How long to Black belt? [Archive] - Glock Talk

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Deputydave
04-01-2005, 20:29
This is a topic that was/is discussed on our forum Martial Warrior (http://www.martialwarrior.com/index.php?showtopic=64). Wanted to get input here as well. Thank you.

Mako25
04-01-2005, 20:43
I'd have to say that time to black belt varies from art to art and from person to person.
I earned my 1st degree in TKD in about 8 months, but I busted my butt every day and helped teach kids classes and TKD just isn't that hard to get a hang of.

It took me about 4 years to get my 1st in ninjutsu.

I've been in Judo , ON and OFF for about 5 years now ( more off than on lately) and I'm a yellow belt.

I've also been studying ( ON and OFF) with a mixed-arts guy (MTK, JKD, Kali, BJJ) since 1989 and I've never tested for any rank. But, I've also learned more from him than from the other arts I've studied.
I stopped putting any emphasis on belt ranks any more. I only compete in Judo, from time to time, beyond which group to be in for a competition, ranking doesn't mean that much to me any more. I've got 3 black belts 1 in TKD, 1 in Ninjutsu and 1 from the Blue Press that keeps my .45 nice and tight and concealed well. ;f

Roundeyesamurai
04-01-2005, 22:39
I don't think this subject could be done justice without describing the difference between the traditional view of Yudansha, and the 'modern' view.

Remember, before there were Dan ranks in the Japanese martial arts, there were licenses ("Menkyo"), which were awarded as such:

Menkyo Shoden- for recieving all of the core techniques of the school;

Menkyo Chuden- for demonstrating an ability to instruct;

Menkyo Joden/Okuden- for teaching for a long period of time, and producing a number of competent instructors (Chuden);

Menkyo Kaiden- for having achieved 'mastery' of the art.

Some schools also awarded a "Mekkyo", which was an honorific above Menkyo Kaiden, and authorized the holder to add new techniques to the art, etc.

The Dan system was essentially an expansion on this.

Since virtually all training under the Menkyo system was live-in training (deshi lived in the dojo, often for years, training from dawn to dusk), a Menkyo Shoden (which, nowadays, would be like a Shodan) could be earned in several months. A modern reflection of this, is the Yoshinkan Aikido Senshusei program, which is an 11-month, live-in training program- successful completion results in awarding of a Shodan.

In the old belief, Shodan was intended to mean that the student was, finally, conversant enough in the art (as though it were a language, so to speak) to be a serious student. Those who were not of Dan ranking weren't 'students', they were guests in the dojo.

Now, having explained my orientation, I have to say that I find the modern belief of 'rank' in the martial arts to not be in keeping with this ideal- in fact, it smells alot to me like marketing. I readily understand, of course, the need to have recognition for advancements in the predominantly part-time training environment of today, but multiple colored belts interspersed with multiple colored pieces of tape is, to me, a money-making scheme, which requires an "ultimate goal" in order to keep the customer paying. That goal has been set, artificially, as "attaining a black belt"- when, in fact, such attainment ought to be seen as the first step toward becoming a serious student, not an end unto itself.

So, to answer the question-

"As long as it takes to establish the desire of the student to become a serious practicioner, and for him to be conversant in the art".

I don't think this is something which can be measured in chronological time.

Cowgunner
04-02-2005, 20:26
my sensei would say "as long as it takes for you to build your skill level." over the past 6 years I've seen only 4 students get their black belt, and the average is roughtly 10 years.

Joshua M. Smith
04-03-2005, 23:04
Deputydave,

Sir, I learned without the belt system.

I would be what Roundeyesamurai said is called Menkyo Chuden. I am currently teaching the CQC system that I learned. (I must interject that this is not a true martial art though it is primarily Aikido based).

It took me about a year to get here and I'm teaching a six-year-old and a seventeen-year-old. The 6yo has beat the 17yo several times. Goes to show it's the person.

I do however add techniques as I learn further from others and have recently brought the pistol in as well.

Josh <><

Reservecop55
04-03-2005, 23:43
My Master (7th Dan Hapkido) teaches us belts hold your gi together. Learning the art is what is important. It takes as long as it takes

kerwin
04-04-2005, 00:50
I started playing Judo in 1986. I passed the 1st Dan examination recently. I got it after finally deciding to take the exam. I took the exam because my brown belt was getting shorter. I guess i just needed a new belt.

Ishiguro
04-04-2005, 08:29
The minimum where I am is 3 years and 300 classes, but most people are not good enough b/c they haven't trained outside of class. So ultimately you take the test when you are ready to take the test.

gr81disp
04-04-2005, 13:04
NOT a BB but from my instructors and such, if you are REALLY good and dedicated to Bjj, you can get one is about seven years. Average is about twelve (for those that study that long).

Adam Thiel
04-04-2005, 13:18
It took me about 9 years to get a black belt in Brazilian Jiujitsu, and I already had a few years of wrestling before that.

gr81disp
04-04-2005, 16:55
Ya know, to this day, my jaw hits the floor thinking about BJ Penn. BB in FOUR years.

Roundeyesamurai
04-04-2005, 18:45
It's interesting to see the different permutations of the Kyu/Dan system and the developmental steps they represent.

In particular, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu's system is interesting: Each belt being, in and of itself, a certification level, culminating in a 'mastery' for which a black belt is awarded. I can see a good deal of logic in this approach, and I think it best fits Jigoro Kano's notion of the colored belt system.

It's essential to acknowledge, when using one's own system to evaluate others, that not all 'black belts' are alike. Indeed, in the systems in which I've trained the most, and now teach, "colored belts" (when used) represent minor developmental goals for part-time students, with the understanding that they remain 'guests' in the dojo until reaching Yudansha grade. For the committed, full-time students, a white belt is worn until they achieve Dan grading, because the belt isn't representative of 'rank'. The white belt is then discarded for a black belt, which signifies Dan grading (which, as stated previously, can occur in a year for live-in students). A yudansha who demonstartes sufficient development to train others to Dan grade, demonstrates this by wearing a hakama.

So, by comparison, what we would call a Shodan (first-degree black belt), would be a purple belt in 'BJJ'. What 'BJJ' would call a black belt, we would refer to as a Yondan (fourth-degree black belt).

It's kind of like the military- what the Marines call a Captain, the Navy calls a Lieutenant, and what the Navy calls a Captain, the Marines call a Colonel. The pay grades are the same, just the titles are rearranged.

ElectricZombie
04-05-2005, 01:22
I started training in Kuntaw about 7 months ago and just got my promotion to yellow belt today. It will probably take at least 5 years to earn a black belt.

I read a lot of posts online where many schools give out promotions every 2 or 3 months. I do not see how anyone can really master the requirements for a level in that amount of time.

Roundeyesamurai
04-05-2005, 05:10
Originally posted by ElectricZombie
I read a lot of posts online where many schools give out promotions every 2 or 3 months. I do not see how anyone can really master the requirements for a level in that amount of time.

Well, EZ, my feelings about certain schools aside (I shall refrain from using the term "McDojo" in this post LOL), there is also the different promotional structures of different styles.

Some schools don't use solid belts alone- rather, they may have several solid belts, each interspersed with a number of stripes. A system with, as an example, 5 colored belt ranks (above white and below black), with four stripes on each belt, would have, in essence, 29 promotions between white belt and black belt. If there were 300 individual pieces of information with which one had to demonstrate proficiency, that would break down to roughly 10 per promotion. 29 promotions, and a 30th promotion to black belt, would cover 5 years if the promotions were given every 2 months.

As for the individual techniques- 300 might sound like a terrific number, until you realize, as an example, that there are probably 30 permutations of the 'side kick', alone, and each of them being counted as an individual technique. It's still a side kick.

In other words, the requirements for each 'promotion' look exactly the same, just with different variations of the same techniques.

Without using the term I promised not to use, this is a way for certain schools to bring in more money- on top of your monthly fee, "floor fee", "association membership fee", etc., now tack on a testing fee every other month.

It's business, not teaching.

gr81disp
04-05-2005, 05:33
It is Bullshido. :D

Roundeyesamurai
04-05-2005, 05:38
Originally posted by gr81disp
It is Bullshido. :D

;f I love that site.

Hesparus
04-05-2005, 07:10
In my school, dan ranking is based on mastry of the circles associated with them. To earn a first dan we have to show an understanding and proficiency of techniques containing a single circle. Second dan requires understanding and proficiency of two circles, and so on. A couple of times we've had an over-achiever who learns all of the techniques on the shodan list in less than a year but although they can do the techniques they have poor basic skills and very little understanding of how the techniques actually work. It is really the understanding of the techniques, rather than the ability to do them, that earns us ranks.
I spent five years on my shodan and so far it's been four years working towards my nidan.

- Chris

Roundeyesamurai
04-05-2005, 08:43
Hesparus:

Here is a link you'll probably enjoy:

http://inside.webhs.org/aikido.html

mhill
04-05-2005, 10:03
If you work at it 6 days a week and work hard at it, I'd say 2 years is doable in a real school.

Once you learn that the color of the belt doesn't matter you will have learned much.

I've been all the colors and I've always liked red. It's too bad they won't let me wear that one anymore. ;)

mhill

lethal tupperwa
04-05-2005, 10:11
give you a bb if you asked and then tell you not to come back.

Brian@ITC
04-06-2005, 00:04
If achieving a black belt is your goal, then go out and buy one! Unfortunately I am going to step on some toes, but hey, it's all about honesty.

First of all, Americans place too much value on a BB. People tend to think that because you have a BB that you are some invincible person. The fact of the matter is that a BB just proves (most of the time) that you are ready to learn.

Now, just like anything else, there are politics in martial arts. Having said that, I have seen 1st degree to 9th degree BB's who aren't much better than the first time student. You see, even the martial arts community is about money. Just read Bruce A. Haines book on Karate's History and Traditions preface. I am not saying that all arts are about money, but I have trained under a particular organization who is all about money. I will not elaborate on who that is so don't bother asking because it just isn't worth wasting our time talking about it. I am just making a point... that is, the martial arts community is NOT exempt from politics and greed.

A true student is a student for life. There is no end to the learning process. Our soke has been training for over 40 years and is continually learning although he is just about as "perfect" as they come as far as movement and skill. You know what you know and just because you have a certain belt on doesn't mean a thing other than you have that belt on. The color of a belt or rank is just that. Truth of the matter is that it doesn't mean you are at that level, or that you aren't. But don't think for a moment that you are "all that" because you wear a BB or higher. Again, you are only as good as you are!

Learn as much as you can as often as you can. Who cares what rank you are?!


Oh, and just because you achieve the black belt and you don't train anymore does not mean that you will remain a black belt for the rest of your life because your skills will not remain with you just because you have that belt! ;) Too often do people achieve shodan and then stop training. Then when asked what rank they are after not having trained for years they say "I'm a black belt" when in reality they are not. They might still have the belt, but not the ability! Now there's an ego buster!!!

Roundeyesamurai
04-06-2005, 00:19
Brian:

Thank you for your brilliant reiteration of the previous posts in this thread! ;n

(just kidding)

You're absolutely right- and, at the risk of being labelled a 'socialist', the current-day situation of the martial arts is a perfect example of what happens when anything of a human value is commercialized.

Hence, the term "McDojo"- mass-produced practicioners are about as unappealing as mass-produced egg muffins. Thankfully, though, there are still a good number of diners around where one can find real eggs fried in real bacon grease, and similarly, a good number of worthwhile martial arts schools.

ElectricZombie
04-06-2005, 20:23
Roundeyesamurai,

I guess giving out promotions every 2-3 months isn't so bad if the system has 30 different belt levels. They probably have so many levels to keep the belt sales up and generate revenue via testing fees.

We only have 6 different belts up to black belt level so, testing is no where near as frequent.

Roundeyesamurai
04-06-2005, 20:45
Originally posted by ElectricZombie
Roundeyesamurai,

I guess giving out promotions every 2-3 months isn't so bad if the system has 30 different belt levels. They probably have so many levels to keep the belt sales up and generate revenue via testing fees.

Absolutely.

Again, I'll refrain from using the term "McDojo", out of politeness.


;g

Deputydave
04-09-2005, 16:49
I'll refrain from using the term "McDojo", out of politeness.

Please don't refrain. Truth is just that...truth. My personal pet peeve is the McDojo/McDojang hanging a 'self-defense' sign above all the trophies in the window.

But that is a subject for another thread ;)

Thank you for the very good replies everyone. :)

Roundeyesamurai
04-09-2005, 17:54
Originally posted by Deputydave
Please don't refrain. Truth is just that...truth.

There is a difference between "fact" and "truth". Facts are substantiable. "Truths", on the other hand, are opinions which are believed to be correct.

Part of the problem with other martial arts forums, is that the owner (or the most vocal group of users) excludes all styles except their own, because they believe they are presenting a "truth". You will find this, most commonly, with practicioners of "WW2 Combatives".

Personally, those who espouse "truth", repulse me. (Not intended toward you, Dave). Those who, when challenged, refer to their truths as "facts", equally repulse me.

No one on this board can claim to have all of the facts about a given method- not even myself. I acknowledge this, so I refrain from open disparagement (as much as I can stomach, anyway; occasionally I let slip).

BlackBelt
04-10-2005, 08:23
Ohhh, belt promotions...the bain of my existence.
At my school, we have lot's of belts for the kids- white, white w/stripe, yellow, yellow w/stripe, etc. For little kids, it seems to keep them motivated, working toward something.
For adults we don't have all the 'stripe' belts. Just solid until you move onto the next level. Each belt can take 3 mos. to 2 years to earn, depending on the students ability to learn and practically use the technique. I used to just concentrate on getting them to learn the forms and applications, but for the past year I've actually started teaching the 'in depth' at each level. That seems to be working as far as keeping the adults motivated, much more than just having them work for the next belt. They seem to enjoy learning the nuances of each move. Once I introduced George Dillmans theory into the classes, and his breakdown of kata, my class sizes slowly grew to capacity.
It seems that my best students don't care about what color their belt is...they are martial artists in the true sense of the term. Those are the ones that make it all worth doing.

Deputydave
04-12-2005, 17:31
Originally posted by Roundeyesamurai
There is a difference between "fact" and "truth". Facts are substantiable. "Truths", on the other hand, are opinions which are believed to be correct.

Part of the problem with other martial arts forums, is that the owner (or the most vocal group of users) excludes all styles except their own, because they believe they are presenting a "truth". You will find this, most commonly, with practicioners of "WW2 Combatives".

Personally, those who espouse "truth", repulse me. (Not intended toward you, Dave). Those who, when challenged, refer to their truths as "facts", equally repulse me.

No one on this board can claim to have all of the facts about a given method- not even myself. I acknowledge this, so I refrain from open disparagement (as much as I can stomach, anyway; occasionally I let slip).

It isn't a disparagement, in is an acknowledgement. There is a fundemental difference between true martial training and McDojo/McDojang training. One is for the reality of an acutal combat scenerio, the other for competing in a tournament for a prize. Though sport training can be 'serious' and without the fluff, a casual look at local yellow pages will display a plethora of fluff. I take issue with these schools touting themselves as self-defense. They are not and real people can get injured or killed as a result of a false sense of security.