Kids black belt

Bujingodai

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OK I know this has been discussed but in light of no necrothread.

Kids black belts, I have to admit in my school I don't hand them out. I don't do kids classes anymore. As I laugh when they say their kids need discipline, then I do and they freak. But the other is the when will my kid get a black belt. My answer is they won't I would only grade them yellow, orange, red and green. When they are 13 they can join the adults class and move up from there.
Personally, it all depends what you put into Shodan but the knowledge and brevity of it, I don't think is for kids. Skill level is one thing. I have seen some impressive kids.

But I don't give kids dan ranks. I actually won't do it under 16.

Thoughts
 

Gyakuto

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I think martial arts author, Dave Lowry says it well with this short essay.

 

Dirty Dog

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I believe in guidelines rather than rules. And I think most long term users of the forum know my view on baby black belts.
That being said, there ARE rare occasions. Which is why I say guidelines rather than rules. I have awarded exactly two Dan ranks to minors. There were siblings who had been with us since they were 6-7 years old. Remarkable young ladies. One went to Princeton on a full ride academic scholarship and is now in law school. The other is currently a senior at the School of Mines, also on a full ride, studying engineering.
The only other that came close got her 1st Dan a few weeks after her 18th birthday. She tested for her 2nd Dan between college and Veterinary school. Her now husband tested for his 1st Dan at the same time. She now takes care of my pets. They are opening their own school, and I will be testing her for 3rd Dan and him for 2nd shortly after.
A large part of my attitude is the simple fact that we consider 1st Dan a teaching rank. And very, very few kids have the level of understanding required to correctly teach.
 

Gyakuto

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I believe in guidelines rather than rules. And I think most long term users of the forum know my view on baby black belts.
That being said, there ARE rare occasions. Which is why I say guidelines rather than rules. I have awarded exactly two Dan ranks to minors. There were siblings who had been with us since they were 6-7 years old. Remarkable young ladies. One went to Princeton on a full ride academic scholarship and is now in law school. The other is currently a senior at the School of Mines, also on a full ride, studying engineering.
The only other that came close got her 1st Dan a few weeks after her 18th birthday. She tested for her 2nd Dan between college and Veterinary school. Her now husband tested for his 1st Dan at the same time. She now takes care of my pets. They are opening their own school, and I will be testing her for 3rd Dan and him for 2nd shortly after.
A large part of my attitude is the simple fact that we consider 1st Dan a teaching rank. And very, very few kids have the level of understanding required to correctly teach.
So you awarded them Dan grades based upon their actual/potential academic destination?

Would these 6-7 year old black belts be able to hold their own against a 20-something year old of the same grade? Would an objective observer feel their abilities were similar to this hypothetical 20-something? Would they have been able to teach to a similar standard as that hypothetical 20-something year old? If so then they deserved the rank. If not, then they were awarded the grade for some other criteria.
 

drop bear

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So you awarded them Dan grades based upon their actual/potential academic destination?

Would these 6-7 year old black belts be able to hold their own against a 20-something year old of the same grade? Would an objective observer feel their abilities were similar to this hypothetical 20-something? Would they have been able to teach to a similar standard as that hypothetical 20-something year old? If so then they deserved the rank. If not, then they were awarded the grade for some other criteria.
We have kids who are amature fighters. We had one boxer at 13 who has 30 fights and was a national champion.

And could probably beat the stuffing out of pretty much any blackbelt in his weight calls regardless of their age.

Now if you are putting a 50kg kid against a 20 something's 80kg adult. Then he would loose.

But then I know some 150kg bouncers who would take on your black belts.
 

Dirty Dog

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So you awarded them Dan grades based upon their actual/potential academic destination?
Of course not. Merely providing examples of the standards these students set for themselves.
Would these 6-7 year old black belts be able to hold their own against a 20-something year old of the same grade? Would an objective observer feel their abilities were similar to this hypothetical 20-something? Would they have been able to teach to a similar standard as that hypothetical 20-something year old? If so then they deserved the rank. If not, then they were awarded the grade for some other criteria.
You should read it again. They STARTED with us when they were 6-7. The were a within a few months of 18 when they were awarded 1st Dan. And yes, they could hold their own; they all did extremely well in the few tournaments we attend. But that's the easy part. At least as importantly, they had a mature understanding of how to apply what they were teaching and how to teach it.
 

Hot Lunch

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I think martial arts author, Dave Lowry says it well with this short essay.

I read that book about two months ago, and I find that Dave Lowry has a god complex.

PhotonGuy insists that the Japanese few shodan as "just another rank." This is a claim that I'm really not buying, but I will say that they're not shy about promoting children to that rank. If there's only one thing that supports his claim, this would definitely be it.

If you're going to tell someone that "belts don't matter," then making restrictions based on age creates a self-contradiction.

At my previous dojo, they had "junior black belts," where their belts had indicators on them that they were not the same as adult black belts. I believe some dojos call this "shodan ho," but that particular dojo didn't. I'd argue that if someone had reservations, then something along the lines of "shodan ho" would be fair.
 

jks9199

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What does black belt mean in your school and your system? Training for x number of years, competently demonstrating the curriculum expected? If so -- age is probably irrelevant. Holding your own with people of black belt rank -- whatever their size or age? Maybe it does matter. Personally, I want someone earning a black belt to be of adult age; able to enter contracts and make promises on their own, and maybe having some sort of reasonable judgement. But my system expects a black belt to be fairly functional in a fight, and we don't teach certain techniques until late teens if we're teaching kids. (Sorry, not teaching a 12 year old how to snap a neck, or some sentry removal tactics we've preserved...)

The argument about functionally defending oneself against an adult attacker is silly, because I don't care how well trained, until the late teens, when the sizes are comparable, it just ain't gonna happen. I don't care how good he was, Ernie Reyes Jr in his kiddie prime couldn't realistically have held his own against Hafthor Bjornnson or Andre the Giant. Unless you've got a scriptwriter in your back pocket -- there is a point where size DOES matter.
 

geezer

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Personally, I want someone earning a black belt to be of adult age
In the case of an exceptional student ....that would be around 18 years old, which seems about right. At that age you can serve in the military, hold a comercial driver's license (in my state) vote, etc. At 18 I had a private pilot's license and approached flying with a level of maturity totally absent in everything else I did at that age!
 

skribs

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"Black belt" is such a subjective term. To many outside of martial arts, a black belt is someone who knows everything about a martial art and is a peak athlete. To some martial arts, a black belt is someone who has a mastery of the art and is capable of running a high-level school. In others, a black belt is merely someone who is capable of taking some responsibility for their own training and who can be trusted to appropriately temper themselves in class and in sparring.

I think a lot of the "how well can you fight?" is a bit of an odd way of looking at it, personally. A 100-pound 50-year-old female BJJ black belt is likely to struggle against a 250-pound 25-year-old male BJJ purple belt. An 8-year-old white belt isn't going to beat a 20-year-old white belt. A 5-year-old gray belt isn't going to beat a 15-year-old gray belt. And yes, in Taekwondo, a 10-year-old black belt isn't going to be competitive with a 20-year-old black belt. But are they supposed to be?
 

HighKick

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"Black belt" is such a subjective term. To many outside of martial arts, a black belt is someone who knows everything about a martial art and is a peak athlete. To some martial arts, a black belt is someone who has a mastery of the art and is capable of running a high-level school. In others, a black belt is merely someone who is capable of taking some responsibility for their own training and who can be trusted to appropriately temper themselves in class and in sparring.

I think a lot of the "how well can you fight?" is a bit of an odd way of looking at it, personally. A 100-pound 50-year-old female BJJ black belt is likely to struggle against a 250-pound 25-year-old male BJJ purple belt. An 8-year-old white belt isn't going to beat a 20-year-old white belt. A 5-year-old gray belt isn't going to beat a 15-year-old gray belt. And yes, in Taekwondo, a 10-year-old black belt isn't going to be competitive with a 20-year-old black belt. But are they supposed to be?
No. There are several qualifiers used to gauge/grade a person in a craft that uses incremental markers for improvement. Age consistently being the biggest.
 

Bill Mattocks

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The Dan ranks are not sacrosanct. They have requirements that usually include time training, time in grade, proficiency to a stated level, time spent teaching, and often less-tangible but important requirements such as being of good character, maturity, and so on.

If the requirements are met, they are met. Now, if the requirements for a given dojo include "must be an adult," then I guess that's what the requirements are. Might be good if the students were well aware of it going in, but it's not my business.

I have yet to see a requirement that says a black belt must be capable of defending themselves against an adult attacker, etc. Perhaps there are such things, but I haven't seen any.

I'm generally not in favor of 'hidden requirements' that aren't stated.

As to teaching children, we do it in our dojo. We have quite a few more children training than adults. The children bring in the money needed to keep the doors open; even though all our instructors are volunteers; nobody draws a paycheck.

Personally, teaching children is one of the main reasons I still train, besides for my own growth as a martial artist. I have found a satisfying personal reward in being a positive adult role model for the kids. I have some very good memories of the few adults who made a positive impact on my own childhood; I strive to be that for the kids now. I would not willingly give up that role.
 
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Bujingodai

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The Dan ranks are not sacrosanct. They have requirements that usually include time training, time in grade, proficiency to a stated level, time spent teaching, and often less-tangible but important requirements such as being of good character, maturity, and so on.

If the requirements are met, they are met. Now, if the requirements for a given dojo include "must be an adult," then I guess that's what the requirements are. Might be good if the students were well aware of it going in, but it's not my business.

I have yet to see a requirement that says a black belt must be capable of defending themselves against an adult attacker, etc. Perhaps there are such things, but I haven't seen any.

I'm generally not in favor of 'hidden requirements' that aren't stated.

As to teaching children, we do it in our dojo. We have quite a few more children training than adults. The children bring in the money needed to keep the doors open; even though all our instructors are volunteers; nobody draws a paycheck.

Personally, teaching children is one of the main reasons I still train, besides for my own growth as a martial artist. I have found a satisfying personal reward in being a positive adult role model for the kids. I have some very good memories of the few adults who made a positive impact on my own childhood; I strive to be that for the kids now. I would not willingly give up that role.


Excellent post and summarizes things nicely.

What he said.

I have seen a mixed age class where the 8 year old Nidan BTW was bowing in seniority to a 30 something Shodan. It just didn't work for me. Rank is one thing class is another.
 

Hot Lunch

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The argument about functionally defending oneself against an adult attacker is silly, because I don't care how well trained, until the late teens, when the sizes are comparable, it just ain't gonna happen. I don't care how good he was, Ernie Reyes Jr in his kiddie prime couldn't realistically have held his own against Hafthor Bjornnson or Andre the Giant. Unless you've got a scriptwriter in your back pocket -- there is a point where size DOES matter.
Mike Tyson beat up grown men when he was 12. And he's of average height.

But, as @PhotonGuy would say, I do view shodan as "just another rank" in the sense that if the student knows the required material and the test shows this, then there's no harm in promoting them.
 

Hot Lunch

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Excellent post and summarizes things nicely.

What he said.

I have seen a mixed age class where the 8 year old Nidan BTW was bowing in seniority to a 30 something Shodan. It just didn't work for me. Rank is one thing class is another.
As I mentioned before, a separate black belt tier for children would solve this problem.
 

PhotonGuy

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Mike Tyson beat up grown men when he was 12. And he's of average height.
Do you have a source for this?
But, as @PhotonGuy would say, I do view shodan as "just another rank" in the sense that if the student knows the required material and the test shows this, then there's no harm in promoting them.
I never said that I view it as such, my claim was that in Japan it's generally viewed as such.
 

Buka

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We have kids who are amature fighters. We had one boxer at 13 who has 30 fights and was a national champion.

And could probably beat the stuffing out of pretty much any blackbelt in his weight calls regardless of their age.

Now if you are putting a 50kg kid against a 20 something's 80kg adult. Then he would loose.

But then I know some 150kg bouncers who would take on your black belts.
An old boss of mine used to say, I like three hundred pound bouncers. As long as I dont have to feed them.
 

Gyakuto

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Theres probably a subjective view amongst muggles that a black belts abilities should appear色beyond the ordinary夷mpressive perhaps. When you see a kid whos practised boxing for a few years throwing hooks and upper cuts, they look accomplished and worthy of their teaching.

I dont know much about boxing but this kid looks beyond the ordinary and hes be a great advert for his boxing club.

You dont need to know about Karate to see this little girl is beyond the ordinary because her moves are crisp, her set ups are amazing she completes each movement with focus and her resolve is startling. She subjectively looks as though shes worthy of that bit of black cloth around her waist尖ou might not know why but you can some how see it in her movements. I bet her teacher is happy for her to be representative to her dojo.

Using that same gut feeling, does this child look worthy of a black belt? Hes clearly trained but his movements are not completed before he moves onto the next. Theres some focus in his punches but he doesnt pull his fist back properly (chambers - hikite), hes looking around all over the place rather than at his imaginary enemy. He good for a child but if he were an adult, he would not receive (Id hope) a black belt for this performance.

Let children practise martial by all means, but dont grade them until theyre adults and capable of being true black belts that reflect well on your art and club amongst the public.

There will be the occasional amazing kid who possibly does deserve a black belt, but they outliers in the population and are be very, very rare and perhaps they should be allowed to attempt a Dan grade during which they should free fight with a large, fully resisting, aggressive, muscular adult
 
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