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Luther unleashed
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

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

PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2016 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
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.


I hear what you are saying, the first problem with that is everybody's already geared and primed for belt testing because that is the route I chose to go already. Also, The way I teach is always material for testing so I have been really already prepping them for rank and I would feel a bit strange teaching them everything they need for rank but not giving that to them.

There is a program out here in Arizona which is very successful in the school system. They easily have hundreds of students and they only operate out of schools. They use a belt system of 27 belts and in my mind they do that because they see some of them as sort of a half rank as I am Talking about doing. Most major martial arts seem to have around 10 belts or so, in my martial art there are 10 color belts, I think the ATA also has 10 color belts, is this correct? The thing I suppose that makes it very difficult to want to get away from the belts is watching a program with the success that this company has had in doing rank.

To be totally honest I am seriously looking at the possibility of not even re-signing for the next semester. This is the third time I have branched out away from the recreation center location, there is always been a reason I felt I was better off not doing it and I am toying with the idea of just focusing on my one location and that's it, I just started a kung fu program there which has been very enjoyable to teach. It's only one class so an extra 45 minutes twice a week but the location is proving to be pretty solid. With 37 students at just that one location I think there's a good chance I might be there only after December anyways. It has been very difficult to be a teacher of so many students so shorthanded I have to say.

I'll give it much more thought after December when this semester ends at the school, I don't know what I'm going to do for sure yet but my goal is to go in there and get everybody up to speed on what they need to know for their very first rank, which is a half yellow half white belt. I would like to think if I made a decent teacher I can get them there, even if it's just this one time.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 26607
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say finish out the semester the way you plan to, and then if you decide to renew the next semester, do so with the different approach, not using ranks. The DT club/class at our university is a curriculum/technique based course, but no rank is given out. They do a physical test at the end of the course that involves a guy wearing a Red Man suit or a Blauer suit (that guy has fun...).

All I'm saying is that if you are willing to look at it, there are other ways that you can teach at a high level but not necessarily give a rank out that you may not feel is warranted in some situations.
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MatsuShinshii
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 337
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Matsumura Shorin Ryu, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 5:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Everybody passes! Reply with quote

Luther unleashed wrote:
So many old-school guys are going to feel funny about this one I am one of them. I have a training on and off since 1983 , I was only six my karate was my first martial art. I certainly think I qualify as old school compared to places these days that are a little bit more loose and gimmicky. Teaching mostly children I am more loose already because I realized I have to be as many of them are still a bit clumsy and trying to find their way in life let alone martial arts.

I have been pretty open about my road and my path and had my recreation center location I have had a good amount of success at keeping students, over the summer however I went from 37 students all the way down to 22 students and was left closing my newly opened dojo. It was just a little bit of bad luck and timing as we went into summer and many students I had wanted to go off and try new things and about half of them returned. I had new students come in of course but not enough to make up the difference. After I closed my standalone facility I sold my benches to a gentleman who owned an elementary school and asked me if I would do a program there after school. Long story short I did and for the first semester we enrolled 34 students in those will be my students for five months till the following semester. And Buckeye we have cracked our previous years record of 37 with a number of 38 this month so far. Simple math tells us that we are at 72 students total so things are going great and I pushing hard to make sure I never go down to 22 again Ha!

The problem is at the school expect it to be a participation thing and everybody get something at the end of the semester. Obviously some students are working harder than others and some are showing up more than others and learning the actual requirements so I can just give everybody the same belt. I could skip the ones they're doing well that would not be holding a standard to develop system so I came up with something on my own and I'm guessing it's probably been photo before and executed before so I'm sure my ideas not tremendously original but it is new to me.

I devised what I'm calling "school Rank" which is not the same as the "martial art" rank. Essentially I'm looking at it as a half Rank. There are 10 ranks until you hit 1st dan, but for students who don't know the full material yet know some will go to an in between Belt. I'm not doing it for money, I'm doing it because I want to keep my program going and give the school what they want so nobody fails, or as a common school term they use now in the area is "nobody left behind"! The reason I would do this rather than handoff rank is obvious, it's because I worked very hard for my ring and I would not want to just give it away so I have made to certificate types, one states that the student has met all the requirements to earn such and such rank and is entitled to wear such and such belt in my martial art, the other one certifies they have advanced to the level of such and such belt. It's a half Frank so I'm ranking them in my school but not a full rank in the belt system.

I'm sharing because I find it to be an interesting predicament and I'm curious if others have run into something similar and if they know of any other ways to deal with this type of situation. I'm going this route because I don't see anything wrong with awarding somebody a belt as long as they understand that it is not attached to a full rank yet. What do you think?


Although I understand your dilemma I can't say I agree with your methods.

My wife is a teacher so I get the whole "everyone gets a trophy". But the cold hard facts are ranks/grades are earned not given. If little Johnny doesn't like to participate why give him a rank? Give him a participation certificate that means absolutely nothing and give the students that work hard and excel rank.

No disrespect meant but I have to say this... if your bending to the school and giving rank, even half rank, your selling your hard earned credentials down the river.

Essentially, your making all ranks mean nothing.

Again I mean no disrespect but this is how I feel about the situation. There has to be a way of making the school happy without loosing the integrity of your art.
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Luther unleashed
Purple Belt
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Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 596
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So clearly the title as everybody moving in a certain direction and I guess it's a little bit of a different direction then much of my post. I feel that because it is so long-winded that many I've missed the essential points I have made. In no way am I giving one student who does not know the required curriculum the same as another does so my idea of giving somebody a rank that is just an in between stage and is not giving you an official Rank in that martial arts, I do not see how I would be diminishing all that I have built in anyway, obviously I'm speakIng loosely and that is not exactly what you said but essentially the same thing.

My whole idea to come up with a half rank was to not diminish what I have built in my stand so I can't imagine how you think giving away a belt color that is essentially rank in an afterschool karate program and not Rank in the martial art style I teach would make all rank mean nothing?

It absolutely means something, if a student is doing well and learns the requirements and they burn the appropriate rank in the martial art, if they do not then they earn a half rank which means that they are on their way to earning rank in the martial art but are not there yet. The standard in which a student adheres to, to earn that same exact rank in the martial arts does not change one single bit. So, in the end a black belt in the martial art style I teach is held to the same exact standard because nothing changes. I feel like it is a complicated way to explain and because of my long winded posts I have to imagine that my points or at least some of them go Uncomprehending or unnoticed because of that.

Let's remember this very valuable point, giving somebody a belt is not the same as giving somebody rank because if I give you a belt and it does not attach itself with some type of rank in the martial arts then it essentially means nothing other than being a marker for progress in my program, It is the rank itself which carries the weight in that particular belt color is just a reflection of the progress.
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Last edited by Luther unleashed on Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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sensei8
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 12235
Location: Houston, TX and/or Van Nuys, CA
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While it's very true that all types of methodologies and ideologies vary and exist when it comes to teaching and promotions students. What's done in dojo 'A' isn't the same thing in dojo 'B' concerning this subject.

How many instructors here disregard the curriculum/syllabus, and just teach?? I'm not the authority within your governing body, however, I am the authority within the SKKA/Hombu.

While we've both a curriculum as well as a syllabus, there's a multitude of times, too many to count and too many to remember, that I will have the class train on one thing, and just one thing, for the entire class; no variety, but they're challenged, that one can be assured of.

Whatever I decide, that's what I'll teach. A lot of that is based on what we did the class before, and if I even get an itch, I'll bring Dan ranks down to their literal knees for not practicing. Trust me, no matter who a student thinks they are, I'm the biggest dog in the backyard, and I'll have them drill over and over on the most basics of the basics, instead of teaching what Dan should be learning on any given day.

Ranks, have their place, and that only hit me as the gospel truth after I earned my Sandan. I do not invite, nor do I solicit suggestions from anyone from the student body, and with guarded temperance, from the Higher Hierarchy as well, when it comes to teaching our student body. I run the floor, and I don't, and won't share my authority when it comes to what I should teach and/or what I'm suppose to teach. And by all means, do NOT throw the curriculum and/or syllabus in my face because I'm not under your authority...I know what to teach, and when to teach it, and how to teach it.

To me, and don't misunderstand my intent and/or my meaning, I value the curriculum and syllabus, however, these things are guides, just things, and these things don't control the comings and goings when the floor is concerned. I know my place, and so do these things.

Some instructors won't deviate away from not one word of the curriculum/syllabus as though it/they was/were surgically attached to them. And to deviate from them is alien to them, and they find themselves lost.

Teach what you feel is necessary, and stray away from the ball-and-chain of ranks and curriculum/syllabus, because these are just tools of the teaching trade, and any instructor worth their salt and vinegar don't depend on them, nor do they need them.

Don't know what to do without their guides...the curriculum/syllabus?? Then, please, get off the floor!!



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Luther unleashed
Purple Belt
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Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 596
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Senei8 I really like how you wrote this. I myself like some are pretty good at making my own point. This post sums up your ability to be very open minded in your approach and I appreciate that very much.

I deviate from curriculum but as it was taught to me I have a "main" curriculum and "suplimental" curriculum. The main curriculum are required for a large portion of rank, the auplimental curriculum isn't as much for rank but is still important to the art. On sumplimental days I will often try new things and not only follow exact ways of doing things. The only reason is boredom. I feel like I need to mix it up, I feel like it keeps the program fresh and students can learn the main curriculum while still doing new things. It also keeps me having fun because if I get bored with teaching exactly the same things over and over what energy will I bring to class? I am the verometer and my energy carries to my students.

As you said some won't deviate from it. I'm ok with that because there's a shoe size for everybody.

This is a great second topic haha. Good post sir!
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bushido_man96
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 26607
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Everybody passes! Reply with quote

Luther unleashed wrote:
So clearly the title as everybody moving in a certain direction and I guess it's a little bit of a different direction then much of my post. I feel that because it is so long-winded that many I've missed the essential points I have made. In no way am I giving one student who does not know the required curriculum the same as another does so my idea of giving somebody a rank that is just an in between stage and is not giving you an official Rank in that martial arts, I do not see how I would be diminishing all that I have built in anyway, obviously I'm speakIng loosely and that is not exactly what you said but essentially the same thing.


I can't tell if you are frustrated with some of the responses in the thread here, but when you mention this above, it sounds like you don't think we entirely understand what you were posting about. I don't mean this to sound negative or anything, I'm just working through what's been discussed so far. And it is true that at times the thread will turn in different directions. It just happens at times, with so many different perspectives.

I wanted to focus on this portion in your opening post:

Luther unleashed wrote:
I'm sharing because I find it to be an interesting predicament and I'm curious if others have run into something similar and if they know of any other ways to deal with this type of situation. I'm going this route because I don't see anything wrong with awarding somebody a belt as long as they understand that it is not attached to a full rank yet. What do you think?


I think everyone sees what the subject here is, and we all have different ways of looking at it, and I think everyone has shared some good ideas, too.

I do understand your predicament. Early on as a black belt instructor, I taught a course that was for a college credit in TKD. The students had to come to class and participate, and those who wanted to test could do so, but it wasn't required. However, most of them did want to, and did so, gaining some rank along the way. It wasn't a guaranteed test, though. They had to know their material, and demonstrate that they were competent to test. If they passed, they received an appropriate rank, like all other students.

I think if you really are stuck on giving out ranks, as opposed to participation certificates, then this would be a good approach to take. Make it like any other class, with material that is tested on.
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Luther unleashed
Purple Belt
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Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 596
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the post bushido_man. I'm not frustrated at responses. When I appear to feel I'm misunderstood it's because I feel that way lol. In my small mind, I think to myself that if somebody feels I'm discrediting rank by doing this they must be missing something as I can't imagine why somebody would feel that way. Maybe I'm understood and that's just how some feel but I don't know. If you have to know 2 specific forms and some other techniques for 7th rank, giving you a belt instead of a piece of tape or something showing your almost to 7th rank but can have 7th Rank if you learn these exact things, doesn't in any way compromise 7th rank. This is when I assume I'm not good at conveying the message, rather then I'm disagreed with.

I suppose I am stuck on belts, and that is my problem. I can't see going another route. I suppose my dilemma more specifically was assuming we're giving belts or tape or working towards rank in one way or another and deciding a way to work around the fact that I was supposed to give something like a trophy but went with belts, and because I did this I was short sighted and later realized that some aren't gonna be ready. Maybe it was a little bit of me assuming I'd have them all ready in 5 months to test for one belt too.


I'm not frustrated that people have opinions or suggestions, I'm just not always sure I can fit my passionate feelings along with logic into complete paragraphs that keep attention and truthfully represent my points, that's all!
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Luther unleashed
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a second note. I am unfulfilled as an instructor and teacher. I am frustrated that so many politics and structures get in the way of my own personal relationship with martial arts. The very first real martial arts training I had was from an instructor who was my neighbor. We put on gloves and learned to fight. He boxed and held a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Inboxed up top and used TKD style kicks. It was me. As I trained I soaked up the knowledge never feeling I needed to put a name to what I did. I never felt the need to obtain rank at that point. I took these moves and practiced. I did roundhouses on trees for and hour here and there. I practiced being fast and hitting hard. Rank didn't satisfy my need or desire to seek what I was after. I never cared what style I was learning, only if I felt it was real or not. I was happy to be a "mut" if you will. Laying out curriculum for others... oh my lord wow

As a teacher it's all about rank, and structure, and quite honestly most people just don't kick trees like they used to haha, no but really, these topics stress me out because teaching traditional martial arts conflicts with my own personal agenda of freedom in martial arts, and it's a personal problem, so I apologize if I seem uptight sometimes. It's because I am uptight. I'm searching for answers to my own path of enlightenment and business, and they sometimes mix, and sometimes don't. Stressful man phew!
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bushido_man96
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Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand your passion. I also understand what you are saying about just being able to train and not worry about thoughts of rank and structure. It really just depends on how we are brought up in the Martial Arts. Boxers and Wrestlers probably don't care as much about rank as they would ability on the mat. Those exposed primarily to the Eastern styles tend to hold rank and structure in high regard. It can be hard to see the middle ground at times.
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