Black Belt Exchange Program?

gpseymour

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I think this is like the dance two guys may do when it comes to picking up a check for dinner - but in reverse. The sensei may offer to let the guest keep his black belt rank, while the other declines and wears white. For myself, everyone from a different style (unless maybe I know them to be a bona fide 5th degree or higher black belt) starts as white, as I have done on occasions. An unwillingness to go in as a white belt tells me something of the person's priorities and ego. But that's just me. To each, his own. I'll let skill, not belt color, tell the story.
I think it would depend how I'm looking at the exchange student. If they're starting (meaning they're trying to learn NGA from the start) a white belt is appropriate, as is the same type of uniform my students wear. If they are there to dabble and learn a bit (like they would at a seminar), then whatever rank they normally wear is appropriate, with whatever they'd normally train in.
 

Yokozuna514

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I think the benefit of the exchange idea is that the instructors on both sides know enough of the other side to do more than just teach what they always would. They can point out specific differences, give suggestions on things to take back or not take back to their primary school, and even perhaps give feedback to each other (among the instructors) of things they think the person would enjoy or benefit from. And it also makes a ready audience for multi-discipline seminars.
Yes,I do appreciate what you are saying from a utopian standpoint. The potential for learning 'could' be enormous but having seen groups within the same organization or similar organization attempting to cooperate, it can get kind of ..........messy. Even within an association framework, dojos operate as any small business. If the nature of your sport or art is competitive, then you will probably see 'egos' getting in the way of 'collaboration'. It is not always like that but I think there is a reason why this idea is being brought up in a board in 2021 instead of us seeing countless of examples of schools working together. Hopefully there are more than I think there are but I wouldn't say it is common.

Shockingly, some people get into MA to make money. How many times have I heard someone complain about other people 'stealing' students, players......whatever the case may be. Doesn't only happen in MA but look at sports.
 

Urban Trekker

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Why? I think someone with significant experience (regardless of rank) is equipped to consider how to integrate new knowledge into what they know.
The issue isn't with black belts doing it. The issue is with not letting everybody do it.
 

Urban Trekker

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I've done this both ways. Mostly, it depends how the instructor wants to present me. If they want to present me as a visiting dignitary (so to speak), I wear rank. If they prefer to have me blend into the class, I put on a white belt. I typically have both in my bag at all times, anyway. And I don't much care which someone does when they come to visit me.
Honestly, I think that the specific uniform that your school wears, plus the school/association patches on that uniform is what makes the black belt "valid" in your school.

If you're at a dojo that teaches Okinawan karate; and a TKD black belt shows up walks in with his dobok on with the black belt on it; no one should be under the impression that he's trying pass as a black belt in Okinawan karate.

If a kempo black belt shows up in his black gi with black belt, and your dojo requires a white gi; same thing.

Even if both your school and the other guy's require the same color gi; he's wearing patches on that gi to signify that he's a black belt in that school/association, not yours.

Now if he wants to fully matriculate, that's different.
 
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Dirty Dog

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Honestly, I think that the specific uniform that your school wears, plus the school/association patches on that uniform is what makes the black belt "valid" in your school.
What about all those places that don't care what you wear? Are you saying their rank isn't valid?
 

Urban Trekker

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What about all those places that don't care what you wear? Are you saying their rank isn't valid?
That's where school/association patches come in. As long as there's some distinguishing factor, I don't see the problem with them wearing whatever belt.

I'm thinking now if I ever walk into another dojo in jeans and t-shirt, I need to buy a white leather belt. I don't need anyone to get a heart attack if they see me wearing a black or brown one.
 

Dirty Dog

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That's where school/association patches come in. As long as there's some distinguishing factor, I don't see the problem with them wearing whatever belt.

I'm thinking now if I ever walk into another dojo in jeans and t-shirt, I need to buy a white leather belt. I don't need anyone to get a heart attack if they see me wearing a black or brown one.
Not all schools use patches either.
Our "rule" has always been that new students wear whatever they want that they can move in. After they earn their white belt, they can get a white dobak. Which most wear, but there have been some who didn't. Because even a cheap dobak is $20, and some of our students would rather spend that on food. I give them a MooDukKwan patch, but do you know what I do if they don't put it on their dobak? Nothing.
If someone comes from another school, they are welcome to wear their rank from that school, or a white belt. Whatever. Because it doesn't really make any difference at all.
 

Urban Trekker

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Not all schools use patches either.
But what if they other guy's does? Now you can clearly see where he got that black belt from.

I give them a MooDukKwan patch, but do you know what I do if they don't put it on their dobak? Nothing.
Some schools require the patch(es) to be on the uniform during testing beyond a certain belt. That's beside the point, but I thought I'd point that out.

If someone comes from another school, they are welcome to wear their rank from that school, or a white belt. Whatever. Because it doesn't really make any difference at all.
Even if they actually become a full student there? I can't imagine how they wouldn't feel out-of-place by doing that, but if your dojang allows it; then if you like it, I love it.
 

Dirty Dog

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But what if they other guy's does? Now you can clearly see where he got that black belt from.
Still tells you nothing whatsoever about them. If I want to know the WHERE, it's easy. I ask. Everything else about them I'll learn by watching and interacting with them.
Some schools require the patch(es) to be on the uniform during testing beyond a certain belt. That's beside the point, but I thought I'd point that out.
After 50+ years, I'm quite well aware of what some schools require. My point is that it doesn't matter, except in that school, because it tells you nothing.
Even if they actually become a full student there? I can't imagine how they wouldn't feel out-of-place by doing that, but if your dojang allows it; then if you like it, I love it.
Some people are really focused on rank. They don't want to take off their black belt, even if it's from another system. So OK. Changes nothing for me. In my experience, these people don't usually stick around long. Which is another reason for me not to worry about what they wear. This may very well be, at least in part, because students who are nominally lower ranked will ask them a question that a black belt in our system should be able to answer. Not having a clue might well make them feel a bit awkward. From what I have seen, those who are coming to us to learn something new will generally (I can't think of a single exception, but I don't care for absolutes) strap on a white belt and get to work.
When I joined the MooDukKwan, I put on that white belt. My view was (and is) that it's better for people to wonder why I'm wearing a white belt than why I'm wearing a black belt.
 

Urban Trekker

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When I joined the MooDukKwan, I put on that white belt. My view was (and is) that it's better for people to wonder why I'm wearing a white belt than why I'm wearing a black belt.
Ah yes, the Parable of the Lowest Seat. A rule I try to live my life by, and I think you brought me back to my senses with this statement.
 

gpseymour

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Yes,I do appreciate what you are saying from a utopian standpoint. The potential for learning 'could' be enormous but having seen groups within the same organization or similar organization attempting to cooperate, it can get kind of ..........messy. Even within an association framework, dojos operate as any small business. If the nature of your sport or art is competitive, then you will probably see 'egos' getting in the way of 'collaboration'. It is not always like that but I think there is a reason why this idea is being brought up in a board in 2021 instead of us seeing countless of examples of schools working together. Hopefully there are more than I think there are but I wouldn't say it is common.

Shockingly, some people get into MA to make money. How many times have I heard someone complain about other people 'stealing' students, players......whatever the case may be. Doesn't only happen in MA but look at sports.
This is why you choose who you work with. There are plenty of people I wouldn't consider doing this with, either because they can't stand being contradicted (and that's sure to happen at some point) or because they don't really approach anything realistic in their training (so I'd just confuse anyone who likes their approach).

But there are also folks I'd gladly work with. Some of them because they are better than me at what they do, but still humble.
 

gpseymour

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The issue isn't with black belts doing it. The issue is with not letting everybody do it.
I don't think an exchange program (as a short-term visitation) works if every student is part of it. It leaves the instructor they visit having to work with a bunch of short-term students of indeterminate experience, in addition to all the levels of their own students. It's fine for a seminar or for long-term cross training, but doesn't seem feasible on an exchange basis like the OP is talking about.
 

gpseymour

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Honestly, I think that the specific uniform that your school wears, plus the school/association patches on that uniform is what makes the black belt "valid" in your school.

If you're at a dojo that teaches Okinawan karate; and a TKD black belt shows up walks in with his dobok on with the black belt on it; no one should be under the impression that he's trying pass as a black belt in Okinawan karate.

If a kempo black belt shows up in his black gi with black belt, and your dojo requires a white gi; same thing.

Even if both your school and the other guy's require the same color gi; he's wearing patches on that gi to signify that he's a black belt in that school/association, not yours.

Now if he wants to fully matriculate, that's different.
Pretty much my view, too. I might stop to explain where the person fits in their art (since it's likely different from where that color would fit in my system), but that's probably enough. I've never had a student get confused that a visitor's rank (including when I was the visitor) was the same as ranks in that school unless it was the same art.
 

gpseymour

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What about all those places that don't care what you wear? Are you saying their rank isn't valid?
I think he's saying having a non-matching uniform is sufficient to identify that the person's rank isn't in the same school (or possibly system).
 
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reason why this idea is being brought up in a board in 2021 instead of us seeing countless of examples of schools working together. Hopefully there are more than I think there are but I wouldn't say it is common.
Funny. To me, it's such a strange mindset not to work together. I know that's the norm, but I can't understand the motivation to wall everyone else out.

I was very lucky coming up that my instructor was open to collaboration and cross training. Our TKD club would get together with a local Wado Kai Karate club for sparring nights from time to time (only for senior colored or black belts). Both head instructors monitored the floor, but there was never a problem (the joys of mutual respect).

I currently am teaching in a very small town and have built a solid relationship with the few other local club owners (TKD for me, Judo, and Kickboxing/BJJ). We've all referred potential students to each other (when their needs would best be met at the other club). We get together for community events and tomorrow will mark our 1st foray into a weekly instructor's cross training class (we're starting with the Judo club taking lead).

There's so much we could all learn from each other if we check our pride at the door. IMO other martial arts are not my competition (soccer, dance, or baseball on the other hand...)
 

drop bear

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People are over thinking the rank issue a bit.

Let them wear what they want.

At worst it gives your white belts some confidence if they start man handling some black belt from another school.

We just had about 5 guys turn up from another school today to spar.

Some were training for fights. Some weren't. Makes literally no difference.
 
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gpseymour

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Funny. To me, it's such a strange mindset not to work together. I know that's the norm, but I can't understand the motivation to wall everyone else out.

I was very lucky coming up that my instructor was open to collaboration and cross training. Our TKD club would get together with a local Wado Kai Karate club for sparring nights from time to time (only for senior colored or black belts). Both head instructors monitored the floor, but there was never a problem (the joys of mutual respect).

I currently am teaching in a very small town and have built a solid relationship with the few other local club owners (TKD for me, Judo, and Kickboxing/BJJ). We've all referred potential students to each other (when their needs would best be met at the other club). We get together for community events and tomorrow will mark our 1st foray into a weekly instructor's cross training class (we're starting with the Judo club taking lead).

There's so much we could all learn from each other if we check our pride at the door. IMO other martial arts are not my competition (soccer, dance, or baseball on the other hand...)
When I was looking for a place to teach, I found two dojo owners in the same organization. One couldn’t stand anyone trying to operate at his level in his school, even in the organization. The other opened a school to give a place for other BB’s to train (led by someone senior to her), and loved the idea of me teaching there.

I know which one I expect to produce better students.
 

Dirty Dog

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I think he's saying having a non-matching uniform is sufficient to identify that the person's rank isn't in the same school (or possibly system).
Because there are 3,000 people in the class? I mean seriously... have you ever in your life seen a class that was so big that you don't notice a new person?
 

gpseymour

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Because there are 3,000 people in the class? I mean seriously... have you ever in your life seen a class that was so big that you don't notice a new person?
I've been in plenty of classes as a student where there was a person there I'd never trained with, so to them I was a high-ranking student they'd not met (and might not readily recognize). Within NGA, belt rank typically tells you what techniques they are capable of taking the falls from, among other things. So being able to identify the new person wearing a rank as not part of the school's regular group (rather than just a person of that rank I'd not met) is helpful.
 
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