Author Topic: "Junior" Black Belt  (Read 27258 times)

Offline John Erickson

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"Junior" Black Belt
« on: March 02, 2003, 04:41:32 PM »
I'm wondering how everyone feels about ranking children (Under 16) as a black belt, and what your school's policy is.  Looking for opinions regarding this rank in kempo/ kajukenbo as well as in other arts.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Offline John Bishop

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Re: "Junior" Black Belt
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2003, 07:37:46 PM »
I have always been taught that holding a black belt is an adult responsibility, therefore we (Kajukenbo) don't promote anyone to blackbelt until they're 18.  
I know not all Kajukenbo schools adhere to this, but I still think the majority of schools do.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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BLucky125

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Re: "Junior" Black Belt
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2003, 10:04:56 PM »
Hello all  :)
As this is a topic that has recently surfaced at my school, I couldn't refrain from comment. First, let me say that I will be testing for my student black in two weeks and that I'm also 17 (I'll turn 18 about two weeks after promotions). I felt very humbled to be offered the chance to earn my belt because I knew I wouldn't be 18 at the time of testing. I've been training very hard in preparation for my test and have been working with my fellow students who have been gracious enough to share their time, energy, and even their homes with me. I've also been told that I've changed much over the past 6 months (owed very much to my Sifu and fellow students). I've gone from a very mousy, nearly invisible person, to a much stronger and well-rounded identity (I'm still working on my assertiveness :P).
However, among the students testing for their student black, there is a 15 year old. I feel a bit hypocritical saying this because I don’t believe I’m a full adult, but I agree with Sigung Bishop that a black belt is an adult responsibility. At 15 years, a person is still in the throws of puberty and emotions are running wild. This student has not demonstrated a good attitude, level of maturity,
or respect towards their fellow students. This person has even developed a rather large ego. Of course, this person doesn’t represent all 15 year olds, but you’ll see where I’m going. I think 15 is just too young for anyone to be a black belt. The Junior High and High School years are very turbulent. The majority of your time is spent arguing with your parents and trying to find your
identity while sorting through cliques, hormones, and messages sent through the media. I’m a firm believer that a black belt is a part of your being and not just something you wear. You must not only be willing to develop physically, but mentally as well. I don’t think it’s possible in today’s society to become a properly balanced person until you approach 17-18. That is the time when the body’s chemical start to settle down and (in my case :)) normal body parts arrive.

respectfully,
Blucky125
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:03 PM by -1 »

ShaolinKempoSensei

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Re: "Junior" Black Belt
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2003, 04:39:01 AM »
I would say that the promotion to black belt has to be based on skill, dedication, discipline, etc.  and not age.  There isn't much difference between a 15 year old and a 17 year old.  Both are still going through puberty and have wild emotions.

Hey, I know guys in there 30's that still have wild emotions!

Nothing magical happens on your 18th birthday that suddenly prepares you to be a black belt.

I've seen 12 year olds that have better skill, respect, discipline, etc. than some 20 years olds.  And I have seen 12 year olds that need to be sent home because they can't follow basic rules of conduct.  Age, to me, is not the factor of whether I promote someone to black belt or not.  

However, if I feel that someone is ready for black belt, but still a bit young to hold a "full" black belt rank, then I will promote that person to "Youth Black Belt".  This person will get to wear a half white and half black belt.    These types of students make great assistants for a youth class.  And they make great youth role models for other young students.

Just my thoughts.   :)


John Evans
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Karazenpo

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Re: "Junior" Black Belt
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2003, 06:47:38 AM »
    Very interesting discussion. When I first saw the post I knew it would bring on many varied opinions. In my schools (2) I award a junior black belt under the age of 16. However, this is a "dojo" rank. They can wear it in the schools but any event outside the studios, tournaments, exhibitons, etc., they have to wear their brown belts. Their junior black belt consists of a white belt and a black belt sewn together. It represents where the student is coming from and where he or she is going to and finally coming "full circle". At 16, they become 1st dans. The inspiration for this concept came to me from Professor S. George Pesare in the late 70's. He had the 16 year old rule for shodans but that type of belt which I described used to hang on the dojo wall and if a senior brown belt was to assist in teaching a class, he or she would wear the two-tone belt with that explaination. Although it wouldn't be a bad idea to make them a black belt at 16 and promote them to 1st dan at 18. I might "toy' with that idea. I ask for the forum's input on that thought. Please let me know what you guys & gals think!  Respectfully, Shihan Joe

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:03 PM by -1 »

ShaolinKempoSensei

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Re: "Junior" Black Belt
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2003, 07:36:13 AM »
I've always seen it done with the 16 years or older.  But I did see one time where this 12 or 13 year old made "adult" black belt.  He was awesome.  He knew more about Shaolin Kempo than a lot of the 2nd dans.  There was no doubt in anyones mind that he deserved it.  He was tested in front of the school so no one would think it wasn't earned.

I like the 1/2 white and 1/2 black belts for under 16.  I do believe that they should be tested again for solid black.  In my school any youth student who transitions into adult ranks has to take an adult test before wearing the rank.

I also believe that the students should be able to earn degrees while in their youth ranks.  This keeps them motivated and allows them to set and achieve goals.  So you might be a 2nd degree youth black belt in my school.  (I don't have any yet... but one day I'm sure)

Whether they'll test for "adult" or "full" black belt status when they turn 16 will depend on their skill, dedication, discipline, etc.  They might have to wait, but doubtful.  Because if they earned their youth black belt, it was for what they put into it to begin with.


-John
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline Rob Poelking

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Re: "Junior" Black Belt
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2003, 07:53:32 AM »
The "general" rule in our school is that we do not promote students under the age of 18. However, that rule has been bent and broken for exceptions recently. I've taken a watch-n-see attitude toward the decision of my sifu who asked my opinion prior to promoting one individual (the student was junior to me and is now senior to me).  This student had put in a temoundous amout of time on the floor in a short period of time and assisted many of the children's classes. It would have appeared to make a lot of "logical" sense.

However, overall, I find that one needs more than just technical abilities to warrant the rank of black belt. There is a maturity level that most teens simply do not posses. This is a level that is acquired through time and experince.

Overall, I think the 16-18 year old black belt is pretty much a gray area that most instructors need to weigh out for themselves. What turns my stomach is the child black belt. Children should not be promoted to that rank regardless of their technical abilities. Simply put, would I as an adult beginning or intermediate belt listen to the tutilege of a child?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Karazenpo

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Re: "Junior" Black Belt
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2003, 08:18:20 AM »
  My hat is off to TheGuardian...........because nothing turns my stomach more than a child black belt either! Even more so when you see one with a parade of red stripes running down the belt! Imho, this constitutes a martial arts ethics violation because we all know the sole purpose behind it is for financial gain to draw more prospective parents into the schools on the premise that: "Your child can be a black belt too!, Enroll now!"

                                                    Respectfully, Shihan Joe

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

Offline John Bishop

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Re: "Junior" Black Belt
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2003, 08:34:48 AM »
I guess this is one of the areas I don't compromise on.  I would'nt want to see a school teacher that was under the age of 18, and I feel the same about a Kajukenbo black belt.    
I do have a "senior brown belt" rank for youth students only, that is a brown belt with the 1/2" black stripe in the center, but it is still only a brown belt.  
My youth students know coming in the door that the highest rank for someone under 18 is senior brown belt.  If they achieve that within a year of turning 18 than it will automatically become a student black upon their 18th birthday.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Offline Nagi

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Re: "Junior" Black Belt
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2003, 08:40:15 AM »
Welcome aboard J_Erikson
At the school that I own & teach at the rule is 16 years of age for an adult black belt and we except students into the adult program at 13 and it takes 7-9 years to obtain a black belt. The adults class is different from the kids class due to all the joint locking (Hapkido) and the kids can't with stand the the rigorous joint locking tech's. So in turn im only talking about our kids program and any child under 13 receives a skunk rank (Jr. BB) and then they would stay a Jr. BB and be moved into the adults program at 13, and then they would learn the adults program. When the adult program is learnt then they will be tested for an adult Black Belt while remaining a Jr. BB. at 16. I havent promted any JR BB at my school yet but Im getting close and I will adopt Shihan Joe Shuras policy with either a black belt with a white stripe or, half Black & half white  


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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ShaolinKempoSensei

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Re: "Junior" Black Belt
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2003, 09:29:56 AM »
So I'm a little confused.  Do the instructors here that promote their youth students to brown belt (any level) distinguish between youth brown and adult brown?

If so, then why not the same for black?  Youth Black and Adult Black.  And if not, then I don't get it.  A youth brown belt is better than an adult green belt?  That is until the adult becomes a black belt?

I personally believe that children can earn the rank of "youth" black belt.  Like I said before, ALL youth ranks are lower than any adult rank.  So even a "youth" 10th degree black belt (I hope everyone knows this isn't real and just for this comparison!) is lower than an "adult" yellow belt.

And I never have youth students teaching adults.  But I would have my youth "grandmaster" helping out in the youth classes to serve as a roll model for other youth students.

Am I crazy?  Don't answer that!   ;D


-John


Ps.  Again, the youth black belt is NOT solid black.  It's black and white.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:03 PM by -1 »

Karazenpo

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Re: "Junior" Black Belt
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2003, 09:34:24 AM »
 Sigung Bishop makes an excellent point on a 16 year old "instructing" adults and it reminded me of something. When I started one of my schools it was already a kempo school that the owners kind of let go down hill. So when I took over, I had to clean house. There were a couple good talents and one was a 16 year old black belt. As a matter of fact he was real good. What I did is I had him teach the kid's classes. He enjoyed it, they loved him and it worked out fine until he moved out of state. I am obviously open to the 16 year old rule to wear black but to teach adults is a whole new ball game! I don't think so. He or she may even possess fine teaching skills but its the perception of others that could hurt your enrollment.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline Nagi

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Re: "Junior" Black Belt
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2003, 10:03:55 AM »
In respose to John Evans.
If a student came from the childrens class into the adults class they would line with the white belts no matter what rank they have untill they are caught up and advance to there next rank in the adults class, as I stated in my prior post the Childrens and the Adult program's are different due to the joint malnipulation tech's. Any colored belt in the adults class is higher than in the childrens program. I hope im making sense  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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ShaolinKempoSensei

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Re: "Junior" Black Belt
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2003, 10:27:30 AM »
Nagi,

I think we are on the same page.  I too have a totally different course for youth than I do for teens & adults.

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

Offline John Bishop

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Re: "Junior" Black Belt
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2003, 12:27:43 PM »
My youth students learn a slightly differant criteria than the adults, and their ranks are differant.  
I guess I just have a differant outlook on the black belt.  I only see 1 black belt.  
Youth black belts would seem to me like a college having youth college degree's and adult college degrees.  Or, trying to say that a high school or jr. high diploma is equal to the college degree.    
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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"You watch, once I'm gone, all the snakes will start popping their heads up!"  Sijo Emperado