The last week of every month, our students aged 17 and under must demonstrate what they learned (or didn’t learn, in some cases) over the past month of classes.
Typically the last class of the month is dedicated to the students getting up in front of their classmates and demonstrating the kata (formal exercise) they have practiced over the last 8 to 12 classes.
Students who have memorized completely the kata receive a belt stripe indicating their success meeting that benchmark.
Students that have met all benchmarks for their rank are added to the next belt testing list.
The objective of the monthly reviews is to give students achievable goals within a reasonable amount of time. Each goal gets them closer to the overall goal of increasing their rank. And, it provides them with the understanding of accountability in having to actually show what they’ve learned.
Of course, some students clue in to the process faster than others but that’s OK because there is also feedback from the instructor at each monthly review. Students may not achieve their stripe but the instructor is there to remind them how much they have improved since last month and to give feedback towards achieving their goal.
All this is to develop understanding of a simple philosophy: that which is given must be earned.