Belt Testing advice

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by DomoArigato, Aug 4, 2017.

  1. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yeah, that's where it becomes less problematic to be that picky. We could test at almost any time - usually took about a week or so to schedule it, and if you failed, you were required to wait at least 2 weeks (longer at higher ranks, IIRC) before re-testing. At brown and black belt, the possibility of "rechecks" showed up. So, if you didn't pass as well as you should have (so, the technique wasn't at BB level), but didn't actually fail it, you'd just get a re-check on that technique. Too many re-checks would also fail.
     
  2. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yeah, that would be tough. I created mnemonics to remember the 5 Classical sets (1st set: "Once, James Arness Made Us Laugh While Eating Fried Cabbage."). My wife remembered them by how many had primary involvement by body part. Even with mnemonics, it's not entirely easy (4 techniques start with S in the 5th set, 2 in the 4th, and easy to confuse between them). The question eventually becomes whether the benefit of the added task of memorization is worth it, if it causes some folks to have trouble passing. The way I learned them, it was fairly easy, because we learned them almost entirely by set. The way I teach them is somewhat divorced of the sets, and probably becoming more so the next update I do. That might make it less useful to have folks try to memorize all that.
     
  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Interesting. I think I'd heard the once-a-year thing about Goju before, but I might be mixing it with a discussion of another style (perhaps an entirely different art, for that matter).
     
  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I suspect my experience at my first test contributed to my long stays at each subsequent rank. By the time I tested, remembering each new set was a non-issue.
     
  5. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    We had a similar issue earlier but I think there' two additional things that made it tough for me. The first is everything was numbered, without names so no chance of mnemonics, just had to memorize color, type and number. The second is i started off in the kids class, and they learn things in a different order. So I couldn't remember things how I learned them. I had to figure out where everything I already knew fell into place.
     
  6. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    Even within styles there is tons of variance on how its taught and what the standards of the instructors are.
     
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  7. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yeah, I can see how both of those would complicate things. I need to find someone who started NGA in kids' classes and see if they experienced that, since the scattering of techniques they cover aren't in the same order as in the adult curriculum.

    As for not having names, that's just sadistic, man.
     
  8. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    Honestly I found it funny. My senseis knew the issues I had with it, so when I started laughing when they asked for a technique it was no big deal.

    But I would not be surprised if people in your kids classes have the same issue, if you should learn things set by set. Definitely adds to confusion, unless they still progress differently once they switch.
     
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  9. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    Well the way you describe it, for rank advancement your instructor required not only that you're able to perform the techniques themselves proficiently but to also name them and to know what belt they were for and the order they were in. The reason why I like to focus on meeting the instructor's standards for rank advancement is because by working to meet his standards that way Im developing the art the way he has it structured. The instructor has the standards he has for a reason. You say the belt wasn't important to you, earning rank is not about coming into possession of a belt of a certain color or putting on a belt of a certain color its about meeting standards set by your instructor. I would want to develop the art the way my instructor has it structured, not in my own way, because I've put my time and trust into the instructor so Im going to develop the art his way and I do that by working to meet his standards for rank advancement.
     
  10. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    How am I not developing in the way my instructor wants me to? The requirement is, in order to advance I had to memorize the order of material, and their numbers. I did not memorize them, so I did not advance. Instead I improved my techniques and spent years refining them, rather than learn anything new. That's well within their guidelines as, again, the requirement is "to advance I had to learn the order", not "to practice I had to learn the order". If any of them felt like I was not developing the art properly they would have told me that themselves.
     
  11. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    I've never been to your school and I certainly wasn't there when you were there so as far as you developing the art the way your instructors wanted you to, I wouldn't know. All I know is that if I train under an instructor that I focus on the requirements he has for promotion which judging from your previous posts, included memorizing the techniques and their order and number and level in addition to improving upon them and refining them. In my BJJ class the requirements for rank advancement are to come to class, focus on what's being taught, and to train hard. And there's a minimum length of time you have to be at your current rank before you can advance further. Why I like to work on fulfilling the instructor's requirements for rank advancement is because whatever his requirements are he has them for a reason. I might not understand why he requires certain stuff but he's the instructor and therefore he has the experience and he knows what he's doing and so I work on fulfilling his requirements.
     
  12. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Personally I couldn't care less about meeting an instructors standards all I care about is meeting my own standards. I train for myself not for anyone else.
     
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  13. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    My response is basically word for word @Headhunter's.
     
  14. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    I know how I word it sounds selfish...but at the end of the day martial arts is selfish...it's not a team activity you're there for yourself. Not for the others not for the instructor for me...to many get caught up with doing it fr their teacher and frankly I think some people have a very unhealthy attitude and dedication to their instructor...like you're grown adults and they'd jump to attention if they snap their fingers and follow them around like lost puppies. I've never been that way. I respect all my instructors for their skills and listen to their lessons but im my own person, they're human just like me and they're no better than me as people just because of some tape on their belts
     
  15. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    Absolutely agree. I'm paying them to get a service. If I'm getting a service, it's not up to them to decide when/how I'm satisfied with that service, it's up to me to get what I want out of it. Which isn't always what the instructor wants from me.
     
  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    The only temper to that is the needs of the other students.
     
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  17. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    True. But in general I don't think not focusing on rank can hurt the other students.
     
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  18. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I agree. In most cases, that will have no real effect on others. My view is that the student should be there for what they want. If that REALLY doesn't align with the instructor's goals and approach, they're at the wrong school.

    The only way I can think of off-hand that a person's approach (and not bothering with rank requirements) might matter to others would be something like terminology. If someone joined my program and didn't bother to learn (and use) the terminology we use - on the premise that terminology doesn't change their ability - that would almost certainly have a detrimental effect on those they train with. It would add confusion and leave more room for miscommunication. It would also probably hold them back in their development, since they wouldn't actually get the full teaching if they don't know the terms used. That example is probably a bit of a stretch, though.
     
  19. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Yeah I mean I see guys in their 40s who are married and have kids creeping around their instructors like they're god jumping to every command even outside the school...to me that's just pretty weird like your an adult have some self respect. As I say I like my instructors and respect them but if they try and tell how to live my life outside the class ill tell them where to go....which I've pretty much done with my old one
     
  20. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    In the long run you're right in that eventually you do develop your martial arts in your own way and you work on meeting your own standards but the roots come from your instructor, at least that's my experience. If you focus on only meeting your own standards and throw your instructor's standards out the window on day one, first of all some instructors won't like that. Second of all you might not learn more advanced material. In some dojos you have to reach certain ranks to learn more advanced material but even if you're training at a dojo that does not require rank advancement to learn more material they will most likely at least require a certain level of proficiency in the current material that you've been taught before they teach you more advanced stuff. As to how much proficiency is required that depends on your instructor's standards and that's why it might be necessary to work on meeting your instructor's standards, not your own, if you want to learn more advanced material.

    You train for yourself and not anyone else, that's your choice. People train for all different reasons and they've got all different sorts of goals and motivations for training. As for me, when I do select a martial art to train in I work on meeting my instructor's standards at least until making 1st dan, then I work more on developing the art my own way, as I've done with my primary art. But that's just me. Everybody has their own reasons for training and their own ways for going about doing it.
     

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