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. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I am talking about a blanket requirement for a school.
     
  2. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm curious about this. Mainline NGA has a pretty standardized curriculum (plus whatever the individual instructor wants to add), so I'm familiar with the curriculum-per-level approach (in NGA, the core is 10 new techniques per level up to brown). But I have no issue with a student learning beyond that number. If a blue belt (white-yellow-blue-green-purple-brown), is in a class with a bunch of purple and brown belts, and I think they can handle the technique the others want to work on, I'll teach them the new technique. If this happens often enough as they move through the ranks, it's possible they'll have most of the brown belt curriculum (what it takes to get to brown) in advance. The parts of the curriculum outside the 50 Classical techniques are even more subject to being picked up early.

    What do you see as the issue with a student getting some of their material in advance?
     
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  3. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    The issue I see with students getting some of their material in advance is they start practicing and doing that rather than what they should be working on and refining.

    Why should a student work on a jumping roundhouse kick when their regular roundhouse still needs work and they’re not required to know jumping roundhouse? Why start teaching standardized drill #5 when 1-4 are their requirement and they can still use work on those? Why teach a kata higher than their requirement?
     
  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Okay, that makes sense where it’s progressive like the roundhouse and jumping roundhouse. NGA’s formal curriculum mostly isn’t progressive like that, so can be mixed more readily.

    As for the rest, I sometimes teach in advance for a couple of reasons. Sometimes it’s just convenient (the student can handle the new info, and I have someone who needs to learn it - put them together). Sometimes, it’s just to stave off boredom. My students get all the material for their rank over a few months, then spend months working that material before testing. Something new thrown in gives them a break.
     
  5. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    I teach basics first, just as I imagine everyone else does. But then I give them a ton of stuff next. More than they can possibly learn. I stay on them to always work their basics.

    It seems to work for us. Since we do a lot of fight training, the more advanced guys throw stuff at them that the beginners don't do yet. All well controlled, gently. They catch on quickly, and it gives them a desire to want to both defend it and to do it. It's the old "do unto others' approach. :)

    American Karate isn't really taught in steps. To me, it would take too long.
     
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  6. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Very little. Obviously, if the student isn't ready for additional material and an instructor still teaches it (like in your color belt scenario for example)it is easy to see how that would have a negative effect on the student. But if they are up to date on their required material, and have time until the next testing I see no problem with it. Especially when it is only one or two techniques. As time get condensed near their next testing many people would forget about the new material and concentrate on their next requirements. I know my pea-brain would.:)
     
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  7. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I’m not saying never teach anyone anything above their current rank. It’s the mark of a good teacher to know who to teach what and when. There’s no absolutes. And especially with small groups.

    If you’ve got a bunch of, say 2nd kyus, who are regulars and there’s a single 6th kyu who’s regularly there that night, it would make sense to teach him a few things so he can participate in some partner stuff with the rest of the group instead of always being off on his own and doing his own thing. That’s not an unreasonable thing when you’ve got a small student base and don’t have rank specific classes. But if you’ve got a student base of 100+ and you’ve got rank specific classes, then that’s not really a concern.

    My thing when I started replying to the thread was it seemed like people were consistently learning stuff above their rank “so they’re ready for the next rank” (not a direct quote) or even black belt. Basically, so when they get to the new rank they’ve been doing some of the stuff already and aren’t on a day one basis for that rank. That makes zero sense to me. As a 1st kyu, why teach me 1st dan stuff? I’ll learn the 1st dan stuff when I’m actually a 1st dan. I’ll have plenty of time. Same for any and every other rank. And if the students are constantly breezing through the established syllabus for each rank and you’re teaching them some stuff for the next rank simply because they’re bored and you want to get ahead on the next rank’s material, then there’s something wrong. Like I said previously, either the curriculum isn’t deep enough, there’s too much time between promotions, the teacher’s standards are too low (what’s good enough for that teacher may be sub par for many others), or the teacher has ADD tendencies.

    If you’ve got more than enough students to fill rank specific classes (even if they’re 2-3 ranks at a time), you don’t need to start teaching beyond the rank regularly. If the students have sufficiently demonstrated the syllabus for a rank and not going forward is holding them back, then promote them.

    My 1st kyu katas are Saiha and Tensho. I knew both before I joined my current organization. And knew them quite well as I won a few tournaments with Saiha. My teacher’s not teaching me Seiunchin nor any other shodan kata. He wouldn’t if I asked and I wouldn’t want to if he offered. And I already know 2 of the 3 empty hand shodan kata from my previous school. I’m more than content to keep improving my Saiha and Tensho. I’ll work on Seiunchin and Gekisai Sho (the ones I already know) when I’m a shodan. It’s not a race. There’s no trophy nor any special recognition for getting to shodan nor any other rank faster. When I go into my shodan test, is knowing shodan kata going to help me? Nope. Knowing my 10th-1st kyu kata better sure will though. Same for other standardized stuff that I learned at my previous school that’s in my current school’s syllabus.

    Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way. Maybe I’m too much of a perfectionist. But I do know that getting better at the basics and kyu syllabus is going to make me a better shodan whenever that time comes. I’m not chasing rank nor eager to do stuff that looks cool. I’m chasing improvement, no matter how long that takes. I get better at the lowest rank stuff every time I do it.
     
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  8. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Some of this might be a difference in how people look at the rank divisions. For instance, when I speak of "brown belt material", that's the stuff they have to know to be a brown belt, while you'd be talking about the material learned by a brown belt. I'm pretty sure that's not the distinction in question, but let's consider a middle point between those. Some folks might consider "brown belt" material to be stuff any brown belt should be aware of, so they'd start introducing it before brown, but not focusing on it until they pass the brown belt test. That way even a fresh brown belt isn't starting from square one on that material. This isn't my view, and doesn't appear to be yours, but doesn't seem unreasonable. If you did this at every rank, it would add a small amount of material before the first earned rank (yellow for me, something like chartreuse for you, as far as I can remember :p), but would be no significant increase in material after that.
     
  9. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I look at “brown belt material” as the stuff they learn while wearing a brown belt. So the major stuff I need to learn as a brown belt (1st kyu) are Saiha and Tensho kata, kihon kumite #7 and yakusoku kumite #4. Along with some other stuff. And I’m responsible for improving everything for every previous rank.

    What should a 1st kyu know for his first class as a 1st kyu? Everything from the 2nd-10th kyu syllabus. He’ll learn the 1st kyu requirements while he’s a 1st kyu. And chances are pretty good he’s seen 1st kyu stuff from being in class with 1st kyus. I’ve seen yudansha level kata enough to know which is which and the basic flow and movements of the various ones just by being in class with them and watching them doing their thing. When I learn them I won’t be completely oblivious to what’s going on, but it’s not like I’ve been informally them to get me ready for those ranks.
     
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  10. Balrog

    Balrog Master of Arts

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    New techniques, new forms. The Black Belt forms are much longer and more challenging than the colored belt forms. The new techniques are more challenging as well, plus different applications of old techniques.

    We also do more advanced weapons training. Again, new forms for the weapons and more detailed application of the basics.
     
  11. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    My point was simply that it's arbitrary, however we draw that line. Testing material isn't the only measure of what a student "should know" at any given level, so if someone deems it appropriate that a brown belt should be familiar with (but not tested for competency on) some material they'll be tested on later, that's not that big a difference. I don't test stick work until green belt, but it would be unusual for one of my students not to start working that material sometime either late yellow or early blue (one or two ranks early).
     
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  12. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I understand where you’re coming from and I’m sure we’re a lot closer to agreeing than we appear to be on paper (actually, this screen).

    Your approach is teach them what you feel they’re ready for when they’re ready, and don’t teach to a test. I agree.

    My approach would be “ instead of playing around with that stick that you don’t need to use until later on, put the stick down and get better at the stuff you’re required to learn.”

    One example that sticks out in my mind...
    One of my basketball guys was a 6’10 power forward. Big, strong, stereotypically not a guard. He wasn’t fast nor agile enough, and he didn’t have the outside range. He had great range for a post player, but not guard range. What did this guy do during unstructured stuff? Shot 3s. Nothing but 3s and shooting guard stuff. The coach was always all over him. “Why don’t you work on your jump hook? Why don’t you work on positioning for rebounds? Why don’t you work on free-throws? It’s not like those are so perfect where you should start adding more stuff to your game that you don’t even need.” If that guy actually listened and spent half as much time doing those things as he did trying to be Larry Bird, he’d still be playing after college. He had a European league workout with a bunch of coaches and scouts who quickly walked away and started watching other people who actually spent time refining what they were supposed to rather than what they liked to do. It became painfully obvious to everyone in the gym that he thought he was a shooting guard rather than a power forward.

    Practice what you need, not what you want.

    But again, we’re on the same page.
     
  13. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    Sounds like he was ahead of the current trend since the pros have evolved to more stretch 4s and power forwards that can play shoot and pass from the outside....if only the coach would have helped him develop that aspect.....:D



    Just messing with ya, JR.
     
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  14. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Actually, this is where our biggest difference is. What they "need" isn't dictated by the test, in my mind. The test is just a point-in-time measurement to assure they're ready for the next level - so the rank indicated on their waist lets their training partners know what they can assume the person knows and can deal with. So, someone must know the stick work to get past green belt, but that's just the point by which it must be at a certain level. The learning starts way before that, and on purpose.

    Here's where my argument comes from: in my progress in NGA, there were 9 kicks tested for green belt. Most of those weren't introduced until sometime late- to middle-blue (the rank right before green). That meant students scrambled to get those kicks ready for testing, but never had a chance to really settle into them. So they left most unused, and just brushed them up for the next test. By introducing those kicks much earlier than they are tested, the student has more opportunities to work on them and develop competence before they are first tested on them. Thus, their focus becomes using the kicks in some meaningful way, rather than trying to get past the test.

    I don't think that's analogous. You're talking about someone practicing something outside their role. That would be like a BJJ guy spending free mat time at the heavy bag, when he's ostensibly preparing for BJJ competition. It doesn't suit the role he's training for.

    Mostly, we are. But I'm enjoying the discussion. I like trying to understand how other folks see things.
     
  15. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    That’s fine and good if you’re built and can move like Kevin Garnett or Tim Duncan. Not so good if you’re built and move like Shaq.
     
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  16. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I guess I tend to feel that a good instructor will be able to evaluate the student and can make a determination about when the student is ready for more material, and what that material may be, regardless of the color of belt he is wearing.

    What I do find odd is the notion of teaching a student “this” or “that” in sort of a violation of the progression of material as a specific strategy for an advantageous position in some competitions that are coming up in the future.

    I am sure that my complete disconnection and disinterest in competition is why I find this as odd. I just don’t see that as a purpose in training, but I also realize that is just me.
     
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  17. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I see your side and agree. I also see the other side and agree that you should do a good job of preparing your students to compete if your school embraces competition. Give the student a chance to be competitive rather than throwing them into the fire.

    There’s really no right or wrong. It all depends on the school’s goals/values/whatever you’d call it, and the individual student.
     
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  18. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    I will expect

    1st degree black belt - know all the offense techniques.
    2nd degree black belt - have good tournament fighting record.
    3rd degree black belt - know all the defense (counters), and counters to counters (combos).
     
  19. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yeah, I guess the whole notion of strategic positioning for the sake of a competition is just very foreign to me in the context of learning a martial art. It reflects the primary mindset of the school in placing a high priority on winning competitions under a specific rule set.

    It’s not my cup of tea, which i realize is my own issue and not theirs. They can do whatever they want. I do some something else.
     
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  20. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Triggered an old memory I hadn't thought of for a long time. So....I first trained in Greek Goju Ryu. It was my first art and I loved it. But the guys who got me started in it stopped going as frequently, and I couldn't get there as much as I wanted to. (almost two hours public transportation) Left after a few months. Man, I was big time bummed.

    Shortly afterwards I found a school in a nearby town to me and started going there. A couple years goes by, I'm a green belt now, and the fellas who started me at the other place stopped up to see me. I was working out with another guy and these fellas watched and commented to each other "brown belt technique, brown belt technique, black belt technique" (they were kind of shocked that a green belt would be doing something that they themselves had yet to learn)

    They stopped by a week later with their gis and we did some friendly sparring. They were both brown belts. Remembering their comments, I only threw stuff they were not familiar with. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. That always stuck with me.

    It's why I give the students a lot to choose from. If a student asks me "Can you show me how to throw a jump spinning back kick? I'll say sure, but first you have to learn a back kick and I'll teach him that, then you have to learn to take to the air and teach him that. And let me show you what can happen when you do that - and I'll throw one and have one of the black belts just rip me out of the air and crash me to the ground like a shot bird.

    Just like there's some students who will never be athletic enough to throw that kick. No matter how long they train. But they'll learn how to counter or neutralize it. And they love that. Obviously that has nothing to do with self defense....except for a little bit. Teaches you to play the cards you're dealt, how to overcome certain physical things, teaches body movement, distance, timing etc etc.

    And we never actually had a curriculum necessary for the advanced of rank. Sometimes white to yellow, but that was about it.
     
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