Dan is a catagory of rank in the Japanese and Korean martial arts. It refers to the degree of black belt for example using Japanese terms.
Shodan = 1st degree black belt
nidan = 2nd degree black belt
sandan = 3rd degree black belt
yodan = 4th degree and so on.
Master is typically a title that a particular martial artist uses to describe themselves. There is not a formalized way this title is awarded or regulated.
You should be aware that most of the people at Bullshido do not particularly care for the awarding of children's black belts particularly at ages such as ten or twelve since in karate such dan rank is understandably awarded without exposure to any real full contact training. In contrast a child in a judo class will at least have the opportunity to throw his resisting peers around and gain real proficiency that can be used in a self defense situation.
However assuming that you desire a structured, disciplined path to a karate black belt for your child, I would check out the prices at the local shotokan schools by way of comparison. Similarly the inshin karate system is based in Denver the last time I checked, and its head teacher Ninomiya has, or had a very good reputation for turning out students who could fight. Obviously I cannot tell you how good a particular teacher is without watching them teach a class, but it would give you someplace to start.
I do have three questions for you. 1) How old is the tradition of the karate black belt? What does it mean? And why is it so important for your child to earn one?
Thank you for all the information! Very helpful.
Originally Posted by Samuel Browning
To answer the 1st question, I do not know the answer & my only response is obviously it is an ancient art & there are a lot of mysteries to me in what actually DEFINES Karate. 2ndly, my general response to "What does it mean?" to me, is the individual that has acquired a black belt exudes discipline, committment, confidence, and commands respect. It is not about street fighting or bad ass reputation for me. I'd like to see my child remain in the studies of martial arts not only to attain a black belt, but along the way of the journey to become very skilled at self defense (as opposed to OFFENSE such a Judo) , respect his elders, respect and learn about the art, and most importantly, enjoy it. It is something he wants to do. If I make a year commitment to Oliver and he decides it is not for him, then off we go to whatever else it is he wants to do. But as of now, he loves it. At such a young age (6 YRS), I believet this is a good route to go to help him with his self confidence, how to deal with "bullies", stick up for himself and to be generally respectful of all others. I would love to see him EARN the belt if he choses to continue to show the importance of long term commitment, hard work and achieving a long term goal. He is an "instant gratification" kid and I think it would be valuable for him to understand how important it is to set long term goals and follow through. There are many facets to my reasons as to why I would like to see him earn one if he truly wants to pursue it after the first year, or after he gets the gold belt. But I suppose a lot of what I am reading is frsutrating to me in that I am not interested in my child being a "bad ass" or walking away from a school with a "Manufactured Undeserved Belt". This is the impression I am getting from Oliver's School. However, in defense of Oliver, the Westminster school shows, in my opinion, some qualities that are absolutely in contrast to what I am hearing. So I am quite frustrated to hear all the bullshite about Oliver, that are just opinionated jabs and I have to wonder is there a hidden agenda for it and if so, please speak their minds fully. I'm not hearing alternative venues, or any facts to back up the bashing. Just opinions. Thanks for your thoughts. MomofLogan
As a father of a 13 year old, a professional teacher and a martial arts instructor I would like to help you out. I brief background for you. I started in Taekwondo at 15 in a school very similar to Oliver's. This school touted discipline respect and integrity as well as a program for you to achieve your black belt. It was very structured with regular testings and colorful belts. The techniques were listed in a certain order and you were expected to perform them as such. While I achieved my black belt and later became an instructor in the organization I started seeing some things that puzzled and worried me.
One thing that troubled me was the instructors rarely talked about techniques but enrollment. When the instructors got together they asked each other how many students they enrolled that month. The other thing they never concerned themselves with was the technical progression of the student. As long as Johnny came to class and performed at a minimal level they were awarded a new rank. Failure was not an option. Students were passed to new ranks with low performance scores and some outright failing the test but were passed anyway. So not to damage their fragile ego. This lowered the standard for all following students and continued to water down the system. Eight year olds are awarded a black belt that carries the same weight as an adult black belt.
Competition in the organization became a much the same as the testing with students performing poorly and still winning at the events. This lead to the removal of certain patterns or forms to make it easier for the children to learn.
After 10 years of this I started looking for another challenge and found Judo. It was an eye opening experience. The structure and progression system that the Taekwondo organization had was in there. As a matter of fact Judo started the whole belt and structure system that all martial arts follow to this day. The discipline and integrity was also a huge part of the program not only in its philosophy but in the actual techniques that you trained. No more was there a holding back on training. The techniques you learned were done at full speed with control and practice. We never practiced throwing imaginary opponents we threw real people. We sparred against an unwilling opponent. We was still able to execute techniques at full force and the opponent would be able to get up and continue training. While this may sound like the techniques don't hurt its only after training for awhile that you learn to protect yourself and learn when its time to give up so you can continue.
Now as far as pricing went it was reasonable the club charged a flat fee per month. There was no special program you enrolled in to learn anything extra. You are given the same attention as every one else in the club. When it came time to get a new rank you had to earn a certain amount of points through the system and have been at the rank for a minimum time. Some people took longer to get rank while others moved along rapidly due to there dedication. Each person was treated as an individual and not a product that needed to be produced in a certain amount of time.
The quest for the black belt is not the ultimate goal of martial arts training. Its the quest for knowledge and self improvement. Along the way rank is awarded to let others know in the system that you have been around for awhile and know something.
While Oliver and people like him have developed a system and curriculum that appeals to many people they have also created an illusion of martial arts. They have duped the populace into thinking that the system that they have is what's best for you. They have marketed themselves just like Coca Cola and McDonalds. Based on pure salesmanship these men are geniuses. Based on martial art ability they fall very short. This is not to say that there is no accomplished athletes in those schools. They are just few and far between.
Prior to continuing in martial arts check out some of the other schools in the area. If you go to any other karate or taekwondo school you will be meet the same way as you were in MHK. You will more than likely hear the same presentation and the same claims of self discipline and programs to enhance your child's well being. Go to a boxing wrestling Judo or BJJ club and you will hear a no nonsense sales pitch. It will cost you this much to start and this much a month. While many of the instructors in these clubs are not sales man many are former competitors, state and national champions, Olympic or world team members, golden gloves or something of that nature that can be checked out from reliable sources other than the single organization that instructor belongs. They have trained students and produced real champions in real events. While it would take forever to describe the difference its not the world karate international federation of black belts from Oklahoma. More reputable groups compete in or sanctioned by the Olympic committee, state or national amauter athletic league(USA Boxing, USA Wrestling or USA Judo), Pan America organization or something along those lines.
These sports develop a child better in a no nonsense fashion at a price more reasonable and with far better results.
I know your next question. "If these are so good why aren't more people enrolled?"
Honestly because there are hard and take years and years to perfect. Many people cant handling seeing there child hit or throw. No contact karate is easier to handle.
Take a look at www.myspace.com/ronindojo and you will see in the highlights video a clip of my son competing in Judo. He was 9-10 at the time and was having a blast.
Judo as a form of self defense is infinatetly better than striking arts for children for several reasons. One Judo doesn't teach children to strike at the attacker but to control them and defuse the situation with the minimal force necessary. Judo throws and holds will neutrilze an aggressor without having to strike at them. Judo also teaches children how to react to a situation not to be on the offense but to go with the attack and stop it.
Originally Posted by jayme822
Would you rather Logan puch and kick another child in the face that is aggresive towards him or take him down and hold him until the other child gives up or an adult comes to stop the situation?
THANK YOU jkartigue!
This is AWESOME information. Thank you so much. I would LOVE to see your son competing in Judo, but the link did not work. Can you repost?
My one and only hesitation with JUDO is my brother took JUDO and because it is a contact vs FORM ect, he was out in a year. Blew out his knee AND broke his ankle. He was young, in his early teens, but I believe that is why he never returned.
"You are given the same attention as every one else in the club. When it came time to get a new rank you had to earn a certain amount of points through the system and have been at the rank for a minimum time. Some people took longer to get rank while others moved along rapidly due to there dedication. Each person was treated as an individual and not a product that needed to be produced in a certain amount of time. The quest for the black belt is not the ultimate goal of martial arts training. Its the quest for knowledge and self improvement. Along the way rank is awarded to let others know in the system that you have been around for awhile and know something.
This is what I am looking for.
Also you state:
"Prior to continuing in martial arts check out some of the other schools in the area. If you go to any other karate or taekwondo school you will be meet the same way as you were in MHK. You will more than likely hear the same presentation and the same claims of self discipline and programs to enhance your child's well being."
Ah, yes sir indeed! I am finding that VERY VERY FRUSTRATING on a level so high that I am just one confused & frustrated MOM.
(Hi Tom if you are reading....hope you don't freak out on the bold emphasis here on the quotes ~ remember, I am a newbie. Remain Calm. )
Hope this works.
Tom is a pussycat just smack him on the head when he comes around.
On the issue if injuries. Yes Judo is a contact sport, yes injuries do occur. They are few and far between. As a matter of fact Judo was rated as one of the safest contact sports for children under 13. It was in a magazine article that I can't find right now. Injuries and accidents are just that you cant predict them. Some people are just lucky some are not. Myself I am not I had 3 knee surgeries. Randy Coutre on the other hand injury free.
Your son is 6 he is meant to have fun. Trust me when I say this. The karate programs are good for them until 8-10 years old. After that get him in a real program like wrestling Judo BJJ or boxing. There are cheaper programs out there that will offer more to your son though. Shop around and see. The most important thing with MA and children is that you as the parent are comfortable with the situation. You have trust and appreciation for the instructor and skills he is teaching your child. Keep several things in mind though. Many MA instructors are not degreed teachers, kinesiologist or psychologists. Many only hold only a rank in a MA organization only trained to handle children through the martial art. So claims to help children with ADD and ADHD are many false. (Just to let you in on a secret all children are ADD to a point) The programs offer a physical activity with mental stimulation just like baseball football or basketball. The difference is that the uniforms are cooler and its an individual sport.
Karate is not "ancient". It only arrived in Japan from Okinawa during the 1920s, which is when Gichin Funakoshi arrived. He adopted the Black Belt from Judo in the 1920s without ever explaining in writing why he did so. (Interestingly the founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano didn't explain why he used this ranking system either) So while the Okinawan antecedants of Karate trace back for generations, almost all the kata or forms used today date from after 1800 and most from after 1850. Later after WWII, General Hong Hi Choi used his experiences with Shotokan karate to help organize and synthesize Tae Kwon Do, which is what Mr. Oliver essentially teaches. Is hard to call that ancient though someone probably told you differently.
Originally Posted by jayme822
Now whether achieving a particular rank, black belt, will instill "discipline, committment, confidence, and command respect" from people can be argued. I would say it depends on the student, but people do not command my respect simply because of black cloth tied around their waist. It is based on intangibles such as personality and fighting skill.
"along the way of the journey to become very skilled at self defense (as opposed to OFFENSE such a Judo)"
To put it bluntly you know nothing about Judo. With the exception of aikido every art can be used both defensively and offensively. It is easier to use a striking art such as the one your son studies offensively, though one could always throw someone to the ground without provocation. I don't know who told you what you just wrote, but its not reliable.
"I believet this is a good route to go to help him with his self confidence, how to deal with "bullies", stick up for himself and to be generally respectful of all others."
err, one of the ways to deal with bullies, is to know WHEN and how to either hit them, or throw them to the ground. Especially at his age, some other children can simply not be reasoned with. There may be an instance where he has to throw the first punch at another kid to protect himself. (several kids are closing in on him at once with the intent to strike him). You call this self defense, we call it knowing how to fight. It would be nice if people did not operate this way, but as jkartigue pointed out Judo will actually allow him to de-esculate this situation more appropriately then karate.
As far as Mr. Oliver goes, he is proud of his ability to make money from his school and charge close to $300 a month. If you want to pay such a fee when you could receive basically the same services for half to a third of that, this is your choice.
Originally Posted by jayme822
You're in the Westminster, CO area apparantly. If so, have you checked out Mauricio Zingano's BJJ program for kids? It's pretty good, and if nothing else might provide a baseline for what a decent program looks like. Less McDojotacular and more having fun and learning something useful.
Whorian, chill a little bit. She's trying to do the research, but when you go ask a TKD instructor "Which is better for my kid for self defense, TKD or JUDO?" You'll get a big ol' speech about how aggressive judo is with the grabbing and the throwing while peace loving TKDers deliver gentle subduing taps to the skull or whatever. She's trying to sort through all of the propaganda she's received from the schools.
As an example, I don't go look up the history of BMW when I go buy a freakin' car. It doesn't matter to me that Henry Ford started mass producing the things. Who cares? She's trying to find a healthy environment for her kid where he will learn things that are important to her, not write a thesis on the history of martial arts.
THX SAMUEL my Man
AWESOME information. OK, just to be clear here. NO ONE told me JUDO was offensive vs defensive. That was my interpretation based on when I was in High School, let's just say the 1980's, the crowd I hung with was taking JUDO and maybe they were just the bad boys in the crowd, but they were very offensive at the gym and took pride in "taking their opponent DOWN". Then my brother took Judo and was injured twice, the 2nd injury to his knee took him out for good (of returning to JUDO that is). Jump 25 years later and I everything has changed. No gyms, just TKW schools. And the Master/Leadership levels to get your black belt. Not the training I saw 25 years ago at just a regular gym. And at that time, these guys were basically street fighting in the ring. Granted, they were 17 yrs - to early twenties, so maybe they felt they had something to proove ` I don't know.
Originally Posted by Samuel Browning
OK so check this out.
The fees all vary. Basic fees for basic curriculum are $197 a month.
3 months into the basic curriculum, fees move in $239/$259 going into the Master Program null/voiding 1st contract and wanting you to sign a 2-3-4 year contract or the (Leadership is $339-$359)
The longer years you sign up for, the less expensive, so a four year contract would be probably $20 or so a month cheaper or pay all up front and save 48%. off the NEW Tuition
(RE -Tuition to go into the Master $597 and Leadership $997)!!!
Basically, bottom line is 40-50 month to get the black and 72 month finance (if you pay monthly) contract or pay upfront and get a discount. Lowest fees not including incidnetals and new tuitions, to get in a four year curriculum, total cost would be (roughly) $18,648.
$18,648 YIKES for a 4 year program to get you to the black. NOW in YOUR and/or anyone else's opinion following me here, how long do you think it should take to get a black belt that is not watered down, and "viable". By that, I mean pretty much ranked equal to a true black belt that can defend himself well (not the best or a bad ass) and/or fight offensively if need be?
As a mom of a freaking SIX year old, I'm really just not that interested in him receiving a black belt by the time he is 10. I think I stated my position on what I want Logan to learn at this point in his life being only 6 years. I want him to know the moves, the forms, how to defend himself and fight if NEED BE, and have a fundamental understanding of the martial arts so that when he is in his teens, should he want to purse a legite black belt, he will know what he is really in for to receive the "real" kind of training to have a respected belt at some point in his life. And hey, you know, he might not go that far, but if that is his wish, we will support it.
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