Dan Numbers - do they really matter?

Discussion in 'Tang Soo Do' started by Makalakumu, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Messages:
    13,887
    Likes Received:
    232
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Hawaii
    27145
    20420
    1815
    Hwang Kee

    Those are dan numbers of my teacher, my teacher's teacher, and my teacher's teacher's teacher, all of the way back to the grand old man himself. We had to memorize these numbers as part of my teacher's dojang when we belonged to the USSBDMDK Federation.

    This was supposed to be a way of determining seniority among dans, but it has come to my attention that sets of low dan number may have been set aside and given for political reason. This would seem to undermine the system.

    So, how much do these matter? Does your organization use them? Why or why not?
     
  2. DMcHenry

    DMcHenry Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Good question. I believe it depends on the organization. Some make a very big deal of it, some don't. My current organization even numbers certificates, but it is more of a certificate number than a dan number, but does show rank and seniority but I've never heard it used for that.

    Personally, I could care less. I have seen some schools who put their number right on their belts to make sure everyone knows where they stand. To each his own.
     
  3. EMST930

    EMST930 White Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Yes, dan numbers are extremely confusing. Not only were pockets of numbers set aside as you mentioned, but there is also the dilemma of preserving some type of order when schools split from an organization and/or join another. In our schools we have students with dan numbers from the US Federation, some with dan numbers from when we were with Kang Uk Lee, etc. We have now adopted a system using the year, which we find to be easier. This way you can identify what year the person tested for first dan, and then where they fell in that year (spring or fall test.)

    When we get together for large testings, clinics, tournaments etc. where we have to line up with others that we may not know well, we use the dan numbers for students of equal rank to figure out where they fall in the line. They are not emphasized much beyond that, other than the fact you should memorize your own dan number.

    While we stick to the tradition of rank/dan number determining the line, it does not override the feeling of respect for those that have been around since the "old days" or return after a long absence. For instance, the lineup of the seniors in one of our recent classes was as follows:

    6th dan--started training at our school in 1987
    4th dan--started training ...1979
    4th dan (me)--started training...1987
    3rd dan--started training...1980
    2nd dan--started training...1980 (just returned from 18 year absence)

    As you can see even though I have now passed the 3rd and 2nd dan in line, the fact remains that they started training while I was still in diapers, and therefore are given clear respect regardless of rank/dan number. Hope that helps...
     
  4. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Messages:
    13,887
    Likes Received:
    232
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Interesting replies. I don't have a dan number because my teacher decided to pull his dojang out of the Federation right before my dan test. It's not really that big of a deal with most things and I can visit most SBD dojangs and people will at least recognize that I am a black belt and I'm okay with that.
     
  5. DMcHenry

    DMcHenry Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Numbers are a funny thing, I see them everywhere. In my first TKD dojang, I was #478B, my TSD number is 15726 in my previous org, now S-7003. I have various ohter numbers in TKD, HKD, KKW, etc certs.

    I enjoy riding motorcycles. I have a Vulcan (1600 Nomad) and belong to the Vulcan Riders and Owners Club (VROC), where I am #880, in other clubs like Southern Cruisers I have a nuber #120051, in the GCVROC #20, Rolling Blunder #116, KawaNOW #673, Dark Side #273, among others and even have a "Wet Butt Riders Association" #.

    Everyone likes their numbers. Generally, the lower the number, the more experienced you are and other members know that. It can give you some credibility that you know what you're talking about.

    Again, the above is not always true. Sometimes you don't always join an organization as a novice, but after you already had many years of experience in training (or riding). For instance, I didn't receive my TSD Dan bon till after I was already 4th dan, but did pretty much get my VROC number soon after buying my first Vulcan. So sometime it tells a story, sometimes not.
     
  6. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Messages:
    5,183
    Likes Received:
    160
    Trophy Points:
    188
    These dan numbers cannot be universal across all MDK/TSD/SBD groups are they? Meaning if you are a newly minted dan today well after the MDK split, your # if you are given one will mean nothing to HC Hwang's group. Correct?
     
  7. DMcHenry

    DMcHenry Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Messages:
    245
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Correct, my number was with Jae-joon Kim who was Dan #38 (World Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do Federation) and now with James Saffold Dan #14489 (American Kwan Tang Soo Do Federation). They both received their numbers from GM Hwang Kee, but after JJ Kim split off he continued with his own numbers.

    My number with my current organization (USKMAF) has it's own numbering scheme, showing art, rank and sequential number order.

    Personally, I have never been a member of the USSBD(TSD)MDKF.
     
  8. EMST930

    EMST930 White Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    That's why the year/number system has worked well for us. Someone like you that doesn't have a dan number can still take a spot in our line using the year you tested. Rank and dan numbers, while serving a purpose, cannot represent everything and that's why we don't make a huge deal out of them. They are tools that help us maintain order and quickly line up while showing respect for those who came before us.
     
  9. chrispillertkd

    chrispillertkd Senior Master

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Messages:
    2,096
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    While my comment may (or may not) be getting a bit off track of the original post the sentiment quoted above is a great one. I wish it was more common in the martial arts.

    Just because someone starts before you in a style doesn't mean they will always be senior to you in rank. In a system with a good dose of Neo-Confucianism like Taekwon-Do, and I imagine Tang Soo Do given its Korean heritage, recognizing that someone can be senior to you even if you technically outrank them is important. It's just good manners, really, to be at least somewhat deferential to a person who was around years before you, even if you now outrank them.

    I've seen plenty of people not act that way and find it very annoying.

    Pax,

    Chris
     
  10. EMST930

    EMST930 White Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2009
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thanks for your post. I guess I'm lucky that I couldn't imagine it any other way.

    If you relate it back to dan numbers, you could have two practitioners of equal rank separated by one dan number. Let's consider technical ability to be equal. If the junior one is an instructor, by nature of teaching he will ask a lot more questions about the how and the why we do what we do. Teaching crystallizes your understanding and makes you better all around.
    Even if the two practitioners have the same rank and same technical ability, the one that teaches will probably have more overall knowledge about everything from history, application, etc. My instructor has always told me that it is one thing to be a great technician, but an entirely other thing to reproduce students over the long term that are better than you. The high level of respect goes to those that can help preserve our art by doing so. So two people with the same rank separated by one dan number can be at very different points along their individual journey in the martial arts. And that's apples to apples within the same school!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. MBuzzy

    MBuzzy Grandmaster

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Messages:
    5,328
    Likes Received:
    107
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    West Melbourne, FL
    Not exactly. It depends on the organization. Within the TSD community, the US Soo Bahk Do Federation is still on the numberng system that started with GM Hwang Kee. My dan number is 44922 in that lineage. I am still a member of the USSBDF and keep my membership up, they are still on that original numbering system.

    Basically your number ONLY means something within your organization. After the MDK split and all of the senior masters started leaving (basically since Hwang Kee died), those Dan #'s don't mean nearly as much to those who have left....but there was a time when across TSD orgs, a Dan Bon from the SBD Fed meant something.
     
  12. Dana

    Dana Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2008
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    23
    I would say that the most "senior masters" left long before Hwang Kee passed away. Many started their own organizations and dan bon systems once they left. As others have said, some are more impressed with their numbers than others and yes, many organizations set aside numbers to accommodate senior or exceptional (or political) members who joined later. Some seem to hold their numbers to be more important than their training....

    D
     
  13. Master Jay S. Penfil

    Master Jay S. Penfil Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2005
    Messages:
    273
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Metro-Detroit
    Dan-Bon...
    When KJN Hwang Kee established the Moo Duk Kwan he was very organized. He saw importance in a numerical record of who was promoted to Chodan at what time. As stated earlier, GM Jae Jun Kim was Pin # 38, my instructor, C.I. Kim is Pin #475. My number is 22985 (under U.S. Tang Soo Do Fed./Soo Bahk Do).

    When I joined the U.S. Tang Soo Do Federation in November, 1983 I had earned my Eedan under another association prior to that time. I was put through a "Dan Evaluation Testing" under Master Russ Hanke and issued my Pin # by KJN Hwang Kee via GM H.C. Hwang.

    So now we have to ask; if I was issued the Pin # 22985 as an Eedan, is the guy that received the Pin# 22984 as a Chodan my senior because his number is senior to mine? I think not...

    All that Dan-Bon does is record when you received your first Dan rank as a member of a given Organization/Association/Federation. Don-Bon does NOT track a member through his/her training and reflect their progress or lack there of.

    More of those holding low numbers dropped out at low ranks. If they return to training after years off, should they be considered senior to those who never stopped and surpassed them in knowledge, ability and belt rank? I think not...

    When GM Jae Jun Kim broke away from the Moo Duk Kwan/Soo Bahk Do and established the "American Moo Duk Kwan Association" he started his Dan-Bon from the same number that the Federation was assigning at that time. He added the letter "A" to the number to signify America, and to make the number unique to his association. This caused confusion from time to time, as members of his association would come face to face with Federation members with the same number. Who really owned that Pin #? Who would really be senior to who? These were issues that had to be dealt with.

    At my grand opening weekend in 2007 GM Andy Ah Po, GM Charles Ferraro and GM Michael March were all present. These three GM's and I were sitting at a local eatery having lunch. Michael March was asked by Andy Ah Po; what is your Dan-Bon. Michael March responded with a number that was senior to GM Ah Po's. This was curious to GM Ah Po till it was understood that there was an "A" in Michael March's number. There was no way that Michael March was senior to Andy Ah Po, but at first glance... hearing the number, the seniority was in question.

    For me, it is more important to see what the practitioner has done "SINCE" he/she was promoted to Dan ranking then when he/she received it.



     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Master Jay S. Penfil

    Master Jay S. Penfil Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2005
    Messages:
    273
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Metro-Detroit
    On another note,,,

    Craig,
    Imagine this. Your Dan-Bon is 44922!!!

    What would it have been if we lived in a perfect world and all of the Tang Soo Do practitioners would have stayed true to Hwang Kee and never left the Federation?

    How many practitioners of Tang Soo Do are there in the world that have reached Dan-Ranking?

    What would your number have been if we were truly all together in "ONE" lineage?

    I wonder...
     
  15. Drac

    Drac Sr. Grandmaster

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2004
    Messages:
    22,738
    Likes Received:
    143
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Ohio
    Well said Sir..
     
  16. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    Messages:
    27,600
    Likes Received:
    1,443
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    I do not think that I ever even looked at my ITF Dan numbers. Really they are meaningless and not why I pursue my training! [​IMG]
     
  17. MBuzzy

    MBuzzy Grandmaster

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Messages:
    5,328
    Likes Received:
    107
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    West Melbourne, FL
    I imagine that if that had happened, my pin would be AT LEAST 6 digits. What if all of those people still practiced?? Your # would not be as impressive if so many people didn't drop out. As it stands, I am still VERY junior - but I agree with you. The problem is that while I'm deployed or while I am in a forced hiatus due to my station....I keep getting old, my dan bon keeps getting older, but my skill level actually DECREASES. This is not fair to me OR those who have come after me once I can start to train again.
     
  18. kbarrett

    kbarrett Orange Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    8
    If you belong to an association yes if you don't then no, it's that age old question dose rank really mean anything to some it dose to other it doesn't it all depends.

    Ken
     
  19. Moto9000

    Moto9000 White Belt

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Hello fellow martial artists!

    I am doing some research and am quite interested in this topic. I learned Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo from a grand master from Korea, and received a dan # on my belt along with a Kukkiwon # on my certificate. My dan number is low on my belt but a much higher number on my Kukkiwon certificate obviously. As I understand, after the Moo Duk Kwan/KTA split, no one in Korea was allowed to issue dans except the Kukkiwon.

    Does anyone have more information about this? I understand Hwang Kee continued to issue dans himself outside of the Kukkiwon. Trying to learn more about the Moo Duk Kwan as I particularly love the style even though I have also learned the Olympic/Kukkiwon style. Grand Master Kang Uk Lee has no information about dan #s in his Tang Soo Do book, which my grand master endorsed and taught the same forms from, along with the Kukkiwon Tae Geuks.

    Sincerely,

    Mont
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2017
  20. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    Messages:
    788
    Likes Received:
    188
    Trophy Points:
    58
    Location:
    Austin, Texas, USA
    Kwans still issue dan certification, though I expect most people who get it have Kukkiwon certificates, too.

    I know a few people who have Kwan rank one dan above their Kukkiwon rank, and I know another instructor who has a Kwan rank five dan higher than his Kukkiwon.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    • Agree Agree x 1

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

andy ah po

,
dan bon numbers
,
russ hanke master taekwondo
,
sbd dan pin
,
tang soo do dan number
,
tang soo do dan numbers
,
tangsoodo bon pin number 0003
,
tangsoodo pin number
,
what is a dan pin number in karate