At our most recent testing we had a first degree black belt testing for his second degree. He is a teenager (16 years old) and a good student, but he has had attitude problems in the past. At the testing , after he had already said he was not going to promote the student, our instructor took me and two other large, male, adult students aside and ask us to use very heavy contact with this student to attempt to make him loose control during sparring. I did as I was asked and thankfully, nobody was injured! The student did not lose control, but he sparred 8 rounds of heavy contact, and then when he didn’t fall apart, he sparred 3 rounds of two on one, also with heavy contact. Our current instructor is also 17 years old, is friends with this student at school, and has a problems with the instructor/student relationship. I’m not an angry dog, to be set upon whom ever my instructor wants to send a message to. When is heavy contact appropriate during testing and to what lengths is it appropriate to test a student’s self-control?
Instructors are a reflection of their instructors; they do as they have seen their instructor or fellow instructors do. As a general rule, bad instructors breed bad instructors and good instructors breed good instructors.
The organization I belong to has an instructor training program of sorts but the only thing that really insures any teaching standards is the required instructor certification seminar; but it is only held for a few hours every 3 years. As a result, for the most part, instructors are self-taught; they learn though experience.Experience come from doing something for a long time. Therefore, the younger the person is, the less the experience and the less capability as an instructor.
Overall, the quality of martial art instructor training has been shaky for decades. When a school starts up, the owner teaches all day every day. After a few years of nonstop teaching, school owners want a break so they began cultivating instructors. Adult students already have their own professions, and for those who enjoy teaching, they usually do not have the time to commit to it. This means that many instructors tend to be teenagers. This is a problem since teenagers are immature and inexperienced.
Of course, there are always exceptions, but for the most part, teenagers make poor instructors, especially of adults. I discuss the problem of awarding black belts to children and having children instructors in more detail in TKDTutor.com. We say that children are not responsible enough to be held accountable for their own actions legally, and yet we allow them to teaching fighting arts to other children. In general, the practice has lowered the credibility and integrity of the martial arts.
As to the student and instructor in your question, if the student had behaved inappropriately in the past, he should not have been awarded a black belt to begin with, and he certainly should have not been allowed to test this time. Of course, this means that the school would lose revenue.
I am from the old school of martial arts training, which means I learned to punch and kick with full-power and full-extension, but while using precise control and focus. I punch and kick, very hard but I do not hit the opponent, however, if the opponent blocks, he may hurt himself. In tournaments, I have been warned many, many times about excessive force even though I do not hit the person. When the opponent blocks an attack, the impact makes a lot of noise and sometimes knocks him down so I am warned even though it is not my fault. The opponent does not have to block. If he does not block at all, he may lose the match, but he will not get hurt.
Sometimes my instructor wants me to work a student hard, usually when he is training for a high rank testing. This does not mean he wants me to use heavier contact; it means he wants me step up the frequency and power of the attacks. Even though the student does not get hurt, he does tend to get overwhelmed and frustrated, especially when grandpa is whipping his butt. Some break and turn their backs to the attacks and occasionally some lose control or get angry. This is what the instructor was looking for, not to see how the student handles pain but to see how he handles adversity.
There are some traditional martial arts that use full-contact. If a person wants to do this type of martial art, they can, but most people want to reap the benefits of a martial art without much risk of injury. Unless a student has trained in and is expecting heavy contact, it should not be used.