Author Topic: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?  (Read 16878 times)

Gerry Scott

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #30 on: April 11, 2003, 08:03:43 PM »
Aloha,

I was raised in a family that respect to my parents was the law of the household.  If I taked back to my parents, I would have gotten a slap on my face or mouth, and immediately be restricted from any extra curricular activities.  My father always stess to me that what ever you strive in life, if you quit with no apparent reason, your actions will follow you through your entire life.  
I attended an afternoon Japanese language school and started Shotokan Karate at the tender age of 10.  For the most part, all instructions were given in Japanese.  Due to the fact that I was the only on-oriental participating in Sensei Masa Idemoto class, I instilled in myselt that failure was not in my vocabulary.  I always employed discipline, respect and traditional ways of martial arts that was taught to me by my father and my sensei throughout my life.  My father taught me western boxing during my childhood years and I belong to a local boxing club.  I was approximately 15-16 hears old, my father and I was working out and he gave me a boxing lesson I will never forget.  I was a black belt and I got my butt kicked by an old man.  My father was the South Pacific Army Fly Weight Champ during World War II.  
My school teaches respect for human values, effectively through a system of etiquette and seniority amonty students and instructors.  In addition to respect in class, they are taught to respect all life and never use their skill to harm others without cause.  
The following is an excerpt of one of by by-laws:  All members will address instructor(s) by their rank, fist name, salute and offer a gesture of greeting with a customary handsake.  During tournaments, demonstrations, other martial arts events, members will address their instructor(s) by rank and first name.  All other events not concerning the aforementioned, members may address Scott Martial Arts Academy Instructor's by their fist name.
All my students are given a manual containing the Kajukenbo prayer, our philosophy, by-laws, detail step-by-step instructions on belt requirements.  I informally and periodically test my students by highlighted the requirements within their manual that they are not cognizant of.  These types of testing is like a process report card, preparing the student for the final test.  
Any disruption arising from horseplay, running around, and taking or laughing aloud will not be tolerated.  A student violates the aforementioned rules, the student may be told to take a time out and/or not participate until the next training class.  I have also taking away belts from students that continue be disruptive and been warn on numerous occasions.  If a student is discipline, the parent(s) are informed of the incident with the student being present.
I have a student that has been training at our school for one year and seven months.  He probably has attention disorder and he is my most disruptive students.  I recently promoted him to Purple Belt, 1’st Degree.  This student has gone through three instructors, including myself.  However, we have not given up of him.  I had anticipated students might not grasp martial arts training as well as others, so I instituted breaking down the belt levels from Purple to Brown.  A student will exceptional process may forgo some of the increments within each belt level for their next promotion.      

Mahalo,

Professor Gerry Scott
 

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:05 PM by -1 »

Offline John Bishop

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #31 on: April 11, 2003, 08:11:48 PM »
My testing is pretty simple.  I don't let anyone test until I know they are ready to pass.  
If I get a whiner, I just tell them "you can go ahead and test, but I'll tell you right now your not ready to pass".  
No one's ever asked to test after that conversation.  That way, we don't waste their or my time.
I like belt testing to be a happy occassion with a nice belt awarding ceremony.
When I was in Shotokan, they gave a test every quarter.  Everybody paid their fees, tested, and a  week later a list of who passed and failed was posted on the bulletin board.  If you passed, you went to the martial arts store and bought yourself a belt.  
  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Offline Mell

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #32 on: April 11, 2003, 08:59:49 PM »
Sigung Bishop posted "a week later a list of who passed and failed was posted on the bulletin board.  If you passed, you went to the martial arts store and bought yourself a belt, " in respect to a Shotokan school he had been with.

We promote immediately following testing.  I would like to hear from anyone who follows a practice like the one mentioned above as to why you do that?  I know several schools that give promotions up to two weeks after testing.   What value do you find in that?  I'm not judging the practice, just wanting to understand it.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Offline kurt38

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #33 on: April 12, 2003, 09:45:53 PM »
I've heard of some instructors who don't conduct formal tests, they just walk up to their student out of the blue and hand them a certificate of promotion.  I don't agree or disagree, I just think it's interesting.  I come from the same Kajukenbo school Sigung Bishop did but the Shotokan school he went to has an intriguing way of promoting people.  Sigung Bishop, I'm curious, what did you think of that method?  Did it seem to work?
-Sibak Kurt
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline John Bishop

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #34 on: April 13, 2003, 12:07:59 AM »
The Shotokan school I went to was at Cal Poly Pomona University.  It was one of Sensei Ray Dalke's schools.  At the time I didn't really know any differant about promotions until I started training in Kajukenbo/Kenpo.  When I was a kid I trained for 3-4 years in judo under my father, but then they only had white, brown, and black belts, so I was a white belt.  When I trained in the "Koga Method of Weaponless Self Defense" (now known a Koga Jitsu) under Bob Koga, there were no belts.  Actually, theirs still no belt ranks, just instructor categories.
Anyway, back to Shotokan.  Now that I look back at it, it was not the happy occassion, and feeling of acomplishment  that we have at Kajukenbo tests.   Sensei Dalke and a couple of his black belts would come over to the club and test everyone.  Like I said before, a week or two later the list would be posted on the bulletin board, and you'd get a certificate in the mail.  Those that passed went to the martial arts store and bought a new belt.  
I remember one time I missed a test because I was on vacation.  I then went to Dalke's main school and tested with about 150 people from 3 of his schools.  I actually knew none of these people.  
A few months before the test Sensei Dalke had his instructor, Hidetaka Nishiyama do a seminar for the schools.  I had taken some pictures of the 2 of them together.  So, after the test I wanted to give Dalke a couple 8X10s that I had made of the pictures.   When I walked up to the testing table, his assistant started yelling at me for walking on their mats with my tennis shoes.  I didn't know not to, because our club always trained on a hardwood floor.  Anyway, I handed him the envelope with the pictures and left, he looked at them, but didn't say a word.  
A month or two later, they changed instructors at my club.  We were use to going in early and talking to each other while we stretched.  Anyway, the new instructor came in and said that the talking and socializing before class was to stop, and that we needed to be more serious about our pre-class warmups.  I left that night after class and never came back.
The "Ohana" feeling that we have in Kajukenbo and the other Hawaiian arts is something that some take for granted.   I trained with one of the top Shotokan instructors in the world, but I'd rather train under a Kajukenbo student black, than go back to that Shotokan class.    
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Offline Sifu Julian

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #35 on: May 20, 2003, 01:10:55 AM »
I have personally never flunked a student to this point but would absolutely do it in a heart-beat if I thought they did not make the grade.

I will share an experience where my Sifu, Charlie Clarke, failed a student at their Black Belt test and I was on the testing board.

One of our Brown belts was graduating early and going into the Marines and wanted to test for his Black Belt before shipping out. It was a little early but not too early for him to test. He could certainly do the material in regular class and I personally thought he could have been ready.

The night of the test he psyched himself out thinking about the difficulty of a written test (100 questions with a minimum of 85% to pass), plus a 5-page double-spaced paper turned in a week before the test and totally fell apart. He couldn't remember his own name if we'd have asked him.

Sifu Charlie took him aside and gave him several minutes to regroup and begin again---but to no avail. I personally had helped him review prior to the test and know he knew the material when I talked to him.

However, the board voted to fail him on this occassion and let him try again later. He never came back to my knowledge. I felt bad for him but performance under pressure is part of the martial arts. If the pressure of standing in front of a testing board and having to demonstrate techniques is enough to rattle you that bad then maybe you need to work on the fight/flight response so that you don't shut down at crunch time.

Here is one other thing to think about in your adult classes. We were very close to a kickboxing gym and had several students come over to train with us. Several of them had very bad attitudes and would bully the other students during sparring. So, Sifu Charlie designated me at the attitude adjuster or "Hit Man" (as Hitman was on the back of my boxing gloves) when we were sparring he would signal to me and I would open up on the guy I was sparring with and let them have a taste of bullying. It was very successful on several occassions. I would not, however, suggest this for children's classes for a variety of obvious reasons.

Anyway, that should add some to the discussion!  :-)  We still train hard style in the Midwest and therefore don't have big schools or tons of students. Most of us still train out of our backyards, etc.

I am interested to hear any other discussion on the subject of flunking students---had never really given it much thought.

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

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #36 on: May 20, 2003, 08:29:43 AM »
Hello Sifu Julian. I agree with much of what you say only that kickboxing thing could lead to problems. Please let me explain. I am currently a student at Gm. George Pesare Kaito Gakko. I was also training there in the 70's. At that time into the 80's Gm. Pesare was Region 12 Director of the PKA-Professional Karate Association, the first organization to promote kickboxing-what they called back then Full Contact Karate. That's where Bill Wallace made his debut in 1974 when he fought Joe Corely. During this period, I also trained with one of Dr. Maung Gyi's black belts in Bando Kickboxing. Please bear with me, I just want to give a little background to these people to make my point clearer.  At Gm. Pesare's school he had two World Champion kickboxers, Dan Macaruso, light heavy weight with a pretty consistant knockout punch. He was a brown belt in the art of Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu. The other was the PKA welter weight champ Bobby Ryan. A third fighter, Armen Garo was a green belt at the time and was the New England Heavy Weight Champion (New England Black Belt League). Dr. Gyi's Black Belt was the late James Dometico, who just starting his career when he was killed in an auto crash :'(
   Now, my point. Fortunately Gm. Pesare instilled strict discipline and respect in his school. These guys trained with us and were great. Very helpful, no attitutde. Bullying just wasn't part of curriculum. Sensei Domestico was the same way, but imagine if they weren't? Not too many instructors could have stepped in and knocked these guys around. ;)  The odds are, it wasn't going to happen. Fortunately, due to their upbringing at the school, they were like trained police dogs. They knew when to 'bite' and when to 'play'. I would suggest in a situation like that its probably best to speak with them privately and if they can't conform, don't train them.
                            
                                        Respectfully submitted, Shihan Joe :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:05 PM by -1 »

Offline EmptyCup

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Re:"Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #37 on: June 13, 2003, 01:21:03 AM »
As some of you may or may not know, I'm a Novice to kajukenbo...

Last week I completed my pre-testing for my promotion and I am glad to say that I passed and will be going on to promotion (whoo hoo!).  I know that he would not have even let me pre-test if he didn't think I would pass....  However, I am always aware that I could fail at any time.  If I was to fail, it would never be because I wasn't as good as 'so and so' but because I wasn't performing to what he expects of me.  I feel that keeps me on my toes and keeps me wanting to improve myself.

AND...my Sifu lets us know that our belt is not permanent.  At any time, we can have our rank taken away from us.  And that would probably only happen if we mis-used our martial arts or mis-behaving deeply at home.  

Next point...  Earlier in this discussion there was comments made on suspending/expelling a student.  Here's a story from an underbelt:

I am 20 and my brother is 14.  We both train in the adult class.  One day after we had been training for a few months, a student who hadn't been to class in a while comes back (let's call him X to make the story easier to tell)  That night we were running sparring drills.  My brother and X were in the beginner's line and I was in the intermediate line.  When I train I focus on the task at hand and let my brother train, so I wasn't paying attention to him.  

I didn't realize until we were all sitting against the wall that X had kicked the person holding the pads (a 13 year old white belt) so hard that the kid felt nauseous.  (X is about 5'6" around 180 lbs or so) When my brother had asked who had done it, X said it was him in a boastful manner and then proceeded to taunt my brother by asking him if he wanted to take it outside.

As an older sister who has been responsible for taking care of my brother for almost 7 years MY BLOOD WAS BOILING!!!  I told my brother to just stop talking to him and ignore him.  I wish I could say the biggest motivation for not grinding his face into the floor and dislocating his shoulder was because of my great respect for my teacher and the dojo.  I didn't hurt him because I wasn't sure if he was over 18 or not.  I wasn't about to go to jail over some punk.

I told my Sifu as soon as I could without being obvious.  I am glad to say that Sifu called me and my mother the next day to say that X had been suspended indefinitely.

I wanted to tell this story to make some very important points.  Troubled kids can sometimes lead good kids to do bad things (if I was 17, I would have kicked his asp).  My mother and I feel so much more comfortable with the training environment knowing that Sifu will take definite action to keep everyone safe.

Sorry this post is so long!

P.S. There are some details I left out just for lengths' sake and for, well other reasons.  Just post something about it not making sense and I'll fill in the details.
As the young man told the wise man about all that he had learned from other wise men, the wise man continued to pour tea until the cup over flowed. When the young man asked the old man why he continued to pour the old man responded, "You must first empty your cup to receive anything."

Offline Sifu Julian

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Re: "Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #38 on: June 24, 2003, 03:49:13 AM »
Hello Sifu Julian.

Not too many instructors could have stepped in and knocked these guys around. ;)  The odds are, it wasn't going to happen. Fortunately, due to their upbringing at the school, they were like trained police dogs. They knew when to 'bite' and when to 'play'. I would suggest in a situation like that its probably best to speak with them privately and if they can't conform, don't train them.
                             
Respectfully submitted, Shihan Joe :)


Shihan,

Sorry I haven't checked back on this thread since I posted.

You got me on this one!!! I guess we would have been in a pickle if Mike Tyson had come to our gym.   ;) ???

Thanks for the background and food for thought!

Sifu J.
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Offline Pacificshore

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Re:"Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #39 on: June 25, 2003, 01:43:03 AM »
I just held a testing this past Monday for my adult students going for various kyu ranks.  Of the group, 2 did not pass because they simply did not perform up to their standards, as well as my standards.

The biggest problem was that they both mentally broke down during the test.  Both these students were ready to test and like everyone else had been performing well during their training times up until test time.

What I have chosen to do after discussing the results with my co-instructor, at his suggestion, is to allow each of them a time frame to go over their criteria again, and then to come back for a re-test.

I have notified each of them, and was somewhat surprised at the responses.  One of my students happened to be along the same thought process as I was, in fact he told me he was going to suggest that he not pass due to his poor performance.  He recognized in himself his shortcomings during the test.  I believe that he will undoubtedly come back strong during his re-test.

My other student appeared somewhat surprised that I did not pass her.  Even after asking if she had psyched herself out of the game, her response was "I don't think so".  After explaning how her test went, she didn't recall any of the mistakes she made during the whole thing, even though it was quite evident to me, my co-instructor, as well as herself.  So I offered to her a re-test, and we'll see how it goes from there.

The reason I was somewhat surprise by the responses is because my female student has prior MA training in her background and has gone through testings before, while my male student is relatively new to the MA, and hasn't tested as much.  So therefore I thought the responses would have been reversed.

I often wonder if failing a student is a "lost art", not to say that it has to happen everytime out, but if it needs to be done then so be it.  I've always approached it as part of your character building during your martial arts journey.
Gene R.
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Offline Sifu Julian

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Re:"Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #40 on: June 25, 2003, 05:03:57 AM »
The biggest problem was that they both mentally broke down during the test.  Both these students were ready to test and like everyone else had been performing well during their training times up until test time.

Pacificshore: I watched the same thing happen in a black belt test as you can read in my post above.

Let me relate a similar story with a little happier ending.
During the first Black Belt test I administered, my student also psyched himself out---totally. I mean, complete meltdown.

He went through the oral board, then did the 75 push-ups, 100 crunches, & 15 min. Jump-rope---then began the technical portion of the test. About half-way through the tech material he started to look green. We told him to sit down for a breather. He went to the toilet and I went to check on him and he was white as a sheet and had just throw-up, twice!!! I laid him down with his feet up and came back in 3 min. to find him out cold. Again, complete meltdown---just psyched himself out.

I was afraid of the worst, but we gave him about 15 more minutes and he rallied to finish the tech material, complete the sparring section (and believe me I didn't let up on him one inch) and finish the test and pass. He has continued to train and teach and I promoted him to 2nd Black Belt back in Dec. 2000.

My point with this being---some folks can pull it back together some folks can't. I think your idea of a re-test is completely fair and reasonable.

Quote
What I have chosen to do after discussing the results with my co-instructor, at his suggestion, is to allow each of them a time frame to go over their criteria again, and then to come back for a re-test.

Either you can perform the material or not. Simple as that. Re-test and let them demonstrate the material at a satisfactiory level of proficiency or let them wait until the next scheduled test.

Quote
He recognized in himself his shortcomings during the test.  I believe that he will undoubtedly come back strong during his re-test.

Sounds like this student has it all together and is pretty self-aware. Those attributes don't always come with training.

Quote
The reason I was somewhat surprise by the responses is because my female student has prior MA training in her background and has gone through testings before, while my male student is relatively new to the MA, and hasn't tested as much.  So therefore I thought the responses would have been reversed.

My initial response is: "sounds like a 'empty your cup' issue to me" but I don't know the specifics.

Quote
I often wonder if failing a student is a "lost art", not to say that it has to happen everytime out, but if it needs to be done then so be it.  I've always approached it as part of your character building during your martial arts journey.

I don't know if it is a "lost art" but I do believe it is a necessary part of the training process. I am currently 4th Dan in Kajukenbo and began training in Chinese Wushu about 3 years ago. My Sifu told me that he would certify me to 3rd Duan Instructor in May of this year. However, this type of material is not anything like what I studied previously and I am having to make tons of minor adjustments in techniques that I have been doing for the past 18 years. Too much "muscle memory" to have to retrain. Needless to say, he told me in April that he wanted to hold off until next March for the certification.

Well, yes, I was a little disappointed but told him that I wanted his honest opinion and that way when he makes the certification it will be solid and not just a free-bie giveaway. I want to earn the rank and if I am not there yet then so be it. I am completely aware of the problems that I am having integrating the new material into old habits (i.e. traditional hard style karate vs. softer gung fu).

I guess I could get mad and be a whiner but that isn't how I have come up. You show your teacher respect and when he says to, "go back and try again," you do just that. And you do it with a "yes sir" and salute.

I am interested to hear how the re-test goes!

Aloha!

Sifu J.
Professor Julian Sims
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Offline Nagi

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Re:"Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #41 on: June 25, 2003, 07:49:18 AM »

I have an update on one of the students I flunked (see page one for prior details)
I have a web site with a guest book people can sign, well I went into my guest book and I got a nice little message from this 10-11 year old ex-student he told me and the asst Instr. to F--k-Off so I typed him a little nice message would you like to see it?
« Last Edit: June 25, 2003, 07:52:55 AM by Nagi »
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Offline Sifu Julian

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Re:"Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #42 on: June 25, 2003, 09:33:54 AM »

I have an update on one of the students I flunked (see page one for prior details)
I have a web site with a guest book people can sign, well I went into my guest book and I got a nice little message from this 10-11 year old ex-student he told me and the asst Instr. to F--k-Off so I typed him a little nice message would you like to see it?


Ron (sorry, I am not sure if it is Sifu or Sensei):  OK, I am hooked! What did you tell him? I tried to look at your guestbook but I think it must be the message you locked.

You can send me a private e-mail with the text at:  kjkbsifu@pobox.com

I can't imagine why you would be offended at a student just expressing his opinion about the test?!?!?!   ???  
You know, that is not very PC of you  ;) and you might want to go in for anger management training?!?!?    ::)

I look forward to hearing from you!

Sifu J.

(edited to add: Sensei Ron, sorry that this was unclear; yep, you got it, sarcasm to the max!!!!) Got your email, you were way more diplomatic and redemptive than I would have been. I thought it was very fair of you to leave an opening to him to come back to class. Thanks again for the email!
« Last Edit: June 25, 2003, 10:32:23 AM by Sifu Julian »
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Offline Nagi

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Re:"Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #43 on: June 25, 2003, 10:31:48 AM »
[color=Red](edited to add: Sensei Ron, sorry that this was unclear; yep, you got it, sarcasm to the max!!!!) Got your email, you were way more diplomatic and redemptive than I would have been. I thought it was very fair of you to leave an opening to him to come back to class. Thanks again for the email![/color]
Quote


I figured he is only a kid and everyone needs a fresh or  second chance. Thats what my Instructor said too and applauded me for it. I want him to come back so I can have one of the students beat him LOL

Sensei Ron
« Last Edit: June 25, 2003, 10:37:03 AM by Nagi »
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Offline Pacificshore

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Re:"Flunking Students": How do you do it?
« Reply #44 on: June 25, 2003, 11:08:23 AM »
Sifu Julian:

Thanks for the review and reply to my post.  I will let you know how the re-test goes when it is completed :)
Gene R.
Kara-Ho Kempo