Unwanted Rank advancement...

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by wab25, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Why bother to resist a rank if the testing is that simple (that he could sneak it in on you)? I'm genuinely curious why you wouldn't accept a rank you were clearly (by your instructor's actions) ready for and could attain that easily.
     
  2. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Because I just don't care it wasn't something I wanted. I know black belts are expected to teach and I had absolutely no desire to do so. It just held no interest to me at all I just want to train belts mean nothing to me I don't see the point in paying a large sum of money to go do what I do every week and get a piece of fabric at the end of it. Just my opinion
     
  3. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    One thing they (the people who run the system of choice) can stop is any recognition of rank of your students that you award, so if they go to an officially sanctioned school they're a white belt and restricted to that portion of the curriculum.

    Or they can be ineligible to enter competition.

    Of course, maybe that's not important either.
     
  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    It just seems it'd be easier to do the test and move on, rather than avoid it. Not judging here - just curious and looking to understand. I can easily see not pursuing rank once you have all the curriculum (I did that). But if a quick test (single class) would have moved me on to the next rank and saved me the effort of responding to an instructor's questions about it, that would have been the easier route.
     
  5. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think in most cases the "rank to teach" is about two things (mostly): making sure the instructors have enough skill at what they will be teaching to be independent, and making sure any "full instructor" has the entire curriculum at their disposal. I like the idea of "study groups" which I've seen in BJJ, where someone who isn't qualified to be a full instructor actually teaches/coaches what they do know. I'd support that from anyone I'd tested to any level in my curriculum.
     
  6. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Regarding the "courtesy promotion"... It seems to me that those instructors are trying to be respectful and give you credit for your experience and the skill they perceive that you have. it's very nice of them -- but they aren't ranked in that system. They can't give you rank within the system. I would suggest a polite discussion as "equals" in private and outside of class. Point out that the titles/ranking are relative to where they are and what they are doing, just as you're only ranked purple (?) in their class... and you shouldn't be addressed differently than that when you are learning their style. It's confusing -- but you aren't sensei or even shodan their -- you're a student. When you teach Danzan Ryu -- then you're sensei/shodan. And until you meet the requirements of that organization, you can't rank up. That might be as simple as paying current dues... or more. But that's your business.

    Regarding teaching & rank... In my system, we always had an expectation that a black belt could teach -- but not that every black belt should teach. Some folks just aren't good teachers, no matter how skilled they are at performing. Teaching is a skill and a talent. Not everyone can do it well; it takes both the understanding of the material, and the ability to convey that understanding. Sure, anyone can stand up front, say "DO THIS!!" and call a cadence... but really teaching takes more than simply leading class. I kind of like the systems that denote the two things differently... teaching licenses being completely separate from ranking.
     
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  7. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    Depends. If it involves coming in on a Saturday morning, I wouldn't show because I like sleeping on Saturday mornings. If it involves money, I wouldn't pay because it's an unnecessary expense. If an instructor asks I'll tell them that and drop it there...not a huge amount of effort involved in that
     
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  8. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Rank requirements are within an organization. I can open JR Do Kan with zero MA experience and teach if I can find enough idiots to cover the expenses.

    Seido Juku (the organization I’m in) doesn’t have any formal minimum rank requirements to open a school. Rather, we have a permission requirement from our founder*. So if I decide to open a Seido Juku school as a brown belt, I’m going to run into problems...

    I don’t know the exact legal implications, but I’m sure there’s some copyright/trademark issues in using some else’s name without their expressed permission.

    I have no authority to grant rank under an organization I don’t have permission to teach in, let alone grant rank in. I can promote people under JR Do Kan, but not under someone else’s name.

    Again, nothing’s stopping anyone from opening a dojo under their own banner, except local government regulations. I’m quite certain there’s no regulations regarding rank nor experience. Under someone else’s banner, you’ve got to follow their rules.

    *I was asking one of the seniors the requirements to open a Seido Juku dojo during random conversation a while back. He said there’s no set in stone requirements; rather it’s on our founder’s discretion. The general rule of thumb is 3rd dan minimum, as that’s a rank where one has a good amount of technical competency and experience. There have been several 2nd and 1st dans who’ve opened schools; most often they were people with previous experience in closely related organizations.

    There was apparently a 3rd or 4th kyu who was given permission to start a Seido dojo/club/group/whatever it’s called. The student was quite good, and was relocated a few hours away by his/her work. There weren’t any Seido dojos nor similar anywhere around, so the person was allowed to teach and use the name. There was a lot of travel and back and forth to the nearest dojo and communication. That person wasn’t allowed to promote; the students needed to travel to the nearest dojo to test, and the people from the other dojo would come to them to test them occasionally. Other than logistics of travel, I hear it worked out quite well under the circumstances. I’m not sure if that dojo’s still around and what rank the head of it currently is; I just know it was a while back. That person could’ve just opened a dojo under their own name and been fine, but he/she instead chose to keep an affiliation.
     
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  9. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Other than a recent bushwhack promotion, I've refused all rank since 88. But, a few years ago I did order a really nice embroided black belt from Kataaro Custom martial Arts. On one side it says 階級無意味. It means "Rank has no meaning". [Literally - rank no meaning]

    It's a nifty belt.
     
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  10. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree (mostly) with the sentiment, but I also note that the higher your rank, the easier it is/more likely you are to feel this way.
     
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  11. wab25

    wab25 Blue Belt

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    Thanks for all the replies and great suggestions. Guess I should not have started this thing right before a weekend where I had plans...

    I will try to have a private conversation with them. While I have talked with them about it, there have been other folks around in the past when I tried. I will also try to mention this situation, the next time I meet up with the leaders in my own organization... to let them know what is going on.

    These guys are very traditional. They teach and run the class in the way that they were taught. A very important thing to their instructors, was respecting rank earned in other systems. They allowed me to start my Danzan Ryu class, in their school. (We have since moved and joined a larger dojo, with many more arts) When I wanted to train Karate, they first insisted that I wear my black belt, and line up as a black belt, and do the black belt katas. (or fake them as best as I could) I let this go for a while, as I thought it would be confusing for the students, to see a white belt suddenly put on a black belt and start teaching another class. After a couple of months, once everyone got to know me... I had to approach them and ask to wear a white belt and to start my Karate from the beginning. They were resistant... not wanting to disrespect my rank. I told them that I wanted to respect their system of Karate, and if I didn't have the basics, I would be missing the most important part of their system. I also pointed out that if I took their black belts through the Danzan Ryu brown belt throws and techniques, the Karate Black belts would get very injured... as they have not learned to take those falls. At the end of the day, they now treat me as any other student, as I work through the Karate ranks, wearing the appropriate belts. (actually, they move me a bit slower... at my request, I want to really feel comfortable with the material before getting more... and I am not in this stuff for rank) They however, insist on calling me sensei in class. I introduce myself as "Bill" though, anytime we have visitors or new students.

    So why am I only a Shodan after nearly 20 years? Well, first I am not the most gifted at learning this stuff. And second, I never considered it to be a race. It took me ten years of constant training to achieve Shodan. But, there was not a day that I did not learn something or improve something. (lots of days, I learned what I had to work more on and what didn't work...) About a year after making Shodan, I moved to Florida. The closest Danzan Ryu place is in South Carolina. So, the organization wanted me to start a school. In order to test for Dan rank you need an equal number of "active" years. (1 year for Shodan, then 2 additional and consecutive years for nidan, then 3 for sandan...) An "active" year consists of attending at least 3 organization events, one of which must be a competition. When I lived in California, there were a bunch of schools and events and competitions... this was not a problem. Now that I am in Florida, that's 3 cross country trips a year, for 2 years. With family and work commitments... that just won't happen. As it turns out, the board member over the west coast region and the guy over the south east region, co started the same dojo that I trained at when I received my Shodan. There is a little discrepancy over who really founded that dojo and who built it up. There is also a bit of rivalry about which way to do certain techniques, between these two. The guy over the west coast, thinks that the "active" requirements should be waived, since I am running a school and there are not any events down this way. The guy over the south east does not agree with waiving those requirements. (this is partly why I don't want any rumors of my advancement floating around... as it would not help these guys get over their issues) So... I just keep training, and learning. When we get more schools and events this way... or if they decide to waive the travel... or if I end up moving somewhere else closer to other schools.... then I can worry about testing.
     
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  12. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    That is what experience and perspective give you.
     
  13. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I’ll be honest here. If somebody from a different system tried to give me a promotion in my system, that he did not train in, and I had not somehow studied under him, I would be very uncomfortable with the relationship. That kind of thing just weirds me out.

    If I could not resolve the issue with a brief discussion, if I got pushback from them when I explained why I will not accept that kind of “promotion”, then I would likely end the relationship.
     
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  14. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    I have enough experience and perspective to know that if I don't continue advancing in rank then I restrict my 'official' access to the curriculum - in my chosen system.
     
  15. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I guess that is how your system and organization are structured.

    I used to train in a system that was similarly structured. After a while I began to realize that the good stuff was all taught at the lower levels. When I looked at the curriculum I would have needed to learn to advance to Nidan, I actually said to myself, I don’t want it. The volume of material was reaching a point where I knew that I personally would never be able to stay on top of it all, and much of it seemed like it was built of a lesser quality. In my opinion, it was mostly created or adopted from other sources in a misguided notion that there needed to be more stuff, at every step of the way. I just realized that for me it would never work, and I didn’t trust the quality of the material, the farther along we got. So I decided that I don’t want to learn it, and my ranking progression in that method had come to an end.

    I no longer train in that system. What I do train in, does not bother with ranks.

    So we all decide what is important for us personally.
     
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  16. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    And that statement I totally support.

    I'd not say anyone is wrong for saying rank doesn't matter to them. If they're happy then power to them.

    In the same way, I'd not say anyone was wrong for saying rank is important to them (with the caveat that rushing to reach a certain grade isn't the best plan).

    Personally, my grade is important to me (for various reasons) and I'm pround of my personal achievements in getting credits and distinctions in my grading tests.


    The thing I disagree with is someone saying "rank means nothing" in reference to someone else...
     
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  17. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yes, and that is essentially what I was saying. We need to decide for ourselves what makes sense and what is important and why it is or is not important. And we cannot dictate that for others.

    How a martial system is structured in terms of its curriculum and how the ranking system is built on top of that curriculum can vary tremendously from one system to another. How tightly an organization holds control over access to the material, and how ranking is treated, and who can or cannot teach, can also vary widely.

    We all need to make our own decisions about it, and how we feel about it may change over time.

    So there it is.
     
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  18. Ryan_

    Ryan_ Green Belt

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    Regardless of your rank in your most practiced art, you are not that rank in a different art.

    I would explain clearly to them that in their art, you are not a shodan/nidan and would ask politely not to be referred to as such while you are a student there.
     
  19. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Yep that's pretty much my thing. I could turn up at different times but I've always been a busy guy so don't have much time for other stuff and I've never been super rich so I don't want to waste money on unimportant stuff I already spend a lot a month on just training
     
  20. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    At the end of th day no one can force someone to wear a belt. If for example I start judo tomorrow if I wanted I could train it non stop for 20 years (probably not as I assume I'll be dead by then lol) and never go beyond white belt. No one can make me. That's a thing I liked in kenpo they say if you don't want to take this belt you don't have to. I mean I did always take it because it was there so why not I'm not openly against rank but I'm just not going to chase it. Like in bjj I've got 2 stripes but I didn't get promoted to next stripe when the instructor did the promotions (there's no test but he normally awards them to people he feels deserve at the time.) I don't know why I didn't get it I'm not great at bjj but I'm not the worst but it doesn't matter to me I just keep training and if it comes it comes if not then who cares.
     
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