Contradictions In The Martial Arts

Working in gyms and leading classes with thousands of people has given me some insight into human psychology. Most people who ask how long something will take to achieve rarely last the course.
Not necessarily, it's not uncommon for somebody starting college to ask how long it would take to get a degree and people who do ask usually don't drop out. After all, it's smart to at least have a general idea of how long it might take.
Whereas those who enjoy turning up to classes with a passion continue to train and train, week after week and year after year.
True, if you're really enthusiastic about it you will keep it up, no matter how advanced you get or what rank you might hold.
Belts, uniforms, grades, medals, trophies and certificates could be seen as good motivators for children but tend to have limited value for adults.
For adults such stuff could be like college degrees, or like ranks and positions that you might hold in a company that you work for.
 
In my experience, it took more than that. Sure, you can teach in a park (and I have), but you're subject to the vagaries of weather. And a very small group, IMO, isn't as good a learning environment for MA as having 10+ partners to work with. Building up doesn't always happen automatically (I say "always", because I have known folks who just started a program and folks showed up).
You could also teach in your basement or garage, that way you won't have to deal with the weather.
What you desribe is finiding a training partner. I wouldn't consider it "starting a dojo" until you have a regular group of a few folks you're leading.
A dojo could mean just about any place you train, even if it's just you. If you're talking about running a professional dojo then I would agree that you would need at least a small group of people who train there on a regular basis.
 
I'd say a lot of time has been spent here discussing what is not that big a question. Most folks don't ask it, and those that do are usually satisfied with whatever answer they get. If they are looking to make BB in a given amount of time, an indefinite answer is as good as an answer that is longer than they want.
Most people who want to eventually make BB I would think they do hope to make it within a given amount of time. After all, when I set a goal usually part of the very goal itself is to get it done within a certain time period. I can't speak for everybody else but that's how it is with me.

As it's been pointed out here though, in such a case it would probably be better to ask about the minimum amount of time it takes to make BB, the minimum time requirement.
For those who are just curious (or just think it's a question they should ask), any answer seems to do.
With that I agree
For those looking to make sure ranks reflect skill level, they're probably just looking to hear something other than "if you come to class twice a week, you'll get your BB in 2 years".
That's what I would be looking for, I would want it to reflect skill level, in which case I would not be satisfied with getting a black belt by simply showing up for class twice a week for 2 years as that does not guarantee skill.
 
Good point. There are methods for an organization to mitigate this (BJJ's intercompetition helps quite a bit, as does requiring dan tests in front of a board), but none are foolproof.
It might be a good idea to also require kyu tests in front of a board, at least for ranks such as nikkyu and ikkyu.
I'd guess most of the worst instructors are either independent or part of particularly bad organizations. But I can say I'd guess most of the best instructors are either independent or part of particularly good organizations.
A bad independent instructor will probably not last long as such an instructor will get a reputation for teaching garbage and so sooner or later nobody will train under said instructor. With a bad organization they might last a bit longer as they're larger and usually have got more money.
 
Fair enough, if you're looking to teach kids. That's probably easier to start, since kids classes are generally quicker to fill.
They also tend to have a higher turnover rate, although martial arts in general has a high turnover rate.
 
You could also teach in your basement or garage, that way you won't have to deal with the weather.
The former is too small, and the latter has never existed, in any house Ive ever owned.

A dojo could mean just about any place you train, even if it's just you. If you're talking about running a professional dojo then I would agree that you would need at least a small group of people who train there on a regular basis.
The dojo is just the space. Running one takes more than the space. And maintaining a student population isnt entirely in the instructors control - people have lives - so having more than a handful is important in most cases.
 
A bad independent instructor will probably not last long as such an instructor will get a reputation for teaching garbage and so sooner or later nobody will train under said instructor. With a bad organization they might last a bit longer as they're larger and usually have got more money.
I wish that were true. Unfortunately, Ive found a number of instructors teaching bad MA (students were apparently not even aware they were doing things badly), who had been in business for decades.
 
As a matter of fact, I did this at my current dojo when I first got here. I knew that testing was every three months up to 1st kyu, but there was too much conflicting information on the websites on how long it takes to go from ikkyu to shodan. After a test in which a student made ikkyu, I think I made a statement like "Man, he'll be a black belt in three months!" The instructor then responded with "No, it's a year long wait from ikkyu."

Boom. I got what I wanted.
So it sounds like they didn't have it clearly posted about the requirements of getting from ikkyu to shodan, including the time requirement. Well lets say you're the student who is at ikkyu and working on getting to shodan, would you have any aversion to directly asking about requirements for shodan, including time requirements, that aren't clear? You said in post #500 that you want to be treated like an adult but I see no reason why they wouldn't treat you that way simply for asking about any requirements that aren't clear, especially if you've been a student there for a considerable time and have put forth a considerable commitment, which I assume you would have to do to get to ikkyu at your dojo.

Going into a dojo for the first time and asking up front how long it takes to get a black belt, yes that can result in you getting a childish answer as its been discussed in this thread, but asking about the requirements for your next belt, including the black belt if that happens to be the next belt, that you're not clear about, I see no reason why that would be frowned upon or why they wouldn't respectfully give you a straight answer.
 
When someone's looking at the car they want, the first thing they want to know is "how much?" By omitting the price for the listing and having you come in, the car salesman is going to try to convince you to look beyond the price.

Now, replace "price" with "black belt."
There was a recent promotion to first degree black belt at my Goju Ryu dojo so one of our students is now a brand new first degree black belt and he is still going there so he's obviously looking beyond it. When he got promoted there was a ceremony and in the ceremony it was said that since the student had made black belt the cup had been formed and now it was time to start filling it, in other words, black belt is just the beginning. Most students who make it to black belt do look beyond it. Yes I've occasionally seen students make black belt and then drop out but from what I've seen its extremely rare and 99 out of 100 times if a student makes black belt they will keep going and will in fact, start putting even more into it.

If its about the journey and not the destination than black belt is the start of the journey.
 
There was a recent promotion to first degree black belt at my Goju Ryu dojo so one of our students is now a brand new first degree black belt and he is still going there so he's obviously looking beyond it. When he got promoted there was a ceremony and in the ceremony it was said that since the student had made black belt the cup had been formed and now it was time to start filling it, in other words, black belt is just the beginning. Most students who make it to black belt do look beyond it. Yes I've occasionally seen students make black belt and then drop out but from what I've seen its extremely rare and 99 out of 100 times if a student makes black belt they will keep going and will in fact, start putting even more into it.

If its about the journey and not the destination than black belt is the start of the journey.
Didn't you yourself say that you had no intention of promoting past shodan? Because that contradicts any claim to believing that black belt is a "new beginning," or least "not the end." Especially if there's more curriculum at nidan and higher in your school.
 
Kyu material is so very little on the journey. For us anyway, we have material all the way to Godan. I know so little it's not funny. I mean the material I know but every year I realize how much I can improve on my movement and ability. Beyond Shodan I think is when you "start" to recognize how little you "know" or how little your body does.
 
Not necessarily, it's not uncommon for somebody starting college to ask how long it would take to get a degree and people who do ask usually don't drop out. After all, it's smart to at least have a general idea of how long it might take.
I haven't seen much of a corrolation in my 10+ years of advising in higher education, honestly.
 
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.
Regardless of belt or what one knows, one can never know it all. Just like Musashi Miyamoto says in the book of five rings "a versed fighting style will fail if it doesn't accommodate with the weapons of its times" (something along those lines of keeping up with the weapons of your time). Martial arts are an ever evolving entity. The standard/bar of mastery is always changing. To title "master" itself is a bit of a reach also due to the fact that no martial art is greater than any other, it's all about dedication and discipline.
 
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.
I don't ever remember anyone saying it should be easy to get to black belt, nor that being a serious beginner is the same as being inexperienced.
Getting to the 'serious beginner' level in any martial art is quite an accomplishment.

The 'serious beginner' acronym is as much about the humbleness taught in a good program and learned by a good student who reaches black belt level as anything else.
 
I think the way to settle this is to look at the intent by Jigoro Kano when he invented the belt rank system - i.e., he took it directly from competitive swimmers, where advanced swimmers wore a black ribbon that separated them from the beginners.

If you want to make it deeper than that, great. But that wasn't Kano's intent.

Even it you want to it take back to the game of Go, all dan ranks are considered to be advanced players.
 
Didn't you yourself say that you had no intention of promoting past shodan? Because that contradicts any claim to believing that black belt is a "new beginning," or least "not the end." Especially if there's more curriculum at nidan and higher in your school.
At the first dojo I started seriously training at, yes, promoting past shodan wasn't much of a priority for me, but that didn't mean that I didn't want to keep getting better. I still wanted to keep developing skill but I just didn't care much about advancing further in rank at that point.
 
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Regardless of belt or what one knows, one can never know it all. Just like Musashi Miyamoto says in the book of five rings "a versed fighting style will fail if it doesn't accommodate with the weapons of its times" (something along those lines of keeping up with the weapons of your time). Martial arts are an ever evolving entity. The standard/bar of mastery is always changing. To title "master" itself is a bit of a reach also due to the fact that no martial art is greater than any other, it's all about dedication and discipline.
Obviously you're never going to know it all, there will always be something more to learn. But reaching certain levels can be a rite of passage.
 
I don't ever remember anyone saying it should be easy to get to black belt,
That depends where you get it. The difficulty of getting to black belt depends on the dojo in which you get it.
nor that being a serious beginner is the same as being inexperienced.
Getting to the 'serious beginner' level in any martial art is quite an accomplishment.
Then it makes sense that students are going to want to get to that level. If it's quite an accomplishment there will be students who are going to make it a goal.
The 'serious beginner' acronym is as much about the humbleness taught in a good program and learned by a good student who reaches black belt level as anything else.
And as I said, it makes sense that there are going to be students who want to reach that goal.
 
I think the way to settle this is to look at the intent by Jigoro Kano when he invented the belt rank system - i.e., he took it directly from competitive swimmers, where advanced swimmers wore a black ribbon that separated them from the beginners.

If you want to make it deeper than that, great. But that wasn't Kano's intent.

Even it you want to it take back to the game of Go, all dan ranks are considered to be advanced players.
The history of the belt system goes back way before Kano's time, he was just famous for incorporating it into Judo.
 

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