Who should sign a black belt cert?

Carol

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From time to time, the subject of who signed a person's BB cert comes in to discussion...especially in the discussion of higher dan ranks.

However, the people that sign the BB certificates seem to vary. In the Jeff Speakman videos, for example, Mr. Speakman (a Kenpoist) mentions the certificates are signed by all of his students, as well as by people that he has trained under, but not in Kenpo (Hanshi Angel) or that have a connection to Kenpo but perhaps not on the same level (Guru Dan Inosanto). He also mentions his students sign his rank certs as well.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Should students be asked to sign off on their instructor's rank promotion?

Should people from "Art A" certify the promotion rank of someone in "Art B"?

Should a BB that is more junior to the person being promoted sign off on black belt promotions? Example...should a 6th degree sign off on the promotion of a person from 7th to 8th?
 

karate-dragon

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I believe that it only requires 2 signatures. One should be from the person doing the actual promoting and that should be someone in the same style that is at least one rank higher than the person being promoted (at least in my style of kempo). So a Tae Kwon Do person should not be promoting a Kempoist. The other signature should be someone as a witness, and that person can be of a lower rank.I don't understand how people in one style go to the next higher dan level by being promoted by someone in a totally different style. If they trained under that person and receive a rank in their style that does not mean they are a higher rank in their own style.
 

14 Kempo

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Should students be asked to sign off on their instructor's rank promotion?

I think this is rediculous. There is no need to have students sign a certificate, especially non-black belts. In some organizations that could mean dozens, if not hundreds of signatures. Also, some organizations, I can't speak for all, juniors are not allowed to attend higher level testing.

Should people from "Art A" certify the promotion rank of someone in "Art B"?

I think this can be OK under certain conditions. Many of the arts are very, very close as far as fighting style and movement. A master or grand master from one style should have enough knowledge within the arts to grade a persons knowledge and technical skills. I do not believe a TKD person should sign off on a high ranking Kempo sytlists certification as anything more than a Witness.

Should a BB that is more junior to the person being promoted sign off on black belt promotions? Example...should a 6th degree sign off on the promotion of a person from 7th to 8th?

As mentioned previously, some styles, I can't speak for all, would not allow a junior rank to witness a higher level test. But I guess if they did, then I think it would be OK for a junior to sign off as a Witness, but nothing more.
 

exile

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Should students be asked to sign off on their instructor's rank promotion?

Should people from "Art A" certify the promotion rank of someone in "Art B"?

Should a BB that is more junior to the person being promoted sign off on black belt promotions? Example...should a 6th degree sign off on the promotion of a person from 7th to 8th?

I have to say, I find the promotion practices alluded to somewhat mysterious. In the academic world, where promotion is at least as big a deal as in the MAs (and typically just as charged), you would never find a group of graduate students who were asked to provide input on whether or not one of their number deserved to be granted a Ph.D. The point is, the determination of whether that student's work merited a doctoral degree would not be within the competence of people who were at the same level of expertise as the candidate. If your competence is stage 1, how can you evaluate whether someone else's work reflects stage 2 competence? You haven't gotten there yourself, so you don't know what stage 2 competence entails. Exactly this same reasoning governs the restrictions about hiring at the Assistant Prof level to the regular full-time faculty, promotion to Associate Prof with tenure to the tenured faculty, and promotion to Full Prof to the Full Profs exclusively. It would be be not just inconceivable, but really inconceivable, to have people at a lower rank decide about the promotion of someone to a more advanced rank, for the reason given: if you're not there yourself, you're not in a position to certify competence at that more
advanced level.

The same kind of reasoning makes sense to me in the MAs. If you're only X good, how can you determine whether some level of performance is at X+1 level or not?

By the same token, people from my department will sit in on dissertation defenses in physics or psychology... but only as representatives of the Graduate School, to certify that basic norms of fairness were respected. And so far as faculty promotions are concerned, we have, quite properly, no voice at all, as they have none in ours. The same reasoning carries through in the MA analogue, I think—why should MT people have input on whether someone is promoted in Aikido or not, or vice versa? And so on...
 

terryl965

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The head instructor and the panel of superiors that are there to watch the BB test and that is all, except yopu are from TKD and then you may want a Kukkiwon certifcate from Korea just for the sake of argument.
 

crushing

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I would differentiate the "who should sign" from the "who can sign". Who should sign it are the official certifying board and/or head of school. I pretty much agree with the "who should sign" posts so far.

That said, I see no reason to eliminate the extra signers (students, peers, other MAists) that may not be the certifying signatures, but instead witnesses that respect and may have participated in the journey thus far.

I have a couple 'extra' people in mind that I would be honored to have sign my 1st BB cert, should I ever be found worthy, one being my eldest son. They wouldn't be certifying signatures, but they have played a huge role in my training and development.

As a gup I was extremely honored to witness a fellow students testing to 1st Dan then asked to sign his BB Cert. To be honest, I was aprehensive and wasn't sure I was worthy and he saw this in me. He was then very complimentary about my role in helping him on his journey. I signed it, and I'm glad I did.
 

Kacey

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Our certificates are signed by:
- the president of our association
- the testing instructor (who is not the student's instructor, and must be at least 2 dan ranks higher)
- the student's instructor

If one of my students chooses to have his/her certificate signed by other people, I certainly won't object - but I see no reason to mandate it.
 

chinto01

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I believe the head of the organization and the persons instructor are sufficient. However some dojos may want to make it a little more personal so they may have the students classmates sign it also. Which is right? Guess both depending on which way you want to view it.

In the spirit of bushido!

Rob
 

thetruth

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The head of your style, your instructor and any other dan ranks from your style that are taking part. Having people from other styles sign your certificate just comes across as 'look at who I know'.

Just my thoughts
Cheers
Sam:asian:
 

Cirdan

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It should of course be the sole duty of Ashida Kim the Revered Invisible Master to sign all certificates.
ninja.gif
 

Jdokan

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Should students be asked to sign off on their instructor's rank promotion?
Definitely NOT!!!

Should people from "Art A" certify the promotion rank of someone in "Art B"?
The only promotions I would give would be to those that have met the requirements of the art I study....I am a Kenpo guy why would I want to promote a TKD person to a higher rank? IF they could meet ALL the requirements of Kenpo 2 dan then YES I would promote them if they also met the time in rank requirement also....

Should a BB that is more junior to the person being promoted sign off on black belt promotions? Example...should a 6th degree sign off on the promotion of a person from 7th to 8th?
This is kind of vague...sign how? as witness? yes...Personally I don't believe in the witness piece... We did it my old Dojo and as part of their corriculum I had no issue with it..At my own place though..If I want to train and promote a student to black (and as 6th Dan) why would I need an additional signature to validate it? I am not a commercially run school, I train individually only...selectively...sounds arrogant to some I know but this is MY art that I'm teaching and I can afford to teach it to whom I want. Therefore I don't feel I need additional signatures... I am about to promote a student that has been studying for black for about 8 years...I hope he is ready come August...When I test him I will be the only one there promoting him...What more signatures are neccessary? AM I not trustworthy by myself? If that's the case then it is time to hang it all up....
 

Grenadier

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What are your thoughts on the subject?

For the students who are getting their early dan ranking certificates, the way I see it, only the chief instructor of the dojo absolutely needs to sign it. That particular instructor should only be able to promote someone to one rank below his current rank.

Once they get to a higher dan level (5th or higher), it would be very nice if the head of the system signed it, too.

Should students be asked to sign off on their instructor's rank promotion?

No. Such signatures are only for the chief instructor, as well as the head of the system.

Should people from "Art A" certify the promotion rank of someone in "Art B"?

Unless those people from "Art A" actually hold legitimate rankings in "Art B," then I'd have to say "no." The only way they should even have any input is if they are judging things on technical matters, and even then, their advice would have to be taken with a grain of salt.

Should a BB that is more junior to the person being promoted sign off on black belt promotions? Example...should a 6th degree sign off on the promotion of a person from 7th to 8th?

No, unless we're talking about a situation where the head of the system dies, and a replacement is promoted to take his place. In these cases, the senior sensei of the system should be coordinating as a council, and hold a promotion ceremony for the person who will become the new head of the system, and sign off on it.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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I think this will vary greatly from organization to organization. Everyone will have their unique spin on quality control. In IRT I sign the certificate and that is it. One of my students is at the point where he will be able to promote to the highest levels and then he can sign the certificate for his students. Our way is simple and to the point and for now it works really well that way. That is just how we do it. However for every system you will find that someone has a different way of doing it. Sometimes that different way is right within a system. Take Modern Arnis for example. Sometimes they had testing at a camp more like a board or at a school with a board. Sometimes Remy Presas promoted or attempted to promote someone in the hallway of a restaurant. It all depended on the situation and the individual. Then take Budo Taijutsu for example where most of the time an instructor just determines that it is time to promote you. That's it you are promoted. This is also similar to how most BJJ promotion's happen at seminars and they just promote you there on the spot. (back in the day as BJJ is rapidly changing) Changing so much that one individual at least is trying to build his empire by offereing promotions without so much as meeting the person. So really I think there is alot of variation and who really is right to say one way is better than another. :idunno:
 

LawDog

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*Someone of a higher dan ranking within the exact same style should sign the certificate. Any other signatures are witnesses to the testing or the signing.
*If someone is being promoted in an off shoot version of a system that a person had developed on his/her own then the promoting person / board should be from the original system or one of the original systems.
*If a person is being promoted in a true hybred system then a board, consisting of Master level people should be formed. The full board should sign the certificate. This would not be a promotion but a recognition of rank.
*Within a system or organization the senior ranks can form a board and promote someone to a rank above their own highest existing level. The full board should sign the certificate to validate it. This usually happens when outside politics shows it's ugly face and forces many organizations to use this method.
*There are many umbrella organizations out there who are promoting many to dan rankings in different styles. In some of these cases the signatures on the certificates are not, in my opinon, qualified to promote the person. Judo masters signing rank certificates in Jujitsu. Korean Masters signing Founders certificates for recognition in a new Kempo system.
:asian:

Note- a little off topic.:-offtopic
Something new that I do not personally agree with. A group of black belts will get together and add up their own combined ranks. They then will claim that they can promote someone to that level. Example, Shodan,(1), Nidan,(2), Sandan,(3), adds up to 6. This group can now claims that they can promote someone to a master level of 6 dan.
 

Jdokan

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Note- a little off topic.:-offtopic
Something new that I do not personally agree with. A group of black belts will get together and add up their own combined ranks. They then will claim that they can promote someone to that level. Example, Shodan,(1), Nidan,(2), Sandan,(3), adds up to 6. This group can now claims that they can promote someone to a master level of 6 dan.[/quote]

In the immortal words of Mr. Romano: HOLY CRAP!!!!
This is absolutely rediculous....There should be at least one rank behind the promotion...As 6th I could never promote beyond 5th....by the rules I grew up with...
 

atinsley

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In the organization I am with, the founder of the system and my instructor sign my rank certificates.

As far as promotions, the head instructor for the school does them through brown; promotions to black and beyond are done by the founder of the system and his assistant professors.
 

jks9199

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I don't get how anyone, singularly or as a group, can promote someone to a rank they don't have. An association may confer it's ranking on it's members, and in that case, can confer highest rankings on its most senior members -- but I see that differently than "promoting" that person. That's simply recognizing the top person or handful as being "the top." Especially if there are established criteria that the people have met. It's still something that should be quite rare, and almost singular events in the association.

Who should sign? It depends, first, on the certificate design. Mine is signed by the president of the association when I reached black belt, and the chief instructor. Each endorsement has been signed by the chief instructor. Another approach would be to have the members of the promotion board, or their chairperson, sign in the place of the chief instructor.

Should students sign? No. Nor do I think anyone else should be signing. I would have loved to have my instructor sign my black belt certificate; I got promoted a year after the end of his last term as president. My teacher didn't sign my certificate, nor did any of my classmates.

The idea of "adding up ranks" boggles my mind... Does that mean that 10 or 12 white belts can promote a black belt? You can't promote someone to a rank you don't have if the ranks are based on skills and knowledge. How can you properly assess the skills and knowledge without possessing them yourself?

I can see a lower ranking black belt sitting as part of a promotional board, serving mostly in an administrative role. For example, they might endorse that the board did follow the rules, or check that candidates do have a current CPR card, did the requisite number of pushups, or other similar administrative requirements have been met. But skill? That's gotta be assessed by someone AT LEAST at the level the candidate aspires to -- and ideally higher.
 

thardey

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In my system, (Chun Kuk Do - governed by the United Fighting Arts Federation) we have to pass with a majority vote of a board of 7 members, the lowest ranking of which has to be higher than the person testing. (I'm not sure if they have to be higher than their current rank, or their new rank). They all sign their individual testing sheets, then present them to your head instructor. They also make a video of the test and send that, along with a copy of the testing sheets, to UFAF.

Each of our certificates is signed by our head instructor, and by Chuck Norris (our Grandmaster - the only 10th degree in our system.)

As you get higher ranks, the weight is more on the ability to teach, and less and less on physical skills. For instance, 2nd dan is our equivalent of an instructor's license, signed by Mr. Norris. By 5th dan, the requirements are classroom related, mostly teaching skills and student psychology, from what I've been told.

From 5th dan and up, you are only promoted by the senior board members of UFAF itself, once a year at the annual convention.

As far as other styles go, we're unusual in that after 2nd or 3rd dan, added skills in other styles, (particularly Jujustsu, Judo, Aikido, and the like - grappling/throwing/joint lock styles are encouraged) are actually part of your journey to a higher level in Chun Kuk Do. So by the time you've earned, say, a brown belt in Brazillian Jujustsu, you've also earned another dan rank in Chun Kuk Do. There's also time requirements to be met between ranks, as well. That sort of means that you never "leave" CKD to study another style.

(The only way to "leave" Chun Kuk Do is by a fatal roundhouse kick to the head from Chuck Norris himself.)

And, of course, a UFAF board can only promote people within Chun Kuk Do.

From what I understand, all the formality is to keep individual instructors and schools accountable to a national standard, and avoid the McDojo syndrome.

I'm not saying this is "THE WAY" (*imagine cool echoes for emphasis*) this is just how my organization does it, to add food for thought.
 

Rich Parsons

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Should people from "Art A" certify the promotion rank of someone in "Art B"?
The only promotions I would give would be to those that have met the requirements of the art I study....I am a Kenpo guy why would I want to promote a TKD person to a higher rank? IF they could meet ALL the requirements of Kenpo 2 dan then YES I would promote them if they also met the time in rank requirement also....

What are your thoughts of groups of people who gather and see someone do a demo and then call it a test and promote or recognize them as a master? Note: The system being demo'd is form a different culture and different system.

I can see TKD style a and then being tested in TKD Style B. As the styles or organizations are the major differences.

I can see Modern Arnis Org A recognizing a person in Org B. But as a recognition does this means they have cross ranked them?

If they do promote them in their org then that is fine as well. But one could possible jump from org to org to gain rank.
 
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