When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:
I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me
I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me
I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull
I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death
I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed
I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes
I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados
I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers
The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn
Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung
WARNING, CAVEAT AND NOTE
The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated.” - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)
“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)
“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne
Black Belt Wiki Entry
In Japan, however, rank often comes more or less automatically with time training and the black belt has little to do with the "master" level which westerners often think of when they hear the term "black belt". - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_belt_%28martial_arts%29
I am not sure this is true today. I say this because many of our systems here in America use the guidelines from Japanese organizations to determine how they will test and promote black belts. It is my belief now that Japan has fully and completely jumped on the wagon of commercialism - money truck, a means of income from around the world.
I can say that I am aware, personally, of one such individual on Okinawa who become wealthy because of the terms and conditions imposed through the association under the impressions that rank only has meaning if it comes from this association, this master, and that honbu-dojo.
In contrast to the "black belt as master" stereotype, a black belt commonly indicates the wearer is competent in a style's basic technique and principles.
Expanding on this a bit I would have said competency in the fundamental principles of the martial system. I am not saying they have mastered them yet I am saying they know of them and are now starting to apply them in unison to make them work real-time.
the student has a good understanding of concepts and ability to use them but has not yet perfected their skills.
My comment before this quote covers this.
a 'black belt' is commonly viewed as conferring some status, achieving one has been used as a marketing 'gimmick', for example a guarantee of being awarded one within a specific period or if a specific amount is paid. Some schools place profit ahead of ability when using these tactics and are sometimes referred to as McDojos.
I have witnessed this first hand by the discussions of other karate-ka who literally provide me a list of items they must know to earn a black belt. It looks a lot like the criteria College's use to describe classes of instruction and like school syllabus/lesson plans with specifics that are graded so they earn a certificate. Read this book, take a knowledge test, get a grade. Write a paper on a subject, have it graded, receive an "A", and add it to the other grade. If you get four "A's," two "B's," and one "C" you pass and get a black belt.
I hear and read all the time how they have to meet specific goals, i.e. have understanding of five punches, three kicks, and four sparring/competition combinations with at least a "B-" on a kobudo weapon like the staff/bo.
a black belt student should not be called sensei until they are sandan (third degree black belt), as this denotes a greater degree of experience and a sensei must have this and grasp of what is involved in teaching a martial art.
Absolutely, it is far to prevalent that sho-dan go right out and start a dojo with the intent to make money when it might be apparent if they understood what a black belt is, my view of course, and understand it takes years to learn how to teach/instruct in general and more years to teach/instruct a physical/mental course like a combative marital system.
We just have gone wild and lost our course/bearing all in the name of cool things, instant gratification and egoistic self-promotion and prideful beliefs.