Martial Arts and the Military have a long history of ranks or levels that indicate the competency of participants. But how can you use them to help your journey and is there a dark side to the whole thing?
As with any structure it can be good if used well and bad if not run and used the right way.
This is why at Guardian Defence we believe in ranks, but more than that, we believe in competency under pressure, and this is why your final assessment for each rank is a pressure test. A scenario based test to see if your techniques hold under the pressure of an actual attack. Now I know that that sounds scary, but believe me, by the time you are going for your test, you are ready! And let's remember that these assessments are graduated, so a White Rank assessment looks very different in terms of level of pressure and techniques required, than say a Black Rank assessment.
At Guardian Defence we believe in the usefulness of ranks and measurable progression. We never 'rubber stamp' a student through to their next level. So you know that when you achieve a new rank, you have earned it, through hard work and the display of competency. That's what gives you a confidence that you can't buy or fake.
Need another reason to believe in ranks?
If you really want to be good at protecting yourself, you are going to need to stick with training for a while, and ranks can be really useful tools to get you through the years of training ahead. Here's three ways ranks can help:
Sections: Ranks can be used to divide the syllabus into manageable chunks. Ranks break up learning into achievable and quantifiable sections and give you direction.
Confidence: Ranks also serve to boost confidence in certain areas of competence, and provide a way of knowing what you know, and what you are still working on.
Goals: And most importantly, ranks are tools that help motivate you towards a goal.
Having a goal is great for motivation and remaining consistent. Which has to be one of the best reasons for them to exist. Life gets pretty busy, and over the years, many things will try to take the place of your training time. But if we have our goals clearly laid out, and we stay focused, we can push through the distractions and keep our learning on track. So set your next assessment date and work out how many classes you can make between now and then. Work out your additional practice times too and get serious about achieving that next rank.
Remember, the path to your Black Rank can start today, get into your learning and work towards your first rank, White Rank. As they say, "A black belt is just a white belt who didn't quit!"