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    What if I don't want a black belt yet?

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    paul3030

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    What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by paul3030 on Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:29 pm

    Good day everyone.

    My sensei told me that he wants to promote me to shodan, but I don't feel I am ready for it. My sensei is Japanese and he thinks real training starts at shodan. But I also train at couple different dojos, where there are people who know more judo than I do and they still wear brown belts. I don't want to embarrass myself. I haven't even done my nage no kata yet, and I haven't participated any competition recently either. I do practice regularly though, 2~4 times per week, when I am injure-free. I am brown belt for about 2 years now.

    What should I do? Should I tell my sensei that I am not ready? Or should I gratefully accept the promotion and get my nage no kata done later? If after promotion I still wear brown belt when I practice at other dojos, would that be inappropriate?

    Thanks.
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    judoratt

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    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by judoratt on Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:24 pm

    When you get your black belt you are a black belt. At times it takes a while to grow in to it. Work on your nage no kata now and trust your sensei. Good luck there are black belts out there worse than you and me Very Happy Very Happy
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    Quicksilver

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    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by Quicksilver on Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:36 pm

    With the caveat (as always) that I'm not a teacher or instructor and that this post is advice, presented for whatever it may be worth, but should certainly not be read as having any actual authority behind it;

    Setting aside the whole importance-(or-otherwise)-of-grades-and-wearing-one-that-reflects-your-skill-set,-etc debate. The general consensus on this matter, from observation, seems to be that to refuse the grade carries connotations that you consider your own judgment in this matter to be superior to that of your sensei, and is thus very impolite. However if you would be very uncomfortable wearing the belt and have a rational reason why this is so (which it seems you do) then perhaps you ought to explain this to your sensei and see if you can't come to some agreement.

    Regarding wearing different grades at different Dojos; I also train at a few different places and have been hovering on a to-grade-or-not-to-grade for a while, so I have given the matter thought but as far as the actual protocol goes for this, I don't know. However it seems to me to be mildly illogical that your grade would change from club to club, and if your aforementioned sensei is your sensei singular and the other clubs are primarily auxiliary training then it would probably be best to simply sort out your grade with him and wear it, wherever you train.

    Regards,

    -Q
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:51 pm

    Quicksilver wrote:With the caveat (as always) that I'm not a teacher or instructor and that this post is advice, presented for whatever it may be worth, but should certainly not be read as having any actual authority behind it;

    Setting aside the whole importance-(or-otherwise)-of-grades-and-wearing-one-that-reflects-your-skill-set,-etc debate. The general consensus on this matter, from observation, seems to be that to refuse the grade carries connotations that you consider your own judgment in this matter to be superior to that of your sensei, and is thus very impolite. However if you would be very uncomfortable wearing the belt and have a rational reason why this is so (which it seems you do) then perhaps you ought to explain this to your sensei and see if you can't come to some agreement.

    Regarding wearing different grades at different Dojos; I also train at a few different places and have been hovering on a to-grade-or-not-to-grade for a while, so I have given the matter thought but as far as the actual protocol goes for this, I don't know. However it seems to me to be mildly illogical that your grade would change from club to club, and if your aforementioned sensei is your sensei singular and the other clubs are primarily auxiliary training then it would probably be best to simply sort out your grade with him and wear it, wherever you train.

    Regards,

    -Q

    Quicksilver,

    "Telling your sensei that you are not ready" and "refusing promotion" are really two different things although they may appear similar. Refusing promotion really means returning a rank certificate, handing back a belt, refusing to have your rank signed off. "Telling your sensei that you are not ready" instead is an a priori action. It does not automatically mean that your own judgment as a 1st kyû is more important than that of your sensei.


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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Sat Mar 16, 2013 7:53 pm

    paul3030 wrote:Good day everyone.

    My sensei told me that he wants to promote me to shodan, but I don't feel I am ready for it. My sensei is Japanese and he thinks real training starts at shodan. But I also train at couple different dojos, where there are people who know more judo than I do and they still wear brown belts. I don't want to embarrass myself. I haven't even done my nage no kata yet, and I haven't participated any competition recently either. I do practice regularly though, 2~4 times per week, when I am injure-free. I am brown belt for about 2 years now.

    What should I do? Should I tell my sensei that I am not ready? Or should I gratefully accept the promotion and get my nage no kata done later? If after promotion I still wear brown belt when I practice at other dojos, would that be inappropriate?

    Thanks.

    I thus assume that you are active within a system where an individual sensei can promote someone to black belt rather than having to appear in front of an external examination jury. If so then there are differences in procedures. Tell your sensei exactly what you told us: Tell him that you don't feel ready. It is also not unacceptable for you to feel you would like to do or know nage-no-kata first.


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    "The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
    "I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."
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    Jonesy

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    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by Jonesy on Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:52 pm

    paul3030 wrote:Good day everyone.

    My sensei told me that he wants to promote me to shodan, but I don't feel I am ready for it. My sensei is Japanese and he thinks real training starts at shodan. But I also train at couple different dojos, where there are people who know more judo than I do and they still wear brown belts. I don't want to embarrass myself. I haven't even done my nage no kata yet, and I haven't participated any competition recently either. I do practice regularly though, 2~4 times per week, when I am injure-free. I am brown belt for about 2 years now.

    What should I do? Should I tell my sensei that I am not ready? Or should I gratefully accept the promotion and get my nage no kata done later? If after promotion I still wear brown belt when I practice at other dojos, would that be inappropriate?

    Thanks.
    What association are you in whereby your Sensei can unilaterally promote you to shodan?

    You do not need to benchmark yourself against others - trust your Sensei's judgement - no one knows your judo better than him. He is right that real training starts at shodan. When you wear that black belt you will start thinking like a black belt, acting like a black belt and perform as a black belt. You will grow into the grade very quickly. As for others - why are they still brown belts - that is nothing to do with you. Some people never express an interest in promotion, others chase promotion, some have a bad attitude......who knows.
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    Stacey

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    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by Stacey on Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:23 am

    did you get your brown belt promotion from this sensei? Is this your home club? If so listen to the people on this thread. If not. Whoops.
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    nomoremondays

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    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by nomoremondays on Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:47 am

    Why refuse? In judo we work with what presents itself to us sunny

    Accept it and work with it.
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    Ro

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    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by Ro on Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:16 am

    I know most of the answers are the same or close too. Here is my opinion:

    When offered or suggestion to promote for a rank in judo especially in the kyu ranks and lower dan ranks, that student should accept that offer or at the very least consider it.* At the low level of rank and sometimes experience who are we to judge of what rank we and others deserve. I was once in your shoes when I got my yonkyu (green belt) but I proceeded with the advice/suggestion of my judo instructor. After awhile I grew into the rank and thought ok now I deserve this rank by that time it was already time for the next promotion.

    I had the same experience when I was told I was testing for my shodan. I hesitated at first but after the promotion and many practices later I slowly grew into the rank.

    How can one decide if they are ready for a rank if they themselves have not been there yet?

    If you are in judo for the long haul then getting a rank early or late for that matter shouldn't matter. It's all about your personal development.

    There are some blackbelts that know more then me about certain parts of judo while their are other parts I know that they do not know. There are some that can preform better in shiai or preform well and cooperate during randori and even some that can demonstrate principles in kata that I myself have never even considered.

    Does this mean that I don't deserve my rank if other dan ranks "know" more than me? What if other dan ranks know less than me does that mean they don't deserve their rank? No, judo rank is a personal journey and a different journey for everyone.

    Comparing yourself not only in judo but in life to others is quite natural but when this opinion becomes an instilled standard often when you do this you are always on the losing side.

    My advice listen to your instructor, take the promotion exam if you pass great if not its ok. Come back the next practice and keep developing and learning. Refusing to accept rank is not only hurting yourself but others.

    * assuming that you are getting a proper judo education and have a decent instructor.

    -Ro
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:48 am

    paul3030 wrote:Good day everyone.

    My sensei told me that he wants to promote me to shodan, but I don't feel I am ready for it. My sensei is Japanese and he thinks real training starts at shodan. But I also train at couple different dojos, where there are people who know more judo than I do and they still wear brown belts. I don't want to embarrass myself. I haven't even done my nage no kata yet, and I haven't participated any competition recently either. I do practice regularly though, 2~4 times per week, when I am injure-free. I am brown belt for about 2 years now.

    What should I do? Should I tell my sensei that I am not ready? Or should I gratefully accept the promotion and get my nage no kata done later? If after promotion I still wear brown belt when I practice at other dojos, would that be inappropriate?

    Thanks.

    I'd like to share two personal stories that may have some relevance to your situation.

    In the first jûdô club I was a member of, the level was relatively low. It was important for me, just like it is for you, to be proud of my level and knowledge at that time. There obviously was no YouTube or video in those days, so the only material we had to compare were books and visiting another club. I collected the exam programs for the next few kyû ranks and was eager to maximize both quantity and quality of my knowledge. I had what you would call, a natural Kantian sense of wondering. This sense of wondering is very important, and something I always emphasize in my students or when discussing curricular matters or student experience. The teacher can kindle that natural sense of wondering but part of the burden is also on the student. I struggled during my first few jûdô classes as I do not learn new motor skills very quickly. But after a couple of lessons, a young brown belt one or two years older than me devoted personal attention to me and in this way got me on track. I had a normale evolution through the initial kyû-ranks but was dedicated, trained jûdô three times per week and tried not to miss any classes. This was how it went until I reached 3rd kyû. At 3rd kyû I started competing, since that was the minimal level one needed to have in order to be allowed to participate in competition in those days, and I was eager to do so in order to test my skills and improve. I did well, and my promotion to 2nd kyû was expedited. My teacher provided me with the exam program for 2nd kyû. I noticed that there was no nage-no-kata mentioned in the exam program. That made me uncomfortable, because I had heard from the brown belt who had come from abroad and who had been in jûdô a long time (black belts were not common in those days) that the first three series of NNK were considered part of standardized 2nd kyû exams, and the 5 series part of 1st kyû exams. There was nothing at all in my thoughts about "pretending to know more/or things better than my sensei", but ... the idea of getting my 2nd kyû in an 'easier' way than anyone did not feel right in particular because I really wanted to feel worthy of the rank, and because I could only imagine to vividly other 2nd kyû from other clubs disparagingly looking down on me if they would find out I would have received my rank by showing less knowledge and skill than they had. This is not at all paranoia, not in jûdô and not in other fields. You do not have to be too long in jûdô to realize that oftentimes people suggestively may try and make you feel less if your rank is not from this or that association, or not Kôdôkan, or not IJF. Obviously in those days I knew nothing about these organization, but it was a gut feeling that proved right, so I did study hard and sought help to learn the first three series of nage-no-kata. On the day I did my test, had demonstrated nage-waza and newaza, my sensei congratulated me and said it was very good. It was clear he was about to give me my new belt at which point I apologized and politely told him that I did not feel comfortable accepting the belt without being examined on nage-no-kata as part of this exam and my knowledge and skill in it being considered adequate by him and I explained the rationale. He was not offended at all, and allowed me to demonstrate what I had learnt about nage-no-kata (three series). It no doubt was far from perfect, but there was also no doubt that somehow he appreciated my suggestion and me showing the extra knowledge. It was a no brainer to him, he understood, and had no problem with it. I never felt that I had not deserved the rank, but there is no doubt I would have felt that way if this would not have happened. In all fairness I can't say for a 100% sure that this is 'exactly' how it went as it is long, long time ago, so whether it really was after I had shown all material or more to the front of the exam I had made the request, I don't know anymore and no one does as that sensei has passed away. I am not even sure who at the time was my exam partner. I have some idea, haven't seen the man for several decades, but no doubt he will recall that even less since it wasn't his exam.

    If I as a sensei/examinator would have the same thing happen to me from a student whose comment was of genuine concern, and not motivated by showing off, would I feel offended ? In no way. Would I be offended if after I examine someone for 1st kyû and the person shows all 5 series of nage-no-kata and does an excellent exam of all the rest and then politely explains to me that he has heard about the important of jû and would request me to evaluate his jû-no-kata too to assess that understanding ? No I would not be offended and respond positively to his request on the condition that the requested material can be considered as the overall standard for that exam and it does not create a legal problem in the sense of discrimination in the sense that the knowledge DEMANDED from one person for the same exam is different from the knowledge another person has to show.


    A second story occurred not in jûdô but in a totally different field. For reasons of privacy I will not further elaborate on the nature of those exams. In any case in that subject field we required formal official licensing of different steps in practical skills. The person who would examine our practical skills was someone who had not trained us. During that first licensing test several things happened which boil down to the certifying examiner using different terminology, having different pet peeves, anyways, to summarize things ... had a significantly different view on several things than the people who had taught us. It was a nightmare. Because of this, it was impossible for me to perform at the standard which I expect to perform at for an exam. I passed borderline. Immediately after the exam I asked for an appointment with the Chief of the school, who also held the highest federal authority to administer licenses himself, and who was very, very experienced. We had a good chat, and later on had several other chats. As I continued my training I learnt that many of the teachers prepared the students until they had met minimal standards and 'COULD' pass the formal licensing exams IF circumstances were optimal. Basically, if they were lucky, they did, if they weren't lucky, they did not. When I talked to the Chief I made it clear that I did not want to be sent to any licensing exam on that basis. Even if the teacher might think I was ready, I had been living with myself much longer than some of the teachers who had only known me for three months; in other words, I knew my self, complete with my faults, shortcomings, anxieties, wishes, and personal standards a lot better than any teacher. If that meant that my personal standards were higher than those of those teachers, then so be it. It was MY exam and MY license, not theirs. Apparently some students had no problem with a track record of flunked license exams if they were allowed to have another shot a week later. I could not see myself fit within such a scenario, and I did not want such a track record. I also started understanding the rational of those teachers. It had to do with money. Their fixation was on trying to cause students to pass with minimal training and minimal training costs. Perhaps that makes sense from a business point of view. I am not a business person, so if I sound stupid when it comes to that, then so be it. I do now something about education, and motives there are often different from those in a business perspective. In terms of licensing, the educational perspective for me as a student was more important than the business one. It if meant another couple of hundred dollars more to be confident and proud of my knowledge and feel deserving, and being able to walk to a licensing exam KNOWING I WILL pass, rather than that I MIGHT HAVE A CHANCE OF PASSING, then that sounds a lot more justifiable, in particular if your job in anyway is related to safety.

    These are two life experiences that really occurred to me personally and where I expressed disagreement with the easier way that was proposed. In both circumstances it was appreciated in the end both by myself and by the other party. The idea that "Your teachers knows best" is probably a good marketable one-liner, but in the end a cliché that in reality is proven often wrong. I am talking in general terms, and certainly not implying anything about any specific teacher. Moreover, even if your teacher truly is right and you are ready neither, you certainly won't be "less ready" if you decide to wait.

    In closing, I would like to emphasizing again that what we are talking about here is not really the same as "refusing a promotion". Refusing a promotion is something completely different and is actually sending or handing back the promotion credentials. Such is a of a different nature and also a public statement rather than a private statement. An actual "refusal of a promotion" as a kyû rank is not something I would recommend. It has a totally different connotation than what I just explained, but that is NOT what you asked about, even if the semantic difference might not have been clear to you initially.


    _________________


    "The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
    "I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."
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    afja_lm139

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    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by afja_lm139 on Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:16 am

    If you ain't ready, you ain't ready. But, sensei will be unhappy for sure; and it ain't nice to make sensei unhappy. In 1961 I was ready for shodan, but the mail service made sure my certificate from the Kodokan never got to me, so it gotr to me in 1965. Both sensei were happy. A happy ending, huh?

    paul3030

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    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by paul3030 on Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:13 pm

    Great thanks to everyone for sharing thoughts and experience, especially thank to CK for taking the time to type the stories.

    I think I will briefly express my thought about not being ready to my sensei next time I see him. If he still wants to promote me, I will not argue but accept the promotion respectfully and gratefully.

    My feeling is complicated. I have great respects to my sensei, like all people do. He is a hachidan, started judo in kodokan long long time ago and have been doing judo whole his life. Maybe shodan to his eyes isn't really anything, but I feel he gives out shodan a little too easily because I have seen in other dojo how hard some people work in order to get the black belt. I know you guys say "sensei knows you the best", but that's not my case. My sensei doesn't see me often, because he is old now and only comes to dojo when he's feeling well. He wants to promote me primarily because "I have been brown belt for more than a year". There won't be a shodan exam either, just filling out paperworks. Even though nage-no-kata is required for shodan for USJA/USJF, my sensei doesn't think kata is an important aspect of judo. But again I have great respect to my sensei, and it's certainly an honor to be promoted by someone with his reputation.

    I love doing judo mainly because it keeps me both mentally and physically healthy, and I plan to continue doing it the rest of my life. So I hope I will eventually feel confident about wearing a black belt.


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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:44 pm

    paul3030 wrote:Great thanks to everyone for sharing thoughts and experience, especially thank to CK for taking the time to type the stories.

    I think I will briefly express my thought about not being ready to my sensei next time I see him. If he still wants to promote me, I will not argue but accept the promotion respectfully and gratefully.

    My feeling is complicated. I have great respects to my sensei, like all people do. He is a hachidan, started judo in kodokan long long time ago and have been doing judo whole his life. Maybe shodan to his eyes isn't really anything, but I feel he gives out shodan a little too easily because I have seen in other dojo how hard some people work in order to get the black belt. I know you guys say "sensei knows you the best", but that's not my case. My sensei doesn't see me often, because he is old now and only comes to dojo when he's feeling well. He wants to promote me primarily because "I have been brown belt for more than a year". There won't be a shodan exam either, just filling out paperworks. Even though nage-no-kata is required for shodan for USJA/USJF, my sensei doesn't think kata is an important aspect of judo. But again I have great respect to my sensei, and it's certainly an honor to be promoted by someone with his reputation.

    I love doing judo mainly because it keeps me both mentally and physically healthy, and I plan to continue doing it the rest of my life. So I hope I will eventually feel confident about wearing a black belt.

    As you indicate there is a sign of the times in there, an evolution we are seeing today. It did not use to be possible in most countries to promote someone to black belt just like that after just a year being 1st kyû. In fact, such short promotion times generally only were an option for someone after batsugun, or someone who at least had obtained 10 tsukinami-shiai points against other people who minimally held 1st kyû. At that point one already had a pretty good feeling about one's worthiness on the mat. Add to that the grueling formal exams for an external jury for which "back in my days" close to 70% of the candidates were failed, and one simply did not end up with a feeling of not having 'deserved' one's shodan. Time-in-grade to go from 1st kyû to shodan WITHOUT 10 shiai points usually was something like 3 years and limited to people who were at least 35 years of age. No wonder that a black belt in those days felt very special. It seems an overall and worldwide phenomena for jûdô federations to have lowered expectations probably because of obscure reasons of increased popularity of jûdô in the 1990s or marketing reasons or whatever. Personally, I think that there is a personally safety aspect connected to being a blackbelt. What I mean is ... if one is a shodan, then one has to be able to wear that rank safely when stepping on the mat in Serbia, Georgia or Korea, and after practice walk off the mat all by yourself. However, this is just my personal view and obviously no such thing is contained in any shodan eligibility requirements. In reality though we are humans and every individual --rightly or wrongly-- tends to connect more to a black belt than merely local eligibility conditions, one of those things we connect being our personal feeling of having earned it or not, or being ready for it or not, which is exactly what you are expressing.

    Obviously, my posts are not about your specific sensei but are generalized. In this context I talked about 'sensei' simply as someone with a higher rank than the rank he/she is examining which could well mean that the sensei is/was an 18-year old shodan who had just obtained that rank 3 months ago. In your latests message you indicate your sensei holds a very high rank, among other things. This is something I deliberately am not taking into account in my posts in order to preserve its general character, and not become either specific or personal.

    Whatever it is you decide, I hope all is well, and I wish you success. Do drop by here on the forum in a couple of months and let us know how things are !


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    "The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
    "I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."
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    afja_lm139

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    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by afja_lm139 on Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:57 pm

    Come to think about it; how many people in the USA had been promoted to shodan? Looking back my JBBF number was 1988, so the number must be much higher now, huh? Heck, in our younger days one could count the number of godan on one hand!

    So, here is the secret: "SHODAN (1st dan or degree black belt) indicates that the student is sincere in following Judo (gentle way). It is the first serious step on an endless path of discovery and inquiry."
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    Jonesy

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    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by Jonesy on Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:45 pm

    I agree with CK that belts serve a useful visual indicator of proficiency, but caution that in Japan most shodan are junior high or high school students and not that physically developed. As such most would be obliterated by Western shodan holders with the mismatch very significant.

    OP you need to tell us more bout your association and country.


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    Gus

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    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by Gus on Mon Mar 18, 2013 12:03 am

    I move around a lot so Im never in one place to grade - plus each country has its own federation etc, these all require money to join. I havent graded in about 4 years because of this. I am still a blue belt in Spain - I would have to get this signed over to the NIJF then I could get my brown probably in a month or so and then I could fight for my black. All this takes time and money - even though I train as much as I can (last week 6 times a week - this week with work very little) and I can throw over half the blackbelts I meet ( elite Judo players obviously wipe the floor with me) . I kind of would like to get my blackbelt but I was in a club the other day where an orange belt was better than half the blackbelts at the other clubs ! So I have mixed feelings about belts - on the one hand I would like to proudly wear my blackbelt and Id like to fight for it as well as have technical knowledge - especially before Im over a hundred years old ! On the other hand there's such a wide discrepency between standards of black belts I dont necessarily think its a good indication of technical profficiency. Some clubs keep students down in belt colour (to win medals I suspect) and some clubs grade their students quickly (everyone wants a blackbelt so it attracts people if they can go from green to black in a year - Ive seen it happen a lot at a couple of clubs !) .
    Ill never forget a Mongolian guy I used to train with who despised the belt system - a perpetual white belt he could throw most of the black belts for ippon with a beutiful seio nage within 30 seconds - and this was blackbelts that trained with him regularily - it wasnt as if he was cheating them into going easy on him. Of course in some places competition results count for more than rank as well.
    I hear in Japan its quicker to get your blackbelt in Judo - Id listen to your teacher - the fact that a couple of brown belts are better than you is not important. If you dont feel you quite cut the rank - train harder !
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    afja_lm139

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    Age : 78

    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by afja_lm139 on Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:10 am

    Used to go up to Japan from Okinawa and compete or work out at the Kodokan or Police Dojo and was like a rag doll most of the time. Then the spirit got in me and I did batsugan with a bunch of GI's and high school Judoka. One high schooler beat the hell out of me and we became friends. His name was Okano and in a few years later won Gold in the 1964 Olympics. He was fast on the draw. Most of the high school Judoka were a little immature and less physical then us GI types or their peers for sure. However, one was cautious not to take them for granted. I finished batsugan, two sessions, with 5 wins and a few defeats. We lined up in kohaku fashion, and some were better than others. After all, I was only 19 or 20 and weighed 130 pounds. Not much more than a teenager myself Smile

    In mid-1962 after returning to the USA I was like greased lightening and could randori very well against sandans and at least a Yodan or so. But, my Air Force job strained me with duties and Judo became just another hobby. Didn't matter though; it was fun anyway.


    Last edited by afja_lm139 on Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:58 am; edited 4 times in total

    Wandering WB

    Posts : 102
    Join date : 2013-02-21

    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by Wandering WB on Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:21 am

    If you don't want the black belt, then tell your teacher you don't want it. Despite what some think, it is possible to stand up to your MA teacher. Tell your teacher not to talk to you like that the next time he mentions the black belt and notify him that you'll come to class wearing a white belt if he continues to insist. Works for me just fine.

    NYCNewbie

    Posts : 69
    Join date : 2012-12-29

    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by NYCNewbie on Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:20 pm

    This is a fascinating discussion (the last comment notwithstanding).

    Bro- I feel you're pain- my sensei promoted me to Sankyu WAY too fast- I could barely throw ANYone and here I was putting on a brown belt, announcing to the world "hey everyone, I'm (*pinches thumb and forefinger together*) THIS close to Black belt! It was a nightmare! I sucked! I'm convinced that the only reason this happened was- well, two things:
    1) my Ukemi was Sankyu-level
    2) my attitude towards the sport was good

    I'll say this though- in New York at least, if someone's a Black belt- well then that's different- in that case, they can hang in Serbia and Korea. Not necessarily kill it themselves but at least not get themselves killed! Smile The reason for this is simple- 99% of all Black belts here undergo rigorous testing in order to qualify for the grade. In fact my (Japanese, 7th dan) Sensei regularly remarks just how good Black belts here are. He maintains that if one makes Shodan from the Hudson Yudanshakai, one can play Judo. He says the standards here FAR exceed those in Japan as far as Black belt goes. Not that the Judo is better here (of course), but that the vetting process for Black belt is super solid and fully worthy of respect. "They don't 'give' them away" he's fond of saying.

    My advice- from a guy who was (and still is lol) in you shoes is to say that you'd feel more comfortable getting your Black belt the traditional way- i.e., fighting in tournaments and earning points and having to learn the Nage No Kata- as most everyone else does here in America. You might say that it's not about you not trusting his judgement- rather, it's about you wanting to put yourself through the type of testing that "other Black belts you know" have had to endure. By saying that you wish to go the traditional route (because that's how you'd always envisioned it), it might make the conversation less awkward.

    Anyway- good luck- PLEASE keep us posted- we're all keenly interested in how this turns out.

    Btw wow- just wow- hearing some of the stories on here. Getting thrown by "this kid named Okano"...I mean that is insane!

    And CK- way to throw in the fictitious Serbia and Korea-scenarios. If I ever found myself somehow doing Randori at either place while sporting an undeserved Black belt, trust me- the color brown would be well-represented! Very Happy

    Raj Venugopal

    Posts : 120
    Join date : 2013-01-21

    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by Raj Venugopal on Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:22 am

    If you trust your butcher, don't double-guess his cut of meat.
    Seriously though, if your Sensei is hachidan I would go with the flow, especially if you've been with him since the start.
    These things get levelled out over time. Best to trust those in authority who you trust with your neck and back.
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    Ian Shiparii

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    Join date : 2013-07-12
    Location : California

    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by Ian Shiparii on Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:04 pm

    I faced a similar conundrum a couple years ago. After moving back to CA from Tokyo, my Sensei really started pressuring me to do the paper work and do NNK in a formal setting. I sandbagged for a few months because I wanted to keep competing in multiple pools at the local shiai. I didn't wait too long, but I had a lot going on in my life at that time (finishing my honors thesis, heartbreak, near death in the family, flyfishing trip to Alaska) and Sensei didn't hold it against me too much. Well, he did give me a ribbing during one of his epic lectures after my NNK performance.

    In other words: don't be disrespectful by contradicting your Sensei, but if you don't feel ready, don't do it. For some, it is a big step up to compete with the Yudansha as there is potential for more injury in shiai. We had already faced blackbelts in local tourneys in order to test our skills and safety before going for shodan, but not ever school does (or should).


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    DougNZ

    Posts : 405
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    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by DougNZ on Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:20 am

    I have a ju-jitsu instructor friend who has trained just over 100 ju-jitsuka to brown belt but only graded seven to black belt - not because he's hard but because all those remaining brown belts simply withered away.  Why are brown belts frightened of the next step?  That next step is really the start of the journey and everything up until that point has just been packing the suitcase.

    In my organisation, we often promote to shodan just before the person is ready, for the reason that they then have to 'be a black belt'; they have no option.  It then becomes a case of getting used to being a black belt rather than spending months mentally preparing to be a black belt.  Of course, our process is not nearly as formal as that for judo.


    Last edited by DougNZ on Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Steve Leadbeater

    Posts : 199
    Join date : 2013-02-26
    Age : 62
    Location : Sydney Australia

    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by Steve Leadbeater on Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:26 am

    I was awarded my Shodan in Traditional Ju Jitsu only last year, quite some time after receiving my Judo Black Belt.

    The Ju Jitsu instructor said it was "because He believed I was ready"

    No one other than your Sensei/Coach/Instructor really knows if you are ready for the next step when they promote you, after all, it's not your reputation on the line....it's theirs !!

    So when you are promoted and given that Black belt........

                  wear it with pride......and just a little humility.
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    Q mystic

    Posts : 319
    Join date : 2013-02-10

    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by Q mystic on Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:04 pm

    DougNZ wrote:I have a ju-jitsu instructor friend who has trained just over 100 ju-jitsuka to brown belt but only graded seven to black belt - not because he's hard but because all those remaining brown belts simply withered away.  Why are brown belts frightened of the next step?  That next step is really the start of the journey and everything up until that point has just been packing the suitcase.

    In my organisation, we often promote to shodan just before the person is ready, for the reason that they then have to 'be a black belt'; they have no option.  It then becomes a case of getting used to being a black belt rather than spending months mentally preparing to be a black belt.  Of course, our process is not nearly as formal as that for judo.

    Good post, Doug. Interesting in the 2nd paragraph.

    Gradings seem almost anti something.


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    Q mystic

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    Re: What if I don't want a black belt yet?

    Post by Q mystic on Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:41 pm

    Wandering WB wrote:If you don't want the black belt, then tell your teacher you don't want it. Despite what some think, it is possible to stand up to your MA teacher. Tell your teacher not to talk to you like that the next time he mentions the black belt and notify him that you'll come to class wearing a white belt if he continues to insist. Works for me just fine.

    pretty sure you should just take it anyway.Smile whipty if you do, slightly less whipty if you don't. tho.


    Do you have your black?


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