Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Will_Christian, Jan 20, 2017.
That's also my mental image, mostly because that's the common reality within the NGAA.
That's pretty much how we do it in our org, except it's a red belt instead of brown.
And it's not as if they're on their own. Our 1st Dans teach, but they're still training, as well, and so naturally they have access to higher ranked people to help with any questions.
I went to a few open mat nights at a Uechi Ryu school when I was in college. It was in the Pittsfield, MA area. I don't remember the CI's name, but he was a good guy. He was a 7th dan and had 2 stripes on his belt. The 6th dan under him had 1 stripe. I didn't know what was going on with it at first, as I'd only seen a stripe for each dan rank in my at-the-time organization. When I saw their rank certificates on the wall, I figured it out. None of the other black belts had stripes, as all were lower ranked. Those two gentlemen were called sensei, not any other title. I'm assuming they had formal titles, but most Okinawan styles' teachers that I've come across use sensei in day to day stuff, and titles only in formal stuff.
I really liked Uechi and that school, but they were about an hour away, and my class schedule made it impossible to train there consistently. They were great and allowed me to drop in during open mat any time. I went several times. I gave them some money, but I don't remember them ever asking for it.
Sorry if my previous post and/or this one came off matter of factly. I was just trying to clarify what I've seen (at that dojo and elsewhere online/books/etc).
Sounds like it could have been Mark Flynn. He also teaches Damian Mia BJJ. I have been thinking of paying them a visit myself. Never met him to my knowledge. But seems like a great place from the Web sight.
The importance of 1st 2nd Dan etc to you would be how long will you planing to study the art since at some point you will catch up. I study hapkido under a 9th degree grand master and I am testing for my third Dan soon. We can always learn from a more experience or advanced individual but how long will you do it for?
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I think it was Mark Flynn, but don't hold me to that. It was winter/spring '99. Very classy guy and sure knew his stuff. My favorite part was doing Sanchin kata with them. We took our gi tops off, and they "checked" our posture- nudging, pushing, etc. right from the start. That lead to Sanchin conditioning. I didn't get to do the jars, but I saw others using them. Very old school. You wouldn't know it by looking at them, but his students were tough as nails. And good people too. Not trying to steal a line from Fight Quest, but they were the type that would knock your teeth out, then sit you down and serve you tea.
If it's an old dojo (been around for a long time), then it's Flynn's dojo. If you're somewhat local or will be in the area, pay them a visit. I've seen a ton of crap and egos in MA, and none of it was in his dojo.
I'm happy to learn from anyone who knows more than I do about what they're showing/teaching me. Sempai-Kohai relationship. The act of trying to teach someone something you are trying to understand yourself is in itself an instructional action.
As to that last point, I have seen many times that people who start teaching often suddenly become much better technicians, and sometimes better fighters.
One of my judo coaches, a guy who is now... I think Bob is 55 now, has been consistently playing judo since he was 10. In school, he obtained a physical education masters. He's got an excellent job, every day he goes to the elementary school and teaches kindergarten to 2nd grade P.E.
Talk about a low-stress career. Anyway, he's one of the best judo seminar teaching clinicians I've ever been around.
I'm not at all surprised that you observed that, Jerry, as Bob was once, after a weekend seminar and a few of us were relaxing over beers and Mexican food, about how different areas of the brain are activated with different learning... methods. Watch a thing, occipital and frontal lobe; listen to a thing, frontal and temporal. Do a thing, and frontal and cerebellar centers firing.
Convert practice yourself into trying to explain a thing to someone else, and different areas of the frontal lobe are firing, as you are attempting to convert what you have thought and felt into words to explain, which leads to a different level of learning and understanding.
It's a really neat thing that pretty much anyone who has been asked this question, "How did you do that to me?" can answer... then feel. Sometimes it just flows out, sometimes there is a challenge as to how to phrase your concept of what just happened into words the other person can understand. Teaching is learning, too.
But, I'd be hesitant to go to a school, even though I personally started one by necessity as there was no other option if I wanted to continue to go to class, and learn only from a 1st Dan. But, as with my own experience, if that's the only option, due to location, or finances, it's WAY better than no training at all.
When your a black belt your Intitle to teach no matter what we have a black belt his only 15 and he teach adult and kids class its a great thing we even have a black belt who are assistant instructor and I started helping when i was on orange going on Purple and I got my swat patch 2015 at blue belt know im a 3rd degree brown and still helping and i can help teach the adult white to green so it doesnt really matter what belt you are if you can teach then go ahead teach theres even this young girl she just got her jr black aka adult blue belt know shes a assitant instructor so ya you can even teach at purple belt if you know your stuff
Agreed, all but the last paragraph. If it's a 1st dan in BJJ, that's a whole different matter than 1st dan in other styles. I'd be happy to learn a bit from anyone. If I'm going to study under someone I want someone with fairly extensive experience. Their rank will only be useful if I know the ranks in their organization. Even then, there can be a huge difference in experience. I dawdled at progressing through student ranks, so it took me about 15 years to get my instructor certification (at 1st dan). Others got theirs in 7-10. The best indicator, IMO, is the ability of their students.
Hey, if you can add some punctuation to your posts, they'll be a bit easier to read.
I studied it in grad. school in the late 80s in Prov., RI. Charles Earle was the instructor. Fascinating system. I would've liked to have continued, but it seemed at the time as though if you weren't in New England then you were out of luck on this art.
It goes a bit to the difference in when you can teach--the Filipino arts are relatively easy to train with a partner with occasional supervision and instruction, and that's how I learned arnis, but you can't really do Karate on your own before you've really studied it for a long time. I miss iaido too--graduated college, moved away, no nearby instructor, too detailed and specific for me to really continue on my own, even as (the equivalent of) a brown belt in the style.
As others have said, it depends on the art and the organization, and the school's needs. In Aikikai Aikido, 1st dan is a teaching level. Of course, it takes at minimum 6-7 years in USAF to reach shodan, and for most people it's closer to 10-12 years.
I posted this in another thread, it seems relevant here as well.
Martial arts are actually a cultural folk tradition. Historically, a lot of this stuff was taught from one village member to another, from elders to juniors within a society, from parents and grandparents to children and grand children, etc.
The realities of that era and place meant that these fighting skills were valuable and important as a way to survive threats that may come your way from time to time, or threats to the village on a larger scale.
So people taught what they knew, even if it wasn't much or they werent the best at it. Because if your son or daughter needs the skills and there is no one else to teach it, you did the best you could.
So there is nothing to say that, as a cultural folk tradition, which it could still be, someone who isn't even all that good could be doing some teaching. no matter what your skill may be, high or low, nobody can tell you that you cannot teach your own children, or your nephews and nieces, or grandkids, or the neighbor's kids...
Uechi isn't an easy art to find. I remember the first class I took with those guys...
Coming from Kyokushin, everything was different. We warmed up and went into kihon. They held their hands semi-open, and the blocks felt really odd. Kyokushin keeps their hands closed, and all blocks are huge and exaggerated, relatively speaking. Everything was done in Sanchin stance. I felt "what the hell are these people on? This is absurd." But I grinned and tried to keep an open mind.
The we did Sanchin. Again, "what the hell is this? This isn't Sanchin!" After walking me through it, the gi top came off. What? Then they started "checking" me - a nudge here, a push there, a slap to the hands and arms. That's when everything clicked. I did well enough to have them lightly hit me. They taught me to coordinate my breathing and posture with being hit. That's when I fell in love with it. The only way I did Sanchin previously was as tightly as possible and breathing very loudly. No one ever "checked" my anything during it.
No. There really is no "karate police" out there and just about anyone can legally teach a martial art. This is why it is very important to research the person's history and take those trail lessons very seriously.
I'll grant you that, Jerry. BJJ is the outlier in that bit of statistical analysis.
I would change it up, and say something like, "If they know more than I do about what they're trying to show me, or even if they don't but have a different viewpoint, I'm willing to listen."
You never know who is going to receive the "Teaching moment." Might be you, might be them... might be both of you.
Those BJJ dudes are P.R.O.U.D. of that 1st Dan, and rightly so. BJJ people, chime in on this. I was rolling at a BJJ place for a few months about 10 years ago, working on my judo naewaza (I kin speak sum Japneez, eh!), and one of the guys who was a ... purple belt? I sthat the one they typically put just before brown belt? I can't keep all the arts color belt grades straight, sorry. Anyway, he said he needed to go to a tournament, and roll against some brown belts in a tournament, and if he was able to win, or even hold his own agains tthem, then he would become eligble for promotion. I didn't ask him anything else, as it was time to switch partners. I've no clue if this was the Only way to promotion, or one way, or one association's or instructor's way... Anyone have a clear answer?
Average time for 1st dan is 10-12 years... whew! That is a good illustration of what the different ranks "mean" to the art being practiced. Honestly, knowing the local aikikai folks here in Houston, I'd say the rankings here are either easier.... or they are way better, as they're done in the 6-8 year category (yes I'm just poking).
Tomiki aikido is based on the judo ranking structure, but where the judo curriculum is the gokyu-no-waza (40) techniques, or the shiny new USJA 67 techniques I think it is, I can never remember that one, a strange artifact of this judo rank philosophy is that in Tomiki aikido, we progress really dern quick to shodan. Average is 2, 3 years. Of course, all this means is that you know the basic techniques, know what the principles "are," even if you don't really undertand what they "mean" and "why" they are there.... so you get to this basic level of understanding and then rank progression slows Waaayyyy down. It is not uncommon to fin a tomiki class with 2 or 3 color belts, 6 or 8 black belts and 1 to 3 candy-striper belts indicating rokudan or above. Like I said, an artifact.
A good way to figure out what level of skill someone has, though not really infallible, is "How long you been doing that?"
Someone says, "I've been in judo 15 years," you get the idea. Swap in different martial art name, and you get the same idea. That would be, they probably know their stuff.
Actually most BJJ tournaments have divisions based on belt level, so typically a purple belt wouldn't be up against brown belts (except in no-gi, where they would be lumped together in the advanced division.) More likely the requirement was for him to medal in the purple belt division and hang with the brown belts when rolling at the academy. That's one approach to promotions. It's not universal, but it's not uncommon either.123
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