Tag Archives: black belt

Small Steps to Make the Big Leap to Black Belt

Newsletter 935

Problems with Promoting People to Black Belt

Just to warn you,
there is a lot of meandering this newsletter,
so get your head ready
to turn left or right
on a whim or a blink.

I was talking with another instructor,
and he told me how he got black belt.
He spent five years at the belt below black belt.
He was in his mid thirties,
and he finally went up to the head instructor and said,
‘Promote me,
I’m not getting better,
I’m just getting older.’

Just getting older.
How grim.
Which brings us to the point of it all.

In the beginning,
a person was promoted when he finished
the requirements necessary to promotion.

Chuck Norris did it in a year and a half.
Mike Stone did it in 7 months.
Joe Lewis earned THREE black belts in a year.

Sure,
they are superstars,
but why can’t we finish our requirements and get promoted?

It was Kenpo that established the standard,
they introduced the famous ‘car contracts,’
which were contracts designed by an Arthur Murray dance instructor.
Kenpo spread out the material
so the contract would last four years,
keep the student paying tuition for four years.
Survival, man.
And within a couple of years
all systems of martial arts lasted four years.

Then we have people like my friend,
who are kept at a belt level,
brown or purple,
or whatever,
for five years plus,
until they finally confront their instructor
and demand to be promoted.

Or,
let me digress a moment,
I knew a fellow,
it was kenpo,
who set up a program for his students
to reach black belt in…17 years.

That’s right.
His students were signing up for
SEVENTEEN YEARS!
Zowie.
What’s funny is that,
at the time,
he had 12 years experience.
That’s right,
he had never completed his own system.
But he was demanding students do…what he hadn’t.
Can somebody spell ‘crazy’ for me?

Anyway,
back to the issue at hand,
when should a person be promoted?
When he shows competence at the level he is at.
If he is required to do a form,
a certain set of techniques,
he must show that he understands
the form and the techniques…
and can do them.

So how long does it take to become competent?
If your system is properly arranged,
3 – 6 months per belt.
If your system is matrixed
1 – 3 months per belt.

And some individuals can go faster.

The test is simple.
If you are doing a form…
do you understand what the moves mean?
Can you take a move and apply it?
Without thinking?
To anybody?

You don’t need Bruce Lee’s speed.
You don’t need to pluck arrows out of the air.
You just need to know what something means,
and show that you can do it.

It’s like a plumber.
He knows what length to cut the pipe,
how to connect the pipe.
And that’s it.
for one level.
No mysterious standards,
just simple level
after simple level.

I remember somebody telling me
to sail a boat they needed to take a course,
read a 500 page book,
take a test,
and hope they remembered enough to pass.

But I was told that there is a rudder,
and a sail.
Two moving parts…plus the wind.
500 pages and a test to learn how to point the rudder
away from your destination,
and fill the sail with wind.
Hmmm.

My ultimate instruction for karate is…
don’t get hit…hit the other person.
Sure,
it is sadly lacking,
but once the person fills his sails
you can tell him about currents.
And once the person is looking at a fist in his face,
you can tell him about blocking.
Really.

Now,
with all these sad understatements,
let’s talk about what you are really looking for.

You are looking for control.
Not whether a person can remember a pattern,
or a series of techniques,
but whether he can control his body.

Is he falling over…
I like to call this falling off the floor…
because his stance isn’t being used to sink his weight?

Is his butt wiggling because
he is putting power in his butt instead of his fist?

Is he out of breath because
he isn’t breathing properly?

Do his blocks collapse under impact?

These are the simple questions I ask,
and I ask them of ALL belts.
No hidden standards.

Sure,
a white belt is sloppy,
and a black belt is snappy,
and in-between there are gradient steps,
never too big for the student,
never so small.
Just a staircase of simple steps
leading to more and more body control.

I once observed that white belts and black belts,
in a class,
were doing the same things.
The black belt just looked better at it,
didn’t get out of breath,
and so on.

Nothing mysterious,
no hidden tricks.
Just…a slow climb to competence.

Now,
let me make some points.
These are the points I usually lose readers at,
they read this stuff,
disagree so loudly,
that they immediately cancel the newsletter.

There was a rumor,
once upon a time,
that a student had to fight,
AND DEFEAT
100 other black belts
to earn his black belt.

This was a rumor taken from Kyoshinkai,
where they have a 100 man kumite.
Nobody ever defeats all the 100 men,
in fact,
by the time they are in the last 50,
they are pretty badly bruised and beaten.
By the time they reach the last 10,
they are usually getting beaten pretty regularly.
But the question is…do they finish?
Or do they quit?
It is a matter of spirit.
Do they have it or not?

Interesting reality behind this rumor.

I have seen schools
where they do demand a brown belt
to defeat black belts before they are promoted.
But there is a severe wrongness to what they are doing.

To beat somebody doesn’t show any degree of competence,
it just means you can beat up people.
And beating up people is not the point of the martial arts,
learning how to be a competent human being is.

And,
when somebody is enrolled in a type of school,
where they are expected to ‘roll’ for four or five years
on a single belt level,
before getting a black belt,
that does not show competence.
It shows endurance,
and a variation on 100 man freestyle,
and…
proving that you can beat somebody up
to qualify for black belt.

But I just told you,
if you are learning how to beat people up
you are not learning martial arts.
Sure,
you can beat people up with the martial arts,
but the martial arts are really about…competence.
Achieving a skill level.
Not proving that you can ‘take it.’
Or endure.
Or beat people up.

And,
the people i lose?
They are the ones stuck in a belt level for half a dozen years,
they are stuck,
can’t take any perceived criticism,
need to beat those people up,
and quit the newsletter.

The people who need this advice the most
are the ones the most put off by it.

Ah,
well.

My advice is this:
select a system with standards,
even steps between the belts,
without dominating personalities
demanding you to beat people up.
Find a system where you can see
the small differences between belts.
Where you can see people taking small steps
to make the big leap to black belt.

And,
if you can’t find one,
better learn some matrixing.
Learn how to understand the martial arts,
it will be ten times easier to learn an art then.
Even an art that demands endurance instead of competence.

Here’s the first course on matrixing…
http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/matrix-karate/

Have a great work out!

Al

Here’s a link for an article about when I first started doing this book on Kenjutsu.
I intended to finish it quickly, but it’s actually been five years!

https://alcase.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/new-book-about-the-samurai-sword-is-coming/

here is the page on the new book on Matrixing Kenjutsu
http://monstermartialarts.com/matrixing-kenjutsu/

competence not politics
intuition v figuring out
teach FS w/o losses

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The Burgler and the Black Belt

Newsletter 904

Black Belt Becomes a Burgler!

Supposed to be a true story,
got it off the internet,
so it’s got to be true,
right?

A black belt was coming home from class.
Just up the street from his house he saw a fellow struggling with a TV set.
Being a black belt,
polite and helpful,
he walked up to the fellow and asked if he could help.
‘Sure,’ says the guy.
So the black belt helped the fellow load the TV set
in the back of a van.
It was then that he noticed that the TV set
was from his own house!
That’s right,
his house had been burgled,
and he had,
in effect,
helped ‘steal his own TV set.’

When I first heard this story,
I wondered:
when the police came to arrest the burgler,
did they arrest the black belt?
After all,
he helped steal a TV,
he was an accomplice.
Right?

So don’t forget to drop by
http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/matrix-kung-fu/
40 martial arts takedowns,
and how to use them in freestyle!

AND,
it’s almost HanaKwanMass.
I think,
instead of Santa coming down the chimney,
we should have zombies coming down the chimney.
Wouldn’t being able to use your martial arts to destroy a horde of zombies
be the best HanaKwanMass present ever?

Have a great work out!
Al

How the Kenpo Belt Rank System changed the Martial Arts

The Kenpo Belt Rank System

The Kenpo Belt Rank System is an interesting, little work. It is divided into a colored ranking system that goes like this: white, orange, purple, blue, green, brown (3 ranks), and Black Belt (multiple ranks).

kenpo karate system training manual

150 Kenpo techniques scientifically analyzed.

There is a problem with this, which I will describe in a second, but first, let me tell how the belt system came about.

Originally there were fewer colors. Some hold only a white belt and black belt, but most belt systems, at least inKarate, had four colors. white, Green, Brown, and Black Belt.

Students of Ed Parker, the Tracy Brothers came a cross a dance instructor from Fred Murray Dance Studios, and he showed the brothers how to put students on contracts. This was a boon to the hard working karate instructor, for it enabled him to hold people to contracts, and therefore paying dues longer.

The problem was that there were so many techniques to be dispersed through the belts. Thus, the kenpo karate techniques were divided into 8 groups, which turned out to be about 40 techniques per belt.

Students were taught a technique every lesson, thus keeping them on a belt level for 20 weeks. 8 times 20 and you have 160 weeks, divided by 50 weeks in a year, and you have three polls years to get to black belt. And, it actually took about four years.

A complete system of Kenpo, including 150 techniques, made to work.

A complete system of Kenpo, including 150 techniques, made to work.

The problem was that before that people earned their black belts in a fraction of the time. Mike stone, arguably the best karate tournament fighter in the world, got his black belt in 7 months.

Now, if somebody like Mike Stone came along, he couldn’t earn his black belt fast, but was stuck in the time scheme of four years.

In other words, he could only go as fast as the contract allowed. The odd thing was that people loved it. Although, to be honest, this writer thinks they loved it because of the intimacy and efficiency of the private lesson.

Anyway, one can argue about this, dispute it if they wish, and so what. People either buy into it or not, and that is up to the person.

As for myself, I was to test for brown belt, and I got drafted, and then, when free again, I joined a different school.

The belt ranking system in this school was 8 belts, but there were only four colors: white, green, brown, and black belt. Each color had a level or two in it.

lop sau rolling fists freestyle drill

Making Kenpo Karate unique to every individual.

And, the odd thing, we weren’t on contract, and people could go as fast as they learned the material. This made us work harder, for we could see the end of the race, and didn’t feel we had to go around the track three or four extra times.

So we had people who earned a black belt in a couple of years, and sometimes less.

Oddly, time was increasing to black belt, but that was because karate, and then Kung Fu (courtesy of Bruce Lee) was popular, new systems were being discovered, and more forms and techniques were being added to the system.

So I made it through, just in time, I might add.

And that is the story, plus a couple of extras thrown in, about how the Kenpo Belt system came to be.

If you want to break out of the forced time to black belt, it is recommended that you start studying on your own, outside of school, and accumulate sufficient information so that you know what works, especially in Kenpo, and have a large database of martial arts knowledge.

Check out the ‘Creating Kenpo Karate’ series by Al Case. It has 150 techniques completely and scientifically analyzed, plus a wealth of data concerning how to make any martial art system efficient and workable.

This has been an article about the Kenpo Belt Rank System.

The Statistics of the One Year Black Belt

How Long Does It Take to Become a Black Belt?

I just completed an article describing the statistical breakdown of what it takes to earn a black belt. This data is then used to consider whether a person can get a black belt in one year. The results may surprise you, even shock you.

The statistics can be applied to ANY martial art. Kung Fu, Karate, Aikido, whatever.

The article is at Academia: https://www.academia.edu/11530587/How_Long_Does_It_Take_to_Get_a_Black_Belt

I like this site because more serious writers gather, and the concepts considered have more depth.

Again, the article I wrote concerns the statistical breakdown, and the possibility, of earning  black belt in a year or less.

Should it really take you 50 years to learn this form?

Check out the Black Belt course at MonsterMartialArts.com

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/black-belt-course/

Congratulations to New Martial Arts Master Instructor!

A New Master Instructor in the Martial Arts

Good morning!
And a GREAT work out to you!

Listen, this is neat.
The Academy Awards are coming up,
next day or two
and people get these golden Oscars
for being great.
You know what could be better?

you can get a black belt in less than a yearA Master Instructor Certificate.
It doesn’t signify entertainment,
it signifies REAL knowledge.
A better you.
A real you.

With that said,
CONGRATS
To new Master instructor
Michael D. Jilcott!

Here’s his win!

Mr. Case,

Thank you for all you have put out.  I have been in the martial arts for
over 30+ years.  My first instructor (actually my second but I learned so
much more from him) started me on my “openness” for all forms of martial
arts. He taught Shudokan Karate, but brought in other instructors from
other styles (tae kwon do, other karate, aikido, kung fu).

There were things that I learned, or I should say, was exposed to, that I
would not learn for YEARS later.  Some I re-discovered on my own, others
through the help of others, like yourself.

I really enjoyed reading the Master Instructor Course.  I have gotten new
light on how to tell someone how to “ground” themselves, and a little more
on WHY.

I like your teaching theory [ ] I know that I need to work on this aspect.  The other main thing that I need to work on is-not teaching too much at one time.  With the kids, I don’t have this issue as bad.  BUT with adults, I seem to have.  I guess that I want them to know just as much as possible.

I am now on to the “How to Create Kenpo” series.  I have recently been
given some kenpo videos.  So when I saw that you have a series on Kenpo, of
course I had to get them.

What is your recommendation on the order to read your books on matrixing?

Thank you so much

Michael D Jilcott

Thank you, Michael.
And well done!

You know,
his point about teaching too much,
is common
amongst instructors.
We understand,
we want the student to understand,
and we explain.
But the best explanation is in the doing.

We aren’t bad for our efforts,
just over zealous.
It takes a LOT of discipline
to stop out mouth,
and keep those guys sweating.
But that is key
to teaching the real martial arts.

and I am glad Michael brought this up.
I have had a lot of people comment on this,
and it is a small point,
but it is a point that shows
how simple the Master Instructor Course is.

Not stupid simple,
but common sense,
slap your head simple.

The truth is always simple,
and that’s why it seems to get overlooked.
So thank you, Michael,
for bringing up this point.

Now,
the method for studying matrixing.

You can do the courses/books
as you wish,
according to your desire.
But if you wish to go through the whole thing
in logical step by step order,
Here’s the basic look at how you do it.

The first eight courses
on the Monster Martial Arts home page,
are the heart of matrixing.

They are the first ones I developed.

Past that,
below those eight courses,
are special interest courses,
fields in which I began applying matrixing,
and so on.

The exact history of matrixing is presented in five books.
Four of these books
are included on video courses.
They are,
Pan Gai Noon, Kang Duk Won,
Kwon Bup, Outlaw Karate,
and Buddha Crane Karate,
they are the encyclopedia of Karate,
they show the research done
how I had to cover Karate
beginning to end,
to matrix it.
which, of course,
opened the door to the rest of the martial arts.

And it is important that you understand
that these five books are not matrixing.
They are matrix influenced,
it shows how I evolved
and came up with matrixing.

Which brings us to the latest books
i have come out with.
These are Matrixing applied to specific arts.

we have the Creating Kenpo series.
I take Kenpo apart,
let you see how I actually analyze techniques,
and show you how to make everything smoother,
simpler,
and how to put everything together
in a new format.
The creating kenpo series
will REALLY make you think,
about kenpo,
and other martial arts.

After that:
Fixing MCMAP.
I take a look at the Marine Corps Martial Arts.
This is fascinating
because this art is meant for serious people,
yet there are some massive mistakes in it.
Of extra interest
is the way I combine hands and weapons,
and especially the belt by belt format
on developing kicking.

And,
finally,
Tong Bei.
Tong Bei is an internal Gung Fu
with massive potential.
It is different,
unique,
and yet VERY combat oriented.

Will there be more?
Absolutely.
I’ve already stated my intent
in areas such as the samurai sword,
and Wing chun.
And there are lots of arts out there,
that are begging for a little order,
and faster ways of learning them.

So
thanks to Michael for bringing this up,
and congratulations,

If you want to check out
The Master Instructor course,
here’s the link.

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/4-master-instructor-course/

The courses are on the Monster website,
As for the books, just go to amazon
and do a search for the book

Okley dokely,
Have a homer Simpson day
(make a lot of ‘Doh!’)
and have a funomenal work out!

Al

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/4-master-instructor-course/

Here’s the tong bei book.

http://www.amazon.com/Matrixing-Tong-Bei-Internal-Gung/dp/1507869290/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423678613&sr=8-1&keywords=tong+bei

How Long Does It Take to Get a Black Belt?

Can You Earn A Black Belt in A Year?

Well, it certainly doesn’t take 4 or 5 years to get a black belt, and that is in any martial art, Karate, Kung Fu, Taekwondo, or whatever.

I say this off the top because people think it does take that long, and this is one of those big lies that has been foisted upon the public.

how long does it take to get a black belt in karateLet me give you a few facts.

Chuck Norris earned his black belt in Tang Soo Do karate in about a year and a half.

Mike Stone, one of the best tournament fighters ever, and the fellow who taught Priscilla Presley Karate, earned his in something like 7 months.

So you can earn a black belt in karate pretty fast.

In fact, back in the sixties, it used to take about two years. That’s right. And fellows who were above average and dedicated could get there in about a year.

So what happened to make it longer and harder to get expert ranking in the martial arts?

Tracy’s Kenpo Karate hired a fellow from the Arthur Murray Dance Schools to put karate sales to contracts. The contracts were based on a four year program.

What this meant is that people were in contract, committed to a four year program of paying fees.

Can you spell ‘MONEY?’

It wasn’t long before every martial art jumped on the bandwagon.

All the talk of zen and noble warriors, and it was about a buck.

When I wrote ‘Outlaw Karate: the Secret of the One Year Black Belt,’ I had this in the back of my mind.

learn karate faster

Me in 1974. Karate had just gone to contracts, but I could see how it used to be.

I had studied Kenpo, and knew how it was based upon selling a technique or two every week for for years.

I had studied classical karate, and I had seen how people loaded up the systems with all sorts of stuff, just to make it longer to teach so they could keep students.

I had also come across the facts I recited earlier, about it taking only a year or two, and I was interested in returning the art to that rate of training.

And, let me say something else, I saw that people who learned by those faster methods were better.

They were better because they weren’t overloaded with data from multiple arts, they weren’t trying to absorb exercises and drills designed to make training time longer, they were better because they were aimed at a goal, and that goal had not been spread out over time.

Spread out, which is to say dissipated, weakened, diluted.

Which is to say that because they hadn’t been sold a bill of goods, they were not confused or sidetracked in their training.

I actually discovered several different methods of getting a person to black belt in a year or less, and this in any art.

More important, I discovered ways of putting the martial arts to logic; a logic that is not inherent to the eastern methods of learning.

Outlaw Karate: The Secret of the One Year Black Belt, is one of those methods.

it is one of the better ones because it reduces karate training to the basics, to the methods used back in the sixties. No frills, just the hardest core techniques that worked in a fight, and which built a karate fighter out of anybody who was willing to work hard, and keep his eye on the target.

The name ‘Outlaw Karate’ comes from the fact that I thought I was going ‘outside’ the boundaries of Karate. Actually, I found out that I wasn’t, I was just returning to a harder time, a no nonsense time when people knew they could get where they were going by applying themselves.

A time not configured by ‘contracts’ and the desire to make as much money as you could from a student.

Outlaw Karate: The Secret of the One Year Black Belt, is only $15 on Amazon.

I suggest, if you are serious about Karate, and want to break away from the bushwah and the frippery of contract sales, that you get the book. Focus on one form every two months.

Schedule a couple of hours every night, and go for it.

Do the forms, get a partner and do the techniques, do the drills and freestyle.

At the end of a year you will be in the best shape of your life. Your reaction time will be non -existent and you will be moving intuitively.

Most important, you will be a living testament to the way the martial arts used to be.

matrix karate black belt

One of the many books I have written about how to earn a black belt in a faster period of time, and yet be a better black belt.

You will be a diehard fighter of unparalleled prowess and common sense.

You will find out truths about yourself that are available nowhere else in this culture, on this planet, anywhere.

That’s my Outlaw Karate Promise, and my guarantee that you can get a black belt in one year.

And I invite you to email me and ask ANY questions you wish, and to let me know how you are doing.

That’s Outlaw Karate: The Secret of the One Year Black Belt.

STUDENT WIN: Then I found your site. WHAT A RELIEF. I Feel very strongly that what I am learning is the real deal, and its so simple. I love how you make it so practical and yet traditional at the same time. You don’t bullshit, and you get straight to the point. I’ve been practicing the Outlaw Karate basics since I’ve ordered it, and let me just tell you, I was practicing the stances and my brother (for some reason he loves surprising me with his feet) did a high kick and I automatically went into right high block.I broke out into the hugest grin, I wish you could’ve been there. Your right, it is easy to pick up,

STUDENT WIN: I have for the past two years studied the OUTLAW KARATE course material and have instructed much of it to my students. THANK YOU for this great system. I wish I had studied under you many years ago, to have been able to have received at least my SHODAN in this system from you. It is indeed an incredible system…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Al Case began martial arts in 1967. Among the arts he has studied are Kenpo, Karate, Aikido, Wing Chun Gung Fu, Northern Shaolin Kung fu, Southern Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi Chuan, Pa Kua Chang, and various weapons. He became a writer for the magazines in 1981, and had his own column in Inside Karate. He is the webmaster for MonsterMartialArts.com and several other martial arts related websites. He is the discoverer of Matrixing Martial Arts logic and Neutronics Martial Arts Philosophy. He can be reached through his websites.

you can get a black belt in less than a year

Click on the cover to go to Amazon and find out more…

Did Bruce Lee Really Know Gung Fu?

Bruce Lee Gung Fu Lives

Bruce Lee was the martial arts icon of the last century. Ask people what the first thing that pops into their mind when you say gung fu, and they will say Bruce Lee. An interesting question about the Little Dragon is how much gung fu did he really know?

bruce lee wing chun

I know gung fu better than you, my friend!

Well, he knew some Tai Chi Chuan, his grandfather taught him when he was a child, that is on record.

And, he was accomplished at Wing Chun Gung Fu, under Yip Man, though probably not a master. He knew the first half of the system, the hard half, but had not delved into the soft half.

And there you go, that’s all the gung fu Bruce knew.

Whoa! You say. That’s all? But…but…but…

So here’s the thing, he grew up in China, and he was immersed in the culture, so he knew ABOUT lots of gung fu.

And, as time went on and he researched, he was familiar with some 26 styles of martial arts. Which is not to say he knew them extensively and in depth, but he was familiar.

But, what people don’t get is the depth of his drive. He was obsessed. He didn’t do ten kicks and think his kicks were good, he did thousands of kicks, and likely thought they were bad!

Thus, he dug deep, and in the depths was where his real gung fu was born.

So it’s not how wide your knowledge is that is important, but how deep.

Now, that said, here’s something else to think about. Bruce was not always using eastern martial arts.

If you look at his movies it looks like eastern stuff, but the fact of the matter is that he was much interested in such things as western boxing and fencing. And, he was a very accomplished cha cha dancer. And he put these things into his moves, and he used eastern discipline to make them shine.

Watch him. When he dances around an opponent, is he using a cha cha step? Think about it.

And when you read his books, like The Tao of Jeet Kune Do, isn’t he extrapolating fencing principles into the classical martial arts moves of the east?

An extremely interesting fighting system is Pan Gai Noon.

There’s a good website called FreeBruceLee.com.