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Alan Armstrong
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 2436

PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:41 pm    Post subject: Teaching Martial Arts Without A Black Belt Reply with quote

I teach and practice martial arts without a black belt.

I don't give out belt rank either.

I don't wear a black belt or sash or proclaiming to be either one.

I teach martial arts without a title, or certification from any system or organisation.

I don't charge money for teaching, has always been for free.

The reason why I am exposing myself here, is to make it crystal clear that my many opinions on martial arts aren't from a specific organisation, system or style.

Also that I don't claim to be a martial art expert of any particular kind.

My opinions are from experience and not trying to make myself out to be something I am not.

With this in mind, please take my comments on martial arts with these factors explained above.

Criticisms and opinions welcome.

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Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Dec 2009
Posts: 1632
Location: Texas USA
Styles: Isshinryu

PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Black belts are so subjective that honestly it wouldn't bother me.

There is no standardized criteria for being a black belt. A black belt means vastly different things from one school to another, so judging a person's ability to teach based on whether they have a black belt doesn't make much sense.

That said, it depends on the student's goals. If I want to learn a well-known and well-regulated style like Uechi-Ryu or something like that, I would prefer to learn it from a black belt as that system is a complete system and a non-black belt isn't capable of passing on the entire system. If it's a style with a regulating body, studying outside that regulating body also means the time spent studying won't be recognized if the student does decide some day that they want to teach or compete or become active in the greater community of the style.

If it's something like American Kempo which isn't really a well-regulated system with a set repertoire of moves and kata, I'd be more open to learning from a non-black belt who is a solid practitioner with strong teaching/coaching skills.

It also depends on how far the student wants to go. If they just want a basic introduction, a higher ranked kyu student who is solid in their skills and a good teacher should be able to introduce them to the style. But if they want to go further with it and become more advanced, they would eventually have to seek out a more advanced teacher.
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Alan Armstrong
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 2436

PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The people I have instructed and those at present are all males, from different martial art backgrounds from wrestling, kung fu, karate, MMA and boxing, usually at the 30 to 40 years of age range.

All fighting fit types that are not looking for discipline, katas or belts, just some down to earth fighting tips and skills.

I am comfortable Instructing physically fit tuff guys, they don't intimidate me, it has happened a few times however in reverse, where some guy's egos have gotten the best of them and they have muscled me to the ground; or competiveness impulses creeps in.

Where they soon learn that there are more important things to focus on than muscling me or competing with me, as in learning something useful and worthwhile.

Actually I don't try to turn a none fighter in to a fighter; to me this just doesn't seem righ, therefore I don't teach them; unless showing me something to consider towards changing my mind, which hasn't happened yet.

I instruct in a calisthenics park and in an integral fitness gym (by invitation only to those that I believe to portray an above than normal intelligence and fitness level) or meet up at a coffee shop if the weather is not good enough to train in, where talking about anything that can help with increasing awareness and health benefits for example.

When getting past my requirements the rest of the time is very active and sometimes intense but also a lot of fun, with a few bruises to show off with later.

I get a chuckle when Instructing karate guys and they say Osss! As there is no bowing or formalities to uphold with me, but if those want to, I am not opposed to them doing it.

Some of those I have instructed being black belts; some champions in there respected disciplines in MMA and boxing; which can seem a bit weird as not being a qualified CI.

As "could" be wondering, how does an old guy in his sixties spar with younger ones in their 30s and 40s?
Well here are a few tips on how
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1808

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A blackbelt is more significant for those who propose to teach a certain system of specific lineage. Such an instructor must not necessarily wear the belt when teaching, but if said instructor has a school any potential student will expect to see it.

That is the problem with belts. The idea that an instructor must possess and wear a black belt is so strongly ingrained that it would be seen as unusual for a martial arts instructor to teach without it.

However just sharing knowledge and skills informally requires nothing except being able to demonstrate; and teaching ability enough to show potential students that it is indeed worthwhile to learn what is offered.
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Alan Armstrong
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 2436

PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As not wearing a black belt and Instructing black belts, I need to be continually demonstrating something that can improve their abilities or performance, otherwise I am sure no one wants to waste their time with me.

As they are already black belts (usually) then working towards getting one is not their aim; where getting some one on one instruction usually is.

I don't teach a specific system, instructing can bounce around depending on their needs, that most often comes down to becoming more effective and efficient.

I don't touch on sport martial arts everything else instead.

Silliness or immature behaviour is never present, as there is no room for it, in what I present or convey.

As what I do, is quickly evaluate their skills and offer them subtle ways towards improvement; catching their attention to want to learn more, I will demonstrate something relevant at the time.

It could also go the other way, as they could be the one to teach me how to do martial art concepts, but it just doesn't work out that way and I become the instructor, due to being a more seasoned fighter type.

There is no standard formula or agenda to follow, only working on enhancing their martial art movements and understanding of aspects, that perhaps they have never experienced.

Sometimes at the beginning there are "competitive moments" as they believe this is how to behave; needing to set them straight that to learn first, they need to be cooperative and later on we can beat the hell out of each other LOL

Some I meet up with on a weekly basis others almost daily for about 20 minutes giving them tips; while others I let them train with me; all done in a casual manner with no long term commitments.

I try to keep things fresh by staying enthusiastic about what I am explaining and demonstrating, sometimes I ask them on what they would like to work on, which is always turned to what ever I want to teach.

I get asked (occasionally) to join other groups of maists and boxers, I don't join up with them for the simple reason, I might get into a power struggle with the dominant person there.

For all of my teen years, were full of gang connections, as I don't want to get strayed into that scene, no matter how innocent it is or seems.

Having been involved with many gangs for so many years, it actually caused me to have post traumatic stress, when reaching adulthood.

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Alan Armstrong
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 2436

PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Starting this topic has been immensely interesting from the standpoint of it not being objectionable, to teaching martial arts without being sanctioned by an organisation of one kind or another.

There was a time in my past, 50 years ago, that this would be considered a very serious issue by those that are black belts, that earned theirs over a long period of time, with sweat, dedication and determination.

Could it be that what was once very much respected and highly regarded, as being a black belt, has now been downgraded to something similar to mediocre?

My martial art journey started off with the right intentions of earning a black belt one day, but over time this goal has become less important than it once was.

As the first Dojo I belonged to closed it's doors, that the students help build, (with hammer and nail with free labour) which was sold for profit leaving a sour taste in one's mouth, for trusting the CI that sold everyone out.

This was the reality for me and others, to take a path of not becoming burned again by a CI.

Now distrustful due to this Ci, that put himself ahead of others for selfish personal monetary gains.

As naive martial artists, thinking that CI's were supposed to be better than that, which contained and upheld some integrity was further than the truth for me and class mates all those 40 something years ago.

As perhaps this has shaped my destiny to teach for free without a Dojo or black belt credentials or to belong to any martial art organisation.
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Alan Armstrong
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 2436

PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If they stand behind you, give them protection, if they stand beside you give them respect, if they stand against you teach them a lesson, which could be martial art related,
MMAQ mixed martial arts quote

Teach the student the right attitudes then see the wondrous results

Eagles don't eat fly's

The eagle has landed

While Lions have the heart and courage of a lion

Leonidas meets Xerxes

Bruce Lee said it best about teaching martial arts

Confuse them with your silence shock them with your results

Be so good they can't ignore you

I am not a survivor I am a warrior

The point is this...

That having the skills to fight is not enough, as wit, confidence and courage are also useful to have but when push comes to shove, to have a warrior's spirit could make all the difference when all things are created equal,

this warrior spirit also needs to become part of your life, as without it you will surely lose to those that have it!

Ultimately leading to self expression


Be Water My Friend

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