For those who don't care for ranks

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PhotonGuy

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PHOTONGUY SAID:
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.
At my dojo, if you stay at a low belt indefinitely long you will not learn some of the more advanced stuff, particularly katas. Usually, you go up a belt and then you learn the kata for the next belt. Although students sometimes do learn more advanced katas you are not going to know katas that are that much more advanced. A white belt is not going to know brown belt katas.

Also, most of the drills we do are partner drills where you work with a partner in the class. Most of the time you will work with somebody who is the same or close to the same rank as you. Sometimes a much higher ranking student will partner up with a much lower ranking student in which case the higher ranking student will help the lower ranking student but most of the time you work with somebody who is the same or around the same rank as you. This can cause complications if your skill level far exceeds your belt rank.

So this is why its not a good idea to stay at low ranks for too long. At higher ranks its not such a problem but at lower ranks it can cause those complications.
 

Mark Lynn

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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.)

Blindside

I agree with your post as a under belt, testing was a big thing, once I was at my instructors home dojo it was less so but I still liked it. It does have it's ups and downs, it's pros and cons.

But I like the FMAs and the de-emphasis on the whole rank thing. Especially when teaching in class because I can tailor make the class depending upon who is in class that night, or what I learned at a recent seminar that might fit in etc. etc.

However it was hard in my case to make out a curriculum for my Modern Arnis class that was rank progression oriented because of how diverse the material can be. And I admit it is hard to stay with that curriculum at times because well the other stuff can be so much fun to teach.
 

Blindside

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However it was hard in my case to make out a curriculum for my Modern Arnis class that was rank progression oriented because of how diverse the material can be. And I admit it is hard to stay with that curriculum at times because well the other stuff can be so much fun to teach.

I have a designated curriculum, but I generally don't award any rank under "lakan guro" so there isn't any issue with going left right or sideways. I just get together with my potential assistant instructors pirvately and go over the curricullum with them to make sure we have covered everything, and we review how the curriculum is taught. If they missed a piece of the requirements I make sure that we cover it then and then make sure they get enough skill in the material before I award the rank.
 

Mark Lynn

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At my dojo, if you stay at a low belt indefinitely long you will not learn some of the more advanced stuff, particularly katas. Usually, you go up a belt and then you learn the kata for the next belt. Although students sometimes do learn more advanced katas you are not going to know katas that are that much more advanced. A white belt is not going to know brown belt katas.

No I get that totally, however are you learning applications to the kata, are the more advanced kata tied to more advanced drills, etc. etc.? I guess what I'm saying is that if it is just learning more kata for kata sake, then...... to each his own. Learning more kata might not be important to someone, so how is that a problem? Now if there are specific drills, applications, principles, that are being taught along with the kata to add the learning of it, then yes someone not learning a the new or advanced kata is missing out.

But however like in the example of my friend and dojo mate, he didn't go to the outside classes like I did so he didn't need to know the amount of kata I did to keep up and progress through the ranks, so he didn't really care to learn and keep up with it. He was there for other reasons.

Also, most of the drills we do are partner drills where you work with a partner in the class. Most of the time you will work with somebody who is the same or close to the same rank as you. Sometimes a much higher ranking student will partner up with a much lower ranking student in which case the higher ranking student will help the lower ranking student but most of the time you work with somebody who is the same or around the same rank as you. This can cause complications if your skill level far exceeds your belt rank.

So this is why its not a good idea to stay at low ranks for too long. At higher ranks its not such a problem but at lower ranks it can cause those complications.

Maybe I'm missing something here but how does having someone who's skill far exceeds his partner hold the partner back? If the guy who doesn't want to learn what is required for the next rank, the experienced one, is doing a base drill with a student who's wanting to move up than I would think that would be good because it helps the student who wants to progress raise the bar so to speak. They have to try harder to keep up, this will help them in the long run.

As to the guy who doesn't want to move forward then oh well, he's made that choice, maybe he wants to just perfect his techniques, I don't know. Point is he knows what he needs to do to move on, if he doesn't want to than that's his choice.

However if this person is staying at a rank to be abusive to others, to dominate them, or cause problems at the school than that is another issue all together.
 

Mark Lynn

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I have a designated curriculum, but I generally don't award any rank under "lakan guro" so there isn't any issue with going left right or sideways. I just get together with my potential assistant instructors pirvately and go over the curricullum with them to make sure we have covered everything, and we review how the curriculum is taught. If they missed a piece of the requirements I make sure that we cover it then and then make sure they get enough skill in the material before I award the rank.

Hey did you come up with the curriculum or is it a standard found in Pekiti Tirsa. Note I'm not a PT guy and have no clue about their curriculum or even if they have one, I've trained some with PT guys and classes and such, but don't know about their rank structure etc. So I was just wondering if you came up with what or how you teach or if it was something already out there and you adopted it for your class.

Not meaning to take thread of topic.
 

Blindside

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Hey did you come up with the curriculum or is it a standard found in Pekiti Tirsa. Note I'm not a PT guy and have no clue about their curriculum or even if they have one, I've trained some with PT guys and classes and such, but don't know about their rank structure etc. So I was just wondering if you came up with what or how you teach or if it was something already out there and you adopted it for your class.

Not meaning to take thread of topic.

Sort of a combination, we (my training partner and I) being the kenpo geeks that we were took what we learned from our instructor and created an organized curriculum. Since then my instructor went on to become the head of an organization (PT Tactical Association) and that forced him to create his own organized curriculum. There are obvious major overlaps between the two curriculums, but I prefer mine and have stuck with it.

PT International has a very organized curriclum as does the PTK-SMF and the Texas Kali group. Again, obvious major overlaps but they are not identical.
 
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PhotonGuy

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No I get that totally, however are you learning applications to the kata, are the more advanced kata tied to more advanced drills, etc. etc.? I guess what I'm saying is that if it is just learning more kata for kata sake, then...... to each his own. Learning more kata might not be important to someone, so how is that a problem? Now if there are specific drills, applications, principles, that are being taught along with the kata to add the learning of it, then yes someone not learning a the new or advanced kata is missing out.

But however like in the example of my friend and dojo mate, he didn't go to the outside classes like I did so he didn't need to know the amount of kata I did to keep up and progress through the ranks, so he didn't really care to learn and keep up with it. He was there for other reasons.
Yes you do learn the applications of the kata. The first step is to learn all the moves and motions of the kata. Then after that you learn how each move applies, how it would be used against an opponent. Then, it goes further than that. When you do the kata you are supposed to imagine you're really fighting people and apply that mindset, so there is the mental aspect as well. That's why katas are sometimes referred to as meditation in motion. And you do learn specific drills and applications with the katas and those are sometimes applied in class drills.



Maybe I'm missing something here but how does having someone who's skill far exceeds his partner hold the partner back? If the guy who doesn't want to learn what is required for the next rank, the experienced one, is doing a base drill with a student who's wanting to move up than I would think that would be good because it helps the student who wants to progress raise the bar so to speak. They have to try harder to keep up, this will help them in the long run.

As to the guy who doesn't want to move forward then oh well, he's made that choice, maybe he wants to just perfect his techniques, I don't know. Point is he knows what he needs to do to move on, if he doesn't want to than that's his choice.

However if this person is staying at a rank to be abusive to others, to dominate them, or cause problems at the school than that is another issue all together.

Lets say there's a white belt who has the skill level of a brown belt. If he keeps working with other white belts in drills he is not going to get much out of it. By then he should be a brown belt and he should be working with other brown belts and black belts if he wants to get the most out of it.
 

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Lets say there's a white belt who has the skill level of a brown belt. If he keeps working with other white belts in drills he is not going to get much out of it. By then he should be a brown belt and he should be working with other brown belts and black belts if he wants to get the most out of it.
I'm a big believer in training with partners of all skill levels. I work with white belts through black belts and I get different benefits from all of them.
 

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In Aikido, at least Aikikai , which I train, it's different. Same with MSR. There are no belt levels. You are a white belt until you are a black belt in Aikido (our dojo does permit 2nd and 1st kyu to wear brown belts, but that is our dojo only) and then you wear a hakama. Given the time requirements in Aikido (USAF at least), if you practice 2-3 times per week, it'll take almost 10 years to reach 1st dan. IOW, you will spend a lot of time as a white belt. It makes seminars interesting, cause you can work with a white belt who is a brand new beginner, 6th kyu or no kyu, or you may be working with a 3rd kyu who has been practicing for 4 years. The belt will be the same.

In MSR Iaido, everyone wears a black gi with hakama, and there is no differentiation with belts, the most advanced students use shinken, while the rest use iaito, but otherwise, there is no external way of telling.
 

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I also remember a student asking our shidoin how long it would take to reach "black belt". He laughed and said, "I dunno, maybe ten minutes to buy one at a store?, if that's all your interested in that is".
 

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In Aikido, at least Aikikai , which I train, it's different. Same with MSR. There are no belt levels. You are a white belt until you are a black belt in Aikido (our dojo does permit 2nd and 1st kyu to wear brown belts, but that is our dojo only) and then you wear a hakama. Given the time requirements in Aikido (USAF at least), if you practice 2-3 times per week, it'll take almost 10 years to reach 1st dan. IOW, you will spend a lot of time as a white belt. It makes seminars interesting, cause you can work with a white belt who is a brand new beginner, 6th kyu or no kyu, or you may be working with a 3rd kyu who has been practicing for 4 years. The belt will be the same.

In MSR Iaido, everyone wears a black gi with hakama, and there is no differentiation with belts, the most advanced students use shinken, while the rest use iaito, but otherwise, there is no external way of telling.
I've visited a local judo school that handles rank the same way. They do have kyu ranks, but the belt stays white.

Nice folks. If it wasn't a bit of a drive I might take some classes there regularly.
 

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Yeah, and our classes aren't geared specifically towards anyone. Sensei will pick out a theme for each class, and everyone, 6th kyu through nidan, will all practice together and work on the same techniques, the testing is progressive as you move up, but practice is practice, any and all techniques are fair game, although we may not throw a 6th kyu into an aggressive koshi, we will begin to show them how to do it while everyone is practicing. When we have more advanced techniques, Sensei will simply say "More experienced students with less experienced please". Mostly to prevent someone from getting hurt trying a technique they don't really understand yet.
 
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I'm a big believer in training with partners of all skill levels. I work with white belts through black belts and I get different benefits from all of them.

Well yes. Sometimes a much higher ranking student will work with a much lower ranking student. In a case like that the higher ranking student tones it down to match the level of the lower ranking student and the idea is for the higher ranking student to help out the lower ranking student. But, most of the time you will be training with somebody at or around your same rank. That way you don't have to tone it down.
 
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I also remember a student asking our shidoin how long it would take to reach "black belt". He laughed and said, "I dunno, maybe ten minutes to buy one at a store?, if that's all your interested in that is".

Well then the student should've asked specifically how long it would take to earn a black belt at the school. Most instructors will give a general average.
 

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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.)
I didn't say one should or one should not. I said "It may be hard".

I was a folk dancing instructor and I had won A-Go-Go dancing champion once, but when I started ballroom dancing, I started as a bronze level. I did move to silver level very fast though.
 
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I was a folk dancing instructor and I had won A-Go-Go dancing champion once, but when I started ballroom dancing, I started as a bronze level. I did move to silver level very fast though.
Well if you've got previous experience in something similar you can advance faster, provided that its similar enough. For instance, lets say you've got a 3rd degree black belt in Karate you've been doing it for many years. Now lets say you decide to start Judo and so you start as a white belt. Judo is very different from Karate so you will probably not advance that much faster, if at all, than if you didn't have your Karate background. Now, lets say you take up Tae Kwon Do. Tae Kwon Do is quite similar to Karate, much more so than Judo so even if you do start as a white belt you will probably advance quite fast, certainly faster than if you had no martial arts background whatsoever. I don't know much about dancing and how similar folk dancing is to ballroom dancing but starting at the beginner level in something, if you've already got good experience in something similar you will no doubt advance really quickly.
 
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PhotonGuy

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So, based on the replies I've come to a conclusion which I had already thought of beforehand, I just wanted to confirm it. People choose a style or styles to train in because they like the content of the style and they like the techniques and the method of the style, not because it has ranks or doesn't have ranks. There are some people that just don't care much for rank and that doesn't mean they're vehemently against rank or styles that use it to the point that they would never train in a style that has rank, they just don't pursue it that much if their style does have rank. That makes sense and its good to choose a style because you like the content of it not because it uses or doesn't use rank. But aside from that, if you do train in a style that does use rank, it does have to be enough of a priority that you eventually pursue it if you want to take your training to the next level.
 

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Well yes. Sometimes a much higher ranking student will work with a much lower ranking student. In a case like that the higher ranking student tones it down to match the level of the lower ranking student and the idea is for the higher ranking student to help out the lower ranking student. But, most of the time you will be training with somebody at or around your same rank. That way you don't have to tone it down.

You may just find yourself in a school that is for whatever reason quite top heavy with very advanced/senior practitioners (which is what happened to me when I joined goju ryu) or that has a scattering of levels across the board. When I joined my goju club I had a lot of TKD background but I was one of the few juniors in karate, even most of the younger/teen members were brown through to black/dan belts and had all been competing regionally and nationally in kata and kumite, that just happened to be the phase of the club when I signed up (this club was not commercial focused so was not fused about a conveyor belt approach to keeping the junior/young ranks flowing in). I was always sparring with and training with the various dan belts. From my perspective that was amazing, there is nothing better than doing something with those that are better than you, you learn at an accelerated rate and up your game without even realising it.

Aside from judo, which had a massive in-take each year of the same age as it was connected with the school, I have generally found myself either training with those above me in rank or training those below me in grade or experience...again, maybe because my schools have never been that big...

I can also tell you (but am sure you know) from having been in the position of training juniors that seniors can also take something from training the lower ranks, you get to test your own knowledge and understanding of techniques when you are trying to teach them to others and when others with a new mind set start asking you unexpected questions at times. I think both teacher and student benefit from the process.
 

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So, based on the replies I've come to a conclusion which I had already thought of beforehand, I just wanted to confirm it. People choose a style or styles to train in because they like the content of the style and they like the techniques and the method of the style, not because it has ranks or doesn't have ranks. There are some people that just don't care much for rank and that doesn't mean they're vehemently against rank or styles that use it to the point that they would never train in a style that has rank, they just don't pursue it that much if their style does have rank. That makes sense and its good to choose a style because you like the content of it not because it uses or doesn't use rank. But aside from that, if you do train in a style that does use rank, it does have to be enough of a priority that you eventually pursue it if you want to take your training to the next level.


Yes in an ideal world. However depending on where someone is, choice maybe limited to what is available. That is obvious, but not whether a person will be suited to that particular art. I really don't think anybody worth their salt will give a crap about whether they reach Black belt grading quickly, or in perceived or specified time frame. If they did, doubt they would last five minutes with that attitude.
 

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Well yes. Sometimes a much higher ranking student will work with a much lower ranking student. In a case like that the higher ranking student tones it down to match the level of the lower ranking student and the idea is for the higher ranking student to help out the lower ranking student. But, most of the time you will be training with somebody at or around your same rank. That way you don't have to tone it down.

That may be the case for you, but not for me. As I said, I train with everybody. At any given moment I'm just as likely to be working with a white belt as with a black belt. More likely, in fact, since there are more white belts to work with than there are black belts.
 
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