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Psycho Dad
3/06/2013 4:48pm,
After reading this little blurb (http://ubbt.squarespace.com/our-blog-read-it/2010/8/6/a-call-to-the-martial-arts-community-no-more-black-belts-to.html), I started to wonder how many arts besides BJJ have a minimum age on brown and black belts? Can anyone from the other arts chime in?

PlumDragon
3/06/2013 6:32pm,
Either you have the skill or you dont. You can either hang with a given belt or you cant. If youre 15 and can give brown or black belts a run for their money, then you probably should wear a brown belt. So how many 15 year olds can hang with a brown belt? If one is so naturally talented to get that good in such a short time, then age is irrelevant. Cannot hang? No brown belt, regardless of age. Can hang? Great, heres the belt, regardless of age.

If instructors handed "rank" based simply on skill, then the issue with deflation of the meaning of a belt wouldnt exist. Making age limits wont solve any problem. Just stick with performance as a standard...

Psycho Dad
3/07/2013 2:29am,
The problem is that we have *seven* and *six* year olds being handed black belts. Can you honestly tell me that a six or seven year old can honestly hang with an adult in a fight?

Ming Loyalist
3/07/2013 3:02am,
judo has restrictions on the age one can get a brown or black belt, but they seem to vary from country to country.

i recently found out that some competitors in the olympics have been brown belts, due to age restrictions (and if they can deal with not wearing a black belt, so can little timmy as far as i'm concerned.)

Devil
3/07/2013 3:25am,
I have a related question. If a kid starts training BJJ when they're just a squirt, is it common for them to be promoted higher than blue belt when they turn 16? I'm pretty sure I've heard of kids going straight to purple but I'm wondering how common that is.

I've been curious about that lately because I watch the kids in my son's class. When I look at where some of the 10 year olds are, I know they'll be fucking animals by the time they're 16 if they don't quit. Way above blue belt level. Do you guys have any experience with this?

jnp
3/07/2013 3:29am,
I have a related question. If a kid starts training BJJ when they're just a squirt, is it common for them to be promoted higher than blue belt when they turn 16? I'm pretty sure I've heard of kids going straight to purple but I'm wondering how common that is.

I've been curious about that lately because I watch the kids in my son's class. When I look at where some of the 10 year olds are, I know they'll be fucking animals by the time they're 16 if they don't quit. Way above blue belt level. Do you guys have any experience with this?
I never heard of a teenager jumping over blue straight to purple, but I do know of a few who got their purple a year or less after receiving their blue belt.

Devil
3/07/2013 3:33am,
I never heard of a teenager jumping over blue straight to purple, but I do know of a few who got their purple a year or less after receiving their blue belt.

Interesting. Makes sense. I think I've heard of that happening but if you haven't I guess it isn't common.

PlumDragon
3/07/2013 3:41am,
The problem is that we have *seven* and *six* year olds being handed black belts. Can you honestly tell me that a six or seven year old can honestly hang with an adult in a fight?Obviously not; that was my whole point. Award belts based on performance and there wont be an issue with kids age and belts. When you can hang with the brown belts, you get a brown belt. Six year olds would never get brown belts because they cant hang with brown belts. Simple quality control...

Tetsumusha
3/07/2013 3:50am,
My karate instructor has an age limit of 16 for black belt, although he hasn't promoted anyone under 18 to black belt at this point unless you count two 15 year olds he promoted to junior black belt. Those two will be eligible to test for full black belt when they are 16, but they will have to be able to pass the same test an adult would have to pass. Still, I wouldn't mind if we bumped that requirement up to 18. The thing to remember, though, is that a black belt ranking means different things in different arts, different styles, and different cultures.

In Japan, they tend to consider shodan (1st degree black) a rank that simply means that you understand your basics, so it isn't all that difficult to achieve. For example, I know a guy (who is a great martial artist, I will grant) who earned shodan in Shindo Muso-Ryu Jodo AND shodan in a branch of Shorin-Ryu in one year when he went to live in Japan for a while.

Outside of Japan, though, shodan is often elevated to a prestigious level and made to be difficult to attain. The problem with that is that everyone still has a different expectation of what shodan should signify. In BJJ and judo--competitive combat sports--shodan signifies that you can hang with other shodans in competition (although that wasn't the original purpose), so you can maintain a fairly level expectation of skill for that rank. In arts that don't have that competitive focus, though, there isn't nearly as much cohesiveness.

Krijgsman
3/07/2013 11:36am,
Ming beat me to naming Judo. I believe most Judo orgs in the US have a youth belt system for under 17 year olds, and (at least at my club) you had to be 17+ to get your first rank of brown.

In fact I recall one girl turning 17 and being promoted because she had been at Purple for like 2 years.

That may have just been an internal policy at my club though.

Psycho Dad
3/07/2013 4:23pm,
Obviously not; that was my whole point. Award belts based on performance and there wont be an issue with kids age and belts. When you can hang with the brown belts, you get a brown belt. Six year olds would never get brown belts because they cant hang with brown belts. Simple quality control...


Supposedly simple, but the existence of 6 year old black belts states otherwise. In my opinion, having some sort of age limit would make belt ranking a bit less subjective. I agree that belts are supposed to be based on performance. But I have the feeling that for some of these instructors in their own minds, that these kids are performing at a black belt level.

PlumDragon
3/07/2013 10:00pm,
What would make it less subjective is getting rid of belts entirely.

The existence of 6 year old black belts has nothing to do with the simplicity or not of that quality control, and more to do with people not caring about it, or as someone pointed out earlier, differing ideas of what a belt means--theres your subjectivity in spades. Ultimately, what difference does it make to you whether some karate school utilizes belts in a different manner than your BJJ/Judo school? Are you in it for a belt? Do you want to try to control what others do with their time or business or life? Do you want people to look so highly at you because of your belt, and somehow a kid receiving a belt at some cookie cutter belt factory threatens that feeling?

If youre in it for you, for your development, for your entertainment or for your own skill, then you dont care what others do about rank and belts and all that other stuff. Just train...and people who will cross your path (be it training, in competition, or on the street) will know where your level is...

Psycho Dad
3/08/2013 3:27am,
How would you propose keeping gross mismatches from happening in competition?

franginho
3/08/2013 4:01am,
Not sure where I they did this, but they had separate belts for kids and adults and when the kids move up to adult hood they have to test under adult standards and they either will get the adult equivalent of their rank or they will drop a bit in rank depending on how they fare.
Makes sense to me, you can kick ass among the kids, you get your belt, you can kick ass at the level of the adults, you get the belt that suits you, no transition from kiddy BB to adult BB unless warranted. No problem.

jdogdurden
3/08/2013 7:34am,
dude, couldn't have said it better myself

submessenger
3/08/2013 7:44am,
How would you propose keeping gross mismatches from happening in competition?

Double-elimination ladder?