Have you ever tested and not told your students?

IcemanSK

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This is more for school owners & instructors, but I'm curious. My first master tested for advanced rank and never said a word about it until a private conversation years later. He believed that training was a more important topic to discuss than his rank.

Has anyone (or their instructor) tested and either not told students or kept it so low key that few knew about it?
Would anyone consider doing this (or not doing it, as it were)? What do you see as the pros & cons?
 

Buka

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Students - should be taught good Martial Arts. It is what is expected of all of us involved, and what is sought by the student themselves.

What their instructor is doing with his Sensei(s) should neither be here nor there.
 

Dirty Dog

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The last two times the head of our school has been promoted, he hasn't told anybody but me.
The first time he did this, he didn't even change his belt until I got one and presented it to him in class.
The last time, he changed the belt, but didn't say anything. So I made an announcement after class one day.
 

Gwai Lo Dan

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I think the corollary is "has a student ever tested at another school, and not told your school". I could see that if a student attends 2 schools, with 1 specifically for tournament sparring for example.
 

Buka

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Last fall I attended a dinner to see a couple of friends get promoted to a high rank. Both of them have been training over fifty years in a traditional Martial Arts organization that I am not part of. And although I've trained with some of them it was usually in an element other than our own. (training camps, seminars, Law Enforcement)

During the promotions (there were a half dozen) the organization presented me a life time achievment award. That's what they give you when you're old and just won't go away. :) I was quite touched. It was real nice paper, too. One of my training partners was with me as he knew the two guys, too. The only person I told was tshadowchaser as we P.M.'d each other the next day. None of my students, or their students, know. Not because it wasn't their business, or I was being secretive, or that I'm modest (yeah, right) it was just business as usual the next night in the Dojo. I didn't happen to tell them what I had for breakfast, either.

To Gwai Lo Dan's point - If a student of mine gets promoted in another school he gets a fist bump and a high five. I think it's great.
 

Blindside

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I suspect most of my students don't know what rank I officially hold, if they do it is because they saw an announcement by my instructor on Facebook or on a flier for our Association's Instructor Camp. We don't use titles in the class so it really isn't a thing.
 

msmitht

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No. All of us are students and should be bound by the same rules we or our parent org sets. If your students have to take a public exam then so should you. If all exams are private then ok, I guess, but seems dodgy. why wouldn't you want your students to know?
I understand it when you get to a certain level the promotions are no longer about physical techniques but what you have done for the art and your organization. but why wouldn't you tell your students? only reason I can think of is you didn't want them to watch you, and that raises more questions.
 

Buka

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No. All of us are students and should be bound by the same rules we or our parent org sets. If your students have to take a public exam then so should you. If all exams are private then ok, I guess, but seems dodgy. why wouldn't you want your students to know?
I understand it when you get to a certain level the promotions are no longer about physical techniques but what you have done for the art and your organization. but why wouldn't you tell your students? only reason I can think of is you didn't want them to watch you, and that raises more questions.

For me - the students are there to learn, to become better martial artists. What belt I'm wearing doesn't mean much to them. As for "watching" any of us teaching, it would be kind of hard not to, we're on the floor with them every class, sparing with them, rolling with them, drilling with them.
 

Danny T

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Why wouldn't you want your students to know?
I understand it when you get to a certain level the promotions are no longer about physical techniques but what you have done for the art and your organization. but why wouldn't you tell your students? only reason I can think of is you didn't want them to watch you, and that raises more questions.
I teach my classes at the level and in the manner I teach them. I take a test receive a different rank and still teach my classes at the level and in the manner I teach them. What does it matter that my students know I have a different rank?
My rank means nothing. What I pass on to my students, what they gain, and what they become is important. Rank means nothing.
 

msmitht

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nobody was questioning your rank, which apparently means nothing to you. rank was never a part of the question or my statement/opinion.
I have never asked a student to do something that I could not do myself. I lead by example, as my instructors have done. When I test it is a part of my journey. If my students wish they may travel to witness or watch a recording of it. I believe that it is important for them to see if they want to. That way they know what to expect if they ever get to that level.
Does having a higher rank help you to be a better teacher? Not really. But seeing as I have several 4th dans under me I will need my 6th if I wish to test them one day for their 5th's and so on.
 
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IcemanSK

IcemanSK

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No. All of us are students and should be bound by the same rules we or our parent org sets. If your students have to take a public exam then so should you. If all exams are private then ok, I guess, but seems dodgy. why wouldn't you want your students to know?
I understand it when you get to a certain level the promotions are no longer about physical techniques but what you have done for the art and your organization. but why wouldn't you tell your students? only reason I can think of is you didn't want them to watch you, and that raises more questions.

What if the issue simply not telling one's students because one doesn't want to make a big deal of it? Looking at your case that you mentioned: if you went Kukkiwon and tested for 6th Dan but didn't mention it or told only your highest ranked students in passing. (I know you well enough to know you wouldn't make a huge production out of it. But what if you said little to nothing and only to a few?) You would still be able to test your students to 5th Dan as planned.

I'm not advocating for one idea over another. I don't think either, that something odd would be going on , necessarily, if one didn't tell their students about their own testing. As I mentioned, I didn't know the rank of my first instructor (nor the rank of any other the BBs I trained with at my school) only because it wasn't mentioned. I only BB "X" was higher ranked than BB "Y" because of where they lined up for class.

It is a personal choice and each are valid.
 

Danny T

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nobody was questioning your rank, which apparently means nothing to you. rank was never a part of the question or my statement/opinion.
Sorry I obviously misunderstood your question: "Why wouldn't you want your students to know?"
Your question proceeded a statement about getting to a certain level promotions (Rank??) are no longer about physical techniques... and then the question again. "but why wouldn't you tell your students?"
To know what? That I tested or was graded for promotion (Rank); were you referring to something else?

As to saying anything or not; has nothing to do with not wanting them to see me perform. It is as I've already stated it isn't about me or my promotions. I am unimportant. It is about passing on the system/s and the students developing their skills.
 

msmitht

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What if the issue simply not telling one's students because one doesn't want to make a big deal of it? Looking at your case that you mentioned: if you went Kukkiwon and tested for 6th Dan but didn't mention it or told only your highest ranked students in passing. (I know you well enough to know you wouldn't make a huge production out of it. But what if you said little to nothing and only to a few?) You would still be able to test your students to 5th Dan as planned.

I'm not advocating for one idea over another. I don't think either, that something odd would be going on , necessarily, if one didn't tell their students about their own testing. As I mentioned, I didn't know the rank of my first instructor (nor the rank of any other the BBs I trained with at my school) only because it wasn't mentioned. I only BB "X" was higher ranked than BB "Y" because of where they lined up for class.

It is a personal choice and each are valid.
Correct. I wouldn't make a big deal out of it.
My senior students know test is coming up but I do not make a huge deal of it.
 

Dirty Dog

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No. All of us are students and should be bound by the same rules we or our parent org sets. If your students have to take a public exam then so should you. If all exams are private then ok, I guess, but seems dodgy. why wouldn't you want your students to know?
I understand it when you get to a certain level the promotions are no longer about physical techniques but what you have done for the art and your organization. but why wouldn't you tell your students? only reason I can think of is you didn't want them to watch you, and that raises more questions.

I don't speak for anybody but myself, but in the case of my Master, there's nothing to question. He just doesn't like people to make a big deal about it. I'm the same way. My wife likes to make a fuss. If I am getting promoted and there are others being promoted at the same time, I'm fine with it, since I can direct the fuss towards them. If it's just me (as it was the last time I promoted) I do NOT want a fuss made.
 

Hyoho

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I had a 'sneaky' karate grading years ago. I think this is more of a Western army boot camp concept. Never done in Japan to my knowledge. It's clearly published well in advance and in high level grades has yearly set dates. Dont know about China.
 

Earl Weiss

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My students were not told in advance of my testing / promo on two occasions.

#1. Since I was traveling to a course I was allowed to do the physical test before being eligible for rank, with the rank to be held until that time. This avoided the expense of another trip within a realtively short time.
#2. Thought I was scheduled to be promoted (No more tests at this level) at a future event.. To my surprise I (Along with 2 others) rec'd certificates at an event a few months earlier. (Don't know if it was a surprise for them. )

In our org a new belt is usualy issued. Gives away the rank so it only made sense to tell the students then.
 
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