Grading in various martial arts

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Post by Lexxorcist » Thu Aug 03, 2006 11:03 am

It can be Steve, I can't speak for every club. The grades kids in the junior class have are really just to get them up to senior white belt standard though, and so arne't that serious really. At a certain age you just skip all that and your 9th kyu is really just agreeing to stick to the dojo rules/etiquette and to say you've been accepted by the dojo. From then on, you should certainly have to earn them. If you mean juniors are being handed anything from 8th kyu upwards just to keep them happy... that is wrong.

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Post by wtf? » Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:44 pm

if were chatting about a junior class, then i dont really agree.

while grades shouldnt be randomly achieved, were also talking about kids. what a 9year old might learn wont stay with him when he goes up to a serious class. the movements, the techniques, everything will change. not so much because of the art, but because children are growing, and building muscle mass... and while thais growing that muscle mass, they wont really be able to train on an adult level.

so i think kids grades are a bit pointless as a means of measuring skill. in our classes, kids are demoted (for example) back to 4th/5th kyu if they were a 1st dan in the kids class. those around 2nd/3rd kyu are taken back to white belts again to relearn everything in an adult capacity. some exceptions are made, but under rare circumstances (i was one myself. i was 15 but of large stature, and capable of learning at an adult level. i just couldnt partake as i was legally too young for the adult class insurance policy. so i took the childrens class for 6 months, gained my 7th kyu, and kept it as soon as i hit 16, and could move classes.)

so if its kids... i dont really care much about grades. when they train for 'real' they get bumped anyway. and i think that a 16 year old with enough experience to gain a 1st dan, should be able to keep a low rank when progressing to adult level training.

hope i havent just jumped in, and wildly stabbed at a responce. and if i have, apologies.

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Post by Banzai Joe » Sat Aug 05, 2006 11:32 am

I think we've possibly wandered slightly, but hey-ho!

Talking specifically about grades, the kyu-dan grading system is more-over a western invention to inspire students. Giving them a different coloured belt gives them confidence and a 'rank' so to speak.

My aikido belt was white.....right up until it became black. I have no outwardly physical sign of rank when practicing kendo either (and ihave 1st dan in that too). Our iaido operates the menkyo-kaiden system where there are 3 levels of grades and menjo (cetificates) are awarded by the master sensei accordingly. My 5th dan sensei, since changing to the menkyo-kaiden system has been award his 'shoden' (not shodan) level menjo by our 8th dan japanese master. pretty much is is the norm, i agree with your points, but they are pertaining to combat arts and i think your spot on. Martial arts, for the main part are based on history and tradition. If a MA branches out and does something different to the usual syllabus then they either succeed immensely and become pioneers or they become McDojo's.

Combat arts can't really work this way for all the reasons wtf stated. All combat effective techniques should be made available to you as soon as your instructors deems your are capable of handling them with skill and relative safety.
MA's very rarely do this, they follow a syllabus and have a chain of command. Personally i think this is no bad thing. It teaches discipline (one of its main aims) and will maintain a tried and tested tradition.
Remember most Japanese MA's are -do's or ways. Ways to improve ones self, not ways to kill someone in the 21st century.
I draw a distinct line between MA's and CA's (combat arts). Those that recognise the difference and can tolerate and learn both, imho have the broadest minds and the best training open to them.

Ok, back to the junior grades, how many ways do you know to keep a very young child interested in karate if you fail them at an early stage? My son got to purple belt (5th Kyu) in shotokan, before giving up. He was awarded the belt, but not the certificate cos he made a slight hesitiation in his kata. Personally i think this shows wisdom on behalf of the sensei. Sure he made a small mistake, but at 7 years old, he performed 90% of his stuff without errors. And sure, if it were me (age 36) i'd fail for screwing up 10% of my stuff. Which is how it should be. To a kid its not a martial art they can put their mind, body and spirit into (yet), its a fun way to kick your mates and learn some cool stuff. I've no problem with that, cos if they excell they naturally tend to institutionalise themselves in 'the way' as they get older. Again, no bad thing imho.

fwiw. :D

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