Black Belt Boot Camp

drop bear

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It’s defined by the testing authority (usually the instructor and an associate), so there’s no single measure. I could give mine, but it’d be irrelevant to the larger discussion.

Cool. Then testing would discover if these 12 week guys are real black belts.

Then we don't have to worry about ineffable qualities.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Cool. Then testing would discover if these 12 week guys are real black belts.

Then we don't have to worry about ineffable qualities.
I’ve never said anything about ineffable qualities. In fact, I’d been talking about how we’d need more than just fight tests. However, it’s hard to get a full picture of some things within a reasonable test period. I think Flying Crane posted about this, too. There are things you observe over time during classes that are hard to test for in a short time. Those would vary by art, and some arts might not have any of those in their requirements - they implicit or explicit.
 

drop bear

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I’ve never said anything about ineffable qualities. In fact, I’d been talking about how we’d need more than just fight tests. However, it’s hard to get a full picture of some things within a reasonable test period. I think Flying Crane posted about this, too. There are things you observe over time during classes that are hard to test for in a short time. Those would vary by art, and some arts might not have any of those in their requirements - they implicit or explicit.

Would those things you observe be measurable or quantifiable in any way?

And yes flying crane was making the same case
 

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Would those things you observe be measurable or quantifiable in any way?

And yes flying crane was making the same case
"Quantifiable" would mean we could put a number to it. I guess we could rate them 1-10, but many of them are more noticeable (and more important) in absence than in quantity.

The easiest example for my mind is basic aiki body mechanic principles. So I'm looking for specific body mechanics. There are ways to do the techniques that work, but aren't using aiki principles. Those are fine, but don't demonstrate comprehension and competence in those core principles of the art. I prefer to see both methods (with and without aiki principles) at different times. To test for those is possible, but it would take a lengthy test (BB test already spans many weeks in most NGA schools) to get an adequate view of them. If I've seen the student even occasionally in regular classes, I'll already know much of this before testing.

And for overall comprehension of principles (basic fundamentals of grappling, striking, movement, pedagogy, aiki, etc.), I could use a lengthy oral exam. Or I can get that in bits and pieces over time during classes.

I don't really need to quantify most of those things. I just need to see that they've gotten them and incorporated them into what they do. In fact, it's more important to me that those things are happening in classes than that they show up in a test. I'm not a big fan of technical testing that students get to prepare for. To my mind, technical testing is best when it just tests where they are at the moment as a result of their training habits, rather than where they are after they spend 2 weeks paying attention to the things they'll be tested on (that they didn't bother with the rest of the time).
 

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"Quantifiable" would mean we could put a number to it. I guess we could rate them 1-10, but many of them are more noticeable (and more important) in absence than in quantity.

The easiest example for my mind is basic aiki body mechanic principles. So I'm looking for specific body mechanics. There are ways to do the techniques that work, but aren't using aiki principles. Those are fine, but don't demonstrate comprehension and competence in those core principles of the art. I prefer to see both methods (with and without aiki principles) at different times. To test for those is possible, but it would take a lengthy test (BB test already spans many weeks in most NGA schools) to get an adequate view of them. If I've seen the student even occasionally in regular classes, I'll already know much of this before testing.

And for overall comprehension of principles (basic fundamentals of grappling, striking, movement, pedagogy, aiki, etc.), I could use a lengthy oral exam. Or I can get that in bits and pieces over time during classes.

I don't really need to quantify most of those things. I just need to see that they've gotten them and incorporated them into what they do. In fact, it's more important to me that those things are happening in classes than that they show up in a test. I'm not a big fan of technical testing that students get to prepare for. To my mind, technical testing is best when it just tests where they are at the moment as a result of their training habits, rather than where they are after they spend 2 weeks paying attention to the things they'll be tested on (that they didn't bother with the rest of the time).
If someone is a pure novice, there are going to be reasonable expectations of what they can learn in a 12 week period. Focusing on a limited number of practical skills that provide a good foundation, concrete expectations, and measurable results is ideal. But it doesn't need to teach everything in order to be successful.

If someone is older or out of shape, there are going to be reasonable expectations of what they can learn in a 12 week period. Focusing on fitness, nutrition, and also the things above to a lesser extent will balance the curriculum to the needs of the participants. This could be very successful. In 12 weeks, you can see significant physical gains and also teach a surprising amount of practical skill in 12 weeks.

And if you have more advanced students, a 12 week intensive program could be very successful if it is focusing on skills and techniques that are more specific.

It seems like you are suggesting above and elsewhere that if this 12 week program can't teach everything in 12 weeks, it's a failure. I just don't think that's true. Not only for beginners, but shoot, man, even for the non-quantifiable stuff. if you know what you want to teach and how to teach it, and you have a group of people who are at a point where they are ready to learn it, I think this would still work.

I'm sure you could come up with a 12 week plan that would be very effective, even if it's more esoteric. 12 week aiki boot camp. You won't learn to fight, but that's okay. You won't be able to teach a random person off the street, but isn't that okay, too?

The point is, the model works. We see it work all the time. But once again, because this is martial arts, some folks think humans learn differently. Just start with the end in mind, define some reasonable goals, figure out how to measure success, and then develop the program from there. It's not rocket science.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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If someone is a pure novice, there are going to be reasonable expectations of what they can learn in a 12 week period. Focusing on a limited number of practical skills that provide a good foundation, concrete expectations, and measurable results is ideal. But it doesn't need to teach everything in order to be successful.

If someone is older or out of shape, there are going to be reasonable expectations of what they can learn in a 12 week period. Focusing on fitness, nutrition, and also the things above to a lesser extent will balance the curriculum to the needs of the participants. This could be very successful. In 12 weeks, you can see significant physical gains and also teach a surprising amount of practical skill in 12 weeks.

And if you have more advanced students, a 12 week intensive program could be very successful if it is focusing on skills and techniques that are more specific.

It seems like you are suggesting above and elsewhere that if this 12 week program can't teach everything in 12 weeks, it's a failure. I just don't think that's true. Not only for beginners, but shoot, man, even for the non-quantifiable stuff. if you know what you want to teach and how to teach it, and you have a group of people who are at a point where they are ready to learn it, I think this would still work.

I'm sure you could come up with a 12 week plan that would be very effective, even if it's more esoteric. 12 week aiki boot camp. You won't learn to fight, but that's okay. You won't be able to teach a random person off the street, but isn't that okay, too?

The point is, the model works. We see it work all the time. But once again, because this is martial arts, some folks think humans learn differently. Just start with the end in mind, define some reasonable goals, figure out how to measure success, and then develop the program from there. It's not rocket science.
I thought the reasonable goal was to get a person to BB in 12 weeks, isn’t that what you guys are discussing? I dont do belts, so I’m out of my depth on what that means to each art/school/teacher. I’m sure a person can get quite a bit of martial arts development from 12 weeks of intensive training, regardless of background. I have doubts that the novice with only 12 weeks will have the same well rounded ability as a consistent 3 year student with equal hours invested. I am merely speculating, because I haven’t participated in this 12 week program. I would love to try that if I had such an opportunity. I think I could benefit from that program because it sounds quite different from how I teach. A focus on a competitive style fight at the end sounds like teaching someone to fight rather than teaching someone to be able to fight. I’m curious about the curriculum and teaching rubric in this 12 weeks. With such limited time, how this info is broken into digestible pieces is likely integral to its success. I don’t doubt its effectiveness in creating skill, but with so much ground to cover, I wonder at the details…
 

Yokozuna514

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A 12 week boot camp in any fighting style that takes a beginner to a black belt is a crucible of sorts. Anyone attempting any credible program will be put to a physical and mental challenge that many people without a serious dedication to completing the boot camp should fail.

I expect it would not be for the casual dabbler in MA because 12 weeks of a steady diet of training isn’t for everyone.

I’ve done any weekend seminars with 6 hours each day and I’ve never walked away and thought that was easy. If i did I would think the instructors sucked.
 

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I thought the reasonable goal was to get a person to BB in 12 weeks, isn’t that what you guys are discussing?
Exactly. Define black belt, and then we'll know if it's reasonable or not. Look, black belt is just a shorthand for some kind of standard. Some folks have loose standards, some don't. Some have clearly defined, measurable standards, and some don't. As I said earlier, in this case, we're talking about a specific TKD program, but we don't know much more than that.

So, the conversation briefly discussed the specific program, and I think most people ended up shrugging and saying... maybe? And then it moved on to a more hypothetical question: can you teach someone what they need to know in order to be a functional black belt in a 12 week intensive program? It depends on a few things. What are your standards for black belt (I don't believe everyone in this thread, much less the martial arts community at large can answer that question)? Are those standards clear and objectively measurable? Are they dependent on other prerequisite skills? Do you have a plan? Are you competent to pull this off?

In the broader sense, the thread moved on pretty quickly to whether a 12 week intensive program is a good way to teach people.

Does that help?

I dont do belts, so I’m out of my depth on what that means to each art/school/teacher. I’m sure a person can get quite a bit of martial arts development from 12 weeks of intensive training, regardless of background.

Totally agree. 3 months is a very long time to devote yourself to a single thing. You can make a lot of progress in that time.

I have doubts that the novice with only 12 weeks will have the same well rounded ability as a consistent 3 year student with equal hours invested.
If high level, well rounded ability is the standard, you're probably right. But it presumes that the program structure, standards, and quality of instruction are both roughly equal. As a counterpoint, I can easily envision a rank novice in a 3 month program outpacing a 3 year martial artist with equal hours. drop bear's school actually illustrates that very point.

I am merely speculating, because I haven’t participated in this 12 week program. I would love to try that if I had such an opportunity. I think I could benefit from that program because it sounds quite different from how I teach. A focus on a competitive style fight at the end sounds like teaching someone to fight rather than teaching someone to be able to fight.
I don't think I get the subtle difference here.

I’m curious about the curriculum and teaching rubric in this 12 weeks. With such limited time, how this info is broken into digestible pieces is likely integral to its success. I don’t doubt its effectiveness in creating skill, but with so much ground to cover, I wonder at the details…

Only thing I disagree with here is the idea that 12 weeks is "such limited time.' It's definitely a fixed period of time, but as I and others have tried to point out with numerous examples, 3 months is plenty of time to teach a heck of a lot. Cops learn to be cops in just a little more time than this. College classes are often 12 weeks long. Literal boot camp is 12 weeks long. There is an entire industry of 12 weeks sports camps for young athletes. And in fact, the seasons for most sports is around 3 months long.

Don't get me wrong. It's not a limitless amount (obviously) and there is always more to learn. Rather, the point is it's plenty of time to see a lot of progress. :)
 

drop bear

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"Quantifiable" would mean we could put a number to it. I guess we could rate them 1-10, but many of them are more noticeable (and more important) in absence than in quantity.

The easiest example for my mind is basic aiki body mechanic principles. So I'm looking for specific body mechanics. There are ways to do the techniques that work, but aren't using aiki principles. Those are fine, but don't demonstrate comprehension and competence in those core principles of the art. I prefer to see both methods (with and without aiki principles) at different times. To test for those is possible, but it would take a lengthy test (BB test already spans many weeks in most NGA schools) to get an adequate view of them. If I've seen the student even occasionally in regular classes, I'll already know much of this before testing.

And for overall comprehension of principles (basic fundamentals of grappling, striking, movement, pedagogy, aiki, etc.), I could use a lengthy oral exam. Or I can get that in bits and pieces over time during classes.

I don't really need to quantify most of those things. I just need to see that they've gotten them and incorporated them into what they do. In fact, it's more important to me that those things are happening in classes than that they show up in a test. I'm not a big fan of technical testing that students get to prepare for. To my mind, technical testing is best when it just tests where they are at the moment as a result of their training habits, rather than where they are after they spend 2 weeks paying attention to the things they'll be tested on (that they didn't bother with the rest of the time).

The 12 week program is determined a success by the organiser of the program.

Which is the same thing as 2 years in a normal class. The instructor determines the result.

So we just have to assume the 12 week program works as well as 2 years training.
 

drop bear

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Exactly. Define black belt, and then we'll know if it's reasonable or not. Look, black belt is just a shorthand for some kind of standard. Some folks have loose standards, some don't. Some have clearly defined, measurable standards, and some don't. As I said earlier, in this case, we're talking about a specific TKD program, but we don't know much more than that.

So, the conversation briefly discussed the specific program, and I think most people ended up shrugging and saying... maybe? And then it moved on to a more hypothetical question: can you teach someone what they need to know in order to be a functional black belt in a 12 week intensive program? It depends on a few things. What are your standards for black belt (I don't believe everyone in this thread, much less the martial arts community at large can answer that question)? Are those standards clear and objectively measurable? Are they dependent on other prerequisite skills? Do you have a plan? Are you competent to pull this off?

In the broader sense, the thread moved on pretty quickly to whether a 12 week intensive program is a good way to teach people.

Does that help?



Totally agree. 3 months is a very long time to devote yourself to a single thing. You can make a lot of progress in that time.


If high level, well rounded ability is the standard, you're probably right. But it presumes that the program structure, standards, and quality of instruction are both roughly equal. As a counterpoint, I can easily envision a rank novice in a 3 month program outpacing a 3 year martial artist with equal hours. drop bear's school actually illustrates that very point.


I don't think I get the subtle difference here.



Only thing I disagree with here is the idea that 12 weeks is "such limited time.' It's definitely a fixed period of time, but as I and others have tried to point out with numerous examples, 3 months is plenty of time to teach a heck of a lot. Cops learn to be cops in just a little more time than this. College classes are often 12 weeks long. Literal boot camp is 12 weeks long. There is an entire industry of 12 weeks sports camps for young athletes. And in fact, the seasons for most sports is around 3 months long.

Don't get me wrong. It's not a limitless amount (obviously) and there is always more to learn. Rather, the point is it's plenty of time to see a lot of progress. :)

In TKD the hours training are about the same. According to Skrib,s maths.
 

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Exactly. Define black belt, and then we'll know if it's reasonable or not. Look, black belt is just a shorthand for some kind of standard. Some folks have loose standards, some don't. Some have clearly defined, measurable standards, and some don't. As I said earlier, in this case, we're talking about a specific TKD program, but we don't know much more than that.

So, the conversation briefly discussed the specific program, and I think most people ended up shrugging and saying... maybe? And then it moved on to a more hypothetical question: can you teach someone what they need to know in order to be a functional black belt in a 12 week intensive program? It depends on a few things. What are your standards for black belt (I don't believe everyone in this thread, much less the martial arts community at large can answer that question)? Are those standards clear and objectively measurable? Are they dependent on other prerequisite skills? Do you have a plan? Are you competent to pull this off?

In the broader sense, the thread moved on pretty quickly to whether a 12 week intensive program is a good way to teach people.

Does that help?



Totally agree. 3 months is a very long time to devote yourself to a single thing. You can make a lot of progress in that time.


If high level, well rounded ability is the standard, you're probably right. But it presumes that the program structure, standards, and quality of instruction are both roughly equal. As a counterpoint, I can easily envision a rank novice in a 3 month program outpacing a 3 year martial artist with equal hours. drop bear's school actually illustrates that very point.


I don't think I get the subtle difference here.



Only thing I disagree with here is the idea that 12 weeks is "such limited time.' It's definitely a fixed period of time, but as I and others have tried to point out with numerous examples, 3 months is plenty of time to teach a heck of a lot. Cops learn to be cops in just a little more time than this. College classes are often 12 weeks long. Literal boot camp is 12 weeks long. There is an entire industry of 12 weeks sports camps for young athletes. And in fact, the seasons for most sports is around 3 months long.

Don't get me wrong. It's not a limitless amount (obviously) and there is always more to learn. Rather, the point is it's plenty of time to see a lot of progress. :)
Well I guess I see 12 weeks as not much time through my own lens of teaching methods and goals. Training to fight and training to be able to fight is another topic I guess, so I won’t go tangential here. To keep it short, training to be able to play baseball isn’t the same as training specifically for the big game. If I know I have a contest coming, I would train more intensively, and with a focus on beating that particular opponent, working specifically against their known or perceived strengths and weaknesses. Using 10-13 week boot camp as an example, the typical recruit is not likely to be the equal of a Navy SEAL who may have a work up of 2 years prior to being deployed to combat. Let’s be honest about how much information is required and the depth of skill here because even after boot camp AND BUD/s a SEAL isn’t a SEAL and even within the teams each team specializes in a certain type of warfare. Lots of analogies here, I’m not sure any of them actually work, but my point is that boot camp is a legitimate way to learn lots of skills quickly, but I don’t believe that is what generally makes someone combat ready(although in some cases it clearly does). Likewise, I doubt that a 12 week MA boot camp will make a novice the equal of a 2-3 year student regardless of style, again mileage may vary.
 

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The 12 week program is determined a success by the organiser of the program.

Which is the same thing as 2 years in a normal class. The instructor determines the result.

So we just have to assume the 12 week program works as well as 2 years training.
Ok, if the instructor’s say so is the measure. I haven’t seen it or done it, so I guess I accept the instructors word on that.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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The 12 week program is determined a success by the organiser of the program.

Which is the same thing as 2 years in a normal class. The instructor determines the result.

So we just have to assume the 12 week program works as well as 2 years training.
This is quite a leap in correlation, and not at all consistent with your usual scientific approach to measuring fighting skill. Is it because you are familiar with the instructor, or the program itself? I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here.
 

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Well I guess I see 12 weeks as not much time through my own lens of teaching methods and goals. Training to fight and training to be able to fight is another topic I guess, so I won’t go tangential here. To keep it short, training to be able to play baseball isn’t the same as training specifically for the big game. If I know I have a contest coming, I would train more intensively, and with a focus on beating that particular opponent, working specifically against their known or perceived strengths and weaknesses. Using 10-13 week boot camp as an example, the typical recruit is not likely to be the equal of a Navy SEAL who may have a work up of 2 years prior to being deployed to combat. Let’s be honest about how much information is required and the depth of skill here because even after boot camp AND BUD/s a SEAL isn’t a SEAL and even within the teams each team specializes in a certain type of warfare.
Yeah, I hear you. If you think a black belt is roughly equivalent to a Navy Seal, that's a pretty high bar. BJJ has a pretty high expectation for black belt, and I'd say there are way more BJJ black belts walking around than Navy Seals. If you have in mind that a black belt is like a martial arts special forces, then I don't think you could do that in 12 weeks. In fact, given an unlimited amount of time, I don't think most people would cut the mustard.


Lots of analogies here, I’m not sure any of them actually work, but my point is that boot camp is a legitimate way to learn lots of skills quickly, but I don’t believe that is what generally makes someone combat ready(although in some cases it clearly does). Likewise, I doubt that a 12 week MA boot camp will make a novice the equal of a 2-3 year student regardless of style, again mileage may vary.

I disagree with you on this. I think it would be fairly easy to get a bunch of regular joes, put them through an intensive 12 week program and have them universally outperform three year martial artists in many styles. Depends on the programs, of course. Which style and more importantly, how those three year martial artists have been trained.
 

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A 12 week boot camp in any fighting style that takes a beginner to a black belt is a crucible of sorts. Anyone attempting any credible program will be put to a physical and mental challenge that many people without a serious dedication to completing the boot camp should fail.

I expect it would not be for the casual dabbler in MA because 12 weeks of a steady diet of training isn’t for everyone.

I’ve done any weekend seminars with 6 hours each day and I’ve never walked away and thought that was easy. If i did I would think the instructors sucked.
The closest to this type of MA boot camp I have gotten was 6 hours a day for 7 days with my Sigung. I only had a week at a time to visit him so I took every class every day. 84 straight days of that seems like quite a hurdle for most anybody.
 

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Yeah, I hear you. If you think a black belt is roughly equivalent to a Navy Seal, that's a pretty high bar. BJJ has a pretty high expectation for black belt, and I'd say there are way more BJJ black belts walking around than Navy Seals. If you have in mind that a black belt is like a martial arts special forces, then I don't think you could do that in 12 weeks. In fact, given an unlimited amount of time, I don't think most people would cut the mustard.




I disagree with you on this. I think it would be fairly easy to get a bunch of regular joes, put them through an intensive 12 week program and have them universally outperform three year martial artists in many styles. Depends on the programs, of course. Which style and more importantly, how those three year martial artists have been trained.
Ok I missed the mark here. I don’t mean to say that a bb is the same as any SF guy. I’m only a BJJ novice at best, but given 12 weeks of intensive training, I doubt I would equate to a BJJ BB because of nuance and experience. Now, I don’t want to try to measure style vs style or human vs human here but we plainly know that some take longer to rank bb than others. That’s the rub. What this eventually boils down to is quality of the participants( totally variable) and the definition of BB. Big big differences here in terms of time and complexity. In any case I’m very interested to see results and get all the pertinent details. Hopefully Drop Bear can post some more on this because I feel like I’m missing some important info.
 

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