Young black belts, no problem - young grandmaster...hmm?

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andyjeffries

andyjeffries

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I think the term master is being used as master in the master/mister context. I had an Aunt who would write "master" on christmas and birthday cards, when I was a kid. I think it was the show Family Affair where Mr. French used to address the small boy Jody as "Master Jody".

This is common in the UK (to refer to children as Master {Surname}). My son takes great amusement when I refer to him as Master Jeffries and he always replies with "Yes, Master Jeffries?"
 

Daniel Sullivan

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I think the term master is being used as master in the master/mister context. I had an Aunt who would write "master" on christmas and birthday cards, when I was a kid. I think it was the show Family Affair where Mr. French used to address the small boy Jody as "Master Jody".
I'm sure that there are exceptions, and I cannot speak for the whole of the UK, but at least in the continental US, it is definitely not the norm. As I said, that is the honoric that they assigned to first through fifth dan, so it is appropriate within the organization.

Not what I would have picked, but I'm not in charge of the Kukkiwon, nor do I feel the need to armchair quarterback every decision that they make.
 
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andyjeffries

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I'm sure that there are exceptions, and I cannot speak for the whole of the UK, but at least in the continental US, it is definitely not the norm. As I said, that is the honoric that they assigned to first through fifth dan, so it is appropriate within the organization.

Just to be clear, when I was talking about Master being normal for children in the UK, I meant outside of martial arts. It's a general title used for male children. My son is referred to as Master Jeffries because he's under 16 and a boy, it has nothing to do with the fact that he's a 7th Gup ;-) I would refer to my nephew (if I was being jokingly formal rather than calling him Josh) as Master Holland and he doesn't do martial arts at all.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Just to be clear, when I was talking about Master being normal for children in the UK, I meant outside of martial arts. It's a general title used for male children. My son is referred to as Master Jeffries because he's under 16 and a boy, it has nothing to do with the fact that he's a 7th Gup ;-) I would refer to my nephew (if I was being jokingly formal rather than calling him Josh) as Master Holland and he doesn't do martial arts at all.
I am curious as to whether this is the case in Canada and Australia. It is not in the US, but the US is not the only English speaking nation.
 

Archtkd

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This is common in the UK (to refer to children as Master {Surname}). My son takes great amusement when I refer to him as Master Jeffries and he always replies with "Yes, Master Jeffries?"

This is common courtey title for boys in a large part of the British Commonwealth, including Kenya my native country.
 

TheNinja

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"26-year-old eighth degree black belt"

I know there's been discussions on here before about how people feel about young black belts. Personally I have no problem with them. However, I don't think it's right that someone can be an 8th Dan black belt at 26. I know they couldn't under Kukkiwon rules, but this is TAGB (which I'm sure used to be an ITF offshoot, but is now considered an independent).

What are your thoughts on this? How young should someone be before they could be considered an 8th Dan/Grandmaster?
There is NO SUCH THING AS A 26 YEAR OLD 8TH DEGREE BLACK BELT. Period! And anyone who passed out these degrees like Skittles is just as fraudulent. The problem with martial arts these days is that it is no longer an art. You have fraudulent senseis giving themselves degrees theyve never earned. And just like everything else in the USA, martial arts has become a commodity rather than being a discipline. There are very few REAL 5th degrees in the USA and those people are well into their 60s and 70s. In Japan, Okinawa, Korea etc there are a handful of TRUE 7th degree and a couple 8th degrees. Im talking about original disipline, not the tweaked versions where you have a purple belt as your sensei. You have MMA instructors (they are not sensei) who claim to have 8th degrees in 12 different disciplines and theyre 48 years old. Its a joke. I studied Shodokan in Japan for 10 years in the 90s under Junkichi and Naryiama Tetsuro and they were very strict when it came to Aikido dans degree. We learned about fraudulent senseis in several disciplines most being in the USA and Europe. The problem is that their is really no governance of disciplines. Zero authority. Senseis were basically under the honor system, but honor doesnt make money. And honor is very rare these days mainly confined to the military. Simply put, anyone on this board who claims to be a 6,7,8 dan and is younger than 70 years old, they are full of Schiff and so is the person who handed out that dan. There is ONE 9th dan in Shodokan. So dont fall for nonsense. Anyone can call themselves an 8th dan, DOESNT mean it is actually TRUE or recognized by the REAL authorities of their disciplines. Hell, I can call myself a pro golfer but the PGA doesnt recognize someone with a 12 handicap as a pro and wont allow me on the tour. You are not a Rock Star when you sing karaoke.
 
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Yokozuna514

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I am curious as to whether this is the case in Canada and Australia. It is not in the US, but the US is not the only English speaking nation.
Having watched film and TV from the UK I can understand the context of the reference but apart from that I can firmly say that we do not use 'master' in the sense that Andy Jefferies was alluding to in Canada.
 

Tez3

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There is NO SUCH THING AS A 26 YEAR OLD 8TH DEGREE BLACK BELT. Period! And anyone who passed out these degrees like Skittles is just as fraudulent. The problem with martial arts these days is that it is no longer an art. You have fraudulent senseis giving themselves degrees theyve never earned. And just like everything else in the USA, martial arts has become a commodity rather than being a discipline. There are very few REAL 5th degrees in the USA and those people are well into their 60s and 70s. In Japan, Okinawa, Korea etc there are a handful of TRUE 7th degree and a couple 8th degrees. Im talking about original disipline, not the tweaked versions where you have a purple belt as your sensei. You have MMA instructors (they are not sensei) who claim to have 8th degrees in 12 different disciplines and theyre 48 years old. Its a joke. I studied Shodokan in Japan for 10 years in the 90s under Junkichi and Naryiama Tetsuro and they were very strict when it came to Aikido dans degree. We learned about fraudulent senseis in several disciplines most being in the USA and Europe. The problem is that their is really no governance of disciplines. Zero authority. Senseis were basically under the honor system, but honor doesnt make money. And honor is very rare these days mainly confined to the military. Simply put, anyone on this board who claims to be a 6,7,8 dan and is younger than 70 years old, they are full of Schiff and so is the person who handed out that dan. There is ONE 9th dan in Shodokan. So dont fall for nonsense. Anyone can call themselves an 8th dan, DOESNT mean it is actually TRUE or recognized by the REAL authorities of their disciplines. Hell, I can call myself a pro golfer but the PGA doesnt recognize someone with a 12 handicap as a pro and wont allow me on the tour. You are not a Rock Star when you sing karaoke.
A pro golfer is someone who derives money from playing golf, it doesn't have to be on big tournaments or even playing full time. It's literally the opposite of being an amateur.
I know many honourable people, including martial artists. It's not as rare as you see to think. MMA coaches don't call themselves 'sensei', so it's redundant to tell us they aren't sensei.
But, hey, thanks for the lecture. Not.
 

isshinryuronin

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There is NO SUCH THING AS A 26 YEAR OLD 8TH DEGREE BLACK BELT. Period! And anyone who passed out these degrees like Skittles is just as fraudulent. The problem with martial arts these days is that it is no longer an art.

But, hey, thanks for the lecture.
I feel TheNinja's pain. It's sad to watch something degrade over the decades from respectable to shabby, whether it be once grand homes or top black belt ranks. I too sometimes get peeved at not only the age but sheer number of high blackbelts and red belts out there. It is ridiculous.

So while TheNinja's post was a little over the top, did contain some inaccuracies, and was over simplified, I agree with the general theme. The honor system does break down as it depends largely on peer pressure which is not effective when so many millions of practitioners exist with little authoritative oversight. But that's life.

Yet, there are still schools and individuals who have maintained rank integrity. The "real" masters out there recognize each other and concern themselves on practicing the true art and self-development while making their students' journey a worthwhile one they can be proud of.
 

Raistlin

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I believe the biggest reason there were young 8th and 9th Dans back 50 years ago is because it was easier for them to make their mark in the martial arts world back then. At 8th and 9th Dan, it is less about how awesome you are as a martial artist and more about what you are doing to promote your art. Many organizations require that you hold a national or international position within your organization to be promoted to that level. You need to show that you are making an impact and helping to grow your art. That was much easier to do 50 years ago. There were very few TKD schools around the world relative to today. It wouldn't be that difficult to make your mark. Today, there are TKD schools on almost every corner of every city around the world. Much harder to stand out and make your mark today. I think that is the main reason why it now takes much longer to attain the high ranks. Today it is more about your years of service and dedication to your art.
Just my 2 cents.
 

Buka

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I've run into my share of "Young Master Much Faster" guys. It's kind of fun running into a twenty year old 8th degree. But I think there should be a law that we are allowed to de-pants them if we feel like it.

You know, just as a goof.
 

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There are some young grand masters in Kali, but by young I mean under 60...youngest I ever saw was a guy named Guru Mark Mikita though he ignores the title. Never seen one under 60 that I can recall sept the one I mentioned.

but yeah...most black belts of umpteenth degree are older. One has to be able to do a lot...not just memorize moves, Im guessing like teach, etc
 

isshinryuronin

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I believe the biggest reason there were young 8th and 9th Dans back 50 years ago is because it was easier for them to make their mark in the martial arts world back then.
I don't believe this is true. That's about when rank inflation began with the growing commercialization of MA, which at that time was mostly karate. Prior to that, I think most systems had better control and authority over high advancement as there were fewer branches and lineages. Also, the senior teachers of this time learned under the students of the true masters who had high standards.
At 8th and 9th Dan, it is less about how awesome you are as a martial artist and more about what you are doing to promote your art.
The physical awesomeness peaks out by 6th dan, the practitioner having already proved himself in this area and is approaching or has reached middle age. After that, deeper understanding of the core concepts, related info such as philosophy, history, something of other styles and such is usually achieved. Teaching and promoting the art come into play here as you say. For 8th and 9th, exceptional dedication and the recognition of your peers of all the above, as well as having character worthy of respect by them were once the main requirements.
 

Raistlin

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I don't believe this is true. That's about when rank inflation began with the growing commercialization of MA, which at that time was mostly karate. Prior to that, I think most systems had better control and authority over high advancement as there were fewer branches and lineages. Also, the senior teachers of this time learned under the students of the true masters who had high standards.

The physical awesomeness peaks out by 6th dan, the practitioner having already proved himself in this area and is approaching or has reached middle age. After that, deeper understanding of the core concepts, related info such as philosophy, history, something of other styles and such is usually achieved. Teaching and promoting the art come into play here as you say. For 8th and 9th, exceptional dedication and the recognition of your peers of all the above, as well as having character worthy of respect by them were once the main requirements.
What in your mind is a "true master"? Many masters that we revere today such as Hwang Kee, General Choi, Won Kuk Lee, etc. were very young when they founded their own arts. Some of these "true masters" learned from books, watched classes by peaking over fences and practiced on their own. Their arts were in their infancy when they started. They took years of development and experimentation to fully form. What makes them more "true masters" than masters of today? Masters that have dedicated a lifetime of study and dedication to the perfection of their art. While I deeply respect and am indebted to the pioneers of our arts, I don't see them as any more of a "true master" than those that are training today (with the big exception of the McDojo types out there). Unfortunately, there are far more organizations out there that have lowered their standards for promotion, but there are still some out there who haven't.
 

isshinryuronin

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What in your mind is a "true master"? Many masters that we revere today such as Hwang Kee, General Choi, Won Kuk Lee, etc. were very young when they founded their own arts. Some of these "true masters" learned from books, watched classes by peaking over fences and practiced on their own. Their arts were in their infancy when they started. They took years of development and experimentation to fully form. What makes them more "true masters" than masters of today? Masters that have dedicated a lifetime of study and dedication to the perfection of their art. While I deeply respect and am indebted to the pioneers of our arts, I don't see them as any more of a "true master" than those that are training today (with the big exception of the McDojo types out there). Unfortunately, there are far more organizations out there that have lowered their standards for promotion, but there are still some out there who haven't.
You were talking about the time period 50 years ago. By this time, Japanese karate (shotokan, which was the primary foundation of those Korean masters you mentioned) was already commercialized and had turned into a sport well before that.

By "true masters," I was referring to those who taught in the late1800's and early 1900's prior to mass instruction: Itosu, Kyan, and Higaonna, and their teachers (and their students in many cases). These were the guys who were responsible for laying the groundwork for the art that was exported to Japan, and from there to Korea. They were not products of commercial schools or sport. They had no organizations to grow and no incentive to promote students.

The main point to my post was to say your premise of it being easier to be a "master" over 50 years ago than now is not correct - it was just the opposite for the reasons I stated and more. As you yourself stated, "there are far more organizations out there that have lowered their standards." This seems to conflict with your original premise. I noticed you did not address this point at all in your reply.

It's not to say there are no "masters" in recent times. It's just that it is a different MA world now.
 

J. Pickard

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I mean ultimately, who cares? Call yourself whatever you want, you can't fake it on the mats.
 

Steve

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I feel TheNinja's pain. It's sad to watch something degrade over the decades from respectable to shabby, whether it be once grand homes or top black belt ranks. I too sometimes get peeved at not only the age but sheer number of high blackbelts and red belts out there. It is ridiculous.

So while TheNinja's post was a little over the top, did contain some inaccuracies, and was over simplified, I agree with the general theme. The honor system does break down as it depends largely on peer pressure which is not effective when so many millions of practitioners exist with little authoritative oversight. But that's life.

Yet, there are still schools and individuals who have maintained rank integrity. The "real" masters out there recognize each other and concern themselves on practicing the true art and self-development while making their students' journey a worthwhile one they can be proud of.
Honor is a pretty abstract grading criterion. I dont have a horse in this race, but if a person meets the objective criteria for grading, whats the problem?

Or does this subjective criteria exist, and youre saying some schools disregard them?

Just trying to figure out what the problem is.
 

isshinryuronin

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Honor is a pretty abstract grading criterion. I dont have a horse in this race, but if a person meets the objective criteria for grading, whats the problem?

Or does this subjective criteria exist, and youre saying some schools disregard them?

Just trying to figure out what the problem is.
I think the "honor" system TheNinja and I were talking about refers to not giving out belts based on how much money a student pays you, or advancing them just to say you've got X number of 10 year old black belts, or claiming high rank for business reasons - stuff like that. But I suppose some promotions are given in good faith by instructors who really think their student has reached expert skill due to his own lack of it and resulting low standards. That's sad, too.

You're right that "honor" is a subjective and abstract term, but most of us can usually recognize it when we see it, or when we don't.
 

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