Thread: Failing as an Instructor
11/24/2004 2:00pm, #1
Failing as an InstructorThe 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.
11/24/2004 2:07pm, #2
- Join Date
- Oct 2003
- San Angelo, TX
I get these all the time as well, freaking MartialInfo sold me and spammed me.
Be a Blackbelt School...Promote...add stripes...crock of crap.
My Instrcutor has promoted 6 black belts in the last, I dunno, 15 years or so. 4 of us started at almost the same time and came up the ranks together, and three of us are the only Nidans he has promoted in 20 years.
It is about high standards, paying youy dues, spending the blood and sweat on the mats. In three years I have just now promoted my first 2nd Kyu. Granted, I have pushed out a lot of 5th kyu's (20 or so), but only 3 (soon to be 4) made it to 4th Kyu. If you can't meet the standards, you don't get the rank."Quiet fool before I am kicking the butt!"
-My three year old trash talking to me
"Integrity can't be bought or sold---you either have it or you don't."
-The Honky Tonk Man
"If you can't be a shining example, at least be a dire warning."
-My Father to me one day
"No surprise. Until Aikido sheds its street-brawling, thuggish image, it'll never be mainstream."
11/24/2004 2:10pm, #3
- Join Date
- Jun 2004
Not everyone should be able to get a black belt, and there is nothing wrong with high standards. That's what is supposed to make it an accomplishment. I honestly doubt I will ever get a black belt in BJJ. The reason belts mean so little is because they are so easy to get in some arts/schools. That being said, this topic has been done to death.Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch?
11/24/2004 2:13pm, #4
Beside the fact that most people don't train full-time, it really depends what your standards for a black belt are. If it represents an elite fighter who is technically excellent and fully qualified to teach a complex MA system, ten years is still a high number, but in the right order of magnitude. You won't get a Ph.D. in a much shorter time.
Also, who knows what kind of school it is? It may be in a college town, where most students don't stay much longer than four years. And I don't see "dropping out" as a failure of the instructor either. When people learn what they wanted to learn and then move on, that's fine.There are no wrong threats, only wrong answers. (Strategy game truism)
11/24/2004 2:14pm, #5
What the hell does martial arts have to do with rocket-science? How can you even make such a comparison?More human than human is our motto.
11/24/2004 2:23pm, #6
That comparison makes no sense.
Chef: We only serve food that passes all of our standards.
Me: BUT DO YOU TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE PLIGHT OF THE AFRICAN PEOPLE?
Chef: No, I can't say I did...
11/24/2004 2:28pm, #7
Nothing pisses me off like idiotic research methodology. And here we go again. Did it occur to you, Mr. Fuckface, that people attending the livelihood of the people at NASA and WestPoint will be derived from their successes there? MA is, by and large, a hobby for most people.
What if WestPoint only offered four hours of classes a week (and its students had little outside time to study/practice)? Should they should be able to graduate people within three years?
Ensuring the same "graduation" rate as any sort of full-time training or schooling would involve watering down your standards enough to ensure that a black belt could be attained by any competent individual who put in four hours a week for a few years. Super.
Here's an idea for a new article: What if your black belts suck ass and disgrace martial arts as a whole?
11/24/2004 2:32pm, #8
- Join Date
- Aug 2004
I wonder what this guy would say about Mas Oyama's black belt standards. Do you think that he'd say that Oyama failed as an instructor because he had such high expectations?
11/24/2004 2:36pm, #9
11/24/2004 2:56pm, #10
I like this ...
I have taught you the secrets of the martial arts, and you have become adequate warriors. You are now carriers of the living art - for all martial arts are living arts; they grow and change and conform to the needs of each generation of Sensei and disciple. As with all living things, some generations can be stronger or weaker than their ancestors. You must ensure that the living art never becomes weak.
For our style to live on, you must one day share its secrets with others as I have shared them with you. First, however, you must prove yourselves fit to carry on my name and the style. Go into the world to test your knowledge by fire and by blood. Should you survive long enough for your beards to gray with age, then you will know that your art is strong; then you will know that you are worthy to teach the art.
But if you should fall from the path, do not disgrace me by teaching your weak version of the art. Better that the style should die than become a tree that appears great for its age, but is rotten and weak inside.