Thread: Am I doomed?
05-11-2009, 03:34 #1
Am I doomed?
I just sent an email to my instructor, basically stating (although very politely) that his new belt system that he wants to use sucks. He wants to have 13 colour rank tests rather than 9 like we used to, plus he's decided to use those awful half-colour belts (yellow-orange, orange-green etc) inbetween the full colour belts. While I have the greatest respect for him as a martial artist, I have to say that sometimes he goes a bit overboard with the whole curriculum and rank issues.
He also wants specific test for weapons; nunchaku, semi-long stick (60cm) and long stick, and he also wants specific belts to show that people have passed those tests, independently of the "normal" rank tests. All fine and dandy, except I think it takes away from time that (for colour ranks) could be spent more productively practicing takedowns, holds and locks. I'll probably do as he says, but only teach the weapons in seminars and tell people to go home and practice on their own time. It doesn't help that I absolutely suck at all those three weapons of course I never practiced them much because they're either illegal here or not very practical.
I suggested that at my dojang, I use a white-yellow-green-blue-brown system, with black stripes instead of the half colours to indicate "between colours" ranks, using the argument that the half-colour belts can't be bought in Norway and would have to be shipped from Spain every time there's a test here. I'll burn offerings to the gods in hope of their benign intervention. I don't want my dojang to look like a circus tent!
What would you have done? Opinions and comments welcome - and by the way it irks me no end that I have to spend time and energy on this. Bleh.
05-11-2009, 09:54 #2
Allan J.G. Anderson
"War is hell"
-William T. Sherman
05-12-2009, 20:21 #3
- Elizabeth Seuferling
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I am always a little leary about mega belt systems such as you have described. Especially if testing fees are being charged for every new belt.
Just a quick question, I don't really understand the "in-between" rank. Can you explain that? As students learned necessary parts of the curriculum for advancement, I just stuck a piece of colored electrical tape on their belts. That was more for my benefit so I knew where to concentrate my teaching.
Please let us know how your instructor responds. I agree with you 100% and I am glad you put your foot down.Elizabeth
"Relying on the government to safeguard your retirement money is like relying on a pothead to safeguard your Fritos." - Unknown pot head
05-13-2009, 00:53 #4
My instructor already responded, saying it's not a problem if I want to use another system so long as it's not the same as the one used for Taekwondo. He wants the two to be different, primarily so people won't start saying "well they just train Taekwondo and then they get the Hapkido grades at the same time" (not uncommon here, since Hapkido is not very widespread and most people don't even know what it is, some Taekwondo schools claim to teach Hapkido as "extra curriculum" ).
As you probably understand, this whole belt conundrum is money driven and has to do with my instructor trying to make a living out of his martial arts knowledge. Belt test fees are about $55 per belt now (about the same as other schools here, remember Norway's a high-cost/high wage country) including certificate and new belt, and the idea with the "inbetween" split colour belts is basically the same as putting a stripe on your existing colour belt before getting a new colour. Except of course it's vastly less appealing from an aesthetic point of view
The added colour levels would change the colour grade structure from a 10-tier to a 14-tier, which of course boosts earnings from testing fees.
Mostly I'm the one who carries out the testings anyway, so usually I just forward a part of the testing fee to my instructor (basically for him to issue guep certificates). I'll have to consider how to structure this stuff in the future. What my instructor does at his school in Spain isn't necessarily suitable here in Norway. What I'd like to do is dispense with the testing fees altogether, raise the general cost of instruction to cover the cost of certs and other administrative waffle, and then whenever my instructor makes an appearance to check on our progress I'll call it a seminar so he can charge for it separately.
By the way I was planning to use these guys to supply the belts, as I'd like for them to have the Hanja embroidery and nobody else seems to do that. Anyone have any experience with them?