Question about Black Belt Ranks

DSMartialArts

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I know every style and every school has a different ranking system, from white to black. I am asking for opions on Black Belt Ranks/Dans. I tested for and received my 1st Dan in 1998, shortly after I moved away from the school where I received my black belt. I recently, very recently, return to the school as a student and instructor. I have been a black belt for 12 years however I have not been actively training for those 12 years. I still know all the material and relearnong the Kata's. the come back as soon as I see them. My Master would like me to test for my 2nd Dan at our next testing. It will most likely be in December. I feel Ican be ready in that time, as in my opinion you never stop learning. My question is do this seem fair, allowing me to obtain the next Dan to the students of the school, who may not fully see or understand my promotion? Thanks in advance for any comments or advice.
 

MA-Caver

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I know every style and every school has a different ranking system, from white to black. I am asking for opions on Black Belt Ranks/Dans. I tested for and received my 1st Dan in 1998, shortly after I moved away from the school where I received my black belt. I recently, very recently, return to the school as a student and instructor. I have been a black belt for 12 years however I have not been actively training for those 12 years. I still know all the material and relearning the Kata's. the come back as soon as I see them. My Master would like me to test for my 2nd Dan at our next testing. It will most likely be in December. I feel I can be ready in that time, as in my opinion you never stop learning. My question is do this seem fair, allowing me to obtain the next Dan to the students of the school, who may not fully see or understand my promotion? Thanks in advance for any comments or advice.

To me the higher ranks of BB's are like the stripes on a Sargent in the army (including the 5 year strips along the lower sleeves), they are indicative of your continuing growth in the art and the amount of time you spent training. Advancement is inevitable as everyone should know in your school. There's no fair/not fair when you are promoted to a higher dan. You earned it, you trained, studied, practiced and did all of it again until your instructor/sensei felt you deserved it and knew the requirements by heart. If you were earnest in your training then you should feel that you deserve it.
In other words, continue as you are on your journey, train, teach, assist, mentor, instruct, learn and grow as according to your own gifts. Don't worry about what the other students think... if they're as serious as you are then they'll eventually understand and remain focused on their own journey.

If they ask (or complain) then tell them to keep their eyes on their own paths and not on the paths of others... they'll have less chance to stumble along the way.
 

NSRTKD

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My husband took 12 years off as a 2nd dan, which he held the rank of 2nd dan for 2 years before taking time off. He has spent the last year re-memorizing the forms (you call them Kata - are you talking about TKD? I know each school does it differently but I'm just wondering), working as an assitant instructor, pre-testing and overall busting his backside. He will be testing for 3rd dan at the next testing, which will have been a year since his re-start of TKD. No one at our school finds it unfair that I know of, since he has been working so very hard for it and hasn't lost a shred of technique. He also trained in Wing Chun during those 12 years off, so it's not like his brain has been inactive as far as martial arts training goes. So I think it's ok, if you're working to your maximum potential during that time.
 
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DSMartialArts

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My husband took 12 years off as a 2nd dan, which he held the rank of 2nd dan for 2 years before taking time off. He has spent the last year re-memorizing the forms (you call them Kata - are you talking about TKD? I know each school does it differently but I'm just wondering), working as an assitant instructor, pre-testing and overall busting his backside. He will be testing for 3rd dan at the next testing, which will have been a year since his re-start of TKD. No one at our school finds it unfair that I know of, since he has been working so very hard for it and hasn't lost a shred of technique. He also trained in Wing Chun during those 12 years off, so it's not like his brain has been inactive as far as martial arts training goes. So I think it's ok, if you're working to your maximum potential during that time.

Yes Kata is a Japanese word for it. I should have said Poomse. I have been listing to Karate Cafe recently so Kata was in my head. I started my martial arts with Tang Soo Do so I know a lot of Korean terms, I have studied Japanese as well. Just a slip of the brain.
 

miguksaram

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If you know the material and you are physically fit to do the test then do the test. The only way I would say it wasn't "fair" is if you pop back up and then try to cram a year's worth of learning into 2 months hoping to get a new candy stripe on your belt. Else, do not worry about what others think. Remove their doubts by being on the mat and training.
 

Hudson69

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I would say it is up to the school and head instructor. If he/she/they and you yourself feel you are okay with it then go ahead. I like the rank comparisson to the military especially in the fact that once you are an NCO you are (almost) always an NCO and the same thing goes for black belt, it takes a lot to take away that title.
 
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DSMartialArts

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If you know the material and you are physically fit to do the test then do the test. The only way I would say it wasn't "fair" is if you pop back up and then try to cram a year's worth of learning into 2 months hoping to get a new candy stripe on your belt. Else, do not worry about what others think. Remove their doubts by being on the mat and training.

During my absence, I did spend a few months back while home attending to family business and was offered to test for 2nd dan at that time, I refused since I was not comfortable with my knowledge for the advancement at that time. I have been reading and learning outside the Dojo during my absence, but I always train hard. I believe in leading by example. I will not ask you to do what I will not. I agree with the popping in for candy statement. that would not be fair. I feel I will be ready and have the knowledge by the time the testing comes around. I am mentoring and teaching even if not leading the class, as it reaffirms my knowledge of the material and also gives me new perspective on things. I feel I have matured and grown as a person during the last 12 years as well.
 
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DSMartialArts

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I would say it is up to the school and head instructor. If he/she/they and you yourself feel you are okay with it then go ahead. I like the rank comparisson to the military especially in the fact that once you are an NCO you are (almost) always an NCO and the same thing goes for black belt, it takes a lot to take away that title.

I agree, I work for the Army so I get the comparision.
 

msmitht

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The only person that can tell you when you are ready is your instructor. If you know your stuff and can do it reasonably well then test. If you feel like you are not ready then talk to your instructor and figure out why. Maybe train more or take some privates.
 

oftheherd1

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I understand msmitht's post, and can agree to some extent. However, I guess I am too much of a traditionalist. I think a certain amount of time must be spent in the dojo learning and experiencing the art. That isn't to say that some student's aren't more gifted than others. But I think it is rare. To the OP - I understand you and our teacher's desire that you be better equipped to teach. I also understand the difficulty of going against your teacher. I am not giving advice, just sharing my thoughts. I wish you luck in your decision.
 

Earl Weiss

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Either students value the instructor's opinion and decisions or they don't.

I think bigger issue lie if a junior were to pass a senior. In all likelyhood it seems yu will not be passing anyone who got theur rank before you. If there is another student, similarly situated, treated differntly that would foster disgharmony.
 

andyjeffries

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I always have lived by the rule that you don't ask to be promoted and don't turn it down. Either way is showing disrespect to the senior in saying that they don't know what they're talking about in deciding when you're ready for promotion. To the OP, your master has said he wants to promote you - your only answer (IMHO) should be "thank you sir" and train as hard as you can to get ready. If anyone has issues with your promotion, their problem is with your master not you!
 

Kong Soo Do

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The only person that can tell you when you are ready is your instructor. If you know your stuff and can do it reasonably well then test. If you feel like you are not ready then talk to your instructor and figure out why. Maybe train more or take some privates.

Agreed. It is your instructors responsibility to observe you and know when you are ready to test. If he/she feels you'll be ready in the next couple of months or so then practice hard and take the test.
 

Gwai Lo Dan

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I always have lived by the rule that you don't ask to be promoted and don't turn it down. Either way is showing disrespect to the senior in saying that they don't know what they're talking about in deciding when you're ready for promotion.
I don't agree, given the cost of some tests. "You're ready to test for your x belt", also implies in today's real world "I am ready to take your $". If the test is in the hundreds of dollars, shouldn't the student decide what his goals are, and test only if spending the money will further the goals? For example, if his goals are to get out of the house and get some fun exercise, then spending more money may not be money well spent.
 

NSRTKD

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I don't agree, given the cost of some tests. "You're ready to test for your x belt", also implies in today's real world "I am ready to take your $". If the test is in the hundreds of dollars, shouldn't the student decide what his goals are, and test only if spending the money will further the goals? For example, if his goals are to get out of the house and get some fun exercise, then spending more money may not be money well spent.

If that's what you feel your instructor means by granting you permission to test, I think you should find yourself a more morally sound instructor... just imho.... Instructors of a morally sound school should already have the student's goals in mind, as well as already have communicated with the student on what his personal reasons are for testing or not testing.
 

Gwai Lo Dan

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I think most instructors are genuine and want the student to feel the pride or sense of accomplishment of the new belt. But if you are older and self-actualised, you may see that one should not derive pride or a feeling of accomplishment from the recognition of others. I am just saying ... ask yourself why you are testing, and does it lead to the accomplishments of your goals.
 

NSRTKD

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I think that's wise... but certainly not the same as what you originally said. Thank you for clarifying your point.
 

andyjeffries

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I don't agree, given the cost of some tests. "You're ready to test for your x belt", also implies in today's real world "I am ready to take your $". If the test is in the hundreds of dollars, shouldn't the student decide what his goals are, and test only if spending the money will further the goals? For example, if his goals are to get out of the house and get some fun exercise, then spending more money may not be money well spent.

I guess I'm lucky that I've never had an instructor like that, so my view is coloured in that way.

I've never paid for a Kup grading. I didn't pay anything (except the Kukkiwon fee, made out in a cheque in the Kukkiwon name) for my last Dan test either (the ones in between were taken at our national association and I didn't pay my instructor anything for those either, only the national association fees).
 

Buka

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The bottom line is he's the teacher, your the student. If you have concerns, speak with him.
 

miguksaram

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I don't agree, given the cost of some tests. "You're ready to test for your x belt", also implies in today's real world "I am ready to take your $". If the test is in the hundreds of dollars, shouldn't the student decide what his goals are, and test only if spending the money will further the goals? For example, if his goals are to get out of the house and get some fun exercise, then spending more money may not be money well spent.
If the goals are to get out of the house and exercise, then go to a gym. There are plenty of fun machines and some even have a martial art class that allows you to come and go as you please. Also if he wants to learn martial arts but does not want to invest in his next level of training, ie belt test, then hopefully he will not be upset when the instructor does not teach him anything new.

I will grant you that if he did not feel ready but the instructor was given him the ultimatum of test or leave, then yes the instructor is most likely shady. A good instructor understands all aspect of the student's situation.
 

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