Author Topic: What is "Rank" anyway?  (Read 4195 times)

Kempo-Sensei

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What is "Rank" anyway?
« on: May 21, 2003, 07:40:05 AM »
I've read a lot of posts on different sites and it seems that people often use rank as a way of proving that someone (or themselves) is knowledgable in the martial arts.

But my question is, "What is rank anyway?"

Does it really matter if someone has 1 stripe on a belt or 10? (or even 15 like Chow!)  Can't someone who has less stripes be more intelligent in the arts than someone with more?

I've seen so many "masters" out there it isn't even funny.  I can remember while serving in the Marines out in California, I met this master of jujitsu.  I was a 3rd dan at the time in Shaolin Kempo.  This man couldn't even put a wrist lock on me.   ???

I can recall looking over at one of his black belts who was giving me the "evil eye" because I wasn't in pain and slapping out.   >:(

I took some classes on base (MCAS El Toro) and this same black belt challenged everyone in the class that he could break free of any hold.  (on a side note:  this is always a stupid thing to do.  there is someone out there who is bigger and stronger!)  So I grabbed him from behind is a bear hug and fell backwards to the floor.  I just held on while he wiggled.

Anyway, we didn't get along after that.

My point is that I never care what rank someone wears on their belt.  I used to.  but not anymore.  I've met way to many people that think they know what they're talking about, and don't.

And since someone is starting their own "style" of martial arts everyday (this has been going on since the 60's or 70's) I just say look at the man (or woman) and not the belt.  If they are teaching something you wish to learn, go for it!


As my "disclaimer" I should state that I already know that I am not the best.  I know that most people posting here can most likely beat me up at will.  Please don't!
 :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline Nagi

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Re: What is "Rank" anyway?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2003, 11:55:20 AM »

Good post Sensei John Evans
In Hapkido we do not wear stripes on our belt's which is kind of nice. Im not saying im a expert/master but im really dedicated to the arts and been studying since I was in 7th grade and im 30 now and I am a 2nd dan in Kempo and 1st dan in Hapkido.  I like the feeling inside when you show off your skills in front of a high ranking black belt and we both know that the lower rank is better and more knowledgeable (in a respectfull way) I actually like being a lower rank and not having anything to prove. But as a con it's a shame that im not higher than some of the people I have seen? Oh well im not overly concern about getting rank but rather attaining skill

Sensei Ron
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Karazenpo

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Re: What is "Rank" anyway?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2003, 12:24:49 PM »
Senseis John & Ron, I used to pass judgement like many of us do on the ranking of certain individuals, its just human nature, I guess. However, I really don't anymore. I realize that there is no stead fast answer. Rank is subjective. No matter what guidelines you use or what rules you set up, the final decision rests with the opinion(s) of the instructor(s) testing the student. That's it! Opinions are like a-holes, everyone has one, lol. So I don't even get into it anymore. Everyone has their own reasons for doing this or that and they really don't owe anyone an explaination if they're the boss, if you know what I mean. So, whether I agree or not, I keep it to myself as long as I feel confident in the rank I wear. The only exception is if someone makes false claims in an attempt to deceive the public for personal gain at someone elses' expense or someone who has teaching status but has betrayed the public trust, then I have no problem expressing my opinion openly and passionately about it! ;)   Respectfully, Shihan Joe
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Kempo-Sensei

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Re: What is "Rank" anyway?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2003, 12:52:20 PM »
I agree with you Shihan Joe.  I see many people wearing lots of stripes or colorful belts, but that doesn't impress me anymore.  I have learned to look past the cover and read what's in the book.

When you came to my school the students didn't care that you were a 6th dan then.  What they commented on for days, weeks and even still, was that here was a man who knew his stuff.  Most of them had never seen a red and white belt before and didn't quite know what to make of it.  The truth is you could have been wearing a pink belt.  Because once you started teaching, you showed your cards.  (And you seemed to have a pretty good hand!)

There is a guy who teaches in my area that most martial arts people agree shouldn't be teaching.  But he seems to be very popular with the schools.  He's been in the area for longer than I can remember and has built up friendships with the right people.  So when someone asks me what I think of "Mr. Karate Guy", I just say that we teach different styles and leave it at that.  I don't recommend him to anyone (except for the ones I know will be trouble!) and I don't speak about him.

I've learned that it is better to be quiet about these things.  Otherwise people start looking at you like someone who needs to have their attitude adjusted!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Karazenpo

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Re: What is "Rank" anyway?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2003, 01:00:38 PM »
Sensei John, Thank you very much for your kind words. As you, I put my heart and soul in what I do and when I receive a compliment from someone of your caliber and high standing in the martial arts world, especially kempo, it makes everything worthwhile. Thanks again. Okay, enough of that, we'll have to get together soon for a couple of beers and a lot of laughs. Take care, Shihan Joe :D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline badsifu

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Re: What is "Rank" anyway?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2003, 10:59:30 PM »
Just to clarify:

"My students are my teachers"
I learn from my students - so they are my teachers.  I don't want any of my old instructors on my back asking me how I taught them this or that :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Karazenpo

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Re: What is "Rank" anyway?
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2003, 10:01:30 AM »
 I'm very leary of power blocking kicks against another martial artist in a street confrontation. You can probably make it work for you against a lot of untrained people on the street, although its still somewhat of a risk. Over the years as a street cop I've had some individuals throw some off balance kicks at me and they were easily blocked and taken down and all I got was a bruise or tender spot on my arm or leg if I jammed them.
I think we always expect the power of a good martial artist's kick, which is not a bad thing to 'assume', but the odds are and I know that means a risk factor, the punk who attacks you will be an inexperienced kicker, if not you should be able to perceive that by how he moves, so abort and as Sensei John stated 'move the target' or as Sensei Ron said, redirect or 'scoop it'. As Sensei Ron stated jamming may be tough against a good kicker and is always a risk you could get caught but its not that difficult against a wannabe. Just my experiences. There are other police officers on this forum with tons of street experience, what say you? :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline D-Man

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Re: What is "Rank" anyway?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2003, 11:25:58 AM »
We all seem to share the same opinion. Ranks mean little to us. You do however have to look at it from a marketing and customer perspective. Back when I was a little more superficial, before I trained, I wanted a cool looking belt to show off, and be like people on TV.

My teacher wears an instructor's sash, just black with red tassels. He had to put on his new sash for ceremonial purposes a few months ago, and boy it was "impressive." It was shiny black silk or satin, with sparkly gold tassels and a bright white stripe, along with the matching Chinese top. He's never wanted to wear his belts- he's way too humble.

I personally like ranks, it just easier to look down at someone's sash or belt to help classify them into what they should be doing.

If their were no ranks, would we have certified instructors? Advanced classes?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Kempo-Sensei

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Re: What is "Rank" anyway?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2003, 01:04:27 PM »
Quote
If their were no ranks, would we have certified instructors? Advanced classes?

YES.  But I think the point here is that no one can clearly define what a certified instructor is.  Rank has little to no meaning outside of the organization it was granted in.

I remember one student (orange belt) from another school telling me that an orange belt in his school "moved" as well or better than most blue belts from other schools.  I of course answered, "Not my blue belts!"   ;)

But the idea behind what he said is correct.  A green belt in one style could be the 2nd belt you earn.  In another it could be the 6th.  Of course in some schools you can earn 6 belts a year.  And others takes you 2 years to make yellow belt.

We've all heard it said before, "Not all black belt are created equally."  This is true.
 
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Karazenpo

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Re: What is "Rank" anyway?
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2003, 08:30:59 AM »
Aloha, Professor Gerry,

     As you can tell I was having one of those days!  ??? I could get myself out of it by saying, after you tell the black belt in question that he doesn't look his rank, you will have to be prepared to block a barrage of kicks, hense my post! LOL, :D    Shihan Joe
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline Sifu Julian

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Re: What is "Rank" anyway?
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2003, 09:35:06 AM »
Aloha All!

I rarely wear a belt in my own classes. I am the instructor as you can see by the name on the door.

However, I do think that wearing belts at Kajukenbo events is both helpful and necessary. Here is an example:

I am from the midwest and our upline instructor is Prof. Alan Carter. Most of us never had contact with the rest of the Kajukenbo family until 1999. At that time my training partner, Sifu Michael Stempf, and I accompanied Prof. Carter to the KJKB Family Reunion in Las Vegas.

While there we were introduced to all these Kajukenbo legends (Sijo, Prof. Joe Holck, Prof. Al Dela Cruz, GM George Iversen, Prof. Sixto Ramos, Prof. Jerry Yuson, Prof. Gary Forbach, and tons of others I won't take space to mention.) Most of the names I knew but a few were unfamiliar to me. One of these was Prof. Eugene Sedano. When we met him he was wearing street clothes and not wearing a belt or anything. We had a long talk with him and he shared some great stories with us. After we left, we asked around about him and then later saw him at the promotion ceremony being promoted to 8th Black Belt. I felt bad because I wasn't sure if we had shown him the proper respect due his rank because we simply didn't know him.

All that to say---the man makes the belt not the other way around. However (like D-Man) it is nice to be able to be able to look down and know what to expect out of someone because of their rank.

Great thread!

Mahalo & Aloha!

Sifu Julian
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Offline Enfemus

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Re: What is "Rank" anyway?
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2005, 07:24:33 PM »
I think of rank as a personal achivement for your own being. it is a longterm goal to become a black belt but if you don't have short term goals like the belts in between it is easy to lost track or ambition of what you are even training for??
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Offline Menwinn Morales

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Re: What is "Rank" anyway?
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2006, 09:17:20 PM »
Rank is given out of respect for ones own hard training. Some people feel the need to use rank as a way to promote their own ego. I think everyone will agree that not everyones rank is equal. You may have someone claiming to be an  8th degree black belt but doesn't nearly have the experience or training to back that up. My Instructor explained to me that from the time you reach your Brown belt it's a year to your student black, then a year to your first degree, from there 2 years to your second, from there 3 years to your third, and so on and so forth. The reason for the time in between belts is so one can grow as an instructor. It takes time to develop the skills and knowledge of being a black belt, especially a kajukenbo black belt. It's not the destination but the journey which one learns the invaluable lessons one misses when they speed thru the journey to reach their destination.  This is how Ahgung Tony Ramos did it back then with my instructor and its how we do it till this day. Hope this perspective helps you out.
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