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#347118 - 06/16/07 03:33 PM Black Belt retention How do you do it?
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
Black Belt retention How do you do it? I only have 4 black belts in class out of the 20-25 I helped promote or promote myself in the 25+ years I've trained. I promote well roundness so I have them train with other Senseis, Gurus or Teachers that I know. Usually they come back and train but somewhere in between Shodan and Nidan they burn out or start teaching or training at another school. I see nothing wrong with teaching or training somewhere else at Nodan or Sandan. But some quit and get fat as of they have met some plato. Almost like a couple of season in the NFL and now they want to retire, usually these are people that are tournament based and start to become involved with the combat aspect of the art. They don't understand the ethics of finishing or finalaity. Some of the personal defense people quit to but most continue to study somewhere.

I asked how do you promote Black belt retension, after Shodan or Nidan?

How many of you still train with your Sensei, I would if I knew where he was. Or they were.

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#347119 - 06/16/07 05:51 PM Re: Black Belt retention How do you do it? [Re: Neko456]
MattJ Offline
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Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Tough question. Parents love their children, but do you want them to live at home forever? Growth and expansion out of the "home" art is a natural tendency with many long-time practitioners. This does not mean the instructor is failing - it means he has done his job well.

And for those that choose to stick around? Nothing wrong with that, either. One could study mathematics forever, and have plenty to learn.
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#347120 - 06/16/07 08:15 PM Re: Black Belt retention How do you do it? [Re: MattJ]
underdog Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1270
Loc: Mansfield, MA U.S.A.
I'm not a school owner, just a Nidan and teacher in my school. I can tell you why I stick to my school and give you the other perspective- would that help?

I want to learn. I want to train hard and have a good variety of things/opportunities available to me to keep my training fresh. When I first became Shodan, the opportunities I wanted didn't seem to be there. I was very disillusioned with being a black belt. So, I took responsibility for my training outside my school. I took on-going specialized classes in content area that I needed with the knowledge of my teacher. That meant that I could practice in between class sessions with him. I wouldn't have been able to do this had I been sneaky or dishonest.

At one point, I was looking for another school. I interviewed around and took some trial classes. I never actually left my school. I didn't find anything I wanted.

Strangely, as I got better, there came to be more opportunities in my school for training. I don't feel that I need to go anywhere else right now, except for seminars on specialized topics.

I would definitely have left had there not been any new training opportunities for me within my school. It isn't katas. I don't need more katas. As a customer, I want to improve my skills. As long as there are good training opportunities, I'll stick with my school.
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#347121 - 06/18/07 10:59 AM Re: Black Belt retention How do you do it? [Re: Neko456]
Ironfoot Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 2682
Loc: St. Clair Shores, MI USA
Well, you've got to keep them interested, and progressing. I've seen too many cases where after shodan they're used like cheap labor. Sure, teaching is part of their development, but they should have just as much time learning, and if they're not getting it from you, they'll look elsewhere.
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#347122 - 06/18/07 12:02 PM Re: Black Belt retention How do you do it? [Re: Ironfoot]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
I enjoy hearing from both end of the spectrum of course its believed that school has little to teach a Shodan or Nidan so they must find another place to train. But in reality in the USA people believe that after attaining Shodan or Nidan that they have reached a plato the end all of all things once Shodan when really thats the new begining. Sure you are asked to refine your basics and fine tune them. But theres new level of training and understanding. Yes you have to learn to teach the Martial Arts is a self preserving art (meaning we make our teachers not all are called to teach) though they must all try or learn. By the way if selected to be a Assistance Instructor thats a paid position, in our schools.

MattJ comment was closer to the other side of spectrum the Parent child connection, the urge to spread out and grow, as were the others guys. In Japan its understood that a Shodan is begining of knowing your basic well. It is their tradition that they stay with the same dojo (some cross train) or live closer to their family then in the USA.

I feel in the USA its just a tradition to Learn, grow and flow to something else. Once grown we get as far away from our family as possible and still stay in touch. But back to the martial arts I promote well roundness and want them to be the best they can be. I also don't want BBs here that have a different objective then mines totally, now a difference in ideas on certain matter is a personal thing but agenda needs to be close to the same. I believe that BB retention is hurt by the subconcisous or concisous thought that BB is the plato of a system and the end of learning it, in the US.

Some schools have control either by contract or discipline I'd never do the contract option.
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#347123 - 06/18/07 01:30 PM Re: Black Belt retention How do you do it? [Re: Neko456]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5823
Loc: USA
Neko

I'm sure that I am missing someone, and that the lines kinda blur, but I think there are really 2 kinds of students:

-Those that train because they love training.

-Those that train because they have a goal in mind.

I have a buddy whom is getting ready to test for sandan, been training for 10-15 years--dedicated training.

I think about all the changes a person goes thu in 10-15 years--graduating High School, graduating College, for some graduating Graduate school, several jobs, marrige, children, sometimes a 2nd marrige, another job change, etc.

That is a long time to involved in pretty much anything.

The folks that started because they had a goal--if they have reached it, then sticking around may be less appealing.

People star training in High School, they may be very different people by the time they are 30.
The same things that got them interested my no longer be enough, or they might need something else to keep them interested.

Several people I know that quit training years ago have recently come back to training--only this time they came back with their kids.
Pretty cool to find something that they can do togather.

I train now because I enjoy doing it--its part of my daily routine and just part of who I am.

(when I'm actually IN training that is )

I have it easy in that regard.

Any of the karate I study--the organizations anyway, "top out" at 5th degree.
So once you hit nidan/sandan that is just about all there is.

Refineing it, improving it however is quite something else.

Sorry for the rambleing, you aksed VERY good question, that sparked a lot of thought--still thinking about it and its all comking out in a word salad of an answer.
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#347124 - 06/18/07 01:50 PM Re: Black Belt retention How do you do it? [Re: cxt]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
I've never focused on anyone's retention just teach class.

Focusing on my adult program, which is very small by design, I think about 60-70% of the kyu's reach black belt, and the average time they stay in our program is around 15+ years.

The program uses goals, but is not goal oriented in its design, there are no tests, belts are just awarded, except for the sho-dan initiation, which is private.

By sho-dan each student has been shown they have enough material to keep working on for the rest of their life, but they are also shown how much could not be covered because of lack of time, what the depth of those studies represent, and they've spent a lot of time working with advanced practitioners who are still learning too.

They both see how much remains that they haven't studied, but they're also shown what they cannot do and why and how their training will continue to work to develop those abilities and potential realization.

I only focus on each class by each class. The student focuses on what they want to achieve, with nothing being hidden.
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#347125 - 06/18/07 03:50 PM Re: Black Belt retention How do you do it? [Re: Victor Smith]
matchhead_jack Offline
Member

Registered: 01/15/07
Posts: 96
Loc: Jonesboro, Arkansas
I wholeheartedly disagree with the idea it's okay to leave your school after reaching Sho Dan. In our system, Sho Dan means you are ready to start learning real traditional karate since one has the basics nailed down. Leaving to study other styles now one know the basics is a selfish slap in the face, loftily disguised as a "journey of discovery". Not all systems are the same but I would wager there should be much more to learn after Sho Dan than before Sho Dan.

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#347126 - 06/18/07 10:22 PM Re: Black Belt retention How do you do it? [Re: Neko456]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
If post-shodans don't continue training after they leave your dojo for whatever reasons (sometimes life just happens and focuses change, etc), then there is nothing you can 'do' to retain them - people change regardless of prior intentions, promises or papers they've signed. period. (divorce rates illustrate that point )

If some continue training elsewhere, again, for whatever reason, then instead of asking how to retain them - a better question is how many new students do you have which were once yudansha elsewhere?

If you only have shodans leaving and none which were prior-trained students from elsewhere joining...then I wouldn't contemplate retention gimicks - I'd focus on the depth of study I'm delivering.

Is MA training first and foremost an Art for you or a business? If it's a business, then you might be training beginners in 4 year cycles, then watch them leave after they get their favorite color belt. If it's your Art first and foremost, then study at the level of depth you are interested in and allow those who can keep up to join you.

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#347127 - 06/19/07 01:08 AM Re: Black Belt retention How do you do it? [Re: Ed_Morris]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
Ed I think the dept is what some are afraid of when you reach near or at Shodan they studied alot of things, alot of questions are answered and the what ifs are explorered and studied. A lot of reality is hard to face I train two groups of people usually at Shodan some are asked to crossover into the more serious class. At 2nd kyu even if they stay in the large class training changes along with reality, somewhat.

Though the competitive classes were larger and keeps the lights on the personal Self-defense class is considered serious training from day one they are taught what is and what is not effective. Though the competitive students are just as skilled if not more so, they are not aware of the reality of what is real. We talk about it daily but you fight the way you train. Alot don't want hard reality training, alot don't want to full contact continous sparring, some don't like continous fighting on the grounds or the idea of seriously hurting someone on purpose. Oh its ok to side kick or punch someone in body and drop them but they don't want to stomp joints or the head, on a down opponent or continue to hit a person while he staggered or mounted. Some don't want heed the warning to run in multiple attack once the oppurtunity presents itself. Some think that tourney techniques don't work well in these encounters, now all along I've told them the same thing.

Victor is there a concern in your advance people when you teach reality training of what it really takes to stop someone thats intent on harming them? So you have BB retention being that 70% of your class are Black belts of 15 years or more thats good. The BB are tested but the kyu levels aren't?


Matchhead-Jack - What I've notice in my area and here in this short conversation BB retention is not common except with some asian Instructors in my area, Matchead-Jack is your cheif Instructor Asian, I agree with U I'm just confused how to do it with students starved for quick changes, flash and glit.

Obviously it should not be expected going by Mr.Smith and Mr. Morris. I find it amazing that teachers and fellow martial artist believe that the dojo lack if the Shodan leaves rather the what I see USA's students want fast results they want it fun and they want thing to change often and quickly sorta like a video game. I refuse to give them that satisfaction if you want good techniques concentrated repetition is the only way. At BB (really at 2nd Kyu up) I start reality training even in tournaments theres no kicking on one legs across the floor or lunging touch strikes or raisng you hand knowing you got hit thinking you can steal the point, its solid technqiues or you lose. Win or Lose you shake hands.

Cxt it is a deep subject, thanks for your input. It was once common that Shodan was just the knowledge of the Basic, here in America Shodans became an experts. Of what Basics? Theres years of training from Shodan to Sandan or Yodan at Nidan you are still years away from that level.
Obviously BB retention is so uncommon that its not even expected, now days. You did bring out some sure reality the transitions of life as did Ed, our priorities do change. Thats understandable it happened to me also.

My old students send their Black belts or Intermediate/Advance students (some don't have belt systems) to train with me in preperation for their next level and get them familar with old method of training. I train with my older students but they use it to add to their system or to remember something they forgot or have a problem with.

I have a Shorin Kenpo assoicate he has BB retention but its by contract you can't teach in a 100sq mile area of his school you can't ... whatever I read it its ridiculous I don't think its binding. But it works. He also retain with the promise of promotion and learning of Tea cerimonail or very basic Iaido. You can be a Black belt in either Kenpo, Tea thing/Cultural awareness he calls it, Iaido or survial training/camping skills. I refuse to compromise or use a contract to retain BBs.


Edited by Neko456 (06/19/07 01:25 AM)
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