Hapkido "time in grade"

Discussion in 'Hapkido' started by IcemanSK, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Very likely.

    But just to point out that there are other reasons that people drop off from the martial arts and do other things; I delivered papers for several hours a day rain, snow, sleet, or shine, on a bicycle in the mornings when I was a kid, cut lawns all summer regardless of the temperature, and rode thirty miles a day, every day, rain, sleet, snow, or shine, because I wanted to compete in BMX at a higher level and later had visions of competing in the Tour De France. I practiced my "karate" everyday indoors for about a half hour to an hour a day. All that on top of school and a part time job.

    By Junior year of high school, I had proven that I could defend myself, which was why I started taking "Karate" (it was TSD for a year and then TKD for a couple of years, and then Shotokan in high school) in the first place. I never tested for a black belt; I was able to defend myself. I had reached my goal. I stopped formal training regularly about two years after I got out of high school (I was back in TKD by then), but I attended simply to train. I wasn't interested in a black belt and I had gotten into fencing by then anyway. Cycling was a huge part of my life and eventually, fencing replaced karate, but neither one ever trumped cycling. I got into hot rods in high school because my folks wouldn't allow me to by a motorcycle, and by the time I was ready to explore that again, I was married with a son.

    I eventually got back into formal training in taekwondo 2005 and got into hapkido in 2008 (I think). I got my black belts. I also eventually did explore motorcycles again in 2011, got my license in 2012, and bought my first Harley Davidson (96 Superglide) this year. And I have been teaching kendo and participating in fencing on some level consistently for a while now. I still keep my HKD and TKD chops in practice, but it isn't my main focus.

    None of that is a reflection on where I trained; it is simply the direction that my life has gone.

    I have a student who is fairly good in kendo, but he's also a hot shot tennis player. Guess what he's practicing outside of class.
     
  2. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    The numbers are/were on the KKW website. They may still be there but I can't find it. Last year in the TKD thread there were links to it as well as the table posted with the break down for each Dan level inside and outside of Korea. I did a net search which brought up:

    http://www.bctaekwondo.org/history.htm

    This stated as of 2003 that inside Korea there were over 5 million poom/Dan holders, outside of Korea a little over 300K. Over 4th Dan in Korea were over 62K while outside Korea only 9K.

    The TKD thread was more current (maybe 2007 or more recent) which had it up over 7 million. I don't remember the numbers off hand but the % was about the same. I want to say that (rounding numbers) if there were 7 million poom/Dan in the KKW that about 6 million + were in Korea. This goes with what has been stated here in this thread i.e. everyone walking around is a BB. Why? Because they got it as a child (which is pretty standard) with a watered down curriculum which in turn inflates the numbers to impress the those that are easily impressed. I don't mean to be mean with that statement, but it is what it is. Proponents of the KKW often tout/shout the number of BBs in the KKW but often neglect to mention they were mostly children in Korea that fall away in droves as adulthood is reached. Too me...this doesn't speak very highly of KKW TKD in Korea or elsewhere. Not pooing the KKW (though it may seem this way) but I'm just being straight up. If someone likes the KKW and what they have to offer, that's fantastically wonderful and great. Just don't blow smoke by standing on numbers as an indicator of how great the organization seems to be. It is a paper tiger in regards to retention, standards and meaningful numbers.

    Unfortunately it appears that Hapkido is/has followed suit. :uhohh:
     
  3. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Appreciated.

    Unless you know the actual KKW curriculum and the curriculum that is being taught in Korea to the majority of students, you really cannot know if it is watered down. You can reason that the black/pum belt is little more than a merit badge for learning what is considered the basics of the art. I have the textbook. There honestly isn't so much material in the geub levels that you would have to truncate the course to get someone through it in a year, and if they're training five days a week consistenty, it is quite possible. None of the Taegeuk pumsae are overly complex and there is very little the geub grades that goes beyond strikes and blocks.

    As the saying goes, horses for courses. I see tons of adults start a martial art and then drop out. The fact that they aren't kids doesn't make it any better, but they do swell the numbers for the schools they attend. I don't pay all that much attention to the pum/dan numbers or even the overall numbers to determine the quality of the art. Even the drop out rate isn't all that important, given that based on conversations with people in many arts, the dropout rate doesn't vary all that much.

    I have a friend who teaches jazz guitar and worked for several years in the music industry. You see similar take up and drop off rates in music instruction as well. A lot of the reason is that people take lessons because they want to learn to play guitar. Once they can play guitar, they generally stop taking lessons. Usually, you can only count on keeping an adult student for 1 - 4 years. Kids will stay consistently until they graduate high school.

    Martial arts isn't all that different. Adults sign up to meet a goal. Lose weight, learn to fight, get a black belt, try something new. Once they achieve their goal, they move on. Generally, you're looking at one to four years. Kids are in the martial arts in the US as an after school activity. Once they graduate, they go to college.

    Regardless of the art, only a very small percentage of people actually stick with the art much past shodan, and even a smaller number continue past second or third. Then you have that tiny group that will be involved in the martial arts for as long as they're physically able, and even they dont' always stay in the same art.

    As far as kids learning the art and getting their black belt, kids learn lots of things. For many years, in certain segments of western culture, kids were expected to take piano lessons or violin lessons. They generally stop after high school. They can competently play piano. But they aren't concert pianists, they don't compose their own pieces, they can't play in a band or orchestra setting, they cannot take on the role of a church pianist and they may or may not be able to improvise. But they can open up a song book and play piano.

    Whether or not a million Korean children with black belts is a good thing or not is irrelevant to a certain extent; that is the environment. It works there, but it may not be the best fit in other places. Again, it comes down to what the belt represents, which isn't consistent from art to art, place to place, or even school to school.

    The subject of KKW pum/dans came up in relation to a question of which federation had the greatest presence. The KKW doesn't track non pum/dan enrolment, so that was the only number available.

    I agree that the number is fairly meaningless in terms of measuring the success or quality of the art. And as most of us will agree, quantity doesn't reflect quality of the art, though it may reflect quality of the ability to market the art.

    In Korea, it has apparently been following suit for at least a couple of decades, which indicates that the black belt is simply not viewed in Korea as it is here. Personally, I cannot see a children's program that can comprehensively and responsibly teach the entirety of the basics for reasons that I have already elaborated (safety mainly). Given that hapkido doesn't translate as well into a sport as TKD and that it isn't the national sport of Korea, I cannot see any practical benefit to pushing tons of kids through the geub grades.
     
  4. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Just a comment here: You can get them through the actual geub level curriculum without truncating, watering down, or otherwise reducing the curriculum in a year. I cannot vouch for what they'll look like, but it can be done. :)
     
  5. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 3rd Black Belt

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  6. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    That is one of the most sad things I have heard lately.

    It has been only 25 years since I was last in Korea. Hapkido, along with Tang Soo Do, were the holdouts when TKD attempted to take over all Korean MA under their umbrella. I think that is still true, although individual teachers may combine TSD and TKD, at least in title.

    When I was there, I know my GM and the schools under him, promoted on learning rather than time, but that was generally more than two or three years for 1st Degree BB for non on-post schools. He did not hand out BB to American military just for attendance either. If they attended every class, and learned, they could make it in a year. Not many did.

    I also had the impression that Hapkido had more older students than grade school, if grade school at all, outside of American military schools. At least then, Hapkido was strongly viewed as an art with applications for police and military. For the special units, it was required the members have a 3rd Dan in some martial art. Hapkido was preferred, and would have to be learned if they didn't know it already.
     
  7. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    I must admit, I was taken back when I saw the 9yr old 3rd Dan post. I really wasn't expecting it to be that bad.

    +1

    I feel Hapkido, Jujutsu, Chin Na etc are outstanding arts for Police, Corrections, bouncers, event security etc. I've mentioned before that I've used controlling techniques (locks) FAR more than striking. People in those venues have a lot of opportunity to need control, transport or take down techniques.
     
  8. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    I can only speak to what I have personally seen and/or have been told by those with firsthand accounts. I wouldn't put it in the 'evil genius' category but I would put it squarely in the lack of integrity for cash category. Racket or business may be two sides of the same coin. I think they know what their doing in most cases, or are simply following suit with what they've seen their seniors do in the arts.
     
  9. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    I can only agree. It just wasn't that kind of art when I was there. What I learned, I would think, would not be appropriate for 9 year olds, in that I would think they would have had to start learning at least at six, with an incredible commitment in class time and effort. I just don't get it.

    That has always been my thought as well, and I think you have had practical experience that most of us have not.
     
  10. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    I'm with on this.

    I'm going to put aside the belt for a moment, as I view it as a merit badge. If the school is charging $500 for this merit badge, then it's an overpriced merit badge.

    Looking purely at the rank: I hear about children with pum/dan grades in TKD (not federation specific) and to a certain extent, I think, 'whatever.' My opinion of a nine year old samdan is this: samdan conveys no administrative authority and is akin to a nine year old who went to college. Great, the nine year old is really smart and got a degree in astrophysics at nine. It makes makes the folks proud and rightly so. B

    ut nobody is going to hire him ahead of the adult graduates. Why? Because he's nine. If he remains interested and pursues the field into adulthood, then he'll be an incredible asset to his field. But for now? He's nine.

    Likewise, lower ranked adult's are not going to defer to him, he isn't going to be put in charge of classes and isn't able to go out and open his own school. Why? Because he's nine.

    A hapkido samdan is something I look at differently than a TKD samdan. The nature of the techniques are such that nine year olds simply are not (in my opinion) physically ready for them, regardless of how adept or mature for their age they may be.

    So my opinion of putting a nine year old through the material up to samdan and not adjusting it for a child is that it is very irresponsible. My opinion of issuing a samdan to a child for completing a child's course of study is that, at least in the US, it shouldn't be done and it sends mixed messages to the students.

    If everyone is on the same page and thinks it's okay, well it's your school and if you're happy then more power to you. But when a $500 price tag is attached to what amounts to a merit badge, it kind of undermines the authenticity of the accomplishment, regardless of how deserving the student may be (regardless of age).

    Hapkido, jujutsu, chin na, various military combatives, etc. Andy Moynihan shared a video on another site of US Navy training filmed during WWII; prior to hapkido or taekwondo existing and prior to any real exposure to karate or other Asian martial arts. It was virtually indistinguishable from hapkido. And equally beyond what I would teach a nine year old.

    Having said all that, I do not wish the poster with the nine year old son to think that I am demeaning his son's accomplishments. Kids work very hard to earn their awards and to excel in their chosen art/sport/hobby, sometimes harder and with greater earnest than their adult counterparts. I believe that that should be recognized. In fact, I think the kids get more out of belts and ranks than the adults do. I would simply choose a different way to do so than the award of dan rank.
     
  11. Dwi Chugi

    Dwi Chugi Orange Belt

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    My son joined Taekwondo when he was 3 1/2. I am the owner of the dojang and headmaster. He will be 9 in July. So far he has made it to blue belt. I figure by the time he is 11 or so, he will have earned his Il Poom. He trains hard and put forth a lot of effort.

    I have never promoted anyone to black belt in taekwondo before the age of 11 and you have to be 16 for a Hapkido black belt in my school.

    That is the way we do it. Doesn't make it right or wrong, just right for us.
     
  12. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    Good post Daniel, well stated.
     
  13. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    16 is the age the IKSDA decided upon for a minimum age for Dan rank. There was a lot of lengthy discussion with one member leaving as a result. He wanted a much lower age and continually cited 'business reasons' as a justification for the lower age. Kong Soo Do (as we teach it) is quite similar to Hapkido in many regards i.e. locks, throws, chokes, balance displacement etc. So while we stress gross motor skills for SD, it also has a more technical side for the same situations you'd use Hapkido/Jujutsu/Chin Na techniques.
     
  14. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Business should never be a reason to determine promotion of students.

    I could actually give a good argument for a nine year old third dan. It would involve a radical shift in how most people view the kyu/dan system, and it would be entirely for non business reasons. Personally, I wouldn't implement such a system, as I would be more inclined to move away from it entirely and stop giving out belts as merit badges.
     
  15. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    I once proposed a change in the Dan/Kyu dynamic long time ago on a different board. Didn't go anywhere fast, but I still toy with the idea from time to time. Basically it was logged training hours. In essense, a student was a white belt until they had trained for X amount of hours and then passed the Dan test. At that time, if they passed, they transitioned from Kyu status to Dan status. A plain black belt. The hours would continue to accumulate as they trained. This would eliminate the problem with children at too young an age (theoretically). As an example, little Johnny starts training at whatever age. Let's say the minimum age (if used) was 16 just to pick a number. Johnny logs his training hours year after year until it is time to test for Dan status. If he has enough logged hours, and passes the test he becomes a black belt. He keeps all his earned hours so he's lost nothing. If his/her teacher wants them to begin teaching they simply become a Sensei or whatever title is used.

    This does a couple of things (again in theory at least). First, it can help eliminate some ego and/or the buying of rank. Whereas anyone can buy rank these days, with a logged system you've either put in the training hours or you haven't. Secondly, if you have a couple of guys that have claimed to be a black belt for 20 years...what does that mean really? One guy could have put in 5 days a week for 20 years and the other got BB as a kid and then left and did something else. So with logged hours, one guy might have a few hundred hours and the other 5000 hours.

    I don't claim this is a perfect alternative. I don't pretend that it can't be manipulated by those intent on doing so. Just something I've tossed around from time to time. :)
     
  16. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    Daniel Sullivan - I agree business is not a preferred reason for having an accelerated promotion system. I can understand why you would want to move away from it. Student's at too young an age don't usually have the necessary motor skills to be a BB, no matter how good they are. More importantly, I don't think they normally have the maturity needed. While I understand there can be exceptions, it would seem to be difficult to always be sure a student has both the correct motor skills and maturity.

    Kong Soo Do - That's an interesting system you propose. I think teachers do a form of that as it is, just not structured as you mention.
     
  17. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    So long as I teach arts that traditionally use the system, I will use it. In kendo, I am an independent. I could make up names for each rank if I wanted to, given that I have no regulatory body to tell me not to, but I feel that if I am teaching kendo that that would be inappropriate. I try to be as authentic as possible and as close to the ZNKR standards as I can.

    With Hapkido and Taekwondo, I am a member of the WHA and the KKW respectively. Both arts traditionally use geub/dan grades and rank belts. I am happy to keep to that. I just don't use so many; white, yellow, green, blue, red, and red/black for kids/black for adults. I don't believe in more than four belts between white and black, though since I don't charge for tests, I suppose I could have twenty four and it wouldn't matter.
     
  18. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    In the Hapkido I studied, there were two levels of white, two of yellow, two of blue, then 4 red before BB. After BB, the highest rank was 8th Dan. There was an attempt a few years ago to add BB up to 10, but I think that fizzed out. Perhaps too many like my GM, who said he couldn't see any advantage to essentially paperwork drills and money to advance. He had been an 8th Dan for a long time by then, which had been the highest rank available for a long time.

    When I studied TKD under Jhoon Goo Rhee, 8th was the highest in TKD as well, but they added two more rankings later.123
     

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