Monday, December 19, 2011

Does your Rank-Level, mean anything?

  Reading over the various websites that offer training in Te, I find it amusing to see the rank level(s) that these people are claiming. Ranks (in general) tend to disgust me anyway, and seeing the blatant exaggeration of rank (if not out-right lying thru self-promotion) only solidifies those feelings. 
 When I first began my own study of the martial arts, there were (maybe) a hand-full of yudansha who even had, much less exceeded the rank of Godan (5th Dan). Now, it seems that your nothing if you haven't received a Hatchidan before you do anything (like, hmmmm write a blog, LOL).
  Rank (in general) hasn't (read NONE) much validity in the real world. Rank is supposed to (at least theoretically) represent a validation of experience, learning and knowledge. Unfortunately, it actually does none of those.
  The supposed validation of those (claimed) ranks, is commonly confirmed by the possession of a certificate (usually brushed/written in Japanese/Chinese). Well, if that's all that's required, then send ME a hundred dollars and I'll brush one up with what-ever rank/system you want on it! LOL. 
 These days, rank (and even having a certificate that lists your name and that rank upon it), means nothing. Well, at least nothing to anyone beyond the person who has been presented with it.
  For all their talk, organizations/associations/clubs, etc. (take your pick) have all been corrupted when it comes to awarding rank. The majority suffer the problem of becoming an inverted pyramid (Lot's of high-ranking members, and comparatively few lower ranked members).
  Equally disgusting (IMO), is the fact that the majority of these supposed higher Dan rank individual's, are under the age of 40?. I suppose most of that goes back to when they earned their Shodan. Again, (IMO) if they received that rank before the age of 16 (minimum), it was a hokey Shodan ranking to begin with.
  But, saying that one did receive their Shodan at a respectable age, ...20 year's old?, then that leaves 20 years to be promoted 4 more Dan grades (5 years apiece). That's not too bad (considering these ranks are only occasionally based upon any required actions done by the recipient before receiving them,....well, other than forking over the required monetary amount).
  Unfortunately, the majority of these yudansha that are higher than Godan, are usually under 25! So, just how the fuck does one justify that kind of rank at the age of 25? IMO, you can't. Basically, your a fraud. You don't have the experience, it's doubtful that you have much of any knowledge, and I could care less what your claiming to have for ability. Your a fraud. The only thing those individual's appear to be interested in, is money.
  And Frankly, therein lies the problem. Martial arts have become a financial career. I've always had a personal distaste for anyone who's sole financial income was based upon teaching a martial art. I have never found those individual's to be trustworthy (or for that matter honest) at all.
  At one time, student's were examples of an instructor's (teaching) abilities, now, they are only examples of their marketing abilities. If my goal had been to be a salesman, I would have taken the appropriate classes in college to do so. That wasn't my goal though, and the career I chose paid very well (when I was doing it).
  By not mandating that my martial art instruction was how I generated my main income, it allowed me to be choosier about who and what I taught. As a consequence, I have had very few yudansha student's (of my own). I also never felt obligated to include irrelevant subject matter in my class curriculum.
  Though I am a firm believer that the student should dictate what they want to learn, that doesn't mean that I have to provide any subject matter that I disagree with (they can no doubt find it elsewhere). By teaching RyuTe, that whole requirement thing (for any higher grading) beyond Shodan, is out of my hands (thankfully, LOL).
  That reinforces the understanding that I am responsible for what, and how the information that I pass on to my student's is done. My only responsibility to them, is that they be knowledgeable of what a beginning instructor/Shodan should know
 The martial arts consist of a wide range of subject matter. I make no claims to be able to fulfill all of those subjects. The one's that I concentrate upon are the ippon kumite, and the instruction of tuite and kyusho. Those subjects (additionally) include uke control and compliance.
 RyuTe offers a wide range of subject instruction, through my affiliation with the RyuTe association, my students have access to those areas of study (just not from me, LOL). As my student's request those area's of instruction, I contact, and arrange for those individual's to meet and they work out the details of that instruction.
  Until one has begun to instruct their own students, and has those student's dependent upon them for answers, their awareness of what an instructor should be knowledgeable about is usually skewed by their own misconceptions. It is at Shodan, that one actually has the time to devote to developing their own personal style of technique execution.
  From my perspective, the only rank of consequence, or substance, is Shodan. It is the only rank that is almost certainly going to be (actually) earned, and it is subject to comparative review by both previous and future yudansha student's. The attainment of Shodan commonly allows one to begin instructing (in some capacity) to students. It's also where/when, that what one has been studying, actually begins to make sense. And if it doesn't, then it's time to make some changes


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