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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29649
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2023 9:43 pm    Post subject: A Manufactured Failure? Reply with quote

Heard this story in class the other night. One of the adult students, who is going to be testing for 2nd dan soon, has a son, middle school aged kid at the time, who was told by our prior instructor that he was going to fail his testing; can't recall if it was for 1st dan recommended or decided (I think it was for decided). His rationale: "he hasn't failed before, and I want to see how he handles it."

The parent mentioned that he lost quite a bit of respect for that previous CI at that point; I can't say as I blame him. He initially thought he was kidding about it, but the testing came and went, and the CI failed his son.

Personally, I think this is a bunch of malarkey, and the CI's justification for it was bunk. Seeing how a student reacts to actual failure is one thing; fail them on principle is quite another. I find serious integrity issues here. If the parent would have dropped both him and his son from classes at that point, I wouldn't have blamed them. Luckily, the kid responded well, they stuck around, and ownership changed.

I wanted to vent about the situation a little here, and see what other's had to say. Personally, I'd have been furious, and probably would have neglected to keep my mouth shut on the matter, regardless of an preconceived notions of rank and respect. In my eyes, this was an abuse of power.
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Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 2090
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2023 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I 100% agree with you, and I rail hard against CIs who take this type of stance. It especially hurts since a black belt level test is no small thing. It takes so much. In my eyes, either the CI tested someone before they were ready as a way to teach them a lesson, or they failed someone who was ready to comfort their own ego. It's a power trip, nothing more, nothing less. I have no respect for CIs who do this. I've only seen 1 person ever fail a test, and it was because they acted in anger after making a mistake. They hit a wall (literally) in their frustration and failed a test that they were going to pass otherwise. In my mind, it's things like this that should fail people, not the ego of some higher dan who has something to prove.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15977
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2023 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger." That's generally used as an affirmation of resilience. Yet, in this matter it serves no purpose whatsoever.

To fail a student in a Testing Cycle to just see how the student deals with failure is very damaging to the student. There MUST always be a cause for failing a student because of the importance of the Test Cycle.

Testing Cycles are NOT something that should be treated as a means to entertain the CI. The Testing Cycle is a very serious test across the board. Since when did the Testing Cycle become are toy for the CI to play with!?! Things like this destroys the Testing Cycle's integrity and should never be tolerated by anyone, particularly the student!!

This is akin to just plucking off the fly's wings just to see how it reacts. It's uncalled for and cruel to the Nth degree. Anyone else who sat on the testing panel and agreed with this charade should be ashamed of themselves and shouldn't be teaching anything as well as being unceremoniously terminated for cause immediately.

Parents have every right to act upon this type of deliberate sabotage for the sake of the overall Student Body and the Testing Cycle's integrity.

This is exactly what I mean when I say not all black belts can teach, nor should they...EVER!!



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aurik
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 330
Location: Denver, CO
Styles: Shuri-Ryu, Uechi-Ryu

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2023 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree here -- it is one thing to fail a student because he didn't meet the requirements of the next grade. However, to fail a student because "he hasn't dealt with failure yet" isn't going to help the student, it damages the relationship between the student and the instructor, and it damages the credibility of the instructor.

I can certainly see the value in pushing the student in the prep cycle before the test. If you don't think the student is trying hard enough, if he isn't giving it all, make it hard on him. Make him work to earn the right to test. Nitpick his mistakes. Make him find the resilience to make it through the criticism. Our CI does that from time to time -- he did it to Zach just the other day. However, he will never let a student test if he plans on failing them.
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Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 2090
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2023 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aurik wrote:
However, to fail a student because "he hasn't dealt with failure yet" isn't going to help the student, it damages the relationship between the student and the instructor, and it damages the credibility of the instructor


That's another thing that bothers me here. The instructor assumes that the student has never dealt with failure because they have never failed a belt test. Most of life happens outside of the school. The teacher likely has no idea what that student has gone through.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29649
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2023 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zaine wrote:
aurik wrote:
However, to fail a student because "he hasn't dealt with failure yet" isn't going to help the student, it damages the relationship between the student and the instructor, and it damages the credibility of the instructor


That's another thing that bothers me here. The instructor assumes that the student has never dealt with failure because they have never failed a belt test. Most of life happens outside of the school. The teacher likely has no idea what that student has gone through.


Agreed 100%.
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Wastelander
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 18 Oct 2010
Posts: 2652
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2023 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This was absolutely an abuse of power, and I would honestly report it to someone higher up in the organization, if that's an option for them. Failing someone just "to see how they handle failure" completely invalidates that instructor's testing process, IMO, and does nothing but make the student feel terrible.
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Kishimoto-Di | 2014-Present | Sensei: Ulf Karlsson
Shorin-Ryu | 2010-Present: Nidan | Sensei: Richard Poage (RIP), Jeff Allred (RIP)
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Judo | 2007-2010: Gokyu | Sensei: Joe Walker, Adrian Rivera
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DarthPenguin
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 03 Dec 2021
Posts: 384
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Styles: Shotokan, Judo, BJJ

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2023 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me it raises serious red flags about the integrity of this individuals testing criteria.

In essence he is saying that passing a grading can be determined by criteria outwith the individual being tested's martial performance. It's not a massive leap therefore to say that someone could PASS without performing suitably either.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29649
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2023 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, the issues with this approach are embarrassingly glaring. It was really frustrating to hear that this happened.
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Nidan Melbourne
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 21 Aug 2013
Posts: 2322
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Styles: Goju-Ryu, BJJ, Balintawak Arnis

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2023 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i'm not a fan of failing a student because they haven't failed a test/grading before.

I would only ever tell a student that they aren't ready to attend a grading if I believed that they genuinely not pass.

As I am normally given a heads up of the difficulty level for that grading and the expectations given to student. For instance if they are getting ready to grade for their Shodan-Ho, and we have multiple going for a higher grade. I know that the overall difficulty is going to increase.
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