16 March 2012

Philip de Vos Promoted to Co-Academy Head

Mr Philip de Vos
It is my pleasure to announce that Boosabeomnim Philip de Vos has been appointed as Co-Academy Head for the Potchefstroom Regional Academy, the main functioning academy within the Soo Shim Kwan.

Boosabeomnim Philip's contribution to the Soo Shim Kwan and to the Potchefstroom Dojang have been consistently loyal and focussed. It was therefore with great certainty that I could approach the South Africa International Taekwon-Do Federation's Executive President, Sabeomnim Dirk Nel, with the proposal to promote Boosabeomnim Philip to the level of Academy Head, who is already an accredited South Africa Three-Star Instructor.


Ymar Sakar said...

If one must utilize a belt system, I prefer the Japanese Menkyo Kaiden system and how they handle child students.

9th to 6th kyu is the highest belt rank a child can be promoted. Teenagers, 13 or over can thus be promoted to 5th kyu, whereas adults normally start at 6th kyu.

This makes consistent the fact that rank is now based upon age as well as dojo belt, where one does not outpace the other.

The idea of separating one path for children and another path for adults, divides up the society and prevents children from seeking apprenticeship from adults. Without this apprenticeship relationship, skills cannot be passed unto generations unlimited. Eventually, one path becomes its own thing and the other path completely diverges. To the point where Japanese karate taught to children is such that it will never progress to the self defense or battlefield applications of Okinawan karate before Itosu's reforms. By diving up the promotion paths, one also created two separate social "classes", and after a few generations, they will never meet again. Since the world is too peaceful to force them to do so for pragmatic reasons.

SooShimKwan said...

Interesting thoughts, Ymar.

Under the Kukkiwon (WTF) Taekwon-Do system, children can only achieve a junior black belt. Some ITF NGB also implement a similar system of a junior black belt. In both cases the syllabus is made slightly easier for children, but still covers mostly the same material.

Ymar Sakar said...

I'm actually one of those people that try to avoid promotions if I can help it.

I've heard some other people do this as well, though usually they are older, like 40+.

Most people 30 or younger wish to be promoted. They wish for rank, authority, prestige.

I find external conceptions of authority and recognition of skill to be false indicators. The true warrior has no need of bardic tales or heroic sagas to obtain true skill in the martial philosophies. The true warrior also never tells his enemies what abilities he has either...

The concept of wearing a belt, to signify one's authority in one's dojo or one's skill level in one's dojo, would have been suicidal in the ancient days. Also asking for a lot of grief from people on warrior pilgrimages. People who advertise a lot, like the sword schools of Tokyo, eventually meet a Musashi.

I'm a firm believer in Shu Ha Ri. NOt because I was converted, but because it's a very Japanese way of describing my own thoughts on this subject. It's useful when communicating with martial artists primarily from a Japanese cultural background. Children are constantly in the shu stage and they never progress to Ha or "thinking for themselves" until much much later. Or if they are precocious. The only requirement for black belt in my view is that the student must have achieved Ha stage in something worthwhile.

If they cannot think for themselves, then they're not be able to fight a battle for themselves and by themselves either. It's also why black belts in the shodan range in America often times get beaten in street fights. Because they are constantly trying to "reproduce the form", and cannot think for themselves. To me, there's no such thing as "junior Ha" level in a student's progress.

Ymar Sakar said...

The Menkyo Kaiden is a certification system, not a belt system. What I was alluding to is that Obata Toshishiro uses the Menkyo Kaiden system for Shinkendo and the kyu system for Aikibujutsu. In comparing the two and how they work, one gets an idea of how a Menkyo Kaiden mentality applies to the kyu ranks too. While that is not the only way to deal with it, it is a way that makes relatively good sense.

I prefer simpler over more complex, thus I would go with a 3 tier certification system. Shu. Ha. And Ri. The student that learns by copying. The student that learns by thinking for themselves and integrating material as real knowledge. And the student that is expected to be better than the teacher and produce better students as a result.