How long to Black Belt?

How Long to reach Black Belt in your style?

  • less than 2 years

  • 2 to 2yrs 6mnths

  • 2yrs 6mnths to 3yrs

  • 3yrs to 3yrs 6mnths

  • 3yrs 6mnths to 4yrs

  • 4yrs to 4yrs 6mnths

  • more than 4yrs 6mnths

Results are only viewable after voting.

Drunken Master

Some styles appear to promote students very quickly.

So I just wanted to find out what style you are practising and how long it takes to achieve a black belt.
The poll needs to be a little more flexible in selecting ballots.

That said, if you try to rip through the testings at the minimum wait in my school, you might be able to get a black belt in 2 1/2 years. However, not many people do this. Generally, we get our black belts after 3 1/2 years.

I know that I'll try to be deputy black as long as possible. Maybe until the point where my instructor drags me kicking and screaming to the testing.......
Our school has recently been bought out by new instructors, who have really battened down the hatches on who gets a black belt. We are now required to learn a soft art, such as Tai Chi Chuan or aikido to complement our kempo training. Their rationale for this is that they want only patient, well- rounded students to come out of their school.
Our top brown belt has been in the system for 3 1/2 years now, and is still about a year away from testing for his black. I have been in 6 months and I am the fourth belt up in a ten belt order. I have been told I will be here awhile.
This is in a Villari's school.
i think testing cycles should be done away with. students should be promoted to the next rank when they are ready and prepared.

with this said it will usually take a student around 3 years in TSD, but that also depends on their personal martial growth.

we refuse to hand out black belts as others schools may do.

it is an honor to be promoted to any rank and the student should know that he/she worked hard to deserve it.
If I'm not mistaken, Chinese martial arts traditionally don't have belt rankings and I think Shinzu has touched upon why. I think it's because they want the emphasis to be on simply learning and improving without worrying, "when will I get to the next level?" Levels are nice in that they do provide a measure of progress. People like to be able to see how far they've come. The potential problem comes when the focus shifts from learning the material to gaining another level. That change in mentality can affect your learning because by being so focused on getting to the next level you may not be as focused on learning everything properly. And people do learn at different speeds. People shouldn't be in a rush to advance just because a few of their friends did, say. When they are ready, they'll advance, too. They shouldn't push. I think the reason Chinese martial arts traditionally don't have belt rankings is for that reason -- to keep the focus on simply learning the material as best you can without worrying about when you're going to reach the next level.

That being said, I already have a black belt. :D Our teacher said something about how CMAs traditionally have no rankings, so belt color doesn't matter. He said black doesn't get as visibly dirty as quickly, so we all have black belts as part of our uniforms. :) They're nice ones, too, thicker in the center for some added support and to help keep it flat. He got them from Taiwan for us.
I think it all really depends on your school. I know of one school that does what Shinzu wants: They don't have a testing cycle, they only promote when they feel the student is ready. The people that go there are happy with this, so who am I to complain about it.

My school is on a two month testing cycle and once a year for Black belts. This is a good thing for me because it helps me set my goals. Even after a year of Hapkido and 2 years in the military I still need help on keeping focus!! :D

See what I mean? Back to the original subject. It can take between 3 to 3.5 years for a student to get their Black belt at my school. Sorry for rambling.

Interesting, in my dojo I thought we advanced pretty quick but takes between 5-10 years before you are allowed to test for a Shodan (black belt).

Despair Bear
In Modern Arnis it's traditionally been possible to advance fairly rapidly (two years if you're at a school, a very variable four years if you're just going to camps). I started a thread on this in the Modern Arnis forum but it has not received any responses.
First no one tests for Black in my school until their 16, it used to be 18 but for whatever reason the age limit has been lowered.
It takes around 10 years to reach Black.
If you already are verry expeenced and have a Black in another system you could possibly makeit in 5-6 years
too many say "you will have your black belt in 3 years".

what if a student is a slow learner? you are giving them false hope and information. i want to develop and advance at my own speed.

that's what the arts are about anyway... developing oneself.

a rank or belt color is a good reminder for people to remember where they are in the spectrum of things, but too often they get caught up in the whole "black belt glory" that they actually miss the whole concept of training.

out on the street your opponent is not gonna care what belt you are. the true rank we possess is inside each of us. have faith in your skills and know that they will work when you need them. train hard and the rest will come in time.

don't be worried how long it takes to get there, but enjoy the journey. it is more fun that way.

the true "black belt spirit" comes from within. it does not come from the color around your waist.
I strongly disagree with the concept of having a minimum required time to obtain a certain rank. I understand that it is there so that the student can get a certain amount of experience with the techniques of the current level before moving up, but each individual learns and obtains experience at their own speed and if they are able to demonstrate their knowledge and ability quicker than the average person, they should be allowed to test quicker than the average person.

I took Tang Soo Do for approximately two years and obtained my green belt extremely fast because I had seen all of the forms before in Goju-Ryu Karate. I was allowed to get the rank quickly because of the experience in a similar art, but after I started moving into the unfamiliar territory the whole minimum time requirement kicked in.

When it comes to the martial arts, I am fairly quick. If I have a healthy body and mind, I can pick up a technique or form after just watching it once or twice. I know how the body moves and by using my imagination I can experience the technique or form and get a good grasp of it without ever having practiced it. I might require a few minor adjustments, but overall I've done pretty good. So I would say that I've got the ability to advance quicker than the average person.

In this Tang Soo Do class, I was just this little two stripped green belt who had all of the red belts and some of the black belts coming to me to ask them how to do their forms, one-step-sparring, and self-defense techniques. I had all of the required information memorized up to around 3rd Dan. I was being held back because of this time restriction. Of course, I was still learning the advanced techniques so not many will understand why I feel I was held back... take note that I say I memorized the information up to 3rd Dan. Memorized is very different than internalized. I've internalized all of the techniques up to the 1st Dan so that even now, several years after I've last practiced them, I still know and can demonstrate them. The techniques from 2nd and 3rd Black I haven't memorized... Primarily because I wasn't allowed to practice them in the class where they could be internalized.

I now teach Dragon Kenpo. I don't have any set requirements for belt promotion nor do I even test a student for rank. When he/she demonstrates they have the ability and knowledge to move up, they are moved up. They might provide a demonstration to prove to themselves that they deserve the rank, but there is no test.
i applaud your philosoply turner. i think that time restrictions do hinder certain students that would advance more quickly.

i do think there should be a time frame on dan levels though. this rank does require more than colored belt levels and should be looked differently.
I say it takes as long as it takes, by putting time limits you cheapen things. I took 6 and a half yrs to get my black belt but I had more teaching hours logged in than most 3rd degree balck belts by that time. I wanted to make sure I knew the material not just had the pretty belt.
In response to the minimum time before advancing to the next rank.I agree that it should be individualized especially when a school first opens you have this whole class full of white belts and all of them have different levels of ability it is not fair to hold the students with better ability back because of restrictions about minimum time.I feel that this may very well be why we lose alot of people at white belt level.
I forgot to mention my stance on age requirements.I have a problem with minimum age requirements also because it allows someone's juniors to become their seniors just because the junior has not been on this earth long enough.I have witnessed how this worked out badly when a 13 yr old 1st Dan who should have been a 2nd Dan was treated badly by someone who passed them in rank due to this person's age.The comment that was made was "I am YOUR senior now so you will address me a sir at all times" I heard this comment and I just happened to be the senior 2nd Dan at this school and went up and told the individual that made this comment "Well I am your Senior and since you like to be disrespectful to other black belts then you can give me 100 pushups for each of your Dan ranks and then you can give me 100 push ups for being disrespectful and from now on you can refer to me as Mam" Needlees to say this individual did not push their rank around anymore when I was around.
I tend to agree with both sides here. Although some students progress slower at say, the beginning basics does not say that they may in the future absord the material like a sponge! I try to get my students to become consistent in their martial studies. This consistency of material intake opens the door for the students to absorb the system's studies on higher consistant rates. Thus, a steady stream of improvement evolves and the student is in control of their own learning curve. Thus, each student can not only progress at their own rate; but their rates of progression become directly proportional to the material absorbed, retained and applied creatively. The last element of creativity puts each student along basically the same plane of progress. Since, i teach a specific and different animal qi gong creative methodology to each individual student. The since of competition among them does not exist, in winning my favor! <Br> I also teach my version of DK or Clandestine Black Dragon Kenpo Karatejutsu. My students will usually obtain the rank of Shodan within 15 to 24 months. This depends on whether or not they can express themselves in written, verbal, specific animal creative street combative skill, and creative instructing! As far as myself, it took me a combination of 21 years practice and application in matsumura seito shorin ryu, clandestine combatives, combat judo, and kung fu discipleship combined with another 14 months of kenpo training to reach the rank of Shodan! Sincerely, In Humility; Chiduce!
Originally posted by Shinzu

the true "black belt spirit" comes from within. it does not come from the color around your waist.

Very true.
I dunno ... I've met some m.a.ists that will get their gi's to crack
when doing basics. The strict movement and execution of even
the simple kicks, strikes and blocks are beyond perfect. I kinda
always thought that I'd be able to do that by the time I earned
black. If I can't, there'll be a little bit of disapointment there.
Before any of you say that having this ability doesn't mean you
can fight, I know, I know. But you'd think that one would have
such a strong ability with the basics that they could accomplish
this. And, I also realize there's plenty more things one should
be able to do to earn the honor of a b.b., I'm just listing one.
If anyone is a 2nd dan and hasn't learned respect allready, something's wrong I'd say. I also dislike the idea of the military-style use of "Sir" even from a shodan to a nidan.

To those who say there should be no minimum time tin grade requirements: What if a student from a similar but different art comes to your art and learns very quickly--should there be any minimum time to black belt, say? Would you feel comfortable giving a black belt to someone after only 3 months, for example?
In my school (karate aiki jitsu style) it takes anywere from 2 years to 5 to get to black. This range is due to instructor and student. Some instructors teach really slowly, others teach really fast. My instructor tends to be the fastest teacher in my system.
For me I like the fast teacher. It allows students who really put energy into the class to grow faster and faster. Those who don't put as much energy into the class grow at the normal rate of other instructors in our system.
From my perspective, I feel bad for students of some other teachers. I've been in the system half as long as some and know between the same amount of material to almost twice as much.
As far as the teaching quality goes, my instructor seeks to impart as much as possible as fast as possible to those that pay attention. To those that don't seem to be as interested he sort of shuts off some of the teaching. I've seen him do stuff in a basic class and then have to wait 6 years to see him teach that same thing he did back then. He sort of cycles through a huge mass of things. Sometimes he does things with white belts that I've never even seen before, myself being an instructor now. Its really cool to be learning new stuff even in basic classes.
As far as progression of ranks go, my school goes with the traditional menkyo system. We have 4 menkyos total, 2 to 5 years for first, 6 to 10 or so for second, 15 to 20 or so for 3rd, and lots longer for 4th. It seems knowledge content is incremented exponentially per rank. Most lengths of years are enforced.
There was a guy who got all of the stuff he needed down at a basic level for 2nd, at only 2 years of study. He wasn't allowed to be promoted to 2nd for at least 6 years of total training, so he quit (in my opinion). Sometimes the time requirements make sure people really care about learning more then rank. And plus to get rank time is really important to internalize, and really start to understand things at a real level beyond simple movements.

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