Did you write a Black Belt thesis?

girlbug2

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I know that my EPAK instructor required a written, 3 page thesis from each student who was testing for black. The topic was to be something along the lines of What I Learned from Kenpo Karate, or How Kenpo Karate has Affected My Life. Sadly, I was never able to read any of them myself but given the different ages and backgrounds in the dojo I'm certain it would have been very interesting stuff.

I'm assuming a thesis is not uncommon for testing for black? What guidelines do your senseis give for topic and length?

It might be interesting to read some of your theses, if anybody would be kind enough to share them with MT. Perhaps some of you would post your thesis here?
 

exile

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I know that my EPAK instructor required a written, 3 page thesis from each student who was testing for black. The topic was to be something along the lines of What I Learned from Kenpo Karate, or How Kenpo Karate has Affected My Life. Sadly, I was never able to read any of them myself but given the different ages and backgrounds in the dojo I'm certain it would have been very interesting stuff.

I'm assuming a thesis is not uncommon for testing for black? What guidelines do your senseis give for topic and length?

It might be interesting to read some of your theses, if anybody would be kind enough to share them with MT. Perhaps some of you would post your thesis here?

We don't do that, but I feel we should.

I have one in mind that I plan to write anyway, even though it is a bit after the fact, on realistic CQ SD apps in the first three Palgwe hyungs, with particular attention to the attack content of so-called 'chambering' movements. The meaning that the MA experience has for other people is a personal thing. I guess biographical details are less important to me than analyses of technique and training methods, in terms of the value I can take away from what I read. I'm far less interested in the emotional content of Jean-Claude Killy's comeback on the pro skiing circuit, for example, than the technical insights he had about how to adjust his racing methods to the side-by-side format of that circuit, compared with the so-called amateur one-at-a-time-against-the-clock format of the World Cup/Olympic format that he had so totally dominated.

I look at the work of people like Iain Abernethy, Rick Clark, Simon O' Neil and Stuart Anslow and I think, to me, that's the kind of work that gives new tools and usable insights for others. So that's the kind of thesis I plan to write, and present to my instructor as a surprise...
 

stickarts

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I did a thesis and I also require it now that I have my own school. I am sure I have a copy of it somewhere but good luck to me finding it! Its buried somewhere in my stacks of papers.
 

exile

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Sounds like you have awesome initiative!

Thanks, gb, but that kind thought puts me in way too good a light—it's really mostly that I find writing something down to be an effective way to think aloud, which is how I work out solutions to problems. If you have to put it down in cold text, you're going to force yourself to think through the problem and find the answer—or you'll at least have a better idea of where you need to come up with a better story about what's really going on. I'm lazy, by nature, but I also want to know the answer! So really, it's more a matter of feeling that if I don't do this, my curiosity will never be satisfied...

I did a thesis and I also require it now that I have my own school. I am sure I have a copy of it somewhere but good luck to me finding it! Its buried somewhere in my stacks of papers.

Good on you for doing that in your own school, Frank. I wish more people did.
 

Gordon Nore

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I had to as well; although, because of a long time in grade, and a smallish adult program, we actually go sometime between black belt gradings. There was no one eligible to grade in my school until I was a green belt.

Candidates in the past had typically written something about the history of Hapkido. During my years in the club, I created our only website and built it substantially, so I felt that would have been repetitive.

I asked if I could write a more reflective piece. I joined my school at the age of thirty-five and got my first dan in my late forties. Being older than my teachers, our veteran black belts, and most of my fellow students, I wrote about training in mid-life. It was called,

Slouching Tiger, Arthritic Dragon: My mid-life martial arts journey

I'm not kidding. Given the same chance now, I might call it, The Audacity of Ki.
 

Mark L

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I wasn't required to write anything, and I'm not sure I would have if asked. My rank is a very personal thing, and it has many meanings to me. Some of those are external, though most are internal; the internal meaning(s) have taken on many different faces over the years. They may or may not have similarity to my instructors', but that isn't really important to me. I do reflect on what my rank means to me as I approach a test, but it's not something I share much. I'm in that mode right now, and there is a whirlwind of thoughts going through my head. It'd be a 100 pages to put it all down coherently, with 200 revisions to make it readable, before it would be worth anything. I don't need to do that, 'cause I already have it in my pointy little head.

I fully advocate for martial artists to think about what they are and what they're becoming as the facade they offer the community (rank in this instance) changes, but do not feel that that reflection should be a rank requirement.
 

terryl965

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Yes on History and techmiquas as well as what it means to them to be one.
 

MJS

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I know that my EPAK instructor required a written, 3 page thesis from each student who was testing for black. The topic was to be something along the lines of What I Learned from Kenpo Karate, or How Kenpo Karate has Affected My Life. Sadly, I was never able to read any of them myself but given the different ages and backgrounds in the dojo I'm certain it would have been very interesting stuff.

I'm assuming a thesis is not uncommon for testing for black? What guidelines do your senseis give for topic and length?

It might be interesting to read some of your theses, if anybody would be kind enough to share them with MT. Perhaps some of you would post your thesis here?

I had to write a thesis for my BB exam. I forget the exact number, but there had to be a certain number of pages. It had to be on anything Martial Arts related. I did some research and did mine on the history of Kenpo.

The guidelines can vary depending on what your inst. requests. It could be a written paper on a topic of their choice, a topic of your choice, or some other project designated by your inst.
 

cali_tkdbruin

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Did you write a Black Belt thesis?

A requirement of the test for first dan black and above at my dojang is to compose a paper, a few pages in length, but they become longer and more comprehensive and detailed the the higher you advance in our art. They cover primarily the history, meaning and positives of being a TKD, and MA practitioner. They're centered on one's experience as a Taekwondist.

Researching and writing the papers that were required for my BB tests was hard, like my TKD physical training was difficult, only prepping the papers was hard mentally because I wanted to get them right. Kind of like the hard work I had to do in college when I had to research and write those long, detailed term papers...
 

Phoenix44

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Yes, I did. For brown belt I had to write a paper on what MA means to me, and for black belt I had to write on the history of the martial arts. In retrospect, it was helpful. It would be embarrassing, I think, if someone asked a black belt about the arts, and s/he knew nothing.
 

chinto

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I know that my EPAK instructor required a written, 3 page thesis from each student who was testing for black. The topic was to be something along the lines of What I Learned from Kenpo Karate, or How Kenpo Karate has Affected My Life. Sadly, I was never able to read any of them myself but given the different ages and backgrounds in the dojo I'm certain it would have been very interesting stuff.

I'm assuming a thesis is not uncommon for testing for black? What guidelines do your senseis give for topic and length?

It might be interesting to read some of your theses, if anybody would be kind enough to share them with MT. Perhaps some of you would post your thesis here?


in my style we are required a minimum of 1500 words thesis as well as a 4 hour history and terminology test .. then the kata .. all of them in the system and a minimum of 4 weapons kata... in at least 2 weapons.. usually its more like 7 or 8 weapons kata minimum that you know and have to show polished like the empty hand kata of the system! ( that is the test for shodan ho... there are no kata for empty hand that are not tested in the system after shodan ho test... and usually there are 3 or 4 kata from other styles that you have been taught and agian have to show as polished and ready by even the standerds of the style they are from. )
 

fireman00

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first stripe - one page on what being a black belt meant to me.
then each successive stripe is an additional 1/2 page. Its been interesting to see how the paper has morphed over the last 4 years.
 

stickarts

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Thanks, gb, but that kind thought puts me in way too good a lightit's really mostly that I find writing something down to be an effective way to think aloud, which is how I work out solutions to problems. If you have to put it down in cold text, you're going to force yourself to think through the problem and find the answeror you'll at least have a better idea of where you need to come up with a better story about what's really going on. I'm lazy, by nature, but I also want to know the answer! So really, it's more a matter of feeling that if I don't do this, my curiosity will never be satisfied...



Good on you for doing that in your own school, Frank. I wish more people did.

Thank you. I think a lot of good comes out of the research that they have to do for the paper. Although I do want to see a good end result in the paper, there is a lot of learning and growth that goes into the process of doing the paper. I also like to see the student think for themselves and bring their own voice into the paper. I usually also learn something after reading students papers.
 

Kacey

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I was required to write a thesis for IV Dan (there used to be a thesis requirement for I-III Dan, but it was replaced with community service). The requirement was that it be on any aspect of martial arts, with an emphasis on TKD. Having had students with a variety of short- and long-term disabilities (both developmental and physical), and being a special education teacher, I wrote my thesis about teaching students with disabilities.
 

exile

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I was required to write a thesis for IV Dan (there used to be a thesis requirement for I-III Dan, but it was replaced with community service). The requirement was that it be on any aspect of martial arts, with an emphasis on TKD. Having had students with a variety of short- and long-term disabilities (both developmental and physical), and being a special education teacher, I wrote my thesis about teaching students with disabilities.

That kind of study could be terrifically valuable to someone who was in that same position as a teacher. Makes me think that there should be some kind of central online repository of these theses where people interested in sharing their work with others who might benefit from it can make it available...
 
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girlbug2

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No thesis. X hours of community service is required instead.

When I think of community service the first thing that comes to mind is seeing those guys in orange vests along the side of the freeway picking up trash.:D

Could you give examples of the types of community service the hopefuls at your dojo have done?
 

Kacey

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That kind of study could be terrifically valuable to someone who was in that same position as a teacher. Makes me think that there should be some kind of central online repository of these theses where people interested in sharing their work with others who might benefit from it can make it available...

Some of ours are posted here.

When I think of community service the first thing that comes to mind is seeing those guys in orange vests along the side of the freeway picking up trash.:D

Could you give examples of the types of community service the hopefuls at your dojo have done?

It depends on what you're interested in. I give blood regularly; I documented that for my requirements. One of my students wanted to be a vet in high school; she volunteered at a local shelter for several years as a teen and used that. Another student was a volunteer soccer coach and also volunteered with his daughters' scout troops, and used both of those. Others that I've heard of organized public land clean-ups, participated in fundraisers or created their own (kick-a-thons, for example, with the money going to charity), free self-defense classes - the list is as long as the interests of the people involved.
 

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