For those who don't care for ranks

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PhotonGuy

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In my experience, those most concerned with belts are those with the least actual experience.
I do have to agree with you on this. From my own experience its common for beginners and those of low rank to be really concerned with belts. At higher levels you're not as concerned. Some people will get to brown belt or black belt and then they will stop pursuing rank and they will stay at the belt or level that they're at for the rest of their career.
 
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My current teacher is very old school, very traditional. You don't put out in class, you don't show up for class, you don't show signs of improvement, you're not getting a new belt...period! It's that simple. All of his students, especially the higher ranks, are worthy of the rank they have on.

Good for your teacher.
 
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PhotonGuy

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Rank is individual to the system/organisation/school. The achievement and application of rank is only applicable in that context. It is as important as the system makes it, and has relevance only as pertaining to the way that system chooses to apply relevance. It's not about skill, it's not about experience, it's not about time, it's not about knowledge, it's not about spirit, it's not about courage, it's not about growth and development, it's not about dedication except it could be about any and/or all of them.
Right, and I pointed that out in my other thread.

Don't worry about what any other arts or practitioners do with regards to rank. You think it's important.. great. You were concerned about when you would get your black belt fine. But here's the thing your personal concept of rank is just that yours. It's applied within your school, and your school alone. It represents absolutely nothing outside of your school. It applies to absolutely nothing outside of your school. It has no relevance outside of your school.
I also point that out in my other thread.

So when you think you've come up with yet another suggestion for how everyone should behave and think don't. Recognise that your situation is only yours telling people what they should or shouldn't do, according to your limited understanding of what's going on, isn't something you're in a position to do.
But you see its just that, a suggestion. As I said in the first post, its just a thought. I certainly can't force anybody to follow it, not that I would want to anyway.
 
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PhotonGuy

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Well you are obsessed with rank, belt colour etc, it seemed like a reasonable assumption.

Well there are some people who are obsessed with, or don't have any interest in not pursuing rank, belt, color, ect. That being the case I was wondering why they wouldn't simply train in a style that doesn't use such stuff. Im not asking them to meet any of my standards.
 

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Well there are some people who are obsessed with, or don't have any interest in not pursuing rank, belt, color, ect. That being the case I was wondering why they wouldn't simply train in a style that doesn't use such stuff. Im not asking them to meet any of my standards.

I think you have just missed the point entirely. The vast majority of people who do not have any interest in rank are simply NOT INTERESTED in the whole issue of ranks; it would be illogical to think that they would give up their MA for some issue that means little to them.If your topic is directed at people who are so vehemently anti-ranking, you would be addressing a tiny fringe of the spectrum.

I count myself as someone who is not interested in ranks, however, I am a black belt in TKD, and a green belt in judo. I go for gradings / tests just like everybody else in my classes simply because the curriculum is structured in that way, not because I am interested in rising in my rank.

My current MA does not have any ranking, although they have recently added a system of grading to confer different levels of proficiency in order to be more 'in line' with contemporary expectations. My teacher made it clear though, that this ranking system is a personal choice and will not have any impact on what is taught in class.
 
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PhotonGuy

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I think you have just missed the point entirely. The vast majority of people who do not have any interest in rank are simply NOT INTERESTED in the whole issue of ranks; it would be illogical to think that they would give up their MA for some issue that means little to them.If your topic is directed at people who are so vehemently anti-ranking, you would be addressing a tiny fringe of the spectrum.

I count myself as someone who is not interested in ranks, however, I am a black belt in TKD, and a green belt in judo. I go for gradings / tests just like everybody else in my classes simply because the curriculum is structured in that way, not because I am interested in rising in my rank.

My current MA does not have any ranking, although they have recently added a system of grading to confer different levels of proficiency in order to be more 'in line' with contemporary expectations. My teacher made it clear though, that this ranking system is a personal choice and will not have any impact on what is taught in class.

Well the thing is, if you do train at a dojo that has ranks, if you stay at a low rank for too long it can cause complications. With higher ranks its not such a problem but staying at low ranks overly long can cause complications with the training.
 

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Well there are some people who are obsessed with, or don't have any interest in not pursuing rank, belt, color, ect. That being the case I was wondering why they wouldn't simply train in a style that doesn't use such stuff. Im not asking them to meet any of my standards.

Okay. From my perspective. If I had been introduced to a martial art when I was younger, and one that I would not have had any issues with, then a belt would have been important. Using the "ladder" metaphor with having one foot on it then climbing up the belt ladder. Now being in my forties, that is of no importance to me really, just the skills. However, obviously a belt would be needed for progress, but I would not have that a goal, just a tool that is there.
 

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Well there are some people who are obsessed with, or don't have any interest in not pursuing rank, belt, color, ect. That being the case I was wondering why they wouldn't simply train in a style that doesn't use such stuff. Im not asking them to meet any of my standards.
It's not an obsession to not see something as a priority.

Rank is a by-product of progress. If I didn't think progress were important, I wouldn't have graded, and certainly not into the dan grades.

Whether or not that progress has some marker beyond skill and knowledge is what I don't really care about. That Taekwondo works with belts is incidental.

I would happily train in a system without physical progress markers, but it wouldn't be Taekwondo, and Taekwondo is my obsession.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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When I got out of the military I had attained the rank of Sergeant. Went to work with for a security company and my rank meant nothing even though my experience and skills were superior to the person who was my supervisor.
When I got out of the Taiwan navy, I had attained the rank of Second Lieutenant. When I was a student in UT Austin, my friend suggested me to join in the Texas national guard on the weekend to make some extra money (it was $175 per month back then). Since the Texas national guard won't offer me the second lieutenant rank, I didn't joint in the Texas national guard.

If you have obtained a higher rank, sometime it may be hard for you to go back to a lower rank again.

Do you think that the TKD master Jhoon Rhee would join in a BJJ school and start from a white belt again, I strongly doubt it,
 
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When I got out of the Taiwan navy, I had attained the rank of Second Lieutenant. When I was a student in UT Austin, my friend suggested me to join in the Texas national guard on the weekend to make some extra money (it was $175 per month back then). Since the Texas national guard won't offer me the second lieutenant rank, I didn't joint in the Texas national guard.

If you have obtained a higher rank, sometime it may be hard for you to go back to a lower rank again.

Do you think that the TKD master Jhoon Rhee would join in a BJJ school and start from a white belt again, I strongly doubt it,
Huh??
Why would he not, if he had no real ground/grappling skill but wanted to add to his overall abilities? What value would it be for him or his teacher or class-mates to offer him a purple or bb for bjj and have him role at beginner level?

Sure, often highly skilled and/or experienced fighters, given the mind-set they have can pick up other different styles and fight applications quicker than general newbies - but even that is not always the case, sometimes your years of training can make a different style, such as bjj or judo, actually counter-intuitive at first...
Sounds like anyone wanting to partake in another completely different style but not happy to, even if just at first, start off as a newbie has a major ego-issue, a major one.

I've skied pretty much my entire life and am an advanced skier, would I jump straight into an advanced snowboard class (if I wanted to take that sport for snow-heathens up), hell no. I might advance quicker than those who have never been on the snow before and move up to intermediate quicker but saying I was "intermediate" from day one would be a pretence.

Saying Jhoon Rhee was "intermediate" in bjj from day one would also be a pretence and a joke, so why give him a belt colour that reflects intermediate or advanced from day one?

"if you ain't learnt it, you ain't earnt it".
 

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When I got out of the Taiwan navy, I had attained the rank of Second Lieutenant. When I was a student in UT Austin, my friend suggested me to join in the Texas national guard on the weekend to make some extra money (it was $175 per month back then). Since the Texas national guard won't offer me the second lieutenant rank, I didn't joint in the Texas national guard.

If you have obtained a higher rank, sometime it may be hard for you to go back to a lower rank again.

Do you think that the TKD master Jhoon Rhee would join in a BJJ school and start from a white belt again, I strongly doubt it,
There are many who are unwilling to go to a lower status as yourself with the TNG. That is a choice you made because you were unwilling to take a lower grade (ego) or was it that you were unwilling to work for less pay? Again a choice. As to Mr. Rhee being unwilling to start as a white belt again to learn something new or different with a completely different organization that is again a choice and 'if' it were that he really wanted to learn something new and refused to take a lower rank that choice came because of his ego and lack of humbling himself to learn something new.

Being you used BJJ as an example... my wing chun instructor is a master instructor and several years ago put on a white belt to learn BJJ under then 7th degree Master Ricardo Murgel. He had Murgel come to his school and was on the floor with all his students training right along with them as a white belt in BJJ. He continued to train under Professor Pedro Sauer and several of his students today are higher ranked in BJJ than he is. No EGO! Lower his status to learn and grow. Why, because he want to learn something that he was not proficient in and wanted his students to learn as well.
 

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If you have obtained a higher rank, sometime it may be hard for you to go back to a lower rank again.

Do you think that the TKD master Jhoon Rhee would join in a BJJ school and start from a white belt again, I strongly doubt it,
Why? If I were to start training in a new art that used a ranking system, I would expect to start as a white belt (or whatever the equivalent might be in that art.)

When Check Norris began training BJJ, he started out as a white belt. When Dan Inosanto began training BJJ, he started out a white belt.

Different arts, different ranks. If you had a Ph.D. in English literature and you decided to go back to school to study chemistry, would you expect to start out as a Ph.D. in chemistry? That would be silly.
 

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Why? If I were to start training in a new art that used a ranking system, I would expect to start as a white belt (or whatever the equivalent might be in that art.)

When Check Norris began training BJJ, he started out as a white belt. When Dan Inosanto began training BJJ, he started out a white belt.

Different arts, different ranks. If you had a Ph.D. in English literature and you decided to go back to school to study chemistry, would you expect to start out as a Ph.D. in chemistry? That would be silly.

Absolutely agree. I was a sixth dan in my first Japanese sword arts school when I began learning another, and started with no rank. I was up to 3rd dan in that school when I had to transfer to a different school where I started back with no rank. I've now attained 5th dan rank in my present school, Meishi-ha Mugai ryu. I also practice a couple of other arts that I've only been doing for a short time, and I have yet to attain any ranking in either of them.

If you start something new, it's impossible to start anywhere but at the bottom since that's where you are knowledge-wise. However, if it is similar to other arts you've learned well, it is possible to advance quicker than someone who is a martial arts beginner. At least, that has been my experience.
 

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When I got out of the Taiwan navy, I had attained the rank of Second Lieutenant. When I was a student in UT Austin, my friend suggested me to join in the Texas national guard on the weekend to make some extra money (it was $175 per month back then). Since the Texas national guard won't offer me the second lieutenant rank, I didn't joint in the Texas national guard.

If you have obtained a higher rank, sometime it may be hard for you to go back to a lower rank again.

Do you think that the TKD master Jhoon Rhee would join in a BJJ school and start from a white belt again, I strongly doubt it,

I am sure for some people it is hard to not be "the man," but that is more of an ego thing. I would love to be the student again, to be on that early end of the learning curve, where you can see those milestones and knock them down in quick succession. That is one of the most enjoyable parts of studying martial arts to me. I look at Dan Inosanto who is instructor ranked in too many arts to list and yet lives the "empty your cup" mentality, demonstrating this most obviously when he started BJJ in his 60s as a white belt.

I would love to have the time to be a white belt again.
 

Mark Lynn

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I do have to agree with you on this. From my own experience its common for beginners and those of low rank to be really concerned with belts. At higher levels you're not as concerned. Some people will get to brown belt or black belt and then they will stop pursuing rank and they will stay at the belt or level that they're at for the rest of their career.

I think it is really the person and not the beginner, intermediate, advanced rank, that determines who's is concerned with rank or not.

From my own experience teaching young kids through adults, most kids want to move up, their parents want them to move up (be tested and show outward progress by a new belt), many adults do as well. Even my black belts want to know OK what do I have to do to earn 2nd black and so on.

However in my classes we don't have belts on the wall to stress that idea, we don't wear stripes on our black belts to denote rank, we don't have our names embroidered, or anything really to make it special. It's almost down played.

At my instructors home dojo where I trained, it took me 8 years to earn 1st dan, then 7 yrs later I tested for 2nd. We didn't wear belts when we sparred or worked out there, our ranks really only mattered outside of the dojo in other training halls (cause that told us where to line up).

One of the guys who trained there technically stayed at 1st or 2nd dan level by way of kata, basics, you know that type of skill; however he sparred and trained with the rest of us and he had been in it longer than most if not all of us. But he was in it for fight, the friendship etc. etc. he didn't care about the rank per say. (He was/is highly skilled at sparring (kick boxing type) so he was way beyond the 1st/2nd dan rank in the sparring skill wise.) This guy over the years was promoted with the rest of us, I'm using him as an example of someone who got to a certain rank and what was beyond that rank didn't really matter, but he stayed in for the training.

So in my school rank is down played to a degree and I don't pump it up nor really worry about it, and yet my students do, even my black belts. But again I've had some students come and train with my Modern Arnis class who have trained before and don't care about ranks or belts either.

Well the thing is, if you do train at a dojo that has ranks, if you stay at a low rank for too long it can cause complications. With higher ranks its not such a problem but staying at low ranks overly long can cause complications with the training.

Why? I guess it depends on the school. At my instructors commercial or open dojo he has an age requirement for 1st dan of 16. So students if they start at 6 yrs old might be in the school for 10 years before the test for shodan. It doesn't mean their training was hampered just that by then they are really good 1st dans. He has requirements and you bend to that requirement period, one of them being age for 1st dan.

Likewise (speaking of my school) if a student decides they want to only stay at a certain level then 1) they can stay at that level and not move on past it, 2) bend to the will of the instructor and learn the requirements to move to the next level, or 3) maybe the school (like in my Modern Arnis class, or as the case was in my instructors home dojo years ago with the guy I referenced above), doesn't really care and proceeds to teach them further skills but not really worry about teaching by a standardized rank orientated curriculum.

I don't see a problem.
 

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Oh and speaking of my instructor's commercial school, if you come in and start classes you wear a white belt no matter what rank you were in your other art. Many students in our American Karate/TKD organization has done just that, get a black belt from one of the other instructors and then enter his classes as a white belt.
 

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I'll be the first to admit that as an underbelt I really liked the belt system, and yeah, I really wanted a black belt. :D The rank systems have their ups and downs but for me it helped me lay out a set of goals for what I had to achieve as a progression. Obviously the skill had to accompany the rank, but it was very helpful.

As a more um.... mature student, I enjoy being in as system (kali) where there isn't a big emphasis on rank. I can run laterally or vertically through the curriculum without concern that a student in the class isn't getting whatever specific piece of curriculum they need to accomplish the artificial distinction that is rank X. Obviously they need to get it at some point, but they don't need it by some testing date (not that we have those.)
 

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In training Systema I don't give much for rank except when addressing instructors, and in my practice of Sambo it only bothers me because of certain competition rules specific to each level. Other than that, and even while I was a Judoka years back, rank never meant much to me.

I got into the martial arts because I wanted to get fit. I stayed because I found that hitting people was very therapeutic to me, especially after they've hit me. :)
 

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If you have obtained a higher rank, sometime it may be hard for you to go back to a lower rank again.

Do you think that the TKD master Jhoon Rhee would join in a BJJ school and start from a white belt again, I strongly doubt it,

If you have earned a higher rank it can be hard to go back to a lower rank and what you describe in your post here is a big one and that is ego.

We have a local cross training group MAPA that promotes the FMAs (you can read about it in the FMA, Modern Arnis forums), anyway it can be hard to explain to the other instructors that you are on a teaching rotation with other instructors who might have less time in the arts as you, aren't as high of rank as you, who don't really care what title you have etc. etc. but........ they are going to be treated the same as you, get paid as much as you do, and have the same time teaching as you etc. etc. In fact in our group we generally don't wear belts to denote rank, titles etc. etc.

It can be hard for the ego that most of the attendee's really don't care, they care only about what you can show and share with them. Are you a good instructor and can you teach and demonstrate your skill. What is important is not your title, your lineage, your degree.

However in regards to Jhoon Rhee, or anyone really if you want something bad enough tying a white belt around your waist is nothing. It is putting up with of the BS that other beginner students, and junior instructors will feed you, and all of the while you need to keep yourself in check so as not to rock the boat.

A couple of my students came from a local karate school where they were intermediate belts, they had studied at a previous Modern Arnis school, at another FMA school and another karate school before so they weren't newbies but they put on the white belt. One day they see the seniors (below black belt) practicing some basic stick work, and were told that they couldn't participate because they weren't high enough ranked, yet they had more experience in the FMAs then those that were just learning the basics. Likewise when practicing a self defense technique and questioning the mechanics of it or something like that and being told by a higher ranked beginner student some obvious BS answer, and then have them comment "you'll understand this when you are a.........(insert whatever rank the student was)". Or if they find out that you have studied before than it's well "how many boards can you break?"
 

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