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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Struggling_Mudansha wrote:
MatsuShinshii wrote:
However not having the right to train until you are a Shodan makes absolutely no sense to me. What exactly does this mean? Are you not taught the curriculum of the Mudansha grades? Are you treated as a guest rather than a student until that time? What does this actually mean?


I have no idea. It's probably what you describe below:

Quote:
The Mudansha grades are a chance for you to learn the basics. The foundation to all principles, theories, techniques, movements and applications that you will learn beyond that point.


Still, it'd be nice if I was thrown a bone every once in while in terms of understanding things a little more deeply.


Sounds like you have an old school type teacher (most likely a westerner) that believes that the student should find their way with very little help and/or they feel that if you can make it to Shodan (based on time in grade) then you are serious and therefore worth teaching.

IMHO a student should be guided by his/her teacher but not spoon fed. Meaning that the student has to have the drive to discover, through training, things for themselves and helped along with those lessons not easily learned through training.

I agree with your instructor in that the student will learn more through experience rather than being led by the hand in all things. However, and I say this with respect as I don't know your teachers intentions or methods, I do not feel that waiting five or more years to start to teach ones students makes any sense in terms of the students growth as a martial artist nor in fostering the drive their students have towards the art.

My Shinshii always told us that "you give a sip and the student thirsts for more, you give them a gulp and they no longer thirst, you give them nothing and they will die". Essentially if you guide the student along the way and give them enough to come to their own discovery their enthusiasm and drive will increase and they will strive to learn more. If you teach them everything and do not allow them to grow on their own they will eventually loose their passion and become lazy. If you teach them nothing they will eventually leave because you have not instilled anything worth striving for.

Having said this I also picked up on your comment that you wish they would "throw you a bone" in terms of understanding things more deeply. Do not take this the wrong way as I may be reading to much into your statement but if your teacher is teaching you the curriculum, the same he was taught and in the same manner, then he is doing his job in teaching you Karate. Wanting more is a product of this new generation.

Again please do not take this wrong but, if your instructor is teaching you the Mudansha curriculum and you are progressing as such because of that teaching, then you have nothing to complain about.

I feel, based on your comment, that you think you should be learning the curriculum of higher grades than your's and there is nothing to say that your instructor has to teach you these things. In fact I would say he should not.

I spent 7 years learning the Mudansha grades. Back then this meant you learned 4) Kata. This may not sound like much to learn to get to Shodan. However I personally think that we learned mountains over what is taught today. To spend on average two years per Kata and being forced to perfect not only the movements but to discover and understand the applications as apposed to learning 8 to 10 Kata in less time. It's great to learn a new Kata but if you move on before understanding the last one what then have you really accomplished? Knowing the movements and being able to copy is different and worlds apart from true understanding. There are lessons to be learned that those that rush to just learn movements can never understand.

As I have told others here... slow down and enjoy the journey. Take the time to perfect the basics and learn the lessons they teach. You can't get this time back. Take full advantage of it and stop looking to the future. It will still be there. You have a unique benefit as you have the time to learn all that you can. If your Sensei requires you to spend "X" years before testing then you can either spend that time perfecting what you have learned and be all the more better for it and have an advantage over those that did not or you can spend your time wishing you where learning the next step and loose that valuable time. Worse if you do not spend the time perfecting what you have learned who's to say you get promoted at all? Nothing in life is guaranteed. Earn it and it will mean 1000 times more.

Too many want things right now and miss out because they are too busy skipping ahead.

Sooner or later you will have to retrace your steps or forever stay where you are at. You'll hit the wall of knowledge and ability. If I graded you to Shodan today do you think you would grade to Nidan along with everyone else that spent the time learning the lessons that you missed or do you think it would take you much longer? Sooner or later you will have to learn the lessons to move on. May as well do it when you have the time. After all you said it yourself, "they are not allowing you to learn anything advanced". Why not take the time to perfect what you know and be the best you can. Then when you hit that magical time in grade mark you will be twice the Karateka and you will have earned the grade. And more importantly if your instructor is the type to test to see if you are worthy, when you come to test and have perfected what he has taught you, you will earn his respect and he will most definitely take your training serious from that point on. Trust me it means a thousand times more... no... a trillion times more when you work hard for something and then accomplish it. Squeaking by eventually means others will eventually pass you by.

Just my 2 cents. And again forgive me if I misread what you intended. This is however what I interpreted from what you wrote.
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The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails-but the one who moves on in spite of failure.
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2369
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MatsuShinshii,

I love the posts youíve made in this thread. Every now and then, I want to start practicing the stuff I did when I was a shodan. My favorite kata was Seiunchin. I loved bo kata and bo yakusoku kumite. Every time I see the yudansha doing this stuff in the dojo, I canít help but think ďwhy canít I do that? Iíve already learned it. How long do I really have to wait? Why am I wearing a (currently brown) kyu belt when I earned a black belt before?Ē

Then I think ďstop being an idiot. My time to test for shodan will be here soon enough. Perfect what Iím doing now rather than thinking about the past and the future. Iíll be so much better when I test (in about 18 months if thereís no setbacks). What difference does having a black belt around my waist make anyway; Iíll still just be JR.Ē Then I just shut up and train.

Reading your posts here puts it all into the right perspective. No matter how many times I tell myself and others who are itching to promote, itís always so much better and more reaffirming hearing it from guys like you.
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I speak from experience. I thought of the future just like anyone else does. The difference is my Shinshii would constantly reaffirm the reasons for being in the moment. In the end I look back and cherish that time I had to work on the very foundation of our art and wonder why I wanted to rush through it.

A black belt with very little foundation in the basics is in my opinion not really a black belt. Sooner or later you will find that you have to return to the basics in order to move on. If you think in these terms you didnít gain anything by promoting early. Sure you get to wear the belt but what does that mean if thereís no substance behind it?

Live in the moment. You can never get it back and as I have learned it goes by way too quickly. Enjoy the time you have and make every minute of it count. Youíll be there before you know it.

Then youíll spend your life time getting to the next belt and the next. It doesnít end. Live in the moment and youíll be better for it.

Iíll leave you with this... my dad always said the anything worth doing is worth doing right. If you have to spend the time you may as well make it worth spending.

Ok enough old man wisdom for today. Thereís my 2 cents for what itís worth.
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The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails-but the one who moves on in spite of failure.
Charles R. Swindoll
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advfhorn
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 40


PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funny you ask as this has been on my mind a lot recently. I am nearing my testing for brown belt and my Sensei has started to drop comments about my "future black belt testing". Here is my dilemma ... I joined karate to learn, to stay flexible, and knowledgeable, for the discipline and although I take pride in being an advanced level belt as it shows my dedication and commitment I never had a black belt as a goal. I suppose that sounds weird to you all but mentally I am just not ready to commit .... although I have no desire to stop my training even if that meant having to change dojos. Maybe I will feel differently after I am a brown belt for awhile .. maybe I will be looking for another step. so far I have been training 5 years.
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shortyafter
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 17 Nov 2016
Posts: 169

Styles: Kyokushinkai, Shotokan

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

advfhorn wrote:
Funny you ask as this has been on my mind a lot recently. I am nearing my testing for brown belt and my Sensei has started to drop comments about my "future black belt testing". Here is my dilemma ... I joined karate to learn, to stay flexible, and knowledgeable, for the discipline and although I take pride in being an advanced level belt as it shows my dedication and commitment I never had a black belt as a goal. I suppose that sounds weird to you all but mentally I am just not ready to commit .... although I have no desire to stop my training even if that meant having to change dojos. Maybe I will feel differently after I am a brown belt for awhile .. maybe I will be looking for another step. so far I have been training 5 years.

This seems odd to me. Sure sometimes it sucks to accomplish something only to realize "oh crap, I can't rest on my laurels? There's more?" but that's something I'm learning to come to terms with. If you're in it to learn and all those other things, isn't black belt just the next part of the learning process? I like to imagine that if you learn proper karate, you will achieve black belt at some or another. The learning is what's important but the black belt acts as a symbol of your continued learning. The two go hand in hand.

I don't know. Those are my thoughts. Maybe people with more experience can chime in.
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pers
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 25 Dec 2004
Posts: 491
Location: England
Styles: shotokan

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 3:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Black Belt Reply with quote

MatsuShinshii wrote:
What does it mean to you?

Just a belt or something more?

To clarify before the "it's just another belt" crowd takes off, I mean Shodan through Judan. Pick a grade, any grade, your grade. What does it mean to you personally?

Is it more than just cloth or is it just another stepping stone to the next grade?

Just interested.


As a kid we were all excited and fascinated about black belt and nearly all who started karate wanted to be a black belt. Once you get it ,it feels good around your waist but soon a feeling of responsibility emerges in the fact that the belt on its own is not gonna fight for you , you have to do it all yourself , meaning you have to keep going and training and improving .

Black belt is a gauge to measure practitioners level of ability and the packing order but it also is a great motivational tool for practitioners to aim for ,when earned on merit from a credible source ,what you have learned to achieve it is more important.
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 4:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Black Belt Reply with quote

pers wrote:
MatsuShinshii wrote:
What does it mean to you?

Just a belt or something more?

To clarify before the "it's just another belt" crowd takes off, I mean Shodan through Judan. Pick a grade, any grade, your grade. What does it mean to you personally?

Is it more than just cloth or is it just another stepping stone to the next grade?

Just interested.


As a kid we were all excited and fascinated about black belt and nearly all who started karate wanted to be a black belt. Once you get it ,it feels good around your waist but soon a feeling of responsibility emerges in the fact that the belt on its own is not gonna fight for you , you have to do it all yourself , meaning you have to keep going and training and improving .

Black belt is a gauge to measure practitioners level of ability and the packing order but it also is a great motivational tool for practitioners to aim for ,when earned on merit from a credible source ,what you have learned to achieve it is more important.


Great point and an overlooked point.
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The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails-but the one who moves on in spite of failure.
Charles R. Swindoll
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barefoot-kohai
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 23 Jun 2009
Posts: 23
Location: Barcelona (ESP)
Styles: Shotokan

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is black belt? Interesting question, easy answer: it is a belt that is black in color. Serves its purpose: hold the karategi together and puts a lot of eyes over you...

What is black belt?... It is just the beginning.

Just compare Karate with writing:

When you learn to write you follow a process:

First you learn to draw strokes and circles
Then you learn to write capital letters and learn the alphabet
Then you learn to write small letters
Then you learn to join letters and make syllabes and words
Then you learn to make sentences
When you can make sentences you start joining them and make paragraphs.

Then you are ready to start creating your own texts: Then you are a Black belt.

But this is only the beginning.

Then you have to learn to create your own college compositions.
Then you can evolve and write short stories.
Then you learn more and more and write short pampleths.
Then you go on and start writing books
And then you keep going on and are able to write trilogies, and book series... you are a grand master.

But, first of all, you have to learn to write and be able to do it. There is a "before" and an "after" of "I can write, I am good enough to write". This moment in time is your First Dan Black belt...

But beware... critics are terrible and sometimes audience is not buying your book... so keep calm and carry on.


Everybody ask me: Why are you practising karate? Is it for discipline? is it to better yourself?... Even this question (Why...) was asked to me in an exam.

To me the answer is simple: I practise Karate because I like it, because I have fun, because It makes me feel fine. The day this would change, that day I will stop practising... This was my answer in the exam.

The belt is just a burden I have to suffer... Sensei told me to wear it... something about knowing who is who in class and some "social thing". I can live with that. At least it holds my pants in position.
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Last edited by barefoot-kohai on Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:53 am; edited 5 times in total
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SenNoSen
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 09 Jun 2018
Posts: 7

Styles: JKA Shotokan Karate

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shodan Balck belt is really the start of learning the art (at least for Karate that I teach). Then you need to seek perfection of technique, spirit and kime for the following Dan.

The practitioner having a black belt is a very important pillar in a dojo as for me it's a role model for beginners and kids who will aways watch the most graduated to improve the technique.
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Melau
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 02 Jan 2014
Posts: 60
Location: Netherlands
Styles: Wado-Ryu, Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing

PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a great feeling getting your Shodan, at least it was for me. Luckily I was training with / under very competent budoka's, which also made it easier to put it in perspective.

You could compare it with getting a drivers license. It's good, it's a lot of responsibility, and by far you're not a good driver yet. You now can learn to drive, drive efficiently, drive smoothly, etc.

The same goes for getting your Shodan. It feels good, it means that you've learned a lot and demonstrated it well. Does not mean you're good yet. It means you have a good fundament, a good, rich soil to further develop upon!
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"The ultimate aim of the art of karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the characters of its participants."

Gichin Funakoshi
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