Last month I had a conversation with a parent about their children and their belt ranks. I new where this was going so I tried to be political with my responses. I Tried to make her see the bigger picture of Martial Arts in general. The parents response was expected. I had already had it in my mind to make a change and this pushed me to speed up my process.
Jiujitsu is very difficult when it comes to ranking. With adults and kids. With adults, stripe or belt someone "Too Soon" and people get offended. Hold back awhile and people say your sand bagging? You cant win...
I have been very traditional, I guess, when it came to belts, stripes and ranking up. But, with the kids this has proven to be a terrible idea. Adults , for the most part, can and do understand the wait. You do however see those fall to the "BLUE BELT BLUES" as I call it. This is when an adult gets their blue belt then quits. Believe it or not, its a bigger issue than you think.
With the kids, this traditional thinking has lead to a lot of turn over. I believe kids as well as parents, want to see some visible progressive reward ie.. stripes, belts, certificates etc... So, along with the IBJJF Davis Martial Arts is making changes as well.
After some long thought out debates between my traditional self and business self we are adopting a new belt system. Davis Martial Arts originally had only 5 belts for kids with each belt requiring 4 stripes. Starting in April we will be transitioning to a 10 belt system. Loosely based on IBJJF recommendations.
White to white with a black stripe. Gray to gray with a black stripe and so on. This will hopefully alleviate some of the early withdrawls of kids from our program.
Along with a new belting system we are implementing a testing program that kicks off in April as well. Kids will now be required to perform certain techniques, drills, grips etc.. upon command.
For myself this has been a long road and difficult decision to make. I do believe it will be a benefit the kids as well as the parents.
Davis Martial Arts believes that testing can be beneficial for kids. Belt testing teaches students to set and reach goals, a valuable skill in everyday life. Belt testing also teaches that with training and practicing students are rewarded with being able to demonstrate their techniques with their best effort and ability enabling them to progress forward with their goals. New belts are now earned and not just awarded.
Setting goals and achieving them. Finding out that hardwork and effort can be rewarded. Building self confidence thru achievements. All important in developing young peoples minds, bodies and attitudes for the future.
Owner and head instructor of Davis Martial Arts Academy in Humble Texas