A Reason Why Rank Might Be Important

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by PhotonGuy, Jan 31, 2019.

  1. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    Its been covered on here before that some people don't care about earning rank in the martial arts, if they train in a style that uses a ranking system, and I know that rank isn't everything but here is a reason why it might be important in some situations. Sometimes when you're discussing martial arts with somebody they might ask you at some point what your rank is, where you got it, ect. and if you're not at a high enough rank they might not take you seriously. Now when I talk about a "high enough rank" that's very subjective of course but I would say that if you've at least made first dan in a style you're going to be taken more seriously than if you haven't. Also, it would depend on where you earned your first dan rank and the standards you had to meet to get it. There are some schools where I wouldn't take a person seriously even if they got third or fourth dan there because they've got such low standards, but if its a good school with a good solid reputation than I would take a person who earned first dan there as I believe most in the martial arts community would. So that is just one reason why rank might be important to some people.
     
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  2. Gweilo

    Gweilo Brown Belt

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    I believe the belt and grading systems were introduced by the Japanese, which was a heirachal society, My personal beliefs are they are great for setting goals and rewards for achievements, getting a 1st Dan the 1st real desire of most, beyond 1st Dan, IMHO the quality of one's technique should determine the grade, and of course other factors like years of service to the art, how many 1st Dans and beyond are produced from a teacher. But worring/judging about what grade others are, speaks more about human phycology, how do you fit in, are they better than me, are their techniques better than mine, which is one of the biggest mistakes, concentrating on everything else, instead of yourself.
     
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  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think rank is terribly useful for getting respect from others. I know that's not exactly what you're saying, but it's much the same thing. People who don't understand the training and commitment of martial arts (or the specific arts you've practiced) might be convinced by a rank, but only out of ignorance.

    I apply that same thinking, by the way, to instructors when we get together. At the dojo I'll be teaching at (starting this month), they haven't even asked my rank. I told them what I teach and a bit of my background, and that was good enough for them. Mostly, they wanted to get the feeling that I'm "their kind of people" - meaning we'd get along and have similar thoughts about the benefits of cross-training in other arts, etc.

    I used to be very rank-conscious, because I trained in a school and association that were. Part of the reason I cut ranks from my system is that I wanted to not foster that same attitude. I had a Jujutsu student in from Germany for a few weeks who trained with us while she was here. I don't remember what her rank was - not sure I ever asked. I knew she had about 12 years of experience, starting as a young child, so I let her teach a couple of techniques to my students. Rank isn't as important as being able to bring some useful information to the table.
     
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  4. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Why would I care what people think of me? If people choose not to take me seriously based on rank that's up to them. You should take anyone who trains seriously whether they're white belt or black belt and you shouldn't look down on anyone because of a piece of fabric
     
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  5. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I agree that it should not be the first question and not an automatic pass that someone is qualified or proficient. Belting is probably most important in schools of larger size where it is a visual aid to know what level of proficiency a person should be at. For example, in a class of thirty or more people with different levels of experience, and if you have a large curriculum it helps keep the class moving along at a good pace. I also agree that it is a very good goal setter. That doesn't mean using BB as a goal should be the journey, it is just the destination. It is what you do between white belt and black belt that makes you a Martial Artist, skilled and proficient in your style. Whether you use a belt to "grade" your progression has little to nothing with learning.
     
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  6. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, except for a camo belt. That's just nuts. :p
     
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  7. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Agreed. And even in smaller groups, it's an easy visual reference for the instructor and other students. In my primary art, there's a progression through the Classical techniques that matches the rank, so I can walk in any school and know instantly what techniques each student is guaranteed to know (though they may know more than that).
     
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  8. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    I am at a place (in my teaching life) where grade is imporant. Rank is not.

    in my students world. they are told to wear any color belt they want. On their keigoki there is a velcro patch.

    As they progress (showing acquisition and mastery) through the curriculum, the number changes.
    I have re-ordered my TSD curriculum using western style education. 1st year. 2nd year. and so on.


    I have told them its ok to wear a black belt. At our tradition, It simply means 1. You are committed to never giving up and persevering in learning the art.
    2. You will master your fundamentals. (if a person doesnt abide these two precepts, you will be asked to remove it and wear another color)

    While I have rejected the Kyu/Gup, Dan system because of rank hierarchy. I tell my students you are all equal as humans, a parent who has favorites is an unfair parent. I choose to foster a sharing and caring culture.

    I do plan on issuing certification diplomas similar to high school and college sheepskins. whenever someone completes the curriculum.
     
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  9. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    So, what is the thing on the patch? Is it a number? What does the number mean?
     
  10. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master of Arts

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    I condensed your post to what I feel is the most important bit ... :)
     
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  11. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I agree this can happen. I don't see why it's important. If someone else won't take you seriously just because you're not a certain rank, their opinion of you probably isn't worth your time. (With obvious exceptions, such as if you're trying to make criticism about a black belt form and you're only a red belt).

    It's been pointed out above the benefits of rank in a large school, with a curriculum designed around each belt. Rank is important because it's how you learn new concepts and advance your knowledge. But it's also important politically within your art. In the KKW, I'll have more rights as far as teaching goes the higher the degree I am. This is why I have my eyes set on earning 5th Dan and the rank and title of Master. It's not because of my ego (ok, there's a little bit in there). It's because I'll have the option to run my own school at that point.

    I mean, I could always open my own school under my own art, but I think it carries a bigger weight if I've got that Master certification.
     
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  12. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    In the scenario you're describing, if the person is asking your rank (and especially when the context indicates they don't respect what you're saying) it's quite likely you're talking rubbish.
    I talk to people about Taekwondo and martial arts in general here and in real life, and I very rarely get asked about rank. And when I do, it's not with the connotation of 'do you actually have any training at all?' as described in the OP.
    The general public has only a vague idea what martial arts ranks indicate, and about the only thing most are likely to know is that white is lower than black. Martial artists aren't likely to ask because for the most part they can tell if you're talking nonsense.
    Rank only matters for structure within an organization, when you get right down to it.
     
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  13. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I've openly stated that the only reason I promote was so I could make Mrs Dog call me Master.

    You could do so anyway, and just print a certification.
     
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  14. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    yes. a number.
    0 beginning of semesters 1 and 2
    1 completed 1 and 2, beginning 3 and 4
    2 completed 3 and 4, beginning 4 and 5
    and so on.

    semester = approx 4.5 months @ 3x (1 hour per week) = 54 hours of curriculum... with about 15 to 20 percent redundancy for reinforcement.

    A grade 2 should be able to instruct a grade 0.
    ideally... anyone who is two grades higher should be able to teach what is two grades below.

    Now, you may have an odd duck without the soft skills to be able to teach. but its not that hard to say
    Do what you see me do. I will go very slowly.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
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  15. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    .
     
  16. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    But I think that a certification from a global entity means more than a certification I made myself. If I make it look like it came from them that's fraud and a-whole-nother problem.

    I started teaching shortly after my parents started taking class.

    They had to call me "sir".
    They had to bow to me.
    I did not let it go to my head at all.

    (The above paragraph contains 2 truths and a lie).
     
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  17. wab25

    wab25 Black Belt

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    So... how is your patch hierarchy any different than the belt hierarchy? They seem to be doing the same thing.
     
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  18. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Actually this seems to be solely based on time-in-grade, from what the post suggests.
     
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  19. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    If so, then it's not going to fulfill the expectation that '2 should be able to teach 1' and if it's skill-based, then it is just the same as belt ranks.
     
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  20. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    The belt hierarchy is asian.... originating at the Kodokan. it has a definite class system.
    with it comes a preloaded system of social hierarchy that is partly the sempai and cohai thing. and lining up by class rank.

    in this western alternative.
    there is no kyu/dan grade
    there is no Mudansha
    there is no Yudansha
    there is no Kodansha

    it is curriculum taught by semester units.
     

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