Ranking and Testing
You will begin without a belt. We believe it is important that each rank be earned. You will receive a certificate and a belt for every rank achieved. However, there will be spontaneous promotions during class for every other rank. There are six color levels before Blackbelt, which should take approximately four years if you work hard. The following “Accrued Time” listings are estimates only, and (with rare exception) the soonest we would let you test.
Following Black sash, the structure is strictly based on a Shaolin hierarchy. There is no guaranteed timeline, and all assignments are all based on abilities and how well the black sash instructs others. Although this does not equate to the same honorific/familial structure in Wing Chun, it’s based on the Chinese/Shaolin model of hierarchy and family.
Following Black Sash are the following instructor Titles:
- Instructor (Shī Xiōng 師兄)
- Teacher-mentor (Shī Fu 師傅)
- Senior Instructor (Shī Gōng 師公)
- Head of School (Jiā Gōng 家公) – Not assignable
Are you ready to test?
Your instructor will let you know when you are ready. There are no sign-off sheets for testing. However, you are expected to fulfill your test sheet requirements, which you should request. You may request a test at any time, but do not be offended if you are told you are not ready. There is a standard amount of time for each belt rank. But those are not mandatory, only guidelines. If the student works hard and is ready to handle the techniques then s/he will be tested. If you cannot afford a testing fee and the instructor has tapped you for a test, you may request a scholarship by the academy’s Scholarship Treasurer.
We have a minimal testing fee every formal (every other) rank test (see above). This keeps your costs down, and prevents excessive testing schedules. We believe that any formal testing should be on stages of progress: beginner, intermediate and advanced. However, Blackbelt testing is different in our school. We do not separate ranks of minors from ranks of adults. We will never rank a student of any age who has not merited the rank by a solid demonstration of skills. This requires dedication, practice and determination.
Testing fees structure (subject to change):
- White (beginner): $25
- Orange (intermediate): $50
- Purple (advanced): $75
- Black (black 1): $100
This is a highly intricate and detailed martial art. We will be learning a myriad of skills from other art forms, and our own demonstration forms. We will work hard. The first belt achieved will seem like one of your greatest achievements. It will be physically challenging. The purpose of a test is to test you, not your skills. We already know your skills. That’s why you’re testing! The test is somewhat a formality. But it is an important one. We only formally test you three times before Blackbelt: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced (white, orange, purple).
For kids, a test is a lifetime achievement, and we recognize its importance. The Entry-level stage (no belt) should take three months to white belt. The Beginner stage should take three months between both belts. Then intermediate takes longer, however. This is because at the intermediate level you will begin weapons training. At intermediate you will also learn throws and higher levels of falling, defense scenarios and blocking defense. For intermediate students, some classes will be “no gi” class for real-life defense scenarios. Sparring night will be scenarios for kids and combative for adults, full gear required. Eventually, each belt rank will have its own manual with photos and detailed instructions for you to study while away from class.