6 Year old BB to join our school (Just a rant/story I need to tell--long)

miguksaram

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A mother stopped in the other day with her 6 year old daughter to check out our classes. The little girl's friend is a white belt at our school and her parents spoke highly of us to them so they decided to stop in. The lady said that her little 6 year old was getting bored with the school and was hoping to learn something more. When I asked her present rank, I was told she was testing for her black belt the next weekend. Yes folks I should have been given my next rank for outstanding display of keeping my posure when she told this too me. I asked her how long has she been studying she said since she was 3.

She came in on a Saturday when all we have is our "XMA" class (note: I put it in quotes because what we do is far from the usual XMA program most schools do.) When she saw some of our students practicing their forms she asked if this was mostly black belts. I let her know that most of them were underbelts only 5th kyu (blue belt level) with just a couple of them 1st kyu and jr. black belt. She asked how long it took for our kids to get their black belts and I told her that the average is about 5 years for their Jr. Black belt and when they turn 16 they can test for their adult black belt, provided they know the adult curriculum by then. She floored at the length of time it took. I explained that we are not in the business in rushing them through their ranks and that their is a lot to learn at each level. I told her that her daughter was bored because they most likely have not really challanged her. They just let her skim through her classes and gave the belt ever 2 months. She then corrected me that it was ever two months up until the last 3 ranks then it was every 3 months. (Which is why I should get my next rank for free for not just saying..yeah...which is why one of my 6 year orange belts would wipe the floor with your black belt...again...composure:))

She said she was going to pull her daughter from the other school after she tests for her black belt. She was hopeful that her daughter would pass and I reassured her that as long her her check cleared the daughter would pass (Ok...so I failed that part of the composure test). She asked if her daughter could keep the black belt if she joined. I told her that our policy is that it is up to the parent/individual. She could do one of two things...1) Keep the black belt but would not be considered a black belt in our school, 2) Have one of our instructors asses her and determine what rank she would be equivalent to, or 3) Just come in as a white belt (Naturally we would rather she do '3' but Sensei Sharkey believes that regardless of the school it may have come from that person did meet their requirements for the belt and should be allowed to keep it. Now for option '1' & '2' we would assign a "mentor" that would spend some time with them individually and help them learn our system while periodically giving them an exam on the individual ranks and then letting them know "congrats you are now up to "x" level in our system.

She seemed ok with that and said that she would like her daughter to keep the black belt since she has worked 3 years to get it. They both watched the class and eventually took off. Will she be back? I don't know, but living this whole incident made me thankful for the hard time we give our kids in our school that when they pass a test they know they have earned it.
 

girlbug2

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A six year old black belt.

The notion just cheapens everything a black belt stands for in my mind.

How is it that parents do not understand this?
 

granfire

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A six year old black belt.

The notion just cheapens everything a black belt stands for in my mind.

How is it that parents do not understand this?

how are they to understand this.

I mean, I am happy for the kid, but SHEESH...


But in all ernest, I don't think the Mom and the kid will be back. Ever. Most folks never go past BB. The gleaming pinnacle of martial arts, after that you kinda rank right up there with...Chuck Norris?

(But I am sure there could have been made the case on grounds of team work, cohesiveness and the joy of friendship for the girl to be a White belt should she even come for classes. You gotta find a yummy way to wrap it! ;) )
 

nathan3

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When my son is old enough to start training in any art (and it will be well after 3 years old, I assure you), I hope that no school or instructor ever just hands my child a rank like that. It sends the wrong message on so many levels. Not just in martial arts, but in outside life as well.

-Nathan
 

granfire

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I want to know what the hell kind of school takes 3 YEAR OLDS

I want to find that instructor and slap the ever loving crap out of them


well, taking 3 year olds is one thing, but making the parents believe they could possibly do the full curriculum is steep.

I mean we do kids, though 3 years is a bit on the young side, but no way are they walking out of the program with a black belt at age six (guess we are not belt milling as bad as I thought we were...) I kinda missed the change there, but our kids earn their cub ranks (white belt with color stripes that match the rank progression of the big guys) and either get a white belt with a black stripe or a white belt with 'tiger cub graduate' embroidered on it when they go on to the regular kid's class (and as I recall, while still white belts, they are a step up from the true white belts...since they already know some stuff)


(just thinking out loud, since that's not the OP's problem, the 'full' BB of preschool age is)
 
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miguksaram

miguksaram

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A six year old black belt.

The notion just cheapens everything a black belt stands for in my mind.

How is it that parents do not understand this?

So what does a black belt stand for in your mind?
 
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miguksaram

miguksaram

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I want to know what the hell kind of school takes 3 YEAR OLDS

I want to find that instructor and slap the ever loving crap out of them

You are more than welcome to stop by. I'm sure Sensei Sharkey would love to feel your slap. :mst:

We take 3-5 year olds in our Lil' Sharks class. It is a basic as basic can get in terms of martial art studies. We teach them basic kick, punches and blocks, but work a lot of their motor skills and mental skills in terms of discipline. Once they turn 6 they can start kids program, by that time (if they start at 3) they know about 3/4 of the white to orange belt curriculum.
 
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miguksaram

miguksaram

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But in all ernest, I don't think the Mom and the kid will be back. Ever. Most folks never go past BB. The gleaming pinnacle of martial arts, after that you kinda rank right up there with...Chuck Norris?

I think we have a better chance of them returning than not, simply because their daughter is good friends with our student. However, I'm not holding my breath. My favorite story to date is when one of our students who was a high white belt (meaning he was set to finally test for yellow), moved too far (so the parents say), to take our classes. They enrolled him in a TKD school and they instantly promoted him to a blue belt level (which I'm guessing is around 6th gup or so), that was about 2 years ago. Their friend who is still at our school told me that they are testing for their black belt this summer.
 

Omar B

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That stinks. A Black belt has certain responsibilities and certain expectations. You should be able to conduct classes, command respect and defend yourself (something I know a 6 year old can't do). I was a brown belt for 4 years till I was allowed to test for black at 16 and I feel it was totally for the best.
 

Twin Fist

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here is the question tho, are you claiming to be teaching them TKD, or a "kids martial arts program"

there is a big difference. That six year old came from a school that claimed to be teaching her TKD.

Thats bullcrap.

By your own words, you are just teaching the 3-6 year olds what amounts to a general phys ed class, with some martial arts aspects.


You are more than welcome to stop by. I'm sure Sensei Sharkey would love to feel your slap. :mst:

We take 3-5 year olds in our Lil' Sharks class. It is a basic as basic can get in terms of martial art studies. We teach them basic kick, punches and blocks, but work a lot of their motor skills and mental skills in terms of discipline. Once they turn 6 they can start kids program, by that time (if they start at 3) they know about 3/4 of the white to orange belt curriculum.
 
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miguksaram

miguksaram

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here is the question tho, are you claiming to be teaching them TKD, or a "kids martial arts program"

there is a big difference. That six year old came from a school that claimed to be teaching her TKD.

Thats bullcrap.

By your own words, you are just teaching the 3-6 year olds what amounts to a general phys ed class, with some martial arts aspects.

Well, technically we are teaching them karate (Sharkey's Karate Studio). This is how we explain our program:

The "Lil Sharks" program is a fun and exciting introduction to karate for kids ages 3-5. It is a month by month program that meets twice a week. The classes are 30 minutes long and occur every Tuesday and Thursday. Some of the benefits include:
  • Builds proper attitude, respect and discipline
  • Increases flexibility and strength
  • Improves coordination and concentration.
  • Develops self-esteem and self-confidence.
It is an introduction to Karate, but not our full curriculum.

Now, in principle I agree with you that teaching a full blown curriculum to a 3 year old is wrong, well not wrong so much as impossible., however, to play devil's advocate here, they are teaching their TKD curriculum. Now granted their standards must be low or perhaps the girl is just that talented, I personally didn't see her do anything that day.
 

Jphtkd

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What type of TKD school did this 6 yr old come from? It is a pretty common practice in ATA schools to sell black belts to young children.
 
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miguksaram

miguksaram

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That stinks. A Black belt has certain responsibilities and certain expectations. You should be able to conduct classes, command respect and defend yourself (something I know a 6 year old can't do). I was a brown belt for 4 years till I was allowed to test for black at 16 and I feel it was totally for the best.

These are your definitions of a black belt and though some may agree with you there are others who may not subscribe to the same thought.

I know plenty of adult black belts who couldn't conduct a class if their life depended on it. As well as I know black belts who deserve no respect whatsoever and defending yourself? The 6 year old may well be able to defend herself agains someone her own age or maybe even a couple of years older. If you are asking if she could defend herself against an adult, most likely not, then again I know adults black belts who are incable of this.

In the same sense I know of a 11 year old black belt who can meet all of three of your requirments and be a formidable opponent against an adult. So at what age is too young?
 
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miguksaram

miguksaram

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What type of TKD school did this 6 yr old come from? It is a pretty common practice in ATA schools to sell black belts to young children.

It is a KKW school. I believe she was from one of Bally's TMA schools that is local to us.
 

JBrainard

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That stinks. A Black belt has certain responsibilities and certain expectations. You should be able to conduct classes, command respect and defend yourself (something I know a 6 year old can't do). I was a brown belt for 4 years till I was allowed to test for black at 16 and I feel it was totally for the best.

*slightly off topic*
I have to agree. Sadly, there are far too many black blets out there who don't have the attributes you described above. Lame.
 

Omar B

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These are your definitions of a black belt and though some may agree with you there are others who may not subscribe to the same thought.

I know plenty of adult black belts who couldn't conduct a class if their life depended on it. As well as I know black belts who deserve no respect whatsoever and defending yourself? The 6 year old may well be able to defend herself agains someone her own age or maybe even a couple of years older. If you are asking if she could defend herself against an adult, most likely not, then again I know adults black belts who are incable of this.

In the same sense I know of a 11 year old black belt who can meet all of three of your requirements and be a formidable opponent against an adult. So at what age is too young?

I hear you man. I found that when I was allowed to test I did have the requisite knowledge and appreciation of the skills and their meaning. To a child they are just movements, it's hard to see below the surface. But then I was doing Seido and BB does not only mean knowing the material, it comes with a certain "maturity" I guess you could say.

Is it commoin for TKD to have such young BBs?
 
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miguksaram

miguksaram

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I hear you man. I found that when I was allowed to test I did have the requisite knowledge and appreciation of the skills and their meaning. To a child they are just movements, it's hard to see below the surface. But then I was doing Seido and BB does not only mean knowing the material, it comes with a certain "maturity" I guess you could say.

Is it commoin for TKD to have such young BBs?

Yes it is..most school consider them just poom belts not the same as adult black belts.

Everyone has a different philosophy when it comes to BB. My TSD BB meant more to me than when I earned my KKW TKD BB. My Shorei BB, if I get it (testing is in September this year) will mean more than either of those two. Just because of the process of learning that I had to go through in order to get it. Does that mean I feel my TKD or TSD BB's are worthless? Not at all. I just feel the belt I'm working for is a bit more challenging because I'm a bit more older. ;)
 

Jphtkd

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Yeah, unfortunately there are a lot of schools out there selling black belts to kids. When schools started marketing to 3 yr. olds, I assume they were not thinking that far ahead. I know of a school in California that starts them at 2 yrs. old.

I think a lot of the problem is not how young they start, but the practice of selling belts for attendance. The kids show up for class, and like clockwork they get promoted every 2-3 months. I have to occasionally remind some of the parents at my school that just because their child has met the minimum time requirement at their rank, does not guarantee that they will test.

As for the original topic, I make it a practice to not accept students from other schools. Over the years, every time I have made an exception, it has come back to bite me. A lot of the time you end up trying to fix bad habits, or dealing with the "but my other instructor taught me this way" issue.
 
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miguksaram

miguksaram

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As for the original topic, I make it a practice to not accept students from other schools. Over the years, every time I have made an exception, it has come back to bite me. A lot of the time you end up trying to fix bad habits, or dealing with the "but my other instructor taught me this way" issue.

We have always welcomed students from other schools. Which I'm glad, else I would have never had the opportunity to train with such a great team. We have had our share of the "but my old instructor does this.", we just simply tell them, well that's cool, but we need to do it this way for our system.
 
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