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  1. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    2/13/2012 9:49am


     Style: Bowie

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    New CBD article:The advantages and disadvantages of a Ranking System

    New CBD article:The advantages and disadvantages of a Ranking System

    http://cbd.atspace.com/articles.html

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
  2. judoist is offline

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    Posted On:
    2/13/2012 12:27pm


     Style: Judo

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    Nice article, man. It captures something which is too true today.

    I've heard of an interesting story regarding the introduction of the rank system in the Japanese weapons arts, but I don't know if it is appropriate to post here.
  3. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    2/13/2012 1:05pm


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    If you think it's appropriate to the subject and will advance the conversation, by all means, post up.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
  4. Petter is offline

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    Posted On:
    2/13/2012 2:42pm


     Style: BJJ, judo, rapier

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    From my perspective, as a student, it is helpful in two ways:

    • It can help break up the curriculum so that, as you mentioned, I always have clear goals. Knowing that I need to learn a particular set of throws, or improve one specific aspect of fencing skills, makes it easier for me to focus, especially when I decide what to work on during randori/freeplay/whatever.
    • For sparring, it provides a rough idea of what to expect so I can approach it appropriately. In BJJ, I know that someone with a white belt may lack control and approach it with due caution; someone with a purple or brown belt will be controlled—but of course may use different techniques, such as leglocks. In fencing, I know that people with (the Academie Duello internal rank) green cords are unlikely to know how to deal with the dagger; more advanced students who work disarms know not to use them on junior students who are more likely to hold their swords in a death grip and risk broken fingers.

    In my limited experience, the ego thing that goes with belts seems correlated with the amount of sparring people do. Where sparring is plentiful, people seem more secure in their ranks, as it were—there’s no posturing, because what happens on the floor or on the mats sorts it all out anyway. Where people don’t spar, or don’t spar realistically, the value of a rank becomes much more subjective, and since high-ranked students cannot demonstrate that they earned those ranks in the currency of combative skill, they get more defensive about it.
    [ petterhaggholm.net | blog | essays ]
    [ self defence: general thoughts | bjj: “don’t go to the ground”? ]
    “The plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data.”
  5. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    2/13/2012 2:52pm


     Style: Bowie

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    That's an interesting take on the ego side. Gives me something to think about. :)

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
  6. judoist is offline

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    Posted On:
    2/13/2012 4:25pm


     Style: Judo

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    Quote Originally Posted by lklawson View Post
    If you think it's appropriate to the subject and will advance the conversation, by all means, post up.
    Right. Hopefully this won't turn into a huge derail.

    Before WW2, the various Japanese weapons arts (kendo, iaido, naginata) for the most part didn't even have the kyu/dan system of ranks, such as the one Kano introduced to Judo from Go (a Japanese board game.

    The only grade system implemented was the shogo (teaching titles) system. The kyu/dan system was for the most part a post-WW2 phenomenon, introduced to keep parity with Judo, which was much more well known to the Allied Occupational GHQ and as such, treated far more leniently than the weapons arts which (in the eyes of American generals) were far more exotic and more militaristic.

    The shogo system is still implemented, and in addition to this, it is important to note that the kyu/dan system of these arts was created in isolation from the colored belts generally associated with the kyu/dan system. The creation of colored belts are generally attributed to Minonosuke Kawaishi, who opened Europe's first judo dojo in Paris in 1935.

    Kawaishi Sensei found that it was easier for Westerners to progress when they had a visual indicator of their progress. In Japan, however, the old Judo system of anyone under shodan wearing a white belt still stands.

    As such the practicioners of the weapons arts wear no visual indicator of their rank. An 8th dan 80 year old sensei who was a former All Japan Kendo Champion looks the same under the kendo armour as the cute Japanese girl who only has 3 weeks behind her.

    So it's kinda funny when one takes into consideration the implementation of colored belts when comparing the medal table of Japan with any other country's table.

    They don't need wear any colored belts, and yet, they take the gold medals and world championships easy.

    Gives you some food for thought :-)
  7. Petter is offline

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    Posted On:
    2/13/2012 4:55pm


     Style: BJJ, judo, rapier

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    Quote Originally Posted by judoist View Post
    So it's kinda funny when one takes into consideration the implementation of colored belts when comparing the medal table of Japan with any other country's table.

    They don't need wear any colored belts, and yet, they take the gold medals and world championships easy.

    Gives you some food for thought :-)
    Does it? Surely Japan has a much deeper talent pool when it comes to Japanese martial arts than any other country; regardless of whether coloured belts help or harm, we should expect to see them medal more because they have more talent to draw on and more talent to help train.
    [ petterhaggholm.net | blog | essays ]
    [ self defence: general thoughts | bjj: “don’t go to the ground”? ]
    “The plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data.”
  8. judoist is offline

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    Posted On:
    2/13/2012 5:15pm


     Style: Judo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Petter View Post
    Does it? Surely Japan has a much deeper talent pool when it comes to Japanese martial arts than any other country; regardless of whether coloured belts help or harm, we should expect to see them medal more because they have more talent to draw on and more talent to help train.
    True. Japan has talent to compete and talent which is out of their prime but still teaches the fresh talent.

    My point was that the rank system (especially the colored belts) is irrelevant to a country's success in that particular MA.
  9. Petter is offline

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    Posted On:
    2/13/2012 5:23pm


     Style: BJJ, judo, rapier

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    Quote Originally Posted by judoist View Post
    My point was that the rank system (especially the colored belts) is irrelevant to a country's success in that particular MA.
    Right—I’m just not sure that you’ve cited anything to support that point. We can’t say “The US uses coloured belts, Japan doesn’t, and Japan pwns the US in judo and kendo, therefore coloured belts are at best irrelevant”—because there are other factors, such as the talent pool, and we have no way of seeing how much any one factor contributes. Hypothetically, it could be that coloured belts help build a structured curriculum that helps martial arts development, just not enough for the US to catch up to Japan. Or those belts could hurt, and we’d of course still see a disparity. Or it could indeed be irrelevant. Or it could even differ, e.g. coloured belts help Americans but wouldn’t help Japanese due to cultural differences. The fact that Japan rakes home a lot of medals doesn’t really tell us anything about that at all.

    If we wanted to make that sort of argument meaningful, we should have to compile a list of countries, comparing their number and concentration of practitioners of a martial art with their success rate in international competition, tag them according to whether they use coloured belts, and see if there’s a correlation. Or we could look within a country where some groups use coloured belts and others don’t, and see whether there’s a correlation between this custom and competitive success—looking in the same country and region would help eliminate some of the confounding variables of talent pool and cultural differences, at least to a degree.
    [ petterhaggholm.net | blog | essays ]
    [ self defence: general thoughts | bjj: “don’t go to the ground”? ]
    “The plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data.”
  10. Permalost is offline
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    Posted On:
    2/13/2012 5:43pm

    supporting member
     Style: FMA, dumbek, Indian clubs

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    Quote Originally Posted by judoist View Post
    So it's kinda funny when one takes into consideration the implementation of colored belts when comparing the medal table of Japan with any other country's table.

    They don't need wear any colored belts, and yet, they take the gold medals and world championships easy.

    Gives you some food for thought :-)
    Not that I really disagree with you (I went from an art with a belt ranking to one without one) but the belt/ranking is just one very small factor out of many when comparing international competition results.
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