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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 12235
Location: Houston, TX and/or Van Nuys, CA
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I apologize deeply, but I'm still stuck on the "everyone passes"!! You've made agreements with a school, and this is where that school is dictating a mindset that all passes. What is this teaching? Where is that schools integrity? Does that school pass everyone up to the next grade?

Students earn anything and everything by just being there!!??!! I understand there's the No Child Left Behind but to be honest, that fostered that if one attends and goes through the motions, yet not earning anything through hard work. Does that school insist that their teachers give everyone a passing grade even if they should fail that grade??

Everyone passes?! There has to be somewhere else you can teach without having to do it their way. The slogan...Earn it...means nothing to them!! No matter what one is learning, and from whom, they pass no matter what.

I once knew of a company in Southern California that taught Karate at either Recreational Centers or at public schools. They ran tests once a quarter, and EVERYONE PASSES!! However, when one looks at them closer, one sees that a green belt in their programs were equivalent to a white belt.

What are we teaching our students when everyone passes no matter what? Don't forget this...each and every student is a representative of you and your brand, and in this, to the prospective student/parents/etc, you've only one chance to make that impression, whether it's a good one or a bad one, but once that one chance is over, one can't get it back!!

That company eventually closed its doors when reality finally said...enough is enough!! The straw that broke that camels back was when it was found out that that company was having green belts, their green belts, wear black belts while teaching and running the program.



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Alan Armstrong
Red Belt
Red Belt

Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 780


PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 has some sound ideas.

Could also give them all a certificate with different martial art distinctions, for each one of the students. Something encouraging that each student can identify with; such as:

Black Belt in the making.
Martial art merit of skills awarded to John Smith for his outstanding sparring abilities.

MA " " " to Jane Jones for her kicking and punching skills.

MA " " " to Jack Jones for his dedication and perseverance with 100% attendance record.

MA " " " to Mollie Smith for her rapid improvements in the area of agility and flexibility.

MA " " " to Jimmy Johnson for most positive attitude and role model attributes.

MA " " " to Hillary Hendrix for her outstanding dojo etiquette skills.

Just a few examples,
each student to have an outstanding positive attribute that is martial art related.
Of course have your contact details on the certificate.
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Luther unleashed
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 596
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guys, I appreciate the posts, I thought about doing something like tape but that's a matter of trying to figure out how to move somebody along in the ranks system, this is a matter of making sure everybody get something. If I was to use electrical tape then something of equal financial value would have to be given to those students that equals in their mind, karate belt. They all pay the same and they all need something for participation so it's not that they all need a belt it's just that they all needed something of equal value for the program. When kids play soccer at that school they all get a participation trophy. They are looking for something similar. I really like these ideas I simply feel that I don't want to be so in-depth this stuff and I would just like to teach the art and help them to advance. I am overseeing 72 students by myself with very little to no help. This is not easy to do and giving them different types of merit for different things would be an off a lot of work for one person.

Teaching when I teach is not extremely difficult although it does have its challenges with large groups of students especially kids. I don't exactly want to do something completely different for them and that's the issue, I would rather simply advanced them and that's it. Sensei8, I think you misunderstood my post, I made an arrangement that they would all get something but I never made an arrangement that they would have to get rank, it was my choice and they did not dictate any of that. They were perfectly happy if I gave them all a trophy at the end and did not even rank them but again it was the direction I want to go because this is the way I like to teach martial arts and not in so much of a seminar style if you will. When I said I would yes test them I guess I wasn't thinking, so there is still room to make adjustments however I would prefer to simply give everybody a belt and move forward. That's the problem here. I think I like the half Rank idea. In essence, I would be giving a certificate from my school, not a specific martial art. This seems uncomfortable and I'm not 100% into it like I said a few times in the post but to me it's the easiest way to just keep everybody hungry and achieving those short term goals that belts offer. In the end none of this may matter if I can get everybody to pass the basic standard, especially just starting out.

I don't know that everybody earning a belt is sending a bad message, not if students are allowed to skip the half rank and move to a full range, I think at that point the message sent is that you will move at your own pace and you will get out what you put in. I could see if I had students who were just bouncing off the walls and terrible students that giving them a belt would be a bad thing but in my class that really doesn't happen.

I'm probably overthinking all of this because in reality I have never had to think about anything like this but I guess I'm just concerned. Realistically five months till testing everybody should be able to make it in theory, in reality I'm worried there will be some that just won't put in the effort and I'll be left with a decision like this so in a sense I'm thinking ahead.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 12235
Location: Houston, TX and/or Van Nuys, CA
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2016 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I'm been harsh when I speak about "everybody passes", I would like to just say this...As you being the CI, whether I like the idea or not, it's your decision, and that's the bottom line. However you decide, you've got my support!!



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Alan Armstrong
Red Belt
Red Belt

Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 780


PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2016 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Belt ranking is a Japanese and Korean way to gauge proficiency. Whereas trophies are an American concept to compensate those competing in sporting events.

The answer you are looking for must be an American solution, perhaps a small martial art looking plaque would satisfy all involved.

A trophy, a plaque, a certificate or half a belt ranking, they are all symbolic of an achievement!
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 1332
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2016 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re-reading Luther's posts, it seems the school is looking for him to issue something - anything - tangible for the students to take away at the end of the semester. Nothing wrong with that IMO. Give the kids something to motivate them, keep their interest, and give them a sense of accomplishment and pride. I like the idea. Whatever keeps them going and keeps them out of trouble.

I don't like the idea of trophies without competition. I'd go with the belt scheme I posted, certificates of attendance, an/or a medal of some sort. My daughters take gymnastics, and they love the medal they get at the end of the session. They're 3 and 6, so take that for what it's worth.

And no, Lex, you're not overthinking it. The kids haven't "been there, done that" like we have. It may seem like they think getting a certificate or medal is a joke, but it's really not. Doing the right things will keep them motivated and show them you care. Doing nothing nor something half-butted won't do anyone any good.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 26607
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2016 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still say going with a certificate of completion is the way to go. You can still teach progressively, you just have to alter the curriculum some. If you do it right, the ones who put forth effort will get better, and the ones who don't, won't.

Here are some questions I have, and perhaps you've already answered them, but just to get some things in order:

1. How long does the course last?
2. Do kids "retake" the course? What I mean is, can kids take the course again if they wish?
3. Can you give grades, like other courses do, especially in regards to attendance?

Let me know, and we'll see where this goes from here.
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Spartacus Maximus
Member of the Month
Member of the Month

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1239

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As someone who has experienced the effects of the both policies in schools and various karate dojos, it is very difficult to accept that students are given anything just for attendance, let alone any recognized standing. Doing that effectively and completely removes all standards, as well as defeating the purpose of teaching.

Evaluation is pointless if everyone and anyone can expect a reward without any work, patience or effort. In the end, what matters is whether or not the students make any real progress. They either have the skills or they do not and sooner or later those who lack the real skills will understand the value of hard work. Sensei8's anecdote about the company karate lessons is a great illustration of this inevitable outcome.
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Luther unleashed
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 596
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll try and touch on every bodies post.

Sensei8- I don't think it sounds hardlsh the way your speaking. It sounds passionate and it sounds like you have a first belief system. Don't for a second think I'm offended. I enjoy these topics that make people's blood boil a little haha. I never had to pass them, I chose to. I was short sited and assumed I'd get everybody to pass. A trophy, a certificate, all would have been ok to the school. I chose testing because it's progressive, and I don't want to teach any other way. I award Rank and teach standards to that rank, and that's what happened. I'm now thinking ahead and maybe I should have thought of this stuff sooner. As I now realize some students aren't really making it to class and such, I see some conflict here so that is what this is all about.

Jr 137- yes the school was ok with anything but wanted it distrubuted fairly. As I said, my son played soccer recently, he became the second best player on the team and the go to goalie. He didn't receive anything special for recognition. He got a trophy the same as the kid who was cussing, being rude, not listening and so on. Is that fair? Nope. It's the way our society works though, and I have beef with that. Anyways, I have never, and I mean never handed out a trophy, a medal, or anything else, only certificates of rank and belts, this is what led me on the narrow minded path I am on now. Never been much for the sporty theme in martial arts. Yes I know you can hand out awards in this manner and not teach sporty like karate but this is just never been my way as I'm a little old-school traditional in that way.

Alan Armstrong- I agree that a belt trophy or anything else can be symbolic of achievement I would like to open my mind to such things but obviously I need to get that right in my head because as I've said in the previous two paragraphs I've just never done thank that way so I'm a bit narrowminded with that stuff. I don't agree that an American solution would be something other than belts, maybe it started out that way but I think that when students take martial arts these days in America they expect belts. I recently started kung fu class and I was faced with the decision of whether to use a sash ranking system or not. I faced this decision because I know it is what many people will expect and many people will see the belt rather than the lesson but that's just the way our country works I think.

Brian- yes to answer your question they can absolutely retake the course, if they were not able to I would not see a great deal of value in having the Rank or belts. The course last for five months so as I stated in my long winded post previously, it *should* be enough time to get everybody prepared for one Rank. In reality that may be hard as I see some not making it often, the ones showing up are one, and one student is two forms into the training, but hear students missing will fall short if it continues. Only 6 weeks left, and my dilemma is present. I could certainly do grades, or any other system I want. I am not governed in anyway by the school other than the fact that when they mentioned maybe giving away trophies or something like that I suggested the belts so I guess I'm sort of locked into bills at the moment because this was my agreement and my idea, hence the problem from short sighted vision. After dropping my dojo, and getting down to almost only 20 students I was a bit quick to make the deal and push details off a bit. Lesson learned.

Spartacus Maximus- as my soccer comparison goes, the school wanted I suppose, a fun course introducing them to karate in a sense and obviously nothing is wrong with giving them something for that as far as I can see. The real issue is I'm not the TKD guy that does those things. I don't mean to offend any taekwondo guy but minibus know of those programs being very fun and kid friendly. I think my approach still works. I have 18 in one class at the Rec center, ages 4, 5, and 6. I'm doing something right but I think my kids have a little less fun, but parents enjoy my discipline a little bit more then many "softer" (for lack of better word) programs.

Bottom line, I'm not the best fit for a program like this as I am very serious about the way I do things. There was a TKD guy I ran into and we had a conversation. I was intrigued by our large differences. He spoke of birthday parties and fun classes and nobody gives a crap what martial art I teach, they want fun fun fun. I agree some, but certain things I won't do for success. Everybody has to sell out to a certain degree. We all have to step out of our own way on some way or another to be successful at things at any job. The main difference between him and I? His definition of success was student numbers and money, mine was teaching how I want and making enough. I'm stubborn.

I'm more like an old Japanese sensei8 that doesn't smile a whole lot, not the goofy kid Instructor that makes everything a blast. Wish I was both, and I try to be, but nature is hard to ignore.

I have 6 weeks to decide either way. I have talked with my wife plenty about maybe not even doing another semester. Possibilities are always there to do what I chose so we will see. I will follow my heart and I ha e faith things will work out the way they are supposed to. Thanks for the well thought out posts everyone!
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 26607
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2016 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I were you, I'd consider getting away from the rank, and go with the certificates of achievement. If they want to test, then set up requirements for it; make a certain amount of classes, show aptitude towards the material, and most important of all, get approval to test from the instructor. That way, the serious students that want to test can, and make them pay your testing fees to do so (if that is what you do). If they choose to test, have the testing held at your school as opposed as to wherever you teach this class, and make it a separate investment that each student can choose to make on their own.
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