Different belt system for kids

ACJ

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OK so I was thinking about a bit of a different system.

Kids start with a white belt, then progress with a different belt each time, each belt following being a white belt with a coloured stripe through the middle, with a total of 8 belts (including plain white).

The kids can progress to a yellow belt grading at any time they are ready, with no age set, as to not have kids presume they are ready or to have to hold back anyone who has the appropriate skills.

The tests would cost as much as the adult ones (belt cost + venue costs).

During the this period they will be taught a solid foundation in basics of kicking, forms and a more kid-centric self defence. Theory will be presented in a more relevant and easier to learn way, and forms will be taught more slowly.

At the end of all this when they do turn to the full fledged system they should be performing well above their rank and progress quickly, while still maintaining a skill and attitude appropriate to their rank.

Thoughts? Questions?
 

dancingalone

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I don't see much of a difference. Presumably the kids will still have the same pressures to test and advance with their classmates, and you'd likely be turning off some parents with the equivalent costs for a 'inferior' program.
 

Dave Leverich

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BJJ does it for kids under 16 with a 'kid rank' as some have with 'kids poom' in Taekwondo. I think requiring excellence is always good. Keep the fees low ;)
 
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ACJ

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I don't see much of a difference. Presumably the kids will still have the same pressures to test and advance with their classmates, and you'd likely be turning off some parents with the equivalent costs for a 'inferior' program.

But the school wouldn't be full of 13 year old bbs, and wouldn't be discouraging kids by not letting them grade. So maintaining interest and skill levels effectively in my eyes. And it's hardly inferior, it's aimed towards kids, better learning for them.
 

dancingalone

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But the school wouldn't be full of 13 year old bbs, and wouldn't be discouraging kids by not letting them grade. So maintaining interest and skill levels effectively in my eyes. And it's hardly inferior, it's aimed towards kids, better learning for them.

I think you're overcomplicating things myself, but I'm likely not your target audience anyway. I rarely teach minors. I have 4 student belt colors (white, green, purple, brown). You don't test until you know your belt syllabus backwards and forwards. It's not uncommon for someone to stay a white belt in my school for close to a year.

My initial thought is that if you're teaching children, by definition you're diluting the material taught anyway. It's embarrassing to see children run around donning black belts, but does anyone (parents included) seriously think their Little Johnny is a real fighter, regardless of his dan rank?
 
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girlbug2

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There is a similar kids belt system in Krav Maga with the middle stripes. I approve of differentiating kids' ranks from adults'. Yes a kid may have learned the material, but...size and mental maturity do make a big difference IMO between an adult and a child, even if they both arguably "know" the same material.
 

Nomad

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My initial thought is that if you're teaching children, by definition you're diluting the material taught anyway. It's embarrassing to see children run around donning black belts, but does anyone (parents included) seriously think their Little Johnny is a real fighter, regardless of his dan rank?

I disagree with this statement. While the material is taught differently, I don't view it as a "dilution" as much as laying a foundation in your art. Getting such a foundation as a child can make a huge difference as you progress up the belt ranks. Many of our best competitors and technicians started when they were very young (~6) and have grown up in the system. By the time they get their black belts (not before age 17 or so) they know the syllabus inside and out, and are starting to get a good grasp on the deeper principles as well. Some of them have gone on to become excellent teachers.

Partially to prevent the 8yo dan levels and partially to give the kids something to keep striving for (it kind of sucks if you can make it to the highest level of brown belt and are told you have to wait 4-5 years to advance because of your age), we have brought in different belt levels (with lots of stripes) for the younger kids - actually two tiers from 6-9 and from 9-12 and they "graduate from each level into the more advanced classes and belt systems as they go, until they enter the senior program for teens and adults.

This system has been pretty successful. It also gives the kids a better understanding of the commitment necessary to get a black belt in our system and they have more respect for it because of this.
 

Jphtkd

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I started a program similar to that about 4 years ago and have been doing it very successfully. My 4-6 year old tiny tigers class starts at white, then goes w/orange, w/yellow, w/green, w/purple, w/blue, w/brown, w/red, w/black. They can graduate into the 7-12 yr old program by completing the Tiny tigers belts and graduating to 8th gup, or when they turn 7 years old they are able to test for 8th gup as well. It takes almost 3 years from 8th gup to test for 1st poom from that point.

The program has been successful in teaching the 4-6 yr. old students the focus and concentration they need to join the 7-12 yr. old class, and prevents me from being in the position of promoting someone under the age of 8 to 1st poom. The class is designed to teach them to learn. That way, as they enter the next class level, they are prepared to actually start learning TKD techniques. In the Tiny Tigers class, we focus mostly on basics, balance, co-ordination, team work, and exercise. I also teach them stranger self defense, and have the parents participate by working with them at home.
 

dancingalone

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I disagree with this statement. While the material is taught differently, I don't view it as a "dilution" as much as laying a foundation in your art. Getting such a foundation as a child can make a huge difference as you progress up the belt ranks. Many of our best competitors and technicians started when they were very young (~6) and have grown up in the system. By the time they get their black belts (not before age 17 or so) they know the syllabus inside and out, and are starting to get a good grasp on the deeper principles as well. Some of them have gone on to become excellent teachers.

It depends on the type of TKD you do, Nomad. Would you teach a child to gouge eyes or rip out throats or testicles? What about joint locks which are generally to be avoided with children since 1) their body parts are still growing and 2) children often lack the sensitivity and body awareness to know when to back off working a lock. These are just two obvious examples where one cannot teach a child and an adult the same way.

I agree if you (figuratively) teach a relatively simple punch and kick system with little formal bunkai exploration, the children's curriculum can be identical to the adults'.
 
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ACJ

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It depends on the type of TKD you do, Nomad. Would you teach a child to gouge eyes or rip out throats or testicles? What about joint locks which are generally to be avoided with children since 1) their body parts are still growing and 2) children often lack the sensitivity and body awareness to know when to back off working a lock. These are just two obvious examples where one cannot teach a child and an adult the same way.

I agree if you (figuratively) teach a relatively simple punch and kick system with little formal bunkai exploration, the children's curriculum can be identical to the adults'.

Not actually teaching kids how to rip off testicles or joint locks, doesn't mean you can't lay a foundation for future training of those skills. Teach them the vital targets, teach them commitment to an action, teach keeping your guard. Teaching the foundation for more hardcore techniques doesn't mean we would teach them "fairy fingers" to the eyes or anything like that.

But you've basically made the point of the kids belts abundantly clear.
1. You start teaching a child the basics when they are young they will be better at learning what everyone else is learning at that same age (things they couldn't properly learn before like joint locks).
2. You don't give a child the same rank as an adult who has been doing the art for the same amount of time. Because they can't do the same thing.
3. You give kids a rank because it keeps them motivated to learn.

Easy.
 

dancingalone

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But you've basically made the point of the kids belts abundantly clear.
1. You start teaching a child the basics when they are young they will be better at learning what everyone else is learning at that same age (things they couldn't properly learn before like joint locks).
2. You don't give a child the same rank as an adult who has been doing the art for the same amount of time. Because they can't do the same thing.
3. You give kids a rank because it keeps them motivated to learn.

I don't dispute that children's MA is another world entirely. That seems self-evident to me. What I question is the real value of another belt system especially for children. If you're just trying to avert the phenomenon of the child black belt, I would argue that the genie has long left the bottle and it's impossible to revert events back to the sixties or seventies. Furthermore, I think most people, parents of McDojo younglings included, aren't stupid and they KNOW that their kids' black belts probably aren't worth the fabric it took to make them.

It is what it is. I think too many people have been exposed to the idea of black belt kiddies for your idea to take too much traction.
 

granfire

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sounds a lot like a ITA cub program. Considering it's geared towards kids from 3-6 (three is VERY young) you deal more with life skills and developing coordination and very basic drills.

They progress through their cub ranks, white belts with color stripes matching the big ranks' colors. Some kids do the whole program, others advance to the regular junior class a bit quicker, it has a lot of wiggle room (considering the wiggly students! ;) )

When they graduate they get an embroidered white belt 'Cub Graduate' and are a high white in rank.

But I have the feeling the original thought behind this thread is older kids, not the wee little dragon cubs...
 
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ACJ

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I don't dispute that children's MA is another world entirely. That seems self-evident to me. What I question is the real value of another belt system especially for children. If you're just trying to avert the phenomenon of the child black belt, I would argue that the genie has long left the bottle and it's impossible to revert events back to the sixties or seventies. Furthermore, I think most people, parents of McDojo younglings included, aren't stupid and they KNOW that their kids' black belts probably aren't worth the fabric it took to make them.

It is what it is. I think too many people have been exposed to the idea of black belt kiddies for your idea to take too much traction.

It would be internal to the school I teach at only. The problem of kiddy BBs would already be avoided by the fact they wouldn't be promoted that high anyway, the proposed system would only be a motivational tool.
 
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ACJ

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sounds a lot like a ITA cub program. Considering it's geared towards kids from 3-6 (three is VERY young) you deal more with life skills and developing coordination and very basic drills.

They progress through their cub ranks, white belts with color stripes matching the big ranks' colors. Some kids do the whole program, others advance to the regular junior class a bit quicker, it has a lot of wiggle room (considering the wiggly students! ;) )

When they graduate they get an embroidered white belt 'Cub Graduate' and are a high white in rank.

But I have the feeling the original thought behind this thread is older kids, not the wee little dragon cubs...

6 would probably be the youngest, I mean starting young is good, but 3 is just ridiculous, they can practice what they need to practice at home and kindergarten.
 

granfire

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6 would probably be the youngest, I mean starting young is good, but 3 is just ridiculous, they can practice what they need to practice at home and kindergarten.


LOL, well, yes and no. The program is tailored to the little ones. It's a fun thing to do, if done right. I have no illusions that a lot of them are sticking with it, but it's a nice facet of bringing them up with a little bit of discipline that is lost in our Purple Dinosaur world.

naturally, if you tailor your program to the 6 and above crowd, go for it!
 

Tez3

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It depends on the type of TKD you do, Nomad. Would you teach a child to gouge eyes or rip out throats or testicles? What about joint locks which are generally to be avoided with children since 1) their body parts are still growing and 2) children often lack the sensitivity and body awareness to know when to back off working a lock. These are just two obvious examples where one cannot teach a child and an adult the same way.

I agree if you (figuratively) teach a relatively simple punch and kick system with little formal bunkai exploration, the children's curriculum can be identical to the adults'.


I don't personally but you should see the Gurkha children's TKD class here, if you see a Gurkha child with a black belt, they'll have a kukri tucked into it and the knowledge how to use it as well as the rather less nice ways to hurt people. They are also the most well behaved children I know.
 

terryl965

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Little Dragons, Tiny Tigers they all have a purpose and that is to make parent and child happy. What is wrong with this since we live ina society of soccer moms and dads. These program enable someone to grow with out giving away a traditional BB to everyone.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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I think the Brazilian Jiujitsu belt system for children is pretty good. Though instead of 16 being the age when they can start testing for adult ranks I would further push it to 18.
 

Tez3

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Young children have minds fine tuned to learning, they are like sponges and never again in our lives will we have such a capacity and willingness to learn new things. We should take advantage of this and teach children something which in my opinion will serve them well all through their lives.
We don't dilute techniques for children, we show them ones that will work for them at their stage of life, just the same as my instructor shows me techniques that suit me being a five foot four female rather than techniques for a six foot male rugby player.
We teach good basics in an atmosphere they are feel safe and enjoy. We should all enjoy martial arts shouldn't we regardless of the reason we train?
I take children at four, at four and a half they will start primary school, it's the official age for that here. They don't grade but are given white belts with a coloured stripe in corresponding to the junior class, they know they have to earn them all the same and they aren't just given away. There is no charge for the belts. In the childrens class they pay a grading fee, kept to as little as we can usually about 瞿12 ($24ish) we wouldn't charge the children the same as the adults. Adults belts even wholesale are that bit dearer and the grading is longer meaning my instructor has to take more time off work unpaid in the evenings. He does the doors. :)

We do not have black belts under the age of 18, in fact we only have three, the chief instructor, me and our pro fighter/instructor. Children don't get blackbelts.
 

Nomad

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It depends on the type of TKD you do, Nomad. Would you teach a child to gouge eyes or rip out throats or testicles? What about joint locks which are generally to be avoided with children since 1) their body parts are still growing and 2) children often lack the sensitivity and body awareness to know when to back off working a lock. These are just two obvious examples where one cannot teach a child and an adult the same way.

I agree if you (figuratively) teach a relatively simple punch and kick system with little formal bunkai exploration, the children's curriculum can be identical to the adults'.

It's a karate system actually, not TKD, though that makes very little difference. At the youngest stages (6-8) it is basically a punch and kick system, though they do need to learn simpler kata as well. In the next group up, they are doing most of the same drills, kata, etc. as in the adult classes, including joint locks and groin strikes where appropriate. Of course, safety is the number 1 priority, especially in the kids programs.

We have found that even those kids that do extremely well in the junior programs have a culture shock when graduating to the senior program... all the same material is taught, but the standards are greatly tightened and the expectations are higher, in terms of performance and understanding the principles underlying the techniques. This alone, IMHO, justifies the different belt systems.

In our style, when someone gets a black belt, there's an understanding that they can compete on an even footing with the other black belts. Obviously, young kids just wouldn't be able to do this, while some can by their late teens (Some continue to have trouble with this one into their 30s & 40s).

Frankly, the argument that the genie is out of the bottle, so it doesn't matter if we give 7 year olds black belts doesn't wash... our standards are ours, not anyone elses. We feel no compulsion to lower our standards to match nearby schools, and the retention rate in our classes says that most of the students feel the same way.
 
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