Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How Long should it take to become a Black Belt

A question that lots of students and non-students have asked me. How long does it take to become a black belt in Goshinkan JuJitsu? This is not an easy question to answer as you have to factor in the totality of many things. In Japanese JuJitsu it takes four or five years to reach the Shodan level. I have had many students take up to seven years and a few achieve the rank in less than four years.

You must factor in your age and ability, your instructor's age and ability. How often and for how long you can train.  Things worth achieving should take a reasonable amount of commitment and time. The true answer is it takes your whole life to become a black belt and a good Sensei.

There are some instructor's I am sad to say that will promote almost anyone regardless of the amount of time they have put in. This is doing a huge disservice to all Japanese and BJJ black belts world wide. I don't believe most instructors start off this way but are influenced by money and being the grand pooba. The belief maybe, If you can have a ton of black belts under you society might respect you more.

Whatever the reason none of them are good reasons. In our style of JuJitsu there is at most one person a year promoted or tested to the Black Belt level and generally it's about every two years. (they have all been training well over four years). Goshinkan-Ryu JuJitsu has less than twenty black belts. Very few people have what it takes to make it this far and the ones that do realize they have now just started their journey in JuJitsu.

There have been a few Ryu's that have directly started under Goshinkan JuJitsu and these Ryu's are considered very very young or new. If the Ryu is five years old then generally it should have one or maybe two black belts. It take almost ten year for a Ryu to have ten black belts in western Canada. The numbers may be much higher in the UK as there is a lot more people taking JuJitsu. The number is relative.

Some of my students have expressed concerns about high ranking black belts that promote numerous students to black belt, these Sensei are not even on the mat with these students. This is a very poor practice and yes it does happen. I don't personally agree with it nor do any of the JuJitsu black belts I associate with.

Unfortunately there is a lot of strong personality's in martial arts and people with small man syndrome. These people will continue this process as they truly believe they are contributing quality to their style or type of martial art. This is far from the truth and there is no place in traditional or modern martial arts for such people.    

The black belt should not be given just because a person has the ability to copy a technique, their are time lines in almost every single Ryu. The founders of these styles would be rolling in their graves if they knew what was going on.

K.D. Lintott, Sensei Goshinkan-Ryu JuJitsu

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