Difference between Black belt degrees

Discussion in 'Hapkido' started by Mr. President, May 6, 2013.

  1. Mr. President

    Mr. President Green Belt

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    I was wondering what is the substantive difference between a 3rd Dan BB, 7th Dan and 10th Dan in Hapkido. What do you have to do in order to progress from one to another? If you have a higher degree than someone else, does it necessarily make you a better fighter? Does it make you more street effective?

    I guess this question would be valid for Taekwondo, Karate and other arts as well, but maybe in Hapkido it means something different.
     
  2. DennisBreene

    DennisBreene 3rd Black Belt

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    While I can't give you specific criteria; my understanding with the Korean systems is that much of it has to do with technical accomplishment up through about 6th Dan. Above 6th, it increasingly has to do with ones contribution to the art.
     
  3. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 3rd Black Belt

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    In my experience, which is taekwondo, most of the best "fighters" aren't particularly high dan. A lot of it has to do with the time in rank required. Older people with high dan rank tend to spend the majority of their time teaching, developing the art, or doing some kind of administrative work.

    Sent from my SHV-E210K using Tapatalk 2
     
  4. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    Well...to be a 3rd Dan in Hapkido you have to be 9 years old with about 3 years training (at least in Korea). Based upon this example, I suppose 7th Dan would roll in around 13 or 14 years of age with 10th Dan hitting around 17 or 18 years of age. Apparently any age requirements that may have once existed have taken a nose dive in Korea. You used to have to be at least in your mid-20's to be an 8th Dan.

    Now in a school/organization where $ isn't the bottom line i.e. the ones that still maintain integrity you'd probably have a minimum of 6 years to reach 3rd Dan...and you'd be an adult. 7th Dan would take substantially longer with a more serious TIG structure and you'd probably have to demonstrate teaching ablilty and some sort of loyalty and advancement of Hapkido. 10th Dans (and in some arts 9th Dan) are usually reserved for founders or those that hold the highest position within a specific branch of the art.

    Rank may not, and usually does not have anythng to do with being a good fighter or being street effective. Sad to say, even though Hapkido is touted as a self-defense art...it usually isn't taught that way. In otherwords, many 'types' of Hapkido are more concerned with having more 'techniques' than another 'type' of Hapkido. They see it as a selling point to have 5000 techniques. Whereas self-defense/street effectiveness is more about gross motor skills and economy of motion.

    It is easy to tell the difference. If the Hapkido in question regularly has students/instructors/demos that throw a punch about a foot to the side of the opponents head and then leaves it hanging there long enough to be grabbed...

    AND/OR

    ...multiple attackers politely wait their turn to attack, do a fancy break fall and roll and then get up to wait their turn to attack again...

    AND/OR

    ...perform fancy, refined motor skilled and technically integrated movements rather than quick, effective gross motor skill movements...

    AND/OR

    ...don't understand that joint manipulation and joint destruction are a hairs breath away from each other...

    AND/OR

    ...promote children to BB at age 5 then it probably isn't very street effective. On the other hand, if the school/organization in question teaches methods to stop the fight within a very few seconds, using the most expedient movements possible...it is probably an effective version of Hapkido. So in short (too late) street effectiveness has more to do with what is taught/how it is taught than the rank passed out.
     
  5. Cirdan

    Cirdan Senior Master

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    ......
    ..
    The term "belt factory" does not even begin to cover that kind of practice. "Fully automated turbo-charged around-the-clock-running Soke making machine" maybe?
     
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  6. Dwi Chugi

    Dwi Chugi Orange Belt

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    The rank of Black Belt has lost its luster in a lot of systems of martial arts. It is my belief that as people that are passing along an art, we have a choice. We can either fall into the trap of a belt factory McDojang or we can step back and say, I'm going to keep my standards high.

    In my town, there is a martial arts school on every street corner and more than a few hand out belts to who ever can afford a hefty contract and outrageous testing fees.

    I took a big chance and said, "I will not be part of that". My students get promoted when they earn the right of the next rank. I have age requirements for both arts I teach. To reach Black Belt in my Hapkido program a student must be 16 years old but in my 12 year history of running my school the youngest hapkido black belt has been 18 years old. My taekwondo program age limits are a tad bit younger with the poom ranking system but a student still must be a tween to obtain a black belt rank.

    I have a sign hanging on the outside of my office door that reads; "The MuSool Black Belt, always earned, never bought".

    I have sent students and their parents packing on more than one occasion. I make it very clear, when the student is ready for promotion, an instructor or myself will let them know. In the world of fast food and fast sales that is hard for some parents to understand. Especially when their kids friend went to the local "Karate Mart" and paid for a black belt.

    I think the part that really burns my *** the most is the fact that these schools give their students the false sense of confidence that they really know how to defend themselves. Now, I know the martial arts teaches a lot more than fighting but when the rank of black belt is obtained, a student should have the basics mastered. If that student is attacked, they should have the ability to get out of the situation safely. My green belts can. Intact, it takes longer to get a green belt in my Hapkido program than it does a black belt at some of these pay here, get promoted here belt factories.

    All I know is my school has a great reputation on producing real black belts. I always said rank was made up and means very little now a days, so my goal is to teach my students skills to protect themselves with the knowledge of being a great citizen. To me, that is what a martial arts system is about.

    my two cents.
     
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  7. Instructor

    Instructor Master Black Belt

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    Belts are just a symbol. Training time, experience, training focus, and training methods determine ability. Plus health is a factor. A person could be umpteen level black belt with 50 years of training but if they can't even get out of bed obviously they aren't going to be combat effective. My advice, for what it's worth, is not to concern yourself with what people tie around their waste. Focus on your training, because when the smelly stuff hits the fan it's what a fighter can DO... that is the true measure.
     
  8. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    Big +1 and thumbs up!
     
  9. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    When I studied TKD under Jhoon Goo Rhee, he was a 6th degree BB. At that time, the highest rank was 8th degree. I simply can't imagine anyone taking him on in a street fight with any hope of success. He was that good.

    When I studied Hapkido, my GM (now deceased) was an 8th degree. 8th degree was the highest rank. Later there was an attempt to have up to 10th degree. I think it ultimately failed. I don't know if that attempt has been revived and been successful or not. But consider that if all the GMs were 8th degree, what could they have learned to be 10th degree? It was mostly a paperwork drill, more papers on aspects of the art.

    So, as some here have said, what does a BB above a certain rank say about the holder. Just how much is there to learn?

    As to McDojo schools, when you find one, avoid it. Look for the schools like Dwi Chugi describes and runs. They do exist. Read what Kong Soo Do says about recognizing less effective schools. They may teach some effective techniques, but they aren't going to teach real fighting. That is a problem that Hapkido has always faced. As it was taught where I learned, it wasn't a pretty-boy sport. A lot of people don't like to learn an art like that. There is pain involved, and hard work, and destructive mind sets. Hence their can even be Hapkido schools that are watered down.123
     

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