Age limit

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Hello,


I didn't want to hijack the 'age limit for black belts' thread. However, it was the title that made me think of this? the term 'age limit' rather than 'age requirement' or something similar had me thinking of an upper limit

so here goes

should we have an upper limit for age that can achieve black belt.

The for black belt kids, is that although they have the ability to perform the kata/forms and may have some knowledge. They can't use their art to any great degree.

Can we say the same things about the older generation that have taken up martial arts later in life? of course this is a much much smaller percentage of the population but it still exists.

people may point to Helio Gracie or other older Grandmasters/Masters who reached an older age and could still be active on the mat. Certainly this is a strong point, for those few who have reached such a level, maybe having a higher degree in an art also implies 'paid their dues'

however for 'normal people things may be a little different. I know that the TKD organisation i used to belong to changed the grading requirement for seniors, which was over 50 i believe.

so in short, if we have junior black belts, should we also have senior black belts?

please note, by posting this, i am not suggesting that it should be done, but merely trying to discuss a topic. I mean no disrespect to anyone who sees themselves as the older generation and who still trains.
 

Headhunter

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Depends on the person and their knowledge. If they've proven they know the stuff and can still do it to a reasonable level then yeah they should get it. Of course a guy in his 70s isn't going to be jumping around and throwing flashy stuff and be as sharp and fast as a 20 year old but as long as they know the material they need and can do it technically right then sure.
 

Buka

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Hello,


I didn't want to hijack the 'age limit for black belts' thread. However, it was the title that made me think of this? the term 'age limit' rather than 'age requirement' or something similar had me thinking of an upper limit

so here goes

should we have an upper limit for age that can achieve black belt.

The for black belt kids, is that although they have the ability to perform the kata/forms and may have some knowledge. They can't use their art to any great degree.

Can we say the same things about the older generation that have taken up martial arts later in life? of course this is a much much smaller percentage of the population but it still exists.

people may point to Helio Gracie or other older Grandmasters/Masters who reached an older age and could still be active on the mat. Certainly this is a strong point, for those few who have reached such a level, maybe having a higher degree in an art also implies 'paid their dues'

however for 'normal people things may be a little different. I know that the TKD organisation i used to belong to changed the grading requirement for seniors, which was over 50 i believe.

so in short, if we have junior black belts, should we also have senior black belts?

please note, by posting this, i am not suggesting that it should be done, but merely trying to discuss a topic. I mean no disrespect to anyone who sees themselves as the older generation and who still trains.

What an interesting idea. Haven't heard that before.
 

oftheherd1

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Hello,


I didn't want to hijack the 'age limit for black belts' thread. However, it was the title that made me think of this? the term 'age limit' rather than 'age requirement' or something similar had me thinking of an upper limit

so here goes

should we have an upper limit for age that can achieve black belt.

The for black belt kids, is that although they have the ability to perform the kata/forms and may have some knowledge. They can't use their art to any great degree.

Can we say the same things about the older generation that have taken up martial arts later in life? of course this is a much much smaller percentage of the population but it still exists.

people may point to Helio Gracie or other older Grandmasters/Masters who reached an older age and could still be active on the mat. Certainly this is a strong point, for those few who have reached such a level, maybe having a higher degree in an art also implies 'paid their dues'

however for 'normal people things may be a little different. I know that the TKD organisation i used to belong to changed the grading requirement for seniors, which was over 50 i believe.

so in short, if we have junior black belts, should we also have senior black belts?

please note, by posting this, i am not suggesting that it should be done, but merely trying to discuss a topic. I mean no disrespect to anyone who sees themselves as the older generation and who still trains.

I understand what you are saying, but think about at what point you will transition a grand master to a lower esteemed 'senior' black belt. I was 46 when I began studying Hapkido. I wasn't in the best shape, but I quickly progressed since I wasn't in the worst shape either. So how do you differentiate my physical ability from the couch potato who can't stand for long periods, and can't stretch nor wants to? At what point would I have been required to be a 'senior' black belt? The senior student who can perform correct kata in their art, or correct techniques, and has progressed in their physical abilities and refuses to do anything but their maximum performance at any time, always searching for new maximums, would you feel right in telling them they can only test for a 'senior' black belt?

Mind you, I am not trying to be argumentative, and it is an interesting point. I just want to bring out some of the problems I perceive. It will be interesting to see other's points of view.
 

Gerry Seymour

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An interesting concept. I think many arts actually recognize this - it's why most arts consider higher ranks (depending upon the art, perhaps 3rd dan and up) to be "honorary" or based upon criteria other than combat/application skill. I think this follows an expectation that a student starts relatively young, gets their BB perhaps in their 20's, then continues to get more skilled and capable through their 30's. By the time that theoretical student is in their 40's, they're probably already in or near those honorary ranks (20 years as a BB). As their body declines over the next 30 years, physical requirements aren't part of the ranks.

Now, that model works fine so long as the student starts early enough (perhaps reaching BB by early 30's). Someone starting later in life might not be able to meet the same physical requirements, if those requirements are stated specifically (e.g., "Spar for 60 seconds with 10 BB in a row at full speed.") How can we accommodate that? I think it requires a subjective approach. I wouldn't offer BB to a frail 80-year-old (because they wouldn't be able to safely complete the training necessary). But a reasonably fit 65-year-old could manage it. I wouldn't require them to be as physical as I was when I got my BB in my early 30's. They might need more technical skill than I did for my BB.

To me, there does come a point where you have to decide what the rank really means. If the BB is for technical competence, then age and physicality won't have nearly as much impact as if the rank is meant to indicate some sort of combat prowess. I think there's room to recognize a combination of both (I understand that's the case with BJJ), allowing some folks to make their way by being extremely technically competent and a bit less combat-ready, while others may be only very good technically (not excellent) but very combat-ready.

I'm still sorting out some of these thoughts, myself, because I seem to attract an older student, starting mostly in their late 40's.
 

skribs

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I'm going to say the same thing I said in the other thread just now: are we ranking black belts as fighters or as martial artists?

A black belt, at my school, is someone who has shown discipline and dedication to learning the course material, and has demonstrated consistently improved technique along with an understanding of the required curriculum. We don't, for example, have 20 students test for a belt, and only the 10 who win their sparring match advance. If our students demonstrate a mastery of what is required for the next belt, they advance.

It doesn't matter if the kid is 6 years old or 68 years old, if they demonstrate the test requirements, they advance.
 

JR 137

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I'm going to say the same thing I said in the other thread just now: are we ranking black belts as fighters or as martial artists?

A black belt, at my school, is someone who has shown discipline and dedication to learning the course material, and has demonstrated consistently improved technique along with an understanding of the required curriculum. We don't, for example, have 20 students test for a belt, and only the 10 who win their sparring match advance. If our students demonstrate a mastery of what is required for the next belt, they advance.

It doesn't matter if the kid is 6 years old or 68 years old, if they demonstrate the test requirements, they advance.
What if theyre 5 or younger, or 69 or older?

Sorry, I couldnt help it. :)
 

Michele123

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IMO age should not be a consideration. Have the same test and requirements for everyone. Have the same expectations. It shouldnt matter the age, gender, nationality, etc. Some 20 year olds are slower and more out of shape than some 80 year olds. Age just tells you how long someone has been on this earth. Nothing else.


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skribs

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What if theyre 5 or younger, or 69 or older?

Sorry, I couldnt help it. :)

Minimum age to start at our school is 4, some start at 3 1/2 with special permission. It takes 2.5 years minimum to get a black belt. So it's highly unlikely we'd have a 5-year-old black belt. Heck, I think the youngest we've had is 8 or 9 years old, because kids that young don't advance at the maximum possible rate.

Oh, wait, you're joking. Why am I wasting my time here? :p
 

skribs

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IMO age should not be a consideration. Have the same test and requirements for everyone. Have the same expectations. It shouldnt matter the age, gender, nationality, etc. Some 20 year olds are slower and more out of shape than some 80 year olds. Age just tells you how long someone has been on this earth. Nothing else.


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We do have different requirements for kids and teens/adults at my school, but only slightly. For example, for the first few belts, the kid's curriculum is basically one belt behind the adults. This is because kids, especially in the 4-6 year old range, often have trouble with simple ideas like "when I say kick, that means kick and place your foot down in front of you, not run 3 steps, kick, run 2 more steps, kick 4 more times, and then jump in a circle." For the most part, a kid earns their yellow belt by learning the school rules and learning how to follow the instructions.

That's not to say they don't learn any martial arts. They learn basic punches, kicks, blocks, and falls. But they aren't expected to memorize forms or repeat drills until yellow belt.

Adults, on the other hand, start off with higher expectations. It's expected that the adult has the vocabulary to understand commands, and the spacial awareness to not accidentally kick or punch one of the other students when we're practicing our techniques (which we have to constantly monitor some of the younger kids to make sure they don't get too close to another kid). So the adults have it harder until green belt, where it (for the most part) evens out.

The other aspect is that we teach adults hand grab techniques that we don't teach the kids. This is because kids generally tend not to understand the finer details of a wristlock like an adult can, but also because kids don't understand how to control their power or have awareness of what is going on with their partner. So we start to introduce this type of technique to the kids around blue or red belt, but adults start with these right from white belt, and learn more advanced versions into blue and red.

On the other hand, there are expectations of the kids that we don't have of our 40+ aged students. For example, getting up quick from a sitting position. Jumping high on jumping kicks, or being completely coordinated on spinning kicks like a spin-hook kick or a tornado kick. I allow the adults to groan during stretching, but expect the kids to not complain. While we allow anyone with injuries to take it easy on some techniques, this most often applies to older students with bad knees or backs.

In all cases, we expect to see discipline and dedication, and a continued effort to learn and understand the art better, but we do take age into consideration in what the curriculum and expectations are.
 

pdg

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I'm not sure of my position on this really...

I'm getting older, so should I have a 'senior' label slapped on because of my age irrespective of whether I can perform as well as someone who is 20 or not?

At some point, I'm not physically going to be able to do some things - but if I'm adaptable enough to use what I can still do to outperform a 30 year old, do I still get the restricted tag?

To throw something else in, what about a disabled person? Say they've got one leg, they're not going to be able to do the right stances or kicks. No green belt for you...

One arm? Well, a reverse punch on both sides is a requirement for yellow stripe, can they even head toward a BB?

How is any of that different to being randomly assigned too old or too young?
 

Gerry Seymour

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I'm not sure of my position on this really...

I'm getting older, so should I have a 'senior' label slapped on because of my age irrespective of whether I can perform as well as someone who is 20 or not?

At some point, I'm not physically going to be able to do some things - but if I'm adaptable enough to use what I can still do to outperform a 30 year old, do I still get the restricted tag?

To throw something else in, what about a disabled person? Say they've got one leg, they're not going to be able to do the right stances or kicks. No green belt for you...

One arm? Well, a reverse punch on both sides is a requirement for yellow stripe, can they even head toward a BB?

How is any of that different to being randomly assigned too old or too young?

I've thought about the disabled issue. I know of no way to safely teach the full curriculum for most physical disabilities. I'd still teach them, but I'd have to create special rank requirements for them, to offset what they can't do. It'd be entirely outside my standard ranking.
 

pdg

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I've thought about the disabled issue. I know of no way to safely teach the full curriculum for most physical disabilities. I'd still teach them, but I'd have to create special rank requirements for them, to offset what they can't do. It'd be entirely outside my standard ranking.

The equal opportunity brigade would love you :D
 

pdg

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Ok, more...

The age limit for 'normal' BB is set to 50 (for example).

I'm due to test a week before my 50th birthday, but due to inclement weather the test is postponed for a fortnight. Am I still allowed a normal belt? If not, how has my ability changed?



Or - I test for and receive my BB when I'm 49 - do I hand it in in exchange for a senior version in less than a year?



Or - I test for and receive my BB when I'm 30. 6 months later I lose a leg in a car accident - hand it back in?
 

Steve

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I recommend an upoer limit of 110 yrs. That should he sufficient to weed out any vampires, zombies, or other undesirables. Otherwise, I recommend just havung clear, objective standards and a supportive training environment where the ranks are for practical reasons and not political ones. If you do this, age or disability or anything else shouldn't be an issue.
 

Gerry Seymour

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The equal opportunity brigade would love you :D
I'd love to say I'd be able to help anyone train in what I do. Just not sure that's true. Same goes for someone with a disability being able to earn any specific rank in NGA. I don't see how I can give a one-armed person a rank in NGA, when that disability means they literally cannot do half of what's in the art. I could teach them to use the one arm well, and teach some of what's in the art, but not the entirety of it.

Which brings me to a question I keep asking myself: are the ranks I bestow, ranks in NGA? Or are they ranks in whatever I've taught them? If it's the former, that one-armed person could never achieve a yellow belt, since they couldn't do at least 4 of the 10 Classical techniques required (and almost none of them in the Classical form). If the latter, however, it's entirely possible they could reach a high level in "the stuff Gerry teaches" - it would just be a different "stuff" for them than for other students.

I have been having that argument with myself for a bit more than a year.
 

Gerry Seymour

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I recommend an upoer limit of 110 yrs. That should he sufficient to weed out any vampires, zombies, or other undesirables. Otherwise, I recommend just havung clear, objective standards and a supportive training environment where the ranks are for practical reasons and not political ones. If you do this, age or disability or anything else shouldn't be an issue.
Undeadaphobic.
 

mrt2

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This topic hits home for me. In my past training, I was a teenager asked to raise my game to adult standards because 35 years ago, the Dojang where I trained basically had two groups. Little kid classes, which were kind of a joke, and regular classes. I can still remember my master looks at me and said, "You are a big boy, we put you in adult class." And that was that. So every passing year, physical and mental maturity meant my ceiling was going up.

These days I am already past 50, so in some ways, starting a MA program is a race against the clock. In my past training, there was a black belt who taught Friday classes who was, maybe in his mid 50s. He seemed ancient to me at age 15. And now I am that guy, except that unlike him, I have not earned a black belt. With each passing year, my potential as a Martial Artist has to be going down. Speed, reflexes, recovery ability. All of it.

But, if I keep at it and manage to stay injury free, it is possible I could test for black belt by age 55, or maybe 56? Where am I going to be physically then? I hope more fit than I am now at age 52, but is it good enough to call myself a black belt? Only time will tell.
 

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This topic hits home for me. In my past training, I was a teenager asked to raise my game to adult standards because 35 years ago, the Dojang where I trained basically had two groups. Little kid classes, which were kind of a joke, and regular classes. I can still remember my master looks at me and said, "You are a big boy, we put you in adult class." And that was that. So every passing year, physical and mental maturity meant my ceiling was going up.

These days I am already past 50, so in some ways, starting a MA program is a race against the clock. In my past training, there was a black belt who taught Friday classes who was, maybe in his mid 50s. He seemed ancient to me at age 15. And now I am that guy, except that unlike him, I have not earned a black belt. With each passing year, my potential as a Martial Artist has to be going down. Speed, reflexes, recovery ability. All of it.

But, if I keep at it and manage to stay injury free, it is possible I could test for black belt by age 55, or maybe 56? Where am I going to be physically then? I hope more fit than I am now at age 52, but is it good enough to call myself a black belt? Only time will tell.

Depends on what being a Black Belt means to you. In our system, 1st Dan is a teaching rank, and ones understanding of the system and ability to pass it on are at least as important as anything else. We recently awarded a 1st Dan to a woman in her early 70's. She deserves it.
Personally, I'm certainly not the fighter I was ten, twenty or thirty years ago. But I don't plan on turning in my belt. And there's certainly something to be said for experience. The last time I fought in a tournament I was about 50. There weren't enough people to have a separate geriatric fat man class, so I sparred in the 30-35 year old Black Belt class. And brought home a lovely little necklace.
 
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