Author Topic: Asking for Rank???  (Read 20180 times)

Offline Nagi

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Asking for Rank???
« on: March 03, 2003, 09:32:25 AM »
What are your thought's/feelings about when a student ask's to be put up for the next rank?

In the old day's it was a sin to ask, and the instructor might even hold you back from the next test. You were ready when the instructor said you are ready, not when you felt like you should be put up for testing.


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

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Re: Asking for Rank???
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2003, 10:24:27 AM »
Boy, this is a touchy subject.  Well, here are my thoughts!

I think it's how you ask not that you asked.  If a student comes up to me and says, "Sensei, when am I testing for Black Belt?"  I will most likely say, "When you're ready!"

But if the student comes up and asks, "Sensei, what does it take to be a black belt under you?"  Then I will respond with my thoughts, and know that this student really wants to know how long it will take.  Or basically, when, he/she will be asked.

I have an open door policy about ranks.  If you want to be promoted you can ask.  I will even let you test if you're persistant.  But testing doesn't mean you automatically pass.  I will tell the student, "I can test you, but you should know you won't pass.  Do you want to test?"

All students have said no after that.


So I say, ask.  And as your sensei I will give you an honest answer about your skills and readiness, as I see them.


-John



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

Offline Nagi

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Re: Asking for Rank???
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2003, 10:51:54 AM »
I like your answer, im going to use that one day...
I had a student that came up to me and asked if she could be tested on Sunday with the other kids.
I just tested her for blue belt 2 weeks ago which is our 6th belt (out of 9) and at blue I like to wait 6 month's before testing. I had a good talk to her and explained that she didn't have the necessary time put in and that it wouldn't be fair to the other students that are the same rank or were at that rank. I also told her that the belt dosn't make the Martial artist, but the Martial artist makes the belt that she wears. It showed that she really wants to learn and it also shows that my students can come up and ask me questions that are on there mind. Come to find out she just wants to learn more and I made a deal that we would work on tech's
before or after class together.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:03 PM by -1 »
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Karazenpo

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Re: Asking for Rank???
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2003, 11:09:43 AM »
  We were always taught never to ask for rank. One of the reasons made a lot of sense. What if the instructor had already made up his/her mind to put that student up? Then it looks as though the student who asked prompted the instructor to put them up. Know what I mean?  It would look like the students are controlling or influencing the ranking system of the school.
  Here's my thoughts on testing. It's a test of spirit not of one's knowledge or ability for the mere reason your instructor who sees you every week should already know that. The instructor should not have to really "test" you to tell if you are a particular rank. He or she should already know your current abilities when they put you up. It's more or less to see how you perform once some stress is applied to you, hense a test of your spirit!
   I flunk people in my mind when I look at a class and see who's ready and who has to be held back. It's pyschologically upsetting & can be a set back for a student to fail a promotion in front of his/her peers. So, when I put someone up I plan to promote them.
   If by some chance and it happens once in a great while they have a "bad" day and I feel I can't promote them with a clear conscience then they get an honorary belt. The certificate will stay with me, its confidential. It's sort of like getting a blank diploma in high school. At a future date I have them rescheduled to go over what they messed up on and if all goes well, they get their certificate. I make the students aware of this policy ahead of time so they don't have to contend with peer pressure issues.
 * I almost forgot this. A student is told, however, that if the staff feels during promotion night the student is not giving their all because of no other reason but laziness, then they will not be promoted and this will be done in front of their peers. No honorary, nothing. The same goes for any student that presents any type of discipline problem during promotion. Not only will it keep them from being promoted but also with possible reduction in rank and suspension or permanent dismissal from the school, all depending on the circumstances.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:03 PM by -1 »

Offline sifutimg

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Re: Asking for Rank???
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2003, 03:34:38 PM »
Interesting subject.  I am old school here and don't believe a student should ask for rank period.  I believe much depends on how big your school is and how big your capacity is to keep track of people and their growth and progress.  Smaller schools have an advantage in that the instructor can keep track of people much easier.  In big schools I have seen students get lost in the numbers.  I am a small garage dojo now.  I keep track of each and every students growth.  I do not allow my students to even begin to worry about their rank whatsoever.  I tell them they are ready and then schedule a test for them.  My reasoning is I want my students to remain focused on training and the journey they are undertaking and not the end goals of this rank or that rank.  It's been my experience that students egos are kept in better check and the desire for attaining rank is kept very minimal while the desire to simply train and self improve is cultivated to a high level.  Also competition is not a problem as sometimes certain levels of competition can result in maliciousness which inturn can result in injury to onself or others as well as break down the integrity of the school if things are not handled concisely.  The Silat style I currently train in has no ranking at all.  Now when I had a big school I implemented a kind of phased program where I broke up the curriculum into phases and then held small group check off sessions.  When the students completed each of the check off sections for their given level, they were pretty much were ready for a test.  I told the students when they should go through a check off phase again minimizing the students worry about rank.  This worked out fairly well but is a lot of work on the instructors part to give it justice.  Our culture does breed a sense of urgency that in my belief is not conducive for martial training so I remove as much of the "got to have it now" mentallity as much as I can.  Now let me say also that I do have an open door policy as well about anything.  So when a student is moving or needing to take a leave of absence for whatever reason they can tell me about such things which allows me to factor that into their development.

Yours in training,
Sifu Tim Gagnier
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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ShaolinKempoSensei

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Re: Asking for Rank???
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2003, 05:42:17 AM »
I think that if you have a rank structure, you then will have students who will focus on what they are wearing around their waist.

If we really do not wish for students to worry about rank, then (I feel) we need to drop the belts, or maybe just go from white to black.

Otherwise, we should understand that ranks are an important part of the growing process of a student.  They can check their progress by what color belt they have on.  And for children, it is an absolute must.  They learn a lot from being able to set and accomplish goals.

Students asking for rank is normal.  I've seen instructors hold students back for asking.  Most of them quit before black belt.  That, I believe, was because of the way the question was handled.

Again, if we motivate our students with colored belts, we are then asking if not begging them to one day inquire about when or how to get to the next rank.

Isn't there a quote that goes something like this?

"There are no bad students... only bad teachers."




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

Offline Rob Poelking

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Re: Asking for Rank???
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2003, 06:18:45 AM »
Well, all I can say about this as a current brown belt is, "I'm GUILTY as sin!" When I first started training, I picked up on the curriculum very quickly. I was a walking sponge and couldn' t get enough. It didn't take me long to realize that higher ranking students generally got more instruction. That makes sense after all. They had "mastered" basic skills and were ready to further that knowledge.

After 3 months I went to my very first competition and placed 4th in a forms division. I had aquired all the curriculum to move to the next rank. I felt if I could do that in 3 months and the next test was still 3 months away why not ask to test for the next rank after that. My Sifu permitted this and gave me the curriculum for the next rank up.

I devoured that with as much gusto as before and when testing time came, I was double promoted.

Then I realized the error. My sifu pointed out that while I posessed the knowlege, my execution of technique was clearly not as proficient as one who had been training a full year. He asks all his students now, "would you rather be a really good (fill in the blank lower rank) belt or a lousy (higher rank) belt?" That really puts things into perspective and now as a brown belt, I would much rather wait a little longer than the "required" waiting period before being promoted to black.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Offline Mell

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Re: Asking for Rank???
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2003, 03:30:59 PM »
When a low ranking student asks for rank. I think it is understandable.  

Higher ranking students should know better.   :-X  Asking for rank implies that you know more than your instructor or can somehow see things he/she cannot.  When it is your time, it will be your time.  The journey is the goal, not the cloth.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Offline D-Man

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Re: Asking for Rank???
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2003, 08:52:12 AM »
Where I train, students are promoted on a general guideline of every 3 months for the lower ranks, 6 months for middle, and on an individual basis for upper ranks.  I do not advocate the action of asking to be promoted, especially for upper ranks.  However, instructors are human, and they do make mistakes.  Perhaps they forget that it is your time for a testing, or maybe it’s a calendar error.  You might consider it, "being responsible for their own training."  Asking for rank is just one of those things that the students ignorant to the priorities of martial arts do.  Asking how to improve or reach a certain goal is something wiser, in my opinion.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Sifu John Martinez

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Re: Asking for Rank???
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2003, 06:11:03 PM »
As an instructor I dont mind a student asking to be ranked ; that tells me he has the heart to seek the next level of training, it also gives me a mental note to watch him or her as they progress. It doesn't mean that I will put them up for rank if they are not ready and because of the way my instructor taught me I will not give it away and lower the integrity of the knowledge that was handed down to me. If knowledge is not earned then that belt around your waist means nothing. A man or a women is the sum of his or her knowledge and if you skate through the system or enter the system in the middle or at the top with out the blood sweet and tears that it took all the others to get their, then I ask you what could you possibly teach me other than dishonor.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline John Bishop

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Re: Asking for Rank???
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2003, 02:08:29 PM »
Huh, tae kwon do schools giving out black belts for monetary gain. ???
Nah, never happen. ;) :D ;D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Offline Nagi

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Re: Asking for Rank???
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2003, 05:26:01 AM »
Quote
Aloha Nagi,

I recently read an article in one of the martial arts magazines.  The article illustrated a brother and sister ages 12 and 13, having received the rank of 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.  I trained in Tae Kwon Do for twelve (12) years and earned a 3rd degree black belt.  I also trained in Shotokan Karate for eight (8) years and received "Shodan".
I wonder, since this post is addressing “asking for rank”, it maybe that the instructor is giving out black belts for monetary gains????

Mahalo,

Professor Gerry Scott    


Professor Gerry Scott,
Im friendly with a Tang So Do school and we been trading a few seminars back in forth. The Instructor is a very good MA but he is very into the business side of thing's. I've never seen so many black belts at one school 1st, 2nd's and 3rd's mostly all kids from 10-14years old. He has this wall with all embroidered name's on the black belts, you would not believe it to you saw this wall. A kid walked up to my Hapkido Instr and asked what rank his was? he looked at the kids belt and said same rank as you are kid (3rd.Dan). The look on the kid face was priceles.

Sensei Ron
 

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

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Re: Asking for Rank???
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2003, 07:34:50 AM »
We just had this new kid sign up for lessons.  He is a former TKD student.  (Red belt)  He just tested in December for his rank.  

Anyway, he can't stand on one leg for more than 10 seconds.  He doesn't know how to properly kick a target.  He can't remember any of his forms.  Doesn't know how to stand in a proper horse stance.  Doesn't know the names of his blocks.  I could go on and on.  

And this kid told me that in his old school he was two belts away from getting his black belt.  He's 11.  

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

Offline Nagi

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Re: Asking for Rank???
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2003, 07:50:33 AM »
Quote
We just had this new kid sign up for lessons.  He is a former TKD student.  (Red belt)  He just tested in December for his rank.  

Anyway, he can't stand on one leg for more than 10 seconds.  He doesn't know how to properly kick a target.  He can't remember any of his forms.  Doesn't know how to stand in a proper horse stance.  Doesn't know the names of his blocks.  I could go on and on.  

And this kid told me that in his old school he was two belts away from getting his black belt.  He's 11.  

 :'(

Well You know he is lying because in TKD the next rank is Black and that's 1 belt away.   (TKD Brown, Red, Black)

Sensei Ron

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:04 PM by -1 »
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Karazenpo

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Re: Asking for Rank???
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2003, 01:03:00 PM »
Aloha Professor Scott, Yes, Professor, I've seen exactly what you're talking about. Professor Pesare  had the same policy as yours for many, many years. As a matter of fact, when I first met him in 1978 it was from reading an article about him in Black Belt magazine. It stated he would train black belts from other systems but you had to start as white belts with no exceptions, of course like you stated, with prior experience you would accelerate quicker. I think it also is a sign of humility. At that time I had, I guess you could say, turned in my nidan for a white belt when I trained at his school. As of late, he has deviated from that policy. However, its his choice whether to accept a student black belt at his school at that rank for training and again his choice to keep him/her at that rank for however long he sees fit. I basically do the same thing. In other words, I've had some 'good' black belts from other schools whom I had no problem recognizing their rank and train them toward their next promotion. By the same token, I have seen what you have seen. In that case I work with them in an attempt to get them up to par, at least to a shodan level but I usually lose them when they realize I have no intentions of promoting them to the next level. I don't deceive them in any way, if anything, they attempt to deceive me. I ask them point blank when they come in, "What are you looking for from me?" They seem to always say knowledge and never mention rank. Sooner or later, they find a way to bring up promoting them and when I level with them (I try to do it in a nice way, if that's possible), I usually never see them again. Guess it was obvious what they were looking for. ;)   Respectfully, Shihan Joe
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »