Another ATA 5 year old black belt

Daniel Sullivan

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True, but he followed up with this statement: "I dont like it either, but i will not bury my head in the sand and pretend it isnt true." which tells me he agrees with the statement.
I don't know; I rather get the impression that he doesn't like the perception, not that he agrees with it.
 

ralphmcpherson

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This is probaby going to get me in all kinds of trouble, but....perhaps....just perhaps the martial arts weren't really suppose to be a commercial venture? Perhaps if money wasn't a primary motivating factor, then some/most/all of the 'stuff' that we complain about in the martial arts wouldn't exist?

Just tossing it out there....
Good post. My pet hate with martial arts is hearing people using monetary/business excuses for lowering standards or "giving little johnny a black belt". If the only way you can make a dollar is to compromise your principles then sell up and get into another line of work. I also think its a complete myth that you cant build your school up by teaching martial arts properly, we fail kids at grading all the time and they dont quit, we dont hand out 3rd dans to primary school kids and we still have huge numbers of kids signing up. The number one reason people lower standards is laziness, its easier to teach lower standards and you dont have to explain to mrs smith why her little johnny failed his yellow belt grading. We had a new student come over to us recently, he was 8 years old and his father told me he had him in another club and his son was lazy, his form looked average and he looked sloppy in his movements compared to some of the other kids. He told me he felt good that his son would fail and it would teach him to train harder and that the reaching the next level would not come easily. Anyway, his son passed his grading and the father was furious, ripped him out of the school and looked for another school. Just goes to show the theory of passing kids just so they wont quit can also backfire.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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I do not use gradings as a means of monetary income for my studio; there is no fee for a grading. My kendo studio is independent, so I will not ask a fee of my students.

I use the gradings to allow the student to do all of the curriculum for his/her grade under a microscope and then use it as an opportunity to give them more detailed feedback. It also is good for them to have to perform under some pressure.

I call it a grading rather than a test because, really, I'm not testing them. They don't 'grade' unless they are ready, at which point, it no longer can really be called a test.

Also, it allows other students to see what is expected of senior students at higher grades.

Since kendo doesn't use belts, there is no incentive to 'get a new belt.' My students train more like the football team: I run them through a training regimen and repetitive drills and as they get better, they get to learn more advanced techniques.

Since everyone looks the same with regards to display of rank (none), the only way to see what 'rank' someone holds is to see how they perform.
 

ralphmcpherson

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I do not use gradings as a means of monetary income for my studio; there is no fee for a grading. My kendo studio is independent, so I will not ask a fee of my students.

I use the gradings to allow the student to do all of the curriculum for his/her grade under a microscope and then use it as an opportunity to give them more detailed feedback. It also is good for them to have to perform under some pressure.

I call it a grading rather than a test because, really, I'm not testing them. They don't 'grade' unless they are ready, at which point, it no longer can really be called a test.

Also, it allows other students to see what is expected of senior students at higher grades.

Since kendo doesn't use belts, there is no incentive to 'get a new belt.' My students train more like the football team: I run them through a training regimen and repetitive drills and as they get better, they get to learn more advanced techniques.

Since everyone looks the same with regards to display of rank (none), the only way to see what 'rank' someone holds is to see how they perform.
That sounds like a good way of doing things. My original instructor was similar, he would basically grade us in class, and the "official" grading was more so parents could get photos and for the whole 'ceremony' side of things. My new instructor likes to see us perform under pressure, and uses the grading as the actual 'test'. Both have their merrits.
 

SPX

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Perhaps I'm just to old school. But I much prefered it when it took 3 months to learn just the opening movements of one kata rather than learning one form per colored belt rank without really understanding what was being taught.

I give humans more credit than to think that anyone would need to learn at such a slow pace. Why do you need three months to learn the opening movements of one kata?
 

miguksaram

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Probably one of the most sought after answers in martial arts. It's also the reason I refuse to open a public school that can only afford to stay open because I lowered my standards. I'm fortunate that I don't have to give someone a belt to keep them motivated or can't ask someone to leave because they lack the commitment I demand. we feed off each other. Watching those we respect and admire having to constantly wrestle with compromise is not a pleasant sight.
Why does one have to lower the standards? Harvard has not lowered their standards, just because some people cannot hack it once they got in. At our school we have a set standard which students must adhere to in order to pass to the next belt. If they do not meet the standard they do not test, it is that simple. A average minimum time for even a Jr. BB is 5 years and they do have to be a minimum age as well. That is not to say that being in somewhere longer means better. We have had some kids do it in three years. My point is that we set forth the criteria and standards that each student has to meet. As long as you are confident in what you do and you are providing excellent instruction at a fair price for not only the customer but for yourself as well then why lower standards?
 

miguksaram

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This is probaby going to get me in all kinds of trouble, but....perhaps....just perhaps the martial arts weren't really suppose to be a commercial venture? Perhaps if money wasn't a primary motivating factor, then some/most/all of the 'stuff' that we complain about in the martial arts wouldn't exist?
There will always be something for someone to ***** about. :)
My question to you is why can it not be a commercial venture? If I feel I am good at something, and feel I can pass this knowledge on to someone else, why not get paid for it? I do not understand the stigma that martial artists shouldn't teach for money. It has always been done.
 

miguksaram

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Good post. My pet hate with martial arts is hearing people using monetary/business excuses for lowering standards or "giving little johnny a black belt". If the only way you can make a dollar is to compromise your principles then sell up and get into another line of work.
Very well put.
I also think its a complete myth that you cant build your school up by teaching martial arts properly, we fail kids at grading all the time and they dont quit, we dont hand out 3rd dans to primary school kids and we still have huge numbers of kids signing up. The number one reason people lower standards is laziness, its easier to teach lower standards and you dont have to explain to mrs smith why her little johnny failed his yellow belt grading. We had a new student come over to us recently, he was 8 years old and his father told me he had him in another club and his son was lazy, his form looked average and he looked sloppy in his movements compared to some of the other kids. He told me he felt good that his son would fail and it would teach him to train harder and that the reaching the next level would not come easily. Anyway, his son passed his grading and the father was furious, ripped him out of the school and looked for another school. Just goes to show the theory of passing kids just so they wont quit can also backfire.
Exactly...we go through the same thing at our school. I am happy to say that the standards that we set are enough to motivate people from all over the US and Canada to come to our school once or twice a year for our annual camps. We are tough, but the parents appreciate what we do PLUS, believe it or not, the kids enjoy being at the school. We have more dojo rats than I have ever seen (Note: Those who don't know...dojo/dojang/kwoon rats are students that hang around the school and practice or just hang out even when they don't have classes that day...they are at the school almost 7 days a week).
 

Kong Soo Do

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I give humans more credit than to think that anyone would need to learn at such a slow pace. Why do you need three months to learn the opening movements of one kata?

This is the way that Uechi Kanbun Sensei trained in China. This is the way he taught. His presentation of kata was so powerful, that historically, no one at demonstrations would follow him. It taught not only the form, and more importantly the bukai but also patience.

I have patterned our single form in MSK Kong Soo Do after this principle. Just one movement sequence of the 25 in the form could easily last MULTIPLE classes. We don't follow the philosophy of 'do a form, get a colored belt, repeat'. Very little training takes place that way. Our philosophy is quality rather than quantity. Without offense intended towards anyone, nor is this a pat on our own back, we've had BB's from both Korean and non-Korean arts come to our school and admit/realize they wouldn't qualify for our yellow belt. Think of it this way...and this is probably opening up a can of worms...and I'm speaking about non-sport TKD so keep it in perspective...if a person reaches the Dan levels in TKD but don't know how to grapple, lock, throw, choke, cavity press, misplace the bone and tendon, fight on the ground (real fighting not the sport version) then they did not get the full training they could have/should have. They were rushed through without a full understanding of what TKD really consists of in relation to non-sport applications.

Well, now I went and did it :uhyeah:
 

miguksaram

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This is the way that Uechi Kanbun Sensei trained in China. This is the way he taught. His presentation of kata was so powerful, that historically, no one at demonstrations would follow him. It taught not only the form, and more importantly the bukai but also patience.

This was pretty much a norm in most karate schools back in the day. I had a couple of my seniors in my school tell me how lucky I was to learn half a form in a months time. Stating they would be happy if that got to learn 3 more moves within that time frame. I could be wrong but don't some kung fu schools teach in this way? They show you only so much of form per ranking?
 

Kong Soo Do

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There will always be something for someone to ***** about. :)
My question to you is why can it not be a commercial venture? If I feel I am good at something, and feel I can pass this knowledge on to someone else, why not get paid for it? I do not understand the stigma that martial artists shouldn't teach for money. It has always been done.

Actually, and with respect, it has not always been done this way. Itosu Sensei as just one example was a full time college professor. Martial arts was something that was a way of life rather than an occupational pursuit. China is another example. Teaching as a commercial venture did not really get into full swing until after WWII. Not saying that one couldn't teach for money in a respectful, legitimate, non-watering the arts down way but it does allow for some much 'stuff' to creep in for those looking to make a fast buck.

Even when I operated a full 'commercial' school we operated on certain principles. And the term 'commercial' is really wrong too be honest. Perhaps 'club' would be better. We charged just enough to keep the doors open which included me putting into the kitty even though I was the main instructor. No one made a penny profit. If someone wasn't serious, they were asked to leave (and yes, I've done so on several occasions). We did not charge for belt testing. But that's just how we rolled.
 

miguksaram

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Actually, and with respect, it has not always been done this way. Itosu Sensei as just one example was a full time college professor. Martial arts was something that was a way of life rather than an occupational pursuit. China is another example. Teaching as a commercial venture did not really get into full swing until after WWII.
There may not have been such a demand for it up until then. There were commercial schools and they did teach for money...there were not dozens and dozens, but they were there. When society changed, especially after WWII, there was a higher demand for such ventures. Supply and demand. :)

Not saying that one couldn't teach for money in a respectful, legitimate, non-watering the arts down way but it does allow for some much 'stuff' to creep in for those looking to make a fast buck.
Which is up to the individual instructor to decide. So do we blame commercial schools for watering down the arts or do we blame the integrity of the instructors? I know of a several very successful TKD schools that has not watered down their standards and still make good money.

Even when I operated a full 'commercial' school we operated on certain principles. And the term 'commercial' is really wrong too be honest. Perhaps 'club' would be better. We charged just enough to keep the doors open which included me putting into the kitty even though I was the main instructor. No one made a penny profit. If someone wasn't serious, they were asked to leave (and yes, I've done so on several occasions). We did not charge for belt testing. But that's just how we rolled.
Which is fine...nothing wrong with the way you did. I know of a lot of instructors who do it simply for the love of it and many blessings to all of you that do. However, for those of us who wish to attempt to make a living at it, we are not exactly the devil of the martial arts world, yet many people scold those who do make a good living at it. This is the part that I don't get.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Actually, and with respect, it has not always been done this way. Itosu Sensei as just one example was a full time college professor. Martial arts was something that was a way of life rather than an occupational pursuit. China is another example. Teaching as a commercial venture did not really get into full swing until after WWII. Not saying that one couldn't teach for money in a respectful, legitimate, non-watering the arts down way but it does allow for some much 'stuff' to creep in for those looking to make a fast buck.

Even when I operated a full 'commercial' school we operated on certain principles. And the term 'commercial' is really wrong too be honest. Perhaps 'club' would be better. We charged just enough to keep the doors open which included me putting into the kitty even though I was the main instructor. No one made a penny profit. If someone wasn't serious, they were asked to leave (and yes, I've done so on several occasions). We did not charge for belt testing. But that's just how we rolled.
Actually, he is correct; it has always been done. Prior to the twentieth century, masters were sought after and paid for their services. Takeda Sokaku did charge for his lessons, as did other masters. It was their craft.

The dynamic was a bit different, but the idea that the teaching of martial arts for money somehow taints the art is a twentieth century invention, one that did not exist until people with disposable income and day jobs could afford to teach for free.... such as full time college professors.

The commercialism that we see in the arts today really began more in the eighties when the arts' market was expanded to include people who just wanted to 'get into shape' or get their kid away from the television. This was done by MA school owners to take advantage of the fitness craze of the eighties. The Karate Kid got more kids interested in the martial arts which expanded childrens programs even further.

Just to be clear, there have always been kids in the martial arts; but the current model of kids classes has its roots more in the eighties, well after the establishment of other commmercial schools.
 

dancingalone

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if a person reaches the Dan levels in TKD but don't know how to grapple, lock, throw, choke, cavity press, misplace the bone and tendon, fight on the ground (real fighting not the sport version) then they did not get the full training they could have/should have. They were rushed through without a full understanding of what TKD really consists of in relation to non-sport applications.

I share a lot of the same feelings, but to be fair can we truly say all those things were part of classic TKD? Classic karate perhaps. I'm very willing to say old school TKD included great striking along with a decent amount of judo throwing, perhaps some rudimentary wrist locks... More than that? I dunno - but it would make a good discussion.
 

Cyriacus

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I share a lot of the same feelings, but to be fair can we truly say all those things were part of classic TKD? Classic karate perhaps. I'm very willing to say old school TKD included great striking along with a decent amount of judo throwing, perhaps some rudimentary wrist locks... More than that? I dunno - but it would make a good discussion.
It does - Its just that its not the archetypical "Ground Fighting" that probably springs to mind. The Chokes? Definitely. Locking tends to be less favored compared to just holding someone for a second then hitting them, but its there. Grappling is there, but again, not in the archetypical context which springs to mind. And so forth.

Now Im just going to sit back and sip some Lemonade whilst someone inevitably starts going on about TKD being stolen from Karate and all that jazz.
 

dancingalone

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It does - Its just that its not the archetypical "Ground Fighting" that probably springs to mind. The Chokes? Definitely. Locking tends to be less favored compared to just holding someone for a second then hitting them, but its there. Grappling is there, but again, not in the archetypical context which springs to mind. And so forth.

I would like it if historically that was true. May I ask what reference you read to support that conclusion? The reason why I question it somewhat is because General Choi brought in a hapkido expert to develop a hosinsul curriculum. Assuming a substantial inside fighting practice already existed in his taekwondo, this would not have been necessary.

Thanks!
 

miguksaram

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It does - Its just that its not the archetypical "Ground Fighting" that probably springs to mind. The Chokes? Definitely. Locking tends to be less favored compared to just holding someone for a second then hitting them, but its there. Grappling is there, but again, not in the archetypical context which springs to mind. And so forth.

Now Im just going to sit back and sip some Lemonade whilst someone inevitably starts going on about TKD being stolen from Karate and all that jazz.
Can you point out in the Shotokan syllabus where locks, traps, chokes and ground fighting was taught....Not being an ***...I just never saw it in the Shotokan books that I have....since TKD's roots are mostly Shotokan, especially the ITF branch, I would like to find out why it was not taught, if it was taught in Shotokan.
 

dancingalone

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Can you point out in the Shotokan syllabus where locks, traps, chokes and ground fighting was taught....Not being an ***...I just never saw it in the Shotokan books that I have....since TKD's roots are mostly Shotokan, especially the ITF branch, I would like to find out why it was not taught, if it was taught in Shotokan.

It's commonly accepted that these things were never taught in pre-WWII Shotokan. No kobudo weapons either. The students at the Japanese universities either weren't interested in them or Funakoshi Sensei didn't think it important or necessary for whatever reason.

Some have theorized that the use of bayonets and rifles as primary arms for Japanese infantry soldiers at the time left little concern for learning much else. Meanwhile the focus on empty hand sparring was a means of building martial spirit in the university youth.
 

miguksaram

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It's commonly accepted that these things were never taught in pre-WWII Shotokan. No kobudo weapons either. The students at the Japanese universities either weren't interested in them or Funakoshi Sensei didn't think it important or necessary for whatever reason.

Some have theorized that the use of bayonets and rifles as primary arms for Japanese infantry soldiers at the time left little concern for learning much else. Meanwhile the focus on empty hand sparring was a means of building martial spirit in the university youth.

Thank you. So the original Shotokan curriculum as taught by Funakoshi Sensei and his son and several of his 1st generation students did not include chokes, traps, locks, ground fighting correct?
 
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