these methods can be used for any style of martial arts.

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Whether you’re in Tae Kwon Do, Shotokan Karate, or something else, and whether you’re going for your black belt or yellow belt, preparing for a martial arts examination is very important.

Firstly, let me say, I’ve spent ten years in the martial arts and been through many five-hour-long examinations. I’ve broken a few bones along the way, busted my nose once or twice, and-at almost every testing-been to the brink of passing out.

Unfortunately, many people have not had similar experiences in martial arts examinations. Yes, I said unfortunately. At the end of your testing, you should feel as if you’ve earned that belt. Whether it be a green or rainbow, the belt is sacred and not given to just anyone. That thought should be in your head throughout your preparation and demonstration. Whether your school is the type that pushes students in a military style with five-hour or longer testings or whether your school makes you do a kata/form, asks the meaning, then ends the testing, you always should put 200% into your actions during a testing.

So, if your goal is to put 200% into your testing at all times and really believe that you’ve earned your belt, read on.

Preparation for your examination should start well before the week of the testing. Ideally, you should be training always for your next testing, but, of course, people are busy and long-term goals are hard to have. In general, make sure you start training AT LEAST a month before your testing. A month is a very short time to improve your body and mind, but with a specific training schedule and determination, you can do it.


Running is the best way, in my opinion, to increase your aerobic capacity. Aerobic capacity or endurance is essential to every martial art, and especially important during an examination of skill. How horrible would it feel to have the skill and knowledge necessary to perform your kata and spar at 200%, but not be able to keep up because you’re so exhausted?

2-5 miles EVERY day is essential. You should run it at a pace that is comfortable to you, but you should definitely be out of breath near and at the end. You should aim to decrease your time and increase your stride.

Walking for five minutes before running is important, as this will loosen up your muscles. You don’t want to risk pulling a muscle so close to a martial arts examination.

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1 Comment
  1. Posted January 21, 2009 at 9:43 am

    You are obviously very committed to your art and are prepared to spend many hours a week dedicated to it. I hope you achieve everything you have worked so hard for. Good luck

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