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Himokiri Karate
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 13 Aug 2009
Posts: 310


PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2021 8:09 pm    Post subject: Promoting ones self to the next belt? Reply with quote

Joe Mcaffey of Brazilian jujitsu made a big splash some time ago when he decided to promote himself to brown belt because he felt the politics was holding him down and that his teachers that he once respected and revered are not the person he thought they were.

The whole thing made me...freeze!

Like I never encountered a scenario with an instructor who said and did such a thing.

Now here is the thing, as distasteful as this was in my eyes, I am trying to see his or a perspective of what he did. Like lets say a karateka is great at fighting and a great student but the teacher for some reason holds them down, would it be alright for that student to leave and give himself a promotion if it turns out his/her teacher is not the best person?

I know this is a weird situation because giving out belts=McDojo which= bad
while the opposite seems more benevolent but not without context of the situation.


What do you make of this situation? Encountered this in the karate world?
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The Pred
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 385

Styles: Goju Ryu

PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2021 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it happens more than we realize in the martial arts world. As far as self-promoting, he can always find another school to go to. It would be up to the new school to decide whether he keeps his rank or not.
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Himokiri Karate
Blue Belt
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Joined: 13 Aug 2009
Posts: 310


PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2021 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Pred wrote:
I think it happens more than we realize in the martial arts world. As far as self-promoting, he can always find another school to go to. It would be up to the new school to decide whether he keeps his rank or not.


The only time I feel is ok is if you are a bad bad man in sparring with great technique and overwhelming power. Yet the politics of a style gets in your way and so you break out, come up with your own style and promote yourself in that new style.

I mean when other Karate masters branch off to their own style, they still promote themselves Dan wise so why not?


Of course this can be a horrible thing as well because it can lead in to McDojo and what have you.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15453
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2021 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Integrity!! Anything short of that is deplorable. Promoting oneself is despicable. To promote oneself, no matter the reason(s), speaks that rank is far superior than anything else that truly matters.

For those Masters that have self-promoted themselves have tainted the heart of the MA through and through. Not an honorable message to make past, present, and future.

I've told this before here some time ago. There's a Karateka who at Nidan, where his Sensei passed away. Ever since then, he retained Nidan, and didn't seek any promotions for any reason(s) from anyone, no matter the pressure from others. His knowledge and experience are far superior than his Nidan. When he was once asked about this, he simply stated that his Nidan was his last promotion from his Sensei, therefore, he went further to say that he IS Nidan, and that's that.

I'd have nothing to do with anyone who's ever self-promoted, no matter whom that individual was.

INTEGRITY!!

Imho.



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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1871

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2021 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would it be too far off the mark to state that everyone who has ever promoted themselves to any rank in martial arts did so for profit and because the prospect of gaining fame and fortune to were the main motives? Otherwise, who cares? If one just trains for trainings sake and polishing skills, belts stop being a priority. Especially if one isn’t an instructor or competitor.

Personally the whole idea of self-evaluation and promotion in anything is pointless and just not understandable. The only thing that ever matters is trust and approval from a person who is doing his best to teach skills I believe in and want to learn.
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Himokiri Karate
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 13 Aug 2009
Posts: 310


PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2021 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
Integrity!! Anything short of that is deplorable. Promoting oneself is despicable. To promote oneself, no matter the reason(s), speaks that rank is far superior than anything else that truly matters.

For those Masters that have self-promoted themselves have tainted the heart of the MA through and through. Not an honorable message to make past, present, and future.

I've told this before here some time ago. There's a Karateka who at Nidan, where his Sensei passed away. Ever since then, he retained Nidan, and didn't seek any promotions for any reason(s) from anyone, no matter the pressure from others. His knowledge and experience are far superior than his Nidan. When he was once asked about this, he simply stated that his Nidan was his last promotion from his Sensei, therefore, he went further to say that he IS Nidan, and that's that.

I'd have nothing to do with anyone who's ever self-promoted, no matter whom that individual was.

INTEGRITY!!

Imho.




To me, I have never ever in my entire life have heard someone giving themselves a promotion. To me its not so much bad or disgusting but like extremely super strange and weirdest thing to do ever.

In my town, what folks do in Kung Fu or even kickboxing is, they just go to an organization or a teacher that teaches a form of karate/taekwondo/tang soo do and they get a rank, belt and certification to pad their resume.

I seen some submission wrestlers/MMA grappling specialist do this, they may go to BJJ or judo or some other forms of hybrid jujitsu and get a belt. But usually they spend sometime learning the no gi way and then in sparring or I guess rolling, they earn their keep.


Its a funny situation, some guys fight in MMA and kickboxing. Yet they feel the need to have that belt ranking. But for someone to promote themselves? That is just mind bending.

Another case I remember ( not in my town) was a guy who was well known in America, he promoted himself to "Great grandmaster" and he also made himself "12th dan" which I thought it was more of a comedic thing. I mean we have MMA as a prominent sport and that is a mix of all martial arts. Yet some folks still have the need for grandiose title. Don't make sense because of how popular MMA is.


Spartacus Maximus wrote:
Would it be too far off the mark to state that everyone who has ever promoted themselves to any rank in martial arts did so for profit and because the prospect of gaining fame and fortune to were the main motives? Otherwise, who cares? If one just trains for trainings sake and polishing skills, belts stop being a priority. Especially if one isn’t an instructor or competitor.

Personally the whole idea of self-evaluation and promotion in anything is pointless and just not understandable. The only thing that ever matters is trust and approval from a person who is doing his best to teach skills I believe in and want to learn.


Do you know anyone famous who has done this?
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SLK59
Yellow Belt
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Joined: 05 Nov 2020
Posts: 94
Location: USA
Styles: Shotokan Karate

PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, earning a belt grade from a sensei and organization whose strength, character and lineage I admire is akin to earning a college degree from a highly respected university - it takes years of training, hard work and self examination. It also represents significant physical, mental and spiritual development. These are not things that someone can judge for or about themselves, and giving oneself a rank would indicate a self-absorbed focus on belt colors and grades for their own sake, rather than striving to become a better person.

In this forum I often see people say things along the lines of, “belt rank is meaningless.” While I disagree with that sentiment when applied to grades earned from reputable organizations, I do think that people who award themselves belt ranks that they haven’t truly earned are guilty of falsifying their resumes, just as surely as someone who claims to have a college degree without ever actually having received one. What they are doing is deceiving themselves and others - no more, no less. Under those circumstances, the belt grades truly are meaningless.

My apologies if all of this sounds heavy, pompous or pedantic, but it is a subject about which I feel very strongly.

Cheers,
Scott
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Last edited by SLK59 on Sat Apr 03, 2021 9:01 am; edited 15 times in total
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SLK59
Yellow Belt
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Joined: 05 Nov 2020
Posts: 94
Location: USA
Styles: Shotokan Karate

PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2021 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Himokiri Karate wrote:
Do you know anyone famous who has done this?


John Timothy Keehan, aka “Count Dante,” comes to mind. See also the excellent YouTube videos “What is a McDojo?” and “What is a McDojo? Revisited” by Mr. Dan at Art of One Dojo.
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bushido_man96
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
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Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2021 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a very interesting situation. I'd be very interested in knowing all sides of that story, but unfortunately, we probably never will.

Normally, I'd say that to promote oneself would seem to be self-aggrandizing, and probably only done for personal reasons (improving business prospects, etc.).

However, on the flip side of this, is the politics that we all know exist in the Martial Arts world. And politics in MA cause all kinds of issues; splinter factions of different organizations (hell, there are three "different" ITF orgs), or people just starting their own "style." These things happen, and not all of the splits that have happened have been negative.

For the time being, I think I'll withhold judgement in lieu of gaining more information about the situation.
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Himokiri Karate
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 13 Aug 2009
Posts: 310


PostPosted: Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SLK59 wrote:
Himokiri Karate wrote:
Do you know anyone famous who has done this?


John Timothy Keehan, aka “Count Dante,” comes to mind. See also the excellent YouTube videos “What is a McDojo?” and “What is a McDojo? Revisited” by Mr. Dan at Art of One Dojo.


Count Dante was super awesome in terms of he is a black comedy blockbuster that is long over due to be made in Hollywood. But to be fair and I cant believe I am semi-defending him but he was a legit black belt and had solid boxing skills. I also read his Dim Mak book and he made a fair point of the "secret" of martial arts and Dim Mak all comes down to endless repetition and perseverance in the mundane lifestyle of martial arts training.


bushido_man96 wrote:
This is a very interesting situation. I'd be very interested in knowing all sides of that story, but unfortunately, we probably never will.

Normally, I'd say that to promote oneself would seem to be self-aggrandizing, and probably only done for personal reasons (improving business prospects, etc.).

However, on the flip side of this, is the politics that we all know exist in the Martial Arts world. And politics in MA cause all kinds of issues; splinter factions of different organizations (hell, there are three "different" ITF orgs), or people just starting their own "style." These things happen, and not all of the splits that have happened have been negative.

For the time being, I think I'll withhold judgement in lieu of gaining more information about the situation.


My mind at this moment is flip flopping right now:

1. At one point, I agree with Sensei8 that you should honor your lineage and never resort to this type of shenanigans. This leads to escalation of more and more tomfoolery and it undermines the characteristics and the spirit of being a martial artist and being in a martial arts community.


2. The other side is Dojos, they may not be McDojo but they may have turned out to be horrible human beings and a brown belt might have immense skill to surpass them and if there is a proof of ascension in skills, then I mean its ok to self-promote if and I mean ONLY IF there is transparency of self-promotion. Context is the key to see if the situations are redeeming or not
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