Empower Kickboxing™ takes a real-world approach to what is really not even an exam process to begin with because most schools rarely fail students, even when warranted. Failing students creates dropouts and stress. With the EKB curriculum, testing no longer makes sense because if a student fails, where is he or she going to go? It’s not as though the rest of the class will advance to a new class and the failed student stays behind. Everyone works on the same material. Rather than test and fail a student, EKB helps the student stay on track because our system is quantifiable and easy for everyone to understand, including the students.
Keeping Students on Track for GraduationEstablish and make sure everyone is aware that steady attendance is required in order to graduate. Students earn a strip every Module (8 – 10 classes) provided they attend 75% of the classes. Alternatively, you could award a stripe after 8 classes regardless of where in the curriculum the student is.Students earn two Training Stripes followed by a third Graduation Stripe. These represent stages of learning. In class, you can conduct stripe exams or simply watch the class and award the stripes at the end of each class.
Testing Stripe 1 represents the student’s memorization of the skills of that module. Essentially, he or she can execute the skills without coaching or reminders.Testing Stripe 2 represents the students’ execution of the skills of that module. Here, you are looking for progress in proficiency. Only students with Stripe 1 can advance to Stripe 2.Graduation Stripe 3 indicates that the student’s proficiency of the skills of that module are good enough to graduate to the next colored belt. Only students with Stripe 2 can advance to Stripe 3. We suggest red as the graduation stripe.
A good instructor understands that every class is part of the black belt test.
3 Options1. Charge a graduation fee.Below you’ll see a sample Graduation agenda. You can certainly charge a Graduation fee rather than an exam fee.2. Include fitness in the requirements.This would be a minimum number of pushups and sit-ups to advance. 3. Offer free private lessons.If you have a Leadership Team, have them teach free 20-minute private lessons on Saturday mornings to help students make up missed classes.Use Leadership Team members to teach 20-minute free private lessons on Saturday mornings. Students who need help on a specific technique or need to make up classes can get class credit for these lessons. Keep the lessons focused only on one technique or form to get the maximum result. Limit free private lessons to two per Term so students don’t use them as a fall back strategy. Charge $30 per lesson or so for any beyond the two included in their tuition.Rather than exams, we suggest you have Graduations on a Friday night or Saturday morning every eight weeks. The Friday night or Saturday morning Graduation would consist of the following process and keep them under 90-minutes.
Graduation Day Ideas
1. Bow in.2. Opening remarks by the Chief Instructor. These would be very positive in nature and congratulate the students on their hard work and progress.Refer to the page for ideas on how to create an emotional connection with the students and families. The Incremental Learning lesson is a good one for Graduations.3. Demo You might kick off the Graduation with a short demo by your demo team or staff. It could be an exciting board break or you could show the families what the students learned that Term by having the instructors demonstrate it while you explain how this material is important and beneficial.4. Success Story Have a short, motivating story about how one of the students overcame an obstacle to be there that night or just to continue training. Or a way a student used martial arts in a positive manner to do something noteworthy.5. Students Perform Bring the most advanced students up first. Have them perform their most advanced material with full power. Because they are more advanced, you might have them perform combos in a partner exchange or on pads instead of in the air. Then have the next most advanced group join them.Repeat this until all students are up. This way, the advanced students are up the entire performance, which should tax their conditioning. If your class is too crowded, let the most advanced take a seat.3-5 repetitions on each side are fine. The goal is not to test but to demonstrate for the families.5. Wrap Speech Finish with a congratulatory, emotionally charged speech of less than 60-seconds that recaps your opening remarks.6. Belt Presentations Make sure you have a strong sense of ritual associated with the belt awards.Have an instructor prepared with a list of students and the rank they are being promoted to. He or she calls out, “Promoted to Orange Belt, Sally Smith!”Sally runs up, bows, and shakes the Chief Instructors’ hand who ties the new belt on her quickly. In some cases, they bow and turn to the camera for a quick shot. This works well if you have time.7. Bow out.What About Exam Fees? There are a number of strategies for dealing with exam fees. If you are currently charging for exams, you can change it to a graduation fee. The graduation fee subsidizes the free private lessons students get to make up classes.You usually need to bring additional staff.You have to spend time preparing for graduation.You can create income and raise tuition at the same time by offering current students to pay off all remaining graduation fees until black belt at a 50% discount (non-refundable). This would be all exams with the exception of their black belt exam, which is typically more expensive.a. $40 for Under-Rank Graduationb. $300-$500 for Black BeltYou can raise tuition and include Graduation fees in the tuition.The benefit of moving to the Graduation process is: 1. Less stress for staff because:a. No more failing students.c. Clear, quantifiable standards of attendance will replace the subjective standards of the past.d. No more pressure about things going awry during exams.e. Great teaching requirement for Leadership Team by requiring them to teach 20-minute privates.f. Smoother transition from Term to Term.2. Higher student retention because:a. No more exam stress.b. Clear quantifiable standards of attendance to progress.c. Complimentary extra private lessons to reach the standards each term.Free private lessons have many advantages: a. Great marketing tool. You offer free privates while others charge.b. You don’t have to teach them. Teaching privates is a one-way road to burn out.c. You use it as an incentive and learning process for your Leadership Team. Limit the number of free privates and charge if a student requires or requests more.The disadvantage to free privates is you lose whatever potential income you might have gained from not charging. That is a decision you have to weigh and make.