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#370504 - 11/23/07 03:35 PM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: MattJ]
oldman Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 5884
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#370505 - 11/23/07 04:09 PM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: Victor Smith]
Dereck Offline
Prolific

Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 10413
Loc: Great White North
Victor, those are "fantastic" examples of people that though disabled who strived to go above and beyond their disabilities. I'll bet they never wanted to be treated differently and I'll bet the standards were not lowered for them to obtain their levels.
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#370506 - 11/23/07 04:11 PM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: Victor Smith]
underdog Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1270
Loc: Mansfield, MA U.S.A.
I think that if we took the physical "belt" out of it, there is probably no one in the discussion that has a problem with offering a training opportunity to atypical students with physical, mental or cognative challenges.

Once you open this up, they come in with gi and white belts. As they make progress in what ever curriculum you offer, modified to accommodate the challenge in whatever way that needs to be, how do you acknowledge the steps in their progress?

Everyone else in the other classes, gets belts. If you stick with the regular classes, then it might take longer, but promotion will come in it's own right time.

If separate classes and curriculum is appropriate, how alternatively, would you acknowledge promotion if not by using the traditional belts?

I had a student who fought on his knees or on the ground. He was also cognatively challenged and would not be a candidate for a black belt. However, like the more normal black belts cited above, you couldn't have required him to perform kicks in kata or kumite or sparring or basics drills. Why is it different to make accommodations for intelligence?

I liked the observation that if you can't play NFL hockey, there is another league for you. I'm no olympian but I like to fight in my school. I'd like to play baseball in a weekend women's league without having to go pro. Special Olympics is just another competition opportunity that seems comparable to me.
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#370507 - 11/23/07 04:25 PM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: oldman]
Dereck Offline
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Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 10413
Loc: Great White North
Quote:

http://fightingarts.com/reading/article.php?id=562




From this article:

"This time I understood him, and after thinking for a moment I said “yes,” but that I wouldn’t make special accommodations for him. If he fell down, he would have to get up himself."

"During his two-day test Kevin fully participated – he didn’t want special treatment. He free fought, demonstrated kata and self-defense drills and two man exercises with others taking their tests."

Challenged but went above and beyond. Didn't want any extra treatment. No special accomodation given.
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#370508 - 11/23/07 07:06 PM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: MattJ]
fileboy2002 Offline
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Registered: 11/13/05
Posts: 999
Loc: Chicago, IL
I don't feel either the example of the pro athletes or the surgeon are relevant here.

Playing pro sports involves asking a team to pay you substantial amounts of money to play and entertain people; those who earn black belts are typically paying someone else (their instructor) and not entertaining anybody. Plus, pro atheletes are required to compete--martial arts students can choose not to.

A surgeon cannot perform without arms because it is literally impossible to do so; a disabled person can participate in martial arts training to a considerable extent. Plus, no one dies if the disabled black belt is not 100%

I am not suggesting disabled people "can do anything." I would not, for example, tell a disabled person they could compete in tournaments against able-bodied people. Nor would I tell someone in a wheelchair that, with enough training, they will be able to defend themselves against someone who can walk.

But getting a black belt? Maybe the problem is I just don't agree that getting a black belt is all that significant. For me, getting a black belt was like making the local little league team, not the majors.

I think the more interesting issue here is our different attitudes towards what constitutes "fairness." I have always felt a bit out of step with my fellow Americans in this regard. To many in this country, "fairness" means treating everyone exactly the same whether their circumstances are the same or not. In my mind, all this does is rig the system in favor of people who start out with the most advantages.

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#370509 - 11/24/07 09:11 AM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: fileboy2002]
Cord Offline
Prolific

Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 11399
Loc: Cambridge UK.
Quote:

I don't feel either the example of the pro athletes or the surgeon are relevant here.

Playing pro sports involves asking a team to pay you substantial amounts of money to play and entertain people; those who earn black belts are typically paying someone else (their instructor) and not entertaining anybody. Plus, pro atheletes are required to compete--martial arts students can choose not to.

A surgeon cannot perform without arms because it is literally impossible to do so; a disabled person can participate in martial arts training to a considerable extent. Plus, no one dies if the disabled black belt is not 100%

I am not suggesting disabled people "can do anything." I would not, for example, tell a disabled person they could compete in tournaments against able-bodied people. Nor would I tell someone in a wheelchair that, with enough training, they will be able to defend themselves against someone who can walk.

But getting a black belt? Maybe the problem is I just don't agree that getting a black belt is all that significant. For me, getting a black belt was like making the local little league team, not the majors.

I think the more interesting issue here is our different attitudes towards what constitutes "fairness." I have always felt a bit out of step with my fellow Americans in this regard. To many in this country, "fairness" means treating everyone exactly the same whether their circumstances are the same or not. In my mind, all this does is rig the system in favor of people who start out with the most advantages.




Its interesting that in this discussion, you talk of 'fairness', and believe in the disabled being given special dispensation to achieve black belt, but at the same time, you are the only one to have used a derogatory term (gimp), and the only one to suggest that a disbled person could not compete against a fully able MAist in competition.
This is why true equality has become the 'fairness' for which society strives- because special treatment involves seeing the disablity and limitations, not the person and the potential.
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#370510 - 11/24/07 09:36 AM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: MattJ]
Shawn Sinn Offline
Newbie

Registered: 12/24/04
Posts: 17
Loc: Kansas
A student needs to know the mechanics of moves, the strategy of when moves are most effective, and the ethics around it all. As for how pretty he/she does a certain move is just icing on the cake.

As I was typing this, I recalled an old Kung Fu episode. A young boy asked "grasshopper" how long it takes to learn his martial art and so on. This leads to a flash back of the old master saying that "it can take a lifetime to learn just one..." martial art. In the dojo I got my black belt, we had a brown stripe whom had been going to that school for years (he would take long brakes, and it would set his skill level back again and again). Last I saw, he was still trying for his brown.

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#370511 - 11/24/07 02:39 PM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: fileboy2002]
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Quote:

But getting a black belt? Maybe the problem is I just don't agree that getting a black belt is all that significant. For me, getting a black belt was like making the local little league team, not the majors.




Yes, but that is the standards or emphasis put on the belt in YOUR art/dojo. In others, such as BJJ, getting a BB is VASTLY different from being in the "little league(s)".
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#370512 - 11/24/07 02:43 PM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: medulanet]
Dereck Offline
Prolific

Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 10413
Loc: Great White North
Agreed. A blue belt in BJJ would be equal to or even greater then a black belt in another martial art ... and you start with white and next proceed to blue. When or even if sometime in my life I did get a blue belt in BJJ, I know my time I put in and what I learn will be far greater a feat and more technical them most black belts in other martial arts.
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"IF I COME ... I'M BRINGING THE PAIN WITH ME"

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#370513 - 11/24/07 02:48 PM Re: Who earns black belts? [Re: Cord]
fileboy2002 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 11/13/05
Posts: 999
Loc: Chicago, IL
My use of the word "gimp" was deliberate sarcasm. You can talk about fairness all you want, but relegating the disabled to a second string on the grounds that disabled blackbelts are not "real" blackbelts amounts to calling them "gimps" or "cripples."

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