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Thread: Protocol Question

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    Protocol Question

    I studied TKD Moo Duk Kwan in the late 60's and 70's and earned the rank of 1st Dan. Life (school, kids and job) took over my life and I drifted away from the martial arts. I am now 65 years old and have an opportunity to start training again. I have found a school to attend, have watched classes, etc., and have been accepted into the school-I start training next month. The forms this school learns are different from those I learned with the exception of Korio. The one steps appear to be the same. I will have to learn all of these things again. Although I am not as flexible as I once was, I believe that my fundamentals are still pretty good. My question-when I start training what belt should I request to wear? I would really like to be able to practice with the advance class which is green, red and black. Your feed back would be welcome.

    Also, I am very proud of having received my black belt from the Korean that trained me initially. He is now retired and golf is his game. What are your thoughts on how I might re-achieve black belt status without receiving a belt from a new instructor? Or, does it matter?

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    Re: Protocol Question

    Yeah, these things can be tenuous, depending on the school and the instructor.

    How about going in wearing a white belt until you're told to wear something else? 30 years is a long time, after all, and you kind of are starting again. If your new instructor asks you about it, tell him you'd love to wear your black belt, but it has been so long, etc. If you come to the situation with humility I think your chances of practicing with the class you wish to train with could be better.

    Or - you could just ask the head instructor what you *should* be wearing and go from there.
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    Re: Protocol Question

    I know schools that would ask you to start at the bottom and work back up. Idid that myself at on stage. However, if you came to train with me I would insist you wore your black belt because in my opinion you spent the time and effort to gain that level and deserve respect for that achievement. I would then give you all the time you need to get back up to speed which may even take a year or so before offering grading to a new level if that was what you wanted to do. I agree with what shesulsa said above. Good luck with your return to training. I am sure you will have a fantastic time.
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    Re: Protocol Question

    The Sensei of your new Dojo will have your answer.

    Meanwhile, it's great you're back at it! Have yourself a ball. And please be careful to ease back into it. Muscle memory can be a fickle b****.

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    Re: Protocol Question

    As Buka stated, that is something best left up to the instructor. If you respectfully explain situation, the instructor will have the information he/she needs to proceed. We've had students with experience start at the bottom and progress with standard time, students start at the bottom and progress rapidly (a rank a month or so; no test or fee), and students start somewhere in between the bottom and their old rank.. .

    In some cases, i.e. if the student recently moved here with recent experience, we have honored the rank in some cases. It really depends on their background and technical standard.
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    Re: Protocol Question

    Thanks for the advice guys. As Buka said, the sensi of the new school will have the answer. I'll just wait and see what he/they (it seems to be a collaborative effort) recommend. They do have a rule that white belts can't participate in upper level classes, and that is what I want to do. I think I can help them with their lower belts, and they can help me with me conditioning and learning the new kata.

    I'm enjoying this forum, thanks for having me.
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    Re: Protocol Question

    Quote Originally Posted by 40th Alabama View Post
    Thanks for the advice guys. As Buka said, the sensi of the new school will have the answer. I'll just wait and see what he/they (it seems to be a collaborative effort) recommend. They do have a rule that white belts can't participate in upper level classes, and that is what I want to do. I think I can help them with their lower belts, and they can help me with me conditioning and learning the new kata.

    I'm enjoying this forum, thanks for having me.
    Keep in mind that if they say you can't participate in upper level classes, that doesn't mean forever, it simply means until your skills are at a point where the instructors feel you are ready and you have learned what you need to know for their class.

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    Re: Protocol Question

    What Carol said. It's good to re-examine the basics from more experienced eyes ... you might find things either you missed the first time around or perhaps things unique to this school you might not have otherwise known.

    Good, renewed training to you!
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    Re: Protocol Question

    I know schools that would ask you to start at the bottom and work back up. Idid that myself at on stage. However, if you came to train with me I would insist you wore your black belt because in my opinion you spent the time and effort to gain that level and deserve respect for that achievement. I would then give you all the time you need to get back up to speed which may even take a year or so before offering grading to a new level if that was what you wanted to do. I agree with what shesulsa said above. Good luck with your return to training. I am sure you will have a fantastic time.
    I absolutely agree on this.
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    Re: Protocol Question

    I'm so charged up that I'm about ready to go get my knuckle busting board out of the garage-just kidding but I do still have it. You know, the one with the saw blade width honed out of it, wrapped in duct tape!

    Again, thanks guys.
    "Southron youth, you have no reason to be ashamed of your ancestors. See to it that they have no reason to be ashamed of you!"...Charlie Reese


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    Re: Protocol Question

    Quote Originally Posted by 40th Alabama View Post
    I studied TKD Moo Duk Kwan in the late 60's and 70's and earned the rank of 1st Dan. Life (school, kids and job) took over my life and I drifted away from the martial arts. I am now 65 years old and have an opportunity to start training again. I have found a school to attend, have watched classes, etc., and have been accepted into the school-I start training next month. The forms this school learns are different from those I learned with the exception of Korio. The one steps appear to be the same. I will have to learn all of these things again. Although I am not as flexible as I once was, I believe that my fundamentals are still pretty good. My question-when I start training what belt should I request to wear? I would really like to be able to practice with the advance class which is green, red and black. Your feed back would be welcome.

    Also, I am very proud of having received my black belt from the Korean that trained me initially. He is now retired and golf is his game. What are your thoughts on how I might re-achieve black belt status without receiving a belt from a new instructor? Or, does it matter?
    Only for me, I'd tell you to wear your BB and just stay at 1 dan until you caught back up. If you didn't want to wear your BB, I'd give you a white one and have you train with the advanced class.

    Upon promotion what I would do as your instructor would be to give you a black belt because I provide new belts for all my students, and tell you to wear whichever one you wanted. If your previous instructor meant that much to you, absolutely wear his belt.
    Kukkiwon Taekwondo
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    Re: Protocol Question

    Much as others have posted before, it is the instructors discretion. That said, what I would do would be to strap on that white belt and then set the record for earning a black in that new school. The new belt "wipes the slate" and lets the student appear totally open to learning to both his instructor and his fellow students. I say that because that is what I did, and I think my instructor appreciated it.
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    Re: Protocol Question

    Quote Originally Posted by 40th Alabama View Post
    I studied TKD Moo Duk Kwan in the late 60's and 70's and earned the rank of 1st Dan. Life (school, kids and job) took over my life and I drifted away from the martial arts. I am now 65 years old and have an opportunity to start training again. I have found a school to attend, have watched classes, etc., and have been accepted into the school-I start training next month. The forms this school learns are different from those I learned with the exception of Korio. The one steps appear to be the same. I will have to learn all of these things again. Although I am not as flexible as I once was, I believe that my fundamentals are still pretty good.
    Moo Duk Kwan in my area is TSD. So I guess yes there have been changes and differences.


    Quote Originally Posted by 40th Alabama View Post
    My question-when I start training what belt should I request to wear?

    Are you being asked in as a guest? If yes then wear your rank.

    Are you being asked to join the club, knowing that you are already a black belt? If yes, then confirm with the instructor you have talked with.

    If you have not talked with anyone, I recommend bringing your training gear and plan on wearing a white belt.

    Quote Originally Posted by 40th Alabama View Post
    I would really like to be able to practice with the advance class which is green, red and black. Your feed back would be welcome.
    If your basics are as good as you think they are, then it will be evident and if you have not had a talk about your exprience then it will give the isntructor the cance to bring it up.



    Quote Originally Posted by 40th Alabama View Post
    Also, I am very proud of having received my black belt from the Korean that trained me initially. He is now retired and golf is his game. What are your thoughts on how I might re-achieve black belt status without receiving a belt from a new instructor? Or, does it matter?
    Depends upon how stiff and the total amount of life injuries combined with desire and willpower and the requirements of your club / organization.


    ****

    Now here are my comments in general.

    If it is exactly the same organization you got your rank in, then tell them about it and show them documentation of show them your knowledge even if your timing is off, you knowledge of the techinques should still come out. This is the only way I really say you can wear your belt without the possibilities of issues.

    If it is a different org or different system or art then walk in and learn what they have to offer and wear their uniform and train with them and test with them.

    In one system I teach, there was another school in town. A guy in his early 50's came in and explained he wanted to start training again. He wanted to start out as a black belt that he had already gotten. I asked for and he provided paperwork that was signed properly by the right people. I told him he could, but that if he wore nothing for a while and then got back into it and felt good it woudl be easier to put it on then to take it off.

    I wore his black belt. I stood with the other seniors colored belts and black belts in the senior position. He felt good about himself until class started. His endurance as not there, but that is ok. His timing was way off and he felt like he was being beat all the time. His knowledge to explain techniques was not there as he had not for a very long time.

    He felt bad and realized he had made a mistake. Note: the other students in class saw the rank and made some assumptions that he could perform at a certain level. He could not. If he would have taken it slowly and worked into it might have.

    He approached me and asked to start as a white belt. This confused others, on why a black belt would start over. He also always felt uncomfortable around the students he was exposed to in is first month or so of classes while wearing the belt.

    He did not stay past 4 months. I called and asked him why he left. I wanted to make sure he was not injured or picked on. I have never had an issue with either, but I also do not tolerate that behavior. His reply was that yes it was harder to heal. It was more time than he thought it would be to relearn and retrain. He also said he felt uncomfortable, even though everyone treated him with respect like the other members and even when he passed his first test. So did he leave because if pain? Not really. Did he leave because of life and time? Not really. Did he leave because of felt uncomfortable? Not really. But all three added up to a level that made it so he felt like it was better for him to leave then to stay.


    When I started my second system, I walked in and started at the beginning. Later when I was working on things I would work with others, who were senior in time and less senior in time. I would help and be helped occasionally. Because I had an open mind and did it from the begining and did not try to change it or make it fit something I had in my mind I learned the system.
    It was taught in privates or semi privates but you knew the other person there and it was agreed upon. Well during one of my sessions someone showed up to ask qustions an hour early for their class time. My Instructor (GM) told me to just move and he would make me look good. After the third or fourth move, I was calling myself out. "Late", "I missed that" etcetera. It was more important to me to spend my time learning how to do it right instead of trying to look good and impress people.

    Later people would ask what I worked on in my last class. I would say Abecedario (ABC's or basic's) and they would say wow you must be really hurting Rich to go all the way back there. Yet, when a new student would start, I was the only one who could work with them and do the teaching side of the basics and moves.


    So my recommendation is the following:
    1) Talk to an instructor the club owner if possible and tell him about your previous training
    2) Make sure you explain you want to start to train with them and understand that there will be differences and youare on board with that.
    3) After you get back into the groove you would like the instructor to review you and see if you could also work out with the advanced class.

    This is an open and up front approach.
    This puts it into the instructors hands and not you sounding like you are demanding special treatment up front.

    Just my thoughts on this.
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    Re: Protocol Question

    I agree, if it's the same organization, with the same governing body, or if the ranks are officially recognized, then you can wear the rank. But I also agree that there may be some "proving out" time and if your ego isn't up to it, then you might be better off at white. As with everyone else, your instructor will be able to make that judgment. It might be that he says, "wear your dan" and then introduces you to the class as someone who has earned it but been out of training for a long time so that everyone's expectations will be managed. Or he might say, "well, it was a different art, so please put on the 10th Gup belt and we'll work up up as fast as you show aptitude."

    I still do Judo, personally, and I know that my Judo rank will be recognized by a good half-dozen different national and international organizations but I also know that if I stepped onto someone else's mat that I'd have to weather a period of testing while everyone there figured out if the rank I wore matched their expectations.

    I also teach Western Martial Arts out of my own garage, which means that we're small and I have many luxuries such as being able to be choosy about who I let work with us and all of us have lots and lots of personal interaction with each other so we all know where each other's skill levels lay. We don't wear ANY external skill indicators. We don't even have an official uniform (unless comfy pants and a T-Shirt count). But no one steps into my Club unless I ask them what their prior experience is and why they want to train with us. And even then I still spend a little bit of time working through stuff with them so that I get a feel for the "flavor" of their body movements and a bit of their fighting personality.

    To be perfectly honest, and this is highly important and probably the most salient point I can make about it: Ranks don't impress me.

    I've seen countless "Masters" who couldn't fight an 8 year old girl. I've seen Black Belts who I could swear got Black Belt by using a Marks-a-Lot on a white belt, judging by their actual knowledge and understanding. I've seen schools that have a promotion every month and have an endless number of stripes and "decided" sub-ranks in between Gup ranks. I've also seen people put on white belts (or some colored belt) and then go on to destroy anyone who stood up to randori with them. Sometimes they were playing the ringer game and sometimes they were just being honest and had genuine skills from some other system.

    I'm not going to go so far as to say that ranks are irrelevant and not useful, but I am going to say that it's hard to trust them as a representation of skill any longer.

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    Re: Protocol Question

    Another option to consider is to skip a formal belt until you've trained their for a bit and had a chance to both self-assess, and be evaluated by the instructors. Use a simple rope to stand in for the formal belt, and allow the instructor to position you where he chooses during class line ups. (I use this "humility rope" in certain training environments, where I don't want to much emphasis on who's wearing what rank -- but just want people to LEARN; I stole the practice from our Chief Instructor.) It's a signal to other students that you're temporarily outside the normal progressions, so that you won't have a new student follow you through a mistake, or more experienced students wonder why a black belt can't do something.
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