Yeah this is a tough one. If someone says they do TKD/Karate/instertstylehere but they have been out of the game for some prolonged period of time, I'm not going to make presumptions about them or their reasons. I do agree that people who talk all high and mighty despite their prolonged absence are a pain in the a**, but I have to say I don't encounter too many of these types. But yeah, rank is rank, your skill can fade, but rank is permanent. Them theres the facts.
If you have a black belt then you're a black belt. There is nothing dishonest in telling people this. The only reason you should add the qualifying statement 'I haven't trained in some time' is to save yourself from embarrassment.
Originally Posted by progressivetkd
I see it as little different to earning a degree. No matter how long you go without having studied your subject of choice, you would never be expected to say you 'were' a graduate.
"The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero projects his fear onto his opponent while the coward runs. 'Fear'. It's the same thing, but it's what you do with it that matters". - Cus D'Amato
I guess it really does all depend on context and situation. If someone tells me in conversation that they earned whatever rank in whatever art, we have some common ground and mutual respect.
But what I hate is people wanting to join my dojo as an instant black belt because they earned one years ago in some other style that doesn't even relate to ours and don't even have basic skills. In some cases I have started people at other than white belt and/or put them on the "fast track" for rank as they learn material specific to our system and our ranks. But in others, they have had little to no real skill, and just lots of excuses as to why they can't keep up - but still want instant recognition.
They are major pains in the ass to both me and my students who bust their asses week in and week out to get where they are, but can also be downright dangerous when they start either overcompensating for lack of skill and coordination, or trying (usually poorly) off the wall "advanced" crap to impress everyone.
Luckily these guys don't usually last very long, or they swallow their pride and decide that we may actually have something to teach them.
This post does not qualify for 'kiddie' black belts, which, in my not always so humble opinion are a complete joke.
I was helping with a 'Judo for Wrestlers' kids class earlier this year. Afterwards is an aikido class given by a high ranking member of the organization under which I earned my shodan. Hadn't practiced aikido for close to a decade.
That I was rusty was an understatement. Still, that belt hangs in my closet and I'll always consider myself a black belt in the art, albeit a rusty 'has been'.
My kicking game is not what it used to be. Some of those I'd not try again for fear of tearing up the old hamstrings worse than they are now. Years of not focusing on those specific techniques have left a shell of once was.
Depressed? Hell no, it was a lot of fun at at the time and many friendships made.
Has been is better than never was.
I agree with the once a black belt always a black belt. Arrogance and overconfidence is a different problem. If some one steps into our dojo presenting them selves as a black belt we honor it. It may take them time to come up to speed but the respect of the rank should not be stripped because they aren't as nimble as they once were. On the other hand, they are not going to be Dan testing untill they are back up either. I also have no respect for the 2+2=4 people. I am a 3rd Dan in TSD and a 1st Dan in Isshin Ryu. I don't claim to be a 4th Dan. I myself choose to start over when I start something new. I just started Shotokan as a white belt. That is entirely my choice though. The school offered to honor my Sam Dan because of the similarities between TSD and Shotokan. My preference was to start over. Others may want to hold their rank. They should be allowed. They earned it.
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