How does a Krav Maga Black Belt Test Feel (A start to finish breakdown)




**Please Note that the following description of the Krav Maga Black Belt testing conducted at Elite Martial Arts Toronto was told from the experience of George Bordianu from a perspective of how it feels during the test.  The test is a standardized Black Belt test that has been conducted many times to deserving individuals over the years.  All participants are monitored throughout the test to ensure the safety and success of the participants.  No testing students were in any danger during the test and all had returned to training within days of testing.  However, the following Blog entry is a great detailed description of the challenges one faces during the gruelling 5 hour exam.  I hope you enjoy the read the thank you George for sharing.  I hope this motivates others!**

Dan Novak,

Owner/Head Instructor
EMA Toronto


Saturday I had my Krav Maga black belt test. Neither the last 5 years of training nor the instructor courses could have gotten me ready for what I was about to experience in the next 5 hours.
After hour two, we were done spot checking the curriculum in preparation for the stress rounds. If you’re not attacking or defending, you’re working the bag. You don’t really get to rest. Past the 90 minute mark we started cutting down on aggression and leaning more on technique, not to burn out early.
One exhaustion drill later and a break just long enough to get the heart rate down and the stress rounds start. You’re surrounded by a dozen other students, black belts, and instructors, with training gloves, knives, guns and sticks. Anything goes for 3-5 minutes, with 1-2 minutes breaks in between. A few rounds in and you lose count.
Three hours in, you start sparring. “You’ll start getting hurt now, don’t take it personal.” Whatever strength you had left leaves you at this point. I got sent to the canvas twice. I remember muttering “please” during one of the rounds, begging for the hits to stop. You’re gassed out, the attackers are fresh, and they’re dancing circles around you.
Four hours in, the stress rounds resume. “Don’t show pain.” is the advice you get this time. If you do, they’ll stop the test for health concerns and you’ll have to do this again. Spinning with eyes closed into attackers ballistically stabbing you. Random punches and hits from the surroundings, as you hopelessly try to defend yourself. You get hit hard and start yelling like an injured animal every time you do. You become slightly delirious and go berserk once or twice. You forget where you are, who you are, what you’re doing, or why you’re doing it for. You’re in the primordial jungle fighting for your life …
… and then you truly hit a wall. Your neurological system stars misfiring. You lose motor control. Your legs give under you. You try to move your hand to the left, it goes to the right. Your muscles start randomly spasming from fully tense to fully relaxed. My left hand contorted itself into a claw, making it impossible to do even the most basic disarms. All technique crumbles. All that’s left is a will to go on.
“3 more rounds and you’re black belts!” You want to give more, finish strong, and play it cool like “it was nothing”, but at that point you’re doing worse than an untrained white belt. When the test stops, you turn to your testing partners: you’re all injured, bloody, and gassed out. You hug and start crying of relief. You made it to the end.
It truly was a journey to hell and back. I never experienced this much pain in my life, yet I’m glad I did it. The pain’s already gone, but the will, resoluteness, and endurance are with me forever. No one can ever take that away.
Special thanks to Dan Novak, the owner and head instructor of Elite Martial Arts Toronto ( and the two other testing students, Nick Valentino, and Rami Hatoum. I’ll never forget this day.”