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. Yokozuna514

    Yokozuna514 Purple Belt

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    Learning the curriculum up to black belt is one thing. Understanding how and when to use them is completely another. The longer you do something, given that the practice is as close to perfect as we can get, the better you should be able to do it over time. We've often joked about how interesting it would be if people showed up to a seminar without their belts. Would the higher grades still be recognizable from the beginners and/or intermediates ? If they aren't, then perhaps one needs to look at what and how things are being taught in their school.
     
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  2. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    In our sparring club we wear our Taekwondo pants, a "Sparring Club" t-shirt, and no belt. Instructors wear their black belt over the t-shirt, but black belt students in the class do not.
     
  3. Gwai Lo Dan

    Gwai Lo Dan 2nd Black Belt

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    Forums > Korean Martial Arts Talk > Tae-Kwon-Do >
    What should a TKD Black Belt know?

    I am of the opinion that a BB should know what is useful for sport, useful for self defence, and what is just art. Too often I think BB's think that the arty parts are good for self defence.

    Example....I always felt that the rear-leg hook kick (turning to the front) was not particularly useful, since it is slower AND less powerful than the turning kick.

    I asked a professional MT / MMA fighter (and 4th dan in 4th dan ITF TKD) why he used a rear-leg hook kick in round 1 of a fight , when it seemed too slow/weak to be worth the effort compared to a turning kick.

    He said something like, "Oh that's just showing off. I'm being paid to entertain the crowd. I want to make people want to see me fight again."
     
  4. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I use it when people are expecting a roundhouse kick and put their guard on that side.
     
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  5. Gwai Lo Dan

    Gwai Lo Dan 2nd Black Belt

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    Yup...I was sparring as a colour belt (WTF TKD ruleset) against a 3rd dan and my first thought as the foot passed me was "what....he totally missed" then it came back down at about 45 degree angle. I learnt my lesson! Still, the kick IMO is more about practice (or art) than practical.
     
  6. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I have to disagree with it being an "art" kick. In the ebb and flow of sparring where you are both moving together it has value. If you can catch your opponent stepping back into a closed stance relative to your position, coming forward with a rear leg hook kick is a decently high % kick. It should be to their ear from the back side of what becomes their front shoulder (you are kicking over their shoulder from their backside). If you are not very flexible it is harder to make them work because most people cannot create the reach. The leg geometry for a rear leg hook and front leg hook is slightly different. On a front leg hook you are already standing closed off to your opponent so the body alignment is more linear and flexibility is less of an issue. On a rear leg hook the upper body may not rotate as much as the lower body but you still have to create the reach to be effective so flexibility is paramount. You sparring description sounds like a good example of this. It sounds like their roundhouse and rear leg hook use very similar body motion.
    The less you show with body posturing during sparring the more options you create.
     
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  7. Gwai Lo Dan

    Gwai Lo Dan 2nd Black Belt

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    I can see your point in WTF rules sparring.I don't practice WTF sparring so for me it's an art kick. The fellow I mentioned had done a rear leg hook kick in a MT fight, and so I had asked why.
     
  8. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Agree. A lot has to do with the setup. Lull your opponent into thinking you are throwing another roundhouse kick by doing several consecutive roundhouse kicks. Using the same body/leg/chamber motion, changing the trajectory of the kick at the last second to the other side of the head can be quite a surprise for your opponent. It is a slower kick for many people, especially those who are not very flexible.

    We have a man at one school who was in the Olympic circuit for several years. He is insanely flexible. It is very hard to predict where his rear leg kicks are going to end up because he can do so much of the kick without turning his upper body until very late in the kick.
     
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  9. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Orange Belt

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    While I am not a TKD guy and can't speak in regards to poomsae or curricula, I do have some thoughts on black belt and beyond. By 1st degree black, the student should have all basics at an "excellent" level, except perhaps the most recently acquired difficult moves which should be "very good." Sparring should show flexibility in putting together effective combinations. Forms should be executed with good flow, confidence, power, speed and solid stances. Student should know basic practical applications of all the moves in the forms, as well as a basic understanding of TKD's history and philosophy.

    Beyond 1st degree, I hope the dojang has more to teach! I see 1st as a Bachelor's degree, with a Master's and PhD to come in higher ranks. For higher degrees, basics should now be done more naturally, with little effort. Hand, foot, body and breathing should be in very good synch with each other. Understanding the forms should be extended to variations of the basic applications with the student taking an active part in exploring further possibilities of the set techniques. Sparring should exhibit a good grasp of tactics and strategy, such as Scrib's roundhouse set up for the hook kick, and be skilled in evasion and countering. Hopefully, the spiritual side is more deeply studied.

    From what I've seen of TKD, which admittedly is not extensive, after 1st degree it could use some infusion of variety of technique such as sweeps, locks and takedowns, etc. as in Hapkido, as would flow naturally from current TKD technique. Maybe a weapon? There should be lots to learn after 1st degree.
     
  10. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    I see those statements as slightly at odds with each other...

    From a tkd perspective, I would view the requirements for 1st degree BB as more akin to GCSEs (high school diploma?), with the basic outline in the first section I quoted as a minimum (along with the other stuff you mentioned in the same paragraph).

    Your BA would be more like around 2nd-3rd, MA 4th-5th or so and PhD 6th+.
     
  11. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I was going to post that 1st Dan in most TKD systems is comparable to an Associates degree. I have had this conversation several times. I don't think that comparing a BB to an academic degree is really fair because an academic degree is purely a mental education. As @isshinryuronin said, learning in the MA's is a generous amount of physical and mental learning so it is ok that it takes longer to fully digest.
     
  12. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    I didn't initiate the comparison, I merely shifted the lines to where I see them.

    We don't really have associate degrees here, so I had to look up what they actually are - from 30 seconds on Google I come to the conclusion that they are very roughly equivalent to what we would term A levels - above GCSE (secondary/high school) and below BA degrees.

    If I've interpreted that correctly then yes, I'm happy to shift my generalisation to that level while keeping the subsequent higher stages about the same - given that my generalisation isn't something I'd ever argue about because as you rightly said a direct comparison is pointless anyway.
     
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  13. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    In the US:
    High school - 12 years starting at 5-6 years old
    Associate degree - Two years post education completed. About 60 credit hours.
    Technical or Trade degrees are very common (and very needed) in the US. They include training to learn fields such as HVAC, plumbing, residential/commercial electrical, etc... Usually one to two years.
    Bachelor degree - 4-5 years. Often an Associates degree is acquired in a similar field, such as a math associates accomplished when getting an engineering Bachelors.
    Masters degree - 18 months to 3 years. Accurately named IMHO. The student masters the subject above and beyond the cursory details.
    Phd - not real sure how long they take. Always felt they are mostly something else to hang on the wall. It is similar to a certification. A doctor of general medicine for example. They are required to perform certain jobs.

    I have two masters degrees, both in engineering. I felt that was the level needed to get the learning needed to do my work so I stopped there.

    I have been training in MA, primarily TKD for over 37 years and still feel there are things to learn/improve. Helping a students mindset as they are nearing 1st Dan can be a challenge. I can usually tell who is so totally stoked about getting the belt they may see it as an ending and make extra effort to help them see beyond.
    Martial arts can and should be a life long venture. The acquisition of BB is too often hung out there as the carrot that people chase. When they get the carrot they feel they are done and quit. Not at all the thinking in TMA. It is one of those subjects instructors must be diligent and sometimes delicate with when talking to students.
     
  14. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    That answers a question that's been roaming around in my head for some time about A levels, from reading novels set in the UK. Thanks.
     
  15. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    The most common we have now is:

    Primary school - 4-5 up to about 10-11

    At this point there is the option to take an exam called "11+" which a pass qualifies entry to grammar school (a fail or not taking means comprehensive or other name).

    Then you change school into:

    Secondary school, either grammar or comp. - 10-11 up to about 16. This leads up to taking the GCSE exams (general certificate of secondary education) in certain compulsory and additional optional subjects, usually 3-11 subjects.

    Next for 16-18 year olds, and still in compulsory education (now, compulsory education finished at 16 when I was younger) comes A levels in subjects of the student's choice, the results of these provide 'points' for entry into university if desired (or transfer to apprenticeship or other training scheme instead of A levels). A levels can usually be taken in the same setting as secondary education, but some don't provide any or all facilities so another transfer is also an option, either to another school or college (UK college is not the same as I understand the US college - US college = UK university).

    After post secondary school or college is university, for degree level subjects.

    As far as I'm aware, we don't really have the equivalent of a trade degree - unless a completed apprenticeship counts as such, but it's still not considered equal to an actual degree (very roughly, usually, apprenticeship = hands on trade work, degree = more academic).


    Still used sometimes is the older system of first-middle-upper schools followed by college and then university, but that's rapidly becoming extremely uncommon.
     
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