How old for Black Belt?



How old should a person be for Black Belt? Do you draw a distinction between Black Belt and Jr.Black Belt and if so at what age does a person cross the threshold from 'Jr.' to adult? Is it a specific age, level of maturity or aquired knowledge/proficiency base? Do you make the decision on Black based on your system (in our case Kenpo), associtaion or local laws?

Just wondering...

I'm a big advocate of people being at least 18 before they get their black. Huk Planas once told me that "How you get your rank is how you give rank." There is a reason he doesn't teach kids.

Junior black belts are excellent incentives. But they are just that. Junior. I believe you have an excellent system set up at your school Sandor and I applaud you on it.

:soapbox: :soapbox: :soapbox:
Might want to do a search on the boards, since I think we covered this topic pretty well a few months ago.

but seeing how there are a lot more users now than before I figured it wouldn't hurt to revisit :D
Here's what I posted back when the question was first put forth on the board

Personally, I don't think a person should be allowed to test for black belt until they're 18. Not only do the younger students most likely not the have physical development required, but there has to be a level of maturity for the rank. Also, I think it's important that the person earning the black belt be a legal adult, just in case they have to use their skills and somebody gets seriously hurt.

However, it should be taken on a case by case basis, for some people. I've met a few (very few) 16 year-olds who were more mature than 26 year-olds. If that 16 year-old had been with me for several (5+) years, and demonstrated maturity, I may let them test for black belt. Other than that, I think the 'junior black belt' is a good idea for children and young teens. When they turn 18, they can then test for a black belt.

Judging from what I have seen of junior black belts- they are really only gymanstics or dance experts. They got some moves, but have no grasp of the mentality behind the moves.

Moving into the teen years, I have seen some young practitioners who deserved the black belt they wore at 16yo- but a minimum of 18 years is a very good idea.

I feel better about seeing junior BB's in TKD uniforms than Kenpo. The way most TKD schools teach, even the adults are junior black belts.:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:
I hear that the TKD guys send 8 year old assasins if you diss their art.
Oh Man!!!! I don't know about you, Gou- but I would feel a bit bad about slapping a nasty rendition of five swords on an 8yo TKD hotshot! But then again, if the little focker had the goolies to bring it to my door....

Then again, that stuff is hard to pull off from a squat...
I had too many smileys in my last post and it got axed. Dammit, just trying to pay my dues here!!!:D
When do I get my friggin yellow belt??????????:mad: :mad: :mad:
ROFL, Vince! We're not worried about ranks, are we???
This white thing is too bright- it hurts my grizzled old well-blackened eyes!!

I think a child can have their Black Belt when they can beat an adult for it. Now that I am advocating the beating of children, I can imagine all the horrible emails I will recieve.

I think a person must be able to hold their head up high as a Black Belt. It is not the children wearing these belts fault, it is the instructor who has cow towed to the parents and money. When an instructor sells belts to children they are also selling their own soul, at the cost of innocent children.
Originally posted by Rob_Broad
I think a person must be able to hold their head up high as a Black Belt. It is not the children wearing these belts fault, it is the instructor who has cow towed to the parents and money. When an instructor sells belts to children they are also selling their own soul, at the cost of innocent children.

I'm not sure what the effect or cost is to children--the pride is false but then many parents instill false pride in their children. That is a mistake, I believe, but my point is that it is not a rare one.

But I agree most strongly that it is the fault of instructors who are facing the financial realities of being a full-time martial arts instructor--I don't believe I've ever met a part-time instructor who gives these out; it only happnes amongst those who depend on it for their livelihood--and that it is a sad situation. One could argue that the black belt itself is only a roughly 120 year old tradition in judo and less in every other art in whihc it is used and they are not giving a menkyo kaiden to 8 year olds, but I still believe it is disrespectful and inappropriate. These children can not possibly be the independent instructors and users of the arts that an adult black belt can. It's ridiculous--an embarrassment.

I would like to think that these teachers' teachers are rolling over in their graves.
It does hurt these children if they ever have to defend themselvesand think they are up to the task and find out they can not fight their way out of a wet paper bag. Many adults today have issues and esteem problems from people telling them they are better than they actually were in their childhood. I too see many full time instructors fall into this trap, and i am starting to see it in some part time instructors who would rather give a worthless belt than deal with some Karate Mom.
Black belt maturity comes from inside. It represents a strength of spirit. I have known some kids who were terrific at performing martial arts, but on the inside, they were still kids. The black belt stands for much more than punching, kicking and cartwheels- it signifies a strength of spirit. Like the edge of a blade- anybody can grind a sharp edge on it, but it takes an experienced craftsman to put an edge on it that will last through repeated usage and remain keen. Maturity is key to black belt excellence.
Vince - Hope the yellow calmer on the old eye balls. We gotta budget the smilies.... I think its a limit of 10 per post. And no fair posting 3x just to get em all out. :)

Hmm....MT Belt test fees.... Ok, $30, and you can have an "Official" Martial Talk Black Belt. Requirements? Must have the requisit # posts, and your check clears. If under 18, your mom has to yell at me alot too. :D

I agree with you guys. I'm sorry, but unless the kid is the reincarnation of Bruce Lee, there aint no 8yr old truely deserving of the black belt, or title of "Sensei". I understand the self-estesteme bit, but I think your right. It can lead to false confidence, which can lead to serious tragedy.

If I pay $500 now, can I just be called GOD. I don't want people getting upset by that comment it is just a joke.

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