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Rank Disconnect
#1
Here's a question that came up for me tonight.

The roots of it are in this one.   Why is it that many senior ranks look down on colored belt attitude that is eager to gain black belt or  advanced bb rank when they themselves felt that way until they gained it themselves?

The question that came up tonight was this:

How is it that some instructors claim to value rank and promotion so dearly that a student even has to earn a white belt, and yet at the same time when asked about their own rank "humbly" say that a belt is only to hold up your pants?

I feel like those folks have no right to criticize people sagging their pants.   Perhaps they just haven't done what it takes to earn a belt in their family.....

Huh Angel Big Grin
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#2
Ego is a manipulative animal. It also is two faced, but the best answer to your question is the old adage that seems to permeate the martial arts world........"Do as I say, Not as I do"!!..................
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#3
I was lucky in that all my instructors encouraged every student to pursue what they (the student) wanted from their martial arts training whether it was to achieve a black belt, or simply to gain confidence in themselves.
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#4
If the belt really doesn't matter, don't wear belts or even talk about rank. In the grand scheme of things, belt rankings are relatively new anyway.

If the belt does matter, than why critique someone for wanting something that matters?
Martial Arts done well leads to a more virtuous life because everyone is fighting something.

"If your eye is single, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eye is evil, even the light that is within you will be darkness.  If the light that is within you is darkness, how great is that darkness?"  (Jesus of Nazareth)
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#5
(01-20-2016, 02:03 AM)Conrad Wrote: If the belt really doesn't matter, don't wear belts or even talk about rank.  In the grand scheme of things, belt rankings are relatively new anyway.

Very true.  As far as karate and those arts that were/are derived from karate, the use of belts is less than 100 years old. 

Those that attended our school know that GM Dunn and myself rarely wore a belt, or even a full uniform.  In the past 10 years I've worn a belt twice.  And I don't consider that I've really missed out on something. 

I can fully understand folks in the beginning stages of their training desiring the next higher belt.  Society and the arts are sort of built that way in the modern era.  And as long as the experience and skill mirror the belt worn, and the belt is worn with humility and a desire to help those that are following in your path then no issue exists.  Anything other than that is questionable.
Two thousand years ago wise men sought Christ, wise men still do.

Techniques are situational, principles are universal.

Fast as the wind, quiet as the forest, aggressive as fire, and immovable as a mountain.

He who gets there first with the most...wins!

Minimal force may not be minimum force!

We don't rise to the occasion...we sink to the level of our training.


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#6
I only use belts so I can keep track of who is at what level. It is human nature to want to progress but focusing on the belt is not the answer but rather focus on their improvements this teaches them that doing something good and correct should be their goals and rank will natural happen. Self Improvement is what I go for in all areas for my students and myself.
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#7
The subject of reaction to ranking sort of caught my attention while browsing topics. Wink

Quantifying and classifying the status or accomplishments of people is hardly a new phenomena, but belt ranking isn't exactly an "old" system.

There once came a time, after I'd stopped participating in a particular chain of dojos and was no longer teaching, when I one day apparently decided to divest myself of all the rank belts. I say "apparently", because while I vaguely remember doing it, I can't really remember the thought process, and it was more than 15-20 years ago. I'd long since reverted to my early Muay Thai training (my first instructor was a member of one of the early Japanese kick-boxing teams from the end of 60's and early 70's, as a shotokan stylist adapting to Thai boxing), and had been involved in the practice of some Chinese arts for many years.

Anyway, a few years ago my first instructor, still a longtime friend of more than 40 years, happened to make the trip to visit. He lives about 3+ hours away. Imagine my surprise when he produces a cute wooden box with Japanese Kanji on it, and presents it to me. Inside I find 2 rank belts carefully coiled together, a white one and a black one. He grins at me and tells me that it was time I accepted my roots and remember where I (we) came from many years ago. he encourages me to never forget that both colors of rank belts basically represent various degrees of beginner, and a continued exploration of beginning.

I do remember, however, encouraging and helping my younger brother prepare for his style's san dan and yon dan rank tests many years ago. I told him that by themselves, they were just rank certificates received from overseas and a belt to properly configure his gi, and that if he allowed achievement of them to interfere with his continued desire to learn and develop himself, he probably wasn't yet mentally (or spiritually) ready to get them.

Sometimes seeing someone attain some various degree of ranking may be helpful to loosely indicate the mental, as well as physical, preparation for them being ready for further study and achievement. Kinda, sorta.

In my case, I found that if I agreed to take on a private student, it was often better (for both of us) if the prospective student was at least an intermediate beginner (meaning shodan or nidan in some of the common ranked systems), although I've made exceptions for people who deserved higher rankings, in so many ways, than they'd apparently felt compelled to acquire. They were ready for more than the basics, and I had more opportunity to learn more about the both of us, allowing me to further consider my own journey while helping direct them further along their own path.

Oddly enough, it was one such student ended up compelling me to start writing. That was apparently the reason for our paths to briefly intertwine. (I released him to seek elsewhere after only a handful of months.) That interlude in the mid 90's resulted in me eventually writing more than 1400 pages of material about my pursuit of the arts, and those things hidden with the arts. Not a "how to" manual, but more a consideration of the insights gained about layers of learning absorbed along the way. Some of those pages that dealt with previous learning/training experiences ended up incorporating my experiences as a firearms trainer, but they can be culled (for possible use elsewhere) if I eventually decided to publish.

Rank may be an arbitrary experience for some, and a more meaningful experience for others. Those things, too, can have further revealed meaning and importance.

Kinda, sorta. Wink
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#8
(06-21-2017, 09:14 PM)fastbolt Wrote: The subject of reaction to ranking sort of caught my attention while browsing topics. Wink

Quantifying and classifying the status or accomplishments of people is hardly a new phenomena, but belt ranking isn't exactly an "old" system.

There once came a time, after I'd stopped participating in a particular chain of dojos and was no longer teaching, when I one day apparently decided to divest myself of all the rank belts. I say "apparently", because while I vaguely remember doing it, I can't really remember the thought process, and it was more than 15-20 years ago. I'd long since reverted to my early Muay Thai training (my first instructor was a member of one of the early Japanese kick-boxing teams from the end of 60's and early 70's, as a shotokan stylist adapting to Thai boxing), and had been involved in the practice of some Chinese arts for many years.

Anyway, a few years ago my first instructor, still a longtime friend of more than 40 years, happened to make the trip to visit. He lives about 3+ hours away. Imagine my surprise when he produces a cute wooden box with Japanese Kanji on it, and presents it to me. Inside I find 2 rank belts carefully coiled together, a white one and a black one. He grins at me and tells me that it was time I accepted my roots and remember where I (we) came from many years ago. he encourages me to never forget that both colors of rank belts basically represent various degrees of beginner, and a continued exploration of beginning.

I do remember, however, encouraging and helping my younger brother prepare for his style's san dan and yon dan rank tests many years ago. I told him that by themselves, they were just rank certificates received from overseas and a belt to properly configure his gi, and that if he allowed achievement of them to interfere with his continued desire to learn and develop himself, he probably wasn't yet mentally (or spiritually) ready to get them.

Sometimes seeing someone attain some various degree of ranking may be helpful to loosely indicate the mental, as well as physical, preparation for them being ready for further study and achievement. Kinda, sorta.

In my case, I found that if I agreed to take on a private student, it was often better (for both of us) if the prospective student was at least an intermediate beginner (meaning shodan or nidan in some of the common ranked systems), although I've made exceptions for people who deserved higher rankings, in so many ways, than they'd apparently felt compelled to acquire. They were ready for more than the basics, and I had more opportunity to learn more about the both of us, allowing me to further consider my own journey while helping direct them further along their own path.

Oddly enough, it was one such student ended up compelling me to start writing. That was apparently the reason for our paths to briefly intertwine. (I released him to seek elsewhere after only a handful of months.) That interlude in the mid 90's resulted in me eventually writing more than 1400 pages of material about my pursuit of the arts, and those things hidden with the arts. Not a "how to" manual, but more a consideration of the insights gained about layers of learning absorbed along the way. Some of those pages that dealt with previous learning/training experiences ended up incorporating my experiences as a firearms trainer, but they can be culled (for possible use elsewhere) if I eventually decided to publish.

Rank may be an arbitrary experience for some, and a more meaningful experience for others. Those things, too, can have further revealed meaning and importance.

Kinda, sorta. Wink


Great post Smile
Two thousand years ago wise men sought Christ, wise men still do.

Techniques are situational, principles are universal.

Fast as the wind, quiet as the forest, aggressive as fire, and immovable as a mountain.

He who gets there first with the most...wins!

Minimal force may not be minimum force!

We don't rise to the occasion...we sink to the level of our training.


Reply
#9
I can remember a time, in the early days of my training that getting a black belt was the sole driving force of my life. It's funny because now I just enjoy the art and I don't think about belts much anymore, in fact we seldom wear them. I think they have their place for Gup levels. I suspect that most people after making black belt don't dwell on it like they used to do.
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