Q mystic wrote:CK, so it seems that 7-11 is the ripe age for them to start.
What about comp tho? Do you teach him excellent judo without comp for some years? Because it seems he would develop into a shodan without comp experience by the time he was 12-14 or so. Wouldn't that hinder him when he goes into comp?
And if he starts comp early, it seems that he could suffer burn-out young and maybe other future consequences of being a young 'success', like a child-star syndrome(if it's a syndrome).
Are you asking me personally in the sense of what I do ? I do not teach the children's groups in the clubs I teach. I have several reasons for this. Usually children are taught by more junior instructors. That is not any different in the clubs I teach. On the other hand, I find it important to stay in touch with the skills, demands and particulars of every group, so I do teach each year a week or two weeks of full-time children's jûdô clinics and I may fall in for a teacher who has another commitment. Certainly, pedagogically there is always something to learn from teaching children and beginners, but in general it isn't the best use of my skills in a sense of ... let's just talk technique, well lots of things that I am curently occupied with are rather advanced. If I would focus on children I would have to set aside even more of that which as a negative consequence for me is less practice, losing out, and getting less skilled.
Anyhow, in my younger days I did have responsibility for the juniors divisions of some of the clubs where I was teaching so I can directly refer to that time. Obviously, even though I don't teach children constantly now, I still have an opinion about it. In general, I stick to how things were when I was a junior, which was ... minimal jûdô-rank required for competition: 3rd kyû. Therefore, any student would have to accumulate all the experience time-wise and skill-wise for 3rd kyû before entering his/her first competition. Doesn't matter whether the kid is a 'star' or not. If the truly is a star, he likely will become 3rd kyû sooner. My personal view is that it isn't responsible to let lower ranks participate in competition, and when I used to referee beginners competition I was often wondering what I was refereeing anyhow. You had pulling and dragging and finally someone stumbled over their own legs and you had to award some score to that; had nothing to do with jûdô. So, what people, different-minded people do in their club is their business, but my students, or the students taught by our more junior-teachers do not participate in competition before achieving 3rd kyû.
If ... on the other hand you are asking me what I would do if I were to follow what others do who send students as white belts to tournaments, that's really a wrong question to ask me. Without trying to be too judgemental, let's just say that when someone does that as an instructor then likely one has a different understanding of Kanô's pedagogy than I do. I can't provide the answers for someone whose understanding differs that much from my own. I have no understanding about what a 6th or 5th kyû would be doing at a competition except for watching, so I cannot fill in those gaps. Sorry.
Moreover, the scenario here is fundamentally different from things that may be acceptable in the US. It is not possible to become shodan at age 14 and even if it were, it would not be possible to do so without competition. Club teachers do not hand out black belts to their own students here. We still have tsukinami-shiai, and there is a mandatory requirement for 10 points. The minimal age to obtain shodan without any competition is 23 years, which is substantially less than when I became shodan. I believe that you had to be at least 30 years old to obtain shodan without any competition. Also, mind that shodan-ranks are awarded only by a national jury, so your technical skills have to be good enough to convince an external jury. Minimal age for shodan is 16 years here. Minimal age for access to tsukinami-shiai is 15 years. That implies that a kid who obtains shodan at age 16, will have successfully beaten 10 adults since there are no age categories in tsukinami-shiai, or if he is lucky, he might have come across another junior. In other words, the scenario you paint, is simply not possible here.