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JR 137
Black Belt
Black Belt

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

PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are inherent pros and cons in having rank and testing for rank. There are inherent pros and cons for having rank and not testing for rank. There are also inherent pros and cons for not having rank at all.

The only time when any of those scenarios is wrong is when the cons continually outweigh the pros for every, yet the teacher keeps doing it anyway. Every teacher is different, every organization is different, and every school within the same organization has a different atmosphere.

Saying what I'm doing is right and what everyone else is doing is wrong doesn't make any sense. being a school teacher, I found out the hard way that every group is different and I can't teach the same material the same way to every group. What matters most is what approach the group responds the best to. In MA, if the group responds best when a rank system is used, use it. If the group doesn't respond to it, scrap it. As long as the end product is the same (proficiency), one way or another is irrelevant.

All IMO.
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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: Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:30 pm    Post subject: Re: No grading testing or promotions Reply with quote

Alan Armstrong wrote:
I teach chi kung combined with chin na. I don't do belt ranking or give out colored sashes. No certificates or deplomas. No ribbons or medals. This is a very debatable issue, I'm sure. It seems to me like the man that declares himself king, then hands out titles. Many martial art styles were family styles handed down from one generation to the next. Some people call me a master and others ask me if I am a master or a black belt. The freedom of not being tagged, for me is liberating. I view belt ranking on the same level as getting a card stamped at a coffee shop. Many accomplished martial artists complain about how easy it is in this day and age to obtain a black belt. Gung Fu has been replaced with commerciality ma. Gung fu mean's sacrifice Kung Fu means learned skill. My earlier ma teachers were truly Gung fu masters. The black belt that they wore was something to respect; today it is questionable. How young children can wear a black belt and enter competitions and win a trophy that is taller than they are. It is no wonder that there is a major ego flu epidemic going around in the dojos of today. Thank you in advance for reading my rant. Respect.


Nothing at all wrong with not having belts.
When I first started I took a Chinese art called Fu Jow Pai and no one even wore uniforms. Sweats, shorts, t-shirts, etc. you get the idea.
When I started Karate we wore white belts until we received our Shodan. Later in years this was changed to incorporate a brown belt and later included the whole rainbow.
The point is I never felt one way was better than the next. It's the reality in which you are introduced to the art that you will follow. If there are no belts then the student will follow this example. I don't find it a problem either way as long as the instructor knows where the students level is at.
The western world thrives on accomplishment that can be seen and recognized by all. You are probably teaching your students humility better than I do with mine as there is no outward show of accomplishment, only inward satisfaction that they have mastered a new technique.
No problems with that!
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Alan Armstrong
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 2468


PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As there are no belt rankings in my class it does get confusing for on lookers. As at times I play the brawler type and the student plays the martial artist.

This would be a good time as a reminder, that not everyone is an inexperienced martial artist, even if they are wearing a white belt.

When I joined a TKD class, I could beat black belts while I was wearing a TKD uniform as a white belt. Reason being that I had many years experience in other martial art styles.

Today I teach all that I know, some are black belts from previous styles and some are other colors that has no relevance for me, more importantly for everyone is giving them a worthwhile martial art class.
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aazaaazaaazaaaza
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 11 Dec 2016
Posts: 9

Styles: Shotokan karate

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:50 am    Post subject: Re: No grading testing or promotions Reply with quote

Alan Armstrong wrote:
I teach chi kung combined with chin na. I don't do belt ranking or give out colored sashes. No certificates or deplomas. No ribbons or medals. This is a very debatable issue, I'm sure. It seems to me like the man that declares himself king, then hands out titles. Many martial art styles were family styles handed down from one generation to the next. Some people call me a master and others ask me if I am a master or a black belt. The freedom of not being tagged, for me is liberating. I view belt ranking on the same level as getting a card stamped at a coffee shop. Many accomplished martial artists complain about how easy it is in this day and age to obtain a black belt. Gung Fu has been replaced with commerciality ma. Gung fu mean's sacrifice Kung Fu means learned skill. My earlier ma teachers were truly Gung fu masters. The black belt that they wore was something to respect; today it is questionable. How young children can wear a black belt and enter competitions and win a trophy that is taller than they are. It is no wonder that there is a major ego flu epidemic going around in the dojos of today. Thank you in advance for reading my rant. Respect.


I sort of get what you're saying. My martial art, which is Shotokan karate, was taught to me by my stepfather. He ran karate school before I was even born, but by the time he taught me he was retired and didn't see any point in giving me a belt.

I suppose a black belt would give me an ego boost, but maybe that's not so great, after all. I know what I can do. I do spar with kickboxers at my local gym, and I've been in a few self-defense situations where my karate training has saved me. But I'm only 27, and I still have ego, and joining a dojo at "white belt" rank would be difficult to endure.


EDIT:

I suppose there's a practical purpose for rank if you have many students and need to keep track of where they're at. But "rank" should just be something that an instructor develops in his own school for his own personal use.

If I'm ever in a position to teach anyone what I know, I won't require them to wear uniforms or belts. They could wear t-shirts and sweatpants, for all I care. If I have several students at a time, maybe I'd just keep a notebook with the students' name and ranks on a chart, and maybe I'd post that same info on a whiteboard in the back of the training hall or whatever.
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Alan Armstrong
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 2468


PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aazaaazaaazaaaza wrote:
Alan Armstrong wrote:
I teach chi kung combined with chin na. I don't do belt ranking or give out colored sashes. No certificates or deplomas. No ribbons or medals. This is a very debatable issue, I'm sure. It seems to me like the man that declares himself king, then hands out titles. Many martial art styles were family styles handed down from one generation to the next. Some people call me a master and others ask me if I am a master or a black belt. The freedom of not being tagged, for me is liberating. I view belt ranking on the same level as getting a card stamped at a coffee shop. Many accomplished martial artists complain about how easy it is in this day and age to obtain a black belt. Gung Fu has been replaced with commerciality ma. Gung fu mean's sacrifice Kung Fu means learned skill. My earlier ma teachers were truly Gung fu masters. The black belt that they wore was something to respect; today it is questionable. How young children can wear a black belt and enter competitions and win a trophy that is taller than they are. It is no wonder that there is a major ego flu epidemic going around in the dojos of today. Thank you in advance for reading my rant. Respect.


I sort of get what you're saying. My martial art, which is Shotokan karate, was taught to me by my stepfather. He ran karate school before I was even born, but by the time he taught me he was retired and didn't see any point in giving me a belt.

I suppose a black belt would give me an ego boost, but maybe that's not so great, after all. I know what I can do. I do spar with kickboxers at my local gym, and I've been in a few self-defense situations where my karate training has saved me. But I'm only 27, and I still have ego, and joining a dojo at "white belt" rank would be difficult to endure.


EDIT:

I suppose there's a practical purpose for rank if you have many students and need to keep track of where they're at. But "rank" should just be something that an instructor develops in his own school for his own personal use.

If I'm ever in a position to teach anyone what I know, I won't require them to wear uniforms or belts. They could wear t-shirts and sweatpants, for all I care. If I have several students at a time, maybe I'd just keep a notebook with the students' name and ranks on a chart, and maybe I'd post that same info on a whiteboard in the back of the training hall or whatever.
Belt ranking does keep things organized, up to a point.

Growing up with a boxing father bobbin and weaving was a way of life in childhood.

The first belt ranking I had was a green belt in Shotokan; from the age of 18 to 21; that's fine. Having changed in to many styles from there on (3 Japanese, 1 Korean, 2 Chinese, 1 American) with another green belt in TKD, things become complicated, at what belt ranking I should be designated with a combined 18 years mat/dojo/kwoon/garage/club time, over a 50 year period.

Training in one style and gaining a black belt hasn't been my destiny. As my Sensei (Shotokan) in karate sold the building under the students feet, was very unfair to those that help build the dojo.

So I can join a Kajukenbo class for instance, as a white belt then what? Let higher belts degrade me or I will embarrass them. This is why the belt ranking issue/policy/ranking is not agreeable or applicable for me any longer.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 16337
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why all of the concern over rank?? Are we in the MA for its knowledge or for its ranks?? One or another, but not both because one desire will suffer while the other desire doesn't. It took me, not until I earned my Sandan, to mature enough in my MA betterment to put a cease to my searches for the almighty rank!!




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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1900

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whether one is 15 or 27, ego and pride are major obstacle to progress. So long as one keeps training and seeking even the slightest improvement in skills, rank, belts or any recognition becomes insignificant. Looking past belts and ranks is the first step to knowing exactly how much one knows and how well one can apply them.
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