Time in each rank

K-man

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
1,221
Location
Australia
Koichi Tohei recieved his 7th Dan with only 2 years of training and was promoted to 10th Dan with less than 5 years of training. Why? Who knows, maybe O'Sensei liked him.
I believe the first grade given after two years training may have been 5th dan, nevertheless an impressive promotion. This included spending 6 months of full time training with O'Sensei, and when he was leaving the organisation to join the military. I think his elevation had a lot to do with his understanding of the 'ki' principles. The 10th dan promotion was in 1969, 29 years after he first started with O'Sensei, and I presume when O'Sensei realised he was not long for this earth. :asian:
 

Jaspthecat

Orange Belt
Joined
Feb 14, 2009
Messages
67
Reaction score
3
Could anyone help me with this question please? :asian:


I believe some schools employ sashes.

As far as I'm concerned, proficiency should be gauged by overall skill and if applicable the number of fights entered and won.

You don't see boxers wear belts, you gauge them by how they fight.
 

Bruno@MT

Senior Master
Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Messages
3,399
Reaction score
74
Oh yeah, good point!

You don't lose a belt once you have achieved it though, in MA at least.

In Genbukan ninpo / jujutsu you can.

If you drop out, and then join again later, you have to start over again.
Depending on which rank you had previously, you can accelerate check testing, but you'll have to pass each exam again.
Personally, I think this is perfectly reasonable.
 

Jaspthecat

Orange Belt
Joined
Feb 14, 2009
Messages
67
Reaction score
3
In Genbukan ninpo / jujutsu you can.

If you drop out, and then join again later, you have to start over again.
Depending on which rank you had previously, you can accelerate check testing, but you'll have to pass each exam again.
Personally, I think this is perfectly reasonable.

I should have elaborated...

I meant lose your belt for losing a fight.

I myself lost my 3rd Kup status in TKD after I returned briefly to the sport after a 5 year break.
 

yorkshirelad

Master Black Belt
Joined
Jan 9, 2009
Messages
1,435
Reaction score
50
Location
Huntington Beach
I believe the first grade given after two years training may have been 5th dan, nevertheless an impressive promotion. This included spending 6 months of full time training with O'Sensei, and when he was leaving the organisation to join the military. I think his elevation had a lot to do with his understanding of the 'ki' principles. The 10th dan promotion was in 1969, 29 years after he first started with O'Sensei, and I presume when O'Sensei realised he was not long for this earth. :asian:
I recall 7th after years. Oh well. No-one knows why he was ranked so quickly, but it could be that O'Sensei liked him, nothing more. O'Sensei was just a man and would have had his favourites like everyone else.

My point is that rank is subjective and shouldn't be taken too seriously. Ed parker awarded Elvis an 8th Degree for Pete's sake. He said it was honorary, but any rank above 3rd (or 5th if you use forms 7 for 4th and 8 for 5th) is honorary in EPAK.

Sometimes people get the rank because the instructor likes them or wants something from them. I just think that we should just train and be happy with the fact that we have a functional body to train with and healthy mind to process the instruction.
 

jeorf

Yellow Belt
Joined
Sep 5, 2009
Messages
34
Reaction score
2
In our school there are no set guidelines for promotion. When someone is ready to test they test. It is incredibly rare for someone to test more frequently than 6 months. Kids test once a year. It's a mushy decision-making process based on how the person's skills and growth have improved since the previous test. There are physically talented people who get through the lower ranks pretty quick. There are people who, at middle ranks don't test because they aren't maturing into the role that the next level requires. (I'm talking adults here - there's one now that is being held back from red belt because of his disrespectful manner and lack of psychological commitment to the art and his development.)

I have always completely trusted my teacher's decisions on whether or not I'm ready to test. At times someone is invited to test because they are already "at" the next rank, sometimes someone is invited to test because they need that goal moment to get there. There is no passing or failing. The test itself is a demonstration of where you're at. If there are problems that are evident at the test then it just points out what needs to be the focus next.

I think that the usual time for the lowest ranks is probably 6-8 months between tests. That seems to stretch out for most people to 8-12 months through the middle ranks. Red to 1st black stripe, to 2nd black stripe and to black is probably pretty close to a year each rank. (1st stripe to 2nd can be a lot sooner.) There are probably 2 adult tests per year. I was 8 years to BB which, somehow, was quick (considering I was a green belt for what felt like forever - close to 3 years) and was going through surgery and chemotherapy between 1st black stripe and BB. After that it's 2 years to 2nd dan, 3 to 3rd, etc, 25 total years before 4th. (I think that's pretty typical.)

I often hear that kids will get bored if they don't test every couple of months but we don't see that at all. In fact, at once a year they are often ahead of themselves. (There was talk about adding another yellow stripe for kids at one point.) They come to adult class at age 13 often with 1 red stripe (that would be 5th gup I think). No one tests for red belt before age 16. They really are given the chance to mature before being promoted to that rank. Often a young person will go off to college for a year at 2nd black stripe and test for black in the summer after their freshman year.

How's that for a long answer??
 

katagrl

White Belt
Joined
Sep 7, 2009
Messages
17
Reaction score
1
I think that the usual time for the lowest ranks is probably 6-8 months between tests. That seems to stretch out for most people to 8-12 months through the middle ranks. Red to 1st black stripe, to 2nd black stripe and to black is probably pretty close to a year each rank.

I am glad to see that there are other schools that take a long time to promote people. I have sometimes wondered if my teacher is a bit OCD, and kind of unreasonably perfectionistic, and it can get pretty frustrating sometimes. In my school, for the adults we have quarterly evaluations -- though this is pretty loose, depending on instructor's schedules. It actually usually ends up being more like 3 times a year, on average. Everyone is expected to attend, if at all possible, regardless of whether they expect to get promoted, and they will advance at that time if they are ready. People who catch on quickly can advance through the first couple of ranks in a year, but then it slows down dramatically. It usually takes somewhere between 8 to 12 years to get to shodan! Getting promoted is not just based on knowing the requirements for that belt, but working on them for a long enough time that they have improved greatly, plus some ineffible thing that only sensei knows about. I think it's all very well to say that rank shouldn't matter and the like, but when you are training 3 to 5 times a week -- definitely 5 in the big push before shodan -- it can get discouraging at times. Also, rank definitely does matter, if you are into tournaments, because you can't judge without the shodan.

Well, I also have to take into account that we are actually earning 2 shodans, because we have to test through 10 kyu levels in kobudo (weapons) as well, and have to have achieved shodan in it in order to get shodan in karate-do. People often spend a year or so on each weapons kata, so that's 10 years right there.

All of this is to say, I'm glad to see that there are other schools who do it more like this, I'm not sure why, maybe so I don't feel alone in my frustration. (?) Don't get me wrong, I'm not obsessed with rank, and I stay because it is excellent training. But rank does matter as well, in my opinion. People need encouragement, for one thing, and it especially becomes an issue when there are apparent discrepencies within the school. But that is a separate topic, perhaps for a future post.

Anyway, I think it's excellent training, so I stay.
 

Jenny_in_Chico

Black Belt
Joined
Aug 28, 2009
Messages
531
Reaction score
30
Location
California
Ed parker awarded Elvis an 8th Degree for Pete's sake. He said it was honorary, but any rank above 3rd (or 5th if you use forms 7 for 4th and 8 for 5th) is honorary in EPAK.

Can you elaborate on this? I'm new to EPAK, and I'm a little hazy still on the nuances of black belt rankings.

Thanks!
 

Bruno@MT

Senior Master
Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Messages
3,399
Reaction score
74
I
All of this is to say, I'm glad to see that there are other schools who do it more like this, I'm not sure why, maybe so I don't feel alone in my frustration. (?) Don't get me wrong, I'm not obsessed with rank, and I stay because it is excellent training. But rank does matter as well, in my opinion. People need encouragement, for one thing, and it especially becomes an issue when there are apparent discrepencies within the school. But that is a separate topic, perhaps for a future post.

Anyway, I think it's excellent training, so I stay.

+1.

I will be glad if I can finally wear green instead of white though. :eek:
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
269
Location
Olney, Maryland
Can you elaborate on this? I'm new to EPAK, and I'm a little hazy still on the nuances of black belt rankings.

Thanks!
In many systems, rank beyond a certain point is "honorary" in the sense that new material is not being taught, thus the individual has learned the curriculum in its entirety. That does not mean that there is not a physical test of some kind, though sometimes, ranks are bestowed without one.

In most systems, the breaking point is from fourth and sixth dan. Above that, it becomes more about what you have done for the art, rather than just your technical mastery and personal depth.

In Presley's case, he promoted Parker, Parker's system, and the martial arts in general quite heavilly. He financed the opening of one of Kang Rhee's schools as well, and studied karate in some form from the late fifties through at least the early seventies. Not the time period that one would expect for one to attain an 8th dan, but as was said, it was honorary.

Presley tested up through either third and was skipped to fifth or through fourth and skipped to sixth. Kang Rhee promoted him to seventh dan, honorary, I assume, and Parker promoted him to eighth, honorary as previously mentioned.

From the information that I have read, Presley was most likely a fairly solid third dan and a legit fourth. Beyond that, his promotions were honorary and based on his contributions to the arts, much of which was financial, some of which included in person promotion of the arts.

Point of trivia: his white jump suit design was based on his karate gi.

Daniel
 

Milt G.

Purple Belt
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Messages
340
Reaction score
7
Location
Hillsboro, OR.
Hello,

I dont know if this has been asked before or not. I did a search and couldnt find a thread on this.

My question is, how long should a student stay at each rank?
We have white, yellow, orange, purple, blue, green, brown, 1st brown, and black.

Is it bad to hold a student back if they already know their requirements for each ranking? My instructor held me at blue for over a year, even though I had all my requirements for green. Now, it seems he is now moving people up faster and not holding them back like he did me. Whatever happened to be humble at each rank and not rushing? So, I just want to see what are the time frames that you guys have for each ranking. Or, should I even care?

Thanks in advance.

Hello,

Except for the first belt, in our case it is the yellow belt, I feel that three to six months is a sufficient time in each rank. Most practitioners will fall closer to the five to six month timing. The yellow belt is often obtained in one to three months. There are about a third less requirements at that level.
Our belt rank progression is:
White (no requirements, comes with gi.) :)
Yellow
Orange
Purple
Blue
Green
3rd Brown
2nd Brown
1st Brown
1st Black, etc...

The brown belt, which for us has three seperate levels, (each a full belt system) should be held for a minimum of one year.

The black belt levels are pretty standard for us in that the 1st level (Shodan) is obtained in three to five years. Most practitioners fall in the four to five year range. Above Shodan the time in grade is equal to the level of your next belt rank. Two years to Nidan, Three years to Sandan, four years to Yodan, etc... There are exceptions to these times in grade but they are few and far between.

This is how I/we do it anyway.
Good thread! Thank you.
Milt G.
 

jeorf

Yellow Belt
Joined
Sep 5, 2009
Messages
34
Reaction score
2
I am glad to see that there are other schools that take a long time to promote people. I have sometimes wondered if my teacher is a bit OCD, and kind of unreasonably perfectionistic, and it can get pretty frustrating sometimes. In my school, for the adults we have quarterly evaluations -- though this is pretty loose, depending on instructor's schedules. It actually usually ends up being more like 3 times a year, on average. Everyone is expected to attend, if at all possible, regardless of whether they expect to get promoted, and they will advance at that time if they are ready. People who catch on quickly can advance through the first couple of ranks in a year, but then it slows down dramatically. It usually takes somewhere between 8 to 12 years to get to shodan! Getting promoted is not just based on knowing the requirements for that belt, but working on them for a long enough time that they have improved greatly, plus some ineffible thing that only sensei knows about. I think it's all very well to say that rank shouldn't matter and the like, but when you are training 3 to 5 times a week -- definitely 5 in the big push before shodan -- it can get discouraging at times. Also, rank definitely does matter, if you are into tournaments, because you can't judge without the shodan.

Well, I also have to take into account that we are actually earning 2 shodans, because we have to test through 10 kyu levels in kobudo (weapons) as well, and have to have achieved shodan in it in order to get shodan in karate-do. People often spend a year or so on each weapons kata, so that's 10 years right there.

All of this is to say, I'm glad to see that there are other schools who do it more like this, I'm not sure why, maybe so I don't feel alone in my frustration. (?) Don't get me wrong, I'm not obsessed with rank, and I stay because it is excellent training. But rank does matter as well, in my opinion. People need encouragement, for one thing, and it especially becomes an issue when there are apparent discrepencies within the school. But that is a separate topic, perhaps for a future post.

Anyway, I think it's excellent training, so I stay.

I think that the difference my have to do with the focus of the school. If you are doing a lot of competition (are you? I can't quite tell) then rank probably means more.

There are probably people in my school who are more concerned about rank than others but I don't think anyone would ever say anything about it. (Asking when you might test is, to me, kind of like asking people how much money they make.) There are probably people who get frustrated at not testing more frequently or seeing a "rank mate" test before they do. It's all pretty fair and it's very rare that someone who stands to the left (lower in the rank/time frame usually) of someone of the same rank gets tested sooner.

Your comment about apparent discrepancies is another issue. The person who was my "rank mate" throughout my training, and with whom I tested for black belt, is really at a completely different place than I am. First, she's about 20 years older than me (which puts her in her 70's) and, even separate from that, just doesn't seem to have the same intensity of interest/focus as I do. It has "gotten to me" at times - especially in our BB training. But, I figure it's just one of those things I need to learn about - letting go of competitiveness and comparisons and just taking responsibility for myself.

It's my sense that we have the feelings about rank that we do because that's how our school puts it forth. I suppose if I was at a school where testing occurred on a set schedule and there was an option for failure I would feel differently about it. (I wonder if I would even stay in it...but I really don't know if I can answer that - I probably would, I'd just have a whole different attitude about what I was doing there.)

You must understand, this comes from someone who, when I tested for red belt, went kicking (if you'll excuse the pun) and pouting into having to finally admit that I wasn't a beginner anymore! It was a relief to become black belt and be able to be beginner again!
 

Milt G.

Purple Belt
Joined
Jul 11, 2009
Messages
340
Reaction score
7
Location
Hillsboro, OR.
What do you mean by "each a full belt system" with regards to the three levels of brown? Just curious.

Daniel

Hello,
What I meant, but what came out "fuzzy", was...

There are three levels of the brown belt rank.
3rd, 2nd and 1st brown.

Each of those levels has, at least, the required material of any other belt level up to that point.
So, you wear the brown belt for about the same time as you would move through three other belt levels. About a year, or so.

The brown belt is located directly under the black in our system of Kenpo.

Sorry for the confusion, but thanks!
Milt G.
 

kingkong89

Green Belt
Joined
Jul 30, 2006
Messages
197
Reaction score
1
We advance our students when they are redy everyone learns at their own pace if it takes them 6 months to go from blue to gereen it takes then 6th months if it takes them 6 yrs it takes them 6 yrs
 

Ninebird8

Blue Belt
Joined
Jun 17, 2008
Messages
238
Reaction score
14
In traditional kung fu, there were only four ranks: Grandmaster who headed the syste, Masters, disciples, and students (si hing and si dei, older and younger brothers). Nowadays, even kung fu has rankings in America to help everyone along, but in my opinion, and in observation, putting a set time on when someone should rank is foolhardy. I have read here in some cases where people are tested every three months and can obtain a black belt in 2-3 years?! It took me 8 and a half years to get that first equivalent rank, and I was not moving slowly. But I trained every day from 5-7 in the morning, went to work, and then trained from 6-9 at night, but that was the old way. And, our tests lasted from 6 hours to 2 days on the weekend! Along with disagreeing with giving sashes/belts to youngsters at black belt level, each person moves at their own pace and level of understanding. One of the KEY lessons lost in the US but true in Asia is to test against one's self every day, not compare to progress of others. Not all can be a Jet Li, an Ed Parker, a Jhonn Rhee or Hee Il Cho, Bruce Lee, etc.

When people ask me how to tell a good school,one of the first things I tell them is to run away if they guarantee a time frame for a rank, as that is impossible! Each individual determines their own rate of progress, along with a good instructor's guidance, insight, and training.

That is my humble opinion....seek the knowledge, not the rank!! Attain the knowledge, then the rank will come, and then wisdom, which really is nothing more than knowledge applied at the appropriate time!
 

shaolin-warrior

White Belt
Joined
Apr 15, 2007
Messages
17
Reaction score
2
Location
Connecticut
This is my official first post!
I just ran this article in my school news letter after I lost a student because she was passed over for testing.
The Importance of Rank Testing
Sensei Brian
When will my child be ready to test?

It is very important to understand that not everyone will progress at the same speed through the ranks in the Martial Arts. There are many factors that lead to advancement. Some factors we can change, but some will always be there. Let’s discuss a few factors that might be obstacles for yourself or your child.
The first one is a matter of the chemical makeup of one’s brain. You cannot teach a child to be more competitive by nature, however, that’s not to say that we can’t encourage it. Although it may not seem that some students are outwardly competitive, that doesn’t mean that he or she can’t set and achieve intrinsic goals for themselves. This is where Martial Artists excel. The nice thing about our program at Kempo Defense Systems, is that we realize that each of our students are very different and their needs as Martial Artists vary. Some need self control more than others.
While some may need to work more on their focus and paying attention to simple directions, or some might lack in motor skill coordination. As Martial Artists and parents, it is quite evident to us what child has what need. These needs are not weaknesses or character flaws, but merely what individualizes all of us as human beings.
Another factor that may lead to a slower rank progression in the Martial Arts is a very simple one to recognize. Some students don’t have the drive to practice at home. They may be spread too thin with school activities or a hectic family schedule, they may have to many distractions at home with the television, computer or video games. Whatever the case may be, Martial Arts is like anything else, you get out of it what you put into it.
And finally, the level of maturity of a student has a lot to do with rank progression. Age is definitely a factor, but what better way to grow in maturity than in an activity that positively reinforces self control, discipline, manners, respect and healthy physical activity.
Bottom line is that we are all different, and we can’t measure our own personal growth against someone else’s benchmark. That’s not fair to anyone. Our promise to you as parents is an easy one to keep. We will never test a student that isn’t ready to test, and we will never hold back a student from testing that’s ready. Personal growth in the Martial Arts is just that, personal. I encourage your comments and appreciate that as parents, you hate to see your child not test when others are testing, I have children in the martial arts as well, and have felt that way also. I assure you that I have no personal favorites, I enjoy the opportunity I have to interface with all my students, and each one is equally as valuable to me. That is why when they work harder to achieve what seems unattainable to them; they have a better sense of accomplishment and a clearer view of how hard work pays off in every aspect of their lives. This is a knowledge that can’t be bought or learned in any school. This only comes from personal experience
As young Martial Artists your students will learn very valuable life lessons. They will learn to deal with the disappointment that comes part and parcel with any sports or academic program. They will not always test with other students at the same time. But unlike any other sport, they hold the key to their own success. There is no team to depend on or to let them down. A Martial Artist learns to become self reliant, this builds their confidence and their self esteem. These are all basic needs, remember how thrilled your child was when they learned to tie their own shoes or ride their bike solo. This is the same feeling that they will get every time they reach a new milestone in the martial arts.
If I give a student something that they haven’t strived hard for, I am sending out a message that good things come with minimal effort. That would be great injustice, one I’m not willing to deal them. What I will do for my students is teach them that hard work pays off, and that if you want something bad enough it can be yours, but you have to be willing to trade hard work for reward. In the end, they will become better and more productive members of society knowing the best things in life come from the fruits of their labors.
 
Top