We've seen lots of high ranking martial artist with lots of red stripes on their black belts and normally people will think that the more numbers of red stripes their black belt has, the more competent or bad-ass they are. I've seen and met lots of very high ranking "martial arts masters"from all over, some are my friends, some I had dinner with, some I have sparred with, and some nearly pissed me off because of their arrogance or their lack of abilities to teach or to fight.
I've seen several "stripped man" but met only two who nearly killed me of boredom. I met them during my son's trainings since I like my son to learn different arts. One acts like a wannabe samurai who is too proud but lack the ability to teach and one just sucks in teaching and the only students who he'll amuse are young kids. Since I like sending my son to learn different arts, I expect that he learns something from every class and I expect their teachers to teach him properly based on his skills (he has 3 black belts and 2 are from very offensive martial arts - FMA and CQC). If a teacher will show him their bullshit techniques, he will instantly know what they are made of. He'll get him bored and he will be the laugh of our dinner talk and surely we will never promote him in any way especially to our friends who may want to learn martial arts in the future.
What signs to look for to detect a crappy MA teacher:
1. Are his students skilled?
2. Do the students love him? I'm not talking about respect here anymore because a good teacher will always get his students respect.
3. Are the students scared or are they having fun?
4. Is the teacher skilled and his teaching style dynamic?
5. Are your kids showing some MA results? They move faster, they punch or kick better, they became more flexible, etc.
6. And finally, the best way to know if your kid has a good MA teacher is that they will show eagerness to go again for their next lesson. They will bombard you with fun stories of their practice. They will share with you their hopes ("I'll get my pink belt soon dad", lol). But most of all, you'll see if your kids are really interested if they are practicing or doing MA moves even if they don't have to. My son is now 16 years old and he still often does this. Sometimes we are just talking BS and suddenly he starts doing katas or some Sentai Ranger moves??? Actually I do it too and I'm 42, HAHAHA!
Another thing that a newbie or parents should consider is the teaching personality of the teacher or teachers. Different dojos, MA school or clubs have different teaching styles and naturally the teachers have different techniques and characters and personality. Most of the high ranking teachers I know show their skills to their students but some uses their skills just a little bit too much. Me and my fellow MA senior friends believe that hurting students is a big "NO". Yes students get hurt sometimes even if we control our blows, grapple, locks and throws but mostly these are accidents that can sometimes happen especially in full contact MA even with protectors. Often times seniors do get hurt too especially when training kids because most of them still doesn't know how to control plus their reach or hit range are more concentrated on our midsection. Often we get kicked or punched on the groin and we can't really do anything about it but to pretend that everything is ok or just laugh and take the pain. Sadly I've seen several MA teachers who teaches students very roughly. I've seen students fall down in pain and had a hard time breathing and from my point of view, the instructor is just too rough... Yes me and my son often times train with hard blows. We get bruises, cuts, etc. but my son was trained in the traditional FMA-CQC way and he basically wanted to experience and learn how I did but when I'm teaching other people especially kids, they only get hurt during accidents which is rare. I'm the one who gets damaged the most. My son broke 2 of my fingers, damaged both my knees, and nearly broke my jaw, got hit several times on the groin and adamsapple too, lol. But when I'm sparring with other practitioners, I try to keep it as easy as possible because I don't want to get hurt and I also don't want to hurt them. Times have changed and finding a student who is OK to experience pain is very rare not like in the old days. During my days, there was a bin made specially for me to vomit in to but those days are long gone and probably no student now will be happy to have his personal vomiting bin during MA practice. If I only had a choice back then, I would prefer not to have my bin, lol.
As of now my son is enrolled in a Karate school ( http://kyokukai.com/ ) that I know he loves. He does not only respect his teachers but I can feel that he really loves them. His sensies from my point of view are very well skilled and have a very dynamic way of teaching. They are very good not only with kids but also with the teens, adults and even with the senior ranking students and I can see that they are having lots of fun.
Yes I too belong to this senior martial artist class but I never wore my stripes and have used it only for hanging washed laundry and went to the bin when it got really battered. This may sound that I don't have any respect for my teachers but in reality, my teachers too hated wearing their stripes and just prefer their old black belts or prefer to practice wearing ordinary clothes. Since most of my teachers preferred teaching me outside their dojos, I never really liked the idea of wearing stripes. Another thing is that I'm too shy to wear it, lol. If you are planning to put your kids into martial arts, I suggest that you don't look at the long number of red stripes on the teachers belts but to look for the skills and character of the instructors. Anybody can have stripes but this is not a guarantee that they are good teachers. Probably this is why I don't wear stripes because my teaching style sucks, HAHAHA!