Fighting to earn Black belt? How it is different today???

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Hello, When Joe lewis earn his Black belt in Okinawa, it took him 7 months...Why? ...He kept beating and winning against all the black belts in class...So his Sensi awarded him a black belt.

Many Judo schools you have to win at least 3 matches of equal rank(tournaments), or win so many matches in classes of equal ranking (during testing) to get promotions

Meaning you have to fight and win against people of same ranking before you can move up.

TODAY THIS METHOD IS RARELY USE.

When I was a brown belt...my Sensi mention it several times when he said "when" ready testing I will need to fight at least 7 black belts in a ring....I did not have to win..just survive and not give up, before I could earn a black belt in his Shotokan/goju school. This did not happen..I just sparr the other brown belts.....and met the other schools requirment. (Know all the Katas') was a big part of testing.

Today many schools one does not have to beat all the brown belts in fighting semi or full contact anymore.

Learning you schools martial arts? ....if you cannot win againist the brown belts in a fight most times? ....how can one be promote to a Black belt?

Is fighting to win "the best way for testing to be a Black belt?" ....your thoughts on this please.....? .............Aloha
 

punisher73

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Hmmm, good question with lots of answers. It depends on what your specific style/school defines "blackbelt" as. Does it mean fighting ability? Does it mean experience? Does it mean a certain level of understanding?

Here are a couple situations.

1) Young kid very gifted athletically and picks up movements VERY quickly, and doesn't have to work too hard to make them look good. Very good at sparring due to his quick reflexes. But, he doesn't understand the concepts or strategies of the techniques he is just able to rely on his quick reflexes to beat other belts to the punch. He can't really communicate why things work or explain things to lower ranks to help them with their techniques.

2) Older person, has a couple knee/back injuries but doesn't really pick up movements quickly but works very hard and when they do get the movement they understand how it fits into the big picture of things. Due to the previous injuries, they aren't very good at sparring and often get beat by younger quicker students. But, they understand the concepts and techniques and can explain and help lower ranks to make them much better students.

If these hypothetical students were both at the same rank and getting ready to test, what should the criteria be to test for blackbelt? I guess my point is that fighting ability is only ONE aspect of a blackbelt and if other areas really outshine that and the person shows a good understanding of what they are doing and has put in the time and work they should be able to obtain a blackbelt. Or should it be like in Sumo that when you get older and start losing you actually start to lose your rank?

The problem with the "blackbelt" is that we as martial artists have taken a sports measurement (then adopted by Kano for Judo and then Karate etc.) and applied it to a whole bunch of unquantifiable things that aren't tied only to the physical aspect of our arts.
 

tshadowchaser

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interesting opening question


I have know schools where one had to beat a number of those of the rank they where testing for and schools that made you beat those of the rank you where testing to get out of. Both had there reasons for the fights.
I think being able to show that you can hold your own with those above your rank and defeat most of those of your rank and mostly all below your rank is a good idea.
Now I admit there are those that just are not fighters but would make great instructors so this too should be considered. I guess it comes down to many things both physical and mental to be considered. Is the school a strictly fighting school, or dose it only want to pass on knowledge or is it a sport school, etc.
 

Kennedy_Shogen_Ryu

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The O'Sensei of my style believed in focusing on waza and kata and using sparring to sharpen the skills taught in waza and kata. He believed 80% waza and kata 20% sparring. My Sensei has carried on this tradition. When we test for our black belts it is about a 3 hour test. First a warm up then workout. Several repetitions of various waza. Each candidate performs requested kata individually. Then we perform some free self defence techniques. We all then put on the sparring gear and spar. The sparring is the shortest part of the entire grading. I wholly agree with what Punisher mentioned that there are certain circumstances where it is unfair (if that's the proper word) to put so much emphasis on sparring.
I think more than anything it depends on the style/school/instructor. Some instructors put much emphasis behind the idea that was mentioned: how can you be a black belt if you can't defeat brown belts.
Above all I think you have raised a very excellent question with (as has already been mentioned) several answers!
 
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Hello, Just my thoughts on this? One big purpose we train in martial arts...the striking,blocking,movements,takedowns,etc. is what most of the classes are about(learning to fighting skills), Kata's too is learning fighting skills, is to be able to defend ourselves and fight back.

A black belts who is able to defend himself against brown belts in the same school need to know....when awarded a Black belt...at the moment of time in their life...They are better. (fighting is one of the better ways for that person to know his skills are Black belt level).

Age slows one down....but the level goes up!

This is when Black belt higher ranking the "Statis changes" meaning knowlege is gain (but the muscles of younger years disappears).

No one expects the General of an Army to be the strongest soldier? ...just more experience in leading/teaching/guiding the soldiers.
(Same for our upper rankings and 10th degrees Teachers).

But at testing (for adults only here)...They should be able fighters in their art!

What is the best way? This is a very hard one to measure the best way for testing? as many schools and students of the martial arts...you will get just as many answer here?

Lets fight for this? .....If you win....I will join you....Aloha ("glad I live far away").
 

tradrockrat

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It was real simple for me. Yes - you MUST fight to increase rank, but you did NOT have to win, just hold your own.

Fighting is a part of martial arts and you should be able to do it at a certain level of proficiency at each belt.
 

karate-dragon

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I agree with most of the above. Being asked to try and have stamina versus having to win is important. Fighting is just a part of the martial arts. Remember also that when Joe Lewis, Ed Parker, Nick Cerio, most of the Grandmasters now, trained, the styles that they trained in did not have a lot of material past shodan. They went ton to create styles and added most of the material later.
 

Mark L

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... They should be able fighters in their art!
Whether a school focuses on technique, kata, sparring, teaching ability, or some other aspect of the art, the statement above should apply, and the degree of 'ableness' should be commensurate with the rank.
 
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Kyokushin blackbelts have to do a Thirty man Kumite for their grading. Its impressive to watch to say the least.

Hello, Those who know about "Kyokushin" training ways...have lots of respect for their Black Belts! Only a handful tried the 100 man test, and past...Wow!

The thirty man test is true test for sure! ...for anyone! ...Thank-you for sharing this...........Aloha

PS: "Testing" ...."testing" ...1,2,3,4,5,10,20,....30.... can you hear me now!
 

bmcgonag

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My first school that I went to get 1st Dan in TKD, took me to a different school. I had to fight 10 on one, for 3 rounds 3 minutes each. Not win, just fight and stay standing as much as possible. The intent was for it to be Black belts and Red belts, but the class was light that night so I had 2 Black, 3 Red, and 1 of the lower ranks each...yellow, green, blue, brown, orange.

The issue here was I was taught to spar with kicks to the head, and the intent for knock out, lots of punches, elbows, knees, etc; and they were all stop point sparring taught, so, I had an advantage.

For 2nd dan, me against 5 other 2nd Dan. Again survive.

For 3rd dan, me against 4 other 2nd Dan, and 1 4th dan. Survive.

Also there was 19 Poomse, Fighting techniques, Punch/kick defense, board and brick breaking, and a weapons demo for each level.

It was a great time, great fun, lots of work, but well worth it.

For hapkido, there was sparring, but for me the challenge was the grab attacks while blindfolded.

Best,

Brian
 

ciscodog

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Ok my 2 cents. I think sparring and self defense should be part of all tests. But martial arts are more than just punching and kicking and it would be unfair and in my opinion unwise to only promote those with physical prowness or natural timing and distance. Just like no technique is good for everyone, no two students are the same, some similiar but theres always slight differences in abilities. People focus on different aspects in their chosen style and in this day in age i dont think one should be given more importance over another. I enjoy the rough and tumble side of Martail Arts, some prefer Kata, others the Spiritual connection to something that has gone back generations.
 

Karatedrifter7

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I dont think the criteria should necessarily be to give an asswhooping to get a belt. Perfecting the art should be the case. Especially because some of the self denfense moves you cant do in sparring, like smashing someones groin, or crushing a windpipe. The list goes on. Self defense is a tricky thing, the legendary Doc Holliday slashed people across the throat in cardgames, who might've been able to kick his *** in a fight.
 

tellner

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Soon after my Silat teacher completed the program he got a surprise. His teacher's brother showed up with half a dozen of his own advanced students who wanted to see how his steel was tempered. The man who would eventually become my teacher had to jam with each of them in turn. It wasn't a formal kumite or anything like that. It was just one of those things.
 

Makalakumu

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At my shodan test, my teacher showed up with 10 people of different styles who had shodan or equivolent experience. Besides fighting every TSD student at my test, I had to fight all of them...according to their rule set. I also had to fight two people at once.

At my 2nd dan test it was same thing, different people and three on one and people with weapons.

For 3rd dan its the same thing as above but with different people yet again, four on one, multiple people with weapons, and multiple people with weapons and I am empty handed.

So yeah, we fight for our grading. We fight damn hard and make it worth it.
 

Jai

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When I tested for my 1 Dan in Am Ka Jutsu I sparred full contact with every other student in my age range. Sometimes fighting two to five at once. Sensei believed that the true test of your ability comes not from memorizing moves and patterns, but how well you can put those moves and pieces from patterns into a real life situation. Advanced rank testing was brutal but it was not impossible.

When I moved into TKD I was in for a shock. No contact sparring, and black belts could BARELY make contact. I was DQ'd at my first tournment because I sparred a kid who left his hands down simply because there was no fear of ever getting kicked. Well I not only kicked him, I broke his jaw...
You where graded purely on how well you remembered what you had been shown your material and I sat for years wondering, and I was torn between what I knew and what I was now being taught.
I have moved on from that TKD school and the school I currently attend is more towards the "sport" sparring where contact is allowed, yet sparring is not a focus point, rather it is purely voluntary to do.
I think that still takes away the "real" aspect of learning the art. If you never test yourself against another, how do you improve? And how do you know if your going to survive if you are attacked on the street? I am a fan and supported for contact sparring for rank. No matter what the rank.
 
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When I tested for my 1 Dan in Am Ka Jutsu I sparred full contact with every other student in my age range. Sometimes fighting two to five at once. Sensei believed that the true test of your ability comes not from memorizing moves and patterns, but how well you can put those moves and pieces from patterns into a real life situation. Advanced rank testing was brutal but it was not impossible.

When I moved into TKD I was in for a shock. No contact sparring, and black belts could BARELY make contact. I was DQ'd at my first tournment because I sparred a kid who left his hands down simply because there was no fear of ever getting kicked. Well I not only kicked him, I broke his jaw...
You where graded purely on how well you remembered what you had been shown your material and I sat for years wondering, and I was torn between what I knew and what I was now being taught.
I have moved on from that TKD school and the school I currently attend is more towards the "sport" sparring where contact is allowed, yet sparring is not a focus point, rather it is purely voluntary to do.
I think that still takes away the "real" aspect of learning the art. If you never test yourself against another, how do you improve? And how do you know if your going to survive if you are attacked on the street? I am a fan and supported for contact sparring for rank. No matter what the rank.

Hello, Very good point here! ...every art has it's true test....that is actual fighting or close to it! (many do not test this way)

So many martial arts are promoted to black belts....but when on the streets? ......many are unable to fight back and survive! NO actual full contact type of training! NO adrenline/Fear mode training....No street ready training expectations training!!

Only way to know is by actual testing (in class with controls) and proper gear too! (safety is foremost)...can be done this way! or your choice?

Aloha
 

Master Dan

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WEll you need to define what is fighting to win, sparring no matter how brutal no pads ect. is still sport technique. the purpose of sparring in testing is to demonstrate many things conditioning, skill, self confidense, some may be to demonstrate sport ability and other parts more self defense. sparring against multiple atackers at the same time as opposed to one on one should not only demonstrate skill and endurance but more importantly intelegent defense being calm and using the disadvantage or weakness in the group to your advantage.

And even after all this it is still restrained and controled technique as opposed to going all out for a knock out or to do damage to the other person. The mental aspect of hard full contact sport sparring/fighting is to simulate a near death fight with out the actual damage or risk of death and I am talking controled sport fighting with rules. I reviewed Steven Segals 1st black belt test with 4 or more atacking he easily threw or handled everyone but they did not atack him with the same energy they did for the next fellow after him which ended pretty much in a pig pile. I think the individuals atacking had pre knowledge that Steven was going to give what he got so they backed off.

Our litigous society here now and more family oriented programs in general are not what was done in the 50's and 60's but that does not mean they do not have value epecially for those who would never have been able to train and learn the old way and would now have nothing.
 

Cyriacus

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WEll you need to define what is fighting to win, sparring no matter how brutal no pads ect. is still sport technique. the purpose of sparring in testing is to demonstrate many things conditioning, skill, self confidense, some may be to demonstrate sport ability and other parts more self defense. sparring against multiple atackers at the same time as opposed to one on one should not only demonstrate skill and endurance but more importantly intelegent defense being calm and using the disadvantage or weakness in the group to your advantage.

And even after all this it is still restrained and controled technique as opposed to going all out for a knock out or to do damage to the other person. The mental aspect of hard full contact sport sparring/fighting is to simulate a near death fight with out the actual damage or risk of death and I am talking controled sport fighting with rules. I reviewed Steven Segals 1st black belt test with 4 or more atacking he easily threw or handled everyone but they did not atack him with the same energy they did for the next fellow after him which ended pretty much in a pig pile. I think the individuals atacking had pre knowledge that Steven was going to give what he got so they backed off.

Our litigous society here now and more family oriented programs in general are not what was done in the 50's and 60's but that does not mean they do not have value epecially for those who would never have been able to train and learn the old way and would now have nothing.

Im of the View that this Accurately Describes Free-Sparring.
As My Instructer says; Ideally, a Fight should Resemble 1-Step Sparring. Often, you need to Free-Spar your way up to a Point where you can pull that off.

But yeah, I Agree.
Which is why im still Pleased to be Training out of a more Traditional Organisation.
 

Thesemindz

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Fighting was a part of my black belt test, but it was only one part. The test itself was six hours long and included demonstration of competence with all previous basics, techniques, sets, forms, and knowledge factors, sparring, ground fighting, weapon fighting, self defense, and fighting multiple opponents. It depends on what "black belt" means in that school. For some, it means you can regurgitate memorized physical material. For some it means spontaneous execution of technique. For some it means you can throw down. For some it means your check cleared.

I never require my students to do anything they aren't comfortable with. But there comes a point where spontaneous unscripted combat practice is an important part of their training. If they don't want to participate in that, it's their decision. But it will prevent them from advancing in the system. I'd be willing to continue to teach them the physical material, but that is only one very small part of the overall method, and without all the other components, I wouldn't award them rank. I'd be willing to teach them the things they wanted to learn, but I wouldn't give them rank if they didn't fulfill the requirements for advancement.


-Rob
 
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