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KwicKixJ1
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 13 Aug 2003
Posts: 164
Location: Texas
Styles: Taekwondo, Shorin Ryu, Shudokan, Muay Thai

PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:39 pm    Post subject: I feel like this post was made for me lol Reply with quote

I got my 1st degree black belt in taekwondo 2000. I never ranked up and never stopped training because my only reason for getting that rank was to compete in black belt division. I wasn't about to drop $400 for a stripe on my belt. As I've gotten older I started training in Shorin Ryu and started over at white belt, but don't intend to go for any stripes after shodan unless it's free, and I did brazilian jiu jitsu for 8 years and didn't really care much about the belt in that style either.

If a martial artist sizes a person up by their rank, or treats a person differently because of the color of their belt, then they don't get it. I've been training consistently since 97 and I can say this without hesitation, belt rank has NOTHING to do with skill.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15453
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2021 2:10 pm    Post subject: Re: I feel like this post was made for me lol Reply with quote

KwicKixJ1 wrote:
I got my 1st degree black belt in taekwondo 2000. I never ranked up and never stopped training because my only reason for getting that rank was to compete in black belt division. I wasn't about to drop $400 for a stripe on my belt. As I've gotten older I started training in Shorin Ryu and started over at white belt, but don't intend to go for any stripes after shodan unless it's free, and I did brazilian jiu jitsu for 8 years and didn't really care much about the belt in that style either.

If a martial artist sizes a person up by their rank, or treats a person differently because of the color of their belt, then they don't get it. I've been training consistently since 97 and I can say this without hesitation, belt rank has NOTHING to do with skill.

Solid post!!



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CJKilworth
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 05 Aug 2021
Posts: 1
Location: Wiltshire
Styles: Shotokan

PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2021 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, I'm new. Interesting topic this! I achieved 1st Dan in Shotokan Karate in 2007. But the fees rose exponentially with Dan gradings compared to Kyu, and at the time we as a family just couldn't afford it.

So, I instead focussed on getting as good as I could get despite no intentions to move from 1st Dan. The result was that my technique, kumite and kata went through the roof.

Fast forward to now and I've returned after a 12 year break with intentions to grade for 2nd Dan next year and the focus I had with no distractions of gradings and box ticking has paid off, the technique never really leaves you does it!

Gradings are irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, as long asyou are enjoying it and always growing
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28973
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2021 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CJKilworth wrote:
Hey, I'm new. Interesting topic this! I achieved 1st Dan in Shotokan Karate in 2007. But the fees rose exponentially with Dan gradings compared to Kyu, and at the time we as a family just couldn't afford it.

So, I instead focussed on getting as good as I could get despite no intentions to move from 1st Dan. The result was that my technique, kumite and kata went through the roof.

Fast forward to now and I've returned after a 12 year break with intentions to grade for 2nd Dan next year and the focus I had with no distractions of gradings and box ticking has paid off, the technique never really leaves you does it!

Gradings are irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, as long asyou are enjoying it and always growing
I agree that gradings are just a small part of the bigger picture of the journey. I've been a member of schools that I feel put too much emphasis on "the next grading" all the time, and that is what is always being worked towards, as opposed to thinking about the myriad different things instructors should be teaching their students.

Welcome to KF!
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advfhorn
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 61
Location: NJ - USA
Styles: Goju Ryu, Shorin Ryu

PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2021 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMHO: it should not be your decision, it should be your Sensei's decision
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15453
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2021 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

advfhorn wrote:
IMHO: it should not be your decision, it should be your Sensei's decision

If that were to be true, then the Journey wouldn't be of the practitioner at all, it would be of the Sensei's.

The Sensei can express advice, but the final decision is that of the practitioner alone. As a Sensei, I'd never ever intrude whether a student of mine should or shouldn't remain as a Shodan, or any other rank; it's really none of my business because they've their MA journey and I've mine. I can only share in my Student Body's MA journey, not control it whatsoever.



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Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1783
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2021 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

advfhorn wrote:
IMHO: it should not be your decision, it should be your Sensei's decision


I'm interested in why you hold that position. If this were a question of someone not feeling ready to test, I can see why a CI would want to encourage and gently push a student to the next rank if the CI felt that they were ready. But if this were a moment of the student being comfortable with their level and they had no desire to advance, then why should the CI care? That seems like a great way to drive away a loyal student.
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P.A.L
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 26 May 2004
Posts: 1260
Location: Texas
Styles: Shorin-ryu

PostPosted: Sun Aug 22, 2021 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wastelander wrote:
The answer to this question is obviously going to vary from person to person, but I think it's also important to point out that some people are limited in what they are allowed to learn by their rank, and that's going to significantly affect their view on this question. For a most schools, the curriculum does not stop at Shodan, and many don't actually allow students to learn the curriculum of the ranks above them, so staying at Shodan for students in those schools would actually mean that they would stop learning new material. They could continue to refine what they already learned, of course, but that limitation is still a problem.

To answer your question, though, I could have stayed a Shodan forever under my late Sensei and been fine, since he taught the full curriculum by Shodan and taught all the black belts all the same material, and it was up to us to explore it from there. He did want us to test for higher ranks, though, and I ended up earning Nidan, and being told of his plans to test me for Sandan, but my personal story gets a little complicated after he passed away.

I was officially put up to test for Sandan by the highest ranking member of our dojo, who unfortunately passed away a few months later, himself. My test ended up being cancelled 3 weeks out, after about 9 months of preparation, because someone higher up in the organization found out that when I started my own karate program, it wasn't going to be part of the organization, because I wanted to alter the curriculum (which my late Sensei and I had discussed and he liked the idea of). They also refused to repay me the money I had been forced to pay well in advance to have my rank registered with the organization, despite the fact that I had not even been given the chance to fail the test. I had originally planned to remain in the organization, myself, and continue training and testing in it, but after treating me that way, on top of a bunch of other political nonsense I had to deal with in the last two years of being a member, I wanted nothing to do with it.

This leaves me in a position where I am not even able to test for a higher rank, even if I wanted to. Since I have started my own program, it would be nice to be able to have that higher rank for marketing purposes, I suppose, but most potential students don't even know there are varying degrees of black belt. Several friends have urged me to pursue Sandan, at least, so I am currently looking at my options for that, but if I say a Nidan forever, that's not the end of the world, for me. My Sensei's standards for Shodan were nearly equivalent to some people's standards for Godan in that organization, and as Bob likes to say, "the proof is on the floor."


I always thought you could go high in that organization I didn't know you left. I tested for shodan around 2006 in the same organization and stopped testing at Shodan. I received an honorary rank of 4th Dan in 2015 from my own sensei not from the organization. I think rank is only important if you wanna teach in the same organization. I remember I asked one of my teachers about testing for 6th he said he doesn't wanna pay $600.
So stop testing is not uncommon but I mostly see it after 3rd dan.
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Wastelander
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 18 Oct 2010
Posts: 2552
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2021 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

P.A.L wrote:

I always thought you could go high in that organization I didn't know you left. I tested for shodan around 2006 in the same organization and stopped testing at Shodan. I received an honorary rank of 4th Dan in 2015 from my own sensei not from the organization. I think rank is only important if you wanna teach in the same organization. I remember I asked one of my teachers about testing for 6th he said he doesn't wanna pay $600.
So stop testing is not uncommon but I mostly see it after 3rd dan.


I've been fairly quiet about having left, unless organizational topics come up. I considered writing a public announcement about the whole thing, but it just seems like a bunch of unnecessary drama. I'm sure that, eventually, someone in the organization is going to come across a post or interview where I discuss it, and it will cause drama then, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. The payment for rank is definitely a limiting factor for a lot of people (including myself), so I totally get that. The man who officially put me up for Sandan after my Sensei passed away had actually put off his 6th Dan for several years for that very reason, although he did end up paying for both the 6th Dan and a Shihan license, in the end. It's honestly always seemed strange to me that rank costs more as you go higher--the tests tend to get progressively shorter (or nonexistent, eventually), and you have less and less to prove over time, so what are you paying for? Not the time of the testing panel, certainly, and not to prove you are dedicated, since you would already have been training for quite a long time.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28973
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2021 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the law of diminishing returns seems to apply in most cases, except testing fees....
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