Certifications vs. Credibility?

DavidBenson

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Fellow Artists,

In tae kwon do, a Kukkiwon rank certificate is generally recognized across the various styles and organizations (not necessarily denoting the "gold standard," but certainly a level of standardization and expected technical ability), the absence of which may lead to not having rank "recognized" (for certain tournaments, etc.).

My question is this: do other arts have similar "sanctioning" bodies? Or is lineage generally used? While I've noted some debate regarding superiority/inferiority of various styles within an art, I haven't delved too deeply.

I'm curious to hear what you have to say.

Thanks!

David
 

searcher

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IMO it has to lie with the individual no matter what their lineage or certification. I have been on both sides of the fence and I can say that I tend to lead towards lineage over certification, of the two choices you listed. Skill and knowledge are my biggest factors for me.

My school has been associated with the founder's parent organization and we are now on our own. We are now with another independant association and it is working better for us at this time. I am proud of our lineage, but after O-sensei died the parent association is not what it used to be. Therein lies my thoughts on lineage over association.

If it does not make sense or sounds funny it is because I am asleep at the wheel.
 

IWishToLearn

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My experience is that everything is dependant on the person. I know some fantastic teachers who have some fantastically horrible high ranking black belts. Conversely I know considerably lower ranking teachers who have some of the best students I've ever seen. Standardization is impossible from style to style. My standards I guarantee are not your standards, etc. :)
 

Shotochem

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I've seen the good, bad, and the ugly at every rank. Ability will show itself no matter what rank or org.

Credibility and certications are often determined by politics and worth as much as the paper they are printed on. Different organizations have different standards. What matters is what they mean to you personally.

Some people are obsessed with lineage and feel that the proper lineage with traceability back to the systems founder means you are the real deal and true to the art.
In a way is it no different to getting pure breed papers for your cocker spaniel so he can enter the show? :idunno:

Others are dazzled by the amount of dans or stripes on that fancy blackbelt. The proof is in the pudding. Their skill will speak for itself. There are many highly skilled lower blackbelts that IMO, are just as good or better than some higher ranking ones and vice versa.

I've had a taste of both and I tend to follow the beat of my own drum. I despise the politics, the egos, and closed mindedness in MA today. :deadhorse
I train. I learn. I enjoy myself. Whatever rank someone feels I deserve OK. When I feel its time to move on I will.

Life is short. Let's worry about the important things.:)
 

bushidomartialarts

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i find that, with colored belts, it varies so much by student and by teacher that standardization even within the same governing body is nigh impossible.

it only gets worse with black belt ranks, as politics and a sense of entitlement start to creep in.
 

Kacey

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A certificate is only worth something if the organization maintains the integrity of its standards. Whether it does or not, the proof is in the person's performance across a range of settings.

As an instructor, I wait to see the person perform before I rule on accepting or not accepting their certification; however, my decision includes talking to the person about previous experience, time in rank, testing requirements, etc., and explaining that s/he will have to meet out testing standards before testing again, whether the certification is accepted or not.
 

exile

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bushidomartialarts said:
i find that, with colored belts, it varies so much by student and by teacher that standardization even within the same governing body is nigh impossible.

it only gets worse with black belt ranks, as politics and a sense of entitlement start to creep in.

A certificate is only worth something if the organization maintains the integrity of its standards. Whether it does or not, the proof is in the person's performance across a range of settings.

As an instructor, I wait to see the person perform before I rule on accepting or not accepting their certification; however, my decision includes talking to the person about previous experience, time in rank, testing requirements, etc., and explaining that s/he will have to meet out testing standards before testing again, whether the certification is accepted or not.

These two quotes put the matter in exactly the right perspective, I believe (not exclusively; there are a lot of good posts so far on this thread!) So far as lineage is concerned---it's nice to have a credible MA lineage, but the fact that one of your grandparents was a Nobel Prize winner in physics doesn't necessarily guarantee that you'll ever be able to solve a simple problem in elementary algebra! To me, lineage is primarily of interest as (part of) an explanation of why someone does something a certain way. My TKD goes back to Gm. Byung Jick Ro and the Song Moo Kwan, which was particularly strongly influenced by Shotokan karate and never really dissociated itself from its karate origins; so my view of a lot of things---the bunkai for TKD hyungs, close-quarter combat with heavy emphasis on hand techs, etc.---is to some extence a reflection of lineage-derived attitudes. This doesn't make me right, of course, and it doesn't mean that my analysis or performance of poomsae, or my CQ fighting ability, or anything else, are going to be outstanding, simply because my SMK instructional lineage and my teacher are outstanding. It's simply a particular instance of the general fact that someone's thinking and approach to things often comes, to some extent at least, from who their teachers were. By itself, though, lineage is not a guaratee of anything.

And as far as certifications go... the `MA organization' model has gone a long way towards doing itself in, due to greed, favoritism, shady business practices and endless quarreling, and this has brought the certifications associated with MA orgs into question as well. The `remote-viewing' aspect of certification is particularly troubling: with a lot of MA orgs, you will get their certification without anyone from `headquarters' ever seeing you, as long as your school or instructor is in good standing with them. Such certification are in effect local---you're getting them strictly on your instructor's say-so---though the pretense is maintained that a kind of global quality control is in place.

When you get down it, it looks like the only thing you can go by is the individual's performance, just as Kacey is saying. Since neither lineage nor organizational cert is a guarantee of very much, what else is left?!
 

matt.m

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You know I want a KKW Cert after I reach 1st dan in TKD. To me it is valid as long as the person vouching for you is credible. The whole thing is this: Like everyone I have seen both sides of the fence. Good/bad etc. However, a good student will know in their mind.

I don't know, it is all personal preference. Moreover, the KKW Cert. gives cred. to events such as the nationals, olympics etc. I look at the KKW like I view the USJA. I have a dan cert. through them. Do I recognize that there are a ton of Judo Players around that are better/more qualified judoka than I? Yep, and they are the teahers not me. However, you cannot participate in sanctioned Judo without the card. It is the Gold standard. I see KKW cert. to be no different.

It is the responsibility of each receipient to use the certification correctly.
 

kosho

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For this I think It matters to you whos Name is on the Cert:
putting there name ( your teacher ) on the line. says a lot.
and If you respect that person signing it and others around do also. Then it is a cert worth having...

For me I have had my rank looked at by others and many see and feel I am the rank I am, others say I should be higher.

For me Its my teachers name on that line that matters to me...
for I am a extension of his teachings and valuse in the Martial Arts.

I think if you are happy with the cert you earned and you truly repect the person promoting you. then DONE deal. If you feel that once you got your rank and you want orthers to put there 2 cents in well thats a personal choice...
KOSHO
 

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