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#163710 - 07/03/05 05:40 PM What happens to instructors/students when...
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
Here is a familiar scenario:
Some dojo's have a sho-dan turn-around time (white->black belt) of 5 years or less.
Someone trains in an art for 5 years, then decides to open their own dojo as ni-dan.

After having students for 5 years, they promote their first round of black-belts in their new dojo. since the students can never get promoted to the same rank as their sensei, what happens?
do the students change schools? or does the sensei promote him/her self to stay ahead in rank of the student?

or is another option for the sensei to join a membership to a organisation that sees to it that you will always be promoted ahead of your students...provided your dues are paid.

anyone see a problem with any/all of these options?

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#163711 - 07/03/05 05:51 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: Kintama]
SANCHIN31 Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3783
Loc: Arkansas, U.S.
I see alot of problems with this.One is that it happens too often.Anyone can join some organizations which will promote them to whatever rank they want.Alot of them think that time in rank is enough to promote themselves too.
In my opinion nidan is far too early to open your own school anyway.
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#163712 - 07/03/05 06:15 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: SANCHIN31]
MattJ Offline
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Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
I am curious too. I read on this site that Shotokan does not have any ranks higher than 5th because that's what rank Funakoshi was when he died. Is this true?

I mean, rank is only worth so much anyway. Maybe it is not a big deal if you are a 1st degree forever. Does it matter if you know what you are doing?

I agree that a 5 year MA student opening their own school is often not a good idea. Hell, I was in MA for 7 years before I was an assistant instructor (although I had taught some on the side).


Edited by MattJ (07/03/05 06:20 PM)
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#163713 - 07/03/05 06:22 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: MattJ]
SANCHIN31 Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3783
Loc: Arkansas, U.S.
Our head instructor split off from his school and organization many years ago.He was 5th dan,so now we only go to 4th dan,that's it.If you want to go higher than that you'll have to go to another school.At our school it takes 20 yrs to reach 4th dan and our curriculum is much different than other goju schools.
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#163714 - 07/03/05 06:28 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: SANCHIN31]
MattJ Offline
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I think Ashihara karate may be in somewhat of a similar situation. I seem to remember Butterfly saying that the highest rank he had seen in that system was 3rd degree, although I am unclear if that is the highest rank extant in Ashihara.
_________________________
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#163715 - 07/03/05 06:38 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: SANCHIN31]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA
Sanchin31,

I think what Kintama described is a bigger problem that what you have listed.

What Kintama has put forth realy implies the instructor just doesn't have it under the belt: Time, understanding, ability to teach, etc. I think that is much of the problem that we have with the McDojos today...watered down stuff, that is easily passed on to new generations of 5 year McMasters who now know it all because that is all their instructors knew.

Now Sanchin31, what you described is a person with understanding and for whatever political and/or philopsophical reasons, decided not to maintain or was forced to not maintain his connections to a head organization.

I doubt if anyone points to your and says he doesn't know what he is teaching or that you and the rest of his students don't carry that education well.

So, you won't make 5th dan....OK...You still know what you know and can access education elswhere without being a 21 year old 8th dan that people laugh at.

-B

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#163716 - 07/03/05 07:01 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: MattJ]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA
Matt,

Just for some clarification, if any is requested or needed,
yes I am a sho-dan and have been practcing Ashihara for I guess around 15 years now and received my BB in 1995. This is continuous practice, mind you, not leaving for a few months and returning and so forth. And generally it take around 5-8 years for a BB. I am considered an assistant instructor as are the other sho-dans that still continue to practice, except for one (there are two others in my dojo who still practice who have practiced 20 years and 18 years respectively and are still sho-dans).

Problem that we have is something sort of similar, but tangentially so to Sanchin31.

My original instructor was Yoshida Sensei who was the head Hombu instructor under Ashihara. He was a San-Dan (3rd degree BB) and was the highest BB that I have ever met in our organization, though I suppose that there are others now that are higher.

I do not know what Ninomiya's rank was when he left Ashihara to found Enshin Karate, but I believe it was 4th Dan. Also, I do not know what rank Ashihara held in Kyokushin before he left that organization to found this style..but I believe it was either 4th or 5th.

In any case, I go with Matt's feeling on this. I still learn a lot and have yet to really become adept at certain conceptual and technical portions of the art. I still learn from my senpai Shigeta, though a 1st dan, who is considered a full instructor. So, I could care less about my rank or the ranks of others as long as there is competence there in teaching and in understanding and in showing that knowledge.

My current head instructor is a Ni-dan and has been practicing this style for around 22 years and who was also a Ni-dan in Shorinji Kempo and who has a teaching certificate to instruct boxing in Japan.

I also would say that most of the black belts we have, have studied other martial arts so this helps further expand the MA knowledge base that we share from. Again, this is just a nod to Sanchin's background.

Sorry for being so long winded.

But if the instruction is good, I could care less about rank.

-B

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#163717 - 07/03/05 07:05 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: Kintama]
Gino Offline
Member

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 410
Loc: New York State
Hopefully, the new dojo owner will continue to train at the hombu dojo, as well as teach at their own school. Then, when the young owner eligible for promotion, so will his/her highest ranking students. By the way, I took my first karate lesson at age eighteen, and the dojo owner was a brown belt.
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#163718 - 07/03/05 07:08 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: butterfly]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
what I described is not a problem (for me) really, because I'd never go to a dojo owned by a ni-dan with 5 years...this is more a curiosity. There were threads not long ago where people were talking about the business side of running a dojo...I'm wondering how a business stays marketable (legitimate and mcdojo), if they can't promote past sho-dan. I suppose in a legitimately skilled dojo, by sho-dan your students would realize dan-ranks don't matter and not be concerned (like S31 described). For other dojo's, is it really just a matter of laser-printing your own promotion certificate? or paying dues to an organization and getting a certificate mailed? is it really this corrupt?
If it is that bad, what protection does a consumer have against an over-zealous sensei promoting themselves illegitimately when they realize the marketability advantage?

Thinking further to those questions, is it really a bad thing? imagine being a legitimatly instructed SD or sport MA, and you have all of these mcdojos around you scooping up most of the business. Since most of the population has the easy stuff available, they would go to the mcdojo. The serious practioners would seek out your legitimate dojo and tend to stay longer. now, if there were no mcdojos and you were the only dojo in town, you'd get more students starting and quiting, and you'd have to install a revolving door at the entrance.

I'm starting to see that mcdojos serve the purpose of teaching the lifelong white-belt population. This is beneficial to the legitimate sensei.

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#163719 - 07/03/05 07:17 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: Kintama]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
I believe that organizations such as ATAMA serve such a purpose in situations that is described.

http://www.atama.us/ranking.htm

There is a similar organization in Victoria, Australia which also serves a similar purpose.

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#163720 - 07/03/05 07:23 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: Kintama]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA
Kintama,

I realize that the problem wasn't yours . But the hypotheitical situation that you listed, I think resonates with more problems than does Sanchin's or mine.

The other situation that, at least, we have is that when the new instructor was installed and promoted by my old instructor, there was a statement for adult students that you had to practice continually for 1 and 1/2 years before any testing was allowed.

To this day, if you are gone for more than 2 months, you are not allowed to wear your rank in class unless otherwise told by the head instructor that you can retain your rank. So, after I recuperate from knee surgery I will shuttle my ass back to the dojo with a white belt...until such time that the instructor says, I can put my BB on again. But, again, ranks mean little except where you position yourself in line.

I will also say that the head instructor makes OK money...mostly from instructing kids. By the way, our dojo sponsors no tournaments nor does it have connections with other outside organizations to commit to sending students to tournaments.

However, for adults, we do have a fairly high turn over rate. Meaning folks stay for about 3-5 years which gets them a green belt. My sho-dan test was the last adult BB test that I know of.

-B

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#163721 - 07/03/05 07:34 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: eyrie]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
I've read about that org before. what is not clear is the 'qualifications' for each rank. and how is the person doing the review, qualified to perform such a review?

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#163722 - 07/03/05 07:44 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: Kintama]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA
Kintama,

Let me ask a question then for you:

How would you deconstruct the situation for getting knowledgeable instructors to those who want them?

Those that settle for the dregs, whether realizing it or not, will not shift their allegiances, if for nothing else, for the history they have with their current organization.

And this is meant with all due respect and earnest curiosity, how can one give a boost to those legitimately seeking honest and real education?

-B

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#163723 - 07/03/05 08:42 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: butterfly]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
Quote:

How would you deconstruct the situation for getting knowledgeable instructors to those who want them?



I can honestly say that I wouldn't even know where to begin. That indicates to me that I am unqualified to even suppose an idea. Nor do I think any mass-produced Art is a good thing.
Quote:

how can one give a boost to those legitimately seeking honest and real education?



The only thing I can think of is by eliminating the dishonesty of false claims. But, this would suggest some kind of 'standardization' in order to enforce the qualification claims...which is not a good idea and would cause stagnation and/or monopolies on the decisions which evolve styles and training methods...the decisions could even be decided with money, creating just one massive network of certifiable mcdojos....the superdojo is born!

The way it has to be is the current system - market driven. By having crap dojo's, it makes real dojos stronger...I think I'm coming to see that now. This is the opposite of how I thought 3 months ago.

[edit] I should add that the legit dojo's could have independant systems of rank without loosing even a sliver of skill. For addressing the question of inter-dojo respect and acknowledgement, thats easy, serious martial artist treat other serious MAists like they are 10th dan.

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#163724 - 07/03/05 08:47 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: butterfly]
SANCHIN31 Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3783
Loc: Arkansas, U.S.
I hope I didn't imply that any of this is a problem at our school.Our instructor has more to offer than I will ever be able to master.Rank isn't that important to us either.
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#163725 - 07/03/05 09:13 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: SANCHIN31]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
not at all, SANCHIN. In fact, your dojo sounds like it has good diverse training yet keeping in the spirit and curriculum of Goju....that isn't easy to do or to find anymore.

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#163726 - 07/03/05 09:22 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: SANCHIN31]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA
Sanchin

No, I did not get an implication of a problem with your ranking system....just anecdotal info given with respect to Kintama's question. I think, just as you intended.

Kintama,

I guess I am starting to see things your way now, as well. I had the same problem, especially since I was involved with a McDojo once upon a time, but too ingnorant to feel it out then. And so it rankles me that others might be in the same position. However, I guess if one really wanted to be emancipated from the McDojo...involvement in one and a real search for true MAs would lead you away from it, as in my case. And those who didn't care if they were in one, wouldn't care if they got out of one. So I guess it doesn't matter for them to the betterment of those who really would like to train elsewhere.

Just that two cases have always come to mind which I have brought up before in a post of Victor's...that seclusion in an area (rural), means limited MAs and perhaps the only avenue for training is a McDojo or none at all; and in the case of children who have no choice but go where they are put by their parents.

I guess I don't have the answers, but sure wished someone did.

-B

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#163727 - 07/03/05 11:16 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: Kintama]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Re: ATAMA

It is not one person but a board of peers that define the criteria and policy for ranking. Such peerage is usually comprised of high-ranking members of their own style, most of whom have ranking in a number of styles. I think the ATAMA policy is clear in this regard.

The Australian MA industry is also moving towards similar industry level certification, with the formation of the Martial Arts Industry Association, by standardizing on a (non-content based) nationally accredited teaching and coaching qualifications. Some vocational groups also offer their own certifications (some of which are content-based, and some are not).

This is no different to the many Jujitsu federations and associations which exist to ensure the continued preservation of the art and the concommitant skill levels of its practitioners.

Generally, I think this is a step in the right direction and that nationally accredited and recognized certification levels would serve to remove the inherent bias (and politics) associated with ranks.

I think having a group of apolitical peers that officially or even semi-officially recognize the instructor's skills in both teaching and content knowledge, can serve an important purpose, particularly where the instructor is one of a few remnant individuals, due to the untimely death of the master/founder of the system, leaving the style with no heir apparent. Or where the instructor chooses to remain orphaned from the peak body for political reasons or otherwise.


FWIW,

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#163728 - 07/04/05 12:27 AM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: eyrie]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
There are more to the organisations than we might think. Not all of them are in the business for preserving the Art. Forget the Art for a sec and look at the money...

money coming in: dues, sponsorship, corporation endorsement, manufacturers advertising and reselling, facility rental, instruction, videos, books, patches - you name it: from the corporate from the consumer from the practicioner. money, money, money.

Expenses: laser printed certificates.
lol
ok, there are alot more expenses...but they aren't really all expenses so much as investments.

My point is, at some level, organisations make decisions based on sound business practice in order to stay open and competitive. A no-brainer for the CEO is to drift the Art to a sport version.
Nothing wrong with that, if thats what people want, they have a right to sell it. But lets not kid ourselves when we say the organization has the intention of 'preserving the Art'. some really do, I'm just saying it's worth a thought before jumping on a bandwagon to get a certificate that says you may now promote your students to x-dan, because you are now hereby x+2 dan.

Think about this...the Art was being preserved and cultivated for hundreds of years, only when it went into mass-production do we now worry about preserving and standardizing it? why? to further mass-produce it?

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#163729 - 07/04/05 11:12 AM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: Kintama]
Ironfoot Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 2682
Loc: St. Clair Shores, MI USA
First, let's ignore the various ranks, since there are cases like Butterfly's where belts may be artifically low (an anti-McDojo?). I'd just be leary of schools where the instructors don't have a lot of experience and most importantly AREN'T PROGRESSING.

I'm lucky enough to live in a major metropolitan area where there's lots of high-ranking dans in my style (2 9ths and several 8ths). I can train and learn from them, or even mingle with other styles. Not everyone has this option. If you're out in the country, you may have to take what you can get, and even a dedicated teacher might find it hard to learn fast enough to keep ahead of his better students.

Anyone who promotes himself - anyone! - is poison as far as I'm concerned. Even a sensei from another style can promote you if it's obvious you deserve it.
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#163730 - 07/05/05 08:12 AM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: MattJ]
JohnL Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 4309
Loc: NY, NY, USA
Quote:

I am curious too. I read on this site that Shotokan does not have any ranks higher than 5th because that's what rank Funakoshi was when he died. Is this true?





Shotokan does have any number of high dan grades awarded, 6th - 10th. As far as I'm aware there was no restriction placed on ranks in shotoka. The only group I know of that made this restriction is the Shotokai group. This was run by Harada who is a 5th dan, on the basis that nothing higher is possible due to Funakoshi's rank.

My own opinion, it's all a load of BS.

You have have those who award themselves and their student high dan grades and those that keep them deliberately low. Both types try to claim some kind of moral high ground.

As for having to wear a white belt if you haven't been to the dojo for a couple of months. Tell the instructor he needs to get a life if that's all he's got to think about.
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#163731 - 07/05/05 10:15 AM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: JohnL]
Kintama Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 2724
Loc: Massachusetts
About the 2-month absentee loss of rank...never heard of it.
I'm thinking there are two possible motivations for this:
-To strongly encourage a consistant commitment to training.
-To make money.

both motivations still don't make sense, since commitment by a student cannot be artificialy enforced. and people are less likely to re-start training if they need to leave for medical, mental health, family needs, giving birth, school, army reserve commitments, extended vacation, etc.

??

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#163732 - 07/05/05 01:03 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: Kintama]
oldman Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 5884
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#163733 - 07/05/05 04:13 PM Re: What happens to instructors/students when... [Re: oldman]
Slayr Offline
Member

Registered: 07/05/04
Posts: 160
Loc: Columbus, Ga. USA
Nice one oldman.
I say the Inst. keeps training, thus going up in rank. In the time it took to take his students from whit to red, you would think he could advance one dan right? He would of course slow down in his rate of earning higher rank as he went, but so would his students. I teach nearly 3 hours away from our home school, but I continue training and reporting back to my instructor and I can still advance in rank as I advance in knowledge and such. Of course if I only had a few thousand dollars or so, I could buy myself a master rank or one of those multicolored belts! I don't know, maybe I'll just make up my own rank and claim to be the only registered plaid belt in the world. Anyone wanna buy your way into sharing this honor for a small one-time fee?
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