I recently attended my cousin’s Shito-ryu black belt testing. He was the only one testing; they only test one at a time. The whole school was there even though he was the only one testing. He had to perform all the forms required by each rank up to his rank, all the weapon forms required by each rank up to his rank, sanchin kata with the instructor using kicks and punches against his body to test his resolve, all the breaks required by each rank up to his rank, and he had to medium-contact spar all color belt ranks and all black belt ranks, including the instructor and a huge 8th degree. He was on the floor for three hours with only water and restroom breaks. When he finished, he looked as if he had been dragged through a briar patch by a mule: scratched, bleeding, dislocated nose, torn ear, red marks, blue welts, and exhausted. He earned his black belt, he knew it, and everyone there knew it. There is no substitute for in-person testing.
In-person, judges can see a testee’s, appearance, mannerisms, body structure, etc., and how they react to stress, failure, pain, etc. They can feel the strength of the testee’s handshake and test his or her muscle tone. They can smell the cleanliness of the testee and his or her uniform. They can hear the testee’s breathing, the depth of the kiais, the moans and groans, etc. In a video, judges only see what the testee gives them to see. Would you want to give your permission to a man to marry your daughter based upon a video of him, or from meeting him in-person.
Reader Point: All a good point and I whole-heartedly agree. A credible black belt and teacher should have gotten their initial dan rank from a teacher in person from years of hard work...ABSOLUTELY!!! It took me 11 yrs of hard work 5 days a week to get my 1ST degree black belt. I get offended when I see others get theirs in 3-4!
TKDTutor response: In-person, the testee must be the actual person. The person performing in a video may be a friend of the actual testee.