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The Average…


How long does it take the average school to give out a black belt? In America average schools give out black belts all the time.

What does a black belt mean?

Is the wearer an expert in the field of martial arts? That sounds like it’s based purely on a person’s physical skills.

Can people earn one just by being able to defeat an adult male that outweighs them? That would make sense since at its core martial arts grew from one person’s need to defend oneself from an overpowering opponent.

Does it mean they’ve shown their school/organization a high level of dedication and diligence – the way that a soldier who may not have seen combat still trained for it day-in, day-out, keeping themselves combat-ready?

Does it mean that they consistently contribute to their community, conducting themselves in ways that enhance and respect the freedom of others?

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Shouldn’t it be a mixture of all of the above? And what happens when the person ranked as a black belt grows old and their body breaks down, do they relinquish the title since they can’t effectively fight? Or, do they compensate by mentoring or training others?

How does a 10-year-old black belt meet these criteria? Honestly that is an oxymoron. They don’t. Adolescents are not black belts. Not to say that a black belt must have hair on his nuts… well, yes, I am saying they must have hair on their nuts, the male version anyway. Someone that hasn’t earned a first paycheck, dealt with paying rent or taxes, had the responsible wherewithal to wear a condom during sex, or the self-discipline to abstain from sex until 18, developed independence – how can they represent any proficiency in life skills, let alone fighting prowess?

Sure, young children need validation and rewards. But if a child chose not to continue training in martial arts because he or she wouldn’t be awarded a rank of belt black, then that child is not a black belt to begin with. A school that caters to a juvenile’s ego of rank and entitlement is doing them a disservice. If a teacher frets that he will lose students unless they’re bestowed with a tangible measurement of their success, then they’re more concerned with financial gain than the true meaning of a black belt.

Testimonial

Before I went to Rob’s classes I was doing Shito-Ryu (karate) for about 8 years. It was a very formal class and not much fun. I joined Rob’s class because I knew him and wanted to try something different. Rob’s classes help you out in a lot of real life situations. They are fun and Rob’s school has a more relaxed environment. The things that I like best is the mat work that teaches you submissions and how to take someone to the ground. All of the instructions that Rob gives in class are very clear and easy to do. The classes don’t go too fast so you are able to keep up with everyone else and not get confused. The classes aren’t formal like a lot of other places that make you wear a uniform, bow or have a certain rank in the class. After each class you feel like you have just had a good workout so you’re not too tired to do other things (compared to) when other places leave you extremely worn out. Overall Rob’s classes are fun, useful, and not confusing.

~ Aaron Wilkerson, High School Student

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