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Alan Armstrong
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 2468


PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:03 pm    Post subject: No grading testing or promotions Reply with quote

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.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 16457
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the manner for which one operates their school's testing or promotions works for them, than that's their right to do so. As it's the right of schools of the MA to differ from other schools' SOP. None is right...none is wrong...just different, as it should be.

I'm a firm believer that the choice is that schools choice, and I've no right to condemn that school as it being incorrect. Therefore, my way is not their way, and in that, I respect their choice and would ask that they respect mine, as well.




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Lupin1
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Dec 2009
Posts: 1637
Location: Naples, FL
Styles: Isshinryu

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It honestly depends on how the belts are approached.

I don't see it so much as "titles and honors" and more as grade levels in school. It's an instructional tool to split up a curriculum in an orderly way, make sure nothing gets forgotten and everything is addressed in its time, and give people smaller goals. As a teacher, I think they're very useful when used correctly. They help make learning more well organized and efficient.

That said, I know schools that treat them like you describe and know that the general public and inexperienced martial artists are more likely to treat them like you describe. So your rant isn't invalid.
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Nidan Melbourne
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 21 Aug 2013
Posts: 2362
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Styles: Goju-Ryu, BJJ, Balintawak Arnis

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my eyes ranks are useful for curriculum purposes and to help students identify where they are at. Also to help motivate students to keep going to reach their goals.

From my knowledge the only reason ranks were created was for that purpose. Also to help keep things in order when it was introduced to mainland japan.

The belt doesn't make the person but the person makes the belt. There are many black belts that I highly respect and others I honestly don't.

In regards to tournaments i don't like the ones where you wear your current rank whilst competing. I honestly have a preference for each competitor to either wear a Red or Blue belt in each of their rounds.

In regards to young black belts coming from a Karate Perspective, you will find in Japan that majority of families that have children who enroll their child/ren from a young age and often train 5/6 days per week instead of the western culture of 2/3 times per week. This will usually translate to earning their black belt early on.
But they wouldn't earn their shodan or nidan until they are much older.


In terms of Ego there should be none in Martial Arts, as all should be focused, respectful and humble.
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Bulltahr
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 08 Mar 2015
Posts: 727
Location: NEW ZEALAND
Styles: Shotokan, Seido Juku

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nidan Melbourne wrote:

In terms of Ego there should be none in Martial Arts, as all should be focused, respectful and humble.


This is what is sadly lacking in many, many gyms and dojos around the world. Just part of the human condition, egos............

Training simply for the love of training and knowledge gained with no belts? Great concept!

Bigger organizations probably use the belt system as part of the "organization" of their style.

As sensei8 says, there is no wrong or right way, just what works for you.
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Alan Armstrong
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 2468


PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I belive there could be a culture clash as we in the West draw too much from the Eastern ma cultures. Where Eastern values are a part of their culture and not ours. The up side is how martial arts has created a positive bridge between East and West. Kick boxers here in the West had their stripe along the side of their gi, this made a great distinctive difference. The gi and belt ranking systems are Eastern in design. We have continually borrowed from them without question. The gi is what peasants and manual workers wore in ancient Japan. We are 16 years in to the new millennium, it would have been a good time to make a change. Imagine Japanese Morris dancer's in Japan, then you may see my point of view. Schools in Japan for instance are far more demanding on students than Western schools, do we neglect to take that in to consideration when grading? Respect.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 30214
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think every school in Japan is more demanding than every American school. Many would assume this is the case, but it is not. There are many good schools in America and Europe. Just like there are places to get a bad burger, there are places to get some mediocre or bad Martial Arts training. I'm sure there are bad Japanese dojos out there, too.

As far as ranks and diplomas and the like go, there are styles out there that don't use them. My sons choose to do Wrestling, and there are no ranks there. With Wrestling, I quote sensei8 here, and say "the proof is on the mat."
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Alan Armstrong
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 2468


PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe you have failed to realize many of the cultural differences of East to West. Many Thai boxers fight to eat and the competion for them is incredibly high as it is their national sport, whereas in the West it is just another sport. "Proof is in the pudding."
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 30214
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think I've failed to realize anything. Yes, east and west are different. I embrace the western culture, as I've grown up in it. I do think Muay Thai shares a theme that Wrestling does, where competition performance is prized.
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MasterPain
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 26 Oct 2010
Posts: 1949
Location: Parts Unknown
Styles: Bujin Bugei Jutsu, Backyard Kali, Satsui no Hadou

PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alan Armstrong wrote:
Maybe you have failed to realize many of the cultural differences of East to West. Many Thai boxers fight to eat and the competion for them is incredibly high as it is their national sport, whereas in the West it is just another sport. "Proof is in the pudding."


Well, baseball is the American pastime, but there are a lot of Japanese, Cuban, and Puerto Rican MLB players. No sport is just another sport for a high level athlete who loves their sport.
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