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    Earning a black belt after 2 years of practice

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    beyondgrappling

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    Re: Earning a black belt after 2 years of practice

    Post by beyondgrappling on Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:37 pm

    What does your club coach say about this? 
    Did he or she accept the Dan grade? I know many coaches who would still ask the student to wear his orange belt in classes due to the fact that he has not graded through the club or state syllabus system.
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    Jonesy

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    Re: Earning a black belt after 2 years of practice

    Post by Jonesy on Mon Sep 01, 2014 12:11 am

    beyondgrappling wrote:What does your club coach say about this? 
    Did he or she accept the Dan grade? I know many coaches who would still ask the student to wear his orange belt in classes due to the fact that he has not graded through the club or state syllabus system.
    It's none of his business. A black belt holder should wear a black belt - irrespective of where he got it from. The Kodokan allows dan grades from any other association to wear whatever belt colour they hold on the mat there. If they do it, all other clubs should do it too. A grade is a grade no matter who awarded it.

    beyondgrappling

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    Re: Earning a black belt after 2 years of practice

    Post by beyondgrappling on Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:39 am

    Jonesy wrote:
    beyondgrappling wrote:What does your club coach say about this? 
    Did he or she accept the Dan grade? I know many coaches who would still ask the student to wear his orange belt in classes due to the fact that he has not graded through the club or state syllabus system.
    It's none of his business.  A black belt holder should wear a black belt - irrespective of where he got it from.  The Kodokan allows dan grades from any other association to wear whatever belt colour they hold on the mat there.  If they do it, all other clubs should do it too.  A grade is a grade no matter who awarded it.

    I believe it is the coaches business, what stops any of his other students flying to any country in the world and getting graded.
    Imagine if a student of yours came to my dojo and I awarded him a belt above and beyond what you graded him. 
    There has to be a line drawn somewhere or else you will have your students ping to Japan for a holiday and coming home with a Dan grade.
    Seems a bit stupid to me
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    Jonesy

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    Re: Earning a black belt after 2 years of practice

    Post by Jonesy on Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:25 am

    If my students went to Japan and got graded (which they cannot do on a holiday because you have to be in Japan for an extended period before you grade) I would be thrilled for them to receive a rank from the cradle of judo. IJF member organisations cannot award rank to a citizen of another IJF member country with the home association's permission. A coach does not own his students, if they go somewhere and get promoted then good for them. The more varied experiences they get the better.


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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Earning a black belt after 2 years of practice

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:16 pm

    The terms coach and instructor are confused. Coaches deal with contests, preparation for contests, making training programs, helping their students to achieve medals. Ranks are not a coach's business in the most common sense. They are part of the pedagogical progress of judo as a whole. They are the instructor's or sensei's business. If my ranks were my coach's business, I would never have obtained any rank in judo since I never had a coach. I had several instructors, most of whom fortunately also deserved to be considered sensei.

    There is also a difference between control and courtesy, and there is a difference between dan-ranks and kyû. In general federations have bothered little about kyû-ranks. They are concerned about dan-ranks. The procedures are normally totally different. The instructor can award kyû-ranks, but not dan-ranks except for in a few countries such as the US.

    It has traditionally been a delicate issue for an instructor to award a kyû-rank to a student who is not his own student. In general, instructors have the courtesy not to mess with another instructor's students. Consequently, a student from another club visiting another club and asking the instructor if he could just promote him to a higher rank is denied such a request. However, there are clearly exceptions where the opposite is not unreasonable. An example of this could be a student from France in the framework of the Erasmus program studying abroad in Sweden for 2 years and becomes a member of a Swedish club whilst also maintaining membership in his home club, or a person who takes up a job in another country and no longer is present or can practice in his home club but maintains membership. In such cases, politeness and communication can prevent most problems. If I were the student, I would keep my home instructor informed of what is happening and few instructors in such cases would have a problem with it. That is obviously different from someone going on vacation for a week to another country and coming back with a different rank. Impossible and totally unacceptable, no, one probably could come up with some highly unusual scenario where justification could be found, but in most cases not very courteous. If during such a brief visit, a highly unusual thing happened, such as the students participating and winning a really highly regarded tournament while taking out two Olympian champions and the reigning world champion on his way to the gold, then yes, being awarded a higher kyû-rank probably would not be unreasonable, but even in such a case, there is no compelling reason why the privilege to do so would not be the home club's instructor, and why this couldn't wait until the student returned to his home country.

    Since the instructor cannot award dan-ranks, but only a national exam board can, which fortunately only takes place after meeting eligibility requirements and passing a serious exam, the situation is quite different. An instructor does not really "decide" on dan-ranks, but "prepares" his student, and "takes responsibility for the student to have been duly prepared and ready to pass his exam". Really where exactly that happens is much less of an issue. I know that when I tell a student that he is ready for his shodan, I don't care whether he passes that in Japan, France, Germany or whatever country as long as decent and verifiable standards have been met and he was seriously examined by an authorized national or regional board, unless it would be a case of batsugun. If my student goes to the Kôdôkan kôhaku shiai and throws 24 people in the line-up one after another and returns with 2 or 3 dan ranks higher, I cannot imagine having a problem with it even though in this case there was no additional technical exam involved.

    The issues really only start when there is a deliberate breach of confidence or loyalty and the student against the wishes of his instructor does things involving ranks. However, in such case while probably in the majority of cases the student who obviously is far less experienced than his coach is likely at faulty, it isn't always like that. There certainly also exists a plethora of examples where instructors have a large ego or aren't exactly handling in the spirit of judo when it comes to their students. While we all like to embrace the idea of the instructor being a universally noble sensei who walks on water, this is a mere fantasy, both in the West and abroad. Instructors who are wife beaters, molesters, practising pedophiles ... also have or had responsibility for awarding kyû ranks or preparing students for dan-ranks, so in how far their wisdom and elevation above any doubt applies is doubtful. Instructors are humans just like their students are an humans are strange creatures with a lot of personal baggage who do strange things in strange circumstances. Add to that the infamous politics of judo that can show its ugly face, particularly higher up the rank ladder, and you have a perfect menu for an 8pm television drama.

    When one considers the higher dan-ranks, the situation can get even far more complicated, and so do the politics. I lived and worked myself in about a dozen countries, what do you expect when it comes to progressing through the ranks ?  That when I went back to my first club where I started as a kid to ask permission to get my next dan rank ?  Obviously that club had long ceased to exist, those instructors had long died or retired or quit, etc ?  Moreover, my first instructor was a 1st kyû and never even obtained a dan-rank, so ...  You will always have people who see evil in something and even if they can't they will invent it. I believe that there is a even a term that has been created called "federation-hopping" to suggest that one would solely go to a country to get a rank one supposedly is not entitled to. Does it exists ?  I am sure it does exist particularly when people decided to leave an IJF federation to join a fairly new or modest federation where they promptly get awarded a much higher rank that is totally incommensurate with their real or previous rank or get acccepted at a much higher rank because they mislead the new federation about their real rank. That being said, there is also a limit at one can be practically done --in good faith and being reasonable--, especially when one really works or lives in different countries or when the ugly face of judo politics becomes so extreme that there is no end to what a previous instructor, federation, or clique might do to interfere. However, to keep on track, in this thread we are discussing a fairly simple case, but a case that in a modern day and time with lots of international movement, will become quite common. When you have many legal regulation in the EC, for example, that enforce the free movement of people, you can't reverse time and try to impose views that still belong in the 1960s when it comes to international movement. This is clearly also in judo. There is a court judgement relying on EC rules that initiated a chance in requirement of citizenship when it came to participating in national championships. When I still participated in national championships, it was a mandatory requirement to hold citizenship of the country. EJU federation had to remove that requirement some years ago. Since you can work and reside with citizenship of any EC country in another EC country, it became very laborsome for people who were no longer living in the country of which they held citizenship, and were no longer members of that federation, having to participate in that country's national championships, even more so if there existed no direct particiatpion ship, and participating was preceded by multiple selection of pre-tournments. Many federations used to have a citizenship requirement. This has long been removed. It is an example of how modern internationalization affects what is common. Just look at a European soccer or basketball team in the 1960s. All members typically were citizenships of that same country, and most certainly not multi-ethnic. Would you want to enforce those things again on present-day leading soccer clubs like Real Madrid, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and all the others ?  You can't turn back that clock. In fact the "selling" of players and all similar things are quite common in judo.

    The Georgian Jarji Zviadauri better known under his current identity as the Greek Ilias Iliadis is one of the most published cases in judo, but there are many others. Just a couple of months ago a lesbian athlete moved countries to join her foreign girlfriend and is now part of her new country's national team. This is today's reality, but you would still try and enforce old-day rigid procedures when it comes to judo's good ol' preoccupation of the Holy Dan Rank ?


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    Ben Reinhardt

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    Re: Earning a black belt after 2 years of practice

    Post by Ben Reinhardt on Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:31 am

    beyondgrappling wrote:What does your club coach say about this? 
    Did he or she accept the Dan grade? I know many coaches who would still ask the student to wear his orange belt in classes due to the fact that he has not graded through the club or state syllabus system.

    Not directed at me, however, I had no choice but to accept his black belt, it was legit from the AJJF. In any case, it didn't really cause me any heartburn as he was certainly safe to compete in black belt divisions, although he got his but kicked for a while.


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    Neil G

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    Re: Earning a black belt after 2 years of practice

    Post by Neil G on Wed Sep 03, 2014 7:36 am

    beyondgrappling wrote:
    I believe it is the coaches business, what stops any of his other students flying to any country in the world and getting graded.
    Imagine if a student of yours came to my dojo and I awarded him a belt above and beyond what you graded him. 
    There has to be a line drawn somewhere or else you will have your students ping to Japan for a holiday and coming home with a Dan grade.
    Seems a bit stupid to me
    Maybe someone more knowledgeable than me can correct but it seems to me that dan grades in IJF-affiliated organizations are not dojo dan but overseen by the NGB. Here in Canada they are administered by the provincial grading boards but must be approved nationally. So if an IJF federation awards a dan, I think it should be accepted by other IJF federations. Grading standards vary even within a country, we can't argue every little thing.

    As far as kyu goes, really who cares?
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Earning a black belt after 2 years of practice

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:24 am

    Neil G wrote:
    beyondgrappling wrote:
    I believe it is the coaches business, what stops any of his other students flying to any country in the world and getting graded.
    Imagine if a student of yours came to my dojo and I awarded him a belt above and beyond what you graded him. 
    There has to be a line drawn somewhere or else you will have your students ping to Japan for a holiday and coming home with a Dan grade.
    Seems a bit stupid to me
    Maybe someone more knowledgeable than me can correct but it seems to me that dan grades in IJF-affiliated organizations are not dojo dan but overseen by the NGB.  Here in Canada they are administered by the provincial grading boards but must be approved nationally.  So if an IJF federation awards a dan, I think it should be accepted by other IJF federations.  Grading standards vary even within a country, we can't argue every little thing.

    As far as kyu goes, really who cares?

    That's it in a nutshell and pretty much how it used to be, BUT ... do not for a second that you are talking about the ..."The Holly Realm of Dan Ranks", and despite all the solemn talk about technique, skill and honorable objectives, the reality to which few will admit is that many jûdôka are obsessed with dan-ranks to a degree that is hard to explain. Well, that is to say, many refs will also sell their own mother and forget to wipe the brown off their nose just to go up to PJC, IJF-B or IJF-A. Control of people is a crucial working tool within NGBs as it controls people an can make people do whatever you want as along as they want to get a certain award really hard. Those who control that award know so very well and are experts in carefully exploiting that perk. Jûdô federations today have increasingly started "cracking down" on the individual freedom of clubs and sensei when it comes to kyû ranks. In the past, many NGBs only officially registered dan-ranks, and that moved to also register 1st kyû to keep a tight lock on the time-in-grade to shodan. Today though they also register 5th and 6th kyû and if you think that is all, forget it. Some jûdô federations now refuse to register any student not previously registered with them to any rank above 6th kyû. So basically, if you took up judo in college and were part of your school's club which wasn't registered with any NGB or simply took up the course without any club membership, and let's say you were graded to 4th kyû; you graduate from school, liked jûdô and want to continue it, visit a club, and the sensei says "oh cool, it looks like your 4th kyû accurately reflects your skill level, let's register it with the NGB" ... sounds perfectly logical, huh ? Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiihhhh !   No, Sir, no longer possible with several NGB. He will now have to start, pass the minimal time in grade prescribed by the federation from 6th to 5th kyû, and then from 5th to 4th kyû and each time have those ranks registered!!  Only then you can submit him for 4th kyû.

    The above-explained evolution is now seen in several federations. What do you think the rationale behind this is ?  Simple. NGB's will not tolerate the light in anyone else's eyes, or in more direct terms, they implemented it to prevent that at the grassroots children or anyone beginning with jûdô would become a member of a non-NGB judo federation. Before, that person could stay with his non-NGB federation until he was 1st kyû, then move to the NGB, where the sensei could then simply accept and officially register the 1st kyû. No longer possible in several NGBs, matey !  Reason: the NGB feels it is losing out on some of the case, namely the period where the previously mentioned jûdôka paid club membership fees from 6th to 1st kyû in his non-NGB federation. "That money COULD have been ours !!" the NGB judo federations now say, so they invented new procedures. Guess how well that is taken by the clubs. Well those wanting to do serious competition have no choice and will want to train only in an official NGB dôjô whereas all the rests says "4-letter word + You !"  And this is one reason for increasing hostility between federations. As I told before, do not underestimate judo politics. They are everything that Kanô never thought of, nor ever wanted to implement in jûdô, but the less jûdô one knows the more one will be an expert in getting totally immersed in jûdô politics (in many cases). Oh, and of course, there is also the classical reasoning which NGBs or federations prefer to use on new members with rank: "his rank is only from the "Judo Federation of FarAway-istan" and ...they are --of course-- not up to our level". Yes, for some strange reason other federations in the same country are never up to the technical level of the one who has to judge the new member ...


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    Richard Riehle

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    Re: Earning a black belt after 2 years of practice

    Post by Richard Riehle on Mon Nov 10, 2014 7:13 am

    Cichorei Kano wrote:


    I am assuming that this person is not a Japanese citizen but a foreigner. If so, there are only 3 ways he could have been awarded a black belt by the Kôdôkan:

    1. He participated in the kôhaku-shiai or tsukinami-shiai and won the necessary point that according to Japanese standards allowed promotion.

    2. He obtained a black belt abroad and carried a letter signed by the president of his IJF-recognized jûdô federation to seek recognition of the rank by the Kôdôkan. (according to you this is not an option as he only held orange belt)

    3. He somehow slipped through the cracks either through a material error, misunderstanding or misrepresentation.


    The scenario sounds strange to me. I am likely to opt for number 3 in Cichorei Kano's list. A two-week visit to the Kodokan would rarely result in a direct promotion to Shodan. Does this person have an authentic rank certificate from the Kodokan. Has your sensei made an effort to validate its authenticity. Not to cast aspersions on his honesty, but we have had instances of certificate forgery in the past, and in this modern world of Photoshop and other technological tools, such forgeries are quite simple to do.

    A short letter with a copy of the certificate to the Kodokan should be able to authenticate the certificate, if there is one. If it is an authentic certificate, I still think that scenario number three, slipping through the cracks is the more likely explanation.

    Richard Riehle

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    Re: Earning a black belt after 2 years of practice

    Post by Richard Riehle on Mon Nov 10, 2014 7:30 am

    Ben Reinhardt wrote:

    I had a student come to the club at Tulane who had graduated from high school in Japan, where he did Judo for a couple of years (he was a freshman in college).

    By American standards, he was not a shodan. Sankyu more like it.

    However, he was up to shodan level in about a year and a half. His basic skill level was such from his training in Japan that once he actually got some instruction (other than just doing randori), he turned out quite well.

    The funny thing was, he had a AJJF card for shodan, so, well, he was a shodan...

    It goes the other way, too.   One of our well-known USA Judoka, now a septuagenarian high-dan holder, when he was still quite young, had earned a shodan in the United States and went visit Japan.   When the sensei asked him his rank, he replied, "Shodan."   The sensei said, "Not in Japan.  Wear a white obi for tomorrow's practice."    The afternoon before his practice the next day, he went to do randori in one of the other dojos (not the foreigner's dojo).   He wore a white obi, and comported himself quite well, throwing most of the other black belt members of the training session.   As he was leaving the dojo, he saw that the sensei he would train with on the following day had been watching.   The sensei said to him, "Tomorrow, you wear a black obi."    I will not reveal the name of the man who experienced this.  I think many of you already know who he is because he is now an important leader in USJA.  
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    Jonesy

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    Re: Earning a black belt after 2 years of practice

    Post by Jonesy on Mon Nov 10, 2014 6:22 pm

    Richard Riehle wrote:
    Ben Reinhardt wrote:

    I had a student come to the club at Tulane who had graduated from high school in Japan, where he did Judo for a couple of years (he was a freshman in college).

    By American standards, he was not a shodan. Sankyu more like it.

    However, he was up to shodan level in about a year and a half. His basic skill level was such from his training in Japan that once he actually got some instruction (other than just doing randori), he turned out quite well.

    The funny thing was, he had a AJJF card for shodan, so, well, he was a shodan...

    It goes the other way, too.   One of our well-known USA Judoka, now a septuagenarian high-dan holder, when he was still quite young, had earned a shodan in the United States and went visit Japan.   When the sensei asked him his rank, he replied, "Shodan."   The sensei said, "Not in Japan.  Wear a white obi for tomorrow's practice."    The afternoon before his practice the next day, he went to do randori in one of the other dojos (not the foreigner's dojo).   He wore a white obi, and comported himself quite well, throwing most of the other black belt members of the training session.   As he was leaving the dojo, he saw that the sensei he would train with on the following day had been watching.   The sensei said to him, "Tomorrow, you wear a black obi."    I will not reveal the name of the man who experienced this.  I think many of you already know who he is because he is now an important leader in USJA.  
    I went to live in Japan in the early 1990s and was there a couple of years. I was already a dan-grade holder from an IJF recognised NGB and had been a member of the national team. I though was allowed to wear my black belt at all times - I had a letter of introduction from the President of my NGB and presented that to the International Division of the Kodokan to Ichiro Abe-sensei. I was though not recognised as a yudansha "by the system" and had to re-get a Kodokan dan grade before I could enter events restricted to yudansha in Japan.

    Interestingly the Kodokan website now specifically has the information that if you hold a black belt in your own country you can wear one at the Kodokan.

    Raj Venugopal

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    Re: Earning a black belt after 2 years of practice

    Post by Raj Venugopal on Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:14 am

    We had a national champion in senior mens heavyweight who was until recently ranked shodan. No one cared, however, as his judo ability and good heart shone more brightly than any rank.
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    DrJudo

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    Re: Earning a black belt after 2 years of practice

    Post by DrJudo on Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:01 am

    Jonesy wrote:Firstly respect to Konan79 who after his initial post has handled the feedback very well and with maturity - taking it in the spirit intended.


    Finally, the point I would make is that people get promoted via all sorts of routes all over the world. No one's own personal achievement is diminished by someone getting the same award via a different route and decrying those that do is not consistent with the respect and inclusivity that judo should instil.  It is no different in academia. Getting a first class degree from a world renowned university is much harder then getting one from some newer institutions. However, ultimately a graduate from either institution has a first class degree - is it the same - well yes it is and no it isn't.

    This is a very good analogy. You can get a Ph.D. or any doctorate from a prestigious university, to name a few, Harvard, Oxford, Complutense de Madrid, Sorbenne, etc. Likewise, you could get a doctorate from a online university or what is called a non-traditional university.

    At the end of the day, it's a matter of credibility.

    I sympathize with Konan 79's initial post and find that most replies have been excellent.

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