Question regarding ATA Belt Testing

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by ATAStudent83, Oct 25, 2016.

  1. ATAStudent83

    ATAStudent83 White Belt

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    I took my son and tried out a class at an ATA school last night. He is in the Tiny Tigers and I am in the Adult class. While asking questions last night I found that all the colored belts learn the same forms in class and take a belt promotion test every 3 months. So a white going for orange is going to do the same form progression as a brown going for red. Does this sound normal. In my experience the test is supposed to get harder as you progress but I have little experience with TKD
     
  2. TrueJim

    TrueJim Master Black Belt

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  3. ATAStudent83

    ATAStudent83 White Belt

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    Thanks and this is what I thought it should be but the school I went to last does it differently. I was told the movement I need to know for the December test is a sequence taken from Brown Belt. Its not the whole sequence though just roughly 12ish moves from that sequence. and This is what all colored belts need to know for promotion. My son only needs to know 5 moves but he is 5 and in the tiny tigers. I was off to the side learning the sequence with a black belt leadership program student and he disagreed with this philosophy but it wasn't his decision to make
     
  4. ATAStudent83

    ATAStudent83 White Belt

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    I just watched the Choong Jung 1 sequence and can confirm that this is the sequence being taught for belt testing but it its only about 20 seconds starting with the first high low block
     
  5. TrueJim

    TrueJim Master Black Belt

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    How interesting! Maybe your school teaches just the first part of the poomsae first, then the school has you test on just that first part; then the school teaches you the second part of the poomsae, then has you test on just the first and second part, etc.?

    Or do you suppose that you only have to learn just 12 of the 44 moves, and then you get promoted to red belt without knowing the entire poomsae?
     
  6. msmitht

    msmitht 2nd Black Belt

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    Sounds easy for the teachers.one curriculum for all and not even the whole form. Lol. Doesn't matter the school or style. It is out of order and done for money's sake. Find a better school of any style and try and get out of your contract as soon as possible!!!!
     
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  7. ATAStudent83

    ATAStudent83 White Belt

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    That's what I think. The teacher doesn't have to break everyone out by belts and teach the forms for each belt. If I stay with this school I will test for orange in December using 12 moves from the brown belt form.
     
  8. ATAStudent83

    ATAStudent83 White Belt

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    I'm not in a contract yet. They gave me 2 weeks free and if I decide to stay it will be a 6 month commitment. There is a school down the road that I believe is affiliated with WTF but I am not 100% sure
     
  9. TrueJim

    TrueJim Master Black Belt

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    Oh I see what you're saying now! How interesting! Very peculiar though.

    I don't know that I agree that this is necessarily being done just for money's sake. I'm not saying I like this teaching approach, but I think the motivation could be something besides money. For example, maybe the teacher might be teaching it this way in order to create more "bonding" among the students: everybody's always learning the same things at the same time. Or maybe the teacher believes that forms aren't that important, but technique is, so he'd rather focus on just techniques and little snippets of forms are his way to reinforce the techniques currently being drilled.

    That having been said though, I do think this approach will be much harder for the students the long run. Like, eventually somebody somewhere is going to expect you as an orange belt to know the orange belt form...but you won't know it yet. And then by the time you do learn it, it'll be intermixed with a lot of other pieces of forms in your memory, so it'll be more difficult to remember which form is which. Also, this teaching style will make it more difficult to compete in forms competitions at tournaments.

    I'd try the WTF-style school down the road for a lesson or two and see how you like it; if it's horrible, you can always go back to the ATA school. What your ATA school is doing is certainly very peculiar.
     
  10. ATAStudent83

    ATAStudent83 White Belt

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    I made contact with the WTF school and we are checking them out on Saturday. I like the people at the ATA school. They were very nice but the curriculum didn't sit right with me. It seemed too easy and like belts every 3 months were automatic. I learned the entire form in less than 20 mins and that when I was told that's all I would need to know for promotion. I don't want belts handed to me or my son as it sets a bad example for him.
     
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  11. TrueJim

    TrueJim Master Black Belt

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    I think you have the right philosophy. It's not like taekwondo has to be made excruciatingly difficult, but it also shouldn't be trivially easy. I started my son at age 5, he's 9 now, and taekwondo has done a lot for him in terms of teaching him to set challenging goals and then work hard to achieve them.
     
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  12. Kickboxer101

    Kickboxer101 Master Black Belt

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    Best thing to do is talk to the instructor and ask these things and see what they say
     
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  13. itsrosa82

    itsrosa82 White Belt

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    I am a Master Instructor with the ATA so I figured I would chime in on this one. I'd like to start by saying all ATA schools are independently owned and operated so the curriculum's content and the way it is taught at one school can be radically different from another school, even though they both may be ATA schools.

    In saying that, your school seems to be using a method of block teaching. Block teaching is where more than one rank learns the same form/material during a particular testing cycle (the 2 or 3 month period between one belt test and another). Some "blocks" in this teaching system incorporate just a couple of belts. Ours, for instance, blocks the white, orange and yellow belts together. They rotate through the material for these three belts and when a student has completed these 3 belts they will have done all the material required by us for the completion of this program, although some people may have learned this material out of order. Some schools create larger "blocks", like the one you are looking at. There is really no right or wrong answer as to how the material is presented. This is based on personal preference and what the instructor in charge thinks is best for his students.

    When it comes to learning partial forms, there are reasons for that as well. Some schools don't teach full forms because they are more interested in other aspects of training and feel that lowering the memorization requirements can help in other avenues of training. I know of schools that feel that technique is better served by working less on form memorization and more on quality of individual movements. Some schools may have more of a focus on self defense or sparring and that could be a reason for less emphasis on the memorization of forms. This, again, is based on the owner of the school and what their goals are for their students.

    There is really no right or wrong way to do these things. You just have to look at the school, it's instructors and students and decide if it is the right place for you and your family. If it is, I wouldn't be concerned with these issues and I would focus on training hard and doing your best at whatever material you are working on.
     
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  14. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    Some martial arts schools use what's called a "rotating curriculum", which is probably what this school is doing.

    Normally, in Taekwondo and similar arts, there is a particular form and set of techniques for each belt, and you learn each belt's material in order to move to the next. That's the system we're probably all familiar with. A rotating curriculum takes a different approach, and basically says "as long you learn all the material, who cares what order you learn it in?". So everybody in the class will learn the same material at the same time, and eventually you'll get around to learning the entire curriculum.

    I have.... mixed feelings about this approach. If they were rotating through white/orange belt material, and then once you've done all the material for those two belts you graduate to the yellow/green class, and so forth, I think that could work. But the advanced belts should be working on more difficult material than beginner belts. Advanced forms should be more complex and difficult than beginner forms.
     
  15. TrueJim

    TrueJim Master Black Belt

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    I can certainly appreciate the logic behind it. One is de-emphasizing the forms themselves, in favor of emphasizing a certain lesson within a form, and practicing that specific sequence collectively as a group. One can imagine a school that essentially eliminates "forms" entirely, and just has the school collectively spend each week working on the same sequence. I can see a lot of virtues in that.

    On the other hand, to WaterGal's point, as a beginner I think I would have felt fairly frustrated to be dropped into the middle of a medium-difficulty form during my first month of training. Like, I haven't even developed the muscle-memory yet for basic stances and stance changes, and now I'm supposed to be learning that AND some complicated kick or strike sequences.
     
  16. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    If i was king of martial arts i would probably have 1 form and then layer complexity on top of that.

    Not sure how i would achieve that. It is just an idea like a skill tree in a rpg or how some songs develop.

    Eg. Same basic principle all the way through. But then changing due to nuance.



    That way flash techniques dont take priority over high percentage techniques.
     
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  17. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    That's the way it should work already in kata based arts like karate. You don't do the forms the same way years in. Or at least you shouldn't be. Changes in timing, in understanding of stances, in development of power generation beyond snap and hip rotation occur. Otherwise, instead of study for say 15 years, you've really only studied one year and then repeated it 15 times.
     
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  18. msmitht

    msmitht 2nd Black Belt

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    I would be greatly concerned about learning out of order or partial learning. You are supposed to build on what you have previously learned so how are you going to do that as a yellow belt if the first set of techniques that you learned were for orange belt? Imagine if you went to swim lessons for the first time and they were teaching the butterfly. Shouldn't you learn how to tread water first and stay afloat?
    I have no love for the American Taekwondo Association. I think they for the most part are a crap organization with s***** technique. If you watch their paid show on ESPN they all look like Mike Chat wannabes. That being said there are a few decent schools within their system whose instructors have decided to actually care about teaching martial arts. There is no guarantee that the other school will be better but I would definitely give it a shot.
     
  19. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    It would be hard to get the nuances right though. Just conceptually. Say for example you learn something out there like a 720 kick.


    Now you need your basics down to do that kick. So fair enough that is your progression.

    Exept being able to do the 720 also enhances your basics as it defines elements like rotation and body control. Basically you are doing plyometrics. Which should be at the start of your basic training.

    So which comes first. the chicken or the egg?
     
  20. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    Indeed. This is why students need good instructors. I've had the same Goju-ryu teacher for over 25 years now.
    I don't disagree. In my branch of Goju-ryu, beginners learn the kata Sanchin within the first 3 months. They'll be doing it for the rest of their lifetime if they continue training as the form is one of the foundation key points to developing and maintain their alignment and posture. Obviously, an experienced observer will be able to recognize how far along a Goju-ryu practitioner is by how adept his Sanchin is.123
     
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