vabeachjudoka wrote:Hello all this is my first post to this site and this thread.
i dont hide behide the blanket of anonymity or arrogance. i am a usja shodan tested and promoted fairly and upto the standards of who signed off on my paperwork. I take it upon myself to train my students to my best abilility and i myself train to my best to be a true judoka. i am sure some of you here have many more years in judo than i do,therefore alot of these rank panel issues(due to connections and/or location)dont apply to you.
I am an educator as well as a coach. it is completlely fair that a "teacher" proctor a final exam for a students "graduation". i do not expect a random person experienced or not to come test my classes there fore its an unreal expectation to me in Judo. If I am not qualified to teach and test as a blackbelt why give it to me?Why and how have any club outside of a judo rich area? is Judo to die when its difficult to coordinate big 3 testings or clinincs(in US)? these are rhetorical questions for you to dwell on.
As far as my students "flying the nest" i have never seen a bird panel teach the little ones as they leave (moment of levity).i am for self accountabilty. my students represent me and my training. not everyone will be olympic calibre and some may love judo as much as Kano himself and teach at a higher level than they perform and that would be doing Judo no favors to punish these people and keep them from spreading Judo.
At this stage in the slowly fading life of Judo in the US we should be doing everything in our power to get people interetsed in Judo not regulate them out of a Judo Dojo. To all i say safe training and ask we all do our part to introduce people to the gift of Judo
Thanks for the post. I was reading it but I am not sure if I understand some of the things correctly.
A black belt is a rank that reflects a certain minimal level of technical skills, with the lower black belts ideally suggesting that some of these skills have been validated in competition. However, you seem to suggest that there is some implication in there that it also would be a teaching qualification ? Am I understanding you correctly ? If so, I am not entirely following this argument as there is per se nothing in there that prepares or educates someone for teaching. One could probably to some extent attempt to copy one's own teacher, but that would likely be ineffective since the people to whom you would project that copied material would not be in the exact same configuration hence reducing the teaching yield.
I think this is important. I have invariably found teaching standards in judo extremely poor, and have always felt that when attending a clinic that somehow the majority of people seems to automatically substitute teaching skills with fame and height of dan-rank of the person teaching, which is something really bizarre. I guess it's probably not unique to judo. Probably, everyone playing tennis would be thrilled if Federer or Nadal or the Williams sisters might teach a class, though in reality they might be complete failures at teaching. The star status of these people would eradicate any common sense in evaluating their actual teaching skills in terms of how much and well they can actually analyze a person's errors and promptly correct them through supreme insight and transferable genius. What I am trying to say is that, the way I see it, a black belt can 'lead a class', that is ... to take a lead role and have others hopefully follow that, but that is not the same as teaching. Transfering the complex motor and coordinative skills of judo, facilitating learning, those are the things that a teacher needs to have.
I am talking in general terms obviously. From what I understand, you are an educator yourself, so you will have many insights from your other activities that do not simply come with obtaining a black belt. There is no doubt a great benefit to that even though the two do not perfectly harmnonize. What I mean with that is that a judo teacher one should ideally have the ability to produce students who are better than yourself, or techniques one does not properly know oneself. To be able to achieve that, more is necessary than skill A + skill B, but some kind of skill AB that is not merely the sum of skill A and skill B, but a holistic and symbiotic whole.
This is hard, very frustrating sometimes even if one has a lot of experience. This morning I was teaching tai-otoshi, we had been working on that recently but mostly statically. This morning I wanted to go one step further and do it while moving. No one could actually do it. What they did is ... they walked, stopped and did static tai-otoshi. But that is not the same as tai-otoshi during movement. The reference movement implies that one needs to make an optimal reactive response that facilitates the kuzusi. To me it is logical, simple, something one to do with eyes closed, and still no one could do it. They were trying to put force in their, become brutal, but they could not do the timing. After I had corrected that, I tried to explain how you had to turn in. No one could do it. What they did, was actually ... 'turn before the partner and take some position', but that isn't what 'turning in' is. Turning in, implies that the movement of your body is so coordinated that it makes optimal use of the opening you create, and in that movement take up the position. I explained to them that the movement had to come out of the hara, but they could not do that either. I explained that judo movements come out of the hara, and that your hara needs to communicate with the hara of your opponent to find that gap to sense if the gap is there, optimal enough, needs to work as a sensor. I demonstrated it vizualizing when the force from the hara collided because there was no gap, or missed the gap, or what, or when the turn followed precisely into that gap. I felt somewhat relieve having caught much of the essence of tai-otoshi in those phrases. I hoped they would jump up and now all do it but instead, they were sitting there their head lowered between their shoulders. So I asked what's wrong, don't you feel this, don't you feel this force from your hara, don't you feel that communication ? Everyone shook their head, n"o, you're just talking way over our heads !" There I was, what I thought was a crystal clear explanation did not achieve my objective of transfering those skills. Well, that is to say, maybe it did, maybe the effects will be visible in three months. It's a long process. However, the point I am trying to make with this is, that in order to teach this very aspect (even if you fail to transfer those skills) you have to actually KNOW the skills and be able to explain them and fully realize where the problem sits when it fails, although one does not necessarily have to be able to it.
It's hard, but I guess, not surprising. Most of the greatest judo champions never succeeded in successfully transferring even just a quarter of their skills to someone else. Then again, David Oistrakh, who was a violin pedagogue in addition to a violin virtuoso taught so many master classes, but have you ever heard anyone else having the ability to produce his sound ? No. So, he was not able to transfer that to anyone else either.
I am not going to comment on the changes in rank requirements among the various US judo organizations. Other people here have more useful things to say about that, but personally I think it is good practice that from a certain level one is not involved in grading one's own students, and leave the assessment to another hopefully objective committee of sensei. The outwards validation of skill through shiai through examiners one does not have a friendship or acquaintance relationship with is a good thing in the process of spreading one's wings. I am in favor of no sensei having any rank authority above 1st kyû and have all higher ranks be decided by an external committee of examiners. This has obviously nothing to do with the skills of the teacher him-/herself. I have students who have to do black belt exams tomorrow. I teach the federal courses kata/technique myself and am a member of the exam jury, but tomorrow I will recuse myself from that task, so that my students can be judged objectively without potential bias from me, really, or apparent ... meaning "as perceived by other candidates who too have to do exam tomorrow but who would not have the luxury of their own teacher being in the exam jury". My students do not need me in the jury to pass. If they did, they would not be ready for a higher rank. I will be present as an observer, a privilege extended to any student's teacher during a formal black belt exam. In this way they know I care and support them, and that I will provide personal feedback afterwards on which we can continue to work and they have a feeling of shared burden, namely that it is something we worked on together. This is just a reflection from the situations I am most familiar with.
In terms of regulations, I would hope that the purpose is not to over-regulated. As an educator you know though that something are important towards students: aims and abilities of what it is you are teaching, how assessed, when assessed, what in that assessment represents excellent, good, medium, poor, fail. What kind of format, clear understanding that helps avoiding problems, and that helps giving people a feeling of being treated differently in a biased way, or bluntly avoid discrimination and preferrential treatment. Those who have been in judo a long time know that things change. At one point you will have judo governed by people who were not even there when you started. If so many years later you have to try and explain or prove your position that carries a lot of things that used to be common but sounds strange to the much newer people, then having the ability to fall back on a written contract, rules, or documentation might help. It might help to document things if ever moving countries, or other drastic changes take place (for example coaching qualifications becoming legally required, and becoming administered by separate governing bodies).
Please, understand that I am writing these things just as a reflection on points that might be useful to raise here for people wanting to discuss some of these things, and not as a critique to your specific post, although it inspired me to write about it.
Last edited by Cichorei Kano on Sun May 12, 2013 7:42 am; edited 1 time in total