Convince me otherwise: ranked armbands/t-shirts is good for MT/boxing in the West

Discussion in 'Standup Technique' started by Hatake88, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. Hatake88 Blue Belt

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    Up till recently, I've always been against implementing a universally recognisable grading system for MT/boxing. By grading system I mean something like a judo or BJJ belt system where, even though the tests and standards from each gym may vary, a student's rank will nonetheless be recognised across gyms and there are broad expectations for each rank.

    I came to this conclusion when I went back to my old BJJ school recently. I was surprised at how many faces I recognised even though years had past since I last rolled there. In BJJ and in judo, you also often see people who have been coming for years but only ever show up twice or thrice a week, as well as older students still rolling late into their 40s or 50s.

    In comparison, MT/boxing tends to have a much sharper drop off rate. For example, it is very rare to find a MT student who has 3-5 years experience that has no desire to compete but still comes on a regular basis. From my personal experience, a lot of MT/boxing students train with the goal of competition. Most run out of interest before they get there but, even for those who did step into the ring, most of them will never reach B class before they themselves stop coming.

    Yes, I understand that a coloured piece of fabric won't give you special abilities. I also understand that, in the ideal world, people should concentrate on learning and appreciating technique over anything else. However, the truth is that it sucks to be a MT/boxing student past a certain point. Most fighters are expected to train for 1.5-2 hours a day, at least three or four times a week - and that's when they don't have anything booked. The average worker isn't able or willing to commit this amount of time to their sport - which leaves them in the tricky situation where they may be progressing in skill but that progression is not recognised or felt. They may become a sparring partner for fighters and receive the punishing effect of that - but never any real praise or substantial feedback as they aren't the ones representing the gym. Alternatively, they might not even be progressing in skill - it is easy for students who have around 1.5 years of experience to get complacent as sparring is optional (they don't come), their technique is recognised as 'good' by the coaches, they are used to doing their jab-cross-kick routine and therefore they go through the motions and don't experiment or refine. I have seen so many students like this who, despite 1-2 years in the sport, don't know how to turn their shoulders to throw their weight into a kick or who doesn't really know what to do other than grab the neck while in the clinch.

    Ranks therefore will be a useful motivator for most students. Suddenly technique matters not only because doing things correctly feels good but there will suddenly be something concrete to aim for. Something that they can achieve, is meaningful to achieve, and that is achievable over a more relaxed timeframe. Coaches will also become more focused on their intermediate students as they need to make sure they reach the level expected of each rank. During grading, coaches will have to observe each student closely which gives them the chance to give meaningful feedback. Finally, the existence of a syllabus will also serve as quality control as stopping you from progressing until you fix the holes in your game forces you to be aware of them.

    What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  2. DoctorTaco Breadhead

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    The business owner side of me likes it. The guy who loves the spirit and history of these sports and traditions doesn’t. I can see both sides of it.
     
  3. Kenjamito Freakin Covid

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    I think rankings would be fun.
     
  4. AndyMaBobs Brown Belt

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    I think it's insulting to westerners, particularly Americans who are wrongly stereotyped as being lazy and needing hand holding to achieve things in life. Westerners don't need ranks in their martial arts to stick with it - if you're the sort of person who is concerned with belt rankings, you're probably not the sort of person who would stick with that martial art for life - and that is fine.
     
  5. j123 Pro Sherdogger 500-0-1

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    Let me bang mang
    To be fair, we've discussed it before. TMAs have a better longevity compared to modern combat sports, since the latter's entire history is mainly built around being a contest than other avenues such as self-defense, social life, or cultural appreciation; While it may be included, its not the main driving force.

    I'm usually a strong advocate against a belting system as I feel it eventually gets subjected to a "working the system" approach, but far too often people join combat sport gyms to feel like a fighter, or have dreams of competing when they first watched UFC1-3 or Ong Bak decades ago; Once its met, they disappear. The whole quitting after blue in BJJ is a playful meme, but its real. Over in north america there are a few prestigious tournaments in the ammy scene everyone thirsts to belt for, once it happens, they're off and end up moving onto other things in life. The sad part is, a few end up quitting fitness in general and live un-healthy lifestyles. Partially going too hard in dieting and being burnt out.

    I actually contribute alot of this to the current trend of "life hacking", people wanting to go all in to different facets of life, and once they accomplished their milestone, leave and move on to other hobbies and whatnaught.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2020
  6. Hotora86 #StayTheFuckHome #FlattenTheCurve #WashYourHands

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    Adopt them for those who want them.

    Don't for those who don't.

    Voila.
     
  7. Hatake88 Blue Belt

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    I don't see it as stereotyping. Most westerners do martial arts as a hobby or as a form of exercise (or both). This is different to Thailand where MT is more of a career choice (or at least a part time gig) than anything else. Ranks aren't needed in Thailand because stadium rankings and the need for income provide a source of motivation that doesn't really exist in the west. Therefore, there has to be a different incentive in the west to keep people coming back.

    Its all good to say "if you care about rankings then don't come"...except these people who do end up quitting not only lose the benefit of appreciating the beauty of the art but also lose the associated health and social benefits.

    If you don't care about ranks, then why care that a ranking system exists? I know plenty of 2 year white belts or 4 year blue belts who roll with a belt with no stripes. Their existence however doesn't neglect the incentive and benefits of the BJJ grading system.
     
  8. AndyMaBobs Brown Belt

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    That isn't what I said. I said that the sort of people who need a ranking system to progress in a martial art, are not going to stick with it.
     
  9. Woldog Undisputed Champion of Sherdog

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    Most people drop off because they realize real fighting is not for them. They thought it looked easy on TV and now they realize it takes a lot more than just going out and punching people.

    We have guys at my old gym who were the the 6 years I trained at that particular gym who were more dedicated than me and didn't compete at all. One guy is still there a year after I've left training his Muay Thai and Boxing, I see him walking to the gym every day. He's like 56 years old.
     
  10. SandisLL Brown Belt

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    Well, from one point I hate ranking sytem from another point me likes belt system….

    Yes, in old times belt system didn't existed and I treat TMAs mainly not like Geidan Budo approach.
    Fights soul and you aren't a belt.

    -
    From another point, if a coloured belt really represents proven technical skill set and fitness level, this does far more easier work for an instructor if he have not 10 or 20 clients.
    Old time small dojo with sensei and 10 or 20 students didn't needed even any belt. Sensei knew all students in depth.
    &
    If dojo/ club is large and uses not only one instructor, coloured belts system might help for example to teach KB too.
    ONLY IF
    this coloured belts system really represents minimal student fitness level and technical skillset for this belt level.
    1. easier to arrange pairs 2. motivation to meet next level fitness requirements for a test
    Like this.
    ---
    Disatvantage might be and actually is, that not rarerly students with previous training or cross training in another arts come in gym, then have belt that doesn't reflect how hard with them is to deal in smoker for example etc.
    Classical examples: BJJ and Judo gyms with former or current wrestlers now blue belts in BJJ or KB gyms with former full contact karate or like this background guys in ( happens in europe not that rarerly and this is reason why plenty of KB gyms doesn't use mandatory belt system. ).
    More amazing example: guy did had brown, later Black in one karate style and a Green in another. Instructor in this club was proud: our Green belt is such a good, our club is amazing.
    -
    For marketing purposes too.
    Not sandbaging cos under these rules 1 Kyu were in 1 Dan rank together for tournaments but still.
    Dojo had brown belt that wished to be fitness specialist not coach, didn't cared to be promoted. Dad - sensei and co owner wasn't happy until realised new effective marketing tool. Our brown isn't worse than their Black because our club/dojo is the best in this city.
    -
    Or in older times these sport sambo guys that turned to do Judo to get compete in more sponsored Judo. Guy for example 18 years old, 8 years in sports sambo, whitebelt with Judo Gi. One from these whitebelts already had some 5th - 8th places in european sambo tournaments, another even bronze if I correctly remember.
    With them coaches didn't had that difficult to deal: they used classes for competitive athletes, guys too knew them well. These also get relatively quickly promoted up.
     
  11. JohnPJones Green Belt

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    I think TMAs have longevity because the overwhelming number of them are daycares aimed at children, 5-12.
     
  12. JohnPJones Green Belt

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    I admit that belts and capitalism in martial arts provide a serious likelihood of corruption and mcdojo-ism
     
  13. shincheckin Black Belt

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    good for business

    not good for the sport. Doing this to MT, would be the equivalent of doing it to boxing.

    The belt is in the ring.

    The sport of MT, is fighting MT
     

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