For the martial arts test there were three demonstrations required. In Taekwondo, this is pretty straightforward. The demonstrations are weapon demonstrations, which consist of learning and performing a form. Demonstrations are included in the colored belt curriculum, such that by the time one is testing for black belt, at most one new demonstration is needed. The Hapkido curriculum has no such requirement. Come black belt one suddenly needs to come up with three demonstrations. The concept of demonstrations encompasses a lot more than weapon forms, but this only adds vagueness to the mix.

I picked up most of the sword form at various times, so that was one down. When I went to ask my instructor about the rest, I was told, before I really made suggestions, that I was doing don bong (short stick) and cane. Just what I was supposed to do WITH the don bong and cane was unspecified, and I didn’t push past the hand waving. (Intellectual integrity is something I’m still working on.) The end result was that I reviewed some possible angles and locks in a very general kind of preparation, but really didn’t have demonstrations.

The critical question I need to ask at some point is if demonstrations are purposefully vague in order to make the student take responsibility for them (in which case I simply failed) or if improvements can be made in the support system. The precedents also aren’t good – for my first black belt test the demonstrations were totally hand-waved and I didn’t have to do anything. With the requirements not really required, it is little wonder that it didn’t seem very important this time around.

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