Oldest Kukkiwon "black belt" at age 96 in the news

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by mango.man, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. mango.man

    mango.man 2nd Black Belt

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    So I took the original post from the 6 year old Black Belt thread and made a few modifications and I am just curious to see if it stirs up the same types of emotional responses.

    I have bolded my changes
    ----
    Cole Becker, 96, is believed to be the oldest American to ever receive a Kukkiwon black belt. Earning a taekwondo black belt is a significant achievement for people of any age. For Taigon Taekwondo students, it is a three-day process. The first day is a written examination, the second day a test of strength and physical stamina with a 3-mile run, push-ups and sit-ups; and on the third day the display of taekwondo forms and techniques, including sparring.

    Cole Becker had to exhibit the same proficiency as younger students, with two exceptions. Adults over 64 break half-inch boards with kicks and chops, while younger students break bricks. Also, Cole's written test was actually an oral exam because his eyesight is poor and he has difficulty holding a pencil for an extended period due to arthritis.

    Cole scored very well on all his tests, including his written (oral) exam. One requirement was that he had to know Korean numbers 1 to 100 as well as many other Korean words.

    The best thing about taekwondo, Cole Becker said, "is that I get to be in the same class as my great grandchildren." That would be 8-year-old Seth, also a black belt.
    ----

    Or you could swap out the 6 year old kid part and put in it's place a 26 year old man with Downs Syndrome. Those types of stories are often received well and with great praise even though it is highly improbable that they did the same exact test as the perfectly healthy adults did. Where is the bashing of the downs syndrome people?
    Begin the ranting now...
     
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Master Black Belt

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    Well, there are a couple of key differences between this hypothetical situation and the real life one originally posted. For instance, in the case of a 96 year old receiving his black belt, you're unlikely to be setting him up for disappointment later in life when he figures out that he's not as tough as he might have thought he was.

    Also, while I haven't met a 96 year old who could kick my butt (yet), I have met at least one who was at least 76 who could do so handily. Not so much with the 6 year olds (and yes, I'd argue a far bigger difference between 6 & 26 than between 76 & 96, sorry).

    I think we can assume that the 96 year old has the maturity many of us would like to see in a black belt, and would likely be a better teacher than the 6 year old.
     
  3. mango.man

    mango.man 2nd Black Belt

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    OK, so to Nomad it all seems to boil down to maturity.

    Anyone else?
     
  4. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

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    no way i would consider someone testing at 96 as bad as a child
     
  5. ATC

    ATC Senior Master

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    Ha ha ha...nice twist.

    Most people only get upset due to their egos. "How can a (insert age) have the same belt as me"?

    They don't realize it has nothing to do with them. It doesn't even hurt the art, that is just something they toss out there.

    My black belt has nothing to do with anyone else but me. If any school gave out black belts to 2,3, 4, hell... newborns, would not and could not affect my efforts and work put towards getting my belt.

    I do the best I can for me. Others do the best they can for them. I can line up 50 master of all the same rank and all 50 will teach different from one another. All 50 will have different skill levels. All 50 will understand or percive the same things differently. And I can bet pennies to dollars that if pitted against one another that there would not be a 50 way tie in a fight. Meaning that the range of effectivness would vary between each.

    People just need to live and let live. That 6 year old black belt has no affect on what I learn, do, or know. If it is affecting any of you then you all have bigger issues than him for doing what he was asked to do to get the belt or rank he earned.
     
  6. StudentCarl

    StudentCarl 3rd Black Belt

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    If I can do that at 96 you need to bow down in respect to my tiger blood!


    (6 or 96: an accomplishment to be proud of!)
     
  7. mango.man

    mango.man 2nd Black Belt

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    Why? In many cases 96 year old's are nothing more than old children. I think it was George Carlin that said "Old people are really nothing more than bent kids".

    Maybe the "Cole Becker" in my story, craps himself 2 times a day, is unable to feed himself and needs help crossing the street.

    Maybe the Cole Becker in the original is a true child prodigy.

    You just don't know in either case and if you base your opinions of if they should be a black belt solely on the age of the subject in the article than that is your problem.
     
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Master Black Belt

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    Wow, way to condescendingly distill a post into one word.

    While maturity absolutely plays a role in my mind, I think I mentioned several other differences. Since you apparently missed or dismissed them, I'll elaborate.

    1. Less likely to get his butt kicked by someone wanting to prove they're a better fighter than a black belt. Or for mouthing off to someone about how tough they are.

    2. I have met some very tough, ornery old men (often ex-military) who I would absolutely not want to pick a fight with! So I think it more likely that a 96 year old could actually back up their black belt physically than a 6 year old could. If nothing else, their mind is much more devious, and they'd be way more likely to cheat ;)

    3. Maturity

    4. I believe that an old man (or woman) who'd just received a black belt would likely make a much much better teacher than a child in passing on the information and techniques. They will most likely be more detail oriented and have better communication skills.

    Now, keep in mind I never said that I agree with giving a 96 year old a black belt; I was simply pointing out a few ways these two people and situations were likely to be different.
     
  9. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

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    horse hockey

    it upsets people becasue it is WRONG and FRAUDULENT to tell some poor kids parents he is a BB level martial artist when he still wets the bed reguarly
    again, HORSE HOCKEY

    it is cheesy BS and one instructor doing cheesy BS makes everyone else look cheesy

    yes it does, see above.


    hose hockey take 3

    no, the problem is that too many people live and let live, in the old days, everyone feared blackbelts because NO ONE promoted people that were not 100% badasses.

    now? thanks to instructors that lie and cheat and steal and do ANYTHING to make another buck, (mostly korean) you tell someone you are a blackbelt, they laugh, say "so if my 6 year old, so what" and walk away

    THATS THE PROBLEM

    in the old days, everyone had standards because if someone tried the crap the koreans do these days? the other blackbelts in town would go over and have a little chat with him, and he would start flying right, or close up shop

    i miss the old days
     
  10. Archtkd

    Archtkd 3rd Black Belt

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    There's still one place where truth often comes out: The dojang floor. It never lies. That floor, eventually or sometimes quickly, exposes the fakes. It forces those who come in with belts they don't deserve to improve, voluntarily downgrade, or simply quit, even when no words are spoken. That floor, when abused, will shame the lazy or bogus teacher too. That's why you see so many places where the master listed in the phone book as the head teacher never actually teaches. He collects all the money, though, from all those who never took time to obseve what the dojang floor might have told them.
     
  11. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

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    QFT i love it
     
  12. ATC

    ATC Senior Master

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    You just proved my point. Thank you.
     
  13. mango.man

    mango.man 2nd Black Belt

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    This thread is about a 96 year old, not a 6 year. A 96 year old that probably wets his bed more often than the 6 year old does and probably wears diapers to, something that the 6 year old has been out of for at least a couple of years yet you don't see a problem with giving the 96 year old diaper wearing bed wetter a BlackBelt.

    So obviously wetting the bed can't be a criteria to deny a person (6 or 96) a BB.
     
  14. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

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    Mango, you are picking nits

    and no, this thread is about a 6 year old, the 96 yr old is pure fiction to prove a point. But the point is moot, cuz the 96 year old would at least be emotionally mature enough to grasp what a BB means.





    ATC, you know how i feel about your school, and everything i said is my opinion, you dont have to agree, you can keep doing what you have been doing.
     
  15. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    Just curious, what are the timber breaks required for a kukkiwon black belt? I just cant imagine a 6 year old OR a 96 year old breaking decent timber with a decent tech. That would be one concern, also I dont imagine either having nice high, balanced side kicks (or any other kick for that matter) in their form. Id love to have seen this kid grade. Ive seen some 6 year olds that were very good 'for their age', but remove the age thing and actually study their technique the way you would an adult and in all honesty they are pretty crap.
     
  16. StagTown

    StagTown Yellow Belt

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    1 in rebreakable with sidekick, students under 16 are no longer allowed to break.
     
  17. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    If all that is required is a side kick break then anyone could pass that part of the test. My daughter was 7 years old when she started and broke with a sidekick on her second night aas a white belt, and she is not a gifted martial artist. I really thought for black belt it would be something a little more difficult.
     
  18. Archtkd

    Archtkd 3rd Black Belt

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    You are missing the point. What have timber breaks or anything you as an adult consider "decent" blackbelt worthy stuff have anything to do with a six-year old child earning a Taekwondo poom rank from the Kukkiwon? The Kukkiwon blackbelt grade that children earn is called a poom grade. There is a reason that the Kukkiwon makes that distinction, from dan rank for adults.

    I think a better way to look at this whole saga is to compare the performance of the child in question with his peers (children). The idea that 50, 40 and 30 somethings are making all this noise about a six year old, who probably did the best he could, is a bit disturbing. If the news story is to be entirely believed the child has already put in at least three years of training to his Taekwondo. How many children that age can make a similar claim?

    Along those lines, I bet the news reporter also made his own interpretetion of the facts, and probably didn't know enough to ask critical questions. That's how things often work at newspapers, especially today when few veterans remain in the business. Also, many instructors -- who rarely talk to media people -- have a tendency to stretch the truth to gain publicity, expecially if the intructor is talking to an ignorant reporter. If you were a dojang owner, would you want to bog down a story with unnecessary details about the differences between adult and child blacbelt ranks, particularly if children are your main target?
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011
  19. ralphmcpherson

    ralphmcpherson Senior Master

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    I was sure it was said in another thread (please correct me if Im wrong) that even if this kid never trains again he can have his 'poom' belt changed to a black belt at age 18. If thats the case then he did get a black belt because with no further training it will become a black belt. The reason I commented on his timber break was because if it really is as easy as breaking with a side kick to get a black belt with the kukkiwon then full marks to the kid, he deserves his belt every bit as much as every other kukkiwon black belt out there despite his age. For me personally (and the club I train at) there is no way a side kick break is a black belt technique. So I am probably having a go at the grading requirements rather than the kid himself. If some org is happy to throw a black belt to a 6 year old then its not the kid's fault, he has trained to their standards and deserves the rewards.
     
  20. Archtkd

    Archtkd 3rd Black Belt

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    This is not personal but I think you are pegging this child to your world and faulty understanding of what a Kukkiwon poom grade is.

    The child trained in Taekwondo for three years under a Taekwondo instructor didn't he? Did he spend three years breaking timber? Many of us can pick most street children in Nairobi or grown thugs and teach them to break timber with what looks like a fantastic technique after a month of training. Those street and thugs can, without any training, do a lot of the physical garbage so many people assume is a prerequisite for blackbelt rank. But can they be called Kukkiwon Taekwondoin?

    Further, assuming the child never trained again and at 18 years of age was awarded a Kukkiwon dan certificate, what would that mean? What would he use it for and how would that affect you, the suppossedly bona fide dan holder? Show off in the dojang? Enter an international competition? Demonstrate his advanced techniques to the public? Fight gangsters? Teach? Hang it on the wall? Maybe it might help the discussion if you could tell us excactly what you do with your hard earned non-Kukkiwon dan certificate.123
     

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