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Senseidyer's picture
Separate classes, syllabus and ranks

I wanted to get your take on this...

In most dojo I know of, the instructor has separate classes for children and womwn available. While I understand that the need for the class can vary, one such description is that each of those groups needed a special class because of many different scenarios like:

- The parent is not involved in classes

- There is subject matter that may be too graphic for youngsters

- Certain people may not feel comfortable in mixed classes

I came up in an environment in which children learned to defend against adults and children and men and women were together. The overall mentaility was that you never know who was going to attack you and you needed examples to work with.

Additionally, I have noticed separate grading requirements for children where the grading requirments themselves were less demanding and offered more levels. Too me, I see it as a money making opportunity that is passed as a keeping them motivated through frequent advancement.

And to top off this post, I have seen a black belt tied around the waist of someone who was early teens and was told it was recommended because they are not 16 or 17 yet. I find this particularly peculiar since the instructor has spent a lot of time with that student and knows the mindset of them, knows the training and skill level, knows their abilities in defense, and knows that those abilities translate well against all types of attackers. If someone meets all your criteria, they should be promoted to black belt, not recommended black belt, not junior black belt, or whatever else it is called.

Please do not take this as a rant. I do understand the validity of thought from most of the people that follow these but fail to see that reasoning as a valid argument in favor of these practices. Like I said, I came up in a different time and things have changed since then.

This is by far a complete idea jotted down and I am sure that I have made mistakes in the way I have presented this for discussion. I look forward to seeing how you guys respond.


David Dyer

Tau's picture

Complex issue. Various things you've raised. I'm sure that there will be multiple views on this.

On my main class night I do indeed seperate children from adults. This is for a variety of reasons:

- Different syllabi (set by the organisation, not by me)

- Different teaching approach

- The sheer number of students!

Another class that I run has much fewer students and I teach both adults and children concurrently. Some of the class time is spent with everyone working together, for example in striking practice against focus mits. Students are obivously paired up based on age, size, grade etc. Some of the class has the mat area clearly split with obvious demarkation.

I don't do a seperate women's class and have no intention of doing so. Ever. It's the 21st century. Sex or gender segregation is not needed and not wanted. No longer does the "fairer sex" apply. On principle I don't hold the door open for ladies. However, I'm a nice guy and hold the door open for anyone. Sex just has nothing to do with it. Don't anyone get spouting about the vulnerability of women (not that I think anyone on this forum would) because I routinely train with women that can beat the living sh!t out of me. I also know 5'2" men with less muscle than an infant and no self confidence. I intend in the near future running a self protection day open to the public. I expect most attendees will be ladies but I certainly won't market it that way.

Gradings. For Jujitsu, the grading structure is set by the organisation and is the same for adults and juniors. The exception being that juniors' highest grade is the junior-equivalent 1st Dan. After that they have to go through the adult syllabus. Much of the syllabus is the same. The forms are radically different and that's why they need to re-affirm the grade. Each club will prepare their youth students for conversion to adult in different ways. For Kickboxing I get free reign and grade everyone the same, no conversion. Yes, I've seen classes where multiple in-between grades are created in order than juniors can keep grading every three months. Like anyone, I hate losing students but I know that my greatest attrition is when grading intervals start to increase and actually I'm very comfortable with that. Not every student will reach Black Belt and that's how it should be. Patience is part of the test.

I regards training together, I have to ask why you would want to keep men and women in seperate classes? Surely if women want self-protection training then they need exposure to attacks from men in order to prepare them. And vice versa. Consider the occurence of husbands experiencing abuse from their wives. One club that I'm no longer a part of (and don't miss in the slightest) went through a period of having adults uke for the juniors so that the juniors may practice against the adults. All it did was put the adults off training as the juniors didn't hold back in their strikes. The adults were afraid to use the same degree of force for obvious reasons and so essentially became punchbags. When the attacks were full-force groin attacks, hair pulls and so on, you can see why. If people don't feel comfortable in mixed-sex classes then how are they going to feel in a mixed-sex social or violent situation. I'm hardly advocating throwing students in the deep end but if a student does have paricular confidence issues then, with gradual and appropriate introduction, mixed sex training is absoluely the right thing to do.

I think I've probably ranted too but I'm typing quickly in the middle of my night shift. Hopefully my points come across in the way that they're intended.


Senseidyer's picture

Maybe I did not express it correctly, I do not separate classes for the reason that you never know who your attacker will be. Women, men, children - all together.