Testing a student for BB who intends to quit after testing

IcemanSK

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For you school owners here. Would you test a student for BB who intends to have the last time they train be that day you give them their black belt?Would it depend on the situation of the student? (A move, perhaps) What if the student just wanted to check TKD BB off his "bucket list" (that list of things to do before I die)? Is that reason enough to test someone for you? I've run across two people in he last week who want to do this. One plans on testing next week. The other called me on the phone.What are your thoughts on "bucket list blacl belts?"
 

msmitht

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The way I see it is you have 2 choices. You could test them on what they know and praise their hard work, wishing them well as they leave. You could refuse to let them test in which case they will probably find a nearby school that will do it. Either way they are gone so I say test them and leave things on a good note.The real question is "why do they want to quit?"
 

ralphmcpherson

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I used to find it frustrating to be honest. But these days I have come accross heaps of students who are quite open and honest about quitting at black belt, and Ive come to realise that not everyone wants to spend the rest of their life doing martial arts. It gets frustrating when the student is good. We had a student come in and on his first day as a white belt he told me he had always wanted a black belt, not as a 'show off' thing but as a personal achievment which would mean something special to him. Four years later he graded for black belt and was really good, one of the best young black belts Ive met. He passed, and has never trained since. I see him around socially and he has moved on to his next 'life challenge'. He has framed his black belt in a nice glass case and it takes pride of place on the wall of his bedroom. These days Ive come to accept that some people arent looking at a life-long commitment, they have set themself a goal and will work hard to achieve that goal and then move onto the next. It doesnt affect my training, and it brings more people through the door. I say 'good on them', and Im glad martial arts played some role in their personal development.
 
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IcemanSK

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The one who is testing this weekend is at a school run by a guy who took over from his master in June. This new school doesn't in to account his special needs, but offered him the opportunity to test, so he's taking it. Then, he's done. His former master had no plans to test him anytime soon because he's not ready. The current master sees an opportunity, either for cash in, or to get rid of him, or both.The one who called me hasn't trained in 30 years. He was a 1st gup & sees it as unfinished business in his life, but doesn't intend to continue training after testing.I appreciate both of your thoughts on this. I found it odd coming across both of these stories in the same week.
 

stickarts

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If the student has earned the opportunity to test then i test them. Of course i hope that they stay and I encourage them to do so but in the end it's really up to them. The student chooses what role martial arts plays in their life. For some its for a season, for some it's a lifetime. :0)
 

Jenna

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Are you sure they know of the life beyond the BB? I think it is a concept so targetted in martial artists (to the extent that it would even be bucket-listed) that I wonder sometimes is it better to look BEYOND that BB to the what-comes-after.

If you appeal to their logic, perhaps you can gain another two high-rank students rather than losing two who feel they have reached the end of some road. I mean the fact is that the only practise most of us get after BB is with other BB practitioners. If they leave the dojang altogether then all their hard-won MA training will disappear too out of their heads and their muscles (and quite quickly too with no practice).

Perhaps they might like to feel welcomed by you; they might like to feel they have a place as BB students rather than feeling they are at the terminus of their MA journey. Do you want them as students? I am sure you can persuade them if you do. Wishes, J
 

Earl Weiss

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As you may recall (and as i have recieved flack for on this board) on day 1 students get a handbook The last page is the liabilty waiver signed, torn off and given to me) explaining that following the BB test there is a 1 year probation before getting their certificate. Probation is fulfilled by training regularly and can be extended indefinitely if not fulfilled.

During the time leading up to BB the message is reinforced with snippets such as MA is for a lifetime, not a lunchtime. Also, Use it or lose it. Meaning if they stop training they will lose their skills and if thy stop training they should take their belt and put it at the bottom of the drawer to remind them that is where there skills ahve gone to be resurrected it they decide to continue their training.

So, in direct answer if they have met the requirements then the instructor has an obligation to test them. However, if they have not "learned" the benefits of continued training by then, in all likelyhood it is too late for them to learn on the brink of the test.
 

Cyriacus

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As you may recall (and as i have recieved flack for on this board) on day 1 students get a handbook The last page is the liabilty waiver signed, torn off and given to me) explaining that following the BB test there is a 1 year probation before getting their certificate. Probation is fulfilled by training regularly and can be extended indefinitely if not fulfilled.

During the time leading up to BB the message is reinforced with snippets such as MA is for a lifetime, not a lunchtime. Also, Use it or lose it. Meaning if they stop training they will lose their skills and if thy stop training they should take their belt and put it at the bottom of the drawer to remind them that is where there skills ahve gone to be resurrected it they decide to continue their training.

So, in direct answer if they have met the requirements then the instructor has an obligation to test them. However, if they have not "learned" the benefits of continued training by then, in all likelyhood it is too late for them to learn on the brink of the test.
Id Debate that a Serious Martial Artist could maintain a Syllabus of Self Practice. Ive seen People whove stopped Training for Years, and the only thing theyd lost a bit of flair in was Sparring. And even then, not too much so.
But then, ive also seen People whove taken a Week off due to Injury, and forgotten half their Pattern.

In short, id say both ways are possible.
 

punisher73

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The one who is testing this weekend is at a school run by a guy who took over from his master in June. This new school doesn't in to account his special needs, but offered him the opportunity to test, so he's taking it. Then, he's done. His former master had no plans to test him anytime soon because he's not ready. The current master sees an opportunity, either for cash in, or to get rid of him, or both.The one who called me hasn't trained in 30 years. He was a 1st gup & sees it as unfinished business in his life, but doesn't intend to continue training after testing.I appreciate both of your thoughts on this. I found it odd coming across both of these stories in the same week.

In this case, I don't think I would test the person. If the person was deemed not ready and the current instructor agrees with the assessment, then it is not for the right reasons.

As to the original question. What if a student had a previous rank and wanted to add on to their base knowledge and wanted to get a BB in another style, but didn't want to change styles? Would that be different?
 

rlobrecht

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following the BB test there is a 1 year probation before getting their certificate.

Our school does something similar. On the day you pass your 1st Dan test, you get a plain black belt. If you continue to train (usually for 6 - 12 months) you will get an embroidered belt, with your name, the school's name, etc. and your certificate (we're an independent org, and this is understood from the beginning.)

This new school doesn't in to account his special needs, but offered him the opportunity to test, so he's taking it.
By special needs, I assume you mean a mental or physical handicap. Our dojang doesn't have any special people, but my son's Cub Scout Pack does and has in the past. There's a boy now, who is severely autistic. He participates to the best of his ability, but hasn't learned what the other boys have learned, and can't do what the other boys can do. If we use the same yardstick to measure him as you would to measure the rest of the Scouts, he wouldn't earn most badges, and definitely wouldn't get Arrow of Light (basically 1st Dan of Scouting) which he will receive next month. He won't be continuing in Scouting, because he's just not mentally capable to progress any further. I can see your special case being very similar.

The one who called me hasn't trained in 30 years. He was a 1st gup & sees it as unfinished business in his life, but doesn't intend to continue training after testing.
This one is interesting. How long will it take for him to retrain back up to the level where you would test him? I would think a year at least. His black belt means enough to him that he's come back to you. Over the next year, his retraining may kindle a love he had forgotten. Now, if he's asking you to test him without any retraining, I'd refuse. I think we would all agree that the test itself should be a formality, and the real testing is done while training.
 

miguksaram

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If they have earned it, then they should test. We cannot control what they do after they receive it. You can only hope that through their training that they discovered that their journey was more than just a scratch off on their bucket list. However, if they did not, do you really want to retain a student past that level that has no true appreciation of what they have accomplished?
 

Kong Soo Do

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There are many reasons a student may not continue after a certain point in their training. Perhaps they wish to establish a foundation in a particular art and then switch to an art that offers something else. For example they wish to learn TKD and then switch to Judo and get a foundation in that art. That certainly has validity to it. Then some folks may wish to get to a level where they've learned what the art has and perhaps don't see the need to continue paying a tuition when they can train on their own. Perhaps with others in the same art, or even those of other arts in an informal setting such as the backyard or park. Again, there is validity to this as well. Not to be offensive or challenging, but many arts really don't have a lot to offer after BB. Oh, they might have additional forms but that isn't new information. Rather it is just the same movements they've already learned put together in a different way to make a longer form. In some arts, is there a real difference between a first Dan and a fifth Dan? In some arts there is a big difference, in some arts there isn't any difference as far as additional skills learned. Not picking on the KKW, but a friend of mine in NY is a KKW 7th Dan. He trained 30 years until he dumped TKD and switched to the CMA's. He said he hadn't learned anything new from his Korean GM after the third year when he earned BB. Too me, that is 27 years of stagnation. I'm not saying that applies to all KKW TKD so don't jump on me. But an honest question for all of us that instructs is, 'exactly what DO we have to offer after BB'? The answer can have many levels. And is it enough to keep a student interested, motivated and active? Again, if a student has basically learned the foundation and there really isn't much if anything 'new' to learn after BB...they may figure to save the money and train at home or in the park with buddies.

I key in on comments like;

His former master had no plans to test him anytime soon because he's not ready. The current master sees an opportunity, either for cash in, or to get rid of him, or both.

This doesn't speak well for this 'instructor'. And I use the term lightly. An instructor is suppose to train, guide and nurture a student. A good instructor should wish that the student exceeds his or her own abilities as that is the highest form of thanks a student can impart to his/her instructor. But as mentioned above, not every student walks that path. And that's fine as a good instructor is a good instructor regardless of the path the student takes. You never know when a student may return due to what you offered.
 

dancingalone

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I would not test anyone who has not trained with me and earned the right to do so with me. I don't view myself as a MA credentialing agency where anyone can come use my services, even if the student in question is a very good martial artist in his own right. To me awarding rank is to a great extent a recognition that we have a student & teacher bond of mutual respect that can only be born from hours of sweat and perseverance on the floor with each other.

The one who is testing this weekend is at a school run by a guy who took over from his master in June. This new school doesn't in to account his special needs, but offered him the opportunity to test, so he's taking it. Then, he's done. His former master had no plans to test him anytime soon because he's not ready. The current master sees an opportunity, either for cash in, or to get rid of him, or both.

The deal breaker here is that his old instructor doesn't believe he is ready. If he is someone I respect, presumably the case if I am someone who has taken over his school as a senior student of his, going against his wishes seems poor form.

The one who called me hasn't trained in 30 years. He was a 1st gup & sees it as unfinished business in his life, but doesn't intend to continue training after testing.I appreciate both of your thoughts on this. I found it odd coming across both of these stories in the same week.

This falls under the 'not my student' category for me. If he were willing to train for a significant period of time with me, I would reconsider after watching his progress.
 

jks9199

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For you school owners here. Would you test a student for BB who intends to have the last time they train be that day you give them their black belt?Would it depend on the situation of the student? (A move, perhaps) What if the student just wanted to check TKD BB off his "bucket list" (that list of things to do before I die)? Is that reason enough to test someone for you? I've run across two people in he last week who want to do this. One plans on testing next week. The other called me on the phone.What are your thoughts on "bucket list blacl belts?"
Seems to me that neither of these are cases that you really should be testing. They're not your students; why should you test them? I might see it if they were students at an associated school who couldn't make that schools testing and they're working with their instructor to work around that problem, or something like that. But to just pop in and test? That pretty much puts you on the level of a weekend certification seminar...

If they want to train with you for a period YOU define as reasonable to assess and rate them -- that's different.

Then we hit the whole "get it and done" aspect. It's going to get kind of circular here ... because I won't put someone up for black belt whom I don't know and feel comfortable recommending. So, we're back at the "train awhile & we'll see." And if they don't have an intent to at least continue practicing (note; not necessarily training with me)... I probably won't recommend them; they aren't ready.

Let me use a scenario as an example. Say I had a student move into my area in June or July, and he's a brown belt from another club. Great; he keeps his brown belt. But I'm not putting him up for the black belt test that August; his old teacher may recommend him, and that's between them. But I probably won't that fast, unless I'm pretty well acquainted with them. And have discussed it with his old teacher; I don't know why he may not have been ready to recommend the guy.
 

Carol

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The one who is testing this weekend is at a school run by a guy who took over from his master in June. This new school doesn't in to account his special needs, but offered him the opportunity to test, so he's taking it. Then, he's done. His former master had no plans to test him anytime soon because he's not ready. The current master sees an opportunity, either for cash in, or to get rid of him, or both.The one who called me hasn't trained in 30 years. He was a 1st gup & sees it as unfinished business in his life, but doesn't intend to continue training after testing.I appreciate both of your thoughts on this. I found it odd coming across both of these stories in the same week.

The 1st gup that hasn't trained in 30 years is interesting. If he's just calling around trying to find someone to certify his training, that's one thing, but is there a deeper reason behind him saying he doesn't want to continue? Perhaps he is strictly self-centered, but there may be a more positive drive. For one, there's the student's age. Not training in 30 years, he could very well be past the point where his main interest is learnin' how to do a beat down. It may also be a matter of expectations. Does he have concerns or dislikes? Perhaps he doesn't want to train with child black belts? Perhaps he doesn't care for tests of non-martial techniques such as running requirements? Just throwing ideas out there :)
 
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IcemanSK

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I appreciate all replies. Clearly, there is not "one thought process" on this matter. JKS, to be clear, I'm not the one who is testing the guy this weekend. He found the guy who took over his master's school was willing to test him. As for the other guy, his plans are so "pie in the sky" right now, I'd be surprised if he ever make it into my school.I can do nothing about the guy who's testing this weekend at a school I have no connection with. It's sad to me that the love he had TKD under his old master is gone at this new school that he doesn't intend to train anymore.
 

ralphmcpherson

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Id Debate that a Serious Martial Artist could maintain a Syllabus of Self Practice. Ive seen People whove stopped Training for Years, and the only thing theyd lost a bit of flair in was Sparring. And even then, not too much so.
But then, ive also seen People whove taken a Week off due to Injury, and forgotten half their Pattern.

In short, id say both ways are possible.
Thats a very good point regarding self practice and reminds me of a guy I met who did just that. He was a very serious tkd guy who would train his *** off but had limited time due to work commitments, family etc. He was a 2nd dan and found that much of his time in class was spent watching others do form, helping the instructor or basically 'dead time'. He stopped coming to class but spent the time at home plus the time he gained from not travelling to and from class and would spend the time training himself, bag work, form, stretching etc. Years later when his situation changed and he had some spare time he came back to class and he'd lost nothing, in fact he had really improved. I think some people do hit a point where they can self critique to a degree and can still catch up with some higher dans occasionally and get them to look over their form and technique and take on some advice. Some people also choose to take on another art once black belt and continue the training of their original art at home in their own time. I dont think we can expect everyone to commit to the same martial art at the same place for the rest of their life as everyone's situation is different.
 

Buka

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A teacher teaches. If the student earned the right to be tested, I'd test him/her. Students come and go. If that student wants to quit at the beginning of his journey (Black belt) so be it.
 
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