Another ATA 5 year old black belt

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by RonMarlow, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

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    It seems the smaller the world the more it is that way. When you think about the time he is referring too, the martial art world was very small and everyone had a good idea about one another. This produced a more personal atmosphere than exists today. Now things expanded and everyone and their dog has a black belt. The personal feeling is not there as much and the results are many biased people who feel that they what they learn is the "true" art or the "real" art for the streets. They tend to look down at certain arts or pass judgment based on ignorance and speculation more than actual training.
     
  2. Kinghercules

    Kinghercules Blue Belt

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    And Im suppose to have respect for these ppl and style?
    No....no.....cant do it.
     
  3. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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  4. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

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    the part where they gave a BB to a 5 year old?
     
  5. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    People value a black belt quite highly, or at least most people do. They see it as something that takes a lot to achieve, both physically and menatally. For me personally, I find it hard to take the idea of a 5 year old black belt seriously. Obviously they have a different idea of what a black belt represents, but because Ive been brought up to value a black belt so highly, I have to agree with twin fist. I dont disrespect the child themself, its not their fault, they showed up to class, learnt a few forms and got given a black belt. Its the idea of a 5 year old black belt that makes little sense to me.
     
  6. Cyriacus

    Cyriacus Senior Master

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    Yep.
    I wouldnt mind too much if it was a Junior Black Belt. That way, it just acknowledges that they can do the motions but lack the skill, and will develop it over the years. But an actual Black Belt?
    Just no.
     
  7. Gwai Lo Dan

    Gwai Lo Dan 2nd Black Belt

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    I agree - take the smartest student from an average college, and the dumbest person from Harvard, and there will be no comparison as to who is the stronger student.
     
  8. Gorilla

    Gorilla Master of Arts

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    This topic is always the most controversial topic on this BBS. I started a thread about youth black belts (poom). It currently has over 13k in views people are stlill reading it. My kids are still training they teach class now. My daughter is doing private lessons for 10/13 who want to compete. They are committed martial artist who see this as a life long passion. My kids GM currently a 9th degree bb KKW got his Poom in the early 1960's in Korea at the age of 8 from Y. Sup Lee. Youth Poom belts have been given out for years. 5 year old is a big stretch but the ATA has it's own rules and it's own reason for doing it.

    Btw way since I was blasted on this board in that youth BB Thread my kids have been earned a BB in Shotokan Karate under H. Allen. They are still fully active in TKD. I will bet that people will still question them on this BBS.
     
  9. SPX

    SPX Black Belt

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    I was about 8 months away from getting my black belt in the ATA when I was 11 years old. If I had gotten it, would it have been legitimate? I've actually wondered about that quite a bit. I actually remember myself as being pretty good, at least as far as technique goes. Adults would occasionally ask me to demonstrate some of my more flashy kicks and would sometimes even ask me to help them with their. I don't think I could fight much, but that really is more the fault of the ATA than an 11 year old's ability to defend himself against his peers.

    So I do think that the idea of a 5 year old black belt is ridiculous. But once you get get to around 11 or 12, as long as you have trained hard and long enough, I think it can be justified.
     
  10. msmitht

    msmitht 2nd Black Belt

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    Poom is not black belt in other countries. In the usa almost all poom wear a black belt. This is where, in my opinion, the mistake is made. All poom should wear the half red/black belt. This would set the kkw/wtf apart from the other schools and show that it is the training that is important, not the belt.
    I don't think it will happen though.
     
  11. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Why? Does it not match the uniform???
     
  12. mastercole

    mastercole Master Black Belt

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    True. And Kukkiwon has had Poom for 37 years now. Poom was enacted February 14, 1975 in order for children to have additional incentive for rank achievement goals, but without ever having to designate a child as a Dan Holder (black belt). Simply put, in Kukkiwon Taekwondo there are no official child "black belt" (Dan) holders, even though some schools may issue a solid black belt to a child, the certificate still states "Poom", not Dan. Poom is a term used in ancient Korea to segregate court officials by a ranking. If you ever visit Korea, as you enter Kyongbok Palace, you will see what looks to a Westerner like a narrow grave stone. They are lined in perfect order, and marked as 1st Poom, 2nd Poom, 3rd Poom, etc. These stones are called Poomgyeseok. Court officials would line up behind each stone during special ceremonies at Kyongbok Palace.

    Taekkyon uses the term "Poom" to in place of "Geup" for their ranking system, a system which they recently adopted from Taekwondo.
     
  13. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    If you didn't forge the certificate and if your instructor did not test you and file the paperwork until you had completed all of the technical elements that a candidate for first dan is supposed to meet within the ATA, then why would it not be legitimate?

    I attended a blackbelt testing at a school whose owner I know and I was asked to participate in the test as an opponent for the student who was testing. The turn out was small and the kwanjang wanted at least four students for her to spar with and without me, there would only have been three.

    She is 26 or so and weighs about 110 pounds and is very athletic, like gymnast athletic, all 110 pounds being bone, muscle and sinew. Aside from the fact that we were of differing genders and that I am 100 pounds heavier, we were sparring under IHF rules.

    She did all of her technical testing very well and performed several difficult breaks. When the sparring started, they put her in with me first. I put her on the ground with each punch and could overbear her with relative ease. She had never worked with anyone my size before. It was what they call a squash match in pro wrestling.

    She did very well against her other partners, all of whom were closer to her size and weight, though all were male.

    So, because she couldn't beat or at least show well against a 212 pound guy, was her receiving a black belt not legitimate?

    The same people who complain about the five year old feel just as strongly about eleven and twelve year old black belts. And given that in Korea, a black belt only takes a year to earn and two years on average in most US schools, how are you defining long enough? Three years? Four? Six?

    I notice that a lot of the objection that people have to children receiving their Chinese Checkers rank and accompanying black piece of cloth revolves around whether or not they can 'fight' an adult or beat up others of their own age range.

    So, does mastering the material between white and black belt not count for anything? And by 'master' I mean attain proficiency before anyone makes a speech about how nobody can ever truly master anything.

    Does putting in the time and effort not count? What about personal development?

    And I disagree with the notion that a child is incapable of understanding 'what a black belt really means' or 'learn martial arts for real.'

    Isn't a first degree a beginning rank given to someone who has learned and become proficient in the basics? Every five year old that I have met could comprehend that.

    As far as learning the techniques, I have seen five year old children learn physical skills and perform them gracefully and artfully. Look at some child gymnasts. We're talking about kicking and punching. Not very complex.

    As to the notion that a two year black belt is not a real black belt that often accompanies these discussions, I disagree with that as well. If it takes you longer than two years to learn how to punch and kick, then you probably are not practicing very much outside of class and probably not attending class more than once or twice a week. If you are practicing diligently outside of class or showing up to class three or four times a week or more, then two years should be plenty.

    What much of this discussion comes down to is that people feel threatened that a five year old was given the same Chinese checkers rank and black piece of cloth that they received because they have invested their ego into having that cloth. The cloth represents their toughness and their manhood (I notice that the women don't tend to get as irate about this). But that should not be.

    To those of you who are hung up on belts, I'd like to remind you that martial training has nothing to do with belts. Belts are for sports. And last I checked, taekwondo is the national sport of Korea. Because it is a sport, the five year old black belt is only paired with other black belts in his or her division. Kind of like how a high school football team is not going to be magically pitted against the Baltimore Ravens, or any other pro team. Or how a flag football team will not be pitted against a varsity high school team.

    And before anyone makes another argument that opens with "but on the street" or some similar crap, save your bandwidth. The dynamic of a violent encounter is radically different from the dynamic of a ring fight. And even the most hard core MA training is most often insufficient (thought not necessarily useless) for most real world encounters. Most often, the will to act decisively and intelligently is a much greater decider than one's level of training.

    And just so people don't get me wrong, I am not defending the practice. I simply understand the logic behind it and don't see why some of you get so upset about it.

    Say what you want about degrading or demeaning the arts, but personally, I think that it comes down to ego.

    If you truly do not want your art demeaned, then you should be promoting an end to using belts for the purpose of displaying rank and the use of the kyu/dan system. That seems to be where the problem is centered.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
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  14. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    I never knew the origin of the term. Thank you.

    However, the same people who complain about children getting 'black belts' also complain about pooms. usually because their poom can be converted to a dan after they turn fifteen without some kind of accompanying macho hazing.

    Sometimes, I think that some (not all) are just looking to complain for the sake of complaining or simply do not believe that children should receive any recognition beyond geub grades regardless of age or effort. I think that some others (not all) simply will spin anything that the big orgs do in a negative direction because they truly believe that if it comes out of an org, it must be bad.
     
  15. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

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    you know my feelings on this Daniel
     
  16. SPX

    SPX Black Belt

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    I dunno. I think that what I mean is that each of us has our own notions of what a black belt should mean. If I had gotten awarded a black belt, then from an organizational or official standpoint, yes, I would've been a black belt in ATA taekwondo. However, would my abilities at that time have satisfied what are today my general ideas or requirements for what a "black belt" should be? That is, would I have lived up to my own general concept of "black belt," regardless of the style?

    Of course, this idea is subjective and will ultimately vary from person to person.


    No, I personally don't think so at all.

    Again, this is my own personal idea, but my self-defense expectation for a black belt is thus: A black belt should be able to defend him or herself against another untrained person who does not have a significant size advantage.

    To expect more than that is, in my opinion, to be unreasonable and unfair.


    I know. But again, everyone's thoughts on the subject will vary. A lot of people want to say you should have to be 16 or whatever. I don't get where they're coming up with this number. Personally, I think you should have to be physically and mentally capable of fulfilling the necessary requirements to achieve the rank.

    I don't personally feel like a 5 year old's body is capable to doing the motions proficiently, nor is a 5 year old's mind capable of understanding the world enough to "get" certain self-defense or philosophical concepts that I believe go along with being a black belt. 12 year olds, however, are actually quite sophisticated . . . probably more so than most adults give them credit for.

    But again, none of this is objective truth. Just my take on things.
     
  17. mastercole

    mastercole Master Black Belt

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    Generally I find that most Americans, and especially most of those Americans who practice Asian martial arts, have no clue as to what a black belt actually means to the founders of their style. Also, I notice that those who usually make a really big deal out of ranks, generally lack skill themselves. I feel it is out of their insecurity, they are the quickest to point fingers and exclaim who is and who is not deserving.
     
  18. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Yes, I do. And you have articulated them well in this thread.:) But you were not the person to whom I posed the question about respect and the article.
     
  19. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    The question is not what each person's idea of a black belt is what it means within the art and within the organization. The ATA promotes Songahm taekwondo. What does a black belt mean in that style?

    Songahm taekwondo uses belts for competition bracketing, along with age, gender, and weight.

    So you do not think her belt was legitimate or you do? Your answer is not clear.

    As for the self defense element, the whole belt system was introduced for a combination of teachers aid and competition bracketing and the ranking system was specifically for competition bracketing. Also, the kyu/dan system was lifted from Go, a Japanese game that is similar to Reversi or Chinese checkers. If self defense was what it was to correspond to, methinks Kano would have picked something else.

    Funakoshi, as I understand, introduced the kyu/dan system in order to help get Shotokan into the school system. Doesn't exactly scream self defense.

    Well, here is how proficient a five year old can be:






    So after watching those videos, how can you say that a five year old would be incapable of "doing the motions proficiently?" And the kids in those videos clearly know how to practice. Particularly the last one.

    Now, I think that these kids are older than five, but they don't look any older than ten.


    Remember, the ATA uses belts for competition bracketing, along with age, gender, and weight. So long as the proficiency in technique is there and the kids are not just being promoted so that the school can make a buck, its okay with me. Not my cup of coffee, mind you, but its okay with me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  20. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    I suppose where it seems to break down for most is that in almost any other art, and in many forms of tkd, the idea of a black belt seems to be held in higher esteem than certian brands of tkd. The average guy on the street doesnt know this and just assumes tkd hands out black belts like candy. The idea of getting a black belt in one year in hapkido, aikido, many forms of tkd, shotokan, kyokushin, bjj, judo etc etc is just unheard of, so I can understand why some people just "dont get it" when they hear of child black belts. So basically 'easy' black belts are very rare except in a couple of forms of tkd, so you can see where the misunderstandings come from. And whether we like it or not, most people out there (both martial artists and non martial artisits) see a black belt as a very high level of proficiency, so hearing about "one year black belts" and "5 year old black belts" is always going to raise eyebrows. I also blame the media for these "child black belt" stories, because rarely, if ever, do they mention it is a poom belt not a real black belt, and that does nothing for tkd's reputation as a belt factory. I saw a show on tv the other day where they were discussing fighting techniques and the guy said "if you know a black belt in your social group, ask for advice on these things. Not a tkd black belt, but a real black belt, they can be quite helpful, they are a wealth of knowledge ". I shuddered, but then this is what 5 year old black belts do to tkd's reputation.123
     

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