What exactly does a black belt mean & why shouldn't kids get them?
Topic: Medal case sports
May 26, 2019 / By Adria Question:
also do jr black belts count even if they have to retest for their adult ones but if they fail they get some adult equivalency of a lower rank.
Best Answers: What exactly does a black belt mean & why shouldn't kids get them?
Terrell | 8 days ago
It's meaning has value only to the instructor or club that awarded it.
It OUGHT to have a consistent meaning, regardless of the martial art.
In my view, it has the meaning of character and technical capability.
Can children get them?
SPORT-STYLE martial arts:
Sure; kids will sparr/fight only others their own age, so there's generally no safety problem - especially as they grow older. There's often no need to go into gory details about lethal strikes.
SELF-DEFENSE-STYLE martial arts:
No way. Give a kid a black belt, put him to the test. If the kid is good, he'll be able to handle the average bully. But if the perpetrator is an adult, has real weapons, etc and the child finds himself in need for real self-defense (not that this is likely), but he'll have no expectation of survival, unless the training adjusts for the fact that there's a child involved.
IF this happens (training changes), then what happens when the kid ages into adult hood - now he doesn't have the same training as other black belts do. For this reason alone, a junior black belt is fine. It conveys the message that real hard-core training is inappropriate at the moment, but for the typical scrap you're likely to get into, you're well trained.
Part of the problem is just understanding the background of the techniques to learn: the issue of balance, lines of attack, even being able to effectively reach the lethal hotspots.
Another issue is the appropriateness of training: I cringe everytime I have to explain a groin strike. And now, children are being expelled from school (and even arrested) for using a groin strike in self-defense - see this article:
Others make the argument about conditioning - like for board and brick breaking. These same folks argue that such training isn't necessary. In some respects - it's necessary to separate the men from the boys - and I don't mean in a manner to toughen them up. Rather, I mean so that a divided curriculum can be created: children train for this, adults train for that. When the children become adults, then, they train as for adults - perhaps, maybe even on an accelerated schedule if applicable.
In the end, though, such little distinction is ever made when children get their black belts. They get tophies and medals for winning, and see the black belt as nothing more than a permanent trophy. This is the wrong mindset - black belt is a state of being; it's a statement about the blood, sweat, tears, and time put into training.
When some kid gets a black belt at 8 and trained for 3 years, and then stands next to a 25-year-old who's trained for 10 years, and both are awarded the exact same reward, what does that tell the 25-year old? That if he started 7 years sooner, then he'd have made black belt 15 years ago? That he didn't have to break a cinder block or coconut? That he didn't have to spar 3 rounds at 5 minutes each? That he didn't have to perform 11 forms (poomsae/kata)? And perfectly?
If course, it also means that each will have a different value for the black belt: the kid will see it as another trophy and will probably later lose it somewhere in a garage sale move. But the 25 year old will appreciate the hard work and dedication. In this case, youth, it would seem, is wasted on the youth - as is the belt.
What about the kid who has to be excused from sparring because his parents are afraid of damaging the braces, but doesn't want him to wait? Or the kid who tests early because there's a soccer championship match on the same day everyone else is testing?
What about the school that lightens up the contact because of insurance regulations?
There is so much inequity between adult and child black belts, it's sickening. Kids go around bragging about what they "got", and say nothing about what they "are", or of who they are, and do nothing of what they "should".
And often, the kids get them because their instructor is having a belt war with school down the block, fearing an exodus of students because they're handing out belts like lollipops.
Our industry disgusts me in this regard.
Then again, there are countless examples of kids who show terrific technique and form - go look on youtube. Their techniques can put us all to shame. Our understanding of martial arts are very different. But clearly, they have the passion - often, much more so than many adult black belts that come to mind. And isn't passion one of the ideals of having character?
By giving a child a black belt - the ones with the real passion - that could spark a new talent in the martial arts world that wouldn't otherwise be realized. So in this regard, I say give him or her the black belt.
👍 224 | 👎 8
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We found more questions related to the topic: Medal case sports
Originally Answered: Why do people think that black parents don't care about their kids education?
Hi what i think is that the teachers who discriminate against any student for their skin color should be reprehended and the school districts need to have specialize classes for teachers to take for them to be able to assimilate their kids into their school or for the teachers to understand that they are going to encounter cultural differences in their classrooms.
though some people from certain races do prove their stereotypes right i think this are the more uneducated bunch i can tell you that i have met many black, Asian and Hispanic people who are well educated and have their kids loving school and i have also met some white people who have their kids hating school and in my opinion this has to do more with the parents habits and eucation then anything else.
Black Belt means different things to different people in schools. Most on here are going to say that it means you are proficient in the basics of the art. I've also heard/seen places where the Dans were not only ranks but an ideal of excellence in all aspects of life.
What are we counting as kids? I think anyone under the age of 14-15 probably doesn't have the maturity level to have this rank. I've heard others say even higher. I personally recieved my 1st Dan at 17 and no this wasn't a McDojo. I had been training since I was 11. So I think that kids not getting blackbelt should depend on what age range you are defining a kid as.
For the younger kids I believe it is important to have a seperate grading system. While they may not have the maturity to be graded on the same scale as adults it is important that they still recieve ranks and have a sense of accomplishment as they advance in their skill. (And yes I've known some kids that are very very skilled but not at the maturity level of adults).
Edit AKM please do not take a paragraph from my post and use it as your own individual answer. If you don't have something of your own to contribute don't bother answering.
👍 90 | 👎 2
I'm going to take this in a different direction from the stock "mastered the basics" viewpoint.
I feel a black belt represents maturity, ready to take on responsiblity. Not only with your martial arts but with life in general, knowing what the right thing to do is and doing it. Taking responsiblity in life for more than just yourself.
That's why kids shouldn't be black belts. They may know all the forms, they may even be more talented than some adults but they don't have the mental aptitude to accept this responsiblity. I have never minded Jr. Black Belts because I don't see a Jr. Black Belt as the same status of an adult black belt. To me, a Jr. black belt is a reward for the accomplishmets and perseverence shown. And in all honesty, it appeases the parents who've stuck with monthly dues for 5 years. That's it.
👍 83 | 👎 -4
For me a black belt not only knows all of the basics but can do them at a proficient level. In our dojo we do not have a junior black belt rank our ranks are the same for kids and adults. In our opinion if we feel you are ready to be put up for black belt test then you deserve the full rank (in 17 years we have only had only one under 18 year old test for black belt). As far as why we don't like putting them up to test- understanding techniques is a very complex mental process and most kids/teens do not have the maturity. I mean sure they can do the technique, maybe they even know what the technique does but do they know why it works? Most likely not. Also maturity is a big issue.
👍 76 | 👎 -10
There is no definition of a black belt.
Earning a right to wear a black belt is dependent on the school that is awarding the symbolic belt. One should have knowledge, ability to apply, judgement, certain level of maturity, should be of a certain age just like getting a drivers license or being able to legally purchase alcohol.
I can't speak on jr black belt as we do not award them in our dojo. I grew up training in martial arts and was taught that you had to be able to defend yourself against adult before you can earn a black belt. I haven't met any 8 years or twelve year old that could. But I have seen too many small children that wear a black belt that would have that rank in our dojo. But it is acceptable in their schools. I don't agree with it but I try not to make a big issue out of it. We have a different standard.
👍 69 | 👎 -16
I kind of compare a black belt to a 4 year degree, since you now have the basics of the discipline, but you're hardly an expert/PhD on the subject.
I also don't think students should be promoted to black belt until they are of equivalent skill to others of the same rank, regardless of age. If a 14 year old on the cusp of black belt can hold his own against most 24 year old black belts (in skill and discipline/maturity) that aren't holding back, then by all means give him the belt, but this would be a rare occurrence.
👍 62 | 👎 -22
In Japan it means you have begun the advanced level training.
I teach advanced level from day one.
I eliminated the rank system from my training. Once you have learned the first kata, you will know more about that kata than most "masters" know about their whole style. As you learn the rest of the system you will be able to find applications on your own because I give you the principles of research that help you discover and identify what is being done.
I would not teach this to kids. I would teach an older youth, as long as his or her head is in the right place. If they are looking for rank, they can go elsewhere.
When this question arises as it often does, I always use the example of this young man, the student of a teacher I befriended from India. This video is of his student who was 13 at the time. As you will see, he is a Black Belt.
His execution of kata is exceptional. I think he is one of the few youth I have seen that deserve a black belt.
👍 55 | 👎 -28
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