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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:17 pm 
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I'm curious if anyone else has had the experience, either long term or for a short period, to train without a belt system. Did it affect your focus on training?

I know there are many discussions about the worth of a belt system as well as the misuses of such a system, and that is not my intent here.

If you are training in a dojo that has regular belt tests, scheduled in advance, and your kata and kumite are geared to a particular belt level, how does that affect your training and your viewpoint on your training...your focus?

If you are training in a dojo or less formal group, where you are training to skill sets, and they are not directly tied to a particular belt level (no regularly sheduled test, only training), does this change how you put the pieces/parts together and where you focus your attention or HOW you focus your attention?

Technically, this should have no affect, as you are training in a style, but realistically, how does it affect your focus and how you learn?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:00 am 
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Probably a fairly large difference in focus of students where I came up in Chun... Traditionally in Hong Kong based styles of the 60s there are no belts in kung-fu, no tests per se either... Everyone is at their own level, you have 'older brothers' and 'younger brothers' or sisters, determined literally by who came through the door first... This is exactly the same kind of environment btw that Bruce Lee was from as well...

Lots of egos flying around though and most folks are worried about how they fare in sparring or chisao... Everyone wants to win, or not lose and it's one of the biggest obstacles students create for themselves.. In reality they would learn more from 'losing'.

So you just work at the level you are on until on of the senior teachers or the master advances you... And unlike most Karate there is very much a last level... When you complete that level you graduate.........

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:04 am 
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Shana Moore wrote:
I'm curious if anyone else has had the experience, either long term or for a short period, to train without a belt system. Did it affect your focus on training?
Quote:

I currently do, not sure if it changed my focus on training as I think I had my focus first and found the rank-less training later. I'll try to answer some of your questions Shana, but I have to be careful as some of my opinions may come off as insulting. And that's something I really don't want to happen.

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Traditionally in Hong Kong based styles of the 60s there are no belts in kung-fu, no tests per se either... Everyone is at their own level, you have 'older brothers' and 'younger brothers' or sisters, determined literally by who came through the door first.


It's a great way to train isn't it. 8) I started training in our little group first and was shown some things that aren't currently being passed on to the newer guys, so those two things make me the senior student. That doesn't mean anything other than that, where as in my rank days your belt color determined where you stood in class, and other benefits, like giving kyu ranks a withering glare if they actually connected with the technique you were teaching them. :lol: A bunch of nonsense that I stopped buying into.

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And unlike most Karate there is very much a last level... When you complete that level you graduate..


Something that is missing in karate. Karate is keen on masters and disciples, but not so much on apostles. There always seems to be one more rank to achieve before the student is encouraged to move on. That in the end may be the only issue I have with modern karate.

Rob Redmond's excellent work on Shu Ha Ri

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:36 am 
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There are no belts in the Krav Maga I've been working with. Really haven't thought about it in that context during the classes at all.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:48 pm 
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Thanks for the posts guys. While this is still very new to me, I find that I like this way of training. It feels like the training is more responsive to the moment and details...or rather, I find that I'm focusing more on the individual details and skills rather than Kata A and Kata B, then....and so forth.

I respect the belt system and those that do it, as it provides a way to track progress, but I'm wondering if that is always a good thing?

On the other hand, my original plan was to seek a black belt after several years of training....so, I guess I'm still on the fence and figuring it out.

I liken it, at the moment, to SOLs..do you teach how to think about a topic and reason a solution or do you teach to the test.

That's not a fair comparison for all schools, and not for what I have trained to date...but my mental approach does appear to be different. I was just trying to see if this was just me or was a common phenom.

And Mike...partway through the article you posted and good stuff! BTW, I appreciate your desire to not sound insulting, but I've not had any issues with your posts here, so please feel free to post any other thoughts...you get at least three warnings and at least one get out of jail free card :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:54 pm 
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Shana ,

A few weeks ago I was at a Wado dan grading ,at the invite of Wado sensei ,we chatted about the belt system etc, pro's and cons ,then some one said I thought Uechi-ryu had no belt system, my reply;there was a belt system ,but it was a modern introduction .

So the belt system was adopted by Uechi ryu, and present practioners have grown up with it, a new tradition ,and some tend to think its always been there ,but the truth is its a very young tradition.

The older three Kata system was not set around the Dan/ kyu grading format ,it was a totally different way of training that kept the statement ;"The begining is the end ,and the end is the begining " in focus and its guiding light ,your goal is circular ,you never think of a reward in linear terms or stages .

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:18 pm 
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Interesting! Thanks for sharing Max!

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 11:33 pm 
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I train in a 'no belt' atmosphere, but since that is the only thing I know, it's not possible to make comparisons. With only 5 years training now, I can say, with no 'belts' - no relative yardsticks to measure 'progress' - one always feels like a beginner. Training is essentially open-ended. That's not so hard in the beginning, especially as a 'mature' student :oops: , but there are definite points in one's training where it is useful. I found the 3 year mark very difficult, and recently the idea was planted in my head about someday teaching. That concept is hard enough to reconcile within one's self without being asked by some recreation director, 'What are your credentials? Are you a professional? Well...are you a black belt?'

The 'outside' world still seems to base 'credentials' on rank, and 'black belt' is still the benchmark.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:21 pm 
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interesting point about teaching and "always a beginner"..still I know I learn as much from showing something to someone...more actaully..than from just doing...so perhaps the two concepts are not so mutually exclusive?

as for outside world and ranking...yes, I have to agree. When anyone I know or work with (who is not already a part of my training) finds out I train in karate, I am almost always asked my rank..sigh

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:09 am 
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I think belts can really get carried away and feed egos.


But i do see the benefit of a belt system, especially in a gym.

I was rolling one weekend, and i was up against a guy. He had an athletic build and seemed in shape, and wore a martial arts T-shirt. so i assumed he had a background in grappling. I ripped him apart and subbed him three times in a row.


Then i realized that he had never before grappled or done martial arts in his life. So i felt really like #####, and missed an opporunity to let that man grow and to isolate my own skill set and fight from a bad position. I apologized to him afterward, he really didn't mind.

If he had a belt or no belt i would have known not to go full blast.

I don't think this is an issue in most schools however, most students seem to know each other if i am not mistaken, it should be pretty clear who is new and who isn't.

In gyms it seems most people just carve themselves a reputation of badassery and thats how they are known as assistent teachers or 'black belts' there is grading for jui-jitsu specifically however.

Rick talks about this as well, but once they get that belt, a strange psychological barrier is often broken usually.

Or sometimes not, depends on the person.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:29 am 
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[img]





No matter if you use belts or not ,goals are still the important factor either way .

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:34 pm 
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harlan wrote:
The 'outside' world still seems to base 'credentials' on rank, and 'black belt' is still the benchmark.


I train in disparate environments: a rank granting dojo which doesn't really focus on rank; a rank granting dojo which elevates children to Dan level thus altering the meaning of the rank; and a school with no rank at all.

I think tests are really useful -- they present an opportunity for really focussed feedback from a select group of peers, and they are one thing I miss in the 'rank-less' school I attend.

Black belt just doesn't have a consistent meaning -- so while it's probably good and helpful to have the credential it's a mistake to assume the credential indicates anything useful.

Gonna repeat myself here, but...I like Adam's story above -- it supports the meaning behind something my father taught me as a child about crossing the street, he said: "Watch the cars not the lights."

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 6:13 pm 
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AAAhmed46 wrote:
Then i realized that he had never before grappled or done martial arts in his life. So i felt really like #####, and missed an opporunity to let that man grow and to isolate my own skill set and fight from a bad position. I apologized to him afterward, he really didn't mind.

If he had a belt or no belt i would have known not to go full blast.

I don't think this is an issue in most schools however, most students seem to know each other if i am not mistaken, it should be pretty clear who is new and who isn't.


Or you could actually talk with the guy before rolling, sparring, etc.. Actually highly recommended.. :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:03 pm 
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JimHawkins wrote:
AAAhmed46 wrote:
Then i realized that he had never before grappled or done martial arts in his life. So i felt really like #####, and missed an opporunity to let that man grow and to isolate my own skill set and fight from a bad position. I apologized to him afterward, he really didn't mind.

If he had a belt or no belt i would have known not to go full blast.

I don't think this is an issue in most schools however, most students seem to know each other if i am not mistaken, it should be pretty clear who is new and who isn't.


Or you could actually talk with the guy before rolling, sparring, etc.. Actually highly recommended.. :lol:


Timed, but yeah, i should have.


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