Kids,Gradings,Rank and Self esteem
My daughter had a judo grading on the weekend. She's 14 and i still think of her as a kid, but also understand that it depends alot on maturity level and there are alot of other teens who would not be considered kids.
Judo gradings at her club are ALWAYS tough. Nobody gets a free ride,including the kids. As an example, the weekend grading my daughter attended had about 20 kids attempting to grade,aging from about 7-8yrs through to my daughter who's 14. Of the 20 kids, 15 were attempting to rank from yellow to orange. Only 3 managed to meet the standard and rank up (the rest were awarded belt tabs,except 1). There were a few tears,but for the few who managed to rank? they KNEW they had earned the rank and really did deserve it. My daughter was one of the 3 to rank up,and she was over the moon. She's never been a natural fit for judo,she has to werk hard at it,but she also loves it because she knows she's earned her ranks and can do it.
My main question though is: Is it better to award the kids a whole belt rank to boost their self esteem,which in turn encourages them to become better,to persist and enjoy martial arts,even though they aren't really at the standard "but its ok cuz they're kids and its only the first couple of belts",or to learn the value of hard work paying off and knowing that you really earned the rank,knowing that not everyone can or has?.
Are kids even capable of making the distinction of really earning a rank,or just getting a rank??? How much does age matter?? do little kids care?? do teens really understand the concept of not just ticking the attendance box to get a rank??
I'd really like to hear from any other dads or instructors with kids.
Last edited by KiwiPhil889; 5/01/2011 9:38pm at .
This is far better than the alternative. I pulled my kids out of a TKD/karate dojo because of a reliance on stripes as rewards - a yellow stripe for this, a green stripe for that. They were given out like candy and taken away as punishment for disruptive behaviour. The instructor makes adults earn their belts, but with kids, it just turned me off.
Now in his defense, he had just opened a new club and was trying to get some revenue so he wouldn't starve. He had a class of all white belts ranging in age from 4 to 14. I hope that he can get past that crap and find better ways to control the class.
How tough are we talking about here? Yellow and orange are very low ranks. Teaching kids to have good ukemi and fundamentals is far more important than how many throws, pins, or vocabulary words they know at that stage. I do think there should be set standards for promotion, but at that stage they shouldn't be set very high.
I've been asked to teach the kids class a couple of times and I know that some of the kids don't take it seriously, especially the ones who think that they know it already and we're just nit picking when we correct them on the basics. Some of them pay little to no attention, put in minimum effort and are crying when they fail gradings.
I say it's better to let them fail, realise that the belts are actually worth something and that they have to be earned than to hand out new belts all willy nilly just for the sake of keeping them coming back. You can't tell new comers to look at the senior belts for guidance if the senior belts can't, or at least won't, do what they know they're supposed to do.
In perspective I have a pre school belt system in place that has 10 ranks before yellow belt. I refuse to give these ranks out but I make it really easy for them to get a sense of accomplishment. I have no problem not giving kids their rank and I have had parents complain. It is what it is.
How tough?? not really sure how to grade the toughness other than saying only 30% of the students passed. Of course that could be poor teaching,but the club does have a good competition record for its adults AND kids.Perhaps its a case of "the proof is in the pudding"??
Originally Posted by Just Guess
First grading we went to they failed one of the students basically because he kept front break falling with straight arms, (he knew better but the grading got the better of him and he wasn't being assessed by his normal teachers,it was an assessment board of dan ranks. His throws were always good in class).Going to a grading is absolutlely no guarantee of passing.Not entirely sure why the kids were going to the grading if they weren't ready,but i also wouldn't let my daughter grade until i was satisfied with what she was supposed to know.
Additionally i don't know what the required lvl is to pass the grading as i have no involvement in that.
Until i started my kids in Judo i had never been to a grading where ppl failed. Yes,it was always adult gradings i went too,but i've never read of,or heard of, kids failing and found this particular aspect different from other MA's so was looking for other experiences,opinions and ideas about kids in MA's.
Last edited by KiwiPhil889; 5/02/2011 1:17am at .
My oldest (age 5, soon) have been doing the "Bullyproof" program for a while, which is basically kids' BJJ. No chokes, no submissions, but taking it to the ground and pinning until an adult comes along.
The kids get their first stripe on their white belt after 20 lessons, and have to attend 80 (!) classes before even being considered for grading to "white yellow".
The grading itself seems pretty easy, though. It's basically randori for three minutes, and stating the "rules of engagement" for Bullyproof, by heart. But - make an error in the wording and you will be failed.
Now, I kind of dig a lot of things about Bullyproof. One is that me and my kid actually train together. Another being that the kid trains together with someone (much) bigger, stronger and heavier than himself and therefore have to use correct technique. And a third being that while training with someone bigger, stronger and heavier, he still gets to train with someone who love him and therefore is safe and builds up self-confidence (I think). The boy IS five, after all...
But I am sort of torn on the grading issues. Going 80 times for the first belt grading is LONG for (very) young kids. The belt become more about "long and faithful commitment", than skill or anything else.
On the other hand, I guess that pretty much no-one is even able to fail the belt test, after having recited the "rules of engagement" 80 times (!) in class before doing the test. Three minutes of randori (or "Bully battle", as it is called here) should also be a breeze at that point, having had about 20 such sessions in training before that...
Oh, and sorry for not answering your question, really. Just sharing my own experience with kids and MA.
No,thats great. Is an interesting way to approach a kids grading.i.e they CAN fail,but its almost guaranteed that they wont due to the long nature of getting to grading. Thanks.
Originally Posted by Mackan
Was talking to my instructor about the grading tonight and how he felt about kids and grading. He's of the approach that kids don't fail,but he won't put them through until he's 100% on them passing, and yes,he gets a reasonable amount of grief from parents but he won't budge. He's one of the "no bad students,only poor instructor" types. Kids classes tend to focus more on life skills and physical confidence. Not a judo club though,so diff standards.
I don't have kids myself but I trained as one and have a much younger sister who went through a martial arts phase...
A 30% pass rate for yellow may be a bit harsh but if it was mostly 7-8 year olds then it might make sense. I think it's improtant that kids have to work for their gradings. They may be just kids but how can they be expected to respect something thats just given to them for faffing about? There's no encouragement for them to work harder and grow in the MA. Another thing to consider is that for the kids that do work hard (like your daughter), it's pretty shitty to go into a grading and have other kids far below your level of skill and dedication grade to the same rank that you just busted your ass for.
I think the belt tab system is great because for the younger kids, they still feel like they're getting something for their work but they also want to work harder to get the full rank.
I think if someone actually did a survey they'd inevitably find that kids that have to work harder for their ranks are more likely to stick with it. My sister got two ranks just handed to her in her first (school) year of training (I say training, what I really mean is running around and memorising some half-assed katas) and she rapidly lost interest. I had to work for every single grading and the ones I didn't practice for, I didn't pass. That simple. I quickly learned that I didn't like not passing so I stepped my game up and stuck with it.
So yes, I think kids can definitely tell the difference and for the younger ones, tabs are important (because you don't want to be TOO hard on them and you do want them to enjoy it and keep coming back) but full ranks should only be given when they are earned.
It's better to award a tab than to socially promote, at least in Judo which is what I know and teach. We have tabs specifically for that purpose, and half belts as well. This also spreads out the grading over years. Before now, there were 10 and eleven year old nikyu. They cannot get to shodan really any younger thatn 16 or 17, so they would be nikyu or ikkyu for how many years?
Originally Posted by KiwiPhil889
For teens, they can be more directly spoken to about the value of rank, belts, etc. I teach teens and adults, and I never have anyone pestering me about rank.
It is a fine line using promotion for a reward. Kids need to learn/be trained to be intrinsicly motivated rather than extrinsicly. That's an important life skill that can be learned if the tabs/half belts/belts system is used properly. In our dojo, we seem to have a decent balance established.
Falling for Judo since 1980
"You are wrong. Why? Because you move like a pregnant yak and talk like a spazzing 'I train UFC' noob." -DCS
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