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IcemanSK
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Posts: 1084
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Styles: Taekwondo Chung Do Kwan

PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 7:47 pm    Post subject: Ever test and not tell your students? Reply with quote

This question is geared more for school owners & instructors. My first master (back in the early 80's) never told us that he tested. He wore the same, very well worn belt, and had none of his rank certificates in the school: so we never knew until a conversation with him years later. To him, training mattered more than the discussion about rank.

Has anyone here tested for advanced rank & not told their students? Anyone's instructor ever done that? What do you think about the idea of testing for oneself, but not telling one's students? Pros? Cons?
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sensei8
KF Sensei
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15712
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting topic/question(s)!!

Quote:
Has anyone here tested for advanced rank & not told their students?

No. Told students each time I was approved to attend the testing cycle. Not for bragging rights, but to inform them that I wasn't going to be in-house for a specified time; communication is expected across the board.

Quote:
Anyone's instructor ever done that?

Yes. All of the time that we've been his students, he never informed us of any testing cycle he might've had with his Sensei. When the Hombu opened in 1957, he was a Godan, and the CI of the Hombu/SKKA.

From time to time, Soke would call him up to the podium during our annual testing cycles at the Hombu to present him a new belt and certificate of his new rank/title. We never knew he had even tested!!

When I was elected to the Counsel of Regents, now the Board of Regents, I was privy to information such as this, but I was instructed to tell no one because it's not for us to say, but our Sensei alone!!

Quote:
What do you think about the idea of testing for oneself, but not telling one's students?

It's a personal matter, therefore, it's not for someone to judge for or against. Some are more private than others, while some want to share their journey with their students. Neither is wrong; it's, again, a personal matter.

Quote:
Pros? Cons?

That would depend on whom one is asking. Some will find Pros and Cons in things like this, but again, imho, it's a personal decision as well as it being a personal matter; no wrong...no right...just personal choices.



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vantheman
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Joined: 18 Apr 2012
Posts: 252


PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think it's a big deal so long as it's done humbly. Like sensei8 said, it makes perfect sense if the instructor is explaining why he (or she) is going to be out of the dojo over the next few weeks. Most kenpo guys have dan bars so hiding a new rank isn't very feasible.

Interesting discussion nonetheless
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IcemanSK
Black Belt
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Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Posts: 1084
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Styles: Taekwondo Chung Do Kwan

PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you both for your thoughts on this. I agree that it is a personal choice and that the pros & cons do depend on how one sees those choices. I think in schools, organizations and/or systems where a new belt is given for each Dan grading, it would certainly be hard to hide the fact that one tested.

I'm a bit torn about this. Personally, I wear a plain belt with no rank stripes most of the time with my students. My organization (of which I'm a proud member) uses rank stripes and other things that denote instructor rank. I have what I refer to as my "dress uniform" that have those items, but I only wear it when I go back to our HQ for events. I don't make a big deal about my rank in my school, but I'd rather they not know at all. That would be very hard to do in my organization.
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
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Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1876

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Training in karate has always been a very private and personal matter. The less people know the better it is. Any evaluation of progress or recognition of skill level is between the sensei and the student concerned.

In my dojo, only the kyu rank promotions are immediately obvious because one day somebody shows up with a different colour belt(only 3 before black). For the Dan levels it is less obvious and most will not announce it.
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ninjanurse
KF VIP

Joined: 13 Feb 2003
Posts: 6154
Location: Upstate NY
Styles: TKD;Shotokan;JuJitsu;Tai Ji

PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was tested for Shodan many years ago without being told. My Sensei always said "Every class is a test"....and I tell my students the same. I evaluate them every class and only invite those who are ready for promotion to the formal "test". I have, however, failed students at the "test" for breaking under the pressure or coming with their cup full.


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vantheman
Blue Belt
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Joined: 18 Apr 2012
Posts: 252


PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this whole discussion falls under the context of what rank means to a particular person and dojo. Where I train, authority comes from respect, knowledge, and ability more than it does rank (although rank does correlate with those things frequently). We don't really talk much about our rank because to us it isn't of immediate importance. We'll bring it up if we're getting ready for an upcoming test or if someone else asks, but its not something we arbitrarily announce.
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bushido_man96
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29283
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the schools I've been in, testing has always been a pretty public thing, so I haven't really ever tested without students knowing.
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JR 137
KF Sempai
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Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2442
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Seido Juku, black belts wear a white belt and line up as white belts for the month or so before any dan test and even during the test, so I don't think anyone could get away with keeping it a secret, no matter how hard they tried.

I can respect why an instructor wouldn't make a big deal about promoting, and I agree with it. It isn't right nor wrong; just their preference. It all comes down to the tone they want to set in the dojo IMO. If the school is driven by goal setting and achieving said goals(s), then humbly announce it. If rank is of little importance, then don't bring it up.

I do however have a small problem with totally avoiding the conversation. I get why, but it shouldn't be a secret. There's a way to truthfully answer tactfully, succinctly, and humbly. I don't think I'd be part of a dojo that figuratively threw a ticker tape parade for it. At my last dojo, my sensei promoted to 4th dan shortly after I started. It was announced in a newsletter. It was the last sentence or two that simply stated (I can't remember exactly, it was about 20 years ago) "Sensei was promoted to yondan on X date at honbu dojo. Congratulations Sensei!" We went to him and congratulated him, he didn't come to us looking for it, nor did he speak about it at any length. When asked, he replied "I worked very hard for a very long time. At the end of the day, it was just another test. I'm not a different person now that I'm one dan rank higher than I was last week." Polite, respectful, and to the point. That prompted us to get on with class.
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Titanium
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 08 Aug 2015
Posts: 259
Location: Chesterfield, UK
Styles: Wado-Kai & Shotokan

PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ninjanurse wrote:
I was tested for Shodan many years ago without being told. My Sensei always said "Every class is a test"....and I tell my students the same. I evaluate them every class and only invite those who are ready for promotion to the formal "test". I have, however, failed students at the "test" for breaking under the pressure or coming with their cup full.


Love it - "Every class is a test".

Good process you have going; our Sensei does the same...he grades people when they are ready and not before.
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