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#428977 - 08/10/10 08:25 AM Closing Down!!!!
Dobbersky Offline
Peace Works!!!!
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 913
Loc: Manchester United Kingdom
All

Sometimes I get disheartened and think should I close down my school that I've ran for the last 5 years?

I look at the students I have and they don't put the same effort as I put in. Their training is strong and structured in the class but I feel like their only practice is during class times. I refuse to give any of them Black belts because I train every day, practicing ALL the kata in my syllabus. I practice the Kihon twice weekly. When I know my Dan grades are coming up I train twice daily including Running/cycling (I do this 2 times a week anyways) Bag work, sparring etc. My assistant Instructor is of the same mind.

I have 2 students who are first Kyu and they've got a long way to go before I even think of putting them forward to be graded (All dan grades are graded externally). The kata content is there, the Kihons is there, the sparring is there but mentally they are not "worthy" to be a black belt.

Am I being too harsh on them but I don't want to deminish what being a black belt is about. I don't want to give a black belt just because they've been here for the designated timescale.

I have kyu grades of various levels and within those I have students who actually have the same mindset as Myself and the assistant instructor it is mainly because of them I don't wish to close it down. My dream was to have clubs around the country but I can see the 1st kyu's at present not being there within a few months of gaining 1st Dan.

I felt about taking up another art Like Jujitsu (my style is Ashihara Karate based) but wearing a white belt again and not standing at the front is strange. I also thought of closing but just running private lessons for those who want to thus giving me the chance to continue through my Dan levels and for them to gain Dan levels too.

Your thoughts please.

OSU!!!
_________________________
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

Ken

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#428978 - 08/10/10 08:35 AM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: Dobbersky]
Kathryn Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 262
Loc: Washington, DC
Are you the one who is grading prospective black belts, or are they being put before a committee? It seems to me that you could take the burden off of yourself if you are not the one who has to conduct the evaluation. You may be pleasantly surprised at how well some of them test.
_________________________
Be nice, until it's time to not be nice.

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#428980 - 08/10/10 10:19 AM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: Kathryn]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
Agree with Kathryn. If its not you grading them, then let someone else make the decision. If they aren't good enough, they won't pass. And if they do pass, you have to ask about the association you are with. Do you have different standards? If you don't think they are ready but the committee does, well, who's right?

If they fail, maybe this will make them re-evaluate their training and their approach to it.

As to starting another system... it depends why you are doing martial arts in the first place. Personally I don't like much of the Ju Jitsu in the UK. Very little of it is Japanese for a start. Not to sound like a Koryu snob, but if an association is going to give itself a Japanese name and infer they are teaching traditional Japanese fighting arts (which many Britisih JJ associations claim they are as part of their marketing) they should have a background in traditional Japanese systems. Sadly many do not.

Additionally the training can be, for me, quite dull. Endless compliant partner drills is the order of the day in many places. There are some classes that now offer a bit of sparring or are going down the sports Ju Jitsu route.

Although many RBSD like Krav Maga and Defendo also use compliant drills to a certain extent, they at least make an attempt to deal with other factors of modern day self-defense, including trying to replicate psychological conditions of confrontation outside of class. Many JJ classes in the UK have nothing like that.

I've known an experienced WJJF student who got beaten up quite badly in an attack outside a pub (had to recieve hospital treatment), and have seen a WJJF 2nd Dan getting submitted by a BJJ white belt in a grappling tournament. If you want to study Ju Jitsu because you might like it, go for it. If you are looking for a practical fighting or self-defence system, or to study the traditional fighting methods and culture of Japan, I recommend you look elsewhere.
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#428984 - 08/10/10 12:01 PM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: Prizewriter]
hope Offline
Member

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
Some years ago, a Canadian coach yelled at one of his professional hockey players for slacking off. Then, he noticed that the player was passing all the others. The player, Bobby Orr, had a lazy-looking style that hid his considerable effort. You said "The kata content is there, the Kihons is there, the sparring is there..." -- effort may be there as well. I agree with Kathryn and PW -- let an external eye judge them.

Occasionally, I hear from past students whom I thought took nothing from my classes. Sometimes I think they learned more than I taught, or something better than I knew how to teach. I never really know what they take away...
_________________________
God grant me a good sword and no use for it. -- Polish proverb

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#429000 - 08/11/10 06:59 AM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: hope]
ninpopo Offline
Member

Registered: 07/01/10
Posts: 72
Loc: Africa *drums starts playing i...
@Dobbersky I dont think you are too hard on your students at all, rather create quality over quantity. I have seen HUNDREDS of so called black belts, who are pathetic, katas sloppy, bunkais pathetic, just a sloppy way of fighting etc. That makes themselves, the instructor and the whole style of karate/fighting look pathetic. It takes one bad apple to ruin a batch.

@hope you have to remember, that these people are doing a karate STYLE, so its a WAY how things MUST be, because its symmetrically worked out. You punch in a certain way, because its most effective, you stand with your feet in a specific way because it gives you a studier grip on the ground etc. If they want their own "look/way" of fighting, then they shouldnt do a fighting discipline like karate, but MMA instead.

So what im saying is, rather let them stay put for a while, and maybe let them do the additional training with you for the next few months (until it becomes habit for them too), and when they do their grading, they dont just pass it, they ACE it smile
_________________________
Be the change you wish to see in the world

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#429006 - 08/11/10 11:11 AM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: ninpopo]
Kimo2007 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/31/07
Posts: 1057
Quote:
If they want their own "look/way" of fighting, then they shouldnt do a fighting discipline like karate, but MMA instead.


While I understand your point, I tend to disagree. As student develops they must own the Karate, meaning use Karate as a foundation but not a cage. It's a delicate balance, one must learn the craft before they can become an artists.
_________________________
Undefeated in all of Asia!

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#429022 - 08/12/10 05:33 AM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: Kimo2007]
ninpopo Offline
Member

Registered: 07/01/10
Posts: 72
Loc: Africa *drums starts playing i...
In my opinion (and how i was trained), if you start inventing your own style of martial art, then its not that exact discipline anymore. Then it because your changing something.

If you take tea (water, tealeaves, sugar and milk), and you add another ingredient to it, to enhance it somehow to your preference, lets say honey, it becomes Honey tea, still tea, but not quite.

The same applies to a discipline, if you take karate, and add your own stuff to it, it becomes something different.

Please understand when i say, its right NOT to restrict yourself to one martial art, but the question at hand was, "are these 1st kyu students ready for grading", and in your style, you do things the way you were taught for 8 years, adding your own fancy tricks wont help you in the grading.

So if you want to pass your gradings, do it exactly the way you were taught, street fighting you can mix and match as you feel comfortable with, which is not the case at hand though smile
_________________________
Be the change you wish to see in the world

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#429061 - 08/13/10 07:45 AM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: ninpopo]
Kathryn Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 262
Loc: Washington, DC
Originally Posted By: ninpopo
In my opinion (and how i was trained), if you start inventing your own style of martial art, then its not that exact discipline anymore. Then it because your changing something.


I don't think that kimo2007 is saying that a student should invent new moves, but rather that the student should not merely mimic what the teacher does. Train with open mind and open heart, and your own personality is going to come through.

Kathryn
_________________________
Be nice, until it's time to not be nice.

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#429063 - 08/13/10 08:44 AM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: Kathryn]
Dobbersky Offline
Peace Works!!!!
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 913
Loc: Manchester United Kingdom
All

Thank you for your comments.

I think I'll expand as to what I need to see before I put them forward for Shodan (1st Dan). I'm looking for mental attitude as the physical is only part of it.

Seven virtues of Bushido

The Bushido code is typified by seven virtues:

Rectitude
Courage
Benevolence
Respect
Honesty
Honour
Loyalty

Associated virtues

Filial piety
Wisdom
Care for the aged

You can teach a monkey to perform karate (you can find this on You tube), does that mean it is worthy of a black belt. To me and many Yudansha (blackbelts) the above Virtues are what makes a Yudansha not the physical side.
_________________________
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

Ken

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#429066 - 08/13/10 09:35 AM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: Kathryn]
Kimo2007 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 03/31/07
Posts: 1057
Quote:
don't think that kimo2007 is saying that a student should invent new moves, but rather that the student should not merely mimic what the teacher does. Train with open mind and open heart, and your own personality is going to come through.


Exactly, it's like the difference between playing the notes and playing the music.
_________________________
Undefeated in all of Asia!

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#429070 - 08/13/10 11:12 AM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: Dobbersky]
hope Offline
Member

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
Hello Ken --

So, the students aren't showing these virtues (or are displaying the opposite), and you're waiting for them to mature? Do they know what they need to do in order to become truly black-belt material? (I have talked to some instructors who don't ever tell students what they need to improve mentally on the assumption that if they need to be told, they definitely don't get it and their subsequent behavior won't show their "real" character but only an act).

However, sometimes students need a hint. I'm of the opinion that if a person acts as they wish to be, they will become as they wish to be.

Is this relevant to your particular students?
_________________________
God grant me a good sword and no use for it. -- Polish proverb

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#429074 - 08/13/10 01:27 PM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: Dobbersky]
Kathryn Offline
Member

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 262
Loc: Washington, DC
Originally Posted By: Dobbersky
All

Thank you for your comments.

I think I'll expand as to what I need to see before I put them forward for Shodan (1st Dan). I'm looking for mental attitude as the physical is only part of it.

Seven virtues of Bushido

The Bushido code is typified by seven virtues:
<snip>
You can teach a monkey to perform karate (you can find this on You tube), does that mean it is worthy of a black belt. To me and many Yudansha (blackbelts) the above Virtues are what makes a Yudansha not the physical side.


Bushido is one of my favorite subjects! However:

(1) If a dojo or a sensei is going to require students to adhere to a code, the students usually agree to do so from the outset (i.e. prior to training). Some require blood oaths, and some ask for a general promise. Has your school or class done so? It's not clear from your original posting.

(2) I understand that the higher dan levels require some spiritual development, but I thought that the shodan level was strictly technical, and used as a gateway to the higher levels. Why hold them back from further training that may develop them spiritually if they are ready for the first technical level?

I ask these questions from the perspective of a student, because it would worry me greatly if I entered into a training arrangement and it was suddenly changed when I wanted to test for shodan.

Kathryn
_________________________
Be nice, until it's time to not be nice.

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#429075 - 08/13/10 01:46 PM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: Kathryn]
jonwade Offline
Member

Registered: 09/21/06
Posts: 34
Loc: Essex, UK
I think that the most important question you have to ask yourself is, do you still enjoy teaching? If the answer is yes, then enjoy it, and let the students progress at their pace.

You are an instructor. That alone means that you trained harder and still train harder than the average student, so do not get upset that some are not capable of making the higher grades. For many it is a hobby, fitness workout, social time. Their aspirations may not be to be the next instructor, but just be the best they can be within the time that they can afford to set aside for that activity.

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#429091 - 08/14/10 09:57 AM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: jonwade]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

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

Everyone that teaches feels that way at times. Does not make it any easier to go thu but your not alone.

Jonwade above put it very well.

"Their asperations may not be to be the enxt instructor, but to be just the best they can be within the time that they can afford to set aside for the activity."

Then again, your the guy on the ground and you would know better than we if they were slackers who want the rank without the work.
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#429540 - 08/31/10 12:14 AM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: Dobbersky]
Jeff_G Offline
Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 222
Loc: Midwest
I used to get the yucks of teaching about every seven years. I noticed the pattern after the third round.

Martial Arts is a strange endeavor. We lead and hope that they will follow. The problem is that every practitioner travels his own path. We can't ask for them to be us any more than they can hope to be us. The hard part is letting go and watching them create tiny branches of the tree you started.

I used to take my students to my instructor for black belt testing. The first thing they heard from him was that they would not be there if they were not ready. Then he proceeded to put them through the most grueling ordeal they have ever had.

Each of my black belts were so different from each other and, of course, me but they all deserved their belts.

I agree that it might be useful to step back and let someone else evaluate them. An occasional field trip could be useful from time to time. I suspect that you will be pleasantly surprised.

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#429544 - 08/31/10 08:20 AM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: Jeff_G]
Dobbersky Offline
Peace Works!!!!
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 913
Loc: Manchester United Kingdom
All

It is much appreciated. I think I'm just going through a low point at present. I wonder why, last night, I had a Senior 5th Kyu showing a Junior 1st Kyu Kata that he'd not practiced for a while. I hoped this would 'humble' him to show that the higher the grade, the better the example to be set.

I have 3 students at present who I consider to have the mental state to be a blackbelt although they are still lower Kyu Grades and I need to develop them more before their time.

I have a family of 4 joining me soon so that will be a good lease of life for the club too.

I think I'll put the Idea of "Closing Down" to rest for a while now.

OSU!!!!
_________________________
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

Ken

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#435335 - 06/26/12 12:05 PM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: Dobbersky]
Dobbersky Offline
Peace Works!!!!
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 913
Loc: Manchester United Kingdom
Wow, I'm still going and I've had students come and go, I've changed the name and the way I teach, The Syllabus and the Kata have changed too. I have lowered the level of contact from Full to in-between Semi and Full Contact and Got 2/3 grading for Black Belts this year!

I'm looking at how to Market the school, all the other martial arts schools tend to do the non-contact or Ippon Kumite WKA stuff so I think I will Market it as a Full Contact Karate School, Only thing is getting students to compete in interclubs and competitions, I'm doing the Scottish open "hopefully" Feb 2013

Its good to read through old posts

OSU
_________________________
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

Ken

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#435339 - 06/27/12 12:55 AM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: Dobbersky]
hope Offline
Member

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
Great to hear about it!!

Out of interest, what did you decide about those students whose technical skills were good enough, but who didn't have the mental qualities to test for shodan, in your view?
_________________________
God grant me a good sword and no use for it. -- Polish proverb

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#435342 - 06/27/12 05:18 AM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: hope]
Dobbersky Offline
Peace Works!!!!
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 913
Loc: Manchester United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: hope
Great to hear about it!!

Out of interest, what did you decide about those students whose technical skills were good enough, but who didn't have the mental qualities to test for shodan, in your view?


I'm grading them this year, this Autumn/Winter, I suppose I have to look at it like a driving test, one doesn't start learning how to drive until one is sat in the driving seat with no one to fall back on for guidance

OSU
_________________________
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

Ken

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#435347 - 06/29/12 08:56 PM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: Dobbersky]
Jeff_G Offline
Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 222
Loc: Midwest
Good to see you are still going strong. Keep up the good work.

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#435354 - 07/05/12 11:07 AM Re: Closing Down!!!! [Re: Dobbersky]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

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

I think you have the right idea--it is often a good business/marketing plan to focus on what the "other folks" don't/are not doing. Not only sets you apart from the rest but you are actually offering something useful the others don't.

It also lets you self-select to an extent--instead of getting people that will quickly drop out when faced with harder contact people that are ok with it will come to you.

You still have the challange of the if the market is there for a harder contact school--but it still a good idea......IMO smile
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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