6yr old 2nd degree BB?

arnisador

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Nah the earliest she could get her 4th is 19

Which is a Master rank?

I just looked on the ATA website and they have tournament brackets for ages 1-7 up to 3rd degree. And there are names listed.

I've been to a TKD tournament where there was a category for 8-10 year old 3rd degree black belts. There were entrants.


Unbelievable.
 

phlaw

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I know the whole Jr rank thing has been debated many times, but this just makes me sick. Just the fact that ATA even calls themselves TKD is a joke. Giving a kid an adult rank instill way too much confidence in a kid that can't back it up.

ATA sells, (sorry I mean earns) rank way too fast. I have personally never seen an ATA black belt that impresses me.
 

IcemanSK

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I know the whole Jr rank thing has been debated many times, but this just makes me sick. Just the fact that ATA even calls themselves TKD is a joke. Giving a kid an adult rank instill way too much confidence in a kid that can't back it up.

ATA sells, (sorry I mean earns) rank way too fast. I have personally never seen an ATA black belt that impresses me.

In fairness to the ATA, it's certainly not made up instructors who give 2nd Dans to 6 year olds. I understand that you've not seen an ATA BB that impressed you. Many people do not know this, but Mike Chat is an ATA 4th Dan. Say what you want about XMA, but the man is impressive.
 

Dave Leverich

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Don't get me wrong, I'd very very much like to see poom ranks for the little ones, but I have seen those 'munchkin power ranger kid' types move on to be very competent martial artists in time. I think it all depends on the person and their dedication (of course, at 6?? dedication is like a fleeting thought).

phlaw, I do find it nice that you paint my entire organization based upon that. While they have catered to the children much more in the last 10 years or so, the organization is very much built upon martial arts. This is my 23rd year with the ATA, I think I might know how to kick a bit. I mean I may not impress _you_, but I've spent my time, paid my dues over and over again. And before the wise-cracks of 'buying' comes in, I haven't paid to train since the mid-90s.

That being said, I do agree on the munchkin BB's, I'd much rather see a child rank and have some kind of 'test in' to get into dan ranks (non-corresponding to the poom).

One thing about this site though, is generally people aren't making broad brush calls about entire orgs... You don't see people slamming the KKW or 'all' of it's affiliated schools, nor the ITF and all the different groups of it's schools. It gets my gander up a bit when someone steps in and makes huge prejudiced remarks like that. If I saw 10 ITF black belts who stunk, I certainly wouldn't say the entire organization was worthless. I think much of the animosity towards it derives from the fact that many of the schools _are_ commercial schools. And some, seem to think this equates with them not actually instructing martial arts...

I recall a signature on bullshido once, something along the lines of 'just because I train at a McDojo, doesn't mean I can't kick your <posterior>'. I'm not saying this to anyone, I'm simply stating that equating commercial with a lack of skill is not a valid comparison.
 

Empty Hands

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...I'm simply stating that equating commercial with a lack of skill is not a valid comparison.

Unless you are training in your instructor's basement and she doesn't charge you, we are all part of "commercial" martial arts. There is a huge difference between a "commercial" organization and an organization that gives out rank to those who could not possibly have earned it. Certainly you can recognize the difference, and what is driving the animus against the ATA here?
 

Dave Leverich

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I'm sorry, have you sat on the testing panels of those schools?
I think you're assuming those people don't work and train for their belts. I can guarantee those who I test, I test. I'm not getting paid to do so. But yes, I have seen people of all styles that I wanted to examine their instructor's head.

I guess the key is, who's to say who earned what? Obviously there's an issue with children holding rank, but that I don't think is an issue with the ATA as it is an issue overall with all martial arts.

Again though, you're claiming the entire organization based off something you read on message boards perhaps?

Or perhaps a local school? I see Mr. Espinosa's school near you in Valencia, but I've seen him compete. That man is a great martial artist. Master Rowe has a school in Simi Valley, was it that one? I trained with Master Rowe in the mid-80's when he had his schools in Washington and was a 2nd degree with me. He's no slouch either.

Every organization has good and bad schools, I have seen strides for greater quality control in the last few years and realize that there have been a few that give the rest a bad name. If you base your statements off of message board trolling, well there's no point in continuing the discussion as you know well that people never go out to flame how GOOD a school/org was, only elements that displeased them.

But, back to the 'earning rank' part. What is the criteria? I mean obviously the curriculum, techniques, skills etc. I've trained in a handful of martial arts over the past 24 years, i've seen great martial artists, I've seen horrendous ones, both with ranks. This was in Kung Fu, in TKD, etc, I've fought black belts from Shorin Ryu who fought like green belts. I've fought blue belts who fought like 2nd degrees. So what's the line of what rank is equal to what? It's obviously not going to be 'who can beat who'.

Is it how we train? I don't think that a 50 year old, just getting into TKD will be able to physically do the things that I do. You have him continuous sparring light/medium contact for a hour and he'll die of heart failure at 3:45 minutes in.

I do see the animus, I've seen it since I fought. The ATA on my back generally meant I wasn't going to win forms competition (too long of forms for one, stigma for another by many), and I might have to work a bit harder in the ring. Generally I found I had to earn begrudging respect from people, but eventually they realized that sometimes it's not all true.

Do I see that animus? Yes, I've stood up to be an example against it for a while now, usually to hear 'oh well I never really met any, I just read it on... 'etc. I do agree that there are instructors out there that are there simply to turn a dime. But, it's not exclusive by any means to the ATA, nor even TKD.

I'm sorry if I come across hostile, it isn't my intention. I simply do not like broad generalizations, especially when I've been working my tail off to help create good martial artists with strong backgrounds for decades.
 

Empty Hands

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I guess the key is, who's to say who earned what? Obviously there's an issue with children holding rank, but that I don't think is an issue with the ATA as it is an issue overall with all martial arts.

Maybe so, but we are discussing this particularly egregious case which involves the ATA. Any organization that would allow this is suspect, irrespective of the particularly good skills of individual ATA members or the particularly bad skills of non-ATA members. In fact, I haven't mentioned skill at all - just this egregious example of a non-earned rank. I may not have sat on the testing board, but I can nonetheless be certain that a 6 year old can not have truly earned a 2nd dan in any form.
 

Dave Leverich

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No argument here on age requirements.

I was brought up before the era of kids that young taking martial arts. We did have one child that was eight I believe, he did quite well and could defend himself as well as any person of his stature could possibly do.

But I also have seen children grow into those ranks as very competent martial artists... personally I'd love a poom rank for children up to a certain age I'd even drop to 12 for full ranks, I've seen some 12 year olds that are phenomenal martial artists.

Maybe the issue is that someone is equating a 6 year old's belt to an adult's, I find that doesn't work for me either. But then, a 19 year old 1st degree who's ripped, will annihilate a 60 year old 2nd or 3rd degree generally. Sometimes we simply can't overcome physical limitations.

Do you judge the form of a 50 year old with the same eye as a 20 year old's? I find there is a different scale to apply, otherwise only the 20 year olds and a few 30's with a handful of 40's getting good scores. And that's not saying that everyone needs/wants/deserves good scores, simply that there is a scale of quality in a given set of ranks and ages.

My main concern is that the person understand how to use the techniques, as well as when. If they can't grasp that, then it's dance class, I'm not a dance instructor.
 

bushidomartialarts

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This is one of the problems with a systematized, objective ranking structure. (I'm not knocking them as a concept -- I use one -- just pointing out a challenge).

Get a 3 year old involved. If your school has an objective rank structure and she whips through everything needed for 2nd dan in two years -- you really have no justification to not give her what the manual says she's earned.

Now, you can fix this by including minimum ages and/or minimum time in rank among the objective requirements. But still, this situation could be systemic rather than just an idjit instructor.

In my school, we won't start anybody under 4 years old, we have minimum time in rank for each belt, and minimum ages for dan ranks, and three different junior progressions before a student can enter adult rank grading. So there's no way this would have happened with us.

How do y'all's schools handle this issue?
 

Empty Hands

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How do y'all's schools handle this issue?

In my school, the minimum age for a black belt is 16. Below that, brown belts only. Also, we have three age brackets before 16, with increasing numbers of techniques per belt as the bracket ages. When a kid hits 16, the belt they have is not transferable to the adult rank - they have to master the techniques they haven't learned, and perform at an adult level. Usually this means getting docked at least a few belts. In practice, many of our young brown belts seem to have difficulty transitioning to adult rank, and many give up at that stage. A few of our younger colored belts, usually the bigger ones, also train in the adult classes at their and the instructor's discretion.
 

BrandiJo

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Ok, so i did ATA when i was like 7, and we tested every 6 weeks if we knew the stuff or not and we ALWAYS passed to build confidence... now 13 years later i have a set of kids at my church who "earned" their BB in 9 months, I cannot accept ATA as real taekwondo or any real martial arts it seems way to easy to buy rank. I went in the one day with the two little kids from my church cus they wanted to show me how good they where, and the inst who remembered me from when i was 7 offerd me a BB on the spot if i would sign up with the kids, based off my sparring and what he had seen in a 30 min class. ... sorry that says to me come BUY rank from us not earn it or work for it or strive for it. Oh and my BB would have cost me 200 bucks a month with a 6 month contract.


A 6 year old is cute and fun to watch but is in no way shape or form a bb her parents must have been taken for a ride if they belive she is THAT good
 

Dave Leverich

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Not a bad approach EH, how young does the school take them if you know?

I'm simply looking at motivation factors if they do take 'kid' kids. Aka, picture an 8 year old, training for 8 years straight to hit brown, then retesting to come in as green or such. Although, competition is something that can be used to keep people involved and progressing.

Seems to focus primarily on teen/adults? That's how it was when I came up as well, but the demographic of the practicioner has changed much (overall that is), to where we have it being seen by parents like wrestling or T-ball.

I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing, it just means you have to judge people more by what they show you, than what they wear. Although, I guess that's always been the case.
 

Dave Leverich

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Good lord Brandi, you found one of _those_...

Schools like that give organizations a bad name. WIth 2 month cycle, assuming the kids can pass the material, the minimum _should_ be... 22 months to test for recommended black. If they're in the young group, double that. That is minimum also, as in pass every test, know all the material.

No way I'd defend those actions, makes me sick to wear the same patch.
 

stoneheart

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Things I am not fond of:

45 minute classes
6 year old nidans
block teaching
an over-emphasis on self-esteem/"character"-building vs. actual training
XMA/tournament training
Black Belt Club this or Master's Club that
tuition contracts
too many ranks (Master, Chief Master, etc)
gaudy uniforms with multiple patches and striping

I have no problems with people making a living in the martial arts, but gosh some of the trappings of making money grate on my nerves.
 

Empty Hands

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Not a bad approach EH, how young does the school take them if you know?

Age 4.

Seems to focus primarily on teen/adults?

Surprisingly, no. By number of classes and number of students, there are far more kid students than adult students at my school. No surprise really, that's where most of the money is at. I do appreciate though that standards are maintained for the adults.
 

bushidomartialarts

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Things I am not fond of:

6 year old nidans, tuition contracts, too many ranks, gaudy uniforms

Agree with you 100% there, Stoney. Although I understand the rationale behind them, I reject it. Gaudy uniforms I can put up with, if it makes people happy. Some of my students like to collect tool patches they get at events. I think they look more like Nascar drivers than martial artists, but hey if it makes them happy it hurts me not at all.

45 minute classes

For adults, definitley. For our kids classes, we've actually dropped to half and hour. We've found that, what with attention spans, most of our students work harder, have more fun and have much improved retention. The hard core kids will go ahead and do two classes, but overall the half-hour class (which took me a long time to justify to myself) is working out great.

But yeah, grownups need to train for longer than than.

block teaching

Could you clarify? I can think of three techniques that could meet this description.

an over-emphasis on self-esteem/"character"-building vs. actual training

Again, I agree for adults. For the children, it's the primary focus of my program. Honestly, what's better? A kid who knows how to act, has good self-esteem, solid life skills and a good attitude? Or a kid who can knock another kid out?

XMA/tournament training

Mixed feelings here. On the one hand, I dislike that sort of training. On the other, the folks involved are pretty impressive athletes and seem to be enjoying themselves. Not for me, but I can respect what they're doing.


Black Belt Club this or Master's Club that

Nothing wrong with upgrade tuition, provided they give sufficient value. For too many schools, it's essentially volunteering to pay an extra 50/month to get what you should have gotten anyway. For the good ones, that extra nut gives money to support added value in one way or another.

I've never been able to pull a good upgrade program off, mostly 'cos I feel like I should be offering it as part of the basic package.

Just my 2c
 

DArnold

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What I found really interesting is that she takes Korean TKD, uses Chinese nunchucks, and wants to teach Japanese Karate! Wow! I'm sure she is an over achiever, but she is 6 and can't even figure out what she wants to do yet, so how can she possess the complex capabilities it takes to be a 1st dan let alone a 2nd.

TKDmel,
You seem to have a better grasp on the points than others.

As brothers and sisters in the martial arts we all relize that there needs to be at least a minimum of standards to what we do, so that we do not become a belt factory or a McDojo

However, Martial Arts are a living and growing entity that defy lines drawn in the sand. Martial arts continualy change in three factors:

One) The art actually evolves - If you stick around long enough you will see where a martial art changes. I have seen when there were no circular kicks and very few jump kicks in TKD to what it is today

Two) The individuals who study the arts are continually growing - most of the younger BB's corelate their validity with the ablilty to kick butt but have not yet reached a level to understand the mental aspects of an art and how it has changed/effected their life.

Three) Our ever funloving politics - is a master a 4th Dan or a 7th Dan? Do you do this for a living or for love...


Now here are some truths to which you have all been talking about:
_________________________________________

This girl , if she wears an ATA patch, DOES represent the ATA! REGUARDLESS of how others feel or what you say. To say that she does not represent you means that you do not belive in the ATA and wish to pick and choose what it stands for. This means that I could join the ATA and make it stand for anything I want!

I realize you may disagree with the policy and not allow it in your school but this raises the question: What does your integrity dictate? Have you taken the steps necessary? Have you questioned(formal complaint) your organization. If not then you blindly agree with what is going on, as inaction is a form of action, and this means you agree with this, reguardless of what you do in your school!

Which is worse, not knowing that your organization accepts this or standing by and agreeing with it (Hypocracy)

And before you say, "No it's not me" then my basic question is- Are you both wearing the same patch? If so then it is YOU reguardless of what excuse you give. This is a pill that is so very hard to swallow. Many instructors love to avoid by brushing it off with excuses.

This is why many leave organizations (and should)

Yes every organization has problems, but what do you teach your students - abdication of your responsibility (and your integrity) with the excuse - "Not at my school" I'll take action only when it doesn't mean work (getting involved outside of my sphere) or it would be harder?

Let's follow this logic. It is similar to saying George Bush is not my president because I disagree with most everything he does. I'm sorry but I am an American and reguardless of how much I disagree with his policies I am still an American and he is still my president. Just think of the chaos that would ensue if this type of logic were allowed throughout the world!

If there were a six year old black belt in my organization that wore a YCTA patch then I could not say she did not represent me.

However, there would be serious questions I would need to answer as to staying with the organization as this INHO demeans what I stand for.

____________________________________________________________

There is confusion here as the girl says (I think and correct me if I'm wrong) she is TKD but wants to teach Karate. It doesn't sound like the little girl doesn't even knows what she is doing.
____________________________________________________________

An instructor is responsible for the student and this instructor has either caused or allowed this situation to occure, not the student. Any instructor knows that a student rises to the level the instructor sets.
____________________________________________________________

A major question is: is she wearing a black belt? If she is then she is representing herself as a black belt and reguadless of style is demeaning the meaning of the belt for all styles.

Now before you get your shorts in a knot let me explain.

The level of a rank is only as good as the weakest link in your organization
This carrys a few caviots:

1) When talking about color belts this holds a different meaning as who knows how purple relates with yellow, relates with peach, relates with pink.
This relates only to the standard that an individual instructor/organization sets. If everyone must perform a side kick break with both legs to become a pink belt then there is a standard set. I now know what pink belt means. The moment an instructor says "Well, this is a specail case, I am going to promote this student to pink without having them meet the requirements because of ...(insert your own excuse here...)" Then some things occure:

One, the pink belt means nothing as you no longer know what a pink belt is capable of, or means.

Two, you have demeaned (cheapend) the rank for everyone who had to actually earn it before you made an excuse.

However, this opens an even greater can of worms as an instructor is the guardian of integrity for their students, themselves, thier other organization.

Does your association provide instruction for instructors?
Does your association provide standards for instructons?
Does your association allow RONIN?

2) If your goal is to provide achievement recognition, as that is what the belt level system is designed to do. (Provide goals for round eyes who could not stick with things without rewards) Anyone who teaches childern knows that a childs attention span is limited. So you must teach differently as not to become glorified babysitters. So make up as many ranks as you need to keep them occupied. You could have 20 blets each with 20 strip levels.

The problem beacme that some instructors approached teaching children from the only teaching they had know, a 1st Dan level, which is, "Just give me a set in stone rule so I can follow it". And they have applied these time standards to this new class of students. A set of standards that were based not only on adult physical requirements, but adult mental requirements. What are the mental requirements? I will get to this later.

(As for those who are passing everyone, this is just a moneymaker, as there is no standard. If there is no possibility of failure then there is no achievement.)

Rule 1 - Students quite
Rule 2 - Instructors can not change rule 1
Rule 3 - You can only teach someone if they show up
Rule 4 - Some instructors/organizations spend much time and effort trying to think of ways that they can change rule 1

For whatever reasone (make money, impress people with a lot of students, stroke their own ego...) and change rule 1 by lowering standards and promising people things. Any instructor who promises a student anything is forgetting that the student instructor relationship is bidirectional. Yes you can learn things but only if you show up and work.
As these instructors have promised things for students who don't show up and don't work! WOW, The Something for nothing school of martial arts. Who would not be enamored by this promis?

3) Unless you have denoted this junior belt by doing something differnet, horizontal stripes, half/half... and they are wearing a solid black belt then the term junior black belt does not hold. If you think I am wrong then go ask these students what rank they are and they will probably tell you that they are a black belt. I doubt that any of them would say, "Well, I'm really not a black belt. You see, I'm a junor black belt which is not the same as an adult Black belt because......"

I have seen other organizations try to play the same game with rank saying, "Well, this person is really not a seventh dan because we have not given him the paperwork yet. We just gave him the belt and let him test early because we wanted him to test early under Grand Master so-and-so". This is crap, because if you gave them them belt then you gave them the rank! I don't know anyone that would go up to someone with a VII on their belt and say, "So, VI Dan..."

4) Black belt rank is recognized as a standard in all organizations across the world as meaning something. It is a milestone that is set by all organizations. It is a universal level of profeciency. No one comes to a class/instructor/organazation and say, "I am really enamored with becomeing a pink belt. How long would it take me to become a pink belt?"
No, they ask you about becomeing a black belt as all organizations advertise to this fact as it is a recognized standard as someone being able to defend themself to a certain level, also containg a certain level of knowledge. If you don't agree then have all of your white belts register in the black belt devisions of a tournament and see what happens!

So why then does this bother most everyone on this site?

1) If your organization/instructor is wrong, can you make the decision to leave them?

2)The feeling that this in some manner has demeaned the rank

3) A feeling that this in some manner has demeaned what you have earned

4) Not being able to distinguish what the line should be between children and adults and should a child even be considered a black belt.

____________________________________________________________
I'm going to take these in reverse order.

Not being able to distinguish what the line should be between children and adults and should a child even be considered a black belt.

First you must work on your own definition of what a Black Belt is and this could take some time.

First you must set a proficient mental and physical ability. So now you must get away from absolutes because people are not homoginous. You must draw a line in the sand. Which mostly we let organizations and higher ranks do for us.

Aside - In the orient you are not considered an adult until 40. Why, definatly not due to physical traits but mental capability.

Now we come to some important questions you must answer in order to form your decisions.

1) Do you think anyone, reguardless, should be able to achieve black belt.

If you do then you have now removed all physical and mental ability from the meaning of black belt and you should set up your own web site and start selling (Cha ching:)) Don't laugh, many subscribe to this phylosophy!

2) Do you think a testing is all about physical traits or is there a mental aspect to your art.

A majority believe that martial arts are all about/only about kicking and punching and that your mind does not control what you do. Study Confucianism vs. Neo-confucianism. If you are not worried about the mental aspects of your students then it should be ok if your higher ranks to kick the ever-livin'-crap out of the lower ranks because they can. Remember, that which does not kill us makes us stronger. Who cares if they have a bad attitude or not.

3) Do you teach your students the mental aspects of walking away from a fight? When to fight and when to run? Why to fight and why not? The mental aspects of how anger can hurt you in a fight? Fighting strategy? Faceing adverse situations to make you stronger? Winning by loseing?

4) If everyone of these mental lessons is easy then why not just learn these lessons from a book. Why do you need an instructor? Does life experience have something to do with learning? The student/instructor relationship?

5) Over your relationship with your instructor, how much has been over issues other than kicking and punching? How often as an instructor are you a: Doctor, physician, psychologist, parent, mentor...

Now, I have just WAGed a few items (Wild *** guess). For each of these items apply them to a 6yr. old. Could a 6yr. old expand, grow, and lead in these areas as a mentor?
______________________________________________________________
A feeling that this in some manner has demeaned what you have earned

Each person has gone through something to earn their Black belt. The time, blood, sweat, tears, and knowledge is what gives the rank its value. So you associate what others do with your own experience. But then you come to realize that each organization sets it value of a Black belt differently. Everyone learns that to underestimeate a Black belt of any style could be a deadly mistake. Because as you soon learn even a bad side kick can hurt you!

So you see those with what you would consider lower standards as taking away from what you have achieved.

If you believe this is wrong should you allow this cute, publicity, to represent this child/organization to the world as TaeKwon-Do. Or, speak out that that there is a difference and most of the world does not allow this.

Should someone who does not know the difference between Karate and TKD be held as a steller acomplishment of TKD?

Inaction is action, and acceptance!


The feeling that this in some manner has demeaned the rank

If you worry about everyone then you will go crazy. But on the other hand most students are hurt as they see diminishing standers. What you had to earn was given away to someone else you have decided does not deserve the rank.

If you do not protect the standards/worth of the rank then the action, as stated, demeans the value of every 1st Dan.

Here in lies a catch 22 in these two questions.
Who does it matter to you what others do? vs. Do you speak out against that which you know is wrong in your heart or accept it?

If your organization/instructor is wrong, can you make the decision to leave them?

Wow, this is a hard one.
If you have been with an association/instructor 10, 20, 30 years how hard would it be to break ties?

Initially, class is fun and we take for granit the actions, policies and procedures, and politics that our association does. But later your eyes are opened and you start learning if the actions/people support the ideals. How hard would it be to learn that someone or an organization that you have grown, supported, you given loyalty, respect, money to has now changed direction. Doesn't Integrity demand that you do the right thing for your students? Or do you accept a modicum of indescressions hopeing it is a small fault?

How hard would it be to say that after XX years your organization/instructor was wrong???

WOW.

Now you are RONIN!
Or are you a leader for stickeing to your ideals.

Which would you respect more???

Fortunate for me I had an instructor that made me understand that the ideals are more important than the man, or patch.

I know he will not go wrong so I will not be burdened with this decision.
____________________________________________________________

Most all comments on this page are moving in the same direction. That this promotion is wrong. However you need to dig deeper to realize the mental aspect to rank, which is usually not spelled out in your books but just indescriminantly put down as an age limit.

This is a responsibility, that this instructor, either knowing or foolishly, ignored.

I can teach a person how to kill (kick and punch). This is the same as putting a gun in a persons hand. As an instructor I should be asking, "Should I put a gun in this persons hand or would it be better for all if they quite now?"

As an instructor have I learned enough to test a person mentally? (the physical part is the piece of cake which anyone can teach, to even a monkey)

IMHO, I would be quite PO'd if I were a 1st or 2nd dan in this organization.
I might even ask my instructor to explain this and why we are a part of this organization!!
 

Dave Leverich

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1). I completely agree that the arts evolve over time. While my time in TKD apparently isn't as long as the time of no crescent kicks, I have seen the evolution of the advanced forms, the acrobatics, the inception of weapons into TKD etc. TKD was formed as strictly 'body', but the arts it came from had weapons, so I don't see it as alien.

2). I think that has to do with personal maturity, and I completely agree that most of the 'flash' kids are all about purely the physical aspects. I know that when I started, I had no idea that over 20 years later, I'd still be training, and learning, and growing in the arts.

3). It's a very difficult question, what _is_ Master? Are there levels of Mastery, is it the 'end' etc? The ATA puts Master instructor level at 6th, after a year of training as a 6th dan towards Master (some take 2-3-4 or more years to gain Master after reaching 6th dan). I think the key factor, a Master isn' self-defined.

I do this for the love of it, always have, I hope I always do.
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"This girl , if she wears an ATA patch, DOES represent the ATA! REGUARDLESS of how others feel or what you say. To say that she does not represent you means that you do not belive in the ATA and wish to pick and choose what it stands for. This means that I could join the ATA and make it stand for anything I want!"

Kind of a 'no matter what you say I'm right, you're wrong' type statement there. I think the child represents a part of martial arts and TKD in general, and yes, a part of the ATA. I've already covered my thoughts on child rank.

My integrity dictates that I ask questions, that I follow my heart and that I stay true to who I am. Have I filed a formal complaint that a girl who I do not know, was promoted to 2nd dan by an instructor I do not know, in a state that I've never been to? No, I have not. But then, I did just read this thread a few days ago.

Yet you're saying, there is black, there is white, there is nothing else. Again, it's an ultimatum that there can be only the two results that you say are possible. I don't find that logical. You may or may not be religious, this next statement isn't about that aspect, simply about futility and reality.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference."
What I take from that, is know where I can and cannot make a difference, knowing how I can effect change and make things the way I want.

Tough statement after that one. Do we wear the same patch? Some of them yes. Are there people wearing rank inside my organization that do not deserve it? Yes. Are there in yours? Perhaps not, I honestly don't know. "Instructors will have the right to run their schools their way" I read from the Yom Chi website, there is that within the ATA as well. Some take more leeway than they should, some enough to hang from.

From all of the people I have seen leave organizations, most boil down to money. They don't agree with charging X fees for X service, start their own organization.. and charge the schools Y fees for Y service. I've seen this with all of the offshoots from the ATA that I've encountered. I'm not sure if the ITF charged those when the ATA was the NGB of the ITF in the states or not. Some do leave because they find things not to be done to their satisfaction, as I wasn't at the splits I cannot say. I know of a couple of splits, friends of mine that now run their own organizations or are on the councils etc, where it simply boiled down to 'no one would apologize', or one party felt wronged by the other.

As for the 'not at my school'. Honestly, I'm not sure how else to affect change other than in those people I come in contact with. I do speak with the 'brass' at our headquarters on a regular basis, I voice concerns and we look at solutions.

As far as the 'I'll take action only when it doesn't involve work'...
I'm assuming that statement was directed at myself, as I was the one making the statement that I affect things within my sphere of influence. Please do not assume that it is limited to simply one school though. I do work with my organization to promote our schools, I work with autism groups to promote awareness and further research, I donate my graphical talent to schools around the nation in my and other TKD organizations. So what do we teach the students? Do we say, rather than try to fix the problem, we're jumping ship and joining/forming a different organization? Or do we do things the way we want them done, and work towards change from within, leading by example?

I do plan on staying in the ATA yes, if I quit because of that article... what would _that_ say about my integrity?
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I think the confusion is, many TKD schools use a 'Karate' name for children's programs. But, considering that Funakoshi was the instructor of more than one TKD founder, is it _really_ that big of a stretch? I realize the artforms have grown, and morphed over the last 60 years, but Taekwondo was _very_ often referred to as 'Korean Karate' or simply Karate. When you began Sir, was the school sign reading Taekwondo? I'm not disagreeing that the 6 year old doesn't know what she's doing, I'm simply saying that semantics are what they are.
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I completely agree, the child is only operating within the bounds set before them.
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Is she wearing a black belt, apparently one with a 2nd dan on it.
Again, this goes back to children holding rank, I've made that point clear I'd thought.

My shorts appear to still be un-knotted Sir :).

If the level of rank is only as good as the weakest link, wow. That cuts down the apparent rank of some great martial artists in many art forms down to meaningless. Do we really judge ourselves based upon this? Are ALL 1967 Camaro SS's the same? I say no myself.

Yet, I agree with your 'what does a belt mean'. But honestly, what DOES a belt mean? I agree to standard requirements, but I also realize that they have to be on a personal level with regards to physical limitations. That, or, no starting 50 year old is getting past blue belt. I do not value my belt any less because there are others who hold the same rank with less ability, or more.

Instruction question:
Yes, there is an instructor manual about a foot thick (ok 5 inches ;), many certification camps to test on requirements, recertification every (insert your dan) years required, along with many instructional camps nationwide in other curriculum.
There are standards yes, there have been lax times and the organization realized this due to instructors like myself reporting in. The requirements have gotten more strictly enforced, and the level of skill in all aspects is rising.
My organization is of Korean roots Sir. Ronin were Japanese, and we both know how people feel about crossing those languages in this thread. Do they allow people to go 'freelance' etc? Not and bear the brand, nor teach the curriculum.

on #2. I agree, I think if any of the people starting the 'kids kicking' era would have seen what would be coming, they would have first devised this very thing. Some way to differentiate (perhaps even moreso than Child poom rank). Perhaps something more like kids in sports, aka T-Taekwondo, Minor B Taekwondo, and so on. Then at say 12-14 (based upon maturity, as well as size), perhaps start with full rank (testing in where the instructor felt it warranted).

On Rule 1-4, no arguments there whatsoever. Since 1985, there are 3 people from my original dojahng that still train actively. Granted, they have schools of their own and continue to teach and live Taekwondo, but _most_ people quit. I think the only place you have to effect change, is getting people to show up. Retention is difficult for any school (see rule 1).

I find that 'munchkin'ing TKD (not in form of age, but by lowering requirements) is not the answer and I don't do so. My classes are difficult, not quite knuckle on gravel (they have laws now I think), but they challenge the students physically and mentally.

On #3, no argument. Again, I would love a child rank system. But I also do not see myself jumping ship if we do not get one.

#4. I used to think that black belt meant 'one' level of proficiency. Then I met a few thousand black belts in all kinds of styles and realized there's a pretty big range in that one level.

Case in point; A boy from a school about an hour south of me requested that I be at his black belt testing. Now I'd judged this boy at tournaments in Washington and Oregon since his days as beginning colored belt and was quite fond of him and his family, I knew that he looked up to me and was happy to attend as a guest judge on the panel.
His testing comes up, he does all of his forms, nearly flawlessly. A very excellent showing. His board breaks are perfect. Then it comes time to spar and his sparring is the 'round robin' of the school black belts, his instructor, and myself. Continuous, rotating at 30 second intervals. This child of 12, went for well over 10 minutes straight at light/medium contact, showing good control and ability. His bloody nose (a younger BB's kick through guard) brushed aside and he persevered.
So, do I hold the adults to his level? Or what about the 14 year old awkward child who just started and doesn't have the same athletic ability...

On the next 4; (I'll address these in your order as well Sir)
4. I think the issue is that, it's hard to 'rewind' and have all of the places doing child rank. What is a black belt, what mental capacity is required, how much is physical and how much mental. Does this mean that those with less intellect cannot gain rank, or with less physical ability? Do we get into sex differences of strength, or age factors?

3. Again, I find the true test of ability isn't the number attacked to the cotton around my waist, nor around someone elses. It's more what have they studied, who did they train with, what kind of training, how long etc. And again, I find there to be large differences within each art between any given two people of the same rank.

2. I don't weigh my belt against others belts. One thing I find is that I often hear about 'how hard things were' and how much better martial artists people were in the past. In today's classes (in many arts not simply my own), I find there are a few exceptional students who just naturally 'get' it. There are many who are pretty decent, and a few who really should try underwater basket weaving. Now let's go back 20 years, hm, still a few exceptional, most are pretty decent, and a few who I think DID take up underwater basket weaving.

1. Yes I could leave, or I could make the fight to enact change. I think emotionally it would be difficult to break ties yes, I think it always is. I do agree that initially I did take things simply for granted. As the years went on I have seen good things, I've seen bad things, I've seen change for the better, and some that I do not agree with.

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I agree, I don't think anyone is touting that a 6 year old should hold the rank of 2nd dan (or even 1st). My son is 8, he _might_ be ready to start soon as he's showing that he can 'hold that thought' now.

I believe your post was to 'all' Sir, I hope I at least touched on the subjects with due attention. I mean no disrespect by any part of this post and hope none take that from it.
 
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