Contradictions In The Martial Arts

PhotonGuy

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I sometimes notice that there are big contradictions in the martial arts. For instance, and I've discussed this before, how they will say that being a first degree black belt doesn't mean you're a master or even an expert it just means you're a serious beginner, but then they make it so hard to get that you practically have to be a master to get it. Sounds very contradictory to me.
 

JowGaWolf

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I sometimes notice that there are big contradictions in the martial arts. For instance, and I've discussed this before, how they will say that being a first degree black belt doesn't mean you're a master or even an expert it just means you're a serious beginner, but then they make it so hard to get that you practically have to be a master to get it. Sounds very contradictory to me.
Should it be easy to get a black belt. When you get a black belt do you know all about the system that you train or only about the stuff you were taught.

The belt color blinds you. Remove the belt. Train and then answer. If I don't have a belt then how will I know that I reached the top?
 

Kung Fu Wang

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MA is all about contradiction. When my teacher said the following to me, it confused me big time.

- If you can't get a head lock on your opponent, you are not a good wrestler.
- If your opponent can get a head lock on you, you are not a good wrestler.
 

Dirty Dog

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Still going on and on and on and on and on about your obsession with belt ranks, I see.
1688167125641.jpeg
 

JowGaWolf

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Still going on and on and on and on and on about your obsession with belt ranks, I see.
View attachment 29889
The belt color gets in the way for a lot of people. Remove the belt color from the equation and they will be able to answer their own question. I've only seen that for people who make the belt the goal and not the martial art. Those who grow beyond the belt train, because of the Martial Art and not because of the belt. When they hit the black belt, they learn that it's not about collecting belts but about training. In a sense, maybe that is why the OP heard that the Black belt was only the beginning.

If training stops only because one has reached the black belt, then maybe they haven't learned this. Like for those who are in belted systems in this group. I rarely hear about their belt color unless directly asked. Other than that, it's about the training. From time to time we hear about people reaching a belt rank, but those discussions are often short with posts of "great job", "congratulations" But there's a lot of discussion on this form about the training and perspective of the training.

.
 

skribs

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I sometimes notice that there are big contradictions in the martial arts. For instance, and I've discussed this before, how they will say that being a first degree black belt doesn't mean you're a master or even an expert it just means you're a serious beginner, but then they make it so hard to get that you practically have to be a master to get it. Sounds very contradictory to me.

Having gone through the tests for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree, and nearly having ready for the 4th, I can say that the 1st degree test, while difficult for a 1st degree student, is a cakewalk for someone going for 3rd degree.
 

Taiji Rebel

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Life itself is full of contradictions ;)

Notice them, enjoy them, and keep on training
 

isshinryuronin

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they will say that being a first degree black belt doesn't mean you're a master or even an expert it just means you're a serious beginner, but then they make it so hard to get that you practically have to be a master to get it. Sounds very contradictory to me.
The cause of your confusion is that the purpose of the black belt and test is often twofold. First, a test of technical skill. Secondly, it's proof of one's perseverance and dedication. This last one can be harder than the first. So, there is no contradiction, just two different areas of self-development.
 

skribs

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To me, the biggest contradiction in Martial Arts is what we would like our attitude to be, and what it actually is.
You mean:
  • In class: "Be respectful of others."
  • Online: "You do 7 minute warmups instead of 5 minute warmups? Your school is complete trash, they have to fill time with junk, you need to quit your school and join a real school because your instructor is an idiot..."
 

Holmejr

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in the FMA, there is typically no belts, I believe similar to CMA. You kind just know who you are. If you have the desire and fortitude to stay with it, then you were meant to be there and if not, well okay. Ive been at my current school for 7 years. I know all the techniques, angles, etc as my teacher. He spending a decade directly under GM has fluidity and transition over me. But Im getting there and I find exchanges with my instructor less and less lopsided. Good stuff!
Maybe its not for you, but that is between you and you.
 

Tony Dismukes

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I sometimes notice that there are big contradictions in the martial arts. For instance, and I've discussed this before, how they will say that being a first degree black belt doesn't mean you're a master or even an expert it just means you're a serious beginner, but then they make it so hard to get that you practically have to be a master to get it. Sounds very contradictory to me.
Some of the contradiction can be resolved by clarifying the terms you're using in your second sentence there.

"They". Is your first "they" who say that a black belt indicates a serious beginner the same as your second "they" who make the black belt so hard to get? (Hint - different people have different ideas about what a certain rank should represent.)

"1st degree black belt". What sort of black belt are we talking about? What art, awarded by what organization or instructor? Do you mean the local TKD kiddie care program, where a black belt might be awarded to a 13 year old who has trained 3 hours per week for 2 years (300 hours total)? Or do you mean a BJJ academy where a black belt might be awarded to a practitioner who has been training 8 hours per week for 10 years (4000 hours total)? I don't know too many people who claim that a typical BJJ black belt is just a beginner.

"Beginner", "Expert", "Master", "Hard to get". Depending on where you are in your training, those terms can indicate very different things. The first martial art I trained in for a significant length of time was Bujinkan Taijutsu (formerly branded as "ninjutsu"). This was back when the art was pretty new in the United States and there were only about a dozen or so black belts in the country. Most of them had only been training for a few years and they had learned from someone who had earned his rank based on a few, relatively short, visits to Japan.

At the time, I thought these guys were amazing fonts of martial knowledge. I was part of a small club in Baltimore that brought in these black belts to teach seminars and eventually I moved to a new city so that I could attend a dojo that had multiple black belt instructors. But from my current perspective as someone who has been training various arts for 42 years, just about every one of those black belts was a novice who barely understood any of what they were trying to teach. (And I am far from being any sort of "Master". Just an experienced martial artist who is reasonably competent in what I teach.)

So ... once you get past generalizations and realize that different people have different perspectives and that a particular gelt rank can mean very different things in different arts and schools, then it's really not so contradictory after all.
 

wab25

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I sometimes notice that there are big contradictions in the martial arts. For instance, and I've discussed this before, how they will say that being a first degree black belt doesn't mean you're a master or even an expert it just means you're a serious beginner, but then they make it so hard to get that you practically have to be a master to get it. Sounds very contradictory to me.
Let me rephrase that a little bit....

I sometimes notice that there are big contradictions in the education. For instance, and I've discussed this before, how they will say that being a High School Graduate doesn't mean you're a master or even an expert it just means you're a serious beginner, but then they make it so hard to get that you practically have to study for 12 years to get it. Sounds very contradictory to me.

I guess it depends on which side of the belt you are on. Before I graduated High School, that was the big accomplishment we were all shooting for. 12 years of study, lots of tests, lots of homework and lots of hours in a classroom. Once you get it, you realize, so did most other people. You should also realize that there are other goals beyond your High School graduation certificate. Lots of different ways you can go at that point to continue your education, formally or informally and or go to work and get some experience. While High School Graduation is a big deal until you have done it, its really just the basics to get you started.
 

Hot Lunch

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When you're presented with two opposing schools of thought on a particular topic, if there's no way to reconcile the two, you're eventually going to have to choose one and reject the other.

Belts mean nothing, but you are trained in accordance with an established curriculum that has a ladder of promotion built into it.

You're gonna have to make that choice yourself, what other people say be damned.
 
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PhotonGuy

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Should it be easy to get a black belt.
Depends where you get it.
When you get a black belt do you know all about the system that you train or only about the stuff you were taught.
Nobody knows everything there is to know about a martial arts system but from what I've seen, when you do test for a black belt you will often be tested on most if not all of the stuff you've been taught up to that point. At least that's what I've seen in the dojos I've been to.
The belt color blinds you. Remove the belt. Train and then answer.
So are you saying there should be no belts of rank?
If I don't have a belt then how will I know that I reached the top?
Nobody reaches the top because there is no top.
 
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PhotonGuy

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MA is all about contradiction. When my teacher said the following to me, it confused me big time.

- If you can't get a head lock on your opponent, you are not a good wrestler.
- If your opponent can get a head lock on you, you are not a good wrestler.
That is not a contradiction, it simply means that if you can't get a head lock on your opponent that said opponent is a better wrestler than you and that if your opponent can get a head lock on you that said opponent is a better wrestler than you, at least in terms of headlocks.
 
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PhotonGuy

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Still going on and on and on and on and on about your obsession with belt ranks, I see.
View attachment 29889
Im only obsessed with rank up to the point of first degree black belt. I don't care much for rank progression beyond 1st degree. In other words, I don't care much about making 2nd degree, 3rd degree, ect. I just like to keep training and getting better after making 1st degree without caring much about earning higher degrees, but that's just me.
 
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PhotonGuy

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Having gone through the tests for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree, and nearly having ready for the 4th, I can say that the 1st degree test, while difficult for a 1st degree student, is a cakewalk for someone going for 3rd degree.
Maybe in your dojo, all dojos are different.
 
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