Cuong Nhu Tests

Cuong Nhu tests are hard, fun, sweaty rights of passage to new levels of training, responsibility and community.

On Test Day, students are reviewed by a sensei, usually a different sensei than their regular teacher.

Beginners tests usually last an hour. Tests get longer as a student progresses.

Each stripe and belt signifies a body of knowledgeand skill maturity that any visiting instructor should be able to call upon simply by looking at a student’s belt.  Students are individually invited to test only when those attributes are observed in daily training. Although attending classes regularly helps, we do not promote students based on number of classes attended.

Test eligibility should never be presumed, and it is impolite to plead with a Sensei to test. In Cuong Nhu etiquette, an inappropriate question would be, “Can I (or my child) take the next test?” An appropriate question would be, “At this stage, what can I (or my child) work on to become a better martial artist?”

Adults Testing

Adult tests are held quarterly. Tests last 60-90 minutes for low-ranked adults and about three hours for advanced adults. Black belt tests are held over the course of a three-day event at the International Training Camp on Memorial Day weekend or at the Grand Master’s Winter Regional test in Jacksonville, Florida.

Belt tests are given by visiting instructors and Masters to ensure national standards. Unity encourages advanced students to attend regional tests at other Cuong Nhu dojos around the country. Co-mingling ensures that as students approach teaching and leadership roles within Cuong Nhu, they are immersed in the culture of the style and can develop relationships with Masters who will provide life-long instruction and encouragement.

Kids Tests

Kids tests are held about every six weeks. Beginners tests are designed to introduce kids to the testing process and to build self-confidence. As they progress, students test less frequently and are held to higher standards. Parents should attend to provide encouragement and to learn more about our martial arts community. Tests last about 50 minutes for the youngest kids and 90 minutes for older, advanced kids.

Association Dues

We associate ourselves with the Cuong Nhu Oriental Martial Arts Association (CNOMAA), which is a non-profit organization. To have your rank internationally registered and to be able to participate in Cuong Nhu events like Training Camp and regional tests and events, students need to join CNOMAA by paying annual tax-deductible dues of $35/individual or $50/family. Because CNOMAA memberships cover through the end of the calendar year, we recommend that you register with them in January by visiting (though a pro-rated dues payment is available starting in July). If payment will be a hardship, please let us know. Some scholarships are offered.

Unity Martial Arts is not a franchise, and we are happy we can operate without pressure to constantly charge high test and equipment fees. You can be confident that a new stripe in Cuong Nhu symbolizes your child’s hard work and improvement in Cuong Nhu techniques and philosophies.

Children will be invited to test by receiving a test card at the end of a normal class. These cards are given out when a student has a) competed the minimum required classes for their rank and b) consistently shown the command of the curriculum, level of effort, and attitude expected at the next level of training.

When you are invited to test, the time of the test will be written on the card. If you cannot make it at that time, you will be automatically approved for the next test. We will send and email to you in the week before the test to be sure you got the card and as a reminder.

If your child will be testing, re-enforce the idea that we leave egos at the door. Different children are on different paths depending on family schedules, prior martial arts experience, etc. While advancing in rank is exciting and can build confidence, being able to test now does not make you more or less loved at Unity. We admire a positive attitude and continuing effort more than anything else!

Testing above green belt and for all adult ranks will be arranged as needed and with visiting instructors or at regional tests as often as possible.

Test fees are $20 for below green belt tests on the right and $30 for Adult tests. When traveling to regional tests, fees may vary and will be paid to the host dojo, but would never be more than $30.Test fees help us cover the cost of new stripes, belts, patches, facility expenses and travel costs when out-of-town Senseis visit.

Etiquette for Testing Students

Patches and your name must be properly affixed to your uniform. Your uniform should be clean and unwrinkled. If you wear a shirt underneath, wear a white one.

Arrive early. Unlike regular class days, if you are late to a Cuong Nhu test, you won't be admitted.

During the test, show the same courtesy, respect, spirit, and effort that are always expected of you—only more so! Show courtesy for the other test candidates by remaining quiet and attentive while others take their turns and while waiting for results.

Never leave the test without permission or a valid reason. Stay through to the end, regardless of the outcome.

At the end of the test candidates will line up facing the instructors. Candidates that pass will be called forward to receive their stripe or belt promotion. After receiving the new rank, bowing to the instructors, and bowing to the members, successful test candidates should return to a place in line that’s appropriate for their new rank.

Etiquette for Viewers

Honor the special occasion! Be happy and encouraging and keep jitters to yourself! Test candidates have demonstrated the skill and attitude to pass or they would not have been invited.

Turn off your cell phone, and if you must take a call or play video games with sound, please step outside.
Viewers may sit and move quietly along the edge of the mats on any wall except the mirrors. Flash-free photography is fine during the test. All kinds of photos, including flash photos and close-ups, may be taken during the advancement ceremony at the end.

Please keep toddlers in the viewing area for their safety.

Congratulations, handshakes, and hugs are in order after the test is completed and the candidates have bowed out.