Author Topic: A matter of propriety  (Read 7343 times)

SifuRay

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A matter of propriety
« on: December 29, 2002, 12:15:35 PM »
I have a situation in my school and I wanted to ask the higher ranking black belts how they have handled this kind of issue in the past.

I have a number of students that have been training with me for a few years and are in the upper color belt stage. However, I also have a student of exceptional skill that trains on average three times as much during the week and helps me with my kids classes.

Essentially, she has put in as many hours of training in a shorter amount of time as someone who trained over a longer span of time but fewer hours a week.

I have promoted her to student black over the brown belts who had been with me longer.

I have noticed similar instances of this even in the black belt structure where junior black belts have been promoted in rank over peers who essentially held thier time in rank longer.

How do you feel about this?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline John Bishop

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Re: A matter of propriety
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2002, 01:56:21 PM »
I have had this problem a few times also.   I have students that have been with me for years, but seem to miss 20-30% of their classes.  
I take role at all classes, and let the students know that when it comes to testing several factors come into play.  One of them is "training hours".  Even though someone has seniority, they may be passed up by someone who puts in more actual training time.  
To me it's only fair to reward hard work.  And if someone ever challenges me on it I can pull out the roll sheets and point out that even though they started before someone, that person has actually attended more classes and spent more time training.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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kiai2239

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Re: A matter of propriety
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2002, 02:33:29 PM »
I think that we would all agree that time served in training is a key determination in promotion along side skill.  I have seen on numerous occassions where students have excelled in training and time on the floor pass up other students of rank and rightfully so.

What I believe is the more difficult question is this.  In regards to black belts.  If one student earns his black belt in 1999 and a second student earns his in 2000:  If both are actively training and the instructor of the second student promotes him to first degree prior to the student of the first teacher being promoted to first degree, who out ranks who?  If both are actively training, do we consider the strips on the belt or who was promoted to black belt first?

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

Sigung Ray

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Re: A matter of propriety
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2003, 07:43:10 PM »
I had a situation like that, solution I put the two students to start making all the techniques they had, the one that was promoted with fewer time kept doing techniques while the other with longer time stop. the one with fewer time had more techniques because he was in class training while the other/s were not!!! ;D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Deborah Lozano

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Re: A matter of propriety
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2003, 09:27:51 AM »
We have had the same problem for the last 35 years in our school because so many of us have stayed and still train at one time or another.  We range from Student Black through 6th Degree (5 6th Degrees in fact) in class with Professor at 8th Degree.  Our rule is you rank by seniority once you receive your 1st Degree.  In other words, the day you started at the Dojo.  When you stay this long many things happen in your life to take you away and bring you back, marriages, job changes, babies, divorces, deaths.  If you stay long enough something will get in the way of your training.  This method honors those who have remained the longest even if life did not allow them to train the most !  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

kiai2239

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Re: A matter of propriety
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2003, 03:43:25 PM »
So what you are saying is that if I am promoted to 1st degree today and you are promoted tommorrow, I out rank you.  (Understandable)  Next week,  I stop training for some reason, while you continue.  Two years later, you are promoted to 2nd degree.  The following month, I show up in class again.  I still outrank you based on the date I received my 1st degree belt even though I have not been training?

My original question was in respect to two students with different instructors.  The senerio is this:  If my teacher is willing to promote me every year, one additional degree, (by the way, he is not)  but your teacher is only willing to consider black belt degree promotes every two - three years, would it be fair that I would outrank you when we spend equal amounts of time training, especially if you were promoted to 1st degree prior to me?

So here is my next question, Why do we have standards of promoting in respect to color ranks, (requirements of specific knowledge and abilities) but we do not have standards set for black belt ranking?  (1st degree on up)   Should we not have standards based on length of time training, skill level and whether a person is actively teaching/training?  Or should it simply be at each individual instuctors discresion?  


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

Offline Gints Klimanis

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Re: A matter of propriety
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2003, 02:42:35 PM »
This is a difficult topic.  My organization generally
ranks by training "span" rather than
training hours in class.  To earn a black belt, you
need basic proficiency in all of the arts and a few years
of teaching time.  All of that takes about eight
years of training in a regimen of 3 classes/week.
You are promoted only during triannual ceremonies.
If you miss the ceremony during a fellow  student's "time", you may be passed up.  The black belt degrees don't have any definitions other than a rough time estimate, leadership ability and teaching experience.  Overall, it seem to be an accumulated value
to the organization rather than technical ability.  In retrospect, I think this is wise.  Martial arts should be a personal pursuit.  The fixed time
ranking avoids petty competition for rank.  I've
heard of all sorts of systems:  
1) explicit requirements,
2)bringing a beginner to black belt (for 2nd degree),
3) yearly spacing depending on the degree (after
black belt, two year for 2nd, three years for 3rd, etc.),
4) promotion when you start your own organization
so that you may promote your own students.
5) You must defeat everyone at your current rank in
combat

Personally, I would define a black belt to be
someone that has a basic proficiency in the core
art, is able to teach all of that material with
rudimentary teaching skill and is able to deliver
crippling blows.  The last requirement is quite
severe and selects for larger, stronger
students.  I do have a philosophical problem with
that because I've always believed that technical
training should help equalize a relative disadvantage
in size and strength.  However, that means that
students of below average size/strength will need
a significantly higher level of technical/tactical ability.
Thus, it's difficult for me to compose a definition of
a black belt because it's the final result that counts.

In a modern society built of a supposed meritocracy, it's difficult to resolve explicit rank for activities in which we've presupposed that rank is a specific indication of
technical ability.  Yet, we live with many examples of such and don't question them.
A prime example is the US educational system.
Until age 18, just about everyone is advanced by
age in the K-12 system.  Most of the kids never
learn much more than that offered in the
3rd grade.  Everyone is graded.  Just about
everyone graduates even though there is a HUGE
difference in the quality of the education.


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

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Re: A matter of propriety
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2003, 07:53:41 PM »
That is a profoundly true statement to say that "almost everyone gradutes though there is a huge difference in the quality of the education".  My instructor has said "train for yourself - don't worry about anyone else"  Does the number of strips someone else has really matter?  What matters is the quality of your training.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Offline kungpoo

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Re: A matter of propriety
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2003, 12:00:11 PM »
  In regards to time spent training. Could they both apply the knowledge required.  I have seen people train harder than most who couldn't understand the basic principles.  Others spend less time training, but have a grasp on the knowledge and skill.  
   As for Black belt ranking I think it is there is no real point.  Ranking is someone else's opinion of your skill.  Does it really affect your training?  If so you should reconsider your training.  Are you training for personal growth or the growth of your ego?  I have seen high ranking degrees who were a personal disgrace. Don't train for rank or time. Train to better yourself and the world you live in. Rank or color is not martial arts. Neither is a black belt.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline JoelApolonio01

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Re: A matter of propriety
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2003, 11:16:20 PM »
Prior to starting my training with Sigung Bishop,
I had trained previously with a Shaolin Long Fist/ Yang TaiJi, and Shuai Jiao Sifu.
There were no belt/ Sash ranks really we all wore a white sash. The only way you could tell who was really good and who wasn't was to watch us practice.
those who put their heart into the training deserved to recognized for their efforts, thsoe who dogged it were just tolerated. ( Class may just be something they wanted to spend time in. )
Long story short, Time in grade is one thing and they do deserve recognition in my honest and humble opinion, But, hard work, desire, and effort should be rewarded.

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

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Re: A matter of propriety
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2003, 07:24:12 AM »
Imho,many of you make excellent points. I started in the arts 30 years ago & although, like most, I have done some cross training I've remained faithful all this time to my Kajukenbo subsystem. A couple of years after my promotion to 6th dan in 1992 I  got totally disgusted with rank abuse.I continued my training but felt to heck with it, I'm not going up for another promotion! Pretty much what was said in Joel's post. As long as I have the training & knowledge,who cares? It seemed like everyone and their brother were 10th degree grandmasters. When I started it was a something to be a shodan or to know someone who was. It was a big thing. Now, that is not good enough. As said in a previous post,ego? yes, I would say so in many instances. However,there is a dilemma if you are running a school or schools. The American concept of "bigger is better". Prospective students look in the yellow pages and many times pick the highest ranking dan assuming he/she is the best. As also said in a previous post,we've all seen some terrible high ranking black belts but many novices are taken in by this and if you are a school owner(s) you still have to pay the bills. As one of my long time instructors told me just the other day, to paraphrase it, don't bite your nose to spite your face. Don't let these other people affect you. As long as your rank was earned and legitimate that's all that should matter. So I've kind of changed my thoughts on ranking now and I feel if you are operating commercial schools and have to pay bills it is a good idea to keep your rank up. You don't have to compromise anything just seek out legitimate instructors to train under, work hard & when your instructor feels you are ready,go for it! Imho,   Shihan Joe Shuras
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Deborah

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Re: A matter of propriety
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2003, 02:01:05 PM »
To clarify, in our method, you rank by the day you started just like employment.  But you wouldn't displace a 2nd degree with a 1st degree.  When the 1st degree earns 2nd degree they stand in front of all the 2nd degrees who began after them even though it may mean moving ahead of someone you stood below yesterday... The method gets tricky sometimes because some students now have their own schools and have been promoted by instructors other than ours.  When they visit, they would never stand ahead of me no matter what their rank because I am the oldest (in senority).  This is just an "hornoring" of the ones that have stayed the longest.

Wow, what a lot of feelings there are about rank.  For those who think it should be tied to your skill and feel that there are a lot of Black Belts who look awful... what would you do with a student who wanted to earn their Black Belt, but they had Multiple Sclerosis... Not let them train cause they wouldn't be able to do the moves effectively ??  We have Black Belts in wheelchairs.  I truly respect my instructor who has decided that martial arts and Kajukenbo specifically should be about doing what you can, with what you've been given, forever.. not till you're 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 or 70 !, but forever, a Way of Life.  I see some of the older generation at the tournaments and when I was young I used to think, "wow, wonder how high he can kick?" or "all those stripes, but anyone could attack them and hurt them now".  I don't think that way any more.  If you stay in Martial Arts long enough you begin to realize that just sticking with it and continuing to train and learn and help others is what is important.   The stripes mean senority to me now and I would never be so presumptuous, especially not having traveled in their shoes, to think that they don't deserve their stripes based upon how they look or what techniques they can or cannot perform.    
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Shihan Joe Shuras

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Re: A matter of propriety
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2003, 05:44:56 PM »
Deborah, Respectfully, I believe you misunderstood what was mean't by some high ranking black belts looking awful. I will speak for myself but I am sure "Kungpoo" mean't the same thing. You mentioned MS,that hit home, I have someone very dear to me that has MS and I am trying to get her into training. What was mean't is rank abuse,someone whom , not by any physical handicap or learning disability is either prematurely promoted,self-promoted or promoted for monetary gain. I would never put down anyone with any type of handicap from achieving black belt or high dan ranks,as a matter of fact I would put them above myself for overcoming such adversity.They have my utmost respect & admiration. I've been in the arts for over 30 years and I have seen  shortcuts and poor "quality control" when it comes to high dan ranks for some. I'm sure you have too. That's all that was mean't. Respectfully submitted, Shihan Joe Shuras
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Deborah

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Re: A matter of propriety
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2003, 02:07:18 PM »
Point well taken and pardon me jumping the gun.  You are correct I do know some who have rank for sale and those who have purchased them.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline Gints Klimanis

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Re: A matter of propriety
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2003, 05:55:22 PM »
I sincerely believe that those with handicaps need martial arts more than the rest of us.  And, by all means, their special needs should be accomodated in their training.  However, a black belt should not be handed out simply for courage or perseverance.  If a handicap, be it mental or physical, prevents the student from developing proficiency in the core or equivalent material, then the grade shouldn't be awarded.  

If you are teaching wheel chair-ridden students hand-to-hand combat for self-defense, you are doing them a major disservice.  Consider steering them to guns or other weapons.




« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
"We do not condone the use of a toilet seat as a deadly weapon"
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