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#119423 - 08/18/03 02:03 AM Ageism-Junior black belts
kiwi Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 789
Loc: Wellington New Zealand
This is a topic i feel really strongly about as i have been on the recieving end of ageism since I got my black belt.

I got my black belt when I was ten. People thought (without even seeing me train) that I would fail because I was ten. I got the highest mark out of the twenty people who went.
When i hear people talking about junior black belts I am disgusted. How does your age determine your rank? Belittling something that a younger person has worked just as hard for as an older person, is to me a disgrace. Where I used to train woman were not asked to do proper pushups (they did them on their knees), they did not have to break as many boards as men, or perform the same breaks. Does this mean we should give them a womans black belt?

As a young instructor I face the same discrimination. People are intimidated by my age. I see it all the time, people do not consider my rank valid because of my age. I personally consider ageism to be as bad as racism and the people who are ageists as bad as racists.

before you slam junior balck belts consider for a second that some of thse younger people have worked just as hard for their black belts as you. I know it hurt you ego when you see a younger person walking around with a higher belt then you, but they have wroked harder then you and deserve it more then you.

[This message has been edited by kiwi (edited 08-18-2003).]

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#119424 - 08/18/03 03:33 AM Re: Ageism-Junior black belts
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hi kiwi [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

First of all congratulations on achieving your black belt at such a young age.

I think the reason some people are negative about under 16s being awarded black belt is not out of envy or ego (although this may be true in some cases -who knows?)

I think the real reason is two-fold. Firstly most of us have come across "Mcdojos" where parents pour money into their children's training and in return get nothing more than production line gradings every few months at ridiculously high prices without actually properly learning their art (and this can happen to adults too).

Secondly, most martial artists agree that a child can not possibly have the same understanding of what they are doing as an adult does and can not be expected to be as responsible (not that all adults are responsible). For this reason in many arts children are not taught the full curriculum (no strangles/chokes etc.)

Some clubs get around this by not teaching children, some by training them but not allowing them to grade to black belt until 16.
In my association, children can take their junior black belt but have to re-test between 16 and 18 to demonstrate increased maturity and understanding. I personally think this is the best method.

I can not comment about women being treated differently as this does not happen either where I teach or where I train, but I allow any student who struggles with full pressups to start off doing them on their knees and this is, admittedly, usually the women and younger boys.
I do this because I feel more benenfit is derived from a press up from kneeling done properly than a full press up done badly or incorrectly.

Try not to let other people's predjudice upset you and don't enter into arguments about it. Prove you are worth your belt by the way you train and the way you conduct yourself in the dojo/dojang.

Most importantly, keep enjoying your training
Sharon

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#119425 - 08/18/03 05:00 AM Re: Ageism-Junior black belts
kiwi Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 789
Loc: Wellington New Zealand
Thank you for your reply wadowoman

"In my association, children can take their junior black belt but have to re-test between 16 and 18 to demonstrate increased maturity and understanding. I personally think this is the best method."

I agree that people need to show maturity and understanding in order to get a black belt. However the 16-18 part is what i don't agree with. Everyone should be given an equal oppurtunity to get their black belt. A maturity and understanding test is a good idea. In my association you sit a one and a half hour written exam followed by a twenty minute interview with the examiner.

What I am trying to get at (maybe I used to strong a lanquage in my first post) is that age shouldn't determine what rank you get. If someone shows less then acceptable maturity for a black belt then it is allright to give them a junior black belt. However if a 8 year old shows the maturity and understanding of a 30 year old black belt he should get what he has earned.

I also agree with trying not to get upset by prejudice, however I believe that a forum is the ideal place to get into an argument. I can express my opinion, hear other experienced martial artists express theirs, and it is non personal and non confronational.

After reading your Mcdojo comments, I read the Mcdojo topic in this forum. It seems some people have just cause to be ageist. However do not paint all us younger people with the same brush. Remember those kids running around with the Mcdojo black belts, have earnt a mcdojo black belt. It may not be more then a pieace of black cloth around their wastes, but they earnt it as much as any adult with a mcdojo black belt.

Once again I thank you for your post wadowoman.

Taekwon

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#119426 - 08/18/03 09:39 AM Re: Ageism-Junior black belts
JohnL Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 4309
Loc: NY, NY, USA
Hi Kiwi

There have been a couple of notes on the subject of age and grades recently.

I note that you you got your black belt when you were ten and people would fail you because of that. Personally I would not fail you because of that but I would not have let you take any test.

If you assume it takes an average of 3-4 years to obtain shodan in a given number of styles, it means you started around 6 or so. In this case you were not being taught a MA but just being babysat and allowed to wear the funny pyjama's I mentioned in an earlier post on this subject.

You now say you are a young instructor, I don't know how old, but this goes back to one of SmittenKittens posts about teaching at a young age.
If you are under 21, it is unlikely that you have either the maturity or knowledge to begin teaching.

By all means enjoy the fun, but it's only when you're out of childhood that the MA's can be taken as a serious matter.

JohnL

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#119427 - 08/18/03 11:40 AM Re: Ageism-Junior black belts
Joe Jutsu Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/09/03
Posts: 575
Good point John.

There's an age requirement in my dojo for each rank. I believe shodan is probably around eighteen if not a little older, which in my opinion is a good thing. We have a seperate ranking system for our children and adult classes. I'm not exactly sure how they correlate, but I do know that we award colored belts to the kid's class whereas in the adult classes we have just white, brown, and black belts.


Joe

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#119428 - 08/19/03 01:22 AM Re: Ageism-Junior black belts
kiwi Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 789
Loc: Wellington New Zealand
John L

This is the sort of thing that really insults me. After working my ass off for 4 years to get my 1st degree and another four years to get my second degree I am told that all that training was just me mucking around in pajama's. If you are a black belt you know how much work you put into it. Now try having someone tell you that you didn't earn it. Why? because your black, female or too young. The fact is that your age does not determine your prowess as a martial artist, nor does your color or your sex.

I know that I am a better teacher then most of the people in my area. I see this when my students are tested. Alot of adult instructors have a hard time teaching kids. They don't realise that the reason why kids start is to have fun. Luckily because of childrens willingness to learn, I can also instill them with the maturity and understanding that goes with being a TKD practitioner.

I know that no one in my club has the same understanding of Taekwon-Do as I do. Some of my students may be forty, however in Taekown-Do they are only as old as the length of time they have spent training. In this sense I am the oldest in the club by over 2 years.

I want people to realise that giving someone a lesser belt solely based on their age is prejudice. Yes most ten year olds don't have the maturity to be a black belt, but some do, and their age should not determine their rank.

In my association if you pass your black belt, you have showed the maturity and understanding of Taekwon-Do that is required. In my association if you are a teacher you have shown the maturity and understanding that is required to be a teacher.

Thankyou
Taekown



[This message has been edited by kiwi (edited 08-19-2003).]

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#119429 - 08/19/03 03:25 AM Re: Ageism-Junior black belts
Anonymous
Unregistered


Kiwi,
whilst I have respect for many of John's opinions, we generally agree to disagree on the subject of children training.
I do teach children and have a few coming up to black belt myself. I think they are great and I am very proud of them.
However I do agree with him about children instructing.
Are you under 18? if so are you supervised whilst teaching?
If by teaching you mean helping the instructor with beginners occasionally (which my students often do) that is one thing, but it seems common practice in some dojos for children to run classes, and I do think that is wrong.
Sorry
Sharon

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#119430 - 08/19/03 08:03 AM Re: Ageism-Junior black belts
JohnL Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 4309
Loc: NY, NY, USA
Hi Kiwi
When I wrote my post I was concerned that it might upset you (very unlike me) as I didn't want to dampen your enthusiasm for what you do. However I stand by my opinion.

A couple of things you mention in your post are worthy of note though.

"After working my ass off for 4 years to get my 1st degree and another four years to get my second degree I am told that all that training was just me mucking around in pajama's."

I stand by what I said. If you trained from the age of 6-10 and obtained a blackbelt, great. It means something to you. I have no gripes with you doing it, just with your instructors. As a Martial Artist it insults me that someone who is supposed to know what they are doing in the MA's, after all they're instructing, give out blackbelts to children who then claim some expertise in the MA's.

"Now try having someone tell you that you didn't earn it. Why? because your black, female or too young. The fact is that your age does not determine your prowess as a martial artist, nor does your color or your sex."

I believe you're confusing situations. I do not discriminate against people on the basis of race or sex. Also, once children have matured enough to become adults, I do not treat them any differently be they 21 or 80.

If you are bright as a youth, it is wholly possible that you might pass all the exams to become an airline pilot, you might even pass the practical flight training. Would I then let a 12 year old fly a commercial aircraft. Absolutely not. You do not have the maturity level needed to undertake the task. I believe the same is true in MA's.

"I know that no one in my club has the same understanding of Taekwon-Do as I do. Some of my students may be forty, however in Taekown-Do they are only as old as the length of time they have spent training. In this sense I am the oldest in the club by over 2 years."

It sounds as if your club, like you, are very young. In terms of experience (for what I consider to be an experienced Martial Artist) 2 years is nothing.

"I want people to realise that giving someone a lesser belt solely based on their age is prejudice."

It isn't predudice, it's recognising that age is a factor.

"Yes most ten year olds don't have the maturity to be a black belt, but some do, and their age should not determine their rank."

If blackbelts are given as a standard regardless of age, no 10 year old should be wearing one.

"In my association if you pass your black belt, you have showed the maturity and understanding of Taekwon-Do that is required."

If they consider you an adult black belt, then their standards must be amazingly low.

"In my association if you are a teacher you have shown the maturity and understanding that is required to be a teacher."

Teaching is a whole other ball game. Please read my other posts on this subject with Smittenkitten. (Which university did you obtain your degree from, where did you do your MA, where are your teaching qualifications, how as a minor are you insured.)

I'm sorry if these comments sound patronising, they're not meant to be, but passing off 10 year olds as Martial Artists is irresponsible at best.

JohnL

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#119431 - 08/19/03 05:57 PM Re: Ageism-Junior black belts
kempo_jujitsu Offline
Veteran

Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 1914
Loc: illinois, usa
i think a junior black belt, is just that a JUNIOR black belt.
they passed the "childrens" requirements, to achieve a black belt, so they earned it, and should be allowed to keep their JUNIOR black belt, as for what happens when they become old enough to join the adult class, then they should be tested to see where they would start with the adult curriculum, or a specific starting point should be outlined. if there is no difference in curriculums then i would say there is a major problem.
what children learn, and what adults learn are two very different things!! or should be!!
speaking of org's...which one are you with? ATA, WTF, ITF etc??
i was in the ATA, i hated it, everyone has the know how, but no understanding it seems except for the "masters", its a sport, you learn a form (no applications of the movements) do your one steps, and get a belt, learn a form, get a belt, learn a form, get a belt, learn a form, break a board and get a belt..etc etc. i even did the form wrong once at a test and passed and was never corrected on the form.
for an understanding, philosophically, and for real self defense, effort, maturity/wisdom (which only comes with age), patience, and TIME is required, not just money and the fact that you memorized a form.
when i was in the ATA there was very little history (and even then it was wrong), no philosophy, and no realistic self defense (although they thought it was)adults and children were taught the exact same curriculum etc.
some arts/organizations just arent geared for what i consider real martial arts, either part, the art, or the martial aspects.
my teacher used to have me teach the class kempo jujutsu techniques for self defense.
in kempo jujutsu children are taught many of the same techniques as adults, but what they are taught to do with them is TOTALLY different.
sorry for the ATA rant [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]
i guess it boils down to goals, some arts/org's arent oriented for MARTIAL arts, but sports. personally i think martial arts should be about protecting yourself, not just winning a trophy, or breaking a pine board. and the sport arts, should be called sports, not martial arts (just my opinion)
no offense intended, but i think you are a junior black belt, and should retest for the adult curriculum to see where you stand, as for instructor, maybe you should teach other junior ranks, and children. just my opinion.

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#119432 - 08/19/03 06:03 PM Re: Ageism-Junior black belts
kempo_jujitsu Offline
Veteran

Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 1914
Loc: illinois, usa
i also think that another problem down the road will be...seeing an 8th degree black belt that is only 20 yrs of age????
maybe martial arts really shouldnt have ranks if this is the case.

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