Rank Testing: Getting Ready to Show Off Your Skills

The rank test is the means in which you advance at the Academy. It is a test of your knowledge, skill, and over-all conditioning. It is also the time to show off what all of your hard work and dedication has developed.BJJ Belt Testing

Your test is broken into two broad areas: the monthly Test and the Rank Test. The monthly Test is a chance for you to get to demonstrate the techniques, drills, and training methods you have worked on for the past several months and have an instructor one-on-one to show you how to do them better. During the monthly Test you will also be given pointers and tips on how you can better prepare for your rank test.

The monthly test is also the time your instructor will see if you are 100% ready to test for a new rank. Not everyone earns enough grade points to rank Test. If your instructor feels you should wait a month to cleanup or learn some of the required techniques or skills, then take advantage of that extra month to improve and work the new things you’ve just learned. If you earn the required grade points  you now will have several weeks to work your skills and condition yourself for the Rank Test. The Rank Test is the time to show off your new skills. It is also a test of your overall physical and mental conditioning.

The Rank Test is the time to demonstrate your ability to perform your techniques in a training format; primarily, the Thai Pads. You will be showing your ability to hit the pads AND hold the pads. It is a test of your ability to train the techniques required for your new rank. The Rank Test is also an intense test of your conditioning.  You will be stressed, get tired, and know that you definitely earned your next rank.

Getting Ready

1. Know your required techniques. If you don’t know them, ASK. Your instructors are here to teach you what you need and want to know.

2. Know the Thai pad drills, and how to hold the pads for the drills and techniques during the month you are testing for the next rank.

3. Be in condition. You have to train for your Rank Test (it will be tough).

4. Take advantage of open training times. Train on the bags or with a partner. Doing this will improve your skill dramatically.

5. Get private instruction from an instructor of your choice to work on exactly what you need to.

February 2015 Muay Thai Testing

IMG_8942 Another month of training, another month of testing. It was a great night of Muay Thai for our Combat Athlete students and we are so proud of all those that continue to push themselves and consistently put their skills to the test at the end of each month!

As a benchmark of sorts, testing is crucial to successes and growth in training. Not only does it help the Instructor know when a student is ready to rank up, but it highlights, for the student themselves, how much growth can be achieved in just 4 weeks and serve as motivation to push harder, to learn more.



Coach’s Corner: The Black Belt Way of Life

team academy mn

Last month we had the pleasure of hosting Professor Pedro Sauer here at The Academy for an all day seminar. Jiu jitsu students from all over the state came to learn from Professor Sauer.

Among those students were students from The Academy that had the opportunity to test for their next belt rank. These are students who care deeply about being a martial artist and becoming a black belt. The dedication and focus that these students have shown throughout the years has inspired this topic of “the black belt way of life.” What does that mean and why is it important?

The black belt way of life is not just about dedication and discipline, it’s about your character off the mat too. Black belts shouldn’t just be masters of their art, but they should be humble, kind, willing to help others who aren’t as skilled or as experienced, they put the needs of others in front of their own. They are leaders who take on challenge with pleasure, and seek to make jiu-jitsu fun and accessible to all people.

Sometimes we forget that martial arts is not just for the strong, but for the weak. It’s because of martial arts that those who seem weak, frail, insecure, or uncoordinated become strong, determined, and confident. Becoming a black belt is about encouraging those who need it the most. We all have stories of feeling insecure or nervous when we first started training, but there was probably someone who was a higher rank that took time to be patient with you, to teach you what they know, to help you work through certain moves and techniques. Right?

As you continue on your journey of becoming a black belt (it doesn’t matter whether you do Muay Thai or BJJ) think about what kind of black belt you want to be… Think about why becoming a black belt is important on and off the mat.

If you’re reading this and you’re thinking that becoming a black belt isn’t one of your goals, ask yourself how come? Are you afraid of the commitment and the discipline it takes? aRe you nervous about the testing? What’s holding you back?

Achieving a black belt should be a goal of yours if it’s not already because the skills and tools that you learn, the experiences you gain are priceless and unique to this form of martial arts. As coaches, the time, money, blood, sweat, and memories that we’ve gained have made us better people in more way than we could have ever imagined. We believe that no other sport can make a more well rounded human being that the martial arts. Physically and mentally – martial artists learn to master and control their bodies and mind in ways that most people never learn how to do in their lifetime.

Sometimes life gets busy and maybe it takes us away from training and testing regularly. We want to remind you that training and testing regularly is critical to your progress as a martial artist and we strongly urge you to make testing a priority. Training prepares you for testing and testing is a way for you and us (as your coaches) to measure your progress towards becoming a black belt.

So whether becoming a black belt is a definite goal of your or you’re still on the fence about it, we want to challenge you to think about your own definition of a black belt and what it means to you. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by continuing your training here so keep up the great work!


Until next time,

Your Academy Coaches

The Academy welcomes new purple and blue belts to the team.






In March, four new purple belts and ten new blue belts were welcomed to Team Academy. We are extremely proud to have students who are so dedicated to their training. These students have been training tirelessly for many months, some even years. The road to becoming a black belt is not an easy one. However, the lessons learned, the skills gained, and the memories made, are worth more than the setbacks and obstacles. Black belts are not just masters at technique, but they are masters of their mind and body. Due to years and years of training, competing, failing, and winning – black belts have developed great mental fortitude and strong physical awareness of their bodies. As the saying goes, “Black belts are simply white belts that never quit”. So whether you are a new student to jiu jitsu, or you train in another form of martial arts, don’t give up. Don’t stop training when you feel discouraged, don’t let injuries scare you away from coming back to class once you’ve healed. Stay true to your path as a martial artist. In the end you will have more than just the honor of being a black belt, you will have all the memories and all the experience and insights that come from so many years of dedication. Once again, congratulations to those who tested in March and are continuing their journey towards becoming a black belt!

Purple Belts:
Coach Nat McIntyre
Coach Adam Ahern
Subash Seshadri
Shawn Woodhull

Blue Belts:
Brady Sheehan
Alex Wolter
Randal Rasmussen
Kirsten Magnuson
Megan Bugge
Joe Lahoud
Ron Winslow
Nick Pielert
Blake Vierling
Barry Nelson

Student Spotlight: Jim Vang & Ben Lor

Jiu Jitsu Minneapolis

Jim Vang & Ben Lor Earn Blue Belts

Congratulations to Jim Vang (left) and Ben Lor (right) on receiving their Blue Belts.

Jim and Ben are two of The Academy’s most dedicated students. They are always the ones that stay past the end of class to keep training and are never shy to ask questions to make sure they’re executing techniques correctly. They both have a deep passion for mastering jiu jitsu and we are so proud to have them training at The Academy. We look forward to watching them march forward on their journey to Black Belt!

Student Spotlight Dec. 2012


Congratulations to Mike Nimlos and Mike Williamson on earning their black rank in Muay Thai this month! They are the first to earn black rank in about six years! We are so proud to have students as dedicated to The Academy and to the martial art of muay thai as these two gentlemen. Well done to you both! We would also like to take the time to thank everyone, staff and students, for making 2012 a memorable year. The successes, the victories, the lessons learned, the progress made, have all outnumbered the failures and setbacks. Thank you to everyone who came to the 20 Year Anniversary and Holiday Party. It was a night to remember. We are so grateful to each and every one of you for your contribution to this gym. Whether your a student or an instructor, as a team we make The Academy great. We wish you all a happy holiday season and a fantastic new year! With gratitude, The Academy Coaches and Staff