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BoothJ9
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 15 Feb 2022
Posts: 23
Location: Wales
Styles: Shukokai

PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2022 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off I have felt the embarrasing feeling myself where you might have been physically pushed to your limit during a dan grading and felt that you demonstrated very good technique that you had really practised; then you see someone with the same grade with poor technique and it makes you cringe and feel as though it has devalued your efforts. I've felt this but recently came to understand that the grade means very little, it is mostly used as a way for a sensei to track how long a student has been training. The colour of belt means very little.

I also came to further understand that standard is highly relative. These two things lead me to realise that one is graded on how they perform, if it is to the best of their ability I think it is fair to pass them. With comparing my efforts with someone else, who am I trying to prove things to? I am happy knowing that I tried my best and demonstrated things technically correct and accurate and I am proud of how I achieved my grades but comparing it to someone else, what does it matter about someone else? If someone from outside the dojo makes a comparison there's no point arguing about it, I accept their opinion and move on. Their opinion does not affect me greatly.

Also, with so great a variation in styles within karate, then a great variation within styles it would be almost impossible to set a standard that would work for all schools of all styles which is the requirement for them to pass.

This is just my opinion on the matter and as a topic I have experienced though might as well join the conversation.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29324
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2022 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said, BoothJ9!
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tatsujin
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 12 Oct 2021
Posts: 162

Styles: Ryusei-ha Ryukyu Kempo Karate-jutsu

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2022 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoothJ9 wrote:
Also, with so great a variation in styles within karate, then a great variation within styles it would be almost impossible to set a standard that would work for all schools of all styles which is the requirement for them to pass.


I would disagree with the above...at least in part or ever so slightly...

Back in the 1960's on Okinawa, if anyone wanted to get graded to godan (5th degree) or higher, it was done before a mixed board of the Zen Okinawa Karate Kobudo Renmei. So, a number of different styles would be grading and "signing off on" people from other styles. Even before then it was not all that uncommon to see that sort of thing happen...even passing students between instructors of different styles and lineages. All of this was, by and large, before the advent of commercial schools and organizations.

In a "prefect world", qualified people could grade other qualified people, even outside of their individual styles. Unfortunately, in the highly politicalized world of the martial arts, that isn't really possible. But, I know what you meant...
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For me bujutsu is not a set of techniques, but a state of the body. Once the principles are integrated, the techniques surge spontaneously because the body is capable of adapting instantaneously.
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Miick 11
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 01 Jan 2021
Posts: 122


PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2022 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoothJ9 wrote:
First off I have felt the embarrasing feeling myself where you might have been physically pushed to your limit during a dan grading and felt that you demonstrated very good technique that you had really practised; then you see someone with the same grade with poor technique and it makes you cringe and feel as though it has devalued your efforts. I've felt this but recently came to understand that the grade means very little, it is mostly used as a way for a sensei to track how long a student has been training. The colour of belt means very little.


What about sparing , especially in inter club comp ? I might have a black belt becasue I can do the kata and have an understanding about it that my style thinks is worth a black belt .

Some other guy might have got his by proving his ability with kata, understanding , vigorous conditioning , including how to take a HARD hit . He goes into a spar with me thinking "he is a black belt , good, he should be able to handle ..... "

Result then is an 'embarrassment ' of a different kind . Especially if he has a 'lower grade' than me .

BoothJ9 wrote:

I also came to further understand that standard is highly relative. These two things lead me to realise that one is graded on how they perform, if it is to the best of their ability I think it is fair to pass them. With comparing my efforts with someone else, who am I trying to prove things to? I am happy knowing that I tried my best and demonstrated things technically correct and accurate and I am proud of how I achieved my grades but comparing it to someone else, what does it matter about someone else? If someone from outside the dojo makes a comparison there's no point arguing about it, I accept their opinion and move on. Their opinion does not affect me greatly.


Unless he is a 'proof is on the floor ' type of guy .

There are two schools of thought on this .... and I have noticed this with some people happy to give kids and others ( like the disabled ) a grade that they earned by doing their best possible . The other school, of course, is that it is about the performance and not the person .

I would say, the more a style or club is geared towards a 'real fighting style' , other than a sport or competition indicates how much they rely on the validity of performance over effort .

BoothJ9 wrote:

Also, with so great a variation in styles within karate, then a great variation within styles it would be almost impossible to set a standard that would work for all schools of all styles which is the requirement for them to pass.


That is because modern karate has 'got out of control' - see tatsujin's comments above .
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DarthPenguin
Orange Belt
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Joined: 03 Dec 2021
Posts: 134
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Styles: Shotokan, Judo, BJJ

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2022 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally i have always thought of a belt/rank as something that tells your opponent when sparring how hard they can go etc. to prevent injuries. Obviously once you start to spar you make adjustments accordingly but it gives a good starting point.

Technique wise i think a technique needs to be correct in the sense that it achieves the end result and is within a reasonable range of how to perform it (this sentence probably doesn't make much sense without an example : i recall being at a bjj seminar with Royce Gracie and being taught the classic scissor sweep. He went through the details of the technique and how to perform it. As a high degree bb he obviously knows it. I then a few years later attended a seminar with Rickson Gracie where he taught the 'same technique' but totally differently and there were a few differences in how it was performed. I remember speaking to my instructor at the time about this and he said that each is correct as it works and they have merely adapted the technique to what works best for them, and that as people get better they do this).

For me applicability always comes before looks in a technique. Plus i have never been in favour of just awarding belts because someone comes a lot/tries hard. That is fine at junior grades but i am sure everyone has seen the obviously unfit individual, struggling to perform the techniques, with a dan grade (obvious caveat here of people who were capable and then got hurt etc). I get embarrassed when i see that and it can cause you to re-evaluate a school etc
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aurik
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 269
Location: Denver, CO
Styles: Shuri-Ryu, Uechi-Ryu

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2022 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the key things that my CI looks for in students to promote to higher kyu ranks and (especially) dan ranks is the ability to receive feedback and quickly incorporate corrections. For students at higher dan ranks (nidan and above), he looks for them to self-correct -- for example when we do group kata, we usually do two repetitions with a count and one at your own pace. For students in the higher dan grades, he expects to see them periodically glance into the mirrors at stopping points to make minor corrections in their own technique.

As far as techniques vs time in grade requirements, he has expectations for students at each grade level as well as time-in-grade and (for higher kyu and dan ranks) minimum age requirements. He will adjust his expectations based upon the physical abilities/limitations of his students. However, the key takeaway is that if he gives a student corrections and they won't make the changes, he either won't let them into the next testing cycle, he'll possibly fail them in a test cycle, or (depending on grade they're testing for) he may pass them, but decline to let them into the next test cycle until they fix the issues.
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