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Luther unleashed
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 603
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 11:04 am    Post subject: Everybody passes! Reply with quote

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?
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LLLEARNER
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 10 Feb 2016
Posts: 323
Location: Central Maine

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting. I do understand that when you are dealing within an educational bureaucracy the seems to push kids through there needs to be something that indicates progress for "civilian" minds to digest. I like how you distinguish it from your ranking system so if the kids transition from school to you there is no sense of starting all over again but more of a partial credit earned.
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Luther unleashed
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 603
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LLLEARNER wrote:
Interesting. I do understand that when you are dealing within an educational bureaucracy the seems to push kids through there needs to be something that indicates progress for "civilian" minds to digest. I like how you distinguish it from your ranking system so if the kids transition from school to you there is no sense of starting all over again but more of a partial credit earned.


Thank you, yes obviously I'm just trying to adapt and allow my program to take on a somewhat different form while not compromising the quality of the martial arts taught and the ranking system.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 12352
Location: Houston, TX and/or Van Nuys, CA
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The title of this topic got my attention, as I'm sure that was the intent of its wording, and I can't say that this idea has never been tried or not, or about its success versus failure ratios.

What's the fee, if any, for taking/earning the "student rank" belt??

Imho, what these "student ranks" will foster is a plethora of false security all around because kids/parents will only see the rank, and nothing beyond that. And I believe that this "student rank" interferes with the integrity across the board; one rank type will be wanted more so than the other. How can this not become a problem.

I understand the need for meeting expectations of a P&L, and/or the dwindling of ones student body, but there's no way that I'd allow anyone or any one individual or any one group to dictate the comings and the goings, especially what happens on MY FLOOR. That's my floor and not their floor to with as they desire. Everyone passes!?!? Not on my floor, and it doesn't matter who owns the floor.

The ranking system, at all costs, must be the one thing, above all things, that its integrity is never violated for any reason(s), and in that, imho, there's no reason(s) that can ever justify it.

Rank, is not birthed from any outside influence, nor should it be treated in any fast food fashion, because any of these tend to sell the integrity at happenstance.

No one runs my floor...never...not ever...for any reason!!



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DWx
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 5655
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's difficult when its in a school setting and I get not wanting to leave anyone behind. Half ranks could work. Or you could split the curriculum up into smaller chunks and just test students on that.

Do you have to work through the ranks at all? Can it not just be a yearly course and if they want proper ranks and all that they have to join your dojang?
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LLLEARNER
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 10 Feb 2016
Posts: 323
Location: Central Maine

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe I read this wrong, but I understood it to be more of a letter grading system like what is already used in school. Traditional belts really don't translate to letter grades because they are pass or fail and test next time.
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Luther unleashed
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 603
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sensei8, there is no fee for testing as they pay upfront for class, the class cycle is an entire semester which is around 5 months. I'm going to be holding one testing at the end of each semester for all students. I suppose the reason I'm reaching for opinions here and ideas because I have not done any testing at this school location so I'm free by any type of system I come up with or answer to my current dilemma. The first testing will be at the end of the semester which is December 19Th. The school was pretty firm on the fact that they need a program Where everybody got something. He did not have to be a belt but when I made the agreement and they were talking about trophies and what not I mediately said we will just do a testing at the end of the semester, I've never been into sport karate, not that I am against it but it's just never been my thing and handing out trophies and ribbons is just not my style. The belt seem like a good fit. At the time of the deal I was down to 22 students and did not think this part of it through. I could still come up with something different and it doesn't have to be a belt, however I watched a program here in Arizona do something similar although they did not make it know that any particular belt was at half Frank. They use a belt system of 27 belts and those that do very well go ahead if you ranks and those who do poorly essentially never fail and I just avoided a lower rank and if you figure 27 belts he would have to imagine it could easily take 14 years to earn black belt if you weren't putting much in. This is what sparked this particular way of doing it in my mind. In my mind I would do it in a similar fashion and I think the students and the parents would simply see a bell color not really understand the rank for the most part so I don't really foresee any issue you're referring to honestly. Maybe I am shortsighted but I just don't really believe it would be a problem. I will say however that I don't prefer to change or add any belt colors as when pictures are taken it would look very off with funky colors in there to me personally. I don't really know, i'm just feeling it all out and although I put work into making it I'm just not 100% sure. I always appreciate your advice.

DWx, I do not have to test with a belt system, it's just simply that I have already agreed to that and I've been preparing the students for a frame of mind her being ready for testing so it's a bit late to switch that now. So it would be proper to say I did not have to but now I do LOL. As far as doing it where if they want proper rank they have to see me at my other location it's very much not likely as it's a 45 minute drive and I have never been successful and trying to get parents to drive their kids that far for rank especially when there are so many places on every corner here in Arizona. To top it off I'm up against many taekwondo places that are very good at marketing and displaying some what of an image relating to those into sports better than myself, I am structure in more of a military mind frame with a louder voice and less flashy colors and although I seem to be pretty successful I'm simply saying that there are some cards stacked against me to try to Lure students 45 minutes away. I am curious what you mean by breaking the curriculum down and testing them that way? In my mind I would not mind doing that but leaving them without a belt is going to be against what the school is expecting. I understand where sensei8 is coming from i'm not letting an outside influence dictate how I do things, but I guess the thing is in order for my program to be successful I am open to do things a different way of course as I am in somebody else's facility, I don't want to sacrifice the integrity of the martial arts or Standard of what is expected for each rank however, this is why I would consider creating half eanks. I suppose I just don't see it as that big of a deal and it could be a nice idea but if there was another way that sounded good I would certainly consider it as I'm not 100% on board with the idea.

Thank you for the input, always helpful.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 26655
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's an idea for you to try. Instead of giving out ranks in the school setting, instead come up with a certificate of completion to present them at the end of the semester.

This might cause you to reevaluate what material you teach, but the nice thing is that you can alter it from your usual "rank" material. Instead of doing forms and such, instead come with a list of set techniques, combinations, partner drills, self-defense applications, etc that they are required to perform a physical exam on at the end of the semester. That way, you teach the same course over and over again, and you don't worry about giving any rank, and thus watering down your standards or going with "half ranks."

Now, if you want to provide an extra incentive to the students that really get into it and put some effort into the course, you can make them an offer that would allow them to enter your regular school at perhaps some half rank or some such idea to start them out with. Or, you could just scratch this entirely, and have them come into the school and give them a deal on their gi or something.

Just some ideas to think about.
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Luther unleashed
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 603
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
Here's an idea for you to try. Instead of giving out ranks in the school setting, instead come up with a certificate of completion to present them at the end of the semester.

This might cause you to reevaluate what material you teach, but the nice thing is that you can alter it from your usual "rank" material. Instead of doing forms and such, instead come with a list of set techniques, combinations, partner drills, self-defense applications, etc that they are required to perform a physical exam on at the end of the semester. That way, you teach the same course over and over again, and you don't worry about giving any rank, and thus watering down your standards or going with "half ranks."

Now, if you want to provide an extra incentive to the students that really get into it and put some effort into the course, you can make them an offer that would allow them to enter your regular school at perhaps some half rank or some such idea to start them out with. Or, you could just scratch this entirely, and have them come into the school and give them a deal on their gi or something.

Just some ideas to think about.


You know man, to be honest I think I'm just a little too particular. I think I'm too knitpicky. I am more likely to give the students belts and certificates from my school and not rank in my martial art, rather then skip belts all together. I feel like that's what people are after, and it's what I'm use to. I have thought about doing it that way.

Like I said I don't see them coming to me at my main location at the center because of distance. Also, I don't know how to teach non-progressively. It would be strange and I am a creature of habit and I think once I'm on the spot I'd teach like I always do anyway. I don't know, I'd like to just give them Rank and grow the art, I just don't know if I can get everybody through to that standard, especially when some aren't really showing up consistently. I don't want to be inovative here, I'm overwhelmed at times with these large classes of children, sometimes more the. 20, for obvious reasons.
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JR 137
KF Sempai
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Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 1368
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Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of good opinions here.

There's a guy at my school (academic school) who runs a TKD club (grades K-8, but the oldest ones are about 3rd grade) once or twice a week. Here's what he does, if it helps. I think he's on the right track, but I'd tweak it a bit. I don't think he's a good teacher, but this part's done ok...

The students start at a plain white belt. They earn strips of electrical tape on their belt for different things - kicks, blocks, stances, punches, parts of kata, etc. It seems like about 6 or so stripes. When they promote, they get a white belt with a color stripe through it i.e. a white belt with a yellow stripe that runs the entire length of the belt. All belts are like this. If they promote passed all those belts, then it's a solid belt, starting with the belt color after white (yellow?). Students go at their wn pace through the tests.

Students who want to train at his full-time school wear the belt they earned at my school while being evaluated for which belt they'll wear at the full-time school. He explains the differences in his program at my school and his to the parents through a letter. The requirements for solid belt are the same at both schools, but the pace and how it's broken down through the mini belts (don't know what else to call them) are slower/smaller.

Just some ideas.
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