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KC1996
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 03 Nov 2016
Posts: 11


PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 12:20 pm    Post subject: Black Belts Like Candy? Reply with quote

Is it me, or does it seem more and more like black belts and higher ranks are being given out like candy?

It used to be that getting a black belt and achieving an advanced rank was something you had to work for and you actually had to have some level of physical ability to achieve....now it seems like any anyone and everyone can get a 4th, 5th and 6th dan.

Have standards gone completely out the window?
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 12576
Location: Owasso, OK
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the standards have, as you've said, gone out the window!!

The fortunate thing about that is that NOT all schools of the MA give out rank like candy. There are certain factions that do, i.e., McDojo's and the like, for example, and these school types seem to be a dime-A-Dozen.

That's why I can breath a deep sigh of gratitude that Shindokan ranks aren't handed out like candy. We fail more students, of differing ranks, than we pass!! On an average, for example, Shodan, in Shindokan takes at least 6 years to earn. Whereas, the higher the rank, the longer it takes one to earn, as it should be.



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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1288

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Find an instructor who values effort and personal skill development over and above anything else. If that instructor's opinion can be trusted, follow what is taught and forget about rank or other superficial rewards.

Knowledge and skills are in one's head, not around the hips or in a coloured strip of cloth. Shodan, godan or no dan everything falls into three categories: what one doesn't know, what is learning and what needs to improve.
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KC1996
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 03 Nov 2016
Posts: 11


PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Spartacus Maximus, but I'm not looking for an instructor as I am an instructor.

I've just been reflecting on my advancement through the ranks and how things seem to have changed a lot since I started karate a couple of decades ago. It's disappointing to see the ranks that you busted your butt to achieve being given away like candy. When I tested for my Godan there were over a dozen other people testing for that rank....only four of us passed. Now it seems like no one is allowed to fail. My own past instructor (who can now give examinations) to my knowledge has never failed anyone who has tested for any black belt rank. I watched someone stumble and fumble through their Nidan test and still passed. Why would an instructor never fail someone? Are they afraid of hurting peoples feelings, having people drop out and potentially lose a revenue stream?

I'm not suggesting that achieving a rank should be impossible, but where have the standards gone?
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LLLEARNER
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 10 Feb 2016
Posts: 390
Location: Central Maine

PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to be a SCUBA instructor. We saw the same thing. In the 1970's, earning your certification took effort and strong swimming ability. Now it can be done in a weekend. When I first got certified I had to go to a classroom and then confined and open water work. Now the classroom portion can be done online, but you still have to show up for confined and open water. Oh, and not so strong swimming ability.

The watering down of curriculum is through all society now, especially recreational activities. I bet in the 1970s there were a segment of people who trained in the 1930s and 1940s lamenting the watering down of curriculum even then. "You have it easy. My Sensei made us ..."
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"Those who know don't talk. Those who talk don't know." ~ Lao-tzu, Tao Te Ching

"Walk a single path, becoming neither cocky with victory nor broken with defeat, without forgetting caution when all is quiet or becoming frightened when danger threatens." ~ Jigaro Kano
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 1464
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was a black belt, I liked candy. I'm not a black belt anymore, but I still like candy.

Wait? Never mind.
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1288

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To give a very simplistic answer, one could say that "standards" do not get along with "mass teaching and profiting". Standards will inevitably be brought down when something which is meant to be hard is re-structured to be made accessible and palatable to the average person who cannot invest into more than causal commitment.

To limit examples to karate alone, if it were taught the same way it was just 50 years ago with the same standards, one can be certain that the number of people involved would not be nearly as high as it is now.
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MatsuShinshii
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 460
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Matsumura Shorin Ryu Rokudan 1979 to Present, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't get me started.

I have been preaching this for a long time that it was not an easy task to attain your Shodan. It took many more years than it takes today in most schools and once you achieved that grade everyone knew you earned it.

Today we have one or two year black belts. Kids with higher rank than most adults with three times the years into the art.

It boils down to the all mighty dollar. If you pay enough you get your grade. If you pay more for seminars, buy videos and books from the school then you get your grading faster. But as so many here have stated every instructor has the right to do as they please if they own their school.

Belts for bucks, McDojo's and the like. For me they are a joke.
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The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails-but the one who moves on in spite of failure.
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