Fleecing black belts

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by Rumy73, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,472
    Likes Received:
    268
    Trophy Points:
    193
    Location:
    Olney, Maryland
    This is a follow up post that I had made in the other thread. Information correction:

     
  2. Tgace

    Tgace Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    Messages:
    7,766
    Likes Received:
    408
    Trophy Points:
    208
    I hear through word of mouth that a local school has a policy where black belt tests will only be conducted ONLY during a yearly seminar where various martial arts notables are brought in.

    The student is made to pay the $500 seminar fee (to increase seminar attendance and fund the attendees I assume) and show up for the seminar or he/she wont be promoted until he/she can attend the next seminar, typically a year later.

    It's an interesting twist on the belt testing fee meme.
     
  3. Rumy73

    Rumy73 Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Messages:
    588
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    This guy who Daniel mentions now runs big warehouse in Md as a dojang. No heat or AC. He does not tell parents about the lack of climate control. Nice.
     
  4. Gorilla

    Gorilla Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,759
    Likes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    73
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    A twenty thousand square ft Dojang for 100 students is way to much square feet!

    am I reading that wrong...3-5k would be more than enough!!!!!
     
  5. Gwai Lo Dan

    Gwai Lo Dan 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2010
    Messages:
    859
    Likes Received:
    113
    Trophy Points:
    58
    I remember in his book that Chuck Norris said he started training in Korea at a place without climate control. As I recall, he said winter was fine because he could wear more clothes and warm up, but summer was terrible since he would sweat a lot, and in training for hours, he thighs would rub raw.
     
  6. Archtkd

    Archtkd 3rd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2009
    Messages:
    973
    Likes Received:
    99
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    That number can't be accurate. That kind of space should be a 1,000-member dojang.
     
  7. terrylamar

    terrylamar Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I could teach 100 students school in 2,000 square feet and that includes restrooms, changing rooms and office. Not every one of the 100 students would come to every class, every day. Figure 25% would come to your busiest class, maybe sometimes a few more. Even packed, we have all been to seminars where we have to turn at a 45 degree angle to fit everyone in. A 3-5K school could handle weapons like the sword or staff. In 20K floor space you would get lost.
     
  8. terrylamar

    terrylamar Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I realize it wouldn't be for everyone, but I like this idea and have been considering it. I would call it Sparta or something like that. My idea of classes is real hard training. It may not be a commercial success, but it would have some hardcore students.
     
  9. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    20,311
    Likes Received:
    540
    Trophy Points:
    248
    Location:
    NH
    What, indoors? On a flat surface? Protected from the rain and the snow and the wind?

    You should join me hiking up a mountain sometime. ;)
     
  10. terrylamar

    terrylamar Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2008
    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Trust me, there would be frequent training sessions in the outdoors!
     
  11. SJON

    SJON Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Spain
    I like the idea, but nowadays it wouldn't really be viable, except - as you say - for hardcore students, i.e. not a commercial venture.

    On the other hand, the Crossfit and Crossfit-a-like gyms here in Spain are just that: basic warehouse-type facilities, very spartan. That's supposed to be part of the appeal.

    But then, Crossfitters are probably a different breed to a significant proportion of potential TKD students. Also, here at least, MA gyms are not just MA. They usually have to run several activities to keep it commercially viable, so as well as the MA and weights, you find aerobics, dance, health Tai Chi, fitness classes for senior citizens, kids' summer activities, etc. That client base wouldn't take kindly to a warehouse with no showers, although even they would consider air conditioning to be something for soft Americans ;).
     
  12. SJON

    SJON Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Spain
    Actually, I remember at least half of my training in the UK nearly 20 years ago was done in unheated premises (church halls, student union rooms not intended for MA practice) with hard floors and no showers, which meant blood blisters on the feet, hard falls and walking home afterwards smelling bad. The other half of the time we at least had mats on the floor.

    We also did a lot of medium-to-heavy contact sparring with zero protective gear, which was also commonplace in Spain until a few years ago, and still is in some dojangs.

    Perhaps that's what we mean by "hardcore". But there were always plenty of students, so either people have changed or there has been a shift in focus to target a different market.
     
  13. SJON

    SJON Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Spain
  14. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,472
    Likes Received:
    268
    Trophy Points:
    193
    Location:
    Olney, Maryland
    That's because I was writing it wrong. Too many zeros!
     
  15. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,472
    Likes Received:
    268
    Trophy Points:
    193
    Location:
    Olney, Maryland
    This is not entirely accurate. Assuming he hasn't moved or made any major renovations to the dojang, he put in six long electric base board heaters before I left. The front area and the after school program area are air conditioned and there is a duct to the training area. Ceiling fans and a large back door that we could open mitigated a lot of the issues with heat. It was not ideal, considering the size of the training area, but to say that he has no heat or AC is not correct. Now, the effectiveness of what he has is a different topic.

    Not having trained there in several years, I won't comment one way or the other, as there has been time enough for him to either have moved or to have gutted the place and renovated it. You and anyone reading my post can make of it what you will.

    For myself and the hardcore students, particularly the kendo students, it was tollerable except on the coldest of days. For a large school with a mix of predominantly kids? That is another matter. Most of my time with him was at the Flower Hill location, which was retail space and was heated and air conditioned. No idea how it's all working out for him.

    I'm not promoting or sticking up for him, but I do have first hand knowledge of the school. If I see accusations posted about it that aren't accurate, I feel obliged to point it out. As I said on the other thread, I will not denigrate any specific schools or teachers publicly and I will not offer to discuss any issues with former dojangs privately. I've laid to rest any differences I've had with prior places of training and have moved on with my life.

    Aside from it being a matter of decorum, and in the case of the gentleman you're posting about, a matter of simply not wishing to disrespect a former sabeom on a public forum, going after people online can sometimes have negative offline consequences.

    In the end, what does it matter? The people who would benefit most from an online review of the school aren't on MT. I'm no longer training there and am very happy where I am and doing what I'm doing. Every place where I have trained has provided me with something positive and has increased my knowledge in some way. Sometimes in unexpected ways, but in some way nonetheless. I take the good and leave behind any negativity, and I wish him and his well.
     
  16. Rumy73

    Rumy73 Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Messages:
    588
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Actually it is accurate, I have been there more recently than you. The heaters he installed are left off or broken. There is no AC anywhere in the place. Everything I said here, I said to him.
     
  17. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,472
    Likes Received:
    268
    Trophy Points:
    193
    Location:
    Olney, Maryland
    That is unfortunate. He was very generous to my kids and I when we were there. I had hoped that things were going better.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  18. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,655
    Likes Received:
    477
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Yeah, 20,000 sf is the size of a grocery store. That being said, the $3000-ish/month you had listed for a 2,000 sf space in the suburbs of a big city is on par with my experience. Our rent is more than that, though our space is larger and in a great location. Add to that another grand or more in utilities, liability insurance and marketing..... it's an expensive business.
     
  19. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    2,419
    Likes Received:
    328
    Trophy Points:
    143
    By necessity, both martial arts and martial sports are taught by rote:

    1: the use of memory usually with little intelligence <learn by rote>
    2: mechanical or unthinking routine or repetition

    The reason is simply to instill instinctive muscle memory to reduce reaction time. Thus the idea that a black belt, who outside of Korea probably has several years of training, needs to have gup testing (or recertification training) is beyond stupid. And any attempt to justify this money-grab by saying it motivates students to continue training doesn't speak very highly of the training itself holding the interest of the student. Indeed, it would inticate that the training in question is sub-par and that only a financial incentive being held over the head will retain students.

    Money grab and nothing more.
     
  20. RTKDCMB

    RTKDCMB Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Messages:
    3,135
    Likes Received:
    716
    Trophy Points:
    213
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    123
     

Share This Page