Black Belt learning new style

thesensei

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Got a question...how do you treat a person who has a black belt in another style, and has come to your school to learn your style?? Do you recognize their rank, and allow them to wear that belt while they learn your style? Do you require them to wear a white belt? Do you have another symbol - such as a black belt with a white stripe? What thoughts do you have on this??

thanks for the input,
JB
 

Rich Parsons

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Originally posted by thesensei

Got a question...how do you treat a person who has a black belt in another style, and has come to your school to learn your style?? Do you recognize their rank, and allow them to wear that belt while they learn your style? Do you require them to wear a white belt? Do you have another symbol - such as a black belt with a white stripe? What thoughts do you have on this??

thanks for the input,
JB

JB,

First, When I have gone to other schools, I always wear a White Belt, no matter my Rank. I am their to cross train or to learn from them or to just check them out, not challenge or what have you.

When I have been asked/requested to attend an event at a school then I am usually being invited for the rank I have and wear my Rank.

Now, if there is an 'Open' class and they just walk in to learn, then wearing their rank would not be upsetting or disrespectful. Yet, if they are students of you or your instructor I would hope they understand that they should be starting over. Would they allow you to go train in their school and wear your rank and expect others to give you the respect for knowledge in that other art? I mean even when the ask you to Technique XYZ and you excuse me but I do not know what you ask. The Rank worn is symbol of what someone has learned in that art and hopefully demonstrate and teach.

I personally will asked the students of mine with Rank elsewhere to where a white belt. I also explain that what they have learned before is not wrong, it is not what I am teaching. Please do it our way.

The Black Belt Student in another art will most likely demonstrate an advance understanding and will learn faster than others. (* assumption e.g. that the student is not going from hard linear techniques to soft circular techniques *)

Just my thoughts

Rich
:asian:
 

Blindside

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Our school honors previously earned belts, meaning that you can wear whatever rank until you pass it in our system. That being said, most people after a couple of months take off that previous belt, and wear whatever rank they are in class.

My personal opinion is that I always wear a white belt or no belt when I visit other schools. I ask the instructor for what they would prefer, sometimes they ask me to wear my belt, othertimes they prefer the white or no belt.

Lamont
 

jkn75

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Well said Rich.:)
A few years ago when I was in TKD and was looking to go from an ITF to a WTF school, some schools would accept my ITF rank, while others would not. Some would allow me to where whatever belt I had, while others would not. It will depend on the instructor.

Philosophically, in my opinion, a white belt means you have come with an open mind, prepared to learn. In my experience, it has been black belts that are most ready to give up their black belt and start at white again. Granted, they do learn faster sometimes (as Rich pointed out). Examples from Kuk Sool: We had a Judo black belt who didn't pick up the kicking and striking aspects as fast whereas the Tae Kwon Do black belt we have picked this up very quickly. They both were a little slow when we started learning wrist escapes and joint locks, but the former Hapkido black belt we worked with had this part easy as he said it was very similar to what he had already learned.

To finally answer your question
how do you treat a person who has a black belt in another style, and has come to your school to learn your style?
1. Treat them with respect like any other black belt. They realize, usually, that they don't know everything and will listen and work hard. They also may have something to add. When they pop up with a question it's usually a good one and when they have similar techniques, they will let you know and may show a different application or slight variation that improves effectiveness. They may be a beginner student in your art but they have a larger martial art background that they can draw on, use that to your and their advantage.
2. Find out why they are there. Are they there to cross train or just learn something new? This will help the instructor and student when setting goals about what to learn and when to learn it.
:asian:
 
M

MartialArtist

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Rank is no indication on skill under many circumstances. In McDojos, I can earn one by paying $500 and going to class once a week for a year.

I don't challenge. If I were you, I'd go as white. Because if you go as a black belt, some people may think you are knowledgeable in that particular system. If you wear a white, don't worry about people thinking you'll be bad. Show them your skill, not your belt, but don't get arrogant and say "my art is king" or stuff like that.

How would you treat a black belt from another system? Don't worry about what rank they are. Just train.
 

karatekid1975

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In my TSD dojang, they would let you keep your rank. But they gave you a certain amount of time to learn our system, then test for the same rank in TSD.

As for me, I would explain that I have experience, but I'd start over.
 
C

Chiduce

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I take my Black Belt students from another system in as 3rd Degree Brown Belts. They have too much knowledge and experience to start at a lower rank. They however, have to pass a stretching exam if under 50 years old and show their particular system basics, intermediate, and advanced level techniques, kata, or forms along with teaching one of my lower belts or one their own (if they have students) personally, in person. The basics are the basics except for certain kick, strikes, or throws etc, which their system does not use and the other does!
Sincerely, In Humility;
Chiduce!
 

7starmantis

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If the black belt is coming to actually take classes and learn your system, I think white would be the most appropriate. We don't have belts in my system, but if I was to go start another system I would expect to start at the begining regardless of my "rank" now.

7sm
 

Aegis

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A beginner to a class should be a white belt until they prove otherwise. If I go to a karate class, I don't expect to be treated as a brown belt (my grade in Judo) because the very nature of the arts are totally different! But I'd say that even going from one style of karate to another would require starting again, as the philosophies and technical aspects of different ryu are not the same.
 

Matt Stone

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Originally posted by Chiduce

I take my Black Belt students from another system in as 3rd Degree Brown Belts. They have too much knowledge and experience to start at a lower rank.

The problem with this is the fact that, while the student may have experience and skill, they do not have experience and skill in their new system. Holding high rank in the new system is fraudulent, as they are representing themselves to be something they are not.

[They however, have to pass a stretching exam if under 50 years old

Why? Being flexible is not necessarily indicative of martial skills... I met an aikido instructor in Columbia, SC once who could barely sit in seiza, but was able to throw people effortless with incredible skill... He was older than 50 by far, very stiff in his "regular" movements (walking, sitting), but still very skillful.

...and show their particular system basics, intermediate, and advanced level techniques, kata, or forms

Why would the performance of their previous system's techniques substitute for the ability to perform the techniques of the new system? If I have studied Tang Soo Do for years, and then transfer to a Bagua school, should I be recognized as a senior Bagua student when I am unable to perform anything other than TSD techniques?

...along with teaching one of my lower belts or one their own (if they have students) personally, in person.

The ability to teach is in no way connected to the ability to perform. I know a number of very skilled martial artists that have absolutely no business trying to teach others. Their lack of teaching skills does not detract from their own exceptional personal skill, however.

The basics are the basics except for certain kick, strikes, or throws etc, which their system does not use and the other does!

This statement is only partially true. While most basic techniques are very similar, a Shotokan punch and a Xingyi punch are not the same. The movements of Tae Kwon Do and Taijiquan are very different in application. So showing basics from one style does not corrolate to being able to perform the basics of the new style. If I were to go from Wing Chun to Tae Kwon Do, and begin wearing a TKD brown belt, I would be expected to be able to perform the aerial acrobatics that TKD is known for. However, with little to no training in TKD, I would be unable to do that, and would thereby be misrepresenting myself by wearing higher rank than what I had earned.

While training in Japan, I was a student in a local karate dojo. The teacher allowed me to wear my black belt (as I had no other belt with me) with no problem, and even had me stand at the end of the class with his senior students (as a show of respect for the training I had previously). However, it was made very clear that I was a beginner in their dojo, and there was no misrepresentation of what I knew about their style of karate. Allowing someone to wear senior rank in their new style is very bad practice, and should not be done at all. It leads to serious concerns about the legitimacy of what is being taught at a school that allows such practices, and calls into question the actual abilities of the students that participate in such practices. While they may have skills gained from previous training, they do not possess those skills in their new system, and this opens the doors for inflated resumes, exaggerated lineages and histories, and fraudulent instruction (i.e. 24 year old senior black belts in multiple styles, a red flag of "bad budo" if ever there was one).

I would recommend you never go into a new school with delusions of keeping your previous rank. Earn new rank in your new school if rank is something you are concerned with displaying. Otherwise, just focus on training and don't worry about your uniform accessories...

Gambarimasu.
 
T

tonbo

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How do I treat a Black Belt from another style? Well, I value and recognize their experience, and will honor the fact that they hold rank in another style. However, I will still ask that they put on a white belt when studying at our school.

I study a form of Kenpo karate. If a Black Belt from another Kenpo school comes to study with us, they will know quite a bit, and will progress quite rapidly. However, some of the techniques we do will be different, as will some of the ways we do things. In order to gain rank in our system, they will still have to pass off the material. Again, they can progress quickly, but it is different material.

If I go to another school, no matter what style, I will go in as a beginner. If they use belts, I will be a white. If they don't, then I will classify myself as a "beginner", and will start at the lowest point, just like any other brand new student. I have no problem with that.

I think the issue with Black Belts not wanting to give up their rank is a matter of humility and pride. After having achieved a high point in one style and looking back on where you started, it is difficult to start all over again. However, it is also a good lesson.

Once, during an advanced belt instructors' class, I awarded everyone in class a white belt, and we practiced for the whole class wearing those belts. It was amazing the reactions that everyone had. Some were indignant, and it was obvious, but the majority took the lesson well. They realized that, "stripped" of their rank, it was their *actions* and their *attitude* that showed where they stood, not what was around their waist.

Sometimes, just for grins, I will practice in my white belt....it is a good reminder that I should *always* be a beginner.....always learning, always studying.

After all, the journey is never *done*, right? :asian:

Peace--
 

7starmantis

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Originally posted by Yiliquan1


The problem with this is the fact that, while the student may have experience and skill, they do not have experience and skill in their new system. Holding high rank in the new system is fraudulent, as they are representing themselves to be something they are not.

I have to agree 100%. To keep your rank if fradulent and is the same as wearing your McBlackbelt. And yes it is totally an issue of pride when a BB doesn't want to take it off. The point isn't to impress others!

7sm
 
S

Shinzu

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i have trained in another style after getting my BB in TSD. i never assumed i was going to wear my rank and came in as a white belt.

it was really no big deal to me. the belt doesn't make the person.. the person makes the belt.

i would ask that BB from another school would also show the same respect. it wouldn't take away the knowledge that the person has already achieved, it just means that they are willing to accept and learn something new.

i have also seen other schools that let you come in as your current rank but you have to learn their way by a certain time (like karatekid said). This was the situation when i switched from shotokan to TSD.

either way is ok by me. as long as the student realizes that they are starting a new journey.
 

Matt Stone

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Originally posted by tonbo

Once, during an advanced belt instructors' class, I awarded everyone in class a white belt, and we practiced for the whole class wearing those belts. It was amazing the reactions that everyone had. Some were indignant, and it was obvious, but the majority took the lesson well. They realized that, "stripped" of their rank, it was their *actions* and their *attitude* that showed where they stood, not what was around their waist.

I really like that idea... Mind if I borrow it? I think it would be a really good object lesson for some folks...
 
C

chufeng

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I don't care, one way or the other, if a BB from another system comes to train with us, what color belt he wears...

Everyone in class knows that he is the "new guy" and has no rank in our system...if he only has a BB to wear, I don't see why I should require him to go out and buy a white-belt that he will only wear for a short time anyways...Once he tests in our system, then I expect him to wear the appropriate rank.

We have a National Association and our by-laws are fairly specific. Instructors will be in full uniform when teaching, period. But, I agree with Matt Stone...it would be fun to have everyone wear a white belt every now and then (including instructors)...Even more fun would be to have everyone line up randomly and just pass your belt to the next guy...you'd have BB/yellow belts and white belt/BBs...this would be even more disconcerting for those who care ;) For those who don't, it won't matter....

:asian:
chufeng
 

Matt Stone

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Originally posted by 7starmantis

I have to agree 100%. To keep your rank if fradulent and is the same as wearing your McBlackbelt.

McBlackBelt with cheese... tasty! And economical too!

Humor aside, I have all to frequently run into young instructors who claim to have very senior black belt ranking in multiple styles, but have simply not lived long enough to have legitimately put in the years that would be necessary to attain such rank.

I met a 24 or 26 year old TKD black belt back in the mid-90s that claimed (in addition to having been an Army Ranger, though I don't know how that was supposed to affect his martial arts skills) he held a 6th dan in TKD, and 4th dan or higher in Yudo (Korean Judo), Hapkido and some other allegedly Korean weapons art (even though the weapons used have never actually been used in Korea... whatever).

I also knew a 24 or 25 year old TKD and RBWI practitioner that, in addition to allegedly holding 4th dan or higher in both of those arts, claimed to have created his own new, unique martial art. When it was given a hard examination it appeared to be - you guessed it - very obviously TKD and RBWI techniques mixed and matched...

How did these guys get such high degrees at such young ages? By being given rank in other styles because of minor similarities between those styles. I have seen it done very commonly in the late 80s when Shotokan people went to TKD schools - the forms were essentially the same, and the Shotokan people (in general) had better technique, and so were granted equivalent rank in TKD. I haven't seen it all that much lately, but I still see it, and Chiduce's post is evidence that it still goes on.

I have studied Yiliquan since 1985 and am a Level 2 Senior Black Sash and instructor (I have been teaching since 1990, and taught in Japan for 3 years). The study of Yili also includes Xingyi, Taiji and Bagua. I have also studied Modern Arnis (one whole whopping year, with no official ranking), Aikido (a few months), Shuri-te Ha Karate-do (another few months) and RyuTe Karate (yet another few months). Not meaning to be inflammatory, but Chiduce, what rank would you give me based on this? While I have ample experience and training, I know absolutely nothing about your style, and would be unable to represent it in public faithfully... I would merit nothing more than a beginning white belt, because all my experience and training is in things other than your style.

Lineage means nothing. Legitimacy is everything. Legitimacy is based not so much on lineage (that can be faked, forged or made up) but on skill and maintained standards for that skill. I would rather study from one 1st dan with 20 years of training that was skillful and humble than from a person with 10th dan in one style, mutliple high ranks from other styles, tons of certificates on his/her wall and a written history extending back to Shaolin that was overly self promoting and gave away belts without requiring the student to earn them.

Gambarimasu.
 
C

Chiduce

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Disagreeing with me is ok. My brown belt is doing very well and teaches his other arts of TKD and Karate. His teacher is a very reputable man with the old school tradition whom to this day does not give certificates of rank. Their students status in martial skill, like my sifu's was passed down through word of mouth. If you were Master McSwain's student, then you were honored in another system (which blended in similarity and likeness to the new endevor) at the appropriate level; not to disrepect his basic teachings of his student. This level would be (brown belt). The same rule applied to the other Master's students which trained in his style! I have been in schools and seen a student with a white belt on during class and after the second tournament win, in say 3 months have the ranking of green tip to green belt. So, 2 or 3 1st place wins in kumite does not give you green belt either; i thought. So, again it is the instructors call and judgement to what belt the Black Belt new student wears in his class. In my student's case, he will get his BB when he fullfills all the brown belt requirements and passes the testing board; like anyone else!
Sincerely, In Humility;
Chiduce!
 

Matt Stone

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I have no idea who "Master" McSwain is, so his reputation fails to precede him here. I will, in good faith, take it that he was someone that was well respected in his local martial arts community. His habit of not providing written documentation of grading is both admirable and laughable. I can understand the martial fantasy of having a teacher simply say to his student(s) one day "Today you are a XXXX." That is fine, but failing to adequately document transition from one grade to another sets that student up for future problems. Once Mr. McSwain has passed on, anyone can then ride his reputation by stating he/she was such and such grade under him. Without the paperwork, there is little to go on beyond word of mouth from others. At that point, any conflicts that arise from such a situation appear to be nothing more than "he said, she said" arguments about who had the "real lineage" and then ultimately get tossed in the cosmic trashcan...

If someone from a school I respected, or who trained under a teacher I admired, came into my school wanting to train, guess where they would start? At the beginning. I have a good friend that is a direct student of Remy Presas, and who was certified as an Advanced Instructor under GM Presas. Guess where he started? At the beginning. His skills are very impressive (which is why I asked him to teach me), and he possesses knowledge that is beyond our system, however he knows very little about how we do things in our methods, and therefore began at the lowest grade. I don't care if Funakoshi, Nakayama, Oyata, Ueshiba, etc. stood in front of me and asked to learn from me (yeah, right... THAT'D happen! ;) ), they would all start at the beginning. Period. If someone implied that their student should begin at a more advanced level in my school because of their teacher's prowess or reputation, I would question their motives and orientations, firstly because they were concerned about rank, and secondly because they were concerned about senior rank.

As for winning a tournament and getting promoted... please! If that was happening in a school I was studying in, I would leave. Tournament wins mean that on that day, against that opponent, you managed to beat the odds. It says nothing of your actual knowledge whatsoever. In our school there was a female instructor we all nicknamed "Sarge." One night during class, I was regrettably paired against her for some sparring. She was ferocious in fighting, and possessed incredible skill and timing. Yet on that night, because she was slightly ill and not at her best, I managed to beat her. Should I have been promoted for that? Certainly not. Schools that use such methods should be avoided completely; their rank means nothing.

In my student's case, he will get his BB when he fullfills all the brown belt requirements and passes the testing board; like anyone else!

In our school, the testing requirements increase as you advance, and things that were tested on (and even some things that weren't) at beginning levels continue to be included in advanced tests. I hope that your student continues to develop to your satisfaction, but I would hope that his testing includes subjects covering the first test through to the grade he is testing for (I know some schools only test on what is required at the next grade, leaving much of the material from previous grades on the side).

Gambarimasu.
 
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Chiduce

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Yili, i can see your point. Master or Judge Mcswain is a local Superior Court Justice and good friend of the late astronaut, Sensei Ronald McNair who died in the Challenger explosion. Yes. his not giving rank does create problems. One of his brown belts considered joining my school and was concerned on what to do for rank verification. So, we concluded that if he decided to join; then he would have Master McSwain submit a letter (with his signature) stating the brown belts rank. The brown belt has not joined us yet. My sifu, was taught the same way by his teacher. The tournament, sports, and other organizations nationally and internationally now his teacher and honor the teacher's students. Master David Johnson though, will submit a letter for his students and has trained several of the martial arts movie stars of today.
Sincerely, In Humility;
Chiduce!
 

Matt Stone

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1) Do you allow advanced rank to be passed onto someone whose style is significantly different from your own? It seems that the people you are making reference to have some similarities in their training that makes their skills compatible with those developed in your style...

One of his brown belts considered joining my school and was concerned on what to do for rank verification.

2) You said you allow black belt holders to be promoted to 3rd degree brown belt in your school. So how do you handle non-black belts from other school similar to your own, or even still, non-black belts from schools that are significantly different from your style?

My sifu, was taught the same way by his teacher.

3) By this I take it to mean that your teacher's teacher did not give your teacher any documentation to support your teacher's training and advancement? How, then, does your teacher support his title/grade/rank/etc?

The tournament, sports, and other organizations nationally and internationally know his (the brown belt petitioning for entrance into Chiduce's school) teacher and honor the teacher's students.

4) Honor his students how? By providing advanced rank in their systems as well? What is your meaning here? I don't want to misunderstand you...

Master David Johnson though, will submit a letter for his students and has trained several of the martial arts movie stars of today.

5) I have no idea who David Johnson is, nor his relevance to this conversation, nor how his having trained "movie stars" is relevant to this conversation... Please clarify...

6) How do you pronounce "Chiduce," and what is it's meaning?

Gambarimasu.

:asian:
 
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