Friday, April 03, 2009

BBat50 is skipping class again. sigh

It's catching up with me again. My shoulders have been aching for awhile and I've been icing and stretching them again. Monday night, we were doing the old appreciation form and I found that I just couldn't get my durn arms up past my head. Aiieeee, it's the rotator cuffs again.

Durn durn durn. So I skipped class Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday but I'll try to make it through class on Saturday (for a little bugo ;->).

The good news: two of my kids are spotlighting next week. David for red, Ariana for purple.

I'm sitting in the dojo as I write this and I just joined in some moms' conversations. One adolescent at Power Weekend (the culminating test weekend of the six month black belt cycle) was told that he's not ready for his black belt and needs to wait. Apparently, he has been warned repeatedly about behaving immaturely during class and even on that weekend, he was warned that he needs to get serious. Apparently, he didn't and he will now have to wait. These are difficult family times for him so some parents think he should be cut some slack. But then, it is the martial arts and as Kyoshi says about promotions: "If there is any doubt, there is NO doubt."

It's a heartbreaker. There were clearly extenuating circumstances that the kid was acting out in response to. Is Sensei and Kyoshi right to be so hard or not? What do you think?



Anonymous said...

Kyoshi is absolutely right. Handing out undeserved rankings- especially black belts- serves only to 'water down' the rankings and cheapen the accomplishments of those who have truly earned them.

Our goal is "black belt EXCELLENCE" not black belt slack.

ronsan60 said...

John: see my blog ronsan60 for my take on your heartbreaker question.

Anonymous said...

I've read ronsan60's blog a couple times(very good,btw), and took a few days to think about it.Your friend John is an incredible person; not many people have that kind of perseverance.I am glad that he finally achieved his goal, and I certainly think that was the right thing to do. Should have been done long before that in fact.

I am trying to figure out exactly where and when a rule should rightly be set aside. I doubt I have the answers just right, but here's a few thoughts:

I do think there are some fundamental differences between John's situation and the youngster's (I'll call him Tim for expediency).
I do not know any of the details of Tim's situation beyond what was posted.
Discipline and self-control are two of the very primary aims of martial arts training, and Tim had apparently not yet achieved them. Sure, there may be extenuating circumstances- problems at home, at school- any number of things. But isn't that exactly what disciple and self-control are really about- rising above the immediate circumstances? It's easy to have these traits when the sailing is smooth, but it's the storms that really test them- and when we need them most.
Also, Tim has time on his side. His setback is likely to be eased, if not cured, by time passing and gaining maturity. He will probably be a better black belt for it, having more training under his belt, having matured more, and having faced adversity and persevered. If he were handed a black belt under the current circumstances might he always have a nagging little doubt that maybe he hadn't really made the grade and they were just being charitable because of his troubles?

John's case is different. He had done all he could physically do. His body was simply not capable of the timed run. Running X feet in Y minutes is not, to the best of my knowledge, a fundamental tenet of the martial arts. John had met, and it sounds like vastly exceeded, those tenets. He was a black belt in every sense of the word, except by somebody's arbitrary time/distance goal. Not for lack of effort either, but in spite of incredible effort.

Let me clarify a point here. I say it's an arbitrary measure, and I believe it is although I don't know how it was derived. But my point is that there are several aspects to fitness beyond the ability to run. What if there were an added requirement for strength, another aspect of fitness? What if you had to be able to bench press 225 lbs.? I suspect you'd see a lot fewer female black belts,as well as fewer of the thin, lanky type males, and fewer adolescents. Some people who are currently excellent black belts would have been in John's position; simply not physically capable regardless of how hard they tried. Would it be right that somebody built small and light may never be able to pass that hurdle? I don't it right that somebody built heavy and strong may never make the run?

One last point; John's situation was not going to improve with time. Time was working against him.Once it was clear that he met all the other measures, and had given full effort to achieving the run, IMO he should have been promoted.