Black Belt Testing Results
Four students have tested and earned new black belt ranks!
Black belt is a prestigious rank, one recognized around the world. In the American Eagle Style, there are ten degrees (Dan) of black belt. Only one person may hold the rank of 10th Dan, the head of the school who determines its direction and certifies its instructors. For the American Martial Arts Institute, this is Grandmaster Crandall. In addition, there are 8 gyups (belt ranks) that must first be earned. All students begin as white belts and test for each rank, maturing in the style through its traditional process.
This testing was held on Saturday, September 19, 2020 during the COVID 19 pandemic. The health and safety of our students, instructors, and the community are paramount. Therefore, this testing was held following strict safety and sanitation procedures in accordance with our written safety plan. These included temperature checks, social distancing, masks for everyone, and hand sanitizing after touching any objects or equipment. There was no physical contact between anyone (neither students nor instructors), and no one shared any equipment. When equipment was used, it was promptly cleaned by our staff. Belt presentations were done by wearing gloves.
One of the most challenging aspects of this testing for the candidates was the demonstration of self defense skills without the use of a partner. Instead, Grandmaster Crandall verbalized scenarios, such as a grab, knife assault, or punch, and the candidates had to respond by demonstrating an appropriate and effective counter. Candidates were evaluated on their ability to physically demonstrate the skill, verbally explain what they were doing, and whether or not they had properly interpreted the anatomy of the body (how the attacker's body would likely move in response to their technique). In some cases, one student faced another from across the room and demonstrated the attack, while the other student demonstrated the response from a distance.
Essential for all students who test for the black belt ranks is a demonstration of school involvement, a proper martial arts attitude, self-motivation, and accountability. This includes participating in seminars, school competitions, weapon's classes, cleaning days, ceremonial luncheons, and other events held by the school designed to help students grow as traditional martial artists. These events are held specifically as part of their training. During the quarantine starting in March 2020, Grandmaster Crandall and Headmaster Stalloch created a Members' Only section to our school website (AMAI-EagleStyle.com) which included full one-hour classes, instructional segments, and other videos. The students who tested on September 19 stayed actively involved in the school by utilizing these resources.
Black belt candidates should have read in their entirety and be familiar with the American Eagle Style Textbook, the American Martial Arts Institute American Eagle Style Superkick Workbook, Be Safe Physically and Mentally with the Crandall System, and Leadership Piece by Piece. In addition, they must write a 500-650 page paper, which must be accepted by Grandmaster Crandall and all five Master Instructors. These are all pre-qualifications before the student's instructor can even consider them to test. They must also have a minimum of 6 months as a first rank brown belt, but this is a minimum and it can often take much longer.
On Saturday, September, four candidates tested for black belt ranks, one from junior rank to adult rank black belt (1st degree), two tested for 1st degree black belt and one (instructor) tested for 3rd degree black belt. The judging panel was comprised of all the Master Instructors (Stalloch, Freleigh, Chuff, Morris, Moller, and Jessee) led by Grandmaster Crandall. In addition, some of our fifth and sixth degree black instructors came to assist including Mrs. Crandall, Mrs. Stalloch, Mr. Riley, and Mr. Johnson.
Junior Rank Black Belts are under the age of 18 and expected to complete the same requirements as the adults with the exception of the kata Old Koryo, weapons forms, board breaking, and sparring adults.
First Degree Black Belt candidates have already been a student for a minimum of 5 1/2 years prior to testing, with many having trained for 6, 7, or 8 years. The exam began with a written exam about the style, the school and more. All levels of black belt include written exams.
The first degree candidates are required to know 13 traditional katas, including Chulgi 1, Eye of the Eagle, Old Koryo, the Palgwes, and others. Other areas included punches, kicks, stances, 36 basic forms, advanced techniques, floor exercises, takedowns, seiza waza, standing waza, self-defense, defenses against guns and knives, sparring individual and multiple opponents, and other areas. They also had to break a board and demonstrate a weapon's kata.
The third dan candidate had already been a 2nd Dan for over 3 years and had to additionally demonstrate the katas: Chip Jang, Tae Baek, Chulgi 3, American Eagle, Heian 2, and Bassai Dai. They also demonstrated two weapons katas not previously demonstrated at one of their prior testings.
The American Martial Arts Institute is a traditional school. In part, this means that the style's knowledge, techniques, etiquette, philosophy, and processes are maintained consistently from generation-to-generation. The rank of first degree is graded out of a score of 100 possible points, with a minimum of 80 points needed to pass.
This is only a small part of what goes into earning a black belt in the American Eagle Style.
Grandmaster Crandall is pleased to announce that the following American Eagle Style students have passed their black belt examination:
NOTE: pictures of the candidates were taken from approximately 20 feet away with zoom lens to allow the candidates to remove their mask for the photograph. Immediately following the picture, they masks were put back on.