Wednesday, October 19, 2011
How Much Time Training Should Be Expected to Qualify for a Shodan Test?
When asked this question, I (used to) initially just laugh it off, and reply with some generic reply. After giving it some thought though, it really is a legitimate question. Considering that the student is going to have to pay for the required training time (to achieve whatever goal it is they're seeking), it makes perfect sense to ask how much, and how long it will take to achieve that expectation. There's usually numerous caveat’s to any answer, but an instructor should be able to provide a generic/common expectation of the necessary training time required.
The largest factor in computing this time period, is what does the student hope to learn from the provided training? Though seemingly obvious, student's can have many reasons for beginning training (and an instructor shouldn't assume that they know what that student's reasons are, until they ask them). It's during this time that any unrealistic expectations can be nullified and replaced by realistic one's.
The second largest, but often time the more relevant factor, is how much will the student be practicing (be it in class, or at home)? Though usually beginning with great enthusiasm, the drudgery of continual practice wears on anyone. Every student will experience several periods of extreme burn-out. This can come from repetitively doing the same thing (and/or attempting to), or from a sudden lack of interest. In either case, the student has to evaluate what, and why they're doing the training. Does it meet their expectations? Is it what they were looking for? Is it what they really want to do?
For any of these questions, if the answer is no, then maybe they need to decide if this is the class for them. Not every martial arts class is alike, including other classes which teach the same system/style. A student should never be hesitant to leave one instructor for another (frankly, MA instructor's are nothing more than salesmen, and there's usually another one on damn near every corner). The real quest for the student, is finding an instructor that meets their needs (and not vise-verse).
If that comes across as a little bit belittling to instructor's, Good, it should. In a very generalized sense, I don't hold martial arts instructor's in very high regards. The vast majority of them are egotistical ass-wipes. Out of the whole, maybe 20% can even teach. Many of the remainder are ¼ trained wanna-Be’s, that have no basic knowledge of how to avoid a confrontation, much less survive one.
Each system/instructor will have their own standards that they will go by to evaluate a student's potential abilities. Before one even begins to study under an instructor, they should have (first) observed that instructor's student's. If those student's don't meet the prospective student's expectations, why should they then, believe that they can or will?
Given the many factors that could be put into play, (IMO) the average training time should be somewhere between 3-5 years. Some might argue whether that's too quick (or even too long), but for the teaching curriculum that I utilize, that time span is (usually) sufficient.
Additionally, unlike several system's I read about, I don't consider a Shodan test as being equivalent to a proclamation of sainthood (that so many others attempt to make it). It simply means that the recipient is knowledgeable of the beginning motions and kata (ie. they're now ready to learn).
Also, one point that RyuTe makes (that other system's may not), is that Shodan's don't have the ability to promote kyu rank student's to a Yudansha level. In fact, no Yudansha can promote anyone to any Yudansha level, only Taika has the authority to do so. Just as a reference, anyone who claims to be promoted to any Yudansha level by anyone other than Taika in the RyuTe system, is a fraud, a fake, and a liar. Additionally, any Yudansha member (and their rank) can be verified through contacting the RyuTe Renmei Association.