KEEPING YOUR BLACKBELTS
by Shihan Andy Rodda
recently was asked by another Karate instructor about ideas for
keeping Black Belts interested in Karate. All of us
face Black Belts leaving at one time or another. I have
been successful at retaining Black Belts and my original instructor
is very successful. Here are some ideas, if you can add to this
list or disagree with any of these, please let me know. Osuma
Ozawa once told me the most important rank in Karate was Sho
Shihan Rodda at
Black Belts feel important, don't give them menial tasks, but
do give them tasks to do. Sometimes I let Black Belts teach
kata to the class, it gives me a break and puts new insight into
expect Black Belts to teach automatically, some do not want to
teach and this just puts added stress on them.
up a picture gallery of your Black Belts. We even made a
Black Belt calendar for the school.
a trial period for new Black Belts, we use one year and call
this Sho Dan Ho. They have all of the rights of Black Belts,
just no certificate. At the end of the year, we have them
do one kata and every Black Belt talks about what they have
done for the school and how they have trained in the past year.
kata's/weapons just for Black Belts, it makes them feel special,
and they are!
am a small school, everyone of my Black Belts wear a belt
that I have worn. These belts are special to me and special
those who want to teach have enough responsibility, if you don't,
they will quit and start a school nearby, I haven't had this
happen, but have seen it happen to others.
an advanced Black Belt class. I only let Brown and Black
Belts in this class.
promotions reasonable, both in time and money.
up your own promotions, if you don't get promoted, your student
know that eventually they won't either.
Sensei certificates to those Black Belts that help teach. These
cost very little and they mean a lot to those who receive them. I
only award Sensei certificates to Ni Dan and above.
up your own training! Remember that there is always something
new out there: seminars, tournaments, tapes, books, or something
old that also works.
different certificates for Black Belt and Kyu ranks.
important that Black Belts continue to pay dues, if you
pay nothing, you will lose nothing by not training. What you
have to teach is valuable, don't let them forget that.
your Black Belts know that you value their opinions on testing
and the way the school is running. Let them make suggestions.
They will come up with some great ideas.