Skipping belts for certain students

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by bree7997, Nov 20, 2018.

  1. bree7997

    bree7997 White Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2018
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Hello everyone! I have a few questions as Tae Kwon Do is new to me. I grew up playing very competitive sports and I do understand that TKD is much different and all about personal growth and the journey and learning a lot along the way.
    My son started TKD one year ago at the age of 5 in kindergarten. He worked his way through the tiny tiger program up until about a month ago when I really pushed to get moved him moved into the older classes because he was losing interest and the TT program was becoming way to easy and he was misbehaving due to boredom. I met with the instructor and really explained how my child may look immature but when he is bored he acts out (he also has adhd). Even though he had two more belts to complete tiny tigers the instructor agreed and moved him up.
    My big question and something making me feel uneasy is that two little boys younger than my son started the tiny tiger program after my son and they have tested out way before him and have skipped several belts. Having grown up in competitive team sports I am having trouble trying to figure out if they think he is not doing well? I am not sure if this is normal. Being completely honest I do not think the kids who have skipped belts look like they deserved to skip belts. I wouldn’t be so confused if I could see something in them that warranted this move. I did question the instructor why they moved up and I got a generic answer of they didn’t realize my sons age. Which can’t be true because he had his birthday party at their studio. So they def knew his age. I do think they are starting to see he has much more potential than they originally realized now that he is being challenged appropriately.
    I am just starting to question if this is the right school for him...... I am not going to make any quick decisions but Is this all normal? I would love to know why they are being favored so much. Just curious really.

    I appreciate any feedback that is offered. Thank you so much
    Bree
     
  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    Messages:
    11,058
    Likes Received:
    1,664
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Keep in mind that when it comes to oversight of martial arts programs, there is none. There is no government regulation of teaching martial arts in the US, no qualifications nor licensing. So the program being taught is completely up to the instructor/business owner. If the school belongs to a larger organization, there may be some oversight on that level, but it is still not government regulated nor licensed. This really does mean that a teacher can do whatever he wants.

    Particularly when teaching young kids I suspect there is a huge amount of discretion and judgement that a teacher uses when making decisions about when to move a child up to the next level, whether or not they have completed all promotions and whether or not such details even matter. I suspect that when dealing with kids younger than 7-8, the real goal is to get them working on some fundamentals, and any belt ranks and promotions they receive along the way become meaningless once they get old enough to join the next class with the older students and get involved in the real training.

    I think those early years are really aimed at just getting the kids interested and developing some fundamental coordination so that they can then become capable of actually learning something. When a teacher determines that the child has accomplished that, then the child is moved into the next group, even if the child never completed all the belts. Becaus at that level the belts really are meaningless beyond giving the child a sense of accomplishment to keep him interested in training.

    Why were the other kids moved up before your son was? I don’t know. It might be as simple as their parent talked with the instructor about it before you did. Did those kids deserve to skip the ranks? The ranks are meaningless at that level so it does not actually matter. And the instructor can simply decide to do it.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. bree7997

    bree7997 White Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2018
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Well I am definitely thankful the government is not regulating these programs. Lol
    Thank you for the information. I am definitely trying to learn all that I can about this process as it is all new to me.
    I am certainly happy with the progress and results with my son so far but I just needed to ask this question for peace of mind.
    I am certainly excited to see what the future holds. If my child remains interested and dedicated I certainly will look at studios that focus more on form and perfecting skills.
    Thank you for helping me understand it all a little better.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    4,019
    Likes Received:
    996
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    New York
    There is very little that we can state with this amount of information. Not a fault on you, but no one here has seen your kid, or the other kids, and the instructor hasn't been able to state his goals. With that said, a couple pieces of advice. It's probably going to be a bit repetitive from flying crane, so my apologies in advance.
    -In reality, the belt doesn't matter. It's a good motivational tool, but beyond that it's not much. As flying crane said, the important thing is fundamentals for kids, and that will occur regardless of the age.
    -With the belt being a motivational tool, the instructor may have felt those kids would strive to do better if they felt they were being rewarded for it. At that point, it has nothing to do with their skill, but what may motivate them best.
    -You said your son was acting out in class by not being challenged enough. From an instructors standpoint, until that's been addressed, that's not behavior to be rewarded. Letting your kid skip a test, or moving him to a higher skilled/more adult class would just be telling him what he's doing in class now is good. So even if the instructor realized that moving him to a different class might help, it puts the instructor in a difficult situation between rewarding bad behavior and putting him in the appropriate class (if he even realized that was the issue).
    -The comment about the age may have been more about maturity. Even if I were to be at a kids birthday party, or host one, the age wouldn't register, so much as how the kid acts. Again, I have not seen him so I do not know, but if he's 7 and acting like a 5 year old, in my mind I would think he's 5 until someone points it out to me.
    -Does it matter how they treat other students? I could care less if an instructor made everyone else black belt supreme masters and not me, if I was still receiving the same instruction, and knew my opinion of how I was progressing. Granted, different for a kid because of the motivation factor, but the other kids progress (or lack of progress, as I'm sure there are other students those kids surpassed as well) isn't your concern.
    -You got what you needed! Your kid is now in the higher level class, he is being challenged appropriately, and he is doing well as a result. As long as that continues, you have nothing to worry about :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    3,272
    Likes Received:
    1,148
    Trophy Points:
    253
    Simply it's the instructors call...if he thinks your doesn't deserve to move up then he doesn't move up that's his call. I don't believe an instructor should promote someone simply because they're losing interest and if I was the instructor and you came to me saying you wanted him moved because he's bored and I didn't believe he deserved I'd simply say no.

    Now in all honesty why are they being favoured (moved up) simply because they're better than him and the instructor thinks they deserve it. You say you think they're worse but are you qualified to make that call? All parents think they're kids are better than what they are its just a natural thing. At the end of the day the only thing you can do is leave if your not happy
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    1,811
    Likes Received:
    406
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Location:
    Germany
    Bit harsh...I would say there's room for discussion with the instructor, who has a duty to consider the child's progress and best interests. That doesn't necessarily mean moving the child or skipping belts, but clarifying what needs to be learned and developed to both child and parent is part of the successful education of the child.

    I would see leaving as being way down at the bottom of the list.

    I do however recommend that the OP avoids comparing their own child's progress to that of others. Every child is different, and the motivating factors required are different in each case.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  7. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    3,749
    Likes Received:
    2,127
    Trophy Points:
    403
    Location:
    In the dojo
    My opinion of kids, especially young kids in MA is they really aren’t there to be taught textbook MA techniques. Sure that’s a great goal and people think they should be, but there’s a lot of room for “good enough” in technique. The goal for kids should be getting them to love MA training and laying down a good foundation for when they’re older. No matter what you do, a 5 year old isn’t going to learn the motor movement at a level that kids several years older and/or adults are. You may see some kid online who’s performing stuff sharper than most adults, but that’s really an exception. Keeping that in mind, it ties into what’s previously been said about belts.

    Do you have any MA experience specifically? Just looking at technique and nothing else, do you know what constitutes good TKD technique? Do you know exactly what to look for? I don’t mean this in a derogatory way. I’ve played sports all my life and teach physical education. I have no Brazilian Jujitsu (BJJ) experience, but I’ve got extensive wrestling experience. Watching BJJ, I honestly wouldn’t be able to evaluate a BJJ guy’s technical skills and determine if that guy should be promoted or not, even though there are some superficial carryovers to wrestling. I have no idea what a BJJ teacher is truly looking for.

    When I was working as a Division 1 athletic trainer (sports medicine), I saw guys get drafted over guys who I thought were better. One day there was a pro scout looking to sign one of our pitchers. We had two field players who were phenomenal and to everyone on the outside, it would seem logical that they’d get drafted first. So I asked the guy why (he was a good guy who I had a decent rapport with). He said he initially came to see those guys due to their stats. One guy who was our career homerun record holder’s swing was awful for the next level. He was too good for the current level, but at the next level he wouldn’t get a hit. Great fielder though. The other guy was quite good, but lost a step from when he had knee surgery and he thought it was obvious that he wouldn’t get it back as it had been long enough. The homerun guy got signed to a very low level minor league team. He played 20 games; zero hits. I guess the expert knew his stuff :) It’s all good, as that guy went to law school and opened up his own practice about 20 minutes away.

    You sent your kid there because you saw some level of expertise in their teaching (hopefully you saw them teach first). Allow them to be the experts. That doesn’t mean don’t advocate for your kid; it means they know TKD better than you. Just as coaches rightfully get funny about “why isn’t my kid playing; he’s better than that kid?” MA instructors will get funny about “why isn’t my kid getting promoted; he’s better than that kid?” It’s the same thing.

    Speak to them privately and ask what your kid needs to work on to promote. Don’t compare yours to anyone else’s. He’s not competing for playing time, obviously. He’s not going to sit out if he doesn’t promote soon. Would you rather him be given something for the wrong reasons or for the right reasons? Having an almost 6 year old and an 8 year old, I know it’s impossible to have them truly understand why others are promoting and they aren’t. I’m sure he’s frustrated by it if he knows they did and he didn’t. All I can say is tell him how everyone’s different and some people get belts sooner and others get belts slower. Tell him other kids will take longer than him. Tell him he’s doing a great job and keep up the hard work. Take the emphasis off the belt and put it on the process.

    If you’re competitive and so is he, keep in mind he’s not competing against anyone but himself. He should be pushing to be better than he currently is, not better than the other kids. Trust me, they’ve all got their own strengths and weaknesses they need to address too.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2002
    Messages:
    3,536
    Likes Received:
    1,776
    Trophy Points:
    388
    Location:
    New Iberia, Louisiana USA
    1. Let your child be a child.
    2. Don’t compare your child to others but to his self.
    3. Always communicate with the Instructor/s and let them do their job.
    4. With children belts/rank is more about goals, motivation, attitude, attendance, perseverance and less about skill

    It should be fun and developmental for the individual and not so much about who's better or who got moved up before someone else.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  9. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Messages:
    2,159
    Likes Received:
    671
    Trophy Points:
    213
    Perhaps these other boys are simply more athleticly gifted than your son? Some of us need to work harder and take more time to get there.

    Ultimately it builds character to earn something through years of hard work than to skip though something easily.
     
  10. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

    • Advisor
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3,663
    Likes Received:
    824
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Huber Heights, OH
    Sheesh, the kid's 5. You're still working at keeping him from eating boogers. Lighten up. If he isn't having fun either force him to participate and behave or take him out.

    You mentioned like 12 times or something how YOU were raised competitively. Either pass it on and force your kid to be competitive, even if it isn't his personality, or accept that he's not competitive right now.

    You're over-thinking it.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Messages:
    2,159
    Likes Received:
    671
    Trophy Points:
    213
    Wait..the kids 5??

    I should have read closer. There should be 0 belt advancements of any sort at age 5. Not at any school that isn't a mcdojo.
     
  12. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,442
    Likes Received:
    362
    Trophy Points:
    123
    You say your son can seem immature and acts out because of his ADHD. To be blunt - were those other kids better behaved in class?

    We have a little kids program, too. We technically have 6 belts for it, but depending on age/maturity, they can move up to the regular kids class after as little as 4 belts. The way we set up the curriculum, after 4 belts, they've actually seen & been tested on our entire TKD white belt curriculum - so, if they're mature enough, it's fine for them to move up at that point. But some kids need more time to develop their maturity and be able to handle the longer & more focused regular kids class, so we have them do the remaining belts (where they review material they've seen before) to give them more time. Maybe something like that was what happened with your son.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2002
    Messages:
    3,536
    Likes Received:
    1,776
    Trophy Points:
    388
    Location:
    New Iberia, Louisiana USA
    The 3 best things you can say to your child as he/she goes to practice or perform (in anything):
    Before:
    “Have Fun.”
    “Do your best.”
    “I love you.”

    Afterward:
    “Did you have fun?”
    “I’m Proud Of You!”
    “I Love You.”
     
    • Like Like x 5
  14. bree7997

    bree7997 White Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2018
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    3
    No he will be 7 in a month.
     
  15. bree7997

    bree7997 White Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2018
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    3
     
  16. bree7997

    bree7997 White Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2018
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    3
    No he will be 7 in a month. I got the advice I needed from a poster. I am certainly not going to force anything on my child. I was on here asking about the culture of Tae Kwon Do because this is all new to me. I did not mention 12 times I was in competitive sports. I mentioned it strictly because competitive team sports is run much different and you compete amongst your teammates in the sports I did so I am trying to understand Tae Kwon Do to help my child the best I can on this journey. I think you didn’t quite get the tone of my post.
     
  17. bree7997

    bree7997 White Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2018
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    3
    This is excellent advice. Thank you so much for your time and respect in responding. I do not have martial experience at all. I have been researching some information and videos online to try and help my son practice at home. While researching information I came upon this site. I definitely intend to speak with the instructors next week to find out what he needs to work on. I do really like the school he attends a lot and his instructors are great. Also he has been making great progress recently and really behaving so that is great. I just want to make sure to focus on what’s most important for him. Thank you again. I’m sure I will have more questions along the way. This is a great site.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. bree7997

    bree7997 White Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2018
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Oh I think those other children are very good and I certainly don’t think my kid is some shining star above others. Lol. Thanks for the response.
     
  19. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

    • Advisor
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3,663
    Likes Received:
    824
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Huber Heights, OH
    So he is 6. Lighten up.
     
  20. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

    • Advisor
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3,663
    Likes Received:
    824
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Huber Heights, OH
    He is 6. Lighten up. You mentioned a whole bunch of times how competitive you were. Let the kid be the kid. There is no one taekwondo and there is no one taekwondo culture. Every dojang is unique.

    (mobile)
     

Share This Page