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Thread: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

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    Default MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    Should People Wear High Rank?
    By MJS - Fri, 13 Jul 2007 00:24:42 GMT

    ====================

    Seeing that there is alot of talk regarding Jeff and the comments that he made, I thought I'd start this thread.

    There seems to be alot of talk on the issue of rank. Questions of time in grade and people who were quick to slap on a 10th have come up.

    Do you feel that people should refrain from wearing a 10th? Looking at a post by one of Mr. Bob Whites students, he states that Mr. White refuses to put on a 10th, this I imagine, to be out of respect for Mr. Parker.

    Reading a post on the KN, someone made an interesting analogy. They stated, if someone was a 9th, and refused to wear a 10th out of respect for Parker, the highest they would ever go would be 9th. If students, out of respect for their teacher refused to put on a 9th, the highest they'd go would be 8th. This process would continue until everyone was just wearing a white belt.

    Thoughts?


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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    If the person who is wearing the 9th has not done anything to advance the art and is only teaching what they have been taught in the past, then they should remain a 9th. If they have found a way to advance the art in a positive direction then they should be able to wear a 10th since it is no longer the original art, but a hybrid based up on what they have learned. Now for the caveat, they should not be able to decide when to wear that 10th, it should be bestowed upon them by their peers, and I am not talking about a good ole boys network.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    There are a some people whom I personally feel deserve the rank of 10th. Guys like Larry Tatum, Huk Planas, Frank Trejo, Dave Hebler, and Mike Pick for example.

    If they choose to wear a plain black belt, fine. If they choose to wear the bars, fine. These guys are Kenpo legends in my eyes.
    I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
    (Phillipians 4:13)


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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seabrook View Post
    There are a some people whom I personally feel deserve the rank of 10th. Guys like Larry Tatum, Huk Planas, Frank Trejo, Dave Hebler, and Mike Pick for example.

    If they choose to wear a plain black belt, fine. If they choose to wear the bars, fine. These guys are Kenpo legends in my eyes.
    I'm with you 100%. I'm sure there are names you missed, but I think everything should get the jist of what you are saying.

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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    I believe Willam Chow once stated that if Ed Parker was a 10th then that must mean he was a 15th.

    I suppose that if you are the "head" of your particular system, and it is unique unto itself, then I suppose you should be considered the "senior grand master."

    I would agree that if you are not doing anything that much different, then you probably should not. Simply because you "head" an organization does not make you a senior grand master, IMHO. Especially if you're not teaching anything that's much more different than the "other guy."

    All that being said, I think entirely too much focus is put on rank in the first place. How much time and energy has been put into bickering and in-fighting over this very topic that could have been better spent exploring and advancing the art among like-minded folks in the spirit of "kenpo brotherhood" ?
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    well, i've laid out my feelings on this in the past, but this thread seems particularly appropriate to do so again, so here goes...

    I personally think the whole structure of black belt ranks should be mostly eliminated. I feel the lower levels serve a reasonable purpose in motivating students and measure progress along the way, so I don't see a reason to discard that. But once someone reaches black belt level, I really feel they should no longer need the carrot dangled in front of their face, to motivate their training. If they cannot find their own motivation at that level, then they do not deserve the rank and should go put on their old green belt again.

    I feel there should be only two levels of black belt: first level is simply black belt, but without teaching authority. The second is simply black belt, with teaching authority. And once someone receives teaching authority, they then have the authority to promote their own students up to teaching authority. That's it. No more. Of course there is always more to learn, everyone knows who is better and from whom one might learn more and grow, but I think rank and titles beyond that level serve little purpose.

    I suppose someone who founds a new style would be the recognized founder, but they would still just be black belt with teaching authority.

    I think this just assumes that people need to take ownership of their material and their training at that level. People should perhaps be less beholden to others, and have the freedom to own the material and do with it as they will, because ultimately that is what one must do. If you don't trust you student to do that, then don't give them the rank yet. But once the rank is given, a certain amount of control must be given up.
    Michael


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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    Quote Originally Posted by flying crane View Post
    well, i've laid out my feelings on this in the past, but this thread seems particularly appropriate to do so again, so here goes...

    I personally think the whole structure of black belt ranks should be mostly eliminated. I feel the lower levels serve a reasonable purpose in motivating students and measure progress along the way, so I don't see a reason to discard that. But once someone reaches black belt level, I really feel they should no longer need the carrot dangled in front of their face, to motivate their training. If they cannot find their own motivation at that level, then they do not deserve the rank and should go put on their old green belt again.

    I feel there should be only two levels of black belt: first level is simply black belt, but without teaching authority. The second is simply black belt, with teaching authority. And once someone receives teaching authority, they then have the authority to promote their own students up to teaching authority. That's it. No more. Of course there is always more to learn, everyone knows who is better and from whom one might learn more and grow, but I think rank and titles beyond that level serve little purpose.

    I suppose someone who founds a new style would be the recognized founder, but they would still just be black belt with teaching authority.

    I think this just assumes that people need to take ownership of their material and their training at that level. People should perhaps be less beholden to others, and have the freedom to own the material and do with it as they will, because ultimately that is what one must do. If you don't trust you student to do that, then don't give them the rank yet. But once the rank is given, a certain amount of control must be given up.
    I dont really think there are any new styles. When you look at it in the most basic level, we strike,kick,block,and move. All forms of combated arts use basic physical application to do this. I understand the complex simplicity of their applications,but really all anyone does is find new ways to present old information.
    Brad Marshall SP
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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler View Post
    I believe Willam Chow once stated that if Ed Parker was a 10th then that must mean he was a 15th.

    I suppose that if you are the "head" of your particular system, and it is unique unto itself, then I suppose you should be considered the "senior grand master."

    I would agree that if you are not doing anything that much different, then you probably should not. Simply because you "head" an organization does not make you a senior grand master, IMHO. Especially if you're not teaching anything that's much more different than the "other guy."

    All that being said, I think entirely too much focus is put on rank in the first place. How much time and energy has been put into bickering and in-fighting over this very topic that could have been better spent exploring and advancing the art among like-minded folks in the spirit of "kenpo brotherhood" ?

    I think rank has its place.It serves as a channel to provide structure at an associational level, for adminastrative duties.Also there is just the experience factor when time revels insight from years of teaching. I dont want any of my students to have to wait, say 20 yrs for something I may know now that will help them. I also feel that the wearing of rank is somewhat necessary. Just my 2 cents
    Brad Marshall SP
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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    I dont really think there are any new styles. When you look at it in the most basic level, we strike,kick,block,and move. All forms of combated arts use basic physical application to do this. I understand the complex simplicity of their applications,but really all anyone does is find new ways to present old information.

    I tend to agree insofar as I don't believe remixing a bunch of stuff that already exists equates to a "new" style. Mix some kenpo with some tae kwon do with some judo and call it a "new" style? Doesn't pass muster in my book. All you got is a mix of kenpo, tkd, and judo, nothing more. And if your students don't train the full base upon which each of these styles is based, but only train the material that made it into the mix, then it has probably lost a lot of quality.

    Changing the curriculum sort of makes a new style. If it keeps the same principles then it's really still the same style, but with a different curriculum used to teach these principles. The many variations of kenpo are the prime example of this.

    But there are definitely differences in style. Yes, everyone likes to say that the body can only move in so many ways, there are only so many ways to hit someone, etc. But different styles take a very different approach in how they do this, how they generate power, how they move, and yes, even in how they strike. Kenpo, wing chun, Tibetan white crane, capoeira, and tai chi chuan all have a very different approach in how they deal with these issues. They don't look anything like each other, they don't move anything like each other, their stances are frequently very different, they develop power in very different ways, and they even strike in very different ways.
    Michael


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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    Quote Originally Posted by flying crane View Post
    I tend to agree insofar as I don't believe remixing a bunch of stuff that already exists equates to a "new" style. Mix some kenpo with some tae kwon do with some judo and call it a "new" style? Doesn't pass muster in my book. All you got is a mix of kenpo, tkd, and judo, nothing more. And if your students don't train the full base upon which each of these styles is based, but only train the material that made it into the mix, then it has probably lost a lot of quality.

    Changing the curriculum sort of makes a new style. If it keeps the same principles then it's really still the same style, but with a different curriculum used to teach these principles. The many variations of kenpo are the prime example of this.

    But there are definitely differences in style. Yes, everyone likes to say that the body can only move in so many ways, there are only so many ways to hit someone, etc. But different styles take a very different approach in how they do this, how they generate power, how they move, and yes, even in how they strike. Kenpo, wing chun, Tibetan white crane, capoeira, and tai chi chuan all have a very different approach in how they deal with these issues. They don't look anything like each other, they don't move anything like each other, their stances are frequently very different, they develop power in very different ways, and they even strike in very different ways.
    I agree with you on part of this. The different methods of application of physical movement is just that to me. Their thinking process and methods of execution dont really represent a new style for me. But thats me. As far as changing the curriculum is concerned,one must look at what the systems curriculum is intended to teach at a certian level.
    Brad Marshall SP
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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    I agree with you on part of this. The different methods of application of physical movement is just that to me. Their thinking process and methods of execution dont really represent a new style for me. But thats me. As far as changing the curriculum is concerned,one must look at what the systems curriculum is intended to teach at a certian level.

    I don't want to hyjack this thread and get off topic, but I'll make a quick comment.

    There is more to the issue of difference in style than "different methods of application of physical movement". There are actually different qualities of movement that are used in different arts. By quality, I don't mean high or low quality such as cheap gradeschool writing paper vs. high end resume paper. Rather, I mean different sort of "essences" in the movement, for lack of a better word. The very same movement may be done, on the surface it appears to be the same, but inside, it is very different. There is a different quality to the movement, that makes it different, and the arts in particular that I listed above definitely have a difference in the quality of their movements. In addition, they have a very different underlying approach to combat, and their techniques are built upon this philosophy. If that underlying approach were eliminated from training, many of the techniques themselves would not work well, since they were designed to work on a certain foundation. Some amount of overlap is always found, but as an example, if you trained wing chun, and built your foundation upon wing chun approach, and then tried to incorporate white crane punching techniques, they would be mostly useless. A wing chunner who had no experience with white crane would think it was useless, because he does not understand the white crane foundation. White crane punching simply does not work on a wing chun foundation. But on a white crane foundation, they are utterly devastating, but wing chun punches don't work in this venue.

    This is why I don't believe it is fruitful to simply mix a few different arts together and call it something new. If those parent arts are designed to work on a different kind of foundation, but you try to make them all work on one single foundation, they lose much, if not all, of their usefulness.

    So when you are able to recognize these differences, they yes, there really are different styles.
    Michael


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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    Greetings.

    as I've stated before, rank is more like a measure of organizational control and hierarchical title than anything else in some organizations. It is to show who's boss, and who's more boss than another in certain situations.

    Without specific requirements, problems start.

    In the IKCA, it's just a measure of how much active time as a black belt that you have. Like the bars on the sleeves of Armed forces sargents and such that give an idea of the time they have serving in the forces.

    In US jujitsu, after 5th, it measures your leadership and active promotion of the arts, loyalty to organization, outstanding service, etc... and there are time in grade plus age requirements:

    5th degree: 30 years old
    6th degree: 35 years old
    7th degree: 40 years old
    8th degree: 50 years old
    9th degree: 60 years old
    10th degree: 70 years old


    Also note that there are 10 levels of enlisted service and 10 levels of officials in the military in the US. Coincidence?

    In universities, the academic ranks are a measure of pay, service and eligibility for administrative duties...

    Like Instructors (contract), Assistant professor, associate professor, Professor.

    After and during that time, you just keep working.

    Rank is something different to different people.

    Some chinese arts deal with this just by putting a family member position, and that's it... if you later become a father-teacher (sifu) or a grandfather -teacher (si gung), then it is in relation to your students, not all students in an organization.

    Others just have educational requirements, and the rest are for active teaching time. administrative positions in an organization are temporary and change hands after a while...

    They don;t make you more than another person.

    Enjoy!

    Juan M. Mercado

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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    Quote Originally Posted by profesormental View Post
    In the IKCA, it's just a measure of how much active time as a black belt that you have. Like the bars on the sleeves of Armed forces sargents and such that give an idea of the time they have serving in the forces.
    In the IKCA you do have to wait at least 3 years between stripes, but as I understand it you still have to test again to prove you can still do the material each time prior to being awarded a stripe.



    Quote Originally Posted by profesormental
    Also note that there are 10 levels of enlisted service and 10 levels of officials in the military in the US. Coincidence?
    There's also a lot of politics involved in the military and it's ranking. Coincidence? LOL
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    Greetings.

    I obviated that fact. Thanks for mentioning it.

    And yes, lot'sa politics.

    Juan

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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    Oooh! I forgot!!!

    High rank should be worn if you want to.

    some people like it and looks nice.

    Others don;t care how they look, just how comfortable they feel while working out...

    It's a personal thing. To me it's ok either way.

    Juan M. Mercado

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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    I agree with Celtic Crippler, how much bickering has gone into this???Yeah well enough!
    Years ago Moses Powell said to me; " I don't know can I fight, but if you touch me I got you." I guess you could say that the proof of the pounding is in the touching. Oh, bad sensei joke. Tongue out of cheek, I've put my entire adult life into the Martial arts, and then some. Kenpo being the common thread. My black belts hang on the wall and when I teach I grab what ever color is hanging around. Bottom line my students know my rank, I really don't get out much any more and would I wear my black belt if I did, maybe.

    Kit

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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    So, like, do you guys think it would be ok for me to stick a few bars on my white belt? Just checkin' ...

    Dan C
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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    If you think you have the stones to back them up, go for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by thedan View Post
    So, like, do you guys think it would be ok for me to stick a few bars on my white belt? Just checkin' ...

    Dan C
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    Jaun Mercado,

    I think there is some justifcation to considering the Age for some People wearing high Rank. The table you set out from ages 30 to 70 make some sense as long as the Person wearing the high rank has been at it continously
    up to that older age. Age alone shouldn't be the promotion factor. However we don't put too much stock in 20 year old 5th,6th, or 7ths. They simply don't have the experience for that high rank. A lot of times we may know something, but knowing is not the same as understanding it. Much wisdom also comes with age.(Hopefully in my case) if age alone were the factor I would probably be a one of the most Seniors out there instead of just one of the oldest. I have always thought 'Sifu" is a very honorable title. It always has been for some of the great ones like Al Dascoscos.

    I am Most respectfully,
    Sifuroy

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    Default Re: MT: Should People Wear High Rank?

    Greetings.

    The table I posted is from the US jujitsu rank requirement document. I posted the minimum age considerations that they have.

    I'm not saying I agree with them though.

    When I was 21 I thought I knew a lot, and most probably I did...

    Yet it was nothing compared to what I knew at 25...

    And compared with what my skills and what I know now... a great leap!

    Yet I still have no problem with wearing it or not wearing it... my students like me looking good instead of me wearing my "I love Nachos" or a Chuck Norris "I don't need a weapon... I am one!" T-shirt, so they suggest to me what to wear on special occasions... to me its training, and I want to be comfortable... and my Nachos T-shirt is really comfy.

    Ultimately, people like looking cool and will wear whatever makes them feel good.

    Of course, backing it up is important if the apparel means something special.

    And I agree the title "sifu" is one of great respect. Yet to me it goes both ways... If someone calls me Sifu, it means that I have a responsibility to that person to teach them and guide them as a Father-Teacher... which is what SiFu means.

    Hope that makes sense.

    Juan M. Mercado

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