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The Pred
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 385

Styles: Goju Ryu

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:30 pm    Post subject: Do we sometimes act hyportical?-Age and rank Reply with quote

Now the topic of 10 year old black belt got me thinking. I totally understand, if you believe a person should be 18 to get a black belt. However, I find it ironic that people believe other certain rank should have a min age requirements. Since most founders of a well known systems would not even meet the min age requirements. Yes, I know their students promoted them after they died.
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Montana
Red Belt
Red Belt

Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Posts: 827
Location: Formerly Kalispell, Montana, now Spokane, WA
Styles: Shorin Ryu Matsumura Kenpo & Kobudo

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The minimum age requirement is designed to keep people from achieving overly high rank for the time that they have had in their given art form.

For example, I have seen people in their EARLY 20's that have 6th and even 7th Dan ranking. Granted, they maybe have started training when they were 4 and have nearly 20 years in the arts..but maturity level (IMO of course) is well below that of someone sporting that sort of ranking that had as much, or more training to reach the same level, and was in their 50's.

Rank is just a method of gauging what experience and training you have done in an art. But think about it for a second. I have personally seen a 3rd Degree black belt that was 12 years old. He was good, yes..but would you take classes from a 12 year old? Or would you take classes from a 3rd degree black belt that was 25+ years old? Assume that both had the same amount of time in the training.

The time in grade (minimum time requirement) is for "seasoning" in that rank. It's meant to prevent people from progressing IN RANK faster than their skills and maturity develop.

Personally, I wouldn't ever consider taking classes from a person with high rank, but young age. They may know the moves, but doubtful if they have the understanding of what they are doing outside of a physical movement they learned to mimic. But I'm an old fossil and stuck in my ways.

And by the way..."Age and treachery will ALWAYS overcome youth and skill!"
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The Pred
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 385

Styles: Goju Ryu

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Montana wrote:
The minimum age requirement is designed to keep people from achieving overly high rank for the time that they have had in their given art form.

For example, I have seen people in their EARLY 20's that have 6th and even 7th Dan ranking. Granted, they maybe have started training when they were 4 and have nearly 20 years in the arts..but maturity level (IMO of course) is well below that of someone sporting that sort of ranking that had as much, or more training to reach the same level, and was in their 50's.

Rank is just a method of gauging what experience and training you have done in an art. But think about it for a second. I have personally seen a 3rd Degree black belt that was 12 years old. He was good, yes..but would you take classes from a 12 year old? Or would you take classes from a 3rd degree black belt that was 25+ years old? Assume that both had the same amount of time in the training.

The time in grade (minimum time requirement) is for "seasoning" in that rank. It's meant to prevent people from progressing IN RANK faster than their skills and maturity develop.

Personally, I wouldn't ever consider taking classes from a person with high rank, but young age. They may know the moves, but doubtful if they have the understanding of what they are doing outside of a physical movement they learned to mimic. But I'm an old fossil and stuck in my ways.

And by the way..."Age and treachery will ALWAYS overcome youth and skill!"



So would you not take a college class from a professor younger than you?
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Wado Heretic
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 23 May 2014
Posts: 484
Location: United Kingdom, England, Shropshire
Styles: Wado-Ryu , Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu (Kodokan), RyuKyu Kobojutsu

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oddly; I took a class with a lecturer my own age, and he was the only person I have ever had a problem with in my whole academic career. Not sure whether that says more of me or him though; I would like to think him as I have taken martial arts classes with instructors younger than me and have been fine.

In the martial arts, we have a peculiar relationship with age, even more peculiar than the rest of the world. We generally respect the benefits of age and experience, but at the same time we admire the performances of individuals in their youth. Whether it is outright hypocrisy, or a double standard (which is no more benign) perhaps comes down to the particular situation begin discussed.

Maturity in the arts I believe evolves from one's own authenticity; how one engages internally with what they do. I have encountered 20-30 year old 3rd-4th Dan instructors who were open about what they did not know, but were confident in what they knew and learning with them was a pleasure. I have encountered 50-60 year old 7th-8th Dan instructors who spent 50% of the time instructing comparing what they were doing to another approach, but not as a point of context but of criticising the other approach and advocating their own position. One approach shows security and authenticity, the other a lack of both. I know who I would train with again.

Personally; I would never award a Black belt to a child. To me Karate is a discipline, and one that carries a pedigree of violence. The blackbelt to me signifies taking responsibility for your own karate and your martial arts path; it represents both that the wearer should have discipline, but also a capacity to use their skills. To me, the demand of that level of discipline in a child is unfair, and a child will never match an adult in physical capacity.

However, if a child can match the demands of a black belt in a system, and they put the hard work in; I am not going to diminish their accomplishment by decrying it as unauthentic. The education system does enough to beat children up, I do not need to help. Saying that though, I have to agree with Montana; and add the caveat that there is a difference between a black-belt and what even higher ranking infers.

I think the youngest person I trained with whom had a high grade was a 5th Dan (the last technical grade one could take in the organisation I was a part of at the time), and had earned that at 35. His main specialty was Bunkai, and applied martial arts, so in that sense his youth was actually a boon when it came to his seminar.

If you have the knowledge, and the authenticity, and are an adult; I will forgive most grading that seems a bit high for your age. I have met plenty of 3rd and 4th Dans in their 20s, and a number were terrible and a number were very good.
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The Pred
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 385

Styles: Goju Ryu

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now how can I say this with out being politically incorrect. A 16 year old male is physically stronger than an 18 year old female, yet, we would still (and rightfully so) let that female get the black belt. Not trying to sound offensive.
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Wado Heretic
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 23 May 2014
Posts: 484
Location: United Kingdom, England, Shropshire
Styles: Wado-Ryu , Kobayashi Shorin-Ryu (Kodokan), RyuKyu Kobojutsu

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everyone is different, and one has to account for that; in that particular example, is that 16 year old mentally capable and competent in the art. If so, he should perhaps be given the opportunity to go for the blackbelt.

I have a strict age 18 policy, because that is the age one is considered an adult under the law. However, I honestly think it must be a case of individual basis beyond that; has that person achieved the qualities that they can to be worthy to earn this belt.

Let us say someone knows all the kata they need, but perform them poorly they should not grade; just knowing is not sufficient. Do they perform the kata well for their current condition, and compare well against their peers? If yes, then they should grade. It is not often merely a case of age, although this can be a factor, but the individual being graded. Hence, why I am against a black and white approach to the matter. However, if I am saying a person is responsible for their karate, I believe they should also be legally responsible for what ever they might do with it. That is not a possibility with someone who is not considered an adult by law.
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2442
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Pred wrote:
Now how can I say this with out being politically incorrect. A 16 year old male is physically stronger than an 18 year old female, yet, we would still (and rightfully so) let that female get the black belt. Not trying to sound offensive.


There are always the X is better than Y, yet X isn't eligible yet due to a slight difference in age. But you have to draw the line somewhere. The drinking age is 21. What about a 19 year old who's fighting in a war, risking their life everyday? Have they not proven their maturity? Of course he/she has. Do we make an exception an put an asterisk on their ID card that says it's ok for them? No. The line has to be drawn somewhere.

I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just stating fact. If someone is 16 and is better than an 18 year old that is worthy of their rank, then they'll still be worthy (barring unforeseen circumstances) when they're technically old enough to hold the rank. If they can't wait 2 more years to officially obtain that rank, then maybe they really didn't deserve it after all.

You have to draw a line somewhere. Their will always be people who are exceptional or make you question the rule and make it seem unfair. But the line has to be drawn IMO. If your rule is 18, it's 18. If it's 16, it's 16. I'm not a die-hard believer in the rules are always the rules, regardless of the situation, but if its a great rule 99% of the time, enforcing it that last 1% of the time shouldn't cause major turmoil. If a student quits because he/she can't wait another year or two, they'll find another reason not too long after you've made the exception. Or they'll point to that exception next time a rule is enforced. Or others will.

I'm a middle school teacher, so I'm a bit biased. I see parents and students point to an exception made for very good reason, and think it should apply to their child who has a different circumstance and the exception does not apply.
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The Pred
Green Belt
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 385

Styles: Goju Ryu

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback everyone, really appreciated. I guess my original point was. Oh, I'm in my early 30-40s, I'm going to start my own style. I then die then my students promote me to Judan, and or promote themselves to higher ranks. Then said students put on age restrictions for said rank, when they themselves would not have even meet them.
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CredoTe
Red Belt
Red Belt

Joined: 26 Jul 2013
Posts: 776
Location: Ohio, USA
Styles: Matsubayashi-Ryu (Shorin-Ryu), Hung Gar (Hung Siu Lum)

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
The Pred wrote:
Now how can I say this with out being politically incorrect. A 16 year old male is physically stronger than an 18 year old female, yet, we would still (and rightfully so) let that female get the black belt. Not trying to sound offensive.


There are always the X is better than Y, yet X isn't eligible yet due to a slight difference in age. But you have to draw the line somewhere. The drinking age is 21. What about a 19 year old who's fighting in a war, risking their life everyday? Have they not proven their maturity? Of course he/she has. Do we make an exception an put an asterisk on their ID card that says it's ok for them? No. The line has to be drawn somewhere.

I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just stating fact. If someone is 16 and is better than an 18 year old that is worthy of their rank, then they'll still be worthy (barring unforeseen circumstances) when they're technically old enough to hold the rank. If they can't wait 2 more years to officially obtain that rank, then maybe they really didn't deserve it after all.

You have to draw a line somewhere. Their will always be people who are exceptional or make you question the rule and make it seem unfair. But the line has to be drawn IMO. If your rule is 18, it's 18. If it's 16, it's 16. I'm not a die-hard believer in the rules are always the rules, regardless of the situation, but if its a great rule 99% of the time, enforcing it that last 1% of the time shouldn't cause major turmoil. If a student quits because he/she can't wait another year or two, they'll find another reason not too long after you've made the exception. Or they'll point to that exception next time a rule is enforced. Or others will.

I'm a middle school teacher, so I'm a bit biased. I see parents and students point to an exception made for very good reason, and think it should apply to their child who has a different circumstance and the exception does not apply.


Absolutely. Solid post...


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DWx
KF Sensei
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Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6443
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
The Pred wrote:
Now how can I say this with out being politically incorrect. A 16 year old male is physically stronger than an 18 year old female, yet, we would still (and rightfully so) let that female get the black belt. Not trying to sound offensive.


There are always the X is better than Y, yet X isn't eligible yet due to a slight difference in age. But you have to draw the line somewhere. The drinking age is 21. What about a 19 year old who's fighting in a war, risking their life everyday? Have they not proven their maturity? Of course he/she has. Do we make an exception an put an asterisk on their ID card that says it's ok for them? No. The line has to be drawn somewhere.

I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just stating fact. If someone is 16 and is better than an 18 year old that is worthy of their rank, then they'll still be worthy (barring unforeseen circumstances) when they're technically old enough to hold the rank. If they can't wait 2 more years to officially obtain that rank, then maybe they really didn't deserve it after all.

You have to draw a line somewhere. Their will always be people who are exceptional or make you question the rule and make it seem unfair. But the line has to be drawn IMO. If your rule is 18, it's 18. If it's 16, it's 16. I'm not a die-hard believer in the rules are always the rules, regardless of the situation, but if its a great rule 99% of the time, enforcing it that last 1% of the time shouldn't cause major turmoil. If a student quits because he/she can't wait another year or two, they'll find another reason not too long after you've made the exception. Or they'll point to that exception next time a rule is enforced. Or others will.

I'm a middle school teacher, so I'm a bit biased. I see parents and students point to an exception made for very good reason, and think it should apply to their child who has a different circumstance and the exception does not apply.


Is it necessary though to have an age requirement? Drinking age, driving age and so on are set by governments because they cannot possibly hope to assess the maturity and character of each individual due to the shear number of people applying and holding licenses. The advantage we have in martial arts training is that we will spend 100's of hours training with an individual before they test for blackbelt so one would hope we can say something about the individual person and attest to their character rather than look at them as another statistic. We can actually pass a judgement on their maturity.

I say this every time this type of topic comes up... but it really comes down to what you think a blackbelt represents and which doors it opens. I personally find it uncomfortable that an individual can surpass the physical and emotional requirements we associate with blackbelt yet be held back and barred from progressing within the curriculum simply because they are too young.

I probably should add to this that I was awarded my 1st dan aged 14 and now at 24 hold my 4th dan so this probably colours my view..
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