Take this Quick Test to Evaluate your Martial Arts Skill
People often overestimate their own abilities and underestimate their shortcomings. Studies have shown that an individual’s score on a basic knowledge test declines as their level of confidence in their performance increases. This is often the case in martial arts training as evidenced by the great number of out of shape “black belts” or those who claim to have been training for many years when they are simply counting the years since their first martial arts class without acknowledging their actual weekly training routine or lack of one.
The best way to test your skill and ability is through benchmark training. If you can establish a starting point then you can check your progress over time and you will know if you are really improving or not. For a martial artist the three essential skills are speed, power and technique. There are many different martial arts related skills that you may use for evaluation. Below are the guidelines for a quick and easy Three minute skill test for martial arts.
This quick test focuses on leg strength, punching speed and balance all three skills can be evaluated quickly and honestly and are easy to revisit as your training progresses.
- Horse Stance – begin with feet twice your shoulder width apart and bend the knees until the thighs are parallel to the floor (keep the back straight), now place a staff across the thighs and hold the arms in front of the chest with the palms together. Do not use your belly to hold the staff in place. Hold for 1 minute. If the staff falls off before the minute is up record the time you were able to hold the stance before the staff fell off.
- Punching Speed – stand in horse stance and hold the left open hand next to your right shoulder and the right fist close to the right shoulder, when you start the timer you will punch out to full extension and bring the punch all the way back to the shoulder as many times as possible in 30 seconds your goal is more than 90 punches in 30 seconds, repeat on the left side, your score is the number of punches thrown in 30 seconds (you will have two scores, one for each arm).
- Balance Drill – lift one leg off the ground so that the thigh is parallel to the ground and the foot is hanging below the knee with the foot flexed set the timer for 1 minute and close your eyes, if you lose your balance by putting your leg down or moving your supporting foot at all the drill is over, your score is the amount of time you were able to hold the stance without moving or losing your balance.
There are many other skills and abilities you may utilize in order to track and evaluate your training. At the Shaolin Wu-Yi Institute we use an 11 category evaluation to test basic skills including speed, power, focus, footwork, flexibility, endurance, agility and balance. Remember to train hard and be honest with your progress. If you are not making the gains you would like then change your training methods or allow more time to practice. Remember martial arts are 99% practice and 1% theory. Determination and willpower are the keys to successful training, be honest with yourself about your goals and progress and nothing will be left to stand in your way.