Skip to main content

Belts and Ranking Standards

Recently, on the Judo Forum, I have been following these two threads (#1, #2) with questions regarding ranking in Judo and how to deal with overly demanding students who demand being promoted to Black Belt Rank.

The unfortunate effect of Pop-culture martial arts has launched many a McDojo that are very eager to sign-up students by offering guaranteed Black Belt contracts to everyone from 8 to 80.  While I would like to think that those who pick Judo, or another legitimate Martial Art do so because they see greater value than they do in a 'Belt Factory', it is naive to ignore the pressure of the Jones's kid next door having a black belt at age 10, while little Tommy can't get one in Judo until he's at least 14.

In High school the one with perfect attendance is not awarded Valedictory honors for just showing up - so why should it lead to an advanced belt in the Martial Arts?

In Judo, pretty much the world over, there are three key elements to achieving promotion (for both Black [dan] and colored [kyu] ranks)- Skill, Commitment, and Maturity. Skill - is judged in the form of Kata demonstration and competition; commitment is judged by participation points - i.e. you get points not just for competing, but for refereeing, judging, teaching, and other time commitments to the Judo community. Maturity is judged by time in grade (not so much by calendar year, but by practice time) and age. By ensuring these standards and not wavering from them, the integrity of Judo ranks is more universal. In addition, Black belt rank applications are reviewed by other Black Belts on the regional level. This ensures that Senseis cannot scrimp on quality when promoting someone. 

Why these high standards? It's simple - PR. Just like a graduate of a school represents their education, so does a Black Belt represent Judo. Who would you want to represent you? Someone who has committed themselves to Judo and has proficiency in Judo skills, or someone who has achieved their blackbelt through superiors attendance and a fatter wallet?

Finally, what about those students (and/or their parents) who demand higher rank? How do you deal with their ultimatum to walk if not promoted? When this happens, it is an indication of the fact that they just don't get Judo. Above all, Judo is about character and respect. If these students have not learned character or respect as your students, then either you have failed them as a teacher or, more than likely, they have failed you as a student.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I never have had this happen, nor have I heard of it happening at any judo school...tae kwon do, maybe. I would have to say, come back next year when there is hopefully more maturity...some things money just can't buy!

Enjoy your blog and posts-

Popular posts from this blog

Judo and Stress

We all have stress in our daily lives - whether it comes from pressures at work, or at home; From our Spouses/Significant Others, from our parents, and from our kids. Stress can take a toll on your body and on your mind. Thankfully for me, Judo has been a great source of stress relief.

I was feeling a bit stressed out over the last few days, and then I went to Judo last night and it made it so much better - my stress was pretty much gone. Yes, I might wind up taking out some of my frustrations on various ukes, but at the same time, I know that they are doing the same with me - so it all balances out.

As for updates, I had a good practice last night. I was getting killed in Ne-Waza and I think I need to improve my skills there, but I had a good couple of rounds in Randori, and re-discovered that I can Actually throw people with O-Soto Gari!

Tel-Aviv GP 2019 - Day 2 (We'll take one of each)

There was no less excitement on Day 2 of the Tel-Aviv GP. After a disappointing hardware-less day for the Israeli men's team on Thursday, they wanted so desperately to get off of the schneid, and the hometown fans would not be disappointed.

Israel took home 3 medals on Friday - Bronze in the men's -73, Silver in the Women's -63, and Gold in the Men's -81.

In the -73 category, Tohar Butbul took a tour of North America - beating the Candian Bouchard and the American Turner by Ippon - Bouchard with Osoto Gari 3 minutes in, and Turner on a Wazari from a Seoinage 23 seconds into Golden Score. He was cruising in the quarter finals, up by a Wazari with the seconds ticking away - but was thrown by Tajikistan's Khojazoda literally as time ran out - forcing him into the repechage. He ultimately won the Bronze by beating Nils Stump of Switzerland

In the -63 category, Inbal Shemesh, despite being the World #37, fought some good battles and came away with the Silver, ultimately…

Social Media and Youtube

Not sure who is following this blog these days, but I have noticed that my pages get about 50-100 hits (I hope that there are a few real people and not just bots). I have also launched an instagram account as well - you can find me here - https://instagr.am/theroadtoshodan


I have also been trying to get to watching some Judo videos on YouTube, a couple of channels that I like are:

Dojo Outfitters - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT-lZUImP2-eOW6Y8GBCbhw (they have a mix of Judo and JJ videos, but I find both sets useful).

Efficient Judo - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1CsWk5MTssfFt6rb7CXKKA

There is also a great instagram account from Israel that does these excellent matrix-style breakdowns for ground work - https://www.instagram.com/timura_bjj/

All three are worth checking out, and please follow us on IG.

Thanks for reading.