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Thread: Probationary black belts

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    Default Probationary black belts

    What are your thoughts on a probationary black belt? You made it all the way through the ranks tested and received a black belt but had to test again in six months to receive your first deg/ red tips. Is this normal, something to help retain students and help them see there is still much to learn even after black belt? Does your school have a probation period, if so how long, why does your school do it?
    A black belt covers 2" of your butt. Covering the rest is soley up to you

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    Default Re: Probationary black belts

    My school never did it, and I still really don't see the point. If someone needs another 6 months to deserve the rank, then just wait until then. Don't give out a rank, but then add on a "Not Really" clause...
    Michael


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    Default Re: Probationary black belts

    Usually it is a cash grab.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Probationary black belts

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad View Post
    Usually it is a cash grab.
    1


    This seems to be more common in Take My Doe schools.
    More Shugyo!

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    Default Re: Probationary black belts

    Quote Originally Posted by hemi View Post
    What are your thoughts on a probationary black belt?
    I can see a couple of reasons for doing this, though in an ideal world or school it would be unnecessary.

    Some students have the black belt as their ultimate goal. Once they get there, they either quit or move on to something else. So awarding the rank of black belt, but not the first red bar until they have continued to train for a specified period might be a way of encouraging or rewarding those who stay with it. I know of one system that used to do this. Can't really say how well it worked.

    I have seen, in an AK system, a black belt test where afterwards several of the instructors were chewed out (privately, but you know how quickly that becomes public) for the almost universal problems in those tested. The testers (well known in the AK community, so I won't name them) considered a mass failing, but decided against it, saying instead they expected the problems to be addressed before they came back. In cases like this, I think a probationary belt would be better than awarding the full first black. To my knowlege (I was visiting, so don't know for sure) the students were not charged when re-checked on their skills. So it doesn't have to be a money thing. But, when it was clearly the system/instructors that droped the ball and the choice is fail everyone or give rank that is not deserved, I think a probationary belt is a viable option.

    But, then, I'm a white/grey/leather belt, so take my opinion for what it's worth.

    Dan C
    There are things that are worth knowing for their own sake, worth finding for the pure joy of discovery.

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    Default Re: Probationary black belts

    Well I don’t know if my instructor peeks in here to KT every now and then so I hate to say anything. But this is one of the only issues I have with the school I attend. As of right now the school has a policy of a probationary black belt for 6 months then you test for 1st black.

    I totally respect what some of you said about this being in most cases a way to make money. But I have a hard time believing this to be true in my instructor’s case. The test for probationary black belt is only $65.00 then six months later the test for 1st Deg is also only $65.00

    But none the less this is an issue I wrestle with often; I have a ways to go but still if you pas the test why put stipulations on the belt. You are or your not there is no half way???
    A black belt covers 2" of your butt. Covering the rest is soley up to you

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    Default Re: Probationary black belts

    Cash grab? Don't see the point? Seems a few cynics on this particular thread- There are reasons for probational periods in some org's.

    In Kara-Ho Kempo EVERY dan rank carries AT LEAST 1 year of a probation period. There is no additional fee or ceremony it simply exists on paper. Some folks get their black- belt and take off, we really try to limit that in Kara-Ho. It seems that due to the lengthy period between ranks, some folks break off and teach our curriculum when they are not in the organization. This is a no-no. I am sure it happens but we do our best to make sure that EVERYONE who teaches Kara-Ho is an active and certified black-belt, registered with Kwai-Sun Company which is our HQ.

    Not many folks get to Shodan, many fewer Nidan etc. so the BB certificates carry a LOT of weight in our eyes. It is also worth mentioning that we do not allow someone to be promoted to black-belt until they are 18 yrs old +. If a candidate can pass a review by our board of directors unanimously, then it is possible- but VERY rare.

    Our Grandmaster (Kuoha) could make a LOT of money if he kept all the instructors that got their BB but did not pass the probation period. He would rather have quality than quantity, and he often uses his own money to keep things tight and running properly.

    Cheers!
    The above is just my opinion.

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    Default Re: Probationary black belts

    Quote Originally Posted by hemi View Post
    The test for probationary black belt is only $65.00 then six months later the test for 1st Deg is also only $65.00
    At $130.00 for a black belt testing, in two installments no less, let them do it how they want! That's about a third of what most schools and systems charge for a black belt test. I know of some that are over $500.00, each time you take it if you fail! So quitcherwhinin'! ilol!

    Dan C
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    Default Re: Probationary black belts

    Quote Originally Posted by thedan View Post
    At $130.00 for a black belt testing, in two installments no less, let them do it how they want! That's about a third of what most schools and systems charge for a black belt test. I know of some that are over $500.00, each time you take it if you fail! So quitcherwhinin'! ilol!

    Dan C

    No, no not whinin’ about the price I think that part is great just wondering about the 2nd class belt. Wondering if that was not so unusual or something that was very rare in everyone’s experience. As I have said a bunch of times I feel very fortunate to have found my instructor and the fact that his school is so close to home.
    A black belt covers 2" of your butt. Covering the rest is soley up to you

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    Cool Re: Probationary black belts

    good question, in my studio i have probationary black belt (if) the student is over 16 years old or older.the reason why because teenage need more in courage than adult and that they need to know that kenpo is a war art, and not a child,s games. and some cases you need that in the child programs. that,s just in my studio hope this help. sifu scorpio

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    Default Re: Probationary black belts

    I'd never heard of a probationary black belt until about six months after I got mine. I didn't bother putting any stripes on it because I didn't care. Black was black as far as I was concerned. Then someone told me that some schools consider that a probationary black belt and I put the stripes on.

    I think the one example of students who didn't quite pass is a good reason to have a probationary black belt. And I don't know that there's anything wrong with having your skills looked at again in six months. I don't know that a whole re-test is necessary. The head instructor should know the students' skill levels, especially the black belts.

    And $65 for a black belt test is cheap. However, I'm still not used to paying at all. I never paid for a single one until my most recent previous school. I've always felt in should be included in the monthly fee. Maybe a small fee to cover belt and certificate, but even then.....

    I was thankful of my former instructor for not charging me for my second degree test. He was a panel of one, so he didn't have to get people together and I already had the belt, so it was no cost to him. It was still appreciated though.

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    Default Re: Probationary black belts

    My school has a one year probationary period between first degree brown and black. This gives the student time to become more seasoned at their high rank, and the instructor time to gauge the student's progress toward the end of that period if the student decides they want to test ASAP. You'll do some form of pre-testing with the instructor to expose any lingering issues in skill or knowledge, then when he believes you're ready to test, you can test. Pre-testing also has the effect of increasing the student's test-readiness and confidence level.

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    Default Re: Probationary black belts

    Quote Originally Posted by thedan View Post
    At $130.00 for a black belt testing, in two installments no less, let them do it how they want! That's about a third of what most schools and systems charge for a black belt test. I know of some that are over $500.00, each time you take it if you fail! So quitcherwhinin'! ilol!

    Dan C

    Just a for instance, but when I took my Sandan (3rd Dan) in Aikido, it was approx. $750 testing fee, then there was cost of airline travel, hotel, etc. In the end it was more like $1200. To boot, if you failed you had to pay all those costs all over again. $130 is a bargin! The thing I like about where I trainin Kenpo is there are not testing fees. Nothing for stripe test, tip test or for the formal testing and promotion when you recieve your new rank. After about 27 years in the martial arts and always having to pay this testing fee and that testing fee where I'm at now is pretty refreshing. Not sure when you get up to black, but that's a ways away...
    "Fear is the true opiate of combat."

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    Default Re: Probationary black belts

    Quote Originally Posted by Sentinel View Post
    My school has a one year probationary period between first degree brown and black. This gives the student time to become more seasoned at their high rank, and the instructor time to gauge the student's progress toward the end of that period if the student decides they want to test ASAP. You'll do some form of pre-testing with the instructor to expose any lingering issues in skill or knowledge, then when he believes you're ready to test, you can test. Pre-testing also has the effect of increasing the student's test-readiness and confidence level.

    This is a little different than being a probabtionary black belt, but a much better way of doing things. For the last month before a black belt test I have the student wear a white belt again to remind them of where they came from.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Probationary black belts

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad View Post
    This is a little different than being a probabtionary black belt, but a much better way of doing things. For the last month before a black belt test I have the student wear a white belt again to remind them of where they came from.
    I like that idea, wearing a white belt would some what humble a person before being handed the black belt. Along with receiving a black belt depending on the school you attend I’m sure there is some degree of responsibility once you reach that level. If nothing else the lower colored belts will look up too you at the level and want to ask questions.
    A black belt covers 2" of your butt. Covering the rest is soley up to you

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    Default Re: Probationary black belts

    I am aginst it!! Either you are a Black Belt or you are not. If the test is not up to standards then don't award the Belt.

    In all the tests that I have watched you could tell very soon into the test if they were up to it or not. As soon as you see that they are not you should not continue . Stop i the test and Tell them you will reschedule it when they are ready.

    Lets go one step further. Who approved of them taking the test? You should be really sure they are ready. Don't let them take it just because they want to. It is your responsibility to make sure they are ready not theirs. If you do this your student will pass his test and you will be very proud of them. Also many people could not handle a failure of the test and you might lose them . Make Damn sure they are ready!!! That is your responsibility!!!

    Moost Respectfully,
    Sifuroy

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    Thumbs up Re: Probationary black belts

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad View Post
    For the last month before a black belt test I have the student wear a white belt again to remind them of where they came from.
    I like that

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    Default Re: Probationary black belts

    The only probationary black belt I have seen is a transition between a junior black belt (kids) and adult black belt and it is age dependent. I know this opens a whole different can of worms,,,commercial schools, jbb's, little kids with black belts, etc. Let's not go there on this thread? I do think that if you are going to teach kids (my own son is 5yrs. and training so I will have to deal with issue at some point) there has to be transitionary period between the 'kids' program and the adult's, especially given the content of kenpo.

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    Default Re: Probationary black belts

    Quote Originally Posted by execkenpo View Post
    The only probationary black belt I have seen is a transition between a junior black belt (kids) and adult black belt and it is age dependent. I know this opens a whole different can of worms,,,commercial schools, jbb's, little kids with black belts, etc. Let's not go there on this thread? I do think that if you are going to teach kids (my own son is 5yrs. and training so I will have to deal with issue at some point) there has to be transitionary period between the 'kids' program and the adult's, especially given the content of kenpo.
    To me, that is the only conceivable reason for having a probationary black belt. Otherwise, the BB candidate should be made fully aware of their new obligations beforehand by their instuctor(s).
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    Default Re: Probationary black belts

    I agree that in a perfect system, there should be no probationary belts. But the commercial reality is that, had there been a mass failing in the test I saw, where there were at least 5 schools represented and only one had candidates that should have passed, the consequences could have been the closing of several schools. People would (rightfully) question if they were learning something useful, and probably a lot would quit. I'd rather see probationary belts given, with no stripe until they retook and passed the test, than just giving it and saying "get it corrected before I get back."

    DanC
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