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Testing and Graduations

TESTING & GRADUATIONS

Empower Kickboxing™ takes a real-world approach to the exam process.

What most schools present/sell as belt exams are not really exams at all because most schools rarely fail students.

Even when it’s warranted, failing students create dropouts and stress.

With the Empower Kickboxing, testing no longer makes sense because if a student fails, where is he or she going to go?

It’s not as though the rest of the class will advance to a new class and the failed student stays behind. Everyone works on the same material in the same class.

Rather than test and fail a student, Empower Kickboxing helps the student stay on track because our system is quantifiable and easy for everyone to understand, including the students.

In a matter of months, you’ll have 2-3 EKB classes and an advanced traditional program for the students who wanted to continue with the traditional program. This gives you time to learn the material and time for your students to adjust to it.

empower kickboxing

Test options

We suggest that students test for a stripe IN CLASS every module (8 classes). 

Students earn 3 training stripes followed by a 4th graduation stripe. These represent stages of learning.

You may want red stripes for the first 3 modules and black for the 4th module.

In class, you can conduct stripe exams or simply watch the class and award the stripes at the end of each class.

Graduation Day Ideas 

1. Bow in.

2. Opening Remarks by the chief instructor.

These would be very positive in nature and congratulate the students on their hard work and progress.

Refer to the page for ideas on how to create an emotional connection with the students and families. The incremental learning lesson is a good one for graduations.

3. Demo

You might kick off the graduation with a short demo by your demo team or staff. It could be an exciting board break or you could show the families what the students learned that term by having the instructors demonstrate it while you explain how this material is important and beneficial.

4. Success Story

Have a short, motivating story about how one of the students overcame an obstacle to be there that night or just to continue training. Or a way a student used martial arts in a positive manner to do something noteworthy.

5. Students Perform

Bring the most advanced students up first. Have them perform their most advanced material with full power. Because they are more advanced, you might have them perform combos in a partner exchange or on pads instead of in the air. Then have the next most advanced group join them.

Repeat this until all students are up. This way, the advanced students are up the entire performance, which should tax their conditioning. If your class is too crowded, let the most advanced take a seat.

3-5 repetitions on each side are fine. The goal is not to test but to demonstrate for the families.

5. Wrap speech

Finish with a congratulatory, emotionally charged speech of less than 60-seconds that recaps your opening remarks.

6. Belt presentations

Make sure you have a strong sense of ritual associated with the belt awards.

Have an instructor prepared with a list of students and the rank they are being promoted to. He or she calls out, “promoted to orange belt, sally smith!”

Sally runs up, bows, and shakes the chief instructors’ hand who ties the new belt on her quickly. In some cases, they bow and turn to the camera for a quick shot. This works well if you have time.

7. Bow out.

Exam Fees and Private Lessons

There are a number of strategies for dealing with exam fees. If you are currently charging for exams, you can change it to a graduation fee

  1. The graduation fee subsidizes the free private lessons students get to make up classes.
  2. You usually need to bring additional staff.
  3. You have to spend time preparing for graduation.

You can create income and raise tuition at the same time by offering current students to pay off all remaining graduation fees until black belt at a 50% discount (non-refundable). This would be all exams with the exception of their black belt exam, which is typically more expensive.

  1. $40 for under-rank graduation
  2. $300-$500 for black belt

You can raise tuition and include graduation fees in the tuition.

The benefit of moving to the graduation process is:

1. Less stress for staff because:

  • No more failing students.
  • Clear, quantifiable standards of attendance will replace the subjective standards of the past.
  • No more pressure about things going awry during exams.
  • Great teaching requirement for leadership team by requiring them to teach 20-minute privates.
  • Smoother transition from term to term.

2. Higher student retention because:

  • No more exam stress.
  • Clear quantifiable standards of attendance to progress.
  • Complimentary extra private lessons to reach the standards each term.

Free private lessons have many advantages:

  • Great marketing tool. You offer free privates while others charge.
  • You don’t have to teach them. Teaching privates is a one-way road to burn out.
  • You use it as an incentive and learning process for your leadership team.

Limit the number of free privates and charge if a student requires or requests more.

The disadvantage to free privates is you lose whatever potential income you might have gained from not charging. That is a decision you have to weigh and make.

Rank Progression

Balancing Attendance and Proficiency

Students advance every Term (4-months).

A good instructor understands that every class is part of the black belt test. Attendance is the first requirement for advancing in rank. We suggest you require at least 75% attendance. Students can make up by attending extra classes or taking private lessons. 

A student should attend 6 out of 8 classes in each module.

The Empower Kickboxing Twist in Testing

You have to take into consideration how long a student has been training. Students who are attending their first TERM (could be Year 1, Year 2-–Term 1, 2, or 3 depending when they start)

STUDENT’S FIRST YEAR 

Students’ First Term (0-32 Classes)

Students in their first TERM are critiqued on attendance and memorization. They have to attend class and show you a beginner’s skill level. 

 (0-32 Classes)

  • Module 1 Red Stripe 1 = 8 classes
  • Module 2 Red Stripe 2 = 8 classes
  • Module 3 Red Stripe 3 = 8 classes
  • Module 4 Black Stripe = 8 classes

Students’ Second Term  (32-64 Classes)

Students in their second TERM are critiqued on attendance and increased proficiency. That have to attend class and show you MORE than a beginner’s skill level. 

Students’ Third Term  (64-96 Classes)

Students in their second TERM are critiqued on attendance and increased proficiency. They have to attend class and demonstrate increased proficiency.  

96 Accumulated classes

  • 32 classes in Martial Arts
  • 32 classes in Kickboxing
  • 32 classes in Weapons
  • 32 classes in Self-Defense

STUDENT’S SECOND YEAR 

These students should be executing skills and strategies with increasing speed, power, and form.

Students’ Fourth Term  (96-128 Classes)

Students in their first TERM are critiqued on attendance and memorization. They have to attend class and show you a beginner’s skill level. 

Students’ Fifth Term  (128-160 Classes)

Students in their second TERM are critiqued on attendance and increased proficiency. They have to attend class and show you MORE than a beginner’s skill level. 

Students’ Sixth Term  (160-192 Classes)

Students in their second TERM are critiqued on attendance and increased proficiency. They have to attend class and demonstrate increased proficiency.  

192 Accumulated classes

  • 64 classes in Martial Arts
  • 64 classes in Kickboxing
  • 64 classes in Weapons
  • 64 classes in Self-Defense

YEAR ONE

White Belt

Term One 
  1. Module 1 Stripe 1 = 8 classes
  2. Module 2 Stripe 2 = 8 classes
  3. Module 3 Stripe 3 = 8 classes
  4. Module 4 Stripe 4 = 8 classes

32 Accumulated Classes

Graduates to Gold Belt

Term Two
  1. Module 1 Stripe 1 = 8 classes
  2. Module 2 Stripe 2 = 8 classes
  3. Module 3 Stripe 3 = 8 classes
  4. Module 4 Stripe 4 = 8 classes

64 Accumulated Classes

Graduates to Orange Belt 

Term Three

  1. Module 1 Stripe 1 = 8 classes
  2. Module 2 Stripe 2 = 8 classes
  3. Module 3 Stripe 3 = 8 classes
  4. Module 4 Stripe 4 = 8 classes

96 Accumulated Classes

Graduates to Green Belt

YEAR TWO

Green Belt

Term One 
  1. Module 1 Stripe 1 = 8 classes
  2. Module 2 Stripe 2 = 8 classes
  3. Module 3 Stripe 3 = 8 classes
  4. Module 4 Stripe 4 = 8 classes

128 Accumulated Classes

Graduates to Blue Belt

Term Two
  1. Module 1 Stripe 1 = 8 classes
  2. Module 2 Stripe 2 = 8 classes
  3. Module 3 Stripe 3 = 8 classes
  4. Module 4 Stripe 4 = 8 classes

160 Accumulated Classes

Graduates to Brown Belt 

Term Three
  1. Module 1 Stripe 1 = 8 classes
  2. Module 2 Stripe 2 = 8 classes
  3. Module 3 Stripe 3 = 8 classes
  4. Module 4 Stripe 4 = 8 classes

192 Accumulated Classes

Graduates to Black Belt