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Dworkingham
12/27/2007 12:17pm,
This is an awesome clip from the Karate Kid Fan Documentary on YouTube, about a kid who uses a wheelchair who attains his black belt. A little inspiration for the New Year... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iogdYnBbrYk

The rest of the documentary can be found here... http://www.youtube.com/Dworkingham

DdlR
12/27/2007 1:16pm,
Inspirational indeed. Nice job on the documentary, too.

angry welshman
12/27/2007 2:05pm,
Forgive me for raining on this parade, but can the guy actually fight? Kudos for having the determination to do it, but come on - the guy can barely move without assistance, how's he going to fare against an able-bodied, athletic opponent intent on hitting him?

He was in a TKD grading at one point in the vid. How could he even throw a basic kick? He was held in a harness at one point just to stay standing.

A noble attempt to acheive this is. Fighting ability by any stretch of the imagination this is not.

DdlR
12/27/2007 2:12pm,
It's the determination that's worth applauding.

Kung-Fu Joe
12/27/2007 2:25pm,
Forgive me for raining on this parade, but can the guy actually fight? Kudos for having the determination to do it, but come on - the guy can barely move without assistance, how's he going to fare against an able-bodied, athletic opponent intent on hitting him?

He was in a TKD grading at one point in the vid. How could he even throw a basic kick? He was held in a harness at one point just to stay standing.

A noble attempt to acheive this is. Fighting ability by any stretch of the imagination this is not.I completely agree. In fact, I'll take it a bit further.

A black belt in any martial art is a meritorious award. It requires a person to know and perform technique at a certain level. Whether those martial arts have a focus on sparring and fighting application or not, they do require a certain level of physical exertion.

Has this kid had a tough life? Absolutely. Is it admirable that he has attempted to overcome his limitations? Without a doubt. But does he deserve a Black Belt? Certainly not.

There's an entire society of "feel good" people in the world, today. Entire generations of youth have been spoonfed the morally reprehensible lies that "it doesn't matter how you do, so long as you try your best." This philosophy has become so ingrained in people that they feel they NEED to give out awards, just to make sure everybody's happy.

That's a foul perversion of the entire concept of any endeavor of skill.

Now, I'm not saying there's no value in giving something your all. On the contrary, I always applaud a person who does the best possible job they can, regardless of the outcome. However, there's a vast difference between applause and an award of merit. If this kid had been interested in Wrestling instead of Karate, would it be right to award him with a Varsity Jacket-- or worse, a Championship-- without his ever competing at a level necessary to attain those ranks? If he was interested in Ballet, should he be offered a lead role just to assuage his sense of accomplishment?

Adorning someone with a false award of merit is detrimental to all those others who've worked to achieve that goal, and even moreso, to the person receiving the fraudulent honor.

--Joe

DCS
12/27/2007 2:33pm,
They could have given the kid an "honoris causa" black belt instead.

HappyOldGuy
12/27/2007 2:40pm,
Now, I'm not saying there's no value in giving something your all. On the contrary, I always applaud a person who does the best possible job they can, regardless of the outcome. However, there's a vast difference between applause and an award of merit. If this kid had been interested in Wrestling instead of Karate, would it be right to award him with a Varsity Jacket-- or worse, a Championship-- without his ever competing at a level necessary to attain those ranks? If he was interested in Ballet, should he be offered a lead role just to assuage his sense of accomplishment?

Adorning someone with a false award of merit is detrimental to all those others who've worked to achieve that goal, and even moreso, to the person receiving the fraudulent honor.

--Joe
So what standards did he fail to meet? Please be specific to his school and art, since there is no such thing as a generic black belt. And don't tell me that "martial arts is about fighting and he can't fight" since that is a) bullshit (back to the dawn of systematic martial arts), and b) totally fucking irrelevant. Unless your name is randy couture, you are clearly grading on some kind of curve. Other peoples will be different than yours.

DdlR
12/27/2007 2:54pm,
Adorning someone with a false award of merit is detrimental to all those others who've worked to achieve that goal, and even moreso, to the person receiving the fraudulent honor.

--Joe

Do you feel that awarding this fellow the black belt devalues the status or symbolism of the belt?

Kung-Fu Joe
12/27/2007 2:56pm,
They could have given the kid an "honoris causa" black belt instead.Even better, they could have given the kid a rank based on his actual skill. Here's two little personal anecdotes to show why.


When I was in the second grade, my school had its annual Science Fair. Now, I loved science from a very, very early age. Everything about it had interested me, and led me down the road to the career I'm in, today. I spent months on my project-- an explanation and display of Solar Energy. I wrote up reports, memorized processes, rehearsed speeches, and (most importantly) built several small devices powered by solar cells. My parents had supervised me, but the effort was all my own. I read the books, I wrote the papers, and I constructed the experiments.

Unfortunately for me, my elementary school had a policy of not actually rating Science Fair projects for anyone under the Fifth Grade. So I was stuck with the same little Honorable Mention ribbon that was given to the kids planting beans in a Dixie cup.


On the opposite end of things, I started playing the violin when I was five years old. I practiced every day, and had private lessons from an accomplished musician once a week. My parents always praised me for how good I was, and bragged to people about my skill. When I was in the third grade, I joined my school orchestra-- an unprecedented feat. Normally, only Fifth Graders and up could join any extracurricular activity. I was immediately made a First Chair violinist, alongside the Eighth Graders, and I thought the world of myself.

Eventually, I moved to a different town. I stopped practicing as often, quit my private lessons, and I no longer had an orchestra to play with, but everyone kept telling me how talented and amazing I was. Years later, I joined the Jazz Band in my High School. Suddenly, I realized how much I sucked. I'd been playing the violin for ten years, but I didn't even know Second Position fingerings, I couldn't play Vibrato, and guys who'd picked up the instrument only two years earlier were better than me.

Though it sounds silly, now, that disillusionment was incredibly heartbreaking for me. It was, honestly, one of the most psychologically difficult things for me to process in the entirety of my Teen years. I had been told for a decade that I was incredible at a certain practice, only to learn that I was mediocre, at best.


It is absolutely morally reprehensible to ascribe false honors on people just to make them feel good about themselves. It cheapens the goal for all those who actually deserve it, and it's very painful for the recipient who realizes they don't deserve it.


--Joe

angry welshman
12/27/2007 3:02pm,
So what standards did he fail to meet? Please be specific to his school and art, since there is no such thing as a generic black belt. And don't tell me that "martial arts is about fighting and he can't fight" since that is a) bullshit (back to the dawn of systematic martial arts), and b) totally fucking irrelevant. Unless your name is randy couture, you are clearly grading on some kind of curve. Other peoples will be different than yours.

It's pretty clear from the video that he does TKD or karate. They are by their nature kicking and punching systems. The boy can do neither - he can't even STAND without assistance. The one time he demonstrated any force was by breaking a board from his wheelchair, but repeated swings against a static object doesn't translate into fighting skill.

whisper
12/27/2007 3:09pm,
It's pretty clear from the video that he does TKD or karate. They are by their nature kicking and punching systems. The boy can do neither - he can't even STAND without assistance. The one time he demonstrated any force was by breaking a board from his wheelchair, but repeated swings against a static object doesn't translate into fighting skill.

In fiarness, hitting boards is one of the traditional karate tests of skill.

But yeah, you couldn't get a blackbelt on that alone, even in a McDojo.

I'd hate to be his teacher, though. If a parent came to you with a kid like that, you're likely to get sued if you turn them down, even with good reasoning behind it. And if you let them in, you're jumping full on down the slippery slope that leads to grading them.

DdlR
12/27/2007 3:11pm,
It is absolutely morally reprehensible to ascribe false honors on people just to make them feel good about themselves. It cheapens the goal for all those who actually deserve it, and it's very painful for the recipient who realizes they don't deserve it.

--Joe

In your second example, it sounds as if you had a grossly inflated sense of your own capabilities, leading to disillusionment.

It's quite obvious that this young man, his family, friends and instructors are aware of his capabilities and that the black belt was awarded in recognition of his achievement within those capabilities, just as it would be for anyone else. The only difference is that his physical limitations require some novel training and testing procedures.

Beyond that, what the belt "means" is specific to the testing organization and to the recipient. A colored belt is just a symbol, after all.

Kung-Fu Joe
12/27/2007 3:13pm,
I'd hate to be his teacher, though. If a parent came to you with a kid like that, you're likely to get sued if you turn them down, even with good reasoning behind it. And if you let them in, you're jumping full on down the slippery slope that leads to grading them.The obvious solution, then, is to allow the student to enroll, then grade them-- fairly-- by their skill. If he spends 20 years in the art, but he's still only White Belt in skill, he should remain a White Belt ranked practitioner.

That's fair, honest, and morally responsible. As opposed to implanting false confidence in someone through fraudulent promotion.

--Joe

Kung-Fu Joe
12/27/2007 3:18pm,
Beyond that, what the belt "means" is specific to the testing organization and to the recipient. A colored belt is just a symbol, after all.Come on, now. You can debate the semantics of the award all you like, but regardless of the literal denotation, the phrase "Black Belt in Karate" carries with it a very common connotation of exemplary physical skill.

Hell, the first thing anyone on this site goes after in a MABS investigation is the legitimacy of an instructor's Black Belts. If they were really so unimportant, and if they truly had no meaning beyond what the wearer ascribes them, we wouldn't care if someone claimed to be a 10th-Dan in six different Martial Arts.

--Joe

DCS
12/27/2007 3:20pm,
That's fair, honest, and morally responsible. As opposed to implanting false confidence in someone through fraudulent promotion.

Are we under the assumption the guy is not really aware of his real karate skills because he has been somewhat brainwashed?

It is Fake
12/27/2007 3:24pm,
Okay, what am I missing?

All I saw was a guy given a BB under special circumstances. I mean they talk about everything they had to do to make it easier for him.

Please don't argue sparring as we have seen that sparring doesn't translate well from school to school.

I may have missed where they said he was a fighter. If so that is a different can of worms otherwise I don't have a problem.