Anyone can get a Black Belt? Is this True?

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by still learning, Nov 26, 2004.

  1. still learning

    still learning Senior Master

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    Hello, Have you notice how many people who have a Black Belts. Watch them workout or perform somewhere and you wonder about their skills?

    Many schools have a minumum requirements and lenght of time, as short as one year to two years only? Does this make sense? What are your thoughts?

    Should this be like a State licence, for journey man workers,lawyers,doctors,mechanics,school teachers?
     
  2. jfarnsworth

    jfarnsworth Grandmaster

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    Yeah, watch whom you want and you'll see the good from the bad. Just remember that there are a "few" exceptions to the 1 - 2 year rule. Some people train and train and train. I remember reading in a kenpo book about 1 specific instructor that would train 16hrs. a day 6 days a week. That's hardcore training not perform a self defense technique then take an hour break. Again, you'll be able to see those who train compared to those who don't. We have all seen those who get to black then can't fight their way out of a wet paper bag. Which then brings down the value of M.A. training in general to a layman who doesn't know any better.

    Heck you can get a black belt here in 500 posts. :uhyeah:
     
  3. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Retired

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    Black belt is a non-standardized generic indicator or status/rank/etc. It is not an indicator of skill, ability, knowledge or character. Keep in mind, belt systems are a recent arrival on the martial arts scene. A blackbelt in 1 art does not equal a black belt in another art. Some arts have no belts, others don't use black, at least 1 black is a beginners belt, with white the 'top' rank.

    Personally, since I can buy one for $5 (complete with certificate), register my 'art' with some soke council or black belt society ($100-$3,000), I dismiss most claims of rank and look at a persons associations, peers (who endorse), and movements on the matt as criteria for selecting an instructor.
     
  4. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    Too many factors as has been said. Main thing to look at is what does "blackbelt" mean in your style? For some styles (even in Japan) it is considered a membership into the style and that you are ready to begin learning. Other styles it is showed to achieve a certain physical mastery of the art.

    Other questions to ask yourself. Is it better to study from a blackbelt who has great technique and knows the material but can't explain it at all so it makes it easy to learn. Or someone who has ok technique to demonstrate it to you, but can explain it very well so you pick up on all the details you should be doing.

    Blackbelts are really only relative to the style and organization you are with and to those parameters of those organizations. Find out what your goals are for studying and find someone to help you reach those goals regardless of rank.
     
  5. tshadowchaser

    tshadowchaser Sr. Grandmaster

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    Great posts.
    I agree that you must look to the person not what is around his/her waist.
    Skill, knowledge, experence,, and the ability to back up the rank have nothing to do with who wears the belt (many times) these days. When you can buy a belt online with the cert to go with it you degrade the art but many people could care less about that. These people are in in for the glory and to have people look up to them. Hell you don't even need to buy one you can make your own cert. and put your name and the name of whatever phoney school you want to represent on it.
    Also there are instructors out there who want to glorify themslefs and push their art/school/system so bad that they could care less if you know anything as long put their logo on you uniform.
    These are the types of people that make those who train hard for their rank rant and rave and tear out their hair over the stupidity of things.
     
  6. tmonis

    tmonis Guest

    In our system, Belt levels mean you have been shown the material to that level. It does not mean you are a great fighter, going to be the next Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, or Steven Segal. It simply means that you have been taught the materail to that level. It is the person and what they do with that material that makes them who they are in the arts. It takes alot of effort on their part to prefect what they have been shown. Lots of practice outside of the Dojo. A teacher or instructor can only bring the knowledge to you. They can not make you learn it. That is all up to you. It is my hope that no instructor would promote someone who is not actually ready, however we all know that is not the case. Money stands in the way of some really good instructors buy selling everything on video or issuing rank to someone they have never met or trained with. Videos are a good resource to have as a reference. However they should never take the place of actual training. The ones that do sell rank and belts really disappoint me. And what is worse is it seems even some of the old Founders, really reputal Martial Artist, are doing it to. Cashing in on their name and reputation just to make a quick buck. How good really are these students that do that? And what about the false since of security it gives them in a real fight.
     
  7. Vadim

    Vadim Guest

    I look at the blackbelt as an indicator of a basic proficiency in your chosen martial art. I see many people coming into the school and wanting to get to blackbelt as quick as possible. These people will have the best intentions but some find themselves burning out on training. In my own path I enjoyed the path of progress from each belt to the next although that was not my motivation for training hard. I truely enjoyed enhancing my skills and the almost dynamic meditation of being involved in the sparring and grappling aspects of my style. For me its kind of entering a zone and just having fun.

    Hopefully people will take the time to appreciate the path of their chosen martial art and realize that the blackbelt is not an end to training but only a beginning. Keep on training.:asian:

    -Vadim
     
  8. tmonis

    tmonis Guest

    Vadim,

    Very nicely put. That captures the feeling of the whole training process very well.
     
  9. Drac

    Drac Sr. Grandmaster

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    Sad but true...They were selling Black Belt ranks on E-bay not too long ago..
     
  10. Vadim

    Vadim Guest

    Hi tmonis! Thanks for the kind words.:asian:

    -Vadim
     
  11. still learning

    still learning Senior Master

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    Hello, Thank-you for the feedbacks. Growing up in on a island ,you run into friends who saids my cousin is a black belt and you were impress. As an adult today and having experience the martial world, thru Seminars,tournments,etc. You realize the impression you had in the younger days are not the same today. Thank-you and ...Aloha
     
  12. Blooming Lotus

    Blooming Lotus Purple Belt

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    When I read this thread title, my thoughts went something along the lines of Kaiths comment. Unfortunately because I know that these almighty belts can be bought and your "skill" registered for only a few dollars, being in possession of one, fails to impress.

    I do however, love a person who demonstrates their skill in either discussing their knowledge or shows it on the mat. Not to offend anyone here, but I have personally met and spoken with many a clueless black belt, and unfortunately ( or not ) for those that worked so diligently to earn theirs, ( as opposed to those who bought or "negotiated " the terms of theirs ( mcdojo style for example ), often that belt means little. THankfully however, skill, knowledge and wude ( the martial morales I generally consider integral to any real skill ) has a way of making itself known.

    cheers MAers



    Blooming Lotus
     
  13. Athena

    Athena Guest

     
  14. tmonis

    tmonis Guest

    Vadim = Your assessment was right on target. Those were great words of wisdom. More people need to think like that. So it was easy to say kinds words to you. To many people forget about the long road in Martial Arts training. They only want the fast food or McDojo Black Belt without truly earning it. It really disappoints me that people are selling them like that.
     
  15. tmonis

    tmonis Guest

    Athena,

    this goes along with something my instructors always tell me. you might look at someone who has a blackbelt and say "oh man, his sidekicks aren't that high, why does he have a blackbelt?" or something along those lines. something that has always been stressed at my school is that a belt reflects someone's potential as an individual martial artist; it does not necessarily compare him/her to anyone else. one person may "master" a technique by his/her own standards, even if you or i could do it better. if this person can adapt the technique to his/her own body type and make it effective, they have met the requirements to progress and gather more information. that's the philosophy that i've entountered, anwyway.[/QUOTE]
    Athena= I agree with you and your Instructor as well. That also is great wisdom to follow.
     
  16. archmagician

    archmagician Guest

    The journey of the martial artist is a neverending one. There is never a time when you can stop to say that your training is now complete; for if you do, you will be walking off the path of a true martial artist. A black belt is meaningless token for it is not the belt that makes the martial artist; it is simply the goal of perfecting ones martial skill, that makes one a martial artist.

    Learning the martial arts is a daily struggle against one's self discipline. There are many false paths for the warrior to deviate on and miss the truth of the martial arts. The truth about martial arts is fighting. It is not about forms, not about strength building exercises or fitness, it is not about breaking boards, or doing fancy acrobatics, or learning hundreds of techniques. It is not about lineage, or which famous masters you have studied under, or how many styes you have studied.

    Sometimes we need to do some of the previously mentioned things to reach the goal, but the truth will always be about fighting. When you design a routine for yourself or seek to learn something, always ask, will this really improve my fighting? Be completey and bluntly honest with yourself when you answer the question. I have seen many people focus on just one aspect and they really are walking off the path. Always seek the truth!

    The path to the truth is usually the hardest path. It is frought with misteps, misinformation, and misdirection which can easily lead you astray. It is usually the path that we least want to take. Seek the long path; for seldom does one who always seeks the shortest path stay long in the martial arts. Don't look to take long steps for the truth lies in the smallest of steps. When we are content in taking small steps, then no failure ever upsets us.

    Seek to improve your fighting skills by working on your weakest points, and doing the things that you usually hate doing, thats when you are probably walking the path. The path of the martial arts is a life long one, in which belts are irrellevant. It is a journey that only you can start, and one which you will travel alone; for no other person is inside your head hearing your fears, doubts, and misgivings.

    Don't worry about your rank, everyday just walk the path and seek the truth, and then you will truely be a martial artist.
     
  17. Adept

    Adept Master Black Belt

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    The bottom line is that, within reason, everyone can get a black belt. But not all black belts are equal. As most others have said, the colour of your belt does not always equate to your level of competence.
     
  18. scfgabe

    scfgabe Yellow Belt

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    I have had the same question, since I am also a beginner. However, the biggest indicator that I have looked for is proficiency put into practice. Someone should be able to use their skills in a practical setting before earning their belt. Anyone can memorize a routine, but what about when you have an opponent coming at you and you don't know what they will do? This is where training really comes together.
     
  19. Flatlander

    Flatlander Grandmaster

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    Something else to consider as well - once a student achieves black belt ranking, what do they do with it? If they decide that their journey is complete, and make the choice to conclude their trianing because they "are a black belt now", what real meaning does that rank have? As we all know, or should know, your training is only as relevant to your skill as you make it. If you do not continue to hone and improve your skills, they fade. If you don't continue to test your reflexes, to work your techniques, you lose that edge. So, If you haven't worked those skills for an extened period, I believe that they will fade, and the "black belt" rank will lose its significance.

    This is why black belt really means nothing to me. It's a landmark that we find on a long road; if we cease the journey, the landmark means nothing. It evaporates and becomes a memory.

    :asian:
     
  20. Enson

    Enson 3rd Black Belt

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    when i first started ma... and even before i often thought black belt was the destination... i knew nothing of self discipline or body movement. i was lets say... a "barbarian". now that i have been practicing i understand that black belt is only a sign saying you have learned everything below it.

    i think anyone if they put their mind to it can at least attain shodan but then when they have recieved that they will realize they have only yet begun.

    peace123
     

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