Are belts the way to go (from a brown belt)?

Kung Fu Wang

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to organize students by skill level for competition or not.
To me the belt system can force students to compete in tournament. In ACSCA if one doesn't compete, the 1st degree BB is the best that he can get. He can't pass the 2nd degree BB without tournament record.

In ACSCA, a student has to meet 2 requirements:

- He will compete in tournament.
- He will teach his MA skill to others in the future.
 
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Schools are an opt-in system once you reach a certain grade. You also don't pass by default (at least in the states, I'd be alarmed if anywhere you just auto-passed all your classes). And depending on the situation you may have to pay per grade.
This is still a poor example, not much can be compared and the dynamic is diffrent.

You dont get grades beyond free education which is normally compulsary and not beyond secondary school/college (my dialect), you have to be underperfoming by a LARGE margin to be held back, and i think a list of criteria and partial parent consent needs to be had to do it, i have only seen it once.

You dont get a qulification after each grade, you get one after the secondary school block, when you leave that you sit for actual qulifications, so if you dont pass them you dont get a qulification. the grade markers up until that point and assesment is internal assesment to watch for progress and screen for disabilities etc.

The better example would be if they forced you to go, made you pay for it, and kept failing you to keep you at L1, and you needed to get to L5 to be allowed to leave. Its just not optional, and they lie if they say it is, unless they will recognise a long standing white belt and give them a pass, which is a exeption not rule as far as i can tell.

Only othet thing that comes to mind that might be better is cadets, they dont tell you its optional to persue patches etc, its only optional in the sense of, you choose the ones you want to persue based on intrests. If you want to do shooting, you NEED to go the premilary shooting education and thus earn the relivent patches. There is also some degree of getting a legit qulification through it as well. (you can get a actual first aid qual through it, so the patch is the cadet marker for you have done it to this level, you get a cert to say you have done it) but then its ran as a charity so pretty discounted rates.

The dynamic is diffrent in school to a private hobby like martial arts, you are made to go, hell the dyanmics diffrent for cadets as well. I cant think of anything that can be 1:1.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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This is still a poor example, not much can be compared and the dynamic is diffrent.
I agree it's a poor example, but that's mostly because school systems are so different cross-state and cross-countries.
You dont get grades beyond free education which is normally compulsary and not beyond secondary school/college (my dialect), you have to be underperfoming by a LARGE margin to be held back, and i think a list of criteria and partial parent consent needs to be had to do it, i have only seen it once.
Not true in the area that gpseymour lives (I believe he's the one who made the comparison, so going by his location). Education is not mandated after 16 years old where he lives. You also only have to fail to be held back-some schools will try to force you to pass to help their statistics, but IME that's only true in middle class and up schools in the US at least.
You dont get a qulification after each grade, you get one after the secondary school block, when you leave that you sit for actual qulifications, so if you dont pass them you dont get a qulification. the grade markers up until that point and assesment is internal assesment to watch for progress and screen for disabilities etc.
Not sure what you're referring to as a qualification, block or assessment. But where I live, we had external tests determined by a large standardized body that was the same across the state, in December and then again in June. If you fail the first one, that's a sign that you may not graduate and need to start putting in extra work, and then if you fail the June one, that was very likely to result in you not passing and needing to redo the class. Pretty similar to having a large outside body determining testing material, and failing/passing it playing a large part in determining if you go to the next belt.
The better example would be if they forced you to go, made you pay for it, and kept failing you to keep you at L1, and you needed to get to L5 to be allowed to leave. Its just not optional, and they lie if they say it is, unless they will recognise a long standing white belt and give them a pass, which is a exeption not rule as far as i can tell.
I've been to a (MA) school that had belts but did not force me to rank/test. Eventually, they just gave me higher belts when they realized I really wasn't going to pay for the test because I didn't care, since it was misleading to the other students. Also, what (MA) school is not letting you leave??
 

gpseymour

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Schools are a bad example, its not a opt in system, and you pass by default. You dont pay per grade in school.

Belt how ever are said are a opt in system, but they deny your access to the orginisation unless you opt in. If you want full access to a org, you need to do what is held as a opt in or said to be one, unless the exeption si made where they give permenet white belts exemptions or honoary belts. (which is again, the exeption as far as i can see)
I've never paid per grade in MA, either. As for opt-in, if that's going to make this impossible for you to use as an analogy, let's use course levels in college/university. That's all opt-in, and content is locked behind level progression.
 

gpseymour

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No do not leave, stay, PASS THE TEST,
then consider leaving.
Do not teach your self its ok to
quit, all the confusion that happened
to you at the test could happen in
a real confrontation, face it, overcome it,
evaluate, move forward.
I am 65+ , learning to ride horses,
I've been thrown, hit the ground hard,
My riding instructor a young skinny women,
came over , asked "are you OK ? What happened ?"
by the time I answered she was holding the
reins of the horse, she said "ok, mount, back to it".
The other riders I see at the barn, (mostly young
women and girls) said "oh yeah, after about ten
times you'll be a decent rider".
If leaving is the right decision, it's the right decision with or without going for that test.
 

gpseymour

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This is still a poor example, not much can be compared and the dynamic is diffrent.

You dont get grades beyond free education which is normally compulsary and not beyond secondary school/college (my dialect), you have to be underperfoming by a LARGE margin to be held back, and i think a list of criteria and partial parent consent needs to be had to do it, i have only seen it once.

You dont get a qulification after each grade, you get one after the secondary school block, when you leave that you sit for actual qulifications, so if you dont pass them you dont get a qulification. the grade markers up until that point and assesment is internal assesment to watch for progress and screen for disabilities etc.

The better example would be if they forced you to go, made you pay for it, and kept failing you to keep you at L1, and you needed to get to L5 to be allowed to leave. Its just not optional, and they lie if they say it is, unless they will recognise a long standing white belt and give them a pass, which is a exeption not rule as far as i can tell.

Only othet thing that comes to mind that might be better is cadets, they dont tell you its optional to persue patches etc, its only optional in the sense of, you choose the ones you want to persue based on intrests. If you want to do shooting, you NEED to go the premilary shooting education and thus earn the relivent patches. There is also some degree of getting a legit qulification through it as well. (you can get a actual first aid qual through it, so the patch is the cadet marker for you have done it to this level, you get a cert to say you have done it) but then its ran as a charity so pretty discounted rates.

The dynamic is diffrent in school to a private hobby like martial arts, you are made to go, hell the dyanmics diffrent for cadets as well. I cant think of anything that can be 1:1.
You're actually making my point for me in part of this. If belt tests are a minimum standard, then they are equivalent to what it takes to pass a grade in school.
 
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You're actually making my point for me in part of this. If belt tests are a minimum standard, then they are equivalent to what it takes to pass a grade in school.
I dont cosnider them comprable. Belts, the rule is fundementally "optional", you are semi strong armed into doing them if you want to experience the thing proper. and the rule seems to be you pay for gradings as well.


I've been to a (MA) school that had belts but did not force me to rank/test. Eventually, they just gave me higher belts when they realized I really wasn't going to pay for the test because I didn't care, since it was misleading to the other students. Also, what (MA) school is not letting you leave??
How long was edvetnually? Plus id consider that a exeption.



Not sure what you're referring to as a qualification, block or assessment. But where I live, we had external tests determined by a large standardized body that was the same across the state, in December and then again in June. If you fail the first one, that's a sign that you may not graduate and need to start putting in extra work, and then if you fail the June one, that was very likely to result in you not passing and needing to redo the class. Pretty similar to having a large outside body determining testing material, and failing/passing it playing a large part in determining if you go to the next belt.
In short, Schooling up until GCSE is not for a actual qulifiction, the last 2 years of secondary school are for a actual qulification. All assesments etc up until that point (unless other wise specified) are general education and for internal assesmsent and review. you dont "fail" a year. Your average is sub par enough that the adminstration decides you might be better suited repeating to catch up.

the only external tests done would be for a actual qulification. not as previously stated internal review.


I agree it's a poor example, but that's mostly because school systems are so different cross-state and cross-countries.
Just doesnt seem comprable.


My point is still, you show up to say TKD, you do your trial lesson, you think its good. they say "belts are optional", you dont care to grade. You then turn up get into it, and realise that a no belt cant do anything, and you have to hope that they give you a honary belt. in a similar vein to "patterns are optional", well you need to do patterns to get a belt, you need to get a belt to get full access to the martial art. These arent qulification barriers these are, they lied to you, and are semi coering you into persuing something you dont want to do by locking you out.

Now you dont have to go there, true, but thats besides the point, the norm is to state those two things, yet they in reality arent true. It is also the norm to default shove "self defence" on every martial art/combat sport, when that just isnt true. (been well established by now)
You sort of have to go there, if A its the only place you can get to and B you feel the need to learn a martial art.

I am excluding all criminality here, like actually forcing you, being fully fradulent etc etc etc.

The exeptions to the rule are probbly one school orginisations, where the school runs the courses, but then to access say a ITF course, you will need a black belt or something they recognise. Like i would 100% not be able to fully access TKD unless i did patterns, despite what they say, or claim on entry in marketing.

On another note i think i have ranted about this before and i got told "i dont know TKD", while also getting told "i dont have to grade" and "i need to grade to access it all (thus to "know" it"). Or something to that effect, very clearly, many completely contradictory statements and messages. Correction, i have ranted about this before, or poiinted it out because of those statements. Then it just devolves into "its not "proper" Karate unless you do a 1,800 degreee kick, off of Mount Fuji in the middle of winter through a burning hoop on a wenday at 2AM"

Probbly a communication issue for what we mean here, im not seeing the comparision.

Addednum: For full disclosure i have witnessed an exeption, in that somone picked up i could do the 4D's so instead of wasting time on that they did the next pattern with me for the rest of the lesson, but thats one instance, does seem to be the exeption and they forgot about it next time. Hell you dont technically have to wear a dobok until yellow belt/tag anyway. Slightly amusing you could not be recognised for knowing XYZ pattern despite being able to do the just because you didnt grade somewhere.
 

MadMartigan

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Wow. Now I feel that my experiences are way outside the norm.
All assesments etc up until that point (unless other wise specified) are general education and for internal assesmsent and review. you dont "fail" a year.
As a glorified homeschool kid, our distance education material was broken up into 12 modules in each subject for each grade. At the end of every module in every subject I had to write a closed book test on that module. A minimum pass was 80% and you didn't move on until you passed (no matter how long it took). We didn't repeat grades... they just sometimes took more than a year to finish (grade 9 algebra took me 2 years... but I eventually got it).

Maybe because of this, the whole testing thing just doesn't seem like such a problem.
you show up to say TKD, you do your trial lesson, you think its good. they say "belts are optional", you dont care to grade.
Again, where are these schools?

At my TKD school we offer a product. A structured curriculum that goes step by step from white through black belt. We're upfront from the beginning that testing between belt levels is part of what we do.

The yellow belts works drills for basic sparring combinations while the blue or red belts do more advanced kicking drills etc. Higher belt curriculum is designed to build on the lessons from previous levels. There are legitimate reasons for this, (safety being primary).

Just like it's probably a bad idea to teach rubber guard and the twister to a brand new BJJ student... a jumping spinning kick is just going to injure an inexperienced kicker if they haven't learned correct body alignment and trained their muscles for balistic movements.

I have no doubt they exist as you say... but I've never seen a school (that uses a belt system) where they say that following the curriculum as layed out is optional. Testing to achieve the next level is part of the experience we provide. No one takes every test... only the ones they are ready and sign up for. If that takes 2 months or 2 years to go between belts it doesn't matter. Everyone's pace is their own.

A visitor is a separate issue; but if someone is joining to be a student... then they're joining to learn things the way we teach them. Someone who refused to test, but kept showing up for class (of course I've never seen it happen) would likely get bored of the same kata, basic drills, and line work eventually.

If people come wanting to dictate how they will be taught... well 'don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya'.
 
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Again, where are these schools?

At my TKD school we offer a product. A structured curriculum that goes step by step from white through black belt. We're upfront from the beginning that testing between belt levels is part of what we do.

The yellow belts works drills for basic sparring combinations while the blue or red belts do more advanced kicking drills etc. Higher belt curriculum is designed to build on the lessons from previous levels. There are legitimate reasons for this, (safety being primary).

Just like it's probably a bad idea to teach rubber guard and the twister to a brand new BJJ student... a jumping spinning kick is just going to injure an inexperienced kicker if they haven't learned correct body alignment and trained their muscles for balistic movements.

I have no doubt they exist as you say... but I've never seen a school (that uses a belt system) where they say that following the curriculum as layed out is optional. Testing to achieve the next level is part of the experience we provide. No one takes every test... only the ones they are ready and sign up for. If that takes 2 months or 2 years to go between belts it doesn't matter. Everyone's pace is their own.

A visitor is a separate issue; but if someone is joining to be a student... then they're joining to learn things the way we teach them. Someone who refused to test, but kept showing up for class (of course I've never seen it happen) would likely get bored of the same kata, basic drills, and line work eventually.

If people come wanting to dictate how they will be taught... well 'don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya'.
I feel its heavily implied for the ones i have experienced. Granted i have congeled some other things in there, Lau Gar for example has belt locks for courses, but i dont know how they word it personally. (and the mc dojo probbly does this by default anyway, as its to milk money out of you, well so are other martial arts orgs but another day)

the point is not "what belts exist for" its, you need X belt to do X course, they have otherwise made it sound like you can get fully access without grading.

I feel that they do/the blur the line and heavily imply it if not say that its optional a bit too much. this is also congealed with what i wrote above about the contradictory statement rant.

"A visitor is a separate issue; but if someone is joining to be a student... then they're joining to learn things the way we teach them. Someone who refused to test, but kept showing up for class (of course I've never seen it happen) would likely get bored of the same kata, basic drills, and line work eventually."

This is my point, they are strong armed INTO doing it. Unless you award them a honary belt their belt rank says "they can only do these forms" That would be strong arming to me, you join dont care much for belts, and then you get locked because of it. (then somone moans at you because you disliek TKD because of this, because apparntly its not a apt reason to dislike it)

My example would be one, i can do the 4d's good enough, so its a bland pointless pattern, i belive the only reason i got flagged that one time was because only 3 people turned up. (very much an exeption) i have also messaged some other people and they say they would or consider going as far to teach the next belt on request outside of a actual grading. ie if i wanted to learn something in yellow tag/belt, they would consider it if i was a white belt, and before i graded for the tag. Obviously more exeptions.

but i doubt they would without giving a honary belt to the person, teach them more than 1-2 ranks above themselves,and then its meaningless as they wont be able to access the orginisations courses etc if the school is part of a greater network, and if only one teacher has that agreement with you, the others may default you back. Pending on org as well, grading works diffrent, i know a krav maga orginisation lets the individual school grade some ranks, then the organisation itself has to grade the others.

an honary rank would be, you only offically have a yellow belt, but work and are treated as a red belt in your orginisation. a large part of my issue is the fact some make it out as "optional" or imply it honestly.

Addendum: If i join a sports TKD school to do the sport of it or to spar and patterns arent important[to me], patterns tend to be a large part of all TKD schools, sparring tends to take a lesser part, so if i dont want to grade, im going to get bored paying the person to do the same 4 things every day for questionable reasons. Where as in places no belts exist or no clear markers its more fluid. If you compare the two, the unranked one is a better fit for the state school comparision and anaology, the ranked one is not as it doesnt act the same.

there is a very distinct diffrence, you sadly cant have the pros of belts without cons and vice versa.

Last point: you provide the service of providing what ever martial art, combat sport etc you claim to do. that also requires honesty about what it is, what its scope and purpose is and how your orginsiation operates. the person also pays you to learn in part what they want/can do/are looking for, if they cant kick its pointless to teach them kicking for example. Its like if you paid a personal trainer, and they knew you couldnt do pushups, so decided to have you only do them for the full session isntead of building up your ability with easier exercises to a pushup. (pet peeve) your going to stop paying them by the way.

Hell, i have heard of some japanese schools having some westerners sit aside to "test their patience" god i hope they didnt pay for that, i wouldnt pay for that. and its fully understandable not to or to remain there from that. Tangents aside, hopefully that actually replied to something.

Addendum: I am pretty biased against TKD honestly and thats the only one i have experinced so keep that in note. But i can articulate all of my exomplaints about it and they seem to hold water. (at least some in part)

Addendum 2: This subject still continues to confuse and annoy me with the amount of contradictory statements in the overall community, i cant think of something as fractured as martial arts honestly.

Addendum 3: I wrote the orginal reply probbly without sufficent sleep to write it.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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How long was edvetnually? Plus id consider that a exeption.
About 6 months. Basically when they realized I really wasn't interested in the belts and wouldn't pay for the tests. They might be an exception, but it's the only school that I've tried that with and they didn't have any issues. How many schools have you actually tried that with, so we can compare?

One thing I will say is that this school was structured differently than, say, TKD. You can belt up, but the belt wasn't a prerequisite to any of the material. In a school like that, where you don't learn techniques until a set rank, I can't imagine them saying that belts are optional since they clearly are not from the getgo.
In short, Schooling up until GCSE is not for a actual qulifiction, the last 2 years of secondary school are for a actual qulification. All assesments etc up until that point (unless other wise specified) are general education and for internal assesmsent and review. you dont "fail" a year. Your average is sub par enough that the adminstration decides you might be better suited repeating to catch up.

the only external tests done would be for a actual qulification. not as previously stated internal review.



Just doesnt seem comprable.
Again, not comparable with your school system. With other school systems, what you stated is not the case. There are external assessments, and if you fail those you can be left back. I went to school with quite a few people who were a year or two older than me because they got left back in like 3rd grade or something. They won't use the word fail, but that's essentially what's happening-you failed the tests and have to try again either over the summer or next year.
My point is still, you show up to say TKD, you do your trial lesson, you think its good. they say "belts are optional", you dont care to grade. You then turn up get into it, and realise that a no belt cant do anything, and you have to hope that they give you a honary belt. in a similar vein to "patterns are optional", well you need to do patterns to get a belt, you need to get a belt to get full access to the martial art. These arent qulification barriers these are, they lied to you, and are semi coering you into persuing something you dont want to do by locking you out.

Now you dont have to go there, true, but thats besides the point, the norm is to state those two things, yet they in reality arent true. It is also the norm to default shove "self defence" on every martial art/combat sport, when that just isnt true. (been well established by now)
You sort of have to go there, if A its the only place you can get to and B you feel the need to learn a martial art.
I've yet to see a school that has said belts are optional when they are a necessary part of the curriculum. How many schools have you been to that have done both things?
I am excluding all criminality here, like actually forcing you, being fully fradulent etc etc etc.

The exeptions to the rule are probbly one school orginisations, where the school runs the courses, but then to access say a ITF course, you will need a black belt or something they recognise. Like i would 100% not be able to fully access TKD unless i did patterns, despite what they say, or claim on entry in marketing.
Again, have you gone to a ITF school, told them you do not want to belt test, had them say something like "That's fine you can stay a white belt forever", when they knew that wasn't the case? I have my doubts that that is how that conversation would normally go, especially since my experience differs from this on both ends. I can believe that they neglected to mention it, but can't see most schools actively saying that you don't have to test at all, knowing that's not the case. But that's not a slight on belt systems, that's a slight on those schools falsely marketing their style.
 

Nobodaddy

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I've been training with a Wing Chun group for the last 5 years. Once or twice per week. I've taken two gradings per year and I've always felt like the gradings were good motivation for learning i.e. when I knew there was a grading coming up I would practice.

I recently failed my second brown. Feeling pretty gutted however it's making me reflect on my progress over the last few years which I think is helpful.

First up, I'm not bitter, I wasn't good. I got very flustered on the forms we were tested on and in particular the dummy. I admire our Sifu and he really knows his stuff so this is in no way a criticism of him.

My biggest concern is that I'm not sure I'm progressing. I started wing chun for the self defence benefits and I said I wasn't going to take any belts, but then I've but carried along with the process a bit and now I feel like they're being used as a measure of progress, when I'm not sure they always are. In some ways I'm glad I failed as it's making me reflect; in some ways I've been training very specifically for the grading in terms of the combinations we're asked to demonstrate, but I don't think I necessarily understand what I'm doing and doubt I could use it in a real confrontation. Rather I've learned to recite a series of mechanical movements in order to gain a belt. We do very little contact training, given this has been impacted negatively by covid but I'm wondering if I need to change clubs to somewhere less 'belt focused'?
Tests or gradings that cannot be failed, or which resulted in no feedback, would be meaningless to me. No one in my Sifu's lineage used belts/sashes. A belt can be meaningless if there is no skill and understanding to back it up.

There are many ways to test you skills. My Sifu made Sanda (Chinese (kick)boxing/sparring) an optional part of the curriculum, for those who were serious about the art.

Basics, techniques and forms were always explained to us in class. We were encouraged to ask questions. We dissected things down to the minutest detail. My Sifu loved the expression of the art, and wanted to see it done properly. We drilled constantly, with multiple partners. We learned variations because no technique works in 100% of the time.

Wing Chun (and any art) is built from the basics/foundation up. Continual refinement of the basics is essential. Until I'd shown adequate understanding of Siu Lum Tao, I wasn't invited to move on to Chum Kiu. I also took what I learn from CK and applied it backwards to SLT. Same thing when learning Biu Jee, etc.

I hope this helps. My advice is that you move on and find another school.
 

Buka

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I held tests when people were ready to get promoted. But everybody was invited to the test even if they weren't up for testing. Because it was always one of the hardest workouts of the year. Hence, test nights were packed, high energy workouts. So much fun.

There was never a case where everyone passed. That's why they call it a test.

If you were testing and passed, you paid for your belt. Four bucks. Then more as the price of belts went up. I think the last I remember it was eight dollars and fifty cents.

If you made black belt your belt was free. Embroided with your name. They earned it, it was the least I could do.
 

gpseymour

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I dont cosnider them comprable. Belts, the rule is fundementally "optional", you are semi strong armed into doing them if you want to experience the thing proper. and the rule seems to be you pay for gradings as well.
How much have you trained in places where belts were used, that you're so convinced about how they work and how they feel to the students?
 
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How much have you trained in places where belts were used, that you're so convinced about how they work and how they feel to the students?
How they feel is subjective, you can be "convinced" to feel anything about anything. the belts existance themselves arent in dispute the overlaying infrastructure and logic around them is.
 

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How they feel is subjective, you can be "convinced" to feel anything about anything. the belts existance themselves arent in dispute the overlaying infrastructure and logic around them is.
The assertions you're making like about being "strongarmed" are pretty much based on an emotional reaction to the belt system. You assert that the rank system puts barriers to training, but I've never seen that. Folks train until they're ready for the next rank, test, and move into that material. They'll already have picked up some of that material along the way, because they were there when someone else was working on it. The stark barriers you claim exist have never been part of my experience. What held people back from material was their ability.......which happened to be the same thing that held them back from the next rank at that time.

I've trained both with and without them, and find they have little impact on training for most folks. They're just there, part of the system.
 
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The assertions you're making like about being "strongarmed" are pretty much based on an emotional reaction to the belt system. You assert that the rank system puts barriers to training, but I've never seen that. Folks train until they're ready for the next rank, test, and move into that material. They'll already have picked up some of that material along the way, because they were there when someone else was working on it. The stark barriers you claim exist have never been part of my experience. What held people back from material was their ability.......which happened to be the same thing that held them back from the next rank at that time.

I've trained both with and without them, and find they have little impact on training for most folks. They're just there, part of the system.
I dont recall making those statements, my fundemental pont is its stated as optional when it isnt. As eleborated with my reply to mad, you wont get taught the next belts ranks until you grade as the rule, ergo strongarming due to boredom, you either grade or stop due to not learning anything else new. (his point was (paraphrase), that you could become rank locked because of that thus get bored and leave or grade, i agreed and stated that was the closest example of what i was trying to relay)

Your statment on the rule being you "train until ready, test, then do it again" means the rule is that, any statement its "optional" is false and you wont get taught the next material until you grade as the rule.

Any statment on belt compared to no belt was used to illistrate how no belt is a better example of compuslary education you get. It has no real bearing on the actual argument, only disputational on a example/anaology used. Or i should say hopes to flesh out said example to make more sense.

I dont feel that there is as natural of a progress in a opt in belt system with formal gradings etc as compared to a no belt and non opt in system where you just show up, and nothing changes and they just slowly add things to what they teach you as they see you improve. Example, you go to a boxing 1:1, the first lesson they teach you foot work, basic guards and strikes, second they teach you basic defences, third they combine the two into combos etc. As opposed to a belts say, you do 1, sit a test, do 2, sit a test etc. (now i am aware of the realites and that mass produced training has altered how they do it, but thats not really for dispute)

As an expansion to the analogy point. No idea how we got here.
 

gpseymour

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I dont recall making those statements, my fundemental pont is its stated as optional when it isnt. As eleborated with my reply to mad, you wont get taught the next belts ranks until you grade as the rule, ergo strongarming due to boredom, you either grade or stop due to not learning anything else new. (his point was (paraphrase), that you could become rank locked because of that thus get bored and leave or grade, i agreed and stated that was the closest example of what i was trying to relay)

Your statment on the rule being you "train until ready, test, then do it again" means the rule is that, any statement its "optional" is false and you wont get taught the next material until you grade as the rule.

Any statment on belt compared to no belt was used to illistrate how no belt is a better example of compuslary education you get. It has no real bearing on the actual argument, only disputational on a example/anaology used. Or i should say hopes to flesh out said example to make more sense.

I dont feel that there is as natural of a progress in a opt in belt system with formal gradings etc as compared to a no belt and non opt in system where you just show up, and nothing changes and they just slowly add things to what they teach you as they see you improve. Example, you go to a boxing 1:1, the first lesson they teach you foot work, basic guards and strikes, second they teach you basic defences, third they combine the two into combos etc. As opposed to a belts say, you do 1, sit a test, do 2, sit a test etc. (now i am aware of the realites and that mass produced training has altered how they do it, but thats not really for dispute)

As an expansion to the analogy point. No idea how we got here.
I'm not sure why you're focusing on whether it's optional. It absolutely is, as there are many schools that don't use it - a student can choose one of those. Within a school that uses rank, it's simply part of the system. If the rank/tests are used well, they are no barrier to content, as the evaluation is whether the student is ready for that content. There is a progression in learning, and some things need a foundation of other things.

I don't think the boxing comparison you're trying to make works. I'd look at BJJ belt ranking for a system like boxing. The rank would indicate comparative ability, and wouldn't necessarily be tied to any specific content (though some content might not fit rank beginners, so would likely show up for most students somewhere into the ranks).
 

Tez3

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I agree it's a poor example, but that's mostly because school systems are so different cross-state and cross-countries.

Not true in the area that gpseymour lives (I believe he's the one who made the comparison, so going by his location). Education is not mandated after 16 years old where he lives. You also only have to fail to be held back-some schools will try to force you to pass to help their statistics, but IME that's only true in middle class and up schools in the US at least.

Not sure what you're referring to as a qualification, block or assessment. But where I live, we had external tests determined by a large standardized body that was the same across the state, in December and then again in June. If you fail the first one, that's a sign that you may not graduate and need to start putting in extra work, and then if you fail the June one, that was very likely to result in you not passing and needing to redo the class. Pretty similar to having a large outside body determining testing material, and failing/passing it playing a large part in determining if you go to the next belt.

I've been to a (MA) school that had belts but did not force me to rank/test. Eventually, they just gave me higher belts when they realized I really wasn't going to pay for the test because I didn't care, since it was misleading to the other students. Also, what (MA) school is not letting you leave??


In the UK school system you don't graduate, it's perfectly possible and many do leave school without any qualifications. You aren't stopped from leaving school if you fail your exams, not are you held back at any point, there's no repeating years. Once you reach official school leaving age you can leave.
College and university are two separate things here, you go to the latter for specific degree courses. Colleges usually offer different qualifications, it's quite common to go from college to university. You can go to college with no qualifications but not university. Colleges offer the qualifications needed to go to uni as well as the practical courses such as hairdressing, car mechanics etc.
 

isshinryuronin

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There was never a case where everyone passed. That's why they call it a test.
Did they at least get a "participation" belt?

My students' failure rate was about 1 out of 6 or 7, mostly for the lower belts (strong basics required right from the get-go to set expectations.) Failure has its benefits - it prepares you for real life. It's a great education in and of itself. Or, it could be. The instructor might have to help the student handle it as overcoming failure is a skill not all have. (note - we did not have young kids in those days.)

Actually, I toyed with the idea of failing EVERY student for the brown belt test.....making it part of the test! Brown belt was the "cocky" stage when they tended to strut around (males 16-25, which was the main age group back then) and a "fail" would be just the thing to bring them back to earth. :)Just an idea, though.
 
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Buka

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Did they at least get a "participation" belt?

My students' failure rate was about 1 out of 6 or 7, mostly for the lower belts (strong basics required right from the get-go to set expectations.) Failure has its benefits - it prepares you for real life. It's a great education in and of itself. Or, it could be. The instructor might have to help the student handle it as overcoming failure is a skill not all have. (note - we did not have young kids in those days.)

Actually, I toyed with the idea of failing EVERY student for the brown belt test.....making it part of the test! Brown belt was the "cocky" stage when they tended to strut around (males 16-25, which was the main age group back then) and a "fail" would be just the thing to bring them back to earth. :)Just an idea, though.
Geez, I liked this.

Our belts were white, yellow, orange, blue, purple, green, brown and black. But green belt was what we made the first "real" belt. I used to joke that if I ran into you thirty years from now -"if you made green belt, I might remember your name."

Green belt was when you started to mentor lower belts, and you did so with only positive influence. And you helped them with sparring, gently. It was also the belt where you, yourself, were mentored by the brown belts. And kept in check. Because green belts were nuts.

If you were a green belt in our school, you treated all visiting black belts with the utmost respect, and if you sparred with them, you let them dictate the pace. I imagine that's done everywhere.

But with our own black belts, green belts had to go at them. Really go at them.

We had a TV and VCR at the front of the dojo. Used to watching training films or films of yourself training and fighting.

But everyone was shown this clip from the old film, The Yearling. They were told "The dog, Rip, is a green belt. The bear is a black belt."

Besides the entertainment value, it kept the black belts honest and sharp. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. The brown belts were the most entertained.

 
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