A school without rank belts: would you train there?

Discussion in 'Hapkido' started by Daniel Sullivan, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. celtic_crippler

    celtic_crippler Senior Master

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    I stopped being concerned with rank when I reached adulthood.

    In the end, it's about what you know. The knowledge and skill you develop through training can't be taken away from you and is what will serve you best.

    A piece of cloth wrapped around your waist does nothing more than keep your pants up and/or your gi closed. It's not going to develop a life of it's own and come to your rescue nor will it magically bestow upon you any great powers.

    ...so yeah, I would.
     
  2. dbell

    dbell Blue Belt

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    Actually this is not so... If you were/are caught with a dirty belt (at that level of dirtiness) in Korea, the GM got/gets VERY angry with you as I understand it, and experienced it when I lived in Korea. More so in Japan, were the belting system began, in which a black obi was given to those that Kano-Sensei felt were ready to teach. The bit about turning your belt black by sweat and training hard is just a quip created by foreigners...
     
  3. Humble Student

    Humble Student Yellow Belt

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    I stopped being concerned with rank when I reached adulthood -celtic_crippler

    Me too
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2009
  4. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    In very large clubs such as mine a belt system can have some advantages. When we have advanced classes , club training camps , inter club comps etc and there are literally hundreds of new faces it is handy to know what rank others are as it is strongly encouraged that we ask for advice , information etc from our seniors and with everyone in belts it makes it easier to identify who is who. Also , at these club events we line up in order of rank and if no one had belts on that would be very hard to arrange with hundreds of students present. We line up in order of rank so that (in theory) the person in front is a higher rank and you can watch them as a guide while training.
     
  5. Miles

    Miles Senior Master

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    If the training is solid, I would train there w/o a problem.
     
  6. FearlessFreep

    FearlessFreep Senior Master

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    Our school doesn't use rank belts for adults and the material is excellent
     
  7. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    I have been reading the responses and I appreciate them!

    Daniel
     
  8. Wey

    Wey Green Belt

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    Do you plan to employ such a system, Mr. Sullivan?
     
  9. Ozowen

    Ozowen White Belt

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    My first TKD school ran that way. I later trained in another one of similar appproach.
    You knew you were going up cos you were being tasught the next Hyung and associated techniques.
    There were also no charges.
    We did wear belts and uniforms though.
    I loved it as it was all about the art not the grading.

    I have had issues with gradings ever since though.
     
  10. yorkshirelad

    yorkshirelad Master Black Belt

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    I used to train at an Aikido dojo in England where nobody wore their rank. Most people just wore a hakama with no obi. Some people wore a white belt just to keep their gi from opening, but i didn't like the knot under my hakama, it felt uncomfortable.
    In '93 (I think). Most of the dojo members went to a Fumio Toyoda seminar in the South. We were told the only yudnsha should wear a hakama, so i just wore a white belt. One of the Toyoda dechi came over and told me that he was amazed at the skill I had and that i should be able to train with the yudansha in the seminar afterwards. I did'nt want to tell him that even though I was a white belt, I had been training for a number of years.
    Later, after the seminar, an Aikido teacher, who's famous in Dublin Aikido circles was in a conversation with Toyoda Sensei. Toyoda noticed that he didn't wear a belt with his Hakama. Toyoda asked him what rank he was and the answer was. "I've never been ranked". Now this instructor is a great teacher and when i was in Dublin in the late '90s, he had a large following.
    Toyoda was offended, or seemed to be. "Why not wear a white belt?" he chided, "Why not wear a white Hakama?", refering to O'Sensei's and Doshu's use of a white belt and Hakama. I believe that to Toyoda, this instructor was impertinant for ignoring the rank system, like this instructor believed himself above it or something.
    I don't believe rank is that important to learning, but if you're in a system that has traditionally had a rank system, I think it has it's place as a means to roughly gauge the knowledge level of the participants.
     
  11. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    No. If I were creating a new system, yes. But seeing as how I do not consider myself qualified to do so, and considering that my background is in arts that all have either had belts since their inception or have used them since before the forties, I think that eliminating them entirely is unnecessary, as is eliminating all but white and black.

    If I am teaching hapkido or TKD and not using belts, it would just seem plain weird to most people, including serious practitioners. If the system traditionally has them, they should be retained. I do not, however, intend to have more than six colored belts, including black (white, yellow, green, blue, red, black). Every keup grade does not need a new piece of colored cloth. Given that I do reasonably well at my day job and have benefits there, it is unlikely that I will ever have a student count that would necessitate that many belts.

    I do not, however, view belts and rank as particularly important in the grand scheme of things. These are just markers and teaching tools. If they grow mystic qualities or are used to enforce some kind of dojang pecking order, then their purpose has been lost in the shuffle.

    Daniel
     
  12. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    As a follow up to this, alternatively, I would use white, green, blue, red, and either red/black or add some flourish to the existing red belt (iron on star or tip stripe, though no electrical tape) for dan-bo, and then black.

    I am not even sure that dan-bo needs a separate belt. All a dan-bo is, and someone correct me if I am wrong, is a student who has learned the full keup grade curriculum but has not yet tested for first dan, usually remaining in the rank for several months before the first dan test.

    Five belts is enough and six is certainly within reason.

    Daniel
     
  13. terryl965

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

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    You know Daniel I have thought about this thread and here is my true take on it, I would if I respected the instructor.. if they instructor himself was not wearing a belt or having any student call him Master or the grand poobaa of everything and lastly if the fee's was small enough to allow me the good fortune of buying some beer twice a week and drinking after these practices.
     
  14. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    I'd be okay with the grand poobah thing if we all got to wear those horned water buffalo hats while training.:D

    I do think that if the class is wearing street clothes to train in, the colored belts would look a bit silly. But if the school was billing itself as a hapkido school, or a school of some other system that traditionally has belts associated with it, such as Taekwondo or Shotokan, then I do think that they should either maintain some kind of belt, even if only white and black, and wear the appropriate uniform, or should make a big point out of explaining why training in street clothes is more practical with regards to learning SD.

    One of the things that I think many people, both consumers and serious practitioners alike, appreciate is a disciplined group of people training in uniform doboks (or gis, or whatever you call your uniform). None of that has any bearing on the quality of training, though.

    Daniel
     
  15. FearlessFreep

    FearlessFreep Senior Master

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    AT our school, the kids where belts and tips and such. Some adults participate with their children in the 'kids' classes. However, in the adult classes, we do wear doboks but don't wear belts. It used to be that belts were only used to know what curriculum you were covering at a time. For example, if you had a green belt then you knew what techniques you were studying and would be tested on. The school switched to a block system which had no belts at all, but we've gotten away from that and are going back to belts for adults, although adults still don't wear belts in class. Note: The instructor is a 6th Dan and he wears his full uniform for the kids classes but then takes it off for the adult class.
     
  16. Tyrant171

    Tyrant171 White Belt

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    I would train at a school with no rank belts. However, I premise that on the assumption that the quality of instruction would be worthwhile.

    Actually, from a beginner's standpoint, it might be less confusing. So far, I've seen that rank belts definitely do not guarantee skill. When you're unsure of almost everything as a beginner and tend to leach onto higher belt students for direction, only to find that the blue belt you've been learning from does most things wrong, it's pretty disconcerting. Having to judge for yourself who seems competent and who doesn't and then ask for help doesn't seem like such a bad thing.
     
  17. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    That is the case both with or without belts. If the quality of instruction is not there, removal of belts will not help. Nor will adding more, though a lot of school owners sure seem to think that it does.

    Totally agree, and I have had that experience.

    Daniel
     
  18. Manny

    Manny Senior Master

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    I don't like to many colored belts, there is a TKD dojang near my dojang who has 12 colored belts before the black belt, this is too much.

    I would rather prefer not so many, say 4 colored belts before the black belt: white, yellow,green,blue and red and a year beetwen belts test, I eman one full year of white belt, then a year of yellow belt, and so on, yes I know the kids won't come to your dojang by dozens but I am talking about 18+ years old TKD practicioners.

    I think 5 belts and 4-5 years of good training is good for achivieng black belt.

    Manny
     
  19. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    I trained at a school like this, two actually. It was Wing Chun classes led by different seniors from the same instructor. One senior received his 1st Dan at the Osan Moo Duk Kwan during the 60's when he was in the Air Force. There was no rank structure. The uniform was black kung fu pants, a t shirt of your choice (no school shirts) and athletic shoes. No certificates were given to students. I learned a lot of things, training principles which I still carry with me to this day. I recently found one of these instructors online and we are trying to schedule a dinner so we can catch up. We all studied different arts in addition to Wing Chun at the time, and so we all went in different directions.
     
  20. WC_lun

    WC_lun Senior Master

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    If I get in a fight, my opponent isn''t gonna care one whit about what belt I wear around my waist or what certificate I hang on my wall. Why should I?123
     

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