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Black belt under 18--McDojo?

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    Black belt under 18--McDojo?

    This topic has been discussed here a bunch, but I'd like to see opinions on the matter when put into context. I'm expecting an attempted blasting by some posters due to the nature of this thread, but whatever.

    Topic: getting a black belt before adulthood (we'll use 18 as our definition)

    I started TKD when I was 6. I trained 2-3 times per week consistently. Our school had good fighters. If you left your hands down, your opponent punched you in the face. If someone kicked you and left you sucking air it was your fault for not blocking or doing enough crunches. We were basically a kickboxing school that did all the TKD forms, steps and other things. Our school operated through the local YMCA and had been started in 1969 by a Vietnam vet. When I was around 9 or 10 the current lead instructor started cross-training us on Arnis.

    Here's the part some of you may have a reservation with--I received my black belt 3 days before my 12th birthday. After consistently training for 5.5 years I received my black belt. My instructors worked me on the test to the point that I could hardly stand. I couldn't keep my hands up during sparring because my body was oxygen starved by the end.

    When I first received my BB I couldn't beat up an adult, not a chance. However, I continued training and by the time I started getting adult sized all the training started coming through. The attacks I had been training for years with good form started having power behind them and working like they were intended. I had the mass to be able to withstand hard hits. My legs were long enough to give me better evasion abilities. My increased speed and reach made it possible for me to snipe with jabs and kicks. At this point in time I've trained many other arts, instructed for several years, even won my two recent MMA cage fights.

    Here's the questions:

    1) Was my school a McDojo (McDojang in this case)?

    2) If someone gets their black belt at 12 like I did and the only difference is size and strength but not skill, ability, knowledge, spirit, focus, strategy, or any other factor, is there a problem with that person getting a black belt?

    3) Should I not have received my black belt?

    Before it comes up:
    I see black belts as rewards for working hard and becoming proficient (not necessarily adept or expert) at the basics in a martial arts system or approach. Many schools water down the meaning, but others hold it to a good standard. Belts are mostly good for holding pants up, but at the same time, a tangible object or certificate that represents a level of success has its merits.

    Also, I lurked, read the FAQ and used the search function before posting.

    #2
    The younger the BB, the worse the school usually.

    Comment


      #3
      Goes by the school, there's a 17 year old black belt from a Shorin Ryu place in Athlone and he's a big strong fucker who hits hard.

      Comment


        #4
        A school that gives a 12 year old a black belt is a McDojo in my opinion.

        That 12 year old would get mauled by an untrained 18 or 20 yr old that had simply been in a couple of bar fights, let alone someone with any skill. No matter how dedicated and brainwashed that 12 year old is into believing they are teh d3adly, they are not.

        So no, I do not believe that you should have received your black belt at age 12.

        That being said, it is only a piece of cloth and a piece of paper, so who really cares outside of your system? The standard is obviously more to do with making that child feel empowered and strong and very little to do with the reality of that.

        Also that club owner has to deal with parents who say: "Old Johnny has been training for 4 years and has his black belt, my little Johnny has been training for 5.5 years and should have his!" The parent doesnt understand that Old Johnny is an adult and hence has attributes that help in fighting (Size and strength) that Little Johnny has yet to develop.

        So if you start at 6 years old and dont get your black belt until you are 18? that is 12 years of training. Your buddy joins the same club at 14 and gets his black belt the same day as you do, are you going to be less proud of that BB?

        Importantly, you would now deserve the BB and people wouldnt laugh behind your back when you tell them that you have one. And trust me anyone with a brain has laughed behind your back when you told them you got your black belt at 12 years old.
        "Sifu, I"m niether - I'm a fire dragon so don't fuck with me!"

        Comment


          #5
          My old Karate School had a Junior BB level that kids could reach. When they reached a certain age they'd have to re-test for their proper BB.
          " The reason elite level MMAists don't fight with aikido is the same reason elite level swimmers don't swim with their lips." - Virus

          " I shocked him with my skills on the ice becuase Wing Chun is great for hockey fighting." - 'Sifu' Milt Wallace

          "Besides, as you might already know (from Virus, for example) - there's only 1 wing chun and it sucks big time" - Tonuzaba

          "Even when I'm promising mayhem and butt-chicanery, I'm generally posting with a smile on my face." - Sochin101

          "That said, if he blocked my hip on a drop nage, I would extend my leg into a drop tai Otoshi and slam him so hard his parents would die." - MTripp

          Comment


            #6
            Junior BB

            Originally posted by Mungkorn Dam
            My old Karate School had a Junior BB level that kids could reach. When they reached a certain age they'd have to re-test for their proper BB.
            Now did some of those kids end up teaching adult classes? I have seen McDojos where the 16 or 17 year old BB is teaching the adults and the adults are bowing and calling him 'Sensei' when those same adults could mop the floor with the scrawny little kid.

            A Junior BB with a re-grade for full BB would satisfy the parents and make it McDojo-Lite.
            "Sifu, I"m niether - I'm a fire dragon so don't fuck with me!"

            Comment


              #7
              That 12 year old would get mauled by an untrained 18 or 20 yr old that had simply been in a couple of bar fights, let alone someone with any skill. No matter how dedicated and brainwashed that 12 year old is into believing they are teh d3adly, they are not.
              I knew at that time I had to chance to take out a full grown adult. Using this same logic, should a school not give a black belt to a 100 pound woman who doesn't have very favorable chances to defend against a big and motivated attacker if unarmed?

              If I should not have received my black belt at that time on grounds of not being able to fight effectively due to size and strength, if I stopped training and came back after 10 years, should they then hand me the same certification on the grounds that I was bigger and stronger?

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Askari
                Now did some of those kids end up teaching adult classes? I have seen McDojos where the 16 or 17 year old BB is teaching the adults and the adults are bowing and calling him 'Sensei' when those same adults could mop the floor with the scrawny little kid.

                A Junior BB with a re-grade for full BB would satisfy the parents and make it McDojo-Lite.
                No, Kids weren't allowed to teach the adults.
                " The reason elite level MMAists don't fight with aikido is the same reason elite level swimmers don't swim with their lips." - Virus

                " I shocked him with my skills on the ice becuase Wing Chun is great for hockey fighting." - 'Sifu' Milt Wallace

                "Besides, as you might already know (from Virus, for example) - there's only 1 wing chun and it sucks big time" - Tonuzaba

                "Even when I'm promising mayhem and butt-chicanery, I'm generally posting with a smile on my face." - Sochin101

                "That said, if he blocked my hip on a drop nage, I would extend my leg into a drop tai Otoshi and slam him so hard his parents would die." - MTripp

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Arnisador
                  1) Was my school a McDojo (McDojang in this case)?
                  Yes

                  Originally posted by Arnisador
                  2) If someone gets their black belt at 12 like I did and the only difference is size and strength but not skill, ability, knowledge, spirit, focus, strategy, or any other factor, is there a problem with that person getting a black belt?
                  After size and strength are gained one must learn to use said attributes and adjust one's technique accordingly. Hence, the size and strength are not the only difference.

                  Originally posted by Arnisador
                  3) Should I not have received my black belt?
                  Could you have passed the exact same testing as the adults (including fighting against adults)?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I've known exactly one teenage blackbelt that was legit. His dad trained in japan for years while in the navy then got out and moved here and opened a dojo. his kid was a bb at 16 and had been trained hard since he was a little kid. I knew he taught kids / young adult classes. I've seen him fight and he's pretty good.


                    So it's possibly legit, but not typical or likely.
                    You can't make people smarter. You can expose them to information, but your responsibility stops there.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I view a black belt as a reflection of knowledge and effort, and not necessarily fighting proficiency. To say one has a black belt does not automatically mean you can physically dominate any opponent; there are simply too many variables to make such an assumption.

                      You always hope that the minimum standards for promotion are reasonable and honored...though we know that that's not always the case.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        My doju awarded a junior BB to a 14 year old last year (when he's 17 he has to retake the test for adult)

                        I asked the owner about it and he said the kid's been training with them since five so he's been there for 9 years, competed a lot and was very mature and basically after 9 years he really didn't have anything else to do but test and promote the kid.

                        This was the first junior BB he's ever given out. 14 in IMO for some circumstances is OK for junior BB as long as the kid has a lot of training time and a maturity level.

                        12 is too young.

                        Nor should a kid ever teach an adult class.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Lv1Sierpinski
                          I view a black belt as a reflection of knowledge and effort, and not necessarily fighting proficiency. To say one has a black belt does not automatically mean you can physically dominate any opponent; there are simply too many variables to make such an assumption.

                          You always hope that the minimum standards for promotion are reasonable and honored...though we know that that's not always the case.
                          If you have a blackbelt, and you're not a very proficient fighter, then you don't have enought knowledge and you haven't put in enough effort.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Mungkorn Dam
                            My old Karate School had a Junior BB level that kids could reach. When they reached a certain age they'd have to re-test for their proper BB.


                            I think that's the way it should be. I mean, if a kid has the drive and discipline to attend classes and learn everything in the system they should be acknowledged for that. But they definitely should not receive a "real" black belt. In my opinion, if you have a black belt then nobody in your school (regardless of age) except other black belts and maybe some especially good advanced belts should stand a chance against you in sparring.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Could you have passed the exact same testing as the adults (including fighting against adults)?
                              It was the same test, with the only difference being the amount of force during the sparring portion. They hit hard for my size, but they didn't batter me. I passed all of the requirements and did the same amount of sparring, it was just at a fitting level of force. They put me out of my comfort zone and made me work until exhaustion.

                              I should also note that the closest anyone else came to getting a black belt that young through our school was 16. This was over a 35 year span.

                              EDIT:
                              In my opinion, if you have a black belt then nobody in your school (regardless of age) except other black belts and maybe some especially good advanced belts should stand a chance against you in sparring.
                              That was basically the case, but since I was smaller than adults in the class they could have for sure cleaned me up with haymakers in an actual fight. Given the focus on skill over cripping power, I did either better than them or could stay fairly even. As far as skill was concerned I had the requirements though.
                              Last edited by Arnisador; 7/25/2006 6:07am, .

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