Lineage vs Testing

MadMartigan

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Is one of the main purposes of the belt testing system through an organization to circumvent issues inherent within the lineage system?

Many arts (wing chun for instance) place a great deal of value on lineage while almost never using a belt system. Others (like Karate and Taekwondo) are often generalized by large organizations with little attention paid to lineage. Then there are arts like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu where the belt system still seems very closely tied to lineage (especially after black belt).

I'm sure everyone has their preference of which system works best for them. Having been bitten by the shortcomings of each version, I am interested in looking at these styles academically.

If you subscribe to (or see large issues with) one of these methods, what is it that makes it work/not work for you?
Is lineage better for quality control?
If so, what happens if your instructor leaves, dies, or has a falling out with you?
Does testing through an organization correct this, or do the downsides (lack of connection, administrative bloat, etc) outweigh the benefits?
 

Xue Sheng

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Is one of the main purposes of the belt testing system through an organization to circumvent issues inherent within the lineage system?

Many arts (wing chun for instance) place a great deal of value on lineage while almost never using a belt system. Others (like Karate and Taekwondo) are often generalized by large organizations with little attention paid to lineage. Then there are arts like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu where the belt system still seems very closely tied to lineage (especially after black belt).

I'm sure everyone has their preference of which system works best for them. Having been bitten by the shortcomings of each version, I am interested in looking at these styles academically.

If you subscribe to (or see large issues with) one of these methods, what is it that makes it work/not work for you?
Is lineage better for quality control?
If so, what happens if your instructor leaves, dies, or has a falling out with you?
Does testing through an organization correct this, or do the downsides (lack of connection, administrative bloat, etc) outweigh the benefits?
You are running into a cultural issue. Traditional Chinese Martial Arts do not have, and historically never had a belt system.
 

Rich Parsons

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I know, but it got adopted as the norm, even in Japan. Traditional Chinese MA schools, for the most part, it is rare, even more so in China. Chinese system traditionally did not get into uniform either. Also wore shoes
Many a FMA System was also no belt, and wore shoes. Trained in Garages, and Gyms.
Yes it is changed now for many , and even those without belts use a level like positioning for students and instructors.
 

Holmejr

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Many a FMA System was also no belt, and wore shoes. Trained in Garages, and Gyms.
Yes it is changed now for many , and even those without belts use a level like positioning for students and instructors.
Here we still train in a garage or park, wear shoes and progress students by observation. No belts until black, but now that Im belted it only made me realize how much I dont know. Not really caring much about the belt anymore, I simply just want to progress.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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You are running into a cultural issue. Traditional Chinese Martial Arts do not have, and historically never had a belt system.
This is not true. the Chinese wrestlers in Shan Pu Yin (亙) had wrestlers into 3 levels of attacking tiger ():

- 1st level attacking tiger.
- 2nd level attacking tiger.
- 3rd level attacking tiger.

San_pu_yin.jpg
 

Xue Sheng

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This is not true. the Chinese wrestlers in Shan Pu Yin (亙) had wrestlers into 3 levels of attacking tiger ():

- 1st level attacking tiger.
- 2nd level attacking tiger.
- 3rd level attacking tiger.

View attachment 28451

OK, name another in TCMA history that did? And is this once again in Taiwan?

There is always an exception to the rule, for the the majority of TCMA styles, what I posted, is true....
 

Xue Sheng

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Many a FMA System was also no belt, and wore shoes. Trained in Garages, and Gyms.
Yes it is changed now for many , and even those without belts use a level like positioning for students and instructors.
Hey Rich

Yeah, I see this slowly coming into TCMA, more and more in the West. Would not be surprised if 10 years or less the duan system was seen more often than not in the west. It is in china and used in modern wushu. And a few long time traditional guys were awarded some huge duan rank, but I don't think they took it seriously, at least the one I talked to didn't. But when the government gives this to you, you do not refuse...
 

Kung Fu Wang

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OK, name another in TCMA history that did? And is this once again in Taiwan?
You may want to look at from the ancient Chinese government point of view instead.

Shan Pu Yin was the Qing emperior body guard in Beijing, China.

Ancient Chinese government had used examination to select the best qualified people for the governmant job (just like Karate school gives test and offers color belt). This policy is still not used in US government even today.

During the ancient time, Chinese governmant would test scholar and CMA guys. According to their different testing result, different levels of job were given.

For scholar, there were:

- 閰, "township exam"
- 閰, "conference exam"
- 畾輯岫, "court exam"

For CMA guys, there were:

- 甇西 "military exam"

The color system (belt color and clothes color) had been used in the ancient China for a long time.

ancient_chinese_color.jpg
 
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Xue Sheng

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You may want to look at from the ancient Chinese government point of view instead.

Shan Pu Yin was the Qing emperior body guard in Beijing, China.

Ancient Chinese government had used examination to select the best qualified people for the governmant job (just like Karate school gives test and offers color belt). This policy is still not used in US government even today.

During the ancient time, Chinese governmant would test scholar and CMA guys. According to their different testing result, different levels of job were given.

For scholar, there were:

- 閰, "township exam"
- 閰, "conference exam"
- 畾輯岫, "court exam"

For CMA guys, there were:

- 甇西 "military exam"

The color system (belt color and clothes color) had been used in the ancient China for a long time.

View attachment 28452

You may want to reread my posts to see what I am "actually" talking about before you throw in things that do not apply as proof. All this proves is you are taking about something different than what I am saying

I know this about titles and such and it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that belt ranks...were not give by the majority of TCMA schools. I was talking SPECIFICALLY about TCMA schools and TCMA styles...which has ABSOLUTLY nothing to do with what you are now presenting in order to look right. And you are not right as it applies SPECIFICALLY to TCMA schools and styles HISTORICALLY. And to be totally honest I noticed immediately the style you used was still not using belt ranks, but did not push it..., which is what I was clearly talking about in my previous posts... "Belt Ranks in Chinese Martials Arts"

And since I asked you to name another "TCMA style" and you put forth the above, I can only assume you do not know of any other style that did as such, and, as I stated , even that was NOT belt ranks. YES there are senior students and all sorts of names...no NO BELTS!!!! Now do you understand
 
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Xue Sheng

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This is not true. the Chinese wrestlers in Shan Pu Yin (亙) had wrestlers into 3 levels of attacking tiger ():

- 1st level attacking tiger.
- 2nd level attacking tiger.
- 3rd level attacking tiger.

View attachment 28451

That is not belt ranks, I was going to let this slide, but since you persist o proving a point I am not even talking about...the above is also included in what I said TCMA style HISTORICALLY....did not use belt ranks and the guys you posted about did not ether
 

Tony Dismukes

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Is one of the main purposes of the belt testing system through an organization to circumvent issues inherent within the lineage system?

Many arts (wing chun for instance) place a great deal of value on lineage while almost never using a belt system. Others (like Karate and Taekwondo) are often generalized by large organizations with little attention paid to lineage. Then there are arts like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu where the belt system still seems very closely tied to lineage (especially after black belt).

I'm sure everyone has their preference of which system works best for them. Having been bitten by the shortcomings of each version, I am interested in looking at these styles academically.

If you subscribe to (or see large issues with) one of these methods, what is it that makes it work/not work for you?
Is lineage better for quality control?
If so, what happens if your instructor leaves, dies, or has a falling out with you?
Does testing through an organization correct this, or do the downsides (lack of connection, administrative bloat, etc) outweigh the benefits?
I had to reread your post a few times to figure out what you're asking about. Testing (or not testing) for rank seems a concept unrelated to lineage.

However, I think what you're asking about is the relative value of having rank tests (or promotions without formal tests) run in-school by one's regular instructor(s) vs having them run through a larger external organization. Is that correct?

In that case, I have a strong preference for promotions performed in-house. When I promote a student, it's based on the consistent performance and behavior of that student which I have seen over the course of months and years. I think that's a more reliable indicator of someone's skills, knowledge, ability, and character than how they do on a one-time test.

Is lineage better for quality control?
If so, what happens if your instructor leaves, dies, or has a falling out with you?
Speaking from a BJJ perspective, if something happens to my instructor or if we have a falling out then it will not affect my ability to walk into 98+% of the BJJ schools in the world and have my rank accepted.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I strongly believe the Karate color belt ranking system came from the ancient China.

ancient_chinese_color.jpg


Some CMA systems uses the "golden belt" as the highest rank.

Lin-hop.gif
 

Xue Sheng

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I strongly believe the Karate color belt ranking system came from the ancient China.

View attachment 28453

Yu can believe what you want. however I do not agree, seeing as the top is yellow in your chart....and not black as in most belt systems...and belt rank colors expanded as time went on...my day in jiujitsu there were only 4..White, Green, Brown, Black....but it still remains...it was not used in TCMA in China.

As for the colored belt system coming from China...don't care enough to research it
 

Tony Dismukes

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I strongly believe the Karate color belt ranking system came from the ancient China.
The origin of the color belt rank system is pretty well known.

Jigaro Kano introduced it originally in Judo with only two belt colors (white and black) in 1907 as a way to quickly distinguish between beginners and more advanced students when he was teaching seminars with lot of people. The intermediate colored belts between white and black began to be introduced in 1935, probably by Mikonosuke Kawaishi, who was teaching in France. From Judo, the practice spread to Karate and then to a host of other martial arts.
 
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MadMartigan

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However, I think what you're asking about is the relative value of having rank tests (or promotions without formal tests) run in-school by one's regular instructor(s) vs having them run through a larger external organization. Is that correct?
Yes. That's a good way to put it in part.
Speaking from a BJJ perspective, if something happens to my instructor or if we have a falling out then it will not affect my ability to walk into 98+% of the BJJ schools in the world and have my rank accepted.
That's true, and likely true of most martial arts (as long as the skill levels are consistent).

Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that BJJ does not typically run tests after 1st degree black belt. All dan ranks are awarded through lineage (your instructor knows you, your knowledge and skills and promotes you if merited).

Assuming that is correct, if you were a BJJ black belt through 1 lineage, and you had to switch, would a different branch really be willing to continue your advancement (so that you, in turn, could advance your own students, etc)? When it comes to how curriculum is organized or focused on, from what I've seen, BJJ is almost as diverse as many 簷f the other TMAs out there.
 

Tony Dismukes

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that BJJ does not typically run tests after 1st degree black belt. All dan ranks are awarded through lineage (your instructor knows you, your knowledge and skills and promotes you if merited).

Assuming that is correct, if you were a BJJ black belt through 1 lineage, and you had to switch, would a different branch really be willing to continue your advancement (so that you, in turn, could advance your own students, etc)? When it comes to how curriculum is organized or focused on, from what I've seen, BJJ is almost as diverse as many 簷f the other TMAs out there.
Most BJJ schools dont run tests for belt promotions in general. Some do, but the majority of instructors promote based on watching a students daily performance on the mat over time.

After black belt, promotions are typically based on time in grade. Assuming you stay active in the art, training, teaching, etc. there are standards for how often you will be promoted.

If something happened to my instructor or I were to break away, then I would need to develop a relationship with a new instructor in order to continue receiving these time-in-grade promotions. This wouldnt be hard.
 

punisher73

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As others have said, the belt system we currently use started with Judo as a way to rank people. Kano got the idea from the game of "go" as I understand it. In Karate, is used to be white/brown/black and then other colors were added. In SOME CMA's, they have gone to a "colored sash" system to help students with their progress.

Previously, when you got to a certain level of expertise you were given a license to teach (basically). In Okinawan, they were a lot more informal with karate and you went to someone based on their knowledge/skill and learned from them. Okinawan karate actually took the belt idea after karate went to Japan and became popular and followed suit. After WW2, it was very profitable to get military contracts to teach military people, so there was a big struggle to win those contracts.

Ranking and also "Lineage" both have one word in common.....commercialization.

Lineage is mainly used to show why you are better than someone else. You will see many arguments about how they "got the real stuff" or taught closest to what the founder taught. Many times it has nothing to do with results.

Ranking used to be to help guide both the instructor and student with their journey and know how to pair people who were somewhat of equals together. Eventually, the "black belt" became the end of the journey/benchmark. Then you had schools sandbagging on one end and holding the blackbelt to a super high standard (BJJ for example) and schools on the other end handing them out very quickly for money (McDojos for example). I know things change, but when I first started BJJ, it took about 3 years to get a blue belt (first colored belt) and meant that you understood the basics of the art and how to apply it. When I started karate, it took about 3 years to get a black belt and it meant the same thing...you understood the basics of the art and how to apply it.
 
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