What should a TKD Black Belt know? What should a TKD Black Belt learn?

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by skribs, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I would say that is very unique. Have there been in rifts about "who method or technique" is correct?
     
  2. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    There are disagreements at times...but as long as it is effective it is accepted.
     
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  3. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Once again, you misunderstand. The rules literally change at black belt.

    Colored belt - can punch or kick to body. Cannot punch or kick to head.
    Black belt - can punch to body, can kick to body or head. Cannot punch to head.

    The question in this case is should a colored belt start training for the strategies that will be used in black belt competition, or should they focus on their level. In the scenario you get your black belt in June and there is a tournament in July, do you:
    1. Put your red belt back on, because you haven't been training to set up or defend against headshots.
    2. Have been training to set up and defend against headshots since red belt, because you were training ahead.
    3. Go to the tournament, having only spent a month training to set up and defend against headshots, because you only train at your level and you will fight at your level.
    4. Not compete at all, and wait until next July, because you haven't been training headshots and aren't ready to compete.
    As to what people can or can't prepare for by testing, that's ignoring:
    • Mixed classes, where lower level students try higher things
    • Progression of the technique as it appears in the curriculum (i.e. our green belts get an introduction to the spinning hook kick, blue belts are expected to make it look like a kick, and red belts are expected to be proficient in it)
    • Different learning speeds and time-in-grade requirements
    We have some students that take 8 months or more to get through the material required for one test. By the time I got my green belt I knew 95% of what I'd need for my black belt, from watching the other classes. We have some students that take years to understand how to do basic kicks. I landed a 540 roundhouse on my 3rd try as an orange belt, and we have a girl who was doing head level double-back-kicks within seconds of me showing her how to do them.

    People learn at different rates, and just because someone is capable of looking ahead, doesn't mean the curriculum is bad.
     
  4. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    It depends on how important rank is to you. To me, it's more political than anything else at this point. My rank in Hapkido, on the other hand, I feel differently about.
     
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  5. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Is this a hypotheical or do you only attend one tournament a year? Any exposure is better than none so if that is your school's MO, they should enter the tournament. The way you frame the question, a person should compete only when they have a good chance of winning. There is no other way to get tourney experience other than going to tournaments.


    To try and wrangle in the line of questions for this thread:
    • What is the average time for one of your students to get to BB?
    • What forms are required?
    • What kicks and technique are required?
    • What one/two/three-steps are required?
    • How many times and who do they spar?
    • How is sparring measured?
    • How/what breaking is required?
    • How long is an average BB testing?
    No long answers necessary. Just your Dojangs requirements for each bullet.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  6. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Ok, let's take white belts and throw them in the black belt division. After all, if they should compete regardless of chance of victory, that's the best way to do it, right?

    It's not about a good chance of winning, but a fair one. Someone who hasn't practiced the techniques, strategies, and defenses for what's allowed in the rules isn't going to do very well.

    Maybe you should re-read the first post and remind yourself why I made this thread in the first place.
     
  7. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    So yall dont train to throw headshots or defend headshots until Black Belt?

    Do yall mostly train for competition?

    At my son's school, they train to fight and then for competition then apply those techniques according to the competition rules. So you learn all the techniques and basic strategy before blackbelt. As a blackbelt you are refining those techniques and figuring out different strategies to utilize them.
     
  8. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    We do train for the competition rules, but we don't go to competitions that often. We probably average one per year.

    We train to keep our hands up, and we train punch defenses to the head, but in our defense practice we don't generally train for kicks to the head (because most people on the street aren't going to try to kick you in the head). As for sparring, we don't want kids to practice for sparring rules they aren't allowed to use, and then have to NOT use their techniques when they get to the competition.

    Keep in mind the majority of our blue and red belts are between 6-10 years old.
     
  9. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Your white belt analogy is unequivocally a kneejerk response. No where was the conversation about a white belt. It was a high red just months from testing for BB. I certainly hope there is quite a lot of difference between the two at you school. Your reasoning leaves me wondering.
     
  10. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    First off, we weren't talking about that. We were talking about a fresh black belt competing, not a high red. The discussion of high red is whether they should be learning the techniques and tactics they will use as red belts in competition, or as black belts. You made it sound like it doesn't matter, that even if they've only been training the tactics for a month, they should go compete, because that's how you get experience. You made it sound like I don't want actual competition, but only want to spar when we are likely to win.

    My white belt analogy is right on point. Someone who has only been training the style for a month, should not be against experienced fighters. Furthermore, you recognize that it was an analogy, which means you understood exactly what I meant. Yes, I know we're not talking about white belts. However, we are talking about a relatively similar level of experience with the rules and regulations, as the game changes significantly once you allow head kicks.

    Which circles back to the options previously available:
    1. Compete a step down
    2. Train for black belt division ahead of time
    3. Compete at the black belt division despite your lack of experience
    4. Wait to compete until you've trained at your level for an appropriate amount of time
     
  11. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    You did not answer my question as to how many tournaments do you go to in a year?
    At what level would you be competing? It is just one tournament. If the student goes in with the right mindset, largely by virtue of their instructor, a loss in this situation should not be an earth shattering issue.
    Number 1: This would be an egregious copout unless there was no one in their division to spar and the lower level competitors agree to it. And they should have a heavy advantage so would not the pendulum be swinging the other way?
    Number 2: We kick to the head from day one. You do train TKD right? If they have known about this tournament for some time and planned to compete and they knew it was going to be significantly different then yes they should have already been training for it.
    Number 3: Yes
    Number 4: Why wait? Do you cut off a finger for every loss?
     
  12. paitingman

    paitingman Blue Belt

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    We would always train with head kicks with those who were ready to somewhere in the beginning ranks.
    I don't remember what rank I was but once I wasn't a beginner people started kicking me in the head and I started trying to do it back.

    We all trained with control contact with one another; sometimes we had full contact under supervision just depending on the tempo of the day.

    As far as competition,
    I remember rules would differ quite a bit given the tournament and who's hosting. They would kind of decide details like headshot rules for certain ages depending on the pool of athletes that day and the overall vibe amongst the Kwangjangnims for this event.
    So if you were color belt and they decided no headshots at all, it might be disappointing, but you fought hard anyway.
     
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  13. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    1. It's probably only a few months of training. It's not like they're going down to the white belt division.
    2. That would be against the rules at the lower belt levels.
    3. .
    4. No, but repeated kicks to the head are not a good thing for the human body.
     
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  14. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Reading through the entire thread, it seems you’re asking about competition rather than curriculum. About should someone learn stuff beyond their rank simply so they can compete at a certain level on a certain day.

    The answer is yes. And no. It depends on the individual and shouldn’t be a blanket policy.

    Our organization holds a closed tournament every year. Only Seido students compete in it. The rules are pretty good regarding what’s allowed and what isn’t. In kata, students are only allowed to perform kata within their rank, as recognized by the syllabus. The only exception is a student may perform a kata one rank lower if they’ve just promoted. I competed in a tournament 3 years ago in a pool of 24 people at my rank. 3 or 4 did a lower rank kata, and it was obvious they just promoted because their belts were still creased (that fold you can see on the ends that hang down).

    Not that we’re really discussing kata, but it kind of ties in - my teacher has taught some students a kata above their current rank because they were going to compete a few weeks after they promoted. Simply put, they had their material down for their current rank and it wouldn’t hinder them to learn the material before they were technically supposed to. Others weren’t taught a new kata early and competed using the kata they knew. It all depends on the student.

    When it comes to sparring and rule changes, it should be the same thing - teach those that are ready to go beyond their rank, and don’t teach those that aren’t. It shouldn’t be a blanket policy.

    Something else I can’t get past here...
    You’re only competing once a year? Why is what comes down to a few students at most once a year an issue? Teach whoever is ready and willing and be done with it.

    If the question is should you start teaching every student stuff above their rank so they’re ready for the next rank (not a competition thing), the answer is an easy no. Their current rank is supposed to be doing that already. If you’re consistently teaching people things above their current rank, then curriculum is too easy and needs to change. Or you’re too impatient as a teacher and getting too bored with repetition. Of course there might be a few who can move faster through things, but they’re the exception and not the norm.
     
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  15. Balrog

    Balrog Master of Arts

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    I can't speak for other organizations. ATA has a curriculum up through 8th Degree Black Belt.
     
  16. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    It's kind of both. The rules of the competition depend on where you are in the curriculum. Maybe I should make another thread that ignores competition, since we've focused on that heavily in this thread.

    Even if you break from it, having a blanket policy is a good thing.
    1. It gives lower level instructors a template to follow when leading class (for example, do drills appropriate to this belt level)
    2. It gives higher level instructors an expectation for what exercises the large group can handle together

    My experience is in a school with around 150-200 active students, with individual classes for each belt level. Classes have about 15-25 students per class. It's very safe to assume that:
    • The white and yellow belt class are learning the proper technique
    • The purple and orange belt class are learning basic footwork
    • The green belt class should have mastered the basics, and is learning more applicable footwork (i.e. slides and double kicks)
    • The blue belt class should have a handle on all of the above, and be ready to put it all together
    • The red belt class should be able to handle more complicated drills
    Now, there are purple and orange belts who can do kicks at the blue and red belt level. But I can't do that when I'm leading the purple and orange belt class, because for every kid that can do tornado kicks and jumping back kicks already, there's 5 more that barely understand the concept of a step-behind side kick or a back kick. That's why a blanket standard exists.

    This is actually the best answer I've gotten. That I should train slightly up, because I'm training them to be that rank. This really answers the question.
     
  17. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    So what is the difference between the pre-black-belt and post-black-belt curriculum? You've given me a used-car-salesman version of the answer, but I'm curious about specific things that are different.
     
  18. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I don’t know exactly what you mean by “train slightly up.”

    Our belt order goes white-blue-yellow-green-brown-black. There’s a rank between each color, adding up to 10 kyu/colored belt ranks. White belts train as white belts. They don’t learn blue belt stuff because they’re not blue belts yet. They’ll learn blue belt stuff when they earn their blue belt. Even if they’ve learned the white belt stuff pretty quickly (which they typically do because our white belt syllabus is pretty short), they can always get better. Why start teaching blue belt stuff when a white belt has memorized their white belt stuff? Let them get good at the white belt stuff. Let them get bored with it a bit. Once they promote, then teach them blue belt stuff. It’s not about memorizing techniques and being able to look half way decent while doing them in line drills; it’s about them having a solid functional knowledge of them.

    My first green belt class was pretty interesting. I was the only one there that night, so my teacher taught me the entire syllabus for that rank that night. Two kata, 2 standardized solo drills, and one standardized partner drill. My previous experience made that possible. So I learned in one night everything I needed to learn in 6 months. Should he have started teaching me the next rank’s stuff a few weeks later? Of course not. Even if I was somehow able to test for the next rank and pass that test, what’s the point? My green belt material wasn’t as good as it would’ve been if I focused on it for 6 months.

    Use each rank to learn and get good at that rank, rather than saying “that’s good enough, let’s move on.” If it’s good enough to move on to material for the next rank, then promote them to the next rank. If everyone’s good enough to promote to the next rank after a month, then something’s wrong. The syllabus, the standards, the teacher’s attention span, the students’ attention spans, etc.

    My previous organization was started by two people who left my current organization. The colored belt syllabus is about 90% identical (maybe more). Even though it was close to 15 years in between stints, I still somehow remembered practically everything. If I forgot something, seeing it once or being told once was enough to jog my memory. And I still started at white belt and tested for practically every rank. I double promoted twice. I tested a little early once or twice. But I wasn’t taught stuff above my rank. If I knew it already, they’d allow me to do it. But it wasn’t “that’s good enough, now let me teach you this.”

    We learn the material for our current rank. If we know it well enough, we keep practicing it until it’s time to promote. If we don’t know it we’ll en, we keep practicing it until we do, then we promote. We don’t start learning stuff above our rank, simply because we can always improve the stuff for our current rank.

    The only time I’ve seen people taught something above their rank was last year when 2 people were going to compete in a tournament 3 weeks after their test. They knew their material well enough, so my teacher decided to make an exception.
     
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  19. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Let me simplify it down. Something like:
    • A white belt should learn drills 1-5.
    • A yellow belt should know drills 1-5, and learn drills 6-10.
    • A purple belt should know drills 1-10, and learn drills 11-14.
    • An orange belt should know drills 1-14, and learn drills 15-22.
    • A green belt should know drills 1-22, and learn drills 23-28.
    You get the idea. So drill 7 should be something that a purple belt knows, but that a yellow belt is learning. A white belt shouldn't be expected to know it yet, and a green belt should really have it down.

    So the question is, if we continue on and lets say drills 35-40 are for red belts, should those be aimed at red belt sparring or black belt sparring? Since a black belt should know them, that's the time to introduce them. (Or should those be saved for drills 41-47).

    This is all good information, but I don't see how it's relevant to this discussion. We're talking about what people should know before black belt or learn after black belt, as per the design of the curriculum. Your assessment would come after that's been decided.
     
  20. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    A blanket standard does not exist. Your school may have it own standards but they in no way apply to another organization. It is misleading to make such a remark. I think this is part of @JR 137 's point.
    A student should only train up in very, very limited circumstances. Period.
     

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