Re: should there be an age for black belts?
My opinion on this subject is (and i may get a lot of heat for this) age isnt really what should be looked at so much as just maturity.
In shaolin there is absolutely no age/maturity limit on when you can get your black belt. And thats of course not a good thing. As long as you know your material you can recieve it.
However, i have seen 12 yr old black belts who are very deserving of it, and grown adults that seem like they should've never been given it. Your age doesn't always go hand in hand with your maturity level. Just like rankings don't always go hand in hand with your skill level.
Not only this, but an even more important issue that i think alot of people are forgetting about is that... a black belt is not meant to be "yay i did it, im the best" A black belt only shows how far you've come through that martial art, and it should show that you have an exceptional understanding of it. I've heard several times from many martial artists that a black belt is only the beginning of your journey as a student. You should continue to learn long after you've reached 1st dan. If you don't then you are not committed to your martial art, whatever that may be , IMO.
And no, im not just saying this b/c im under 18. Trust me i'm sure i won't be getting a black belt in anything before im 18. Im saying this as my view from my experience in martial arts. Yes, there may be a few (even a lot) of kids out there that don't deserve a black belt but does that mean you should hold back the ones that do?