The war on rank

MJS

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I think rank & lineage is a big deal. Rank is a big deal because if you are learning from a 1st degree black belt you aren't going to go very far in that system before your going to have to find a new teacher. If your studying under a 7th degree black belt your obviously going to be able to go further in that system. I think lineage is just as inportant as rank too.

So in this scenario, we're assuming that the 1st degree has his/her own school? So if thats the case, and if the school isn't a belt factory and makes the student put in the time and make sure they really know the material, then by the time they reach the BB level, its very possible the 1st degree could have moved up a level.
 

MJS

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Does rank matter YES and it always will, let me explain joe smoo down the street is a 9th degree BB and he demands 200.00 a month and joe smoo up the street is only gettint 95.00 because he is a 4th. So up the street guy finds two friends to cross rank and up his rank so he is now a 10th and also on the Soke council of the Universe, now he is getting 300.00 a month not because he knows more but because he is now the Soke of all Soke's. My point is simple people equate stripes to knowledge, when it should be the other way around. To me give me a person that has more years than me and can actually train me in something and make me learn some new material and has only a BB and that is fine by me.

So, like Pete said in response to JD's comment, people are looking at that high rank, going 'ohh and ahh' and assuming that because a person is an 8th, they are somehow better. Sure, upon first look, that is the natural line of thought, yet in the end, that may not be the case, because the lower rank could very well know more and perhaps apply the material better.

From personal experience, I know of a few lower ranking black belts, that had much more practical skill than the teacher. The teacher never did much of anything with those students, due to the fact that they'd probably make him look foolish. Sparring...forget it...the lower BBs would clearly out fight him.

Due to the fact that I don't know who is reading this, I won't mention any names, however, if Stickarts is reading this thread, I'm sure he'll know who I'm talking about. :)
 

furtom

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People usually really, really want things to be "fair." But it ain't like that in the martial arts.

Very true. I think if you substitute "real world" for "martial arts" it will be even more true! :wink2:
 

Doc

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I think rank & lineage is a big deal. Rank is a big deal because if you are learning from a 1st degree black belt you aren't going to go very far in that system before your going to have to find a new teacher. If your studying under a 7th degree black belt your obviously going to be able to go further in that system. I think lineage is just as inportant as rank too.

The problem with your assessment is you are assuming the ranks actually represent what they are supposed to. I know several 1st degree ranks that know a lot more than quite a few 7th's, and higher I could name.
 

KempoGuy06

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rank is only important to me because i like pretty colors :D

and it gives me a tool to explain my progression in the arts to someone not in the arts and I like to have goals in place

B
 

morph4me

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Of course, one would think that if the person in question was that ego driven to be recognized, that they would want to be known for their skill. Afterall, that is what matters when it comes to SD, not the cloth tied about their belly. :)

True, but you can tell someone that you're a 25 degreee black belt with blu polka dots and get the oohs and aahs of the undeducated masses to help feed your ego. You'd have to demonstrate skill, and that might show your flaws and weaknesses, and you wouldn't want people to know about those :)
 

MJS

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True, but you can tell someone that you're a 25 degreee black belt with blu polka dots and get the oohs and aahs of the undeducated masses to help feed your ego. You'd have to demonstrate skill, and that might show your flaws and weaknesses, and you wouldn't want people to know about those :)

LOL, true! Whats sad, is that the uneducated will fall for this, hook, line and sinker. To the uneducated, those con artists look appealing, while the ones who know better, will see thru them.

A quote that I've seen Mr. John Bishop use in his sig line..."Time will either promote you or expose you." Truer words were never spoken. :)
 

DavidCC

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It's a general statement yes and I did state that, but I don't pretend to state that everyone has the same point of view. If you don't understand that it is a general question looking for the readers point of view then I'm sorry. Personally I like that we don't agree because most times it makes (me atleast) try to see it from the others point of view, even if I still don't agree. As for the same system I don't see how, all of your combos have been changed before you even got there, now you are changing even more. Not that it is right or wrong, that is your path (meaning that of your school). And just so we are clear I see absolutely nothing wrong with what you are doing in fact I applaud it. I too teach much outside the realm of the #'d combos and katas.

I agree :)

asides : not ALL our combos are changed! We still do the same #6 :D :D LOL and many more I'm sure

but is "the system" just "the techniques"? Or is it more? sorry, wrong thread for that :)
 

hkfuie

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However. This issue definitely hits on people's sense of fairness, and the concept that there should be standards for certain accomplishments, and that two people who have similar time & intensity should be rewarded equally.

Then there's the big villain in the closet of the psyche... EGO.

Yeah, that's the difficulty, the idea that it should be standard. That is so basic, my mind just assumes it without me realizing it, so I am sure the non-m.a. public would assume the same.

I have to admit I have had my struggles with this. But I see it as an opportunity to grow every time I deal with it again. :) I wish I could say it has never bothered me. :) It is a good thing b/c it teaches me humility. My skills are not about the belt and they are not about what others think, anyway. There is more than one path through martial arts knowledge and more than one reason to train.

Ahhh...I feel better. Maybe I will take Carol's approach and just go train. :)
 

Ray

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When I first started in Kenpo, advancement was what I sought.

At green belt, I changed my goal from advancement to becoming as good as the best that I knew and vowed to never test until I was as good as them.

At this point I still want to increase my skill and knowledge. I'm content to wear my 19 year old black belt for now. I know I'll never be as good as I want to be. And there is no end to knowledge and things to learn.
 

jks9199

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There are several "problems" with rank and comparing ranks. First -- rank is NOT absolute. My 2nd level black belt has several meanings: it means I'm a black belt in my art, having met the criteria at the time I was initially promoted, and have been promoted once since then. It means nothing in comparison with any other black belt in any other system by itself. Without knowing WHEN I was promoted, you don't even have a clue what tests I passed -- or if I passed any to be advanced!

To me, rank is a quick, rough sorting of where people's skills within their art are. In some cases, a black belt indicates a lot of skill and knowledge; in others, it means that you've learned the basics well enough to finally really start learning. In some styles, any black belt is expected to be able to teach; in others, only those particularly selected and licensed or designated are instructors. A red belt in TKD is often the step below black; in many Japanese styles, it designates a very high level black belt!

I see rank as a personal guide within my system -- but only a guide. Rank isn't the same as status or respect.
 

Danjo

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It all depends on how you identify yourself I think. When I think of myself as a member of the Emperado-Reyes-Forbach-Bishop lineage, then I am very proud of my black belt because know that they are not given away and anyone who knows that lineage well, knows what my black belt means. When I think of myself as a Kajukenbo black belt, then I am still proud, because I know that MOST of those ranks are given out properly compared to other organizations I've had dealings with, or ones I've observed. When I think of myself as a "Martial Artist" then my rank is almost meaningless given how little standardization there is and how many of them are merely sold to children etc. So it all depends on how I identify myself as to how proud I feel of my black belt.
 

MJS

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It all depends on how you identify yourself I think. When I think of myself as a member of the Emperado-Reyes-Forbach-Bishop lineage, then I am very proud of my black belt because know that they are not given away and anyone who knows that lineage well, knows what my black belt means. When I think of myself as a Kajukenbo black belt, then I am still proud, because I know that MOST of those ranks are given out properly compared to other organizations I've had dealings with, or ones I've observed. When I think of myself as a "Martial Artist" then my rank is almost meaningless given how little standardization there is and how many of them are merely sold to children etc. So it all depends on how I identify myself as to how proud I feel of my black belt.

Great post, and the underlined part brings up an interesting point. Granted its probably next to impossible to have everyone use the same standards, because some will probably be lower or higher than others, but it sure would be nice to see something in place.

I could see some margin for error in the first few ranks, ie: yellow and orange. But once they start to advance up, that margin needs to be smaller. People are not perfect, but my God, if someone is up for green belt, you'd think that things would look sharp.

I"ve sat on my share of rank tests, and there were many times when I felt like telling the person to leave the floor, pack their bags, and come back when they knew what they were doing.

Im certainly not implying that I'm perfect...lol...I'm far from it. We all have our brain farts. But once you remember what it is you're supposed to be doing, then dammit, do it with some effort. :)
 

ares

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Some people see it as a sign of accomplishment. That's how I see it. But I also know that I must always remember to keep studying and improve in what I know. I have seen some people come into the dojo with a higher rank then me, but when we would train I could see that they didn't practice much in the lower rank stuff, so they were sloppy and unpolished. Rank is only that you have learned things up to a certain point. If you don't keep learning and perfecting what you already know then your belt doesn't mean squat.
 

zeeberex

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Some people see it as a sign of accomplishment. That's how I see it. But I also know that I must always remember to keep studying and improve in what I know. I have seen some people come into the dojo with a higher rank then me, but when we would train I could see that they didn't practice much in the lower rank stuff, so they were sloppy and unpolished. Rank is only that you have learned things up to a certain point. If you don't keep learning and perfecting what you already know then your belt doesn't mean squat.


I already posted this once, its the journey. Once you get to black, it wears over time utlimately returning to white, and you get to begin again...... You refine your understanding with every repetition. Point? Stop obsessing on rank, and enjoy the ride.
 

kidswarrior

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I already posted this once, its the journey. Once you get to black, it wears over time utlimately returning to white, and you get to begin again...... You refine your understanding with every repetition. Point? Stop obsessing on rank, and enjoy the ride.
This is certainly true for me, personally.

From white to black, rank was pretty much everything. It was all about me. After 1st black, 2nd for sure, kinda lost interest in my rank, and it's become about helping others (which actually forces me to strive to get much better--staying ahead of the students, and all that :D).
 

hkfuie

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Rank keeps people in the arts until they learn enough to fall in love with their art.

So I guess until you stop worrying about rank, you're just dating your art. ;)

Once you fall in love with your art, or martial arts, THEN it's all about learning and growing. That's my theory, at least.
 

Kenpodoc

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I'm proud of my Blackbelt because it was given to me by my Instructor Mr. Hatfield and his instructor Mr. Wedlake. They felt I deserved it and I was honored to recieve it and remain honored. beyond that it is just a piece of cloth and certainly ranks are difficult to compare school to school, let alone art to art. Judge the person and don't worry about the belt.
Last week I got a chance to train with Doc Chapel and I would gladly return to white belt if it would get me more time on the mat with Doc. I feel the same about the time I've spent with Mr. Wedlake.

Jeff
 

jamz

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I've only been practicing for a year, but am halfway through the "color scale", so now belt advancements stop coming quickly. If I continue at the normal pace, working up through the rest of them will take another four years or so. For me, now is a good time to forget about rank, or at least put it in the back of the mind, because it will be a very long (but enjoyable) trip, and to lust after the next belt color will just make it frustrating. Brown is a year and a half alone at my school.

Especially important to forget about it because I know I could swap schools within the system and "get" a black belt much faster (villaris, ya know...heck I could get one in the mail).... but as my instructor says, you could get a black belt faster, but if you put in more time, and more practice, you could be so much better, which is why it takes a while at her dojo, and that's also why I stay there.
 
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