Shifu does not make the adults take belt tests. He does not like the belt system. In the Temple, they do not use a belt system for rank.
He incorporates the belt system for the children and allows the adults to partake if they wish. He says that the parents expect a belt system so he added it into the curriculum.
Many schools use belts as a way to earn more money. With Shifu, belt tests are not over priced as in many schools and there are no added stripes either.
Now, that doesn’t mean he passes everyone. At the last testing, about half of the applicants did not pass. That is almost unheard of in modern martial arts schools.
Now a days I look at rank more as a marker of years in a system and a hierarchy of who you can trust to teach or help with learning techniques within a system.
Outside of the training hall, the color of my belt doesn’t matter much to me. What matters to me is personal achievement, overcoming obstacles, and reaching goals.
I don’t mean to de-value rank. It takes years of dedication to earn rank and that is something to be proud of. But Rank, doesn’t make us supermen and superwomen.
For me, reaching Black belt brought more questions than answers. And with more questions, I searched for more answers.
Ex: Am I really that good? What am I lacking? Where are my strengths? Should I even practice this movement or let it go all together? Should I continue in this system? Is this only the beginning of a longer journey? How good can I get? Does it matter? If so, why does it matter? What does training mean to me now? And so on……
Although I can impress others with my TKD kicks, I am constantly reminded that I am still a beginner while training other systems and with other people, most whom I find to be better than myself.
To me, rank is relative to the training hall I am in and should never be over hyped and used to inflate the ego.