Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Painfully obvious

It is painfully obvious to me, that it is not going to take 1872 hours to get a black belt.  It seems as if I might be able to get my brown belt, level 3, before Christmas, which would a little more than a year after starting and would be after about 150+ hours of class/training. That amount of training should get one to Level 10 or 9, perhaps (Level 1 being the highest before shodan black belt).  I know my sensei really wants me to take the test and get my brown belt as soon as possible because he says, it takes a long time after getting your brown belt to get shodan.  He is 80 years-old and wants to see me get my black belt before he has to stop teaching.  I want to get it too, but I want to feel worthy of it, like I earned it.  I got my ass kicked so easily at the last (and only) tournament that I entered recently.  It made me feel a bit embarrassed that I was wearing a purple belt. If I remember correctly, there were a few white belts in my division (high school and up) but all the others were black belts. As the belt color doesn't matter for the tournaments, I might put on my old judo white belt for the next tournament.

When we have our belt tests, there are three or more instructors conducting and scoring the performance of the testees.  So my sensei says that it is not up to him whether or not we pass the test or what level we are given.  But I wonder, really, how much influence he has.  Is he pushing them to give me ranks I don't deserve or do they really feel I deserve it?  Or is there a separate standard for new adult learners?  Or perhaps for foreigners?

Sadly, the site is down for good.  It was closed.  But the owner made the site available for download, which I did, and here is a quote from that site.  The article title was Practical Karate Tests, by Rob Redmond. I like the idea here but it could take 10 years for me to get a black belt under his system if he required the 2000 hours of in dojo training.  The list of requirements, like for getting Boyscout badges, however could be used to allow a fast learner to rank up based on skill and not total hours only.
"Belt tests are loaded with all sorts of problems. I think in the future, should I choose to function as the lead instructor of a karate club, I would avoid testing students all together. Instead, I would prefer to set down a list of requirements that students must complete in order to qualify for their promotions instead of holding an examination. These requirements would include things like a particular number of hours training since the last promotion. I feel that the minimum number of hours spent in the dojo training for a shodan (black belt) is 2000. This means that each kyu rank would require around 125 hours of training before the student is allowed to receive the next rank. I prefer counting the hours of actual time spent training over the method of requiring three months of elapsed time because during a required interval of time between exams, some students hardly show up to train at all until the few days before the test. I would also institute other requirements, such as having the student demonstrate this skill or that skill to my satisfaction, and I would allow them to complete these requirements one at a time after class when they preferred. One of my requirements for them might be a day in which they were put under pressure and required to spar other students and succeed to some minimum standard. Once the requirements had all been signed off as complete, the student would be qualified to receive the rank."
I would think that the 2000 hour rule is too arbitrary and is likely just a way to get money from tests.  If the student has the skill, they should be allowed to move up in rank.  It seems that is what our dojo is like at the moment.  At least that is how sensei says it is.  If you work hard then you'll get the skill that will allow you to do well on the test and move up in rank.