In our dojo, I return the phone calls from prospective students. The calls vary greatly. There are some callers that are only interested in price. Some people are looking for a specific style of karate. Others are just looking for self-defense. Lately a common theme in the phone calls has been time. How long does it take to get a black belt? Is there a fast track to black belt?
This question comes from our society. We eat fast food and drive fast cars. We have replaced phone conversations with instant messaging, email and texting. We abbreviate the English language. There are accelerated degree programs to speed up our education. In business, we want our products shipped faster and immediate answers to our questions. The Internet provides instant access to news, personal accounts, shopping and friends.
Should there be an accelerated black belt program? I think not. I am sure we could speed up the physical requirements. There have been many brown belts who knew the required material for black since 3rd kyu. I have witnessed children learning kata after practicing only a handful of times. On the flip side, I have seen people struggle to remember patterns. Everyone is different.
There is more to karate than the patterns and the physical requirements. An important element is the fundamental understanding of movement. It takes time and study to make the connections. Kata is the beginning and there is much to discover.
On a personal note...I was a three year black belt. I was in the dojo a lot and knew the physical requirements. I understood base level bunkai. But if I must confess...it took me another year to feel comfortable wearing the belt. Plain and simple...it took time. It would not have mattered if I logged more training time or learned more kata.
The phone calls will be made and the question will be asked. Is there an accelerated black belt program? If the person is looking for a fast black belt it makes me wonder why they want lessons.
I simply respond...."No".