We are over halfway through our last testing cycle of 2012, and our martial arts Students should plan now for the Rank Testings to be held on December 12th (White through Purple Belts) and December 13th (Blue through Black Belts) in our Tampa, Florida location. This will be the 97th Rank Testing held at Kowkabany’s Family Martial Arts Center over the past 16 years! With three weeks still left in this testing cycle, students should now have their first stripe for sparring combinations, and be working towards their second stripe for the techniques and knowledge of their Songahm Form. High-rank color belts, including Karate Kids and Adult Students, should be practicing form presentation as well as their required board breaks. Here is the information regarding the compulsory techniques, forms, sparring combinations and one-steps that we will be working on to prepare for this testing, broken down by ranks. THIS ARTICLE WAS UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 15, 2012!! Our White Belts, including Tiny Tigers, Karate Kids and Adult Students, will always prepare for their first testing by practicing Songahm 1, the White Belt Sparring Combinations, and the White Belt One Steps. (The ATA developed the Songahm Forms in 1983, with 9 Color Belt forms, and 9 Black Belt forms.) Orange and Yellow Belts are working on Songahm 2 during this cycle, along with the Orange/Yellow Sparring Combinations, and the Orange Belt One Steps. Camouflage, Green and Purple Belts are training on Songahm 4, as well as on the Camo/Green Sparring Combinations. Once a student reaches the rank of Camo Belt, we no longer have them practice the one steps; instead we focus on free sparring which is better suited for advanced students to practice their martial arts techniques in a more realistic fashion. Blue, Brown and Red Belts are working on In Wha 2 as their form, along with the Purple/Blue Sparring Combinations. In addition to being required to free spar as part of their testing, these upper ranks will also be required to break boards in order to advance in rank. Board Breaking has been a required part of testing in Taekwondo and Karate testings for years, as it requires the students to prove their power, focus and ability to perform under stress. A complete list of the forms listed above (including all of the moves, stances and target heights) as well as the sparring combinations, can be found on our site under Master K’s Blog here: Kowkabany’s Forms and Sparring Combinations NOTE: In addition to the forms, sparring combinations, one-steps, etc. listed above, students will also present several “compulsory techniques.” For this testing, that will include a low block in a front stance, a double-knifehand block in a back stance, a traditional #3 side kick, and a #2 round kick. Elite athletes in any sport excel because they spend so much time working on the “basics,” and practicing them as perfectly as possible. Watch the NFL’s top quarterbacks as they warm-up, they will practice dropping back out of the pocket and the mechanics of their throw, even though these are techniques that have thrown thousands of times since they first started training. For this same reason, regardless of rank, it is vital for timing, power and quality of technique that all ranks continue to practice the basics of our art. Should you have any questions regarding your next rank testing, or should you need any additional help to prepare for your testing, please talk to Sr. Masters Laura or David Kowkabany.