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#434053 - 10/26/11 09:34 PM "Time-served" Requirements
Christie Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 872
Loc: Waterloo, ON
Recently, there has been some controversy at the Tae Kwon Do club that I am currently training at with respect to time-served belt promotion requirements, and I wanted to pose this question to those individuals on this forum that run their own club or are involved with the structural aspects of the club they belong to. Of course, thoughts from any of you are also welcomed and appreciated.

For the most part, requirements for belt promotion vary widely from club to club, and the quality of students vary equally as much. In the end, the colour of cloth the person ties around their waist speaks little about their actual ability in the absence of observing them train, but I digress.

Most clubs that I have trained at across several martial arts styles have had some variation of a "time-served" requirement; however, most of them have also embraced the fact that as far as skills go, all students cannot be considered as equal. Some require more than the standard amount of time to reach the expected degree of proficiency for belt promotion while others reach it much sooner than the standard. Experience in similar styles of the martial art will mean a student will progress much faster than someone who is completely new. Someone who does judo will pick up BJJ faster than someone who does karate, but someone who does karate will pick up tae kwon do faster than someone who does judo.

So my question, or questions, are really these:

- Would you hold a person back by virtue of time-served alone even if it's evident they are proficient enough to move forward?

- Do you consider prior martial arts experience when someone joins your club when placing them in a class (for instance, beginner, intermediate or advanced), or is that irrelevant? Why or why not?

- For those in the area of tae kwon do, how would you handle a situation where someone with a black belt in tae kwon do, but from a different organization joins your club? For instance a black belt from ITF starting WTF, or a black belt from WTF starting Song Moo Kwan, or vice versa, etc.? Do they start at white belt, do they start as a black belt, do they start somewhere in between? What is the rationale for your response?

- Is "time-served" set in stone, or is the fitness level, prior athletic experience, natural ability, rate of learning, etc. an important thing to consider?

The situation I am specifically referring to is an individual with 14 years of experience in Tae Kwon Do recently took and passed their belt promotion from black stripe to double black stripe (the belt before black belt at my club) two months after their last belt test. This individual has a black belt in Song Moo Kwan Tae Kwon Do, but was forced to switch styles several years ago because it isn't taught in very many locations. The club they originally started before joining my club asked them to start at purple belt (the half way point), which they did. It has been three years since. They passed their belt test and no-one questions their ability, yet the manager of another location of the same club (there are three locations of the club I belong to) is really upset they were permitted to take their belt promotion test after only two months.

I'm not sure where I stand on the issue and I wanted to gauge the general consensus in the martial arts community.

Thanks in advance!

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#434058 - 10/27/11 03:33 AM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Christie]
choonbee Offline
Member

Registered: 02/26/11
Posts: 195
I don't think that he should be held back because of a "time requirement.
If he has the ability and has mastered the techniques for the level that he's at, he should be advanced.


Edited by choonbee (10/27/11 03:36 AM)
_________________________
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#434059 - 10/27/11 09:01 AM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: choonbee]
gojuman59 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 224
Loc: Missouri

What it really comes down to is that rank is between the instructor and the student. If that ruffles feathers of other people that's too bad. I don't have a problem with it. What I do have a problem with is quick testing just to generate testing fees.
In the end it really isn't the business of the students to question rank.Trust your instructor , he should know when test time is appropriate.

mark

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#434060 - 10/27/11 09:44 AM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Christie]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Quote from Christie: So my question, or questions, are really these:

- Would you hold a person back by virtue of time-served alone even if it's evident they are proficient enough to move forward?


No.

- Do you consider prior martial arts experience when someone joins your club when placing them in a class (for instance, beginner, intermediate or advanced), or is that irrelevant? Why or why not?

Yes and No. Everyone starts at the beginning, but you evaluate a transfer student and move them up according to ability. And despite your notion that someone with prior experience will have the skills in place to transition to a new style, I find that isn't so. Good martial artists can do it. Bad ones are bad in any art. And then there are those that simply can't let go of prior training and won't make progress in a new school.

- For those in the area of tae kwon do, how would you handle a situation where someone with a black belt in tae kwon do, but from a different organization joins your club? For instance a black belt from ITF starting WTF, or a black belt from WTF starting Song Moo Kwan, or vice versa, etc.? Do they start at white belt, do they start as a black belt, do they start somewhere in between? What is the rationale for your response?

Not TKD, but my teachers were and transitioned to Goju. No matter the style, a BB transitioning is evaluated on skill. Don't cut the mustard and you are relegated to the appropriate (underlevel) training class.

- Is "time-served" set in stone, or is the fitness level, prior athletic experience, natural ability, rate of learning, etc. an important thing to consider?

'Time served' doesn't get anyone a pass on ability. Natural ability will get one only so far, and training, good or bad, will show. Anyone claiming a BB in another art isn't really considered as 'all that'. But when claiming 'time served', stating 'I've trained 20 years in XX', that is a different matter. That person is expected to have figured out a lot more and is going to be evaluated more critically. (I just love all the weekend warriors with shodan/nidan that claim 10-20 years of training, show up, and can't deflect a punch.)

-The situation I am specifically referring to is an individual with 14 years of experience in Tae Kwon Do recently took and passed their belt promotion from black stripe to double black stripe (the belt before black belt at my club) two months after their last belt test. This individual has a black belt in Song Moo Kwan Tae Kwon Do, but was forced to switch styles several years ago because it isn't taught in very many locations. The club they originally started before joining my club asked them to start at purple belt (the half way point), which they did. It has been three years since. They passed their belt test and no-one questions their ability, yet the manager of another location of the same club (there are three locations of the club I belong to) is really upset they were permitted to take their belt promotion test after only two months.

I'm not sure where I stand on the issue and I wanted to gauge the general consensus in the martial arts community.


Hung up on petty rank. One stripe, two stripes. How about a gold star to go with that? Only thing that matters is your training, and whether or not the school you are training in is actually teaching you something of value and not holding you back.


Edited by harlan (10/27/11 09:48 AM)

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#434061 - 10/27/11 10:41 AM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: harlan]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
I don't think there should be a time requirement for grading where a curriculum exists for promotion. If a person has learnt the curriculum and can fufil the curriculum to a high standard then they should get the belt they deserve.

Many Judo and BJJ associations award you rank based on your ability, which is mainly governed by your ability to beat your peers in full contact matches. People like BJ Penn have been awarded their BJJ black belt in 3 years. People like Ed O'Neill (aka Al Bundy) took 16 years to get their BJJ black belt. One guy trained all the time (sometimes a couple of times a day) and won a lot of competitions. The other guy trained once or twice a week and didn't compete.

Bottom line for a martial artist should be how well they can apply their training. People have different ways of testing this but if you can walk the walk you should get the rank you deserve.
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#434062 - 10/27/11 01:56 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Prizewriter]
Christie Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 872
Loc: Waterloo, ON
Thank you everybody for your thoughts.

My beliefs on the issue pretty much align with the points you've each raised. If there is a curriculum in place, also having a time-served requirement holds those who train hard, and learn fast back. I do not believe that all students are created equal, and so when it comes to advancement you can't treat them as if they are. If the particular club doesn't have a rank-dependent curriculum than actual rank isn't all that important, but if an individual is barred from advancing further because of the colour of cloth around their waist, then that individual may be wasting their time continuing to train with that specific club.

In any case, the manager of club location 1 is intent on stirring up trouble by making it a huge issue with the club owner. I think it's a little petty, really ridiculous, and misses the point of martial arts entirely. I guess the trouble with teaching at a club you don't own is you get mixed up in politics you have no control over, and you are limited in your expression of how you believe martial arts should be managed and taught.

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#434063 - 10/27/11 04:59 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Christie]
choonbee Offline
Member

Registered: 02/26/11
Posts: 195
You referred to the individual who has the problem with advancing the student as a manager.
Is he a martial artist as well?
(I use the term martial artist loosely for this individual).
_________________________
Insert profound martial arts quotes or tough guy phrases here.

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#434064 - 10/27/11 05:13 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: choonbee]
Christie Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 872
Loc: Waterloo, ON
Yes, she's a third dan black belt. She is the manager of locations 1 and 2, and the head instructor at location 1. She has no control over location 3, where I train. It's the university tae kwon do club.


Edited by Christie (10/27/11 05:14 PM)

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#434084 - 10/29/11 09:05 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Christie]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Christie:

Rank is an issue between two individuals, the one who gives it and the one who receives it. Nobody else truly matters. Time served (positively) implies that we practice longer and ingrain our experiences more deeply, carefully given more time to do so. We gain more depth.

Negatively artificial requirements are simple mcdojo fare. No quality, no skill or depth at all. Every 30 days rank (the adjective to smell bad) increases.

Promotion has three qualities: technical, political and merit. Technical skill is very simple. Can I do the technique, the concept with credibly or not? Political is a certain dynamic between a small, tight group. Three men/women are very good together, help each other grow, learn, one of the three is weaker than their friends... they can be promoted to keep the group dynamic in place. That individual will require more effort at the new rank than his/her peers. They cannot coast. But to keep the other two growing, the third friend is necessary to bolster their particular weaknesses. Without all three the synergy is gone, the group stops learning and self motivating. Merit, is the most difficult. Close in skill will I benefit from being promoted and grow INTO the skills which I am weak, or slightly lacking? Rank is a relative thing. If I perceive I am weaker, I can grow and improve because of a teachers insistence/belief, you were promoted because I believe you are very able... show me I was right.

<< prior martial arts experience Why or why not?

Having serious experience in a different art will give someone knowledge-understanding. It does not guarantee anything however. If my experience were (random choices) 5 arts over 15 years, a new practice every three years... is that prior positive experiences, or negative ones? Prefer serious depth to shallow techniques.

The TKD politic... if having my rank is important to you, small changes may be necessary. But whatever knowledge, experience you brought with you are still yours... It does not disappear if you don't wear that belt. Myself, I would let them wear it... they earned it.

Fitness is almost irrelevant to real art. A cute by-product but nothing necessary beyond a very, very low level.

Within your own house, your own rules apply, or can be broken as well. It is on the teacher and the teacher alone whether a rule gets bent or not. What is the TRUE objection here? If the other manager does not like the flavor of the art presented, that is a much bigger discussion. But is the sole question time-in grade... that seems superficial and pretend...

Merely my opinion, I could surely be mistaken,
Jeff


Edited by Ronin1966 (10/29/11 09:11 PM)

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#434087 - 10/30/11 11:32 AM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Ronin1966]
Christie Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 872
Loc: Waterloo, ON
Hey Jeff,

That was an interesting comment you made about group dynamics, it isn't something that I have put much thought into before.

Her objection is solely time in rank, my objection is that on its own, time in rank isn't a valid objection. She is the only individual at the club that seems to believe there is an issue with the individual having been allowed to test. All of the other instructors, most of which have been doing the art for longer than she has, do not see a problem. However, because she is the manager, she is choosing to make it an issue. As a result, I am no longer volunteering my time at her location, it just stresses me out too much.

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#434092 - 10/31/11 11:53 AM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Christie]
Dereck Offline
Prolific

Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 10413
Loc: Great White North
Originally Posted By: Christie
So my question, or questions, are really these:

- Would you hold a person back by virtue of time-served alone even if it's evident they are proficient enough to move forward?


I believe there are exceptions to every rule. The time required to promote, as your refer to time-served, is a guideline. If evidence showed the student was more than proficient at the skills required I may give the opportunity to grade faster.

Quote:
- Do you consider prior martial arts experience when someone joins your club when placing them in a class (for instance, beginner, intermediate or advanced), or is that irrelevant? Why or why not?


Prior martial art experiences is taken into account. A student came in and had not taken Taekwondo for over 5 years however had a black belt from a different organization. He started at a white belt and was able to test as high as he wanted at each test period. First test he tested from white to blue. Next test he tested from blue to Red/Black Stripe. Final test was black belt. He progressed faster than most but that is only because he had the necessary skill.

If a student hast he necessary skills than why hold them back? They are an asset to the club with not only helping out as know the skills but can also bring a different look and different skills to help others.

Quote:
- For those in the area of tae kwon do, how would you handle a situation where someone with a black belt in tae kwon do, but from a different organization joins your club? For instance a black belt from ITF starting WTF, or a black belt from WTF starting Song Moo Kwan, or vice versa, etc.? Do they start at white belt, do they start as a black belt, do they start somewhere in between? What is the rationale for your response?


I addressed this a bit above. The reason this student started at white was it was agreed upon as had not taken Taekwondo for several years and this seemed the best course of action.

One of the students I trained with who had just reach black belt (WTF), joined a local ITF club as our school closed down. He was able to retain his black belt but trained from the bottom up. I believe each situation has to be looked at and then the best course of action taken. In this case most of the skill sets are equal with the exception of the patterns (forms). A person from another art such as Karate I may start at a white belt however allow them to progress faster.

Quote:
- Is "time-served" set in stone, or is the fitness level, prior athletic experience, natural ability, rate of learning, etc. an important thing to consider?


Time required between belts is not set in stone however is a good guideline. While a student may have all of these skills in most cases I would have them continue for the "time required" to become even better at those skills, rather than rush them through the system. In that same breath, I would hold up other students if they could not show those skills even if they had served the time.

Quote:
The situation I am specifically referring to is an individual with 14 years of experience in Tae Kwon Do recently took and passed their belt promotion from black stripe to double black stripe (the belt before black belt at my club) two months after their last belt test. This individual has a black belt in Song Moo Kwan Tae Kwon Do, but was forced to switch styles several years ago because it isn't taught in very many locations. The club they originally started before joining my club asked them to start at purple belt (the half way point), which they did. It has been three years since. They passed their belt test and no-one questions their ability, yet the manager of another location of the same club (there are three locations of the club I belong to) is really upset they were permitted to take their belt promotion test after only two months.


This doesn't bother me too much; 14 years of experience is a solid amount of time to know most skill sets and to pick up on other styles faster. Obviously the school where he took this the Instructor was confident enough to allow this; the other Instructor at the other school can show his dismay but it is not up to him.
_________________________
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#434093 - 10/31/11 12:44 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Dereck]
Dobbersky Offline
Peace Works!!!!
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Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 913
Loc: Manchester United Kingdom
I'm going to hijack this thread and ask:

What are the requirements for "Time served" with regards to Dan Grades in your Organisation

in the NGB I am with it is like this;
1st Dan to 2nd Dan - 2years (technical grade)
2nd Dan to 3rd Dan - 3years (technical grade)
3rd Dan to 4th Dan - 4years (non-technical grade)
4th Dan to 5th Dan - 5years (non-technical grade)
5th Dan to 6th Dan - 5years (non-technical grade)
6th Dan to 7th Dan - 5years (non-technical grade)
ETC

I know in other NGB's Orgs it increases with the Dan Level but then again I have seen orgs that have lower timescales than this giving out 16th Dans etc due to the lesser times required between the grades

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

Ken

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#434094 - 10/31/11 01:56 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Dobbersky]
Dereck Offline
Prolific

Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 10413
Loc: Great White North
Dobbersky, your time required between belts is pretty much par for what my school did. I believe that school that do less than this are sub-par. I sadly have seen some sub-par black belts as well as instructors.
_________________________
"IF I COME ... I'M BRINGING THE PAIN WITH ME"

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#434101 - 11/01/11 12:27 AM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Dereck]
Christie Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 872
Loc: Waterloo, ON
Dobbersky, the time between dans is the same at my club; however, from what I have observed very few people actually choose to test beyond first dan at my club.

Dereck, it may not directly be within her power to do anything, but it is indirectly within her power to convince the club owner there is a problem at the university club with, in her words, loopholes.

The thing is that the university club IS poorly managed right now. We just don't have the committed manpower. The instructors that teach at the club all moved on from tae kwon do and started lives. It isn't their priority so the teaching is very random and haphazard. It's a challenge on its own to make certain there is an instructor available at all for each class. The individual that is causing so much controversy has the time, skill, experience, and motivation to run the university club, but they are limited in their jurisdiction because the colour around their waist isn't solid black. The pragmatic thing is to allow them to "fast-track" (so long as the ability to pass the test is there of course), but the manager insists on being dogmatic about a random time requirement.

Black belt dans for me really just represent experience so I completely get being dogmatic about the time in-between, but that mentality just does not transfer over the same to colour belts.

This whole situation just upsets me because I no longer feel at home at my club.

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#434106 - 11/01/11 05:52 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Christie]
Dereck Offline
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Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 10413
Loc: Great White North
Sorry to hear that Christie.

In my perfect world I'd like to go to class and my Instructor tosses me a belt when he sees I'm ready as I have proven it time and time again. No tests, no fees just an acknowledgement of proficiency. Time would not necessarily mean anything either. The only time is what I put into it and the more I put into the more proficient I will get.

I hope things work out for you Christie; good luck.
_________________________
"IF I COME ... I'M BRINGING THE PAIN WITH ME"

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#434107 - 11/01/11 09:01 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Dereck]
choonbee Offline
Member

Registered: 02/26/11
Posts: 195
Sometimes I think that rank causes more problems than it's worth.
People get obsessed with rank, and it becomes a distraction.
_________________________
Insert profound martial arts quotes or tough guy phrases here.

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#434113 - 11/02/11 09:25 AM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: choonbee]
Dereck Offline
Prolific

Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 10413
Loc: Great White North
Agreed. When first started I rushed through the ranks learning the "basics" and putting in the "time" so that I could test. By the time I acquired my blue belt I figured it out and slowed down. My goal was by the time I reached black belt I wanted to be better than the basics; and I was. Having attended some other schools, sadly even before black belt I had better skills than many. I owe that to slowing down and to a great Instructor that demanded the best from me. I wish others could realize this.
_________________________
"IF I COME ... I'M BRINGING THE PAIN WITH ME"

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#434114 - 11/02/11 09:34 AM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: choonbee]
Dobbersky Offline
Peace Works!!!!
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Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 913
Loc: Manchester United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: choonbee
Sometimes I think that rank causes more problems than it's worth.
People get obsessed with rank, and it becomes a distraction.


Totally agree.

I wish there was Just Sempai, Sensei and Shihan Grades and thats all. no need to have 1 to 10 Dan levels
_________________________
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

Ken

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#434117 - 11/02/11 06:18 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Dobbersky]
Dereck Offline
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Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 10413
Loc: Great White North
In most martial arts, the higher belts are nothing more than honorary. Seems pretty useless to me. Again, I'd like just to be thrown a belt when it was deserved and earned by my day to day performance.
_________________________
"IF I COME ... I'M BRINGING THE PAIN WITH ME"

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#434119 - 11/02/11 09:50 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Dereck]
hope Offline
Member

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
Dereck said "I believe there are exceptions to every rule. The time required to promote, as you refer to time-served, is a guideline. If evidence showed the student was more than proficient at the skills required I may give the opportunity to grade faster." I totally agree, and the clubs where I have trained share this philosophy, to everyone's benefit. The instructors also sometimes extend "time served" for development of patience in addition to skills.

But then, "Again, I'd like just to be thrown a belt when it was deserved and earned by my day to day performance." I liked this idea at first reading, but then thought -- part of earning a belt is the stress of testing, which doesn't occur during class (even in sparring, which is a different stress than performance). I've seen any number of (non martial-arts) students choke during exams though they "know" the material. Maybe their knowledge doesn't go all that deep yet. For some subjects, performance under stress doesn't seem at all critical but for MA, I think it may be.


Edited by hope (11/02/11 09:54 PM)
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#434120 - 11/03/11 06:15 AM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: hope]
Dobbersky Offline
Peace Works!!!!
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Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 913
Loc: Manchester United Kingdom
What do you think of "Time served" grades for 2nd Dan or 3rd Dan for people who "don't have the time" to prepare for their test! although double time served is required ie for 2nd Dan you'd have to wait 4 years and 3rd dan would be 6 years. I personally only feel that medical conditions should be the only reason for this.
_________________________
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

Ken

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#434121 - 11/03/11 06:05 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: hope]
Christie Offline
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Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 872
Loc: Waterloo, ON
hope - the thing with tests is they only really evaluate how good a person is at taking tests. It's a test-specific kind of stress, not a realistic kind of stress. If you want to test a person's skills under stress you should jump out at them from behind a corner and gauge their response wink.

I'm more inclined to agree with Dereck that everyday in class should be a test. If one has demonstrated regularly in class that they deserve to move forward, just present the new belt to them at the end of class. People will also work harder in each individual class because day to day performance matters more in this kind of setting compared to when advancement depends on a finite test in time.

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#434122 - 11/03/11 06:09 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Dobbersky]
Christie Offline
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Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 872
Loc: Waterloo, ON
Originally Posted By: Dobbersky
What do you think of "Time served" grades for 2nd Dan or 3rd Dan for people who "don't have the time" to prepare for their test! although double time served is required ie for 2nd Dan you'd have to wait 4 years and 3rd dan would be 6 years. I personally only feel that medical conditions should be the only reason for this.



Dan grades are already essentially time-served grades. The problem with performance testing at the black belt level is that at a certain point being a black belt isn't about performance, but about wisdom and experience.

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#434123 - 11/03/11 07:09 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Christie]
gojuman59 Offline
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I don't totally buy into the "dan grades are time served grades." One needs to progress in technique along with wisdom and experience. There are physical limitations that age places on the body, but being in general good health one needs to work hard just like the kyus.
This actually hits a little nerve with me. I know that my approach in training for nidan wasn't even close to what it was for shodan.I could see it as I wasn't pushing my self as hard as I could have.I was young enough that I should have kept up the intensity of my training.My fault, and since starting up in another art have I'm careful to not cheat myself in my training. It also is great that I have a sensei that tests his students when he thinks they are ready.There isn't any time table.

Mark

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#434124 - 11/03/11 09:12 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Christie]
hope Offline
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Originally Posted By: Christie
hope - the thing with tests is they only really evaluate how good a person is at taking tests. It's a test-specific kind of stress, not a realistic kind of stress. If you want to test a person's skills under stress you should jump out at them from behind a corner and gauge their response wink.


Jumping out at someone from behind a corner is certainly a different kind of stress than taking a test. However, to say that testing creates a kind of unique "test-specific" stress which is totally useless outside a test isn't actually true. The stresses you are under in testing can be multiple (depending on the setup of the test): time pressure, fear of failure, fear of public judgment, competitive stress. Being able to demonstrate that you have automated sth to such an extent that you can be competent under these types of stress is valuable.
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#434126 - 11/03/11 11:56 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: hope]
iaibear Offline
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There is also the personal preference side of this issue. When I was first advised to try for a black belt, I went along with it, believing I did not have sufficient skill to earn it. I was granted it.

Later I was told that I could have been awarded Nidan if I had asked for it. My opinion was that I would not have accepted it because I felt I needed the time as Shodan for the experience.

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#434129 - 11/05/11 06:46 AM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: iaibear]
choonbee Offline
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I'm testing for my next belt in a couple of weeks.
I'm beyond the time requirement for my present rank, and the owner of my school actually apologized to me for making me wait.
His reason for that is he wanted to test some other students along with me, and he wanted to make sure that they were ready.
He also stated that he is confident that I know the techniques and forms for my present rank because he's seen me work them time and time again in classes, and that he feels that I need to move up in order for me to be challenged.
I told him that I wasn't concerned about going over the required time period because the training that I'm doing is still good training, and besides that, the other instructors have been making me work techniques (not forms) that are beyond my belt level anyway.
Also, he allowed me to skip a belt earlier on because he felt that I was beyond that level, and he didn't want to hold me back and take the risk that I would become stagnant.
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#434130 - 11/05/11 01:41 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Christie]
Dereck Offline
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Originally Posted By: Christie
hope - the thing with tests is they only really evaluate how good a person is at taking tests. It's a test-specific kind of stress, not a realistic kind of stress. If you want to test a person's skills under stress you should jump out at them from behind a corner and gauge their response wink.

I'm more inclined to agree with Dereck that everyday in class should be a test. If one has demonstrated regularly in class that they deserve to move forward, just present the new belt to them at the end of class. People will also work harder in each individual class because day to day performance matters more in this kind of setting compared to when advancement depends on a finite test in time.


Christie is understanding better of what I was getting at.

Yes testing puts stress on a student HOWEVER when it comes to testing there are only "certain" requirements the student has to fill in order to pass on. What is happening is students will become "capable" of doing just those things in order to grade and to move on. What I'm saying is as a student you become good at "everything". Your over all performance in far more under scrutiny every day and at the end of the day you are rewarded for that.

In class I was tested continually out of the blue, put on the spot in front of everybody; don't see that any different then testing for a grade. I was pushed at every turn. If my Instructor felt I wasn't putting my all into it he'd point it out. One such incident I was bagged. I had weight lifted prior to class and at the end we had to do 100 kicks per leg on the heavy back. I was sucking wind. I was behind everybody. My Instructor said, "Dereck, did you want somebody else to finish those for you?" That was motivation enough to make me suck it up and get it done. I was put on the spot in front of everybody and he knew that would push me and he knew I could do it ... I just didn't believe it. A good Instructor will continually test you in class; push you beyond what you think you can do. Take you out of your comfort zone. At times during training I felt genuine fear, greater than any test could have done. Testing didn't make me better, training made me better. As an A/Cst. with the RCMP I've had to use some of those skills, testing didn't help me during these situations, training over and over made those techniques flow. The stress of training and being pushed was the deciding factor. That is the real truth.

If students know that their everyday performance in all skills will move them forward they will work harder in class. Put testing parameters with time required as the deciding factor than most will just work towards that. In the end you will have substandard martial artists. That is what we as a martial arts society are seeing. I was stuck in that earlier on; I got off that ride.
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#434131 - 11/05/11 02:48 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: hope]
Christie Offline
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Originally Posted By: hope
Originally Posted By: Christie
hope - the thing with tests is they only really evaluate how good a person is at taking tests. It's a test-specific kind of stress, not a realistic kind of stress. If you want to test a person's skills under stress you should jump out at them from behind a corner and gauge their response wink.


Jumping out at someone from behind a corner is certainly a different kind of stress than taking a test. However, to say that testing creates a kind of unique "test-specific" stress which is totally useless outside a test isn't actually true. The stresses you are under in testing can be multiple (depending on the setup of the test): time pressure, fear of failure, fear of public judgment, competitive stress. Being able to demonstrate that you have automated sth to such an extent that you can be competent under these types of stress is valuable.


Performance under the stress of taking an examination does not transfer to performance under stress in the real world. Lots of literature in psychology research confirms this if you do a quick search on Google scholar.

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#434132 - 11/05/11 02:52 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Dereck]
Christie Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dereck
If students know that their everyday performance in all skills will move them forward they will work harder in class. Put testing parameters with time required as the deciding factor than most will just work towards that. In the end you will have substandard martial artists. That is what we as a martial arts society are seeing.


My thoughts exactly. The kind of dogmatism we see in most martial arts instructors these days is really detrimental to the quality of the art as whole. It's a sign of a bad teacher. If one needs to dogmatically stick to some time-constrained rubric, than one does not have enough confidence in one's own judgement and consequently has no business teaching.

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#434133 - 11/05/11 06:52 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Christie]
hope Offline
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Christie said "Performance under the stress of taking an examination does not transfer to performance under stress in the real world. Lots of literature in psychology research confirms this if you do a quick search on Google scholar".

I'm not arguing that testing (in itself) makes you better at dealing with stress (or that time-served in MA testing should be inflexible, which is ridiculous), but that tests can show how well you have been training to handle stressors. They can be an indicator of the success of training, demonstrated for all to see and judged by several people who might not have the biases of a single instructor.

Test-taking is predictable, and as such can be prepared for. Much real-world stress is also predictable -- you can see it coming. Training contains nicely scheduled stressors -- you turn up on Tuesday evenings ready for stress. It has long been known that training helps buffer the effects of later acute stress (eg. Weiss, Glazer, Pohorecky, Brick and Miller 1975). Students required to solve math problems under stress show better performance in a test phase with a new stressor (Vossel and Laux 1978). What tests do is evaluate the skills people have internalized during training. Past a certain level, people's performance deteriorates under stress. The more "normalized" stress is, the less performance deteriorates. Training seems also to generalize to new stressors, so that they are experienced as less stressful (Franken, 1982).

So, you have trained. Your instructor thinks you have reached a certain level. If you have, you can demonstrate it to people who are not emotionally invested in your training -- in a test.

With regards to people training "just for the test", and therefore ending up as substandard martial artists, I have to agree with that to some extent. Perhaps it's up to instructors to discourage that kind of motivation, by their own observable attitude and behavior, by increasing the scope of testing (some styles even include essays on philosophical points (!) or by specifically discussing the attributes of "competent martial artists". Without tests which involve judgment of external observers, a club could get a bit ingrown, without any external point of reference or standard.

That said though, getting a belt in martial arts isn't like graduate school -- "getting in" doesn't suddenly provide you with all your future possibilities. Passing the GRE can give you the chance to use university facilities to grow, and clears the way to a qualification that can decide your future career. With martial arts, it's the training that's the whole point. Belts are nice, but they don't have any meaning in the world at large, whereas your skill level (irrespective of belt) does.


Edited by hope (11/05/11 07:23 PM)
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#434136 - 11/06/11 04:45 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: hope]
choonbee Offline
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Registered: 02/26/11
Posts: 195
Originally Posted By: hope
With martial arts, it's the training that's the whole point. Belts are nice, but they don't have any meaning in the world at large, whereas your skill level (irrespective of belt) does.


Exactly.
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#434141 - 11/08/11 11:52 AM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: choonbee]
gojuman59 Offline
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When I finally got the belt chasing out of my system I started enjoying my training much more.Being humble in my attitude toward rank was a big stumbling block for me when I was a younger man.Now it isn't even a concern. Training is much more fun.

mark

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#434143 - 11/08/11 05:17 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: gojuman59]
Dereck Offline
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I have to agree gojuman59. I chased it till I got to blue belt and then realized I was only as good as what I tested for. It wasn't until than that I became better at all the other stuff.

For me, testing is nothing more than "spot" checking; only looking it a portion of what is being taught. I didn't want to be just good at the tested material; that would never serve me in real life.
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#434154 - 11/11/11 09:44 AM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Dereck]
gojuman59 Offline
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I'm fortunate that train at a non-commercial dojo. Our testing is when my sensei thinks were ready.There isn't the rush to run through the belts and get dan ranked.Been there... done that..not doing that again.It's sad that the western way of belt advancement waters down the arts the way it does(in some cases.)

Mark

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#434163 - 11/14/11 04:42 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: gojuman59]
Christie Offline
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I found out an interesting fact at Toronto Open this weekend I thought you might like Dereck. The tae kwon do club at RMC only does belt testing for black belts, all colour belts are handed out in class when the coach believes the student is ready for it - no tests, no testing fees. Their club is set up very interestingly. One of the requirements for students at RMC is that they must either be on a varsity or intramural sports team, or belong to an on campus sports club. To join the tae kwon do club they have to try out for it and whether they make it or not is based on their potential to succeed at tae kwon do. That must be an interesting try out when one is trying out people who have never done the sport before. There are of course cons to this kind of system, but it's an interesting set up none the less.

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#434168 - 11/15/11 09:14 AM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Christie]
Dereck Offline
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Different for sure.
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#434172 - 11/15/11 06:22 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Christie]
gojuman59 Offline
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Loc: Missouri
Originally Posted By: Christie
I found out an interesting fact at Toronto Open this weekend I thought you might like Dereck. The tae kwon do club at RMC only does belt testing for black belts, all colour belts are handed out in class when the coach believes the student is ready for it - no tests, no testing fees. Their club is set up very interestingly. One of the requirements for students at RMC is that they must either be on a varsity or intramural sports team, or belong to an on campus sports club. To join the tae kwon do club they have to try out for it and whether they make it or not is based on their potential to succeed at tae kwon do. That must be an interesting try out when one is trying out people who have never done the sport before. There are of course cons to this kind of system, but it's an interesting set up none the less.


They are treating it like a competitive sport. I guess there isn't any room for the person who just wants to learn TKD,but not for competition. I'm sure that the "coach" wouldn't have time for just ordinary people who wanted to learn an art.


Mark

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#434173 - 11/15/11 11:17 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: gojuman59]
Christie Offline
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Essentially, yes. They treat it as a varsity sport, and that is in fact exactly what they are trying to make it. They created OUTCL, the Ontario University Taekwondo Championship League, for the sole purpose of getting the OUA, Ontario University Association, to recognize it as a varsity sport. I competed at OUTCL at the end of October and there is certainly a long way to go before it is up to the par of the organizational standards for varsity athletics.

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#434174 - 11/16/11 06:17 AM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Christie]
gojuman59 Offline
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Registered: 04/08/11
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Loc: Missouri
That certainly is a interesting concept. I guess I'm kind of a old dog here but I just think that what once was a martial art shouldn't become a competition league.

Mark

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#434177 - 11/16/11 08:07 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: gojuman59]
Matakiant Offline
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Registered: 02/08/11
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I'm a young arrogant dog and I think sports =/= martial arts and vice versa.

And yes I DO think that one outrules the other.

As for OP questions;

- Would you hold a person back by virtue of time-served alone even if it's evident they are proficient enough to move forward?

Yes I would. Patience and humility are just as important, for some people even more important than martial technique. Moving forward isn't getting a ''higher rank'' moving forward is supposed to be daily training and improvement of oneself and the martail arts you practice.

- Do you consider prior martial arts experience when someone joins your club when placing them in a class (for instance, beginner, intermediate or advanced), or is that irrelevant? Why or why not?

It depends entirely on the ''experience''.. I've seen people come from other styles with high ranks who in reality didn't know and couldn't do anything practical ''theoretical martial artists'' as I like to call them.

Then there have been some who have BBs or higher in other styles that do deserve those ranks but are lacking many of the techniques in our style typically those people may lose a rank or two but climb back up to them very quickly or we just don't care and let them keep the rank as long as they practice with heart to learn our styles techniques.


- Is "time-served" set in stone, or is the fitness level, prior athletic experience, natural ability, rate of learning, etc. an important thing to consider?

Set in stone. I think people who practice martial arts for the sake of martial arts and self improvement should have these requirements. The ranks are irrelevant to me but most people who genuinely pratice for practice still care about them so having time requirements makes sure that the practitioners don't rush through the basics just to get a prettier belt and so on. As I also said it's a test of patience if someone just wants a BB they can go do Olympic TKD or buy it on ebay.

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#434236 - 11/26/11 11:31 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Christie]
cxt Offline
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Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5822
Loc: USA
Christie

You are getting some great feedback here!

My deeply devalued 2 cents:

What is the reason the school has such a time in grade requirement? Maybe they have a school/style-specific answer.

1-I don't put much stock in belt ranks per-se--they tend to differ wildly from school to school--esp between different organizations even in the same style. So no.

2-Couldn't care less--they might progress faster or slower depending on how much they need to "un-learn" in order to progress at their "new" style---not really much much point to additional training if all you are going to do is the same stuff you already are doing.

At that point it's less a question of doing it "effectively" its a question of learning how to make a NEW set of skills/techniques just a "effective" as your "old" set.

Take an extreme example---say someone comes in that is good enough to beat the teacher--do they get an automatic high ranking in TKD? Probably not, no-one is questioningtheir fighting ability but rank in a given art means a lot more than just the ability to fight (IMO :)) I presume that high rank implies having a pretty good grasp of the history of the art and the ability to teach the specific's of that art. Mike Tyson and any number of UFC fighters are major league tough---but I'm not sure that they could teach TKD.

3-I'd go back to question 2--why exactly is someone training?

4-Don't think that "time served" is set in stone. But depending on the reasons you have such requirements I'd make it pretty hard to get around them.

What might be interesting is if you could get a look at the requirements of the seniors in your group---I got a look at the tests once of group I belonged to and found that the requirements---ALL the requirments, INCLUDING time in grade had been SIGNIFICANTLY added too over the years. 20 years back the same guys telling me I needed "X" amount of time in grade and a 2 day long test were testing for the same rank with VASTLY less time in grade AND requirements than I was being asked.

NOT bad guys in any way, shape, or form----just there is a strong tendency to "add" material as time goes on. wink

Something to consider for "time in grade" requiremtents is there is a big difference between really knowing something and just being able to spit it back out on a test. Pretty easy to get a learners permit and start driving---but how long does it take to REALLY be a good and safe driver???

There is something to be said for taking the time to really work with material---there are people out there (non-MA people BTW) that would argue that to really know what your doing---to really understand a skill and do it correct you need (roughly) to practice it for what works out to around 10 years.

Again roughly.

On the other hand if people are sticking folks with time in grade requirements just to get more money out of them?.

Then that bites!



Edited by cxt (11/26/11 11:33 PM)
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#434237 - 11/27/11 02:24 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: cxt]
hope Offline
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Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.

CXT said...
"and if people are sticking folks with time in grade requirements just to get more money out of them? Then that bites!"

I think that clubs get more money out of people when they test more frequently -- test and belt fees on top of regular fees.

I totally agree when you say "Pretty easy to get a learners permit and start driving---but how long does it take to REALLY be a good and safe driver???"

To take that further, do belts mean "mastery" or just "permission to start learning the next stage"? I'd lean towards the latter, but maybe some students see it as the former. Students rely on feedback to know whether they're progressing and what they need to work on. Belts are visible feedback, but because of all the issues around them, I wonder if the results of testing would be better communicated privately and not visible to others (except when they happen to notice that a student is working on a more advanced kata).
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#434268 - 12/01/11 12:43 AM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: hope]
Christie Offline
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Loc: Waterloo, ON
If anybody is curious, the outcome is that the owner has sided with the manager, and is trying to decide between either asking the student to wait a year instead of the usual 6 months from dbl blk stripe to test for black belt, or returning the student's money and demoting them back down to the previous belt.

Thanks everybody for your sincere thoughts on the issue. After reading everything everybody had to say I find that I'm still torn on the issue in general, although my thoughts on this particular case are pretty clear.

On the one hand, at this particular club your belt limits what you are allowed to learn and practice and so I don't think it's right to hold back an individual that has both the knowledge and the experience (as I stated 14 years in tkd, 6 years in this particular style of tkd) solely because they didn't serve their time at this particular club, at this one particular belt.

On the other, I can see the virtue in patience.

I do truly believe this student is a special case. Making them wait is really only doing just that, making them wait. It isn't really going to accomplish very much more than that. It's keeping up appearances so other students don't ask questions or wonder why they aren't getting to test even though they tested at the same time as this student last time. That's a bad reason to penalize someone.

In a regular circumstance I can see the virtue in time-served requirements. I just think it's detrimental to regard them dogmatically.


Edited by Christie (12/01/11 12:48 AM)

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#434271 - 12/01/11 08:47 AM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Christie]
gojuman59 Offline
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Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 224
Loc: Missouri
How is the attitude of the student in question? Will being held back or demoted wreck this person?This has been a good topic that I have ran over with a few people. Interestingly the attitude of my group was pretty much split down the middle.
Personally, I wouldn't want to hold one back if they have what It takes.On the other hand there's something to be said about attitude and percevierence.Dan ranking should be more than the physical techniques, in my opinion.

Mark


Edited by gojuman59 (12/01/11 08:49 AM)

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#434273 - 12/01/11 02:45 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: gojuman59]
Christie Offline
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Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 872
Loc: Waterloo, ON
The student doesn't care what belt they are, or when they test for black belt. They just want to train. That said, they are understandably uncomfortable with the questions being demoted will cause, so I think the more just course of action is to have a longer than usual period of time between double black stripe and black belt. That decision isn't mine though.

Honestly, I don't know why this has been made such a big deal. The university club is struggling for consistency and dedication from its instructors, but apparently it's more important to create drama over something so petty as a colour belt test.

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#434274 - 12/01/11 03:05 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Christie]
gojuman59 Offline
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Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 224
Loc: Missouri

I agree.The longer time between tests seems to be a better course than demotion and its negative stigma.I hope this all blows over.It's a shame when this type of silliness gets in the way of good training.

Mark

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#434631 - 02/16/12 02:05 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: gojuman59]
Ironfoot Offline
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Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 2682
Loc: St. Clair Shores, MI USA
I have never heard of anyone being DEmoted. Kicked out of the dojo, yes. But demoted? Could you take back the knowledge and ability they have?
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#434634 - 02/18/12 11:42 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: Ironfoot]
hope Offline
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Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
I have heard of it, because of internal politics in one particular organization. I think it was meant as a statement about (lack of) respect. IN the situation of which I'm aware, the demoted people (busted from black to white belt!) simply left and set up elsewhere; the organization lost their talents.
_________________________
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#434643 - 02/20/12 03:50 PM Re: "Time-served" Requirements [Re: hope]
gojuman59 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 224
Loc: Missouri
Originally Posted By: hope
I have heard of it, because of internal politics in one particular organization. I think it was meant as a statement about (lack of) respect. IN the situation of which I'm aware, the demoted people (busted from black to white belt!) simply left and set up elsewhere; the organization lost their talents.


In that case they should have just expelled them.They had to know that the dropping from black to white belt would cause them to leave. Really kind of lame of the organization.Even if there was a lack of respect, there are better ways of resolving the conflict.

Mark

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