Okay, so here's the thing. If you've been running a school for 20 some years, and you have 5 or 6 students that have been with you for many years (you can decide how many is many). Students who you believe are excellent. Students that are heads and shoulders above anyone else who's out there, and you still haven't awarded them a black belt, then you're actually doing everyone a disservice. Because as you said, all the really lousy places are filling the world with their terrible instructors, rather than yours. So c'mon, help rid the world of terrible instructors, by graduating yours.
Originally Posted by PeedeeShaolin
This is not correct. If you obtain a University degree in 4 years, you actually do so by completing several courses a semester, in many different subjects. For instance, a student who graduates with a degree in Aerospace Engineering, a person who will very likely go on to design part of the next airplane that you'll be flying, will have only taken one course in Aerodynamics, 15 weeks, 3 hrs of lectures a week. That's 45 hrs of formal instruction total. They will also have taken one course in aircraft control, one course in propulsion, etc...but its still only 3 hrs of instruction a week, in any one particular subject.
Originally Posted by Repulsive Monkey
A University degreee would be equivalent to obtaining a degree in Traditional Chinese Martial Arts, or Japanese Martial Arts, or Grappling, or Striking, and having shown basic competency in many different styles, 10 or more, not just obtaining a black belt in one individual style. So yes, 4 years to become competent in one particular style, even if it's for only 4 hrs of instruction a week, is not unreasonable. And remember, the assumption is that students are off practicing on their own, working things out on their own, drills, conditioning, assignments, etc..., for many more hrs that just the 4 hrs of formal instruction that they're taking in class.
Not necessarily. I only take a few students. I am not a belt mill. I teach because I enjoy it and I want to pass the art on to others.
Originally Posted by j416to
I am not worried about the amount of time it takes a student to get a belt.
I will give my student a belt when ever I feel he is ready not you or the McDojo up the street can make that decision.
In fact I tell my students to check out other large commercial schools in the area. There is one right up the street from me. The last 2 or 3 of my students who went to check them out came back and said "They suck their black belts cant even punch correctly"
I have lost alot of student because of the time it takes them to test. Also because I work them out hard and discipline is not a option.
But I dont care about losing students. Like I said I dont do it for money I do it for the love of the art.
Im from the old school where I feel that the MA is a life long process. Not wham bam thank you mam put your check on the counter and Ill give you your cert when it clears the bank.
There have been and continue to be alot of people sporting them who aient worth a nickle. There is a 15 y.o. kid who lives accross the street from me who is a 2nd degree in TKD who also paid 450 bucks for his B/B test.
There are also those of us who feel the B/B should mean something.
Much like your degree. Your go to school say 6 years for a MBA from USC.
Then theres the guy who goes to the University of Phoenix take one class a week and graduates with a MBA inna year or 2.
Which one actually deserves the degree?
USC may graduate say 50 MBAs or so a year, University of Phoenix graduates 300 or so a year.. So Phoenix is a better school with a better curriculum??? I think not.
Okay, let me reiterate, I am in no way asking you guys to turn your schools into BB mils. I would never ask you to do that, you would never do it, end of discussion!
However, with that said. I'm trying to remind you that good schools, good instructors, are defined, not by their curriculum, not by the number of students they have enrolled, not even by the number of students they graduate, but by what their students accomplish AFTER they graduate. So the working assumption here is for your students to learn enough from you to go on and do something amazing with what they've learned. Just as you guys have gone on to do, either through competing, or teaching, or opening your own schools to develop your MAs, after you graduated.
There are a lot of amazing instructors here, PeeDeeShaolin, OCKid, Omega, JohnnyS, AFS, TaeBo Master, just to name a few. We need you guys, we need your students, we need your students to eventually open their own schools and help spread your knowledge and interpretations of the things that you do best.
There are a lot of amazing people on this board, people like Ronin69, Whiteshark, Osiris, J Lau, Repulsive Monkey, Omar, and a ton of other people that I apologize to for not naming them specifically. All of these people have developed the right attitudes and thoughtfulness about their MAs. These guys can dissect the intricate pros and cons of various techniques and strategies. These guys have moved beyond simply regurgitating what they've been taught and are developing their own sense of their MA. They would also make amazing instructors.
If none of these guys, if none of your students goes on to become instructors, or opens up their own schools, who the hell is left, but the BB mills.
j416to, The university analogy was to make a point, but if you insist on making a direct comparison, letís break this down point by point.
This is not correct. If you obtain a University degree in 4 years, you actually do so by completing several courses a semester, in many different subjects. For instance, a student who graduates with a degree in Aerospace Engineering, a person who will very likely go on to design part of the next airplane that you'll be flying, will have only taken one course in Aerodynamics, 15 weeks, 3 hrs of lectures a week. That's 45 hrs of formal instruction total.
Thatís just one course out of 40 or so that is required to attain sufficient competency in that area. That comes to 1800 hours of formal instruction. I think that we can conservatively triple that when we factor in study time. Thatís 5400 hours. So what if itís broken down into three-hour chunks? One course is roughly equivalent to one technique or narrow group thereof, not the entire curriculum.
But wait! You donít agree with this notion because you say . . .
A University degreee would be equivalent to obtaining a degree in Traditional Chinese Martial Arts, or Japanese Martial Arts, or Grappling, or Striking, and having shown basic competency in many different styles, 10 or more, not just obtaining a black belt in one individual style.
Thatís an interesting point. I will concede that a black belt is not as comprehensive as a four-year university degree. However, part of becoming an expert in any one style involves being knowledgeable about how it compares to several others. A high degree of skill (this should be expert level, lest we forget) in your own style should allow you to display competence in several other styles. There are typically additional requirements, such as knowledge of the styleís history, terminology, etc. to add to the "courseload."
So yes, 4 years to become competent in one particular style, even if it's for only 4 hrs of instruction a week, is not unreasonable.
Maybe this is the problem. When I hear black belt, I understand that to mean expert, not someone who is merely competent.
And remember, the assumption is that students are off practicing on their own, working things out on their own, drills, conditioning, assignments, etc..., for many more hrs that just the 4 hrs of formal instruction that they're taking in class.
Many more? Students who spend more than an extra hour or two a week on practice are pretty hard to come by. How many additional hours do you think that these people are putting in? And letís not forget about consistency. Once again, oneís livelihood is contingent on their ability to finish their degree and begin working. Most people canít afford to take significant time off. Yet thatís what happens all the time in MA. If someone were to tell me that theyíve trained for over a decade, I would be very surprised to hear that theyíre describing one long, uninterrupted block of time.
To sum up: A black belt is not as broad as a Bachelorís degree, but then again it doesnít require as much time to earn. However, when that time is distributed at an average of five or six hours a week, as opposed to 30 or 40, then it comes as no surprise that the length of time required to earn it is significantly longer.
Aww. You are one sweet thigh-kicking professor. And it's a good point. But one has to choose a minimum level of competence for those who would go out and represent the highest level of their art.
Originally Posted by j416to
However, in my opinion, you do not need to be an expert to teach beginners. BJJ, because of its strict criteria in awarding belts, has some excellent examples of guys who are brown, purple and sometimes even blues going out there and passing on excellent skills. I think that you're confusing being an expert and being good enough to teach beginning students.
I understand the point that you're trying to make. And while perceptions are perceptions, my point is this, a 1st degree black belt is only competent enough to run the beginners classes. A 1st degree black belt is not an expert. To open up your own school you usually have to have at least a 4th degree black belt. So it shouldn't be unreasonable for someone to achieve a black belt in roughly the time it takes to get a University degree, a Bachelors degree, not a M.Sc., not a Ph.D., but a Bachelors degree.
Now you may argue that a 1st black belt should be an expert, you may argue that there should be no multi-level black belts, but the reality is that the grade inflation has already occured, no sense closing the gate, that horse is gone. You guys are starting to sound like your Grand Parents...."I remember when we had to walk 2 miles to school, barefoot, through 5 ft of snow, with glass under the snow, and only our cotton gis...blah blah blah"
If someone only graduates only one or two black belts over their lifetime, who's to say that their art won't be lost forever. What are the olds that one of these students will be able to continue the art. Life is complicated, and a lot of things have to fall into place, personally, financially, etc...before anyone can even think about tackling all the sacrifices that have to be made, to become a teacher.
And for what its worth, I have sat on more Ph.D.and M.Sc. Thesis examination committees than I can remember, in both Canada and the US. And I can say, without hesitation, that there are more than a few members of this board, yourself included, who's intricate knowledge, understanding, and ability to articulate the various aspects of your MAs, would more than qualify you guys for a graduate degree.
First, a BB was and always has been a symbol of "mastering the basics" of a given style, never more than that.
While some systems take longer to give out a BB than others, there are many factors in play, and one of them is "higher standards", but thatis just one of them.
Some systems, and BJJ is guilty of this, not only set a higher standard, but they "hold back" students from the higher ranks on purpose, with motives other than "higher standards".
Some systems like to keep the BB quota to a min, to make it look harder to get.
Some do it to keep the higher ranks "in the family".
Some do it just because they are elitists.
Can you imagine a 5th dan in Judo taking 5 years, or 6 or 8, to get a BB in BJJ ???
Silly, yet possible.
The good schools take grading on an individual basis, and indeed they should.
Heck, when I joined TKD, I had my shodan in Kyukushin, did the instructor start me at white?
Hello no, why would he? so "I can beat up on the low belts?"
No, he started me at red ( brown belt) and after I had gotten the forms and sparring down, I was allowed to go for my Black, all that in 2 years.
So, I got my BB in ITF TKD in 2 years, BUT, on an individual basis, with my experience, that was just fine.
So, while BB should be something to strive for, it is just a belt, and as such, should be treated as a belt by instructors AND students alike.
Set your minimum requirements and go from there, if some one can meet them or exceed them in 2 years, 4 years or takes 10 years, so be it.
This thread is an excellent example of why I most likely will never give out belts.
I don't have a black belt myself anyways. I do wonder if I may find it nessecary/usefull in the course of running a school though. I can see where some sort of official delineation between "advanced" and "begginer" students could be a big help. In a traditional enviroment, the teacher can segregate as he pleases. He can tell less advanced students to simply "head on home know, your class is over for today..." and then work with just the more advanced students in a semi-private fasion. In a commercial enviroment I can see where this kind of apparent arbitraryness could cause problems. People tend to conciously or sometimes subconciously feel that having slapped down their tuition they have hired you and you work for them. A formal division betweens students could keep things from getting personal.
When I was a young dude, my sensei used to tell me that a black belt only meant that you are ready to begin your training, and that the basics have been adequately learned. He had two nidan instructors that trained with him over 25 years.
Originally Posted by 5FingazofDeath
On the other hand, I have a friend that tests once a year, who did not promote any browns this past year. 16 applied to test, none were allowed. Part of the test involves a "bull ring" demonstration of whether or not you know your stuff, and your opponents are veteran black belts who really make you earn it. Many do not pass this part. (you choose the circumstances, and the teacher chooses the opponents - ie: 20 opponents, 100 techniques. . .or, ten opponents, 40 techniques.).
high standards indeed.