People have different reasons for taking up martial arts. It's either for sport, self defense, hobby or exercise. When you wear a belt, regardless of it's rank or color, it's going to means something different to everybody. Training and practice also has separate meanings to each person. How are you suppose to test, rank and promote everyone together?
For each person, it's either for fun, to be taken seriously, or because it's "cool". Can one single school actually teach both and keep respect to it's roots?
Take these three people as example, a mom and her two sons:
The mother is in her late 30's, her eldest son in his late teens and her youngest is under 10. The two boys are interested in martial arts and she has an interest herself.
When the eldest son is at class he takes it all to heart, treats it as life or death and likes things competitive. The youngest is looking to emulate his favorite characters from tv shows, movies and games, howbeit he's attentive and dedicated in class. Their mom practices as well, enjoys it, but never takes it that extra mile into truly studying the style.
How do you test these three individuals into a rank, especially one as looked up to as a belt belt? If the mom isn't willing to be more serious, and the eldest is too serious, how are these two suppose to be in the same rank as each other? Do you tell them to toughen up or lighten up, respectively, so they fit into the black belt mold, or keep leading by example and hope they figure it out?
As for the youngest, if you tell him he can't be a black belt until he's a certain age, how do you keep his interest so he continues to learn? Can that happen without a ranking system, or while pausing so he grows up?
Not trying to throw a thousand questions into this one thought, but this has been a subject of interest for some time with not only me, but the Dojang I attend as well. Just back and forth "what if this" sort of thing, trying to figure if there's a better way. I'd love your guys' opinions on this.