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#370434 - 11/15/07 08:16 PM Who earns black belts?
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Quoted from another thread on this site:

Quote:

There are physically and cognitively challenged people who are earning black belts.




Good? Bad? Other?

I have wrestled with this topic for some time. Although challenged folk's restrictions are (frequently) no fault of their own, is it appropriate to rank them in martial arts along the standards of able-bodied/minded people? This assumes that the challenged folk cannot acutally do X or Y requirement of their particular style, of course.

Certainly they deserve praise and recognition for their efforts. But (at the risk of being incredibly un-PC), if black belts are to really mean anything, then the performance standards should be high - for everyone. I am in favor of merit-based rankings, but that would exclude many able-bodied folk, and almost all challenged folk.

Is the recognition more important than the standards?
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#370435 - 11/15/07 08:28 PM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: MattJ]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
One of the proudest moments of my life was when I attended the college graduation...of my 'mentally challenged' brother. It took him 5 years to get an associates degree in Engineering...but he did it. He met the standards of that school, and was recognized for it. The personal challenge, to cognitively grasp the material, was greater than the average student...but the degree was for meeting the standards and for acquiring the ability to USE that knowledge in the workplace.


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#370436 - 11/15/07 08:46 PM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: MattJ]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

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

I don't know....I think it all goes back to how a person/school views the ranks of shodan.

I've been to schools that could care less about the shodan...pretty much everyone can get one if they train long enough--they view it as just an indication of a persons dedication.

And I have been to schools where if you can't fight...and by "fight" I mean hold your own against the other people with the same rank--you don't get the belt.

(they actually have a series of sparring matchs vs other people that are shodans..if you can't beat them...or at least hold your own--no dice.)

I had to buy a round of drinks for these guys/2 gals, I asked them if they LOST rank as they got too old to spar as well as they could when they were younger.
Hey sumo people do.

Like I said, I guess it comes down to how a person/ school views/feels about the rank
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I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#370437 - 11/15/07 09:24 PM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: MattJ]
Saisho Offline
more than just a pretty face

Registered: 06/26/06
Posts: 620
Loc: Dayton, Ohio
If I want to say that the qualification for blackbelt in my style/school is for the person to correctly pick their nose, then anyone that can do that (and pay the modest $1000 testing fee) can be a blackbelt. It is up to me to make it clear what the standards are and for society to make the decision of whether that is the criteria they want to be held to.
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#370438 - 11/15/07 10:34 PM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: MattJ]
karate_popo Offline
Member

Registered: 09/27/07
Posts: 154
Loc: NYC
Quote:

Quoted from another thread on this site:

Quote:

There are physically and cognitively challenged people who are earning black belts.




Good? Bad? Other?

I have wrestled with this topic for some time. Although challenged folk's restrictions are (frequently) no fault of their own, is it appropriate to rank them in martial arts along the standards of able-bodied/minded people? This assumes that the challenged folk cannot acutally do X or Y requirement of their particular style, of course.

Certainly they deserve praise and recognition for their efforts. But (at the risk of being incredibly un-PC), if black belts are to really mean anything, then the performance standards should be high - for everyone. I am in favor of merit-based rankings, but that would exclude many able-bodied folk, and almost all challenged folk.

Is the recognition more important than the standards?




we do merit based rankings at our dojo. meaning what i think you mean.. is that you go fwd in rank if you are doing well in class... i was skipped by one guy even though i had been attending a year longer then him.. it happens....ranks based on politics or how long you been there makes no sense to me, cuz then it's not really like you earned it through your work, just through your time there

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#370439 - 11/15/07 11:52 PM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: MattJ]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3116
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Matt:

Let's play your query out a bit... if I lack an arm, a leg, two feet, whatever the injury/deformity/missing appendage... what happens then? For something I can do nothing about, my knowledge, my assorted skill sets cannot be acknowledged?

What do you do about someone who is elderly? What about someone too young? It is not the same thing on a child, but it is a standard which someone said ~ can they do this or close to it, they get one of these belts...~ where is the flaw to that approach?

The rank does not make us superhuman... we keep working at "it", regardless of the outcomes. That makes one shodan... insane persistance, a passion for the art. There are many skills a ranking can acknowledge.

Articulate the standards in question, happy to discuss them...
Jeff

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#370440 - 11/16/07 01:09 AM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: MattJ]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
This topic has been around the block a couple of times...I think that there is a place for "honorary" BB.

Just as honorary Doctorate Degrees doesn't permit the recipient from teaching - it's the same w/ honorary BB's.

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#370441 - 11/16/07 07:25 AM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: hedkikr]
Blackrainbow Offline
Dragon

Registered: 09/14/06
Posts: 220
Loc: Brandon Fl.USA
If Motobu, Kyan, Funakoshi or Kano were still alive today, who would be the first one to go to them and say "you are no longer qualified, too old, surrender your rank?" If one of your students were in an accident and lost an arm or leg, would you ask that they quit calling themself one of your black belts ? Just wondering if we want to go the way of the rest of society where everyone is considered disposable.
_________________________
You cannot defend against that which you do not understand

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#370442 - 11/16/07 07:40 AM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: Blackrainbow]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
I remember asking that question a couple of years ago: if you base belts on physical skills, and you no longer have the skills...do you lose it? Of course not. So...in a sense, belts/rank still becomes an 'honorary' thing over time anyway.

My understanding from my teacher is that the Okinawans were less formal about it anyway. You'd go through a class, and get handed one depending in how your teacher had viewed your progress over time.

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#370443 - 11/16/07 09:27 AM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: harlan]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Quote:

if you base belts on physical skills, and you no longer have the skills...do you lose it? Of course not. So...in a sense, belts/rank still becomes an 'honorary' thing over time anyway.




While that is a valid point, that assumes the rank (skills) being earned (developed) in the first place.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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