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How can I help my student (or myself!) advance?
Advancing in rank in the martial arts is a very individual journey. Each student’s advancement depends on a number of factors, including where they’re starting from, how often they practice and come to class, and how well they’re observing our Shaolin Rules. Below is some information about how our instructors look at each student to determine if they are ready to test.
Earning stripes: From White through Blue Belt ranks, students can earn a stripe for each class they attend where they show good effort and follow the rules. How many stripes a student earns before testing is unique to each student, but the number of stripes on a student’s belt helps our instructors to know how regularly a student comes to class and practices. Sometimes students earn a half stripe in class; this acknowledges work they put into the class, but also notes that there are particular things the student should improve in future classes, such as discipline or self-control. Once a student reaches the rank of Blue Stripe, they no longer earn stripes for each class. Instead, one stripe is earned for learning and practicing their Shaolin defensive techniques, kempos, form, and jiu jitsus.
Knowing material: Students who are ready to test for the next rank must not only remember their current material; they must also remember material they learned at lower ranks. For Tigers and Dragons, students are expected to know their current material and at minimum the material from their previous rank. Adults and junior adults must know the material from all previous ranks in addition to their current rank.
Following the Shaolin rules: At the heart of our martial arts practice is the ability to demonstrate that a student is working to follow the rules of our five Shaolin animals: Self-Control (Tiger), Respect (Snake), Honesty (Leopard), Patience (Crane), and Discipline (Dragon).
Being consistent: Above all, students must show consistent progress in learning and remembering their material, coming to class, and following the rules. Practice, practice, practice!
If you have questions about how to improve your practice or how to help a student advance, please talk with Master Steve.