5 year old black belts?

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by Calhoun, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. Laurentkd

    Laurentkd Master Black Belt

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    I think you are right... but what is to say that this 17 year old doesn't have much more merit than a 37 year old but not allowed to test until he is 18? By holding the 17 year old student back it seems promotion has in fact been based off seniority (in age) rather than merit.

    I am assuming you are talking about the specific question I hijacked the thread with... if you are making a general statement then I totally agree... if people are only testing because a minimum time limit is up then there is a problem in my opinion.
     
  2. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    I was indeed speaking generally. The 17 y.o. waiting for 18 is the same problem with age to enlist in the army/vote/smoke/etc., and similarly with driving at 16 and drinking at 21. It's true that with martial arts you can make a one-on-one decision about an individual that is harder to do than with voting but across a 30,000 member org. you'd still get wide disparities in judgment. It'd be like letting your h.s. civics teacher decide whether you're ready to vote or not. I think some age limits are good for the integruty of the system.

    If a 15 y.o. is worked up over not being promoted...he may not yet have the maturity we'd hope for in a person of that rank. If he isn't worked up about, there's no problem. Yes, a Catch-22 for the kid...but to my mind being a black belt and especially a ranking one requires a certain maturity and experience a kid would be very unlikely to have.
     
  3. Svart

    Svart Yellow Belt

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    I saw a black belt at McDonalds today, he was up to my waist. THEY EXIST!
     
  4. Sylo

    Sylo Purple Belt

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    I agree with you.

    But, in my personal situation. My instructor is not to blame. There are different people in different parts of the country. If you were to visit here, I'd not have to explain a thing. I come from a very poverty ridden backwoods part of the world. People use TKD as a cheap baby sitter, or they come to do "MMA", or they come because they want exercise. They don't look at it as a lifelong commitment. They've seen enough ATA to know your "supposed" to be yellow belt in 2 months, regardless of your skill level. They don't "understand" and no amount of explaining will make them see any differently. I really wish the people that lived in my area were like the ones you described. Sadly, most of the people here still refer to our school as "karate". They just want to know when they'll be black belt, and how many classes it will take.
     
  5. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    So they're putting them into the happy meals as a prize now. I just knew it would happen!

    Daniel
     
  6. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    I think that one distinction that needs to be made is that being against kiddie blackbelts is not the same as being against teaching kids.

    I am very much in favor of teaching kids, and practitioners I know who started as young kids (and who didn't take twenty years off to pursue sword arts like I did) have an almost preternatural grace about them if they stay with it from childhood through adulthood.

    But just because you're a kid with grace doesn't make you a fighter on par with an adult, even an untrained adult. Being a mature fighter is the core of what constitutes a blackbelt. Parents who want to push their ten year old into a black belt should be made to understand this.

    Unfortunately, with kiddie blackbelts, we've collectively painted ourselves into a corner as an industry and it will take years to undo, even if every school in the country were trying to, which few are.

    Daniel
     
  7. Gizmo

    Gizmo Yellow Belt

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    It's a matter of choices you make. I understand that your instructor is trying to make a living, but on the other hand - where is the limit of compromise?

    The region I live in was the second poorest part of the European Union just a couple of years ago. Remember, we can give people a fish and feed them for a day, or teach them fishing and feed them for life. In my school, the students can train for free if they get to a black belt, or if they are in the National Team, or if they work for the school. Simple things - advertising, helping with demos or tournaments (I don't mean refereeing - I mean carrying the tables, cleaning the mats, escorting teams from other locations), mending the equipment. Nothing is given, just like in life. We should actually teach people that there is NO easy way, otherwise they will look for an easy way in life. They need a belt, they get it. They need money, the government should give it to them. Miracles like unemployed people in locations where workers are needed (yes, we have it over here...).

    Every year I'm in Moldova for a couple of days and a tournament. They are the poorest country in Europe. When I first got ther I had an impression of East European pre-WW2 villages live in front of me, just like I saw it in the history books. What we really liked was the fact that they had a great MA spirit. Black belts were few and really of a black belt caliber. Most students wore lower coloured belts. I spoke with their instructors and found out that the tests are hard and pretty expensive, and still - many people are willing to train. I still remember a group of Moldovan students coming 1000 kms to our tournaments - 6 people in a 5 person car, the 6th one crossing the border by feet to avoid being fined, withb the instructor driving all the way. They didn't have enough money, but they had a heart!

    I was shocked to hear a question from a student from another school asking me if anybody ever failed a belt test in our club. Sure thing - I answered - it happens, if there is a test, there is a possibility that you will fail. It doesn't happen very ofthen, as the higher grades do know when to test and when to wait ;) The second question was - how many people quit because they failed a test. I had to think for a while and answered - I remember two of them. The student said that in his school everybody tests, everybody passes, because if somebody would fail, s/he would quit the very next day for sure. I thought that something goes totally wrong there.

    I think it's our fault, the instructors' fault, that we chose to accept the excuses, go the easy way and dropped to the expectations of many customers, instead of helping them to rise to the level we want them to achieve. I firmly believe that we can create a good MA program without compromising the snadards. It's also about teaching people that the belts are not everything. Just that and as hard as that.
     
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  8. Traditionalist

    Traditionalist Orange Belt

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    I have a problem with an 18 year old being a third dan period.
     
  9. Traditionalist

    Traditionalist Orange Belt

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    Maybe they could try this for the drinking age or for driving. If a kid can pass the driving test no matter what age then he can drive.
     
  10. IcemanSK

    IcemanSK El Conquistador nim!

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    Let's not try to compare martial art rank with drinking or driving. As much as we love it, it just ain't that special or important.

    Don't make the piece of cloth around your waist mean something that it doesn't.
     
  11. StuartA

    StuartA Black Belt

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    For those that want to do this sort of thing, for whatever reason, theres a simply way around it - give the kids something else as an incentive.. make a grade thats top of the line for kids, but NOT a black belt, kinda like a Jnr BB but for even younger pups. Utilize them dodgy gold or cammo belts out there.. that way, kids still have the progression and the BB isnt dimished as its not handed out to kids.. further more the school doesnt get a bad rep cos it it!

    Parents mostly dont know jack about martial arts.. explain the merits of such a system and what a BB means in your school and then they should understand. As long as little Johnny is seen to be moving forward and achieveing most parents would be happy Id think.

    Stuart
     
  12. Cirdan

    Cirdan Senior Master

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    Yeah.. one parent told my teacher his 16 yr old son is a national champion in kata and a 7th Dan in Mudo. Even with today`s rank inflation I find that hard to believe.
     
  13. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Mudo? Never heard the term applied to a specific martial art. Does it not simply mean, 'martial way'?

    Daniel
     
  14. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Nor do they know Jill.
     
  15. StuartA

    StuartA Black Belt

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    Even truer!

    Stuart
     
  16. Cirdan

    Cirdan Senior Master

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    Yes, I think the club is named the Mudo institute or something and they teach TKD and possibly Hapkido. I hear they have a few 3rd dans below the age of 18 there, but 7.th dan at 16 is just plain stupid.
     
  17. BrandonLucas

    BrandonLucas 3rd Black Belt

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    Wow. 7th dan at 16? They would have had to have started taking the martial art far before they were in the womb...

    Seriously, though, these are classic examples of McDojos. I agree that if you think someone who is ill prepared to go through the physical demands of an adult has worked hard enough to deserve a black belt, then this is where a Jr. Blackbelt would come into play.

    I really feel strongly that a full blackbelt should not be rewarded until the person can subject themselves to the exact same physical tests that an adult would. There are kids, though, that show a strong understanding of the martial art and are spot on with technique...they just may not be devoloped enough yet to complete an adult testing.
     
  18. Kwanjang

    Kwanjang 3rd Black Belt

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    I have commented on this thread before.

    1. In no way can a child (fight) a grown man and win.

    2. Can children that are gifted, learn the material, and demonstrate beautiful and powerful (for their age and size) technique, absolutely.

    3. kids are just smaller versions of adults. Hence, if they are taught and they practice diligently they can be quite impressive.

    4. 5 year old Black belts no way! 4-6 is when I start teaching them.

    5.I have several young BB ages 9-14 who are impressive to watch. Can they defend themselves against another kid their age? I think so, each responding according to their gifts, naturally!

    6. Some examples of exceptional child martial artist:Jet Li, Ernie Rayes Jr.
    there are probably some more- can't think of them of hand.

    7. Kid martial artist are the future of the arts, embrace their passion, for we adults will not be around forever.
     
  19. sjansen

    sjansen Orange Belt

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    I just saw a second degree 7 year old in TKD. Maybe I should have recorded it and sent it in like the bigfoot footage.
     
  20. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    LOL! Yeah, it completely devalues the system--TKD ranks are like Zimbabwean currency at this point. (Sorry, TKDers.)
     

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