Ok...how many people can find the flaw in this logic to justify black belt mills? Anyone?....Anyone?...That's right, unlike NASA and West Point who's people are exposed 24/7 to their training, the majority of the martial art people take what, an average of 4 hours a week? This is from Graden and his new Martial Arts Teachers Association. This type of logic is what is killing the arts. Just wanted to rant for a bit.
The Myth of Higher Standards by John Graden
I do not believe everyone can earn a black belt. However, I do believe that a large percentage of students who could have earned a black belt needlessly dropout before doing so. Sadly, their instructor failed them.
I work with a lot of instructors who have reached the point that they are sick and tired of being sick and tired about lack of student growth and feeling stuck. The conversation often starts something like this:
Me: "How long have you had your school?"
Instructor: "Oh, about ten years."
Me: "How many black belts have graduated?"
Instructor (proudly): "Two."
Me: "You been open ten years and only two people have made black belt?"
Instructor: "Yep. We have high standards."
Me: "Higher than West Point? Higher than the NASA astronaut program?"
Instructor: "I never thought of it that way…"
This is not a case of higher standards. This is a case of poor leadership. Truthfully, it's easy to be tough and keep students under your thumb. But it's the mark of the professional to take a diverse group of 20 white belts on March 1, 2005 and have 5 – 10 of them actually have a shot at earning their black belt three years later.