As a regular reader of this blog, you're more than likely aware of my opinion on the practice of handing out black belts to kids. To me this quest for having "the youngest black belt holder in ..." (pick you city, region, country or art), is nothing but plain and utterly ignorance.
Yes the kids are cute, fired up, good and what not at what they do, and of course the parents are totally proud. Myself, I love kids who succeed and thrive in martial arts to death, make no mistake about it. It is just this idea of handing out a black belt to a young kid after a few years of training which really ticks me off royally.
Consequently, when I do get the odd chance to read about a teacher, school or art who does it the proper way; who understands the intrinsic value of a black belt - having a child go through the stages as they are intended to - this gives me a renewed faith in the martial arts.
Enter this article from pittsburghlive.com. It's about a young man named Steve Goodiski Jr. Steve began training karate at the age of 5. By working steadily and hard, he is now graded to junior black belt at the age of 12. When he reaches 18 - and if he continues his study - he can test for his shodan black belt (1. degree adult black belt).
Now, compare this to the two or three years to black belt time span that some schools insists on having, basically handing out black belts like it is candy to kids at 5, 6 or 7 years of age. Not good at all, in my book...
That's why I'd like to take the opportunity to applaud Perry Culver Jr. sensei, and the other teachers at http://culverkarate.com/ Culver Karate Club in Connellsville, Pennsylvania. Seems like Shotokan karate-do at it's best.
My sincere congratulations and a big thank you!