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#363651 - 10/03/07 10:58 PM Re: What are YOUR 'karate credentials'? [Re: Saisho]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
gee, on a personal level teaching for 30 years I've never had anyone ask about credentials, my qualifications or who I am or am not associated with.

In our youth classes the parests show up for the first class or two, see what is going down and then never show up again. I've had students go from white belt to black belt (7 to 9 years of training) and have never seen their parents one time.

Though a few years ago I did have a father, who had trained once upon a time, stop me after his daughters first class and explain "What are you doing, you're actually teaching beginners karate?" I only assume he had seen other programs. He never showed up again, but his daughter continued training for several years till her interest moved elsewhere.

It's interesting hearing that others have different experiences.

For my adult group, first I do my best to discourage new students from training (especially those with previous training) but if what they see is interesting they can train with us forever. I am right though, it's better for me if they haven't trained before, for i don't have to fight through their previous training.

Different experiences I guess.
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

#363652 - 10/03/07 11:44 PM Re: What are YOUR 'karate credentials'? [Re: Saisho]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
ok, I'll play. let's say I'm a prospective student looking at your dojo and I ask your credentials.

what I'm thinking, as a hypothetical prospective, as you say them, is in bold...


As for credentials for myself, I usually tell people just a few things.

1) I am a student of a true Okinwan master
unsubstantiated and opinionated statement. however the bragging tone is noted. are you or were you a regular student of Kensei Taba...or are you ranked thru his organization?
- The only person in the Greater Dayton, Ohio area directly linked to Okinawa and the U.S. Director for his Okinawan Shogen-Ryu Karate-Do Association.
"Shogen-Ryu" ? basically thats Kensei Taba's version of Matsubayashi, yes? There are other Matsubayashi in the Ohio area - in fact, it used to be/still is a hotspot for Matsubayashi Ryu. There are other Shorin orgs in that area.

2) I am listed in the Okinawan prefecture registry of True Okinawan Karate instructors. does it actually use the term 'True'? what organization makes that registry? since you use the term 'prefecture', I'm guessing it's based in mainland Japan?

3) I hold Masters degrees in Anatomy and Physical Therapy (in 8 weeks). So they will learn safe and effective martial arts.The 'safe' part I'll give you, but how does an academic degree qualify what you teach as 'effective' ?

4) I let them watch/participate in a class and see what I can teach them. How is that a qualification? isn't that more of a 'what you see is what you get' policy?

overall, I think thats a weak list to give. hanging on affiliation to an org doesn't tell a whole lot - since orgs are often corporate and very often political. for all I know from that list, you could have been trained in Vanilla-ryu for 5 years then transferred and grandfathered into that org last year. Some orgs take in anyone paying the membership, some also look for dojo owners, some give special status to those with academic degrees. etc.
All of which have no bearing in credentials as it pertains to teaching a decent system.

how about starting with: years of consecutive training as a student, and in which arts? and years experience teaching?

I'm not asking you specifically, I'm not probing an answer, plus this thread isn't about you in particular. I'm thinking of which questions, in general, best address the inquiry of credentials.

#363653 - 10/04/07 08:06 AM Re: What are YOUR 'karate credentials'? [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
'Credentials' is really, if you think on it, a really nebulous thing to tell someone to check out. Newbies/parents are conditioned in US society to think paper 'academic' or 'association' types of credentials. Part of the commercialized world we live in. These folks accept 'rank' as a substitute for paper. They don't have a clue how this barely touches the surface. There is the idea of 'street creds'...and that seems pretty dominant in the 'old world' of karate. 'If he can kick my butt..' type of thinking. Then there are the lineage hunters. I think that is pretty worthless as a 'credential' myself. Kinda like saying 'I'm a Yale man'. Doesn't indicate if you flunked Yale or were Valedictorian.

#363654 - 10/04/07 09:37 AM Re: What are YOUR 'karate credentials'? [Re: harlan]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
(Darn that edit time window)

Caveat: The part about lineage wasn't meant to apply to a few, select arts where lineage is protected...and therefore can be considered a bonafide credential.

#363655 - 10/04/07 09:55 AM Re: What are YOUR 'karate credentials'? [Re: Victor Smith]
Ironfoot Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 2682
Loc: St. Clair Shores, MI USA
You know, I've thought about this before. OK, I begrudgingly joined an organization over a year ago for the first time. So what? I can trace my "lineage" 3 steps back to Tatsuo Shimabuku. So what? I have those fancy dan certificates framed. So what?

What it comes down to, is if someone doesn't think I deserve the obi I wear, let them try to take it off me. My credentials are the years I've studied under great karateka.

Does anyone here think the Mafia carry ID cards or certificates? But they exist, don't they?

#363656 - 10/04/07 09:57 AM Re: What are YOUR 'karate credentials'? [Re: Ironfoot]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
I love it...'karate mafia'. Just call me 'Big Momma.'

#363657 - 10/04/07 10:05 AM Re: What are YOUR 'karate credentials'? [Re: harlan]
Blackrainbow Offline

Registered: 09/14/06
Posts: 220
Loc: Brandon Fl.USA
I have dozens of certificates and scrolls to hang on the walls and boxes of old dusty trophys. And like Tony I belong to that same Okinawan organization. But all of that really does mean anything to my students or potential students. A couple of days ago I found out about a former well known and very qualified instructor from my system who is peddling signed rank certificates on e-bay. And anyone with a printer can make credentials. I let my students former and present be my credentials. I refer any questions about how qualified I am to my students past and present. Since I don't charge any fees for instruction, a few hours in the dojo training will usually let people decide and they have nothing to loose except a little time and sweat.
You cannot defend against that which you do not understand

#363658 - 10/04/07 10:09 AM Re: What are YOUR 'karate credentials'? [Re: Blackrainbow]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
So...for the advanced learner...their students are their credentials. What about the one selling bogus certificates? What kind of credential is he his teacher...and to your system? Once they leave the dojo, get the rank, and start to establish themselves...does it still apply? And where do you draw the line: 'yeah...his karate is great but his character sucks.' (And you know where I'm leading with this: if students are your credentials...then you'd better be picky about who and what you teach.)

Edited by harlan (10/04/07 10:35 AM)

#363659 - 10/04/07 11:43 AM Re: What are YOUR 'karate credentials'? [Re: harlan]
Blackrainbow Offline

Registered: 09/14/06
Posts: 220
Loc: Brandon Fl.USA
The guy selling the certificates once was a well respected and highly qualified instructor who had issues with the parent organization. By the way this is NOT the current organization I belong to. I know I will probably take some heat from some quarters but when I saw the evidence for myself I made an immediate phone call to the U.S. head of the parent organization. I usually blow this stuff off. But the certificates actually have the authentic signitures of the founder (now deceased) and the current head official as well as the signiture of a third party who I am not sure is part of the game. A true practitioner of the system would spot one huge flaw. The certificates are black and white copies and have no chops (seals) which are bright red. For those who would ask why I became involved it's because this act is a direct affront not only to the founder of our style but to all who came after and actually worked to attain the rank. I know there are those that say rank don't matter and the certificates are B$. But most of us worked damn hard to obtain ours. As for picking my students, no I don't pick and choose except for a couple of criteria. I won't teach anyone with a history of criminal violence and if someone tells me they just want to learn to "whoop a$$" I send them on their way.I do however have very strict performance values. I don't tolerate people who won't work or crybabies.That said, this brings up another issue. I teach handicapped students. So all of my "performance" markers are not physical in nature. That is another area where I take considerable heat from the MA community. Most of these handicapped students are veterans of the war in Iraq or Afghanistan who were severly wounded and were in the MA before hand. I dare anyone to tell me that they have no right to continue their studies. But as I said, my students are my best credentials. If someone wants a grandmaster, an organization and certificates I have those too.
You cannot defend against that which you do not understand

#363660 - 10/04/07 11:46 AM Re: What are YOUR 'karate credentials'? [Re: harlan]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
Most people are uninformed about legitimate MA - they don't have a clue re: lineage, technical skill, teaching ability, how some arts complement each other vs. those that are "garage sale MA".

Lineage is a funny thing. Some organizations accept anybody & their blind dogs while others are very particular who they let in. Also, there are too many groups that proclaim to be the "True", "Legitimate" or "Official" line of a group that splintered years ago.

And how about starting your own MA Hall of Fame & electing yourself "Instructor of the Year"? It's also true that poor students come from poor instructors but they rarely recognize their deficiencies becuase similar schools usually congregate together. Big fish in a small pond.

Technical skill is often compared to what's seen in the movies so if you aren't flying & flipping, you're "not that good". I always make it a point to explain the difference between fighting & performing because I'm "not that good".

W/o experiencing other instructors, it's impossible to rate your current instructor. I've seen instructors blame the student for their own lack of communication skills (verbal & demonstration). Kinda like faith healers...("you can't walk because YOU didn't have enough faith").

Instructors who list BB in 1/2 dozen MA don't impress me. Young instructors who have 8-Dan don't impress me. 'Nuff said.

Personally, I just refer to our website.

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