Not All Dojos Function The Same

geezer

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Agreed. The only time rank really matters is if it's required to do what you want, whether that means something you want to learn or teach.
This is true, but honestly, it is also one of the more objectionable aspects of some schools and organizations. Sometimes requiring rank as a prerequisite for being allowed to learn something can be carried to extremes.

One organization I was involved with for a very long time does this ....that is holding back on teaching certain forms and weapons sets to insure that the student keeps on paying very costly dues year after year. Ok, I guess, but when that becomes decade after decade people can get a little jaded.

An example would be the Bart Cham Dao set in certain Wing Chun groups. Some groups hold that material back pretty much forever useless you are not only high ranking, but run a big school and pay thousands of dollars for the honor of being taught.

Other WC groups teach this form to anybody after a few years, but IMO some of those groups are teaching stuff that is largely made up and not particularly authentic nor functional. I'm not sure which of the two approaches is worse.

IMO knowledge is meant to be passed on, examined, tested, and if necessary improved upon. I know, sounds heretical, but I'm a teacher by profession, and sharing knowledge is what I do. :)
 
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isshinryuronin

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IMO, things should be taught whenever the student is ready to learn and understand them. That is, having absorbed the previous lessons and having the foundational structure and experience to put the new knowledge to effective and proper use. The timing of this is dependent on the student's dedication and skills, and the benchmarks set by the instructor.

However, I am also a believer in some "time in grade" waiting periods at certain points along the journey. Like taking a pause during a mountain hike to appreciate the sights along the way, what it took to get there, and what it will take for the next leg up the slope.

The view of looking up the mountain at the path to come is different than looking down at the path already travelled. There are times that learning new techniques and concepts gives new insights on things already "learned." Ample time should be spent re-examining these things before going to the next level.

Depth of knowledge is at least equally important as breadth. And there is more to earning a new grade (especially more advanced ones) than simple, pure, technical skill.

Such pauses do not stop the learning process, but rather aids it in the long term. It goes without saying (and yet I will say) that withholding knowledge to extend time till advancement simply for commercial reasons for additional monthly fees is not admirable.

So, speed of learning should be tempered with patience and reflection.
 

Gerry Seymour

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I should realize that not everybody here has the same experience as me in the martial arts of training at different dojos. People on this forum are at all different levels of experience and so we've got a Beginners Corner as well as other folders. Some people don't have much experience training in dojos other than the one they currently train at and some people, like me, will try out different styles of the martial arts and different dojos as well. To me this is important as you learn that not all dojos function the same. Lots of people on this forum probably already know that but not everybody. There are apparently some people on this forum that don't know that. For instance, somebody on this forum, I don't remember exactly who, said that you shouldn't have to pursue rank in the dojo that all you have to do is show up and train and rank will come. That depends, it depends on the dojo and whatever system your instructor has on how students go up in rank. Different instructors use different systems on how students go up in rank so to say that you just have to show up and train and that rank will all come, to say that applies to all dojos would be a fallacy and it would mean you probably don't know much about dojos other than your own since dojos vary and instructors vary and every instructor has their own system which can be different than the systems that other instructors use. Just wanted to point this out.
If the rank system is built right, and the training is aligned with it, you shouldnt have to do anything special to get there. Train like the class is meant to train, and youll make it to the next rank.
 

Gerry Seymour

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So all you have to do is show up and train, regardless of how hard or easy you train, regardless whether or not you not only train hard but also train smart, and you will automatically be promoted in rank just for showing up?

In other words, the only requirement for rank advancement is attendance?

You're entitled to your opinion.
Attendance isnt the same as training, though.
 

Gerry Seymour

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So how do instructors gauge your ability to perform? They could do it through daily observations as they watch you in class or they could do it through formal testing. Some dojos use formal testing, there's nothing wrong with that.
I like a combination of the two. The stress of a test is a bonus.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Well in order to develop the ability to perform, if by perform you mean performing well since there is a difference between performing well and just performing, requires more then just showing up and training. You've also got to train hard. You've got to put in a lot of effort if you want to get good.
Thats not my experience. Some folks will train less hard, and still perform well. Others will be on the slow track, because they dont train hard, but still train regularly.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Some people might agree with you that ranks are important, some people might disagree. Based on both the posts that people make on this forum and from what I observe in the martial arts community in general some people care about earning rank some people don't. Either way is fine, although I will say that rank is one of the more controversial issues in the world of martial arts.
To me, either can be true. It depends upon how the rank is used, as well as the culture of the group. And sometimes, oddly, it is both. I never trained specifically for rank, but I considered my rank important宇o me.
 

Gerry Seymour

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This is true, but honestly, it is also one of the more objectionable aspects of some schools and organizations. Sometimes requiring rank as a prerequisite for being allowed to learn something can be carried to extremes.

One organization I was involved with for a very long time does this ....that is holding back on teaching certain forms and weapons sets to insure that the student keeps on paying very costly dues year after year. Ok, I guess, but when that becomes decade after decade people can get a little jaded.

An example would be the Bart Cham Dao set in certain Wing Chun groups. Some groups hold that material back pretty much forever useless you are not only high ranking, but run a big school and pay thousands of dollars for the honor of being taught.

Other WC groups teach this form to anybody after a few years, but IMO some of those groups are teaching stuff that is largely made up and not particularly authentic nor functional. I'm not sure which of the two approaches is worse.

IMO knowledge is meant to be passed on, examined, tested, and if necessary improved upon. I know, sounds heretical, but I'm a teacher by profession, and sharing knowledge is what I do. :)
Agreed. As long as a student can handle the material, rank should be no barrier. Of course, rank might be a valid measure of readiness in the right circumstances.
 

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Agreed. As long as a student can handle the material, rank should be no barrier. Of course, rank might be a valid measure of readiness in the right circumstances.
Seems to me that if rank is being used and it doesn't indicate a students ability to handle a given portion of the curriculum, either the curriculum or rank needs to be adjusted. Because that is precisely what rank is intended to indicate.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Seems to me that if rank is being used and it doesn't indicate a students ability to handle a given portion of the curriculum, either the curriculum or rank needs to be adjusted. Because that is precisely what rank is intended to indicate.
Exactly.
 
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PhotonGuy

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If the rank system is built right, and the training is aligned with it, you shouldnt have to do anything special to get there. Train like the class is meant to train, and youll make it to the next rank.
Up to and including first degree black belt, and beyond that if you want to progress further.
 
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PhotonGuy

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How the heck would I know? I don't know every instructor. I know how I do it. I know it sounds crazy, but I do it by watching the student perform.
Obviously you have to watch the student perform but even that is very broad. By watching the student perform that could mean watching the student in class, watching them in class every day that they're in class, or it could mean watching the student in a formal test. Both cases deal with watching the student perform.

Just saying that you watch the student perform is too non specific.
Do you ever just reply to what people said instead of random nonsense that nobody is saying?
All the time.
 
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PhotonGuy

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I like a combination of the two. The stress of a test is a bonus.
That is more or less how my Goju Ryu instructor does it, he does do some formal testing but all too often when you're being tested you won't know it. He does run quite a small dojo though so its easier to do it that way.

And yes with formal testing there is stress involved, formal testing gauges your performance under pressure which is important if you ask me.
 
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PhotonGuy

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Thats not my experience. Some folks will train less hard, and still perform well. Others will be on the slow track, because they dont train hard, but still train regularly.
Well some people might have a certain amount of natural ability in which case they can perform well while training less hard but in the long run if you want to be the best you can be you are going to have to train hard regardless of any natural ability you might have.
 
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PhotonGuy

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Sure. Any time there is a rank requirement, then rank matters. For that. Otherwise, meh. Not so much. And rank for ranks own sake is rarely (if ever) worth pursuing.
So in other words, aside from certain circumstances where you might need rank to be able to do certain stuff (learn more material, compete, teach, ect.) you're saying rank is no big deal.
 
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PhotonGuy

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However, I am also a believer in some "time in grade" waiting periods at certain points along the journey. Like taking a pause during a mountain hike to appreciate the sights along the way, what it took to get there, and what it will take for the next leg up the slope.
Taking a pause and appreciating the sites now and then is all fine and dandy as long as you make sure that you're still going to arrive at the summit within the time period that you hope and plan to get there. Remember, time is precious.
 
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