Re: Children transitioning to adult class.
I'll also add on the issue of belts -- if you are using belts to keep kids interested you've got bigger issues. For us tests come up once the kid has enough hours, has demonstrated proper behavior, and is learning the curriculum. Sometimes a kid may not test for a year or longer. Sometimes they may test faster. Sometimes we skip levels. Etc. For the kids it can come in handy to remind those with colored belts of their responsibilities in modelling good behavior for the newer students.
The issue here is one of extremes. Yes, McDojo's have truly hit upon the use of tests, belts, patches, etc. as a means of marketing, motivation and mostly making money. We had two people come train with us, both late teens, both blackbelts for a long time in a TKD dojang. They look like nascar drivers they had so many patches on their dogi. I jokingly asked if one guy had a patch for fire safety... It was truly amazing. They even had their names embroidered on the back of their dogi along with the fact that they were a "black belt" (I guess wearing the belt wasn't enough -- you needed a sign so the color blind would know for sure too). All ego, no substance.
Heck, we just had a kid sign up who was "close to blackbelt" in a local karate school. All of 10 years old. Mind boggling to me.
But all that said, those are extreme examples. Ranking goes on no matter what. Ego's get involved no matter what. There are always behavioral demonstrations of alpha status, authority, etc. I remember one place telling me they had no belts but then I was told I had to line up over there because that guy to one side was more experience than the guy on the other. Um, okay. Then there was clearly a "pecking order" in practice dramatically more obvious than where I train now where we use a belt system. The belts don't guarantee proper behavior. The lack of belts don't either. Extreme examples are just that -- extreme examples.
but now I'm wasting my time discussing it, something I'd promised to not do... So... time for me to take my own advice. Damatte keikoshiro. I've got work to do.