A BB's philosophy

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Hand Sword, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. Hand Sword

    Hand Sword Grandmaster

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    I had a conversation with a martial artist at work earlier tonight, as he came in with a Karate sweater on. We got into talking about how he used his skills earlier. I listened to him ramble on, about how he used to do this and that, and for so long. Everything seemed to be in the past tense, which led me to ask if he still attended classes. He replied with a why bother attitude saying that he got his Black Belt already. I asked why not continue to study and get some stripes on the belt. He said once you have your Black Belt there really is no reason to keep going, as there is nothing else a teacher can teach you. He went on to say that the advanced stuff is nothing more than a bunch of basics put together, which you could do yourself, once you achieved BB staus. After all, he went on to say, a BB is an expert in the basics, why learn a bunch of more forms, and combinations, when you are fully capable of creating your own, if you have to have more. What you know at that point is already enough, realistically.

    Does any one else feel this way?
     
  2. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    Missing is the whole experience of training and keeping one's skills sharp. Pity he doesn't see it that way. that to me is the best part :(

    Not a BB yet but I sure hope I don't adopt that philosophy when I get there. :asian:
     
  3. EmperorOfKentukki

    EmperorOfKentukki Green Belt

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    Well...I'm sure the individual you mentioned can be a fine 'sport fighter' or 'street fighter' (provided he's tough enough). But he'll never know the rich depth of martial arts culture. "To taste sweet, you must first be able to eat bitter." It is good to have a solid foundation in basic technique....but there are layers to even basic technique...and an understanding of those depths cannot be obtained from superficial study. They require mind numbing hours of repetition until the mind is wiped away and the technique transcends conscious thought. And this is only the threshold. Beyond are visions of interconnectedness leading to revelation and profound understanding that goes beyond merely inflicting damage to another person.

    No one ever becomes a master craftsman without four ingredients: Persistent effort, mentoring, creative vision and passion.


    A person who would ignore culture, history and philosophy can never be more than an automaton acting in a conditioned response. What elevates Martial Arts to Art form is not only the physically aesthetic application....but the expression of soul through the medium of athletic excellence married to volitional personality.

    The Emperor
     
  4. Hand Sword

    Hand Sword Grandmaster

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    Funny enough, I actually remember a time, when I was an underbelt, years back, when a student came back after receivibg his Black Belt, thanking our teacher for the years, and saying he was quitting to open his own school. When our teacher said he didn't half to quit, he said the same thing to him, "there's nothing else you can teach me". I thought he was just one foolish person back then. I guess not, after tonight's conversation.

    However ...... Playing Devil's advocate ( I'm bored, and wanna chat [​IMG] ).

    If you spent the years with the blood, sweat, and tears put into training, learning, and getting the BB, you wouldn't be missing out on those things.

    As to the Culture, I think that comes after time in your study, but not the prime reason one takes up the arts. The master craftsman thing, I agree, but all those qualities can come on your own, without going to the dojo. Which is what he said in his argument of continuing on alone in his own way.

    Looking at his argument strictly from an analytical perspective, I could see his point. Thinking to my own studies through the years, of styles etc.., and reading posts here on MT, People with the time in don't really see anything new, revolutionary, etc... It's the same old stuff, maybe rearranged, but, the same, ultimately.

    Think of all the stuff you learn on your way to your Black Belt. All the basics, forms, combinations. You'll be reviewing that stuff your whole life. It always comes down to the philosophy of Basics, Basics, Basics anyway.
    So, from that perspective, I could see where he was coming from. How many, Ive read on here have talke3d about thinking they knew, but then had to redo the basics, and were thankful.

    Eventually, if you spend the time he talked about, you would start to do things your own way anyway, adding to, deleting from, we all do. Think also to the American founders, they were all just BB's when they went out on their own.

    So, from the material to be learned, that is really necessary to any art, the perfection of the basics, I could see his point of view. At least from that perspective alone.
     
  5. MartialIntent

    MartialIntent Black Belt

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    HS, I think your colleague has a point. To an extent. What I mean is, yes an artist who has reached a certain level of proficiency - and I hesitate to use the term BB as I believe there's often little equation of BB to proficiency and an inordinate amount of speedily advanced practitioners that I've encountered are more BS than BB ;) but certainly when a practitioner has reached an advanced level they *should* be able to coordinate the basics and the advanced techniques together into a cohesive personal system for themselves. And so there would be merit in the idea of not having to train further. But...

    The point I think your colleage is missing is exactly what you asked of them - why don't they practice any more. It's all well and good to say you can do this, that and the other, but as we're forever harping on about here on this forum, unless you train it; unless you work it and unless you prove it to yourself, then how do you know you can actually cut it at all? One can't just say BB equates to proficiency in all circumstances QED. It doesn't work like that. Armchair practitioners are only good for talking. And internet forums, hehe. LOL ;) Well, you know what I mean, armchair practitioners are something of an infestation in the arts, and not just on internet forums but in many dojos too unfortunately.

    And that's the point I was facetiously alluding to regarding the proximity between BS and BB, I mean there are more than a few folk who seem to equate a BB with some unsurpassable status which needs no further advancement. And then there are others who trot out the cliche that "a BB is just the beginning", while back in their dojo they shuffle around the mats with no spark of life left in them.

    I sometimes wish the BB wasn't such a supreme goal; I sometimes wish there *were* no belts. I mean it's great as a motivational tool but I'm sick of folk leaving or becoming wearied, lacklustre and apathetic practitioners once they reach BB. There. Rant over. Good thread yourself :)

    Respects!
     
  6. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    Like anything else, self-defense skills must be practiced to be properly accessible; after all, people forget! That's why people must recertify in first aid and CPR every 2 years.

    So, this person has his BB, and thinks that he knows everything, and has no further need to train - this attitude is not his fault; it is the fault of his instructor, for holding BB out as a be-all and end-all.

    The discussion of the proper use and/or elimination of rank has come up recently in another thread, so rather than post the entire discussion, I'm going to link into my last post on that thread.
     
  7. terryl965

    terryl965 <center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR

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    Well your friend is missing the point of what a BB really is, one must always train to stay sharpe.
    Terry
     
  8. JasonASmith

    JasonASmith Black Belt

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    Hell, I thought that B.B. just meant that a person was a serious student of that particular art...When/if I reach B.B. it will just mean that I can really buckle down and learn ALL of the ins and outs of the system that I have chosen...If it takes me the rest of my life(and it will) so be it...
    My uncle got his black belt in about 3 years, and I don't think that he studies any more...that just makes no sense to me...I would have wanted to keep going.
     
  9. stone_dragone

    stone_dragone Senior Master

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    An unfortunate cause of such thoughts is something that we have discussed on other threads : Some schools lack of curriculum material after black belt.

    It seems your aquaintance has confused a lack of spoonfed, pre-programed curriculum with a total lack of material. Many folks who belong to a school whose teaching method is geared to underbelts fail to grasp the depth of the information available. I feel that this is more the [former] student's problem than the school's.

    While I whole heartedly feel that earning a Black belt is a great accomplishment, staying one is a harder and more rewarding task. I'll compare it to getting married...Getting married is a big step and a great accomplishment, but staying married is the hard part!

    My .02
     
  10. Kenpojujitsu3

    Kenpojujitsu3 Master Black Belt

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    A sword is forged and folded with hard labor (attaining the Black Belt)

    Now the sword must be maintained (further degrees of Black Belt, years of training)

    Eventually the sword will have to be resharpened whether from use or dis-use as time passes. This resharpening is called (aging and mastery.)

    Someone missed the boat ride or their instructor never offered them a ticket.
     
  11. Kenpojujitsu3

    Kenpojujitsu3 Master Black Belt

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    Amen
     
  12. searcher

    searcher Senior Master

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    I have been training most of my life and at one point I shared a similar view with your compadre, but that has since changed. I still seem to learn things from instructors that I thought had nothing left to teach. I would have thought that there would only be so much a person could learn from one individual, but I have been proven wrong tima and again. It is not really the refinement of your skills and staying sharp that should drive an individual. It should not be the pursuit of a black coclored piece of cotton either. For every person the "driver" will be different, but it should not be superficial items. Just from what you have stated, I feel one of a handful of things happened to make the aforementioned individual quit. He is either lazy. He is arrogant. He had a pre-concieved idea about what he would get/become upon recieved his BB. I have seenall three from my students and from other's students. The latter is the one that blows my mind more than any other. I mean the lazy part is what is happening to society. To much television and video games mixed with microwavable dinners. The arrogant happens almost at the same level. It is similar to when a kid hits puberty. They think they have the world figured out and nobody can tell them different. The last is the weirdest one I have encountered. The student thinks that they will get some type of supernatural powers when they get that BB. That they will become a super-lethal killer with no equal. Movies and wire work have helped this one come to fruition. Who wouldn't want to be able to fight off a whole army of armed soldiers with only theri bare hands? I would love that, it is just not reality. Thank you all for letting me ramble. I am glad that this topic has come up. It may help with current BBs and aspiring BBs.
     
  13. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Sadly, this is the attitude of many people. IMHO, they're doing themselves a big dis-service, because they're in the long run, really missing out on alot! I suppose this mentality can be from a number of reasons. Maybe they just lost interest, maybe they just didn't take the time to step back and take another look at the training and what it has to offer, or maybe their instructor honestly didn't have any more to offer.

    I've been training for a long time now, and honestly, I don't see myself stopping anytime soon. Every time I go to a class, I'm learning something. The thing of it is, is it does not necessarily have to be something physical. It can be something so small, but it really makes a difference in the way material is performed.

    I honestly believe that if we took a step back and revisited our material, we'd be surprised as to how much more there really is to learn.

    Mike
     
  14. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    A black belt (or it's equivalent) is a starting point for serious study.

    Sure, advanced techniques are often just the result of putting basic techniques together or internalizing a principle taught in a basic technique to the point that it becomes invisible within other techniques... But that's NOT the end of knowledge.

    Many people see the black belt as the culmination of their training, rather than the beginning. It's too bad -- because I've learned more as a black belt than I did before!
     
  15. Bigshadow

    Bigshadow Senior Master

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    Let's put this in perspective... When a 16 year old passes their driving test and gets their driver's license, they have been taught the "technical ability" and there is nothing more "technically" that one can teach them about driving a car. However, as we ALL know.... they are some of the most dangerous drivers on the road in the beginning, until they hone their skills and become masters of driving (or not... :p). At any rate, I think this analogy applies to getting a black belt or even getting a pilot's license, for that matter.

    These people that think the way you described simply do not see a black belt for what it truly is... :asian:
     
  16. tkd_jen

    tkd_jen Purple Belt

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    Stone_Dragon, I love that!! I have seen too many students "take some time off" after getting their Black Belts....we're still waiting for them to return. Staying an Black Belt, I like that phrase...

    On the flip side, as a spanking new 1st Dan, it is kind of a weird time in my training. Sure i have a new pattern to learn, so that is the same as before, but it is kinda confusing too, because now instead of learning the material to perform it, I am learning it to perform it and to teach it. It's funny how someone here said some students get "super hero-itis" when they reach Black Belt...it's weird because the students in the class that I go to now treat me like I suddenly have gained some super knowledge since I reached Black. I keep telling them, 'Did you forget that a month ago I was a color belt too?' They are so cool though. Good thread!!
     
  17. shesulsa

    shesulsa Columbia Martial Arts Academy

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    There is a difference between someone who goes rock climbing and a climber, someone who goes skiing and a skier,someone who tells a lie and a liar, someone who gets their black belt and someone who is a black belt.

    The learning, training, evolving doesn't stop at black 1. The path is long, involved and filled with opportunity. But if one doesn't walk it, they cannot see it. That's my very very humble view from my standpoint at Dan 1.

    This poor fellow either approached his training from the standpoint that he had a goal to reach and that was it, or was taught this, or both.

    Do I walk better at 40 than I did at two? Most definitely. Do I speak better, eat better, understand people better? Of course. I think I'm different than I was a month ago, let alone a decade ago.

    Learning is a state of mind, not a laundry list. And if one thinks there is nothing they can learn in any possible situation, they are not of the mentality of learning.

    Now ... I've heard people criticize others who seek to continually learn - not just martial arts, but anything - rather than put their skills to work and be productive. How about a balance? How about some work, some striving, some service, peppered with learning? There is NOTHING wrong with learning. I learn from babies. Can you?
     
  18. Hand Sword

    Hand Sword Grandmaster

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    I agree with all here.

    Apparently he still "trains", But, just does so on his own. Going over all that he learned up to BB, changing, adding, deleting to and from. He had compared it to Boxing. You learn so much, then practice that over and over. Any "new" combos, he said, you can do yourself. "Once you have the basics, you're all set!"
     
  19. Brandon Fisher

    Brandon Fisher Master Black Belt

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    He has totally missed the point. I wouldn't pay any attention to him or worry about it. There are to many like him that just don't understand.
     
  20. stone_dragone

    stone_dragone Senior Master

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    While I feel that there is some validity to this argument, I would like to take it back to Bigshadow's point reagarding the drivers license analogy and take it one step further. While most people getting their driver's license don't continue formal education in the realm of driving (safe driver's courses, defensive driving schools, etc) motorcycle riders, on the other hand, routinely attend riding clinics, safety courses, and even spend time riding and talking with more experienced riders.

    Whereas the lack of experience in a 16 year old driving a subaru could have disasterous consequences, more often than not it will just result in a banged up car and a lesson learned. Statistics show that the majority of motorcycle accidents happen to beginner riders and those who have not completed any follow on training. The results of an inexperienced, untrained suzuki rider are arguably more extreme than the subaru (i.e B en Rothlesberger and his Hayabusa...and he was lucky).

    The results of a black belt that only trains himself after black belt are more like those of the untrained motorcycle rider...when the metal meets the meat, they end up looking like Ben, or worse.

    my .02 for '06 too. oh my123
     

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