KungFu Ranking

Drac

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Greetings..
Had this very loud, long and animated discussion with some friends concerning the ranking system used by KungFu practioneers, I knew it was not belts but sashes, that is the extent of my knowledge..One said they used the same color system as Karate..I disagree..Could someone PLEASE help?? Is it the same for Northern and Southern disciplines??Thanks to all in advance..

Drac
 

Jade Tigress

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Don't know much about it myself. Can only tell you what I have experienced in the only 2 kung fu schools I've been to, except to confirm it is sashes and not belts, that they don't follow any standardized ranking system, and some don't rank at all.
(Correct me if I'm wrong my more experienced CMA friends).

My first school:
(sashes)
white - yellow - green - blue - brown - black - and red for Sifu's

My current school:
Black rope - white (sash) - yellow - advanced yellow - green - advanced green - blue - advanced blue - brown - advanced brown - red - advanced red - black
 

Xue Sheng

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Most traditional Kung fu schools have no color belt/sash ranking system at all as far as I know. And I have never seen a Northern style with one. But that does not mean they do not exist.

And those that do I highly doubt the colors are the same since you can see different color ranking system between Jujitsu and Karate TDK and Judo, Karate and karate, etc.
 

mantis

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every school uses a totally different ranking system. in chinese martial arts colors of shashes do not mean anything. To they should only mean 'how long' u've been going to class.. However genenrally you get light or bright colors when you're a beginner, darker colors in intermediate and they you'll get a brown->black.

btw, this is not related to your question exactly. but i read somewhere that the history of belts started as follows: old basic chinese wrestler would only wash their clothes but not the belts. the 'dirtier' your belt is the more experienced you are. if you wash your belt it means you washed away what you have learned. that's why the darker it is, the better you are until you eventually get it 'black' from wrestling in mud.
 

clfsean

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Xue Sheng said:
Most traditional Kung fu schools have no color belt/sash ranking system at all as far as I know. And I have never seen a Northern style with one. But that does not mean they do not exist.

What he said.

Traditionally there was the teacher or the student. You knew who you were & where you were in the class. You always had big brothers & sisters (si hing & si jie), unless you're the very first student & again... you knew where you were.

The colored system is geared towards & works better for the American mentality. It's goal driven & visible at a glance. Nothing wrong at all with it, but not traditional & up to the individual teacher. More & more tCMA schools are adopting a coloring scheme & it works. Gotta be doing something right in there to maintain the quality & deliver the product the public is wanting.
 
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Drac

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Thanks All...
 

Kensai

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At my Wing Chun class, we don't have belts at all, just to complicate the issue. We do have what could be referred to as gradings, they are formal assessments of your ability and how far you've progressed along a certain path, but they don't infer belts or certificates and awards as far as I'm aware.

You're either level 1, post grading you become level 2, level 3 and so on. The higher the grading level then determines the kind and type of techniques, forms, mentality etc that you are taught. Much the same as many other arts I imagine.
 

jazkiljok

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Kensai said:
At my Wing Chun class, we don't have belts at all, just to complicate the issue. We do have what could be referred to as gradings, they are formal assessments of your ability and how far you've progressed along a certain path, but they don't infer belts or certificates and awards as far as I'm aware.

You're either level 1, post grading you become level 2, level 3 and so on. The higher the grading level then determines the kind and type of techniques, forms, mentality etc that you are taught. Much the same as many other arts I imagine.

a friend of mine has a kid in JKD which is using a similar ranking system.

but i spoke with a student of Ark Wong many many years ago about this topic- he said there was originally no rank system per se, just knowledge as to who knew what. but at some point Wong and a few other schools instituted the sash system to match the karate ranking system, mainly so they could offer americans the same incentive/motivation to continuue but also so they could more easily compete in open competitions which were using division ranks.

i don't believe it ever was formally standardized from school to school.
 

funnytiger

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mantis said:
btw, this is not related to your question exactly. but i read somewhere that the history of belts started as follows: old basic chinese wrestler would only wash their clothes but not the belts. the 'dirtier' your belt is the more experienced you are. if you wash your belt it means you washed away what you have learned. that's why the darker it is, the better you are until you eventually get it 'black' from wrestling in mud.

lol, i heard this same story except it was samurais. *shrug*

I go to a traditional chinese martial arts school so there is absolutely NO belt system. But I can understand why a school would adopt one. Some people need something a little bit more than just the satisfaction of having the knowledge. Some need a little pat on the back and given a little something that reminds them that they succeeded.
 

michelle_gonzales74

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well, you know that i am completely new to this and can only tell you what i know at my sons class. they dont have any rankings.(i JUST found that out). because he knows all his students well he knows what level they are each at. they do have what he calls "beginner students" "junior students" and "senior students". but no belts or sashes....
 

Jimi

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Xue Sheng is absolutely right, there are no 1000 year old belt or sash ranking systems. PEACE
 

pstarr

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The system that I teach, Yiliquan, uses a belt-grading system. Many, if not most, traditional kung-fu school don't do this but I think it's time...
 

Jade Tigress

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funnytiger said:
lol, i heard this same story except it was samurais. *shrug*

I go to a traditional chinese martial arts school so there is absolutely NO belt system. But I can understand why a school would adopt one. Some people need something a little bit more than just the satisfaction of having the knowledge. Some need a little pat on the back and given a little something that reminds them that they succeeded.

Both my former school and my current one are traditional but use a belt system. I don't believe it has anything to do with giving anyone "a little pat on the back" or "something that reminds them they succeeded". Western culture and Eastern culture are different. Doesn't mean one is right and one is wrong. Just different. Using a belt ranking system is not a factor in determining whether a school is traditional or not.
 

Jimi

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Hi Jade, I agree with you that a ranking system is a good reward & evaluation system and the presence of such a system does not invalidate the tradititonal skills taught there-in. I just like to point out (Using an exagerated example) that some people get fooled by the "I'm a chain belt in Gung Fu, my master taught me the quart of blood technique(LOL) and the chain belt I wear is 900 years old" statement. Some people not knowing any better get fooled by more charming lies than my exageration. I abosultely am not downing a MA for using a rank system, just those who lie/misinform to impress a potential student. I hope you see that there are some out there like this. PEACE
 

Syn

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While we have a sash system I believe. We hardly keep track of it. It's more a rank I guess you oculd say, since none of us actually where sashes (except sifu) but the ranks abide by color. Though this ranking system doesn't determine much being that sifu knows what each student is capable of.
 

Jade Tigress

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Jimi said:
Hi Jade, I agree with you that a ranking system is a good reward & evaluation system and the presence of such a system does not invalidate the tradititonal skills taught there-in. I just like to point out (Using an exagerated example) that some people get fooled by the "I'm a chain belt in Gung Fu, my master taught me the quart of blood technique(LOL) and the chain belt I wear is 900 years old" statement. Some people not knowing any better get fooled by more charming lies than my exageration. I abosultely am not downing a MA for using a rank system, just those who lie/misinform to impress a potential student. I hope you see that there are some out there like this. PEACE

Agreed 100%
 
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Drac

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My thanks to all who posted...
 

qi-tah

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I'm kinda puzzled by this one as well. My understanding of trad chinese arts is that you are simply as good as you are, so there is no need for a ranking system. But my current school grades students in trad diciplines (like Ba gua) using Wushu scoring. (The suggested length of time spent training between each Dan grading rises along with the required score to pass.)
So for instance, for my 1st Dan grading (last Dec - i passed, hooray!), i spent a year training after my entrance Dan, and i had to score an average of 8.25. I won't be going for my 2nd Dan for another 2 years.

In reality, what does this mean? No idea. I'm no better a fighter or practitioner than i was yesterday. The gradings aren't very even either. My teacher was pressuring me to skip 1st and go for my 2nd Dan, but i didn't feel comfy enough to do that. But there were some who did pass that i thought looked pretty shaky. I don't think ppl ought to pass simply 'cause they've been training once a week since the beginning of time. How does that help them?
 

funnytiger

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Both my former school and my current one are traditional but use a belt system. I don't believe it has anything to do with giving anyone "a little pat on the back" or "something that reminds them they succeeded". Western culture and Eastern culture are different. Doesn't mean one is right and one is wrong. Just different. Using a belt ranking system is not a factor in determining whether a school is traditional or not.

Jade Tigress, I don't believe I indicated in my post that either method was "good" or "bad". I may not agree with using a belt system, but I don't think it is "bad" either. However, I disagree that a belt system can be used to determine whether a school is traditional or not. Clearly, belt systems are not a part of the original curriculums of the schools but rather something that was introduced later on. That is not to say that a school that uses a belt system does not have traditional aspects, but I do not think that it classifies itself as a traditional school either.

But this is all my opinion based on my MA experience. I choose to go to a school that fulfills my needs and that's all that really matters.

- ft
 
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