Graham lelliot promoted to 9th dan

Discussion in 'Kenpo - (EPAK) Ed Parker's American Kenpo Karate S' started by Headhunter, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    So I just saw this that graham lelliot was promoted to 9th dan recently. Not a guy I've had a lot to do with. Met him a few times did a few seminars but never seen him work. But yeah congrats to him but I never really get how that high a promotion works
     
  2. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Yeah and who promotes them because in kenpo you need to be 2 ranks above to promote someone but the highest rank is 10th dan
     
  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    In some associations, it requires a group of the highest ranks. I've seen where it requires 3 10th to promote to 9th or 10th. I've also seen where there's one person at the highest rank, and they are able to promote to any rank (including designating the next at their rank when they retire/die).
     
  4. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    To me all that's a waste of time and kind of just an ego thing. To me the ranks stop meaning anything after 3rd dan in kenpo as there's no more material to learn and the promoting can get very sketchy. To me when someone says they're an 8th or 9th dan to me it's not hugely impressive as I know most were simply given them and didnt have to test
     
  5. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I've never had much interest in the higher dan ranks, either, except for the ability to promote folks to instructor. I think many associations just use them as a way to maintain levels of hierarchy. I don't know if this is something from the structure used in Japan, but it seems like more work than the benefit it drives.
     
  6. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    I see it more for promotion. E.g when promoting your school a 8th dan sounds better than a 3rd dan and when untrained people hear 8th dan they think of something extremely special
     
  7. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm not sure how much it helps with untrained folks. It's generally more impressive to those with some amount of training, who experienced an association where it meant something (or, at least, they thought it did). I've seen instructors make a big fuss over it, but have rarely heard a prospective student ask what dan-rank someone is. It's much more common to ask how much experience they have.
     
  8. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    At some point, promotion is more about recognizing someones dedication to and promotion of the art, maintaining a clear hierarchy within an organization, and the ability to promote others. Where this occurs is blurry, and in many cases it's more a gradual thing than a "X is earned but Y is granted" sort of thing.
    In our system, there is new material (in so far as you have to learn a new form) through 9th Dan. But these forms are not really teaching any new techniques, concepts, or principles. I would say that somewhere around 3rd or 4th Dan, our rank becomes more about hierarchy and ability to promote, and by 6th or 7th Dan it's primarily about dedication and promotion of the art.
    As someone mentioned, pretty much all arts have some tradition about promotion, usually to one or two ranks below your own. Our tradition in the Moo Duk Kwan is one rank below your own, which I believe is the most common. Obviously, there must be some process in place to promote to the highest ranks, or the hierarchy would collapse. This generally amounts to a board, composed of the highest ranked members of the organization, or (mostly in smaller orgs) a decision made by the head of the system.
     
  9. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    And I’ve seen it where a person simply decides it is time to “assume the rank” due to the length of time he has been doing it.

    Self-promotion, plain and simple.
     
  10. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Pretty much yeah. I just don't think those higher ranks really mean much. 1st dan is obviously the big one everyone aims for. Second doesnt hold much significance but 3rd is head instructor level, 4th again not much significance but I suppose 5th is a nice one just because the belt looks cool with the big red block and not got 4 red stripes which looks a bit silly to me lol.

    But either way I'm never getting that high i don't suck up to the right people for that lol
     
  11. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I’m not a fan of the ranking system as a whole, to be honest. I believe there ought to be only two levels of black belt: black belt non- instructor, and black belt instructor. Once you have the instructor rank, you aren’t beholden to anyone anymore and have full authority to teach and promote all the way up. No more chasing carrots. Stop building empires. Stop the madness.
     
  12. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Self-promotion has a long and respected tradition. After all, the founder(s) of any art you care to mention indulged in it. They had to.
    At the same time, it is viewed as a horrible and McDojo thing to do.
     
  13. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yeah, it’s true.

    Most people shouldn’t do it. Dunning-Kruger and all that.
     
  14. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I've seen that, too, where associations weren't available. I don't have a problem with it if they've defined standards and met them (assuming they are the head of their group, so have to be the ones defining the standard), such as if 5th dan is meant for someone who has developed 3 3rd dans who are running independent schools for at least 2 years, for instance. When there aren't any standards to evaluate by, it's just a misguided reach for a rank that matters a lot less than they think.
     
  15. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Agreed. If every founder kept his last rank, and didn't promote someone else past it, we'd all be yellow belts (or whatever is the first in your style) now.
     
  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    This is the approach I'm taking, with one addition - a "Senior Instructor" rank, to certify they can actually train instructors. Once someone reaches that point, they can build Instructors and Senior Instructors. If I ever build the program enough, all of that might even matter some day.
     
  17. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Honestly, I say ditch the Senior Instructor. Just make it Instructor and be done. Otherwise you end up right back where you started with too many ranks. At some point it’s time to cut the leash and let people do as they will. Or else just don’t promote someone to Instructor, if they aren’t ready or if you aren’t certain you can trust their motives or their capabilities.
     
  18. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    A founder doesn’t need rank. He is outside of the ranking structure.
     
  19. Tames D

    Tames D RECKLESS

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    Step aside Cincinnati Reds, Kenpo is the new Big Red Machine :D
     
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  20. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Training instructors is a different skill set from training students. It's not about motives, but about whether they can build capable instructors. The only requirement for reaching that rank is to present a capable instructor (trained according to the instructor manual) for promotion. If they get promoted, so does the person who trained them.
     

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