Anyone familiar with Chung Do Kwan?

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I'm still on the search for remote mentorship or consulting as I prepare to open my own school. One suggestion I've received is Chung Do Kwan. There isn't anything near me (I looked at the US CDK Association website and found the nearest school is over 10 hours away). They mention on their website:

The USCDKA offers a range of programs and resources to support its members, including training seminars, competitions, and rank certification. It also provides opportunities for members to connect with each other and with other practitioners of Chung Do Kwan around the world.​


I wonder if this means that they might offer the kinds of services or connections I'm looking for. I've reached out to them in the hopes that it is. In the meantime, I'd like to learn about them. If anyone here has experience with CDK, what can you tell me about the way they train? How much standardization is there from school-to-school (in other words: how much freedom does each individual Master have)? How do they compare with other organizations, specifically KKW or ATA?
 
Random thought for you....

Have you thought about starting small? Go to a YMCA or local community center to ask if you could teach your martial arts program there. You would not have to be a specific rank... you would not have to teach a specific curriculum. You could teach the TKD you wanted to, how you wanted to. You could still have your student compete in the various open style tournaments. With your BJJ background, you could even include BJJ / grappling tournaments. There is an American Jujitsu tournament that includes standing striking (kicking and punching) with take downs and throws, followed by ground work. This would give your students a well rounded martial art.

You could also try to hook up with independent martial arts schools. Many times they have open floor time they would love to have filled. Bringing in another style and another teacher, just brings in more paying students to keep the doors open.

Either way, this would allow you to develop your own teaching style and system, the way you want. And should you want to join one of the larger organizations... its always better to approach them with "my school of 20-30 students" want to be part of your organization, rather than "I have no students yet", but I want my school to be part of your organization.
 
Have you thought about starting small? Go to a YMCA or local community center to ask if you could teach your martial arts program there. You would not have to be a specific rank... you would not have to teach a specific curriculum. You could teach the TKD you wanted to, how you wanted to.
Kind off-topic for this thread. No matter what (3rd degree, self-promoted 4th degree, third-party promoted 4th degree) this has always been the plan. Start with 1-2 classes a night, 2-3 nights per week, build up a student base enough to support me when I quit my day job and transition full time.
With your BJJ background, you could even include BJJ / grappling tournaments. There is an American Jujitsu tournament that includes standing striking (kicking and punching) with take downs and throws, followed by ground work. This would give your students a well rounded martial art.
I don't plan to introduce BJJ concepts until a much more advanced level. This is for a few reasons. The biggest three are:
  • It's been my experience that it's much more difficult to manage kids in grappling than it is in striking. I'd rather wait until they've got some training in attitude and respect before they start trying to kill each other.
  • There's only so much bandwidth for students and for class, and with how complex groundfighting is, I'd rather focus on the TKD stuff at the foundational level.
  • I'm much worse at BJJ than I am at other martial arts, so this gives me a buffer time to "get good". Not only am I more naturally gifted at TKD than I am at BJJ, but I have 10x the experience in TKD as I do in BJJ.
You could also try to hook up with independent martial arts schools. Many times they have open floor time they would love to have filled. Bringing in another style and another teacher, just brings in more paying students to keep the doors open.
Unfortunately, it seems every school in the near area has classes at the same times. Any times I would want to run a class, they already have a class. This is usually based on the local school district's bell schedule.
Either way, this would allow you to develop your own teaching style and system, the way you want. And should you want to join one of the larger organizations... its always better to approach them with "my school of 20-30 students" want to be part of your organization, rather than "I have no students yet", but I want my school to be part of your organization.
Right now I'd be approaching as a student (or something like that).
 
I'm still on the search for remote mentorship or consulting as I prepare to open my own school. One suggestion I've received is Chung Do Kwan. There isn't anything near me (I looked at the US CDK Association website and found the nearest school is over 10 hours away). They mention on their website:



I wonder if this means that they might offer the kinds of services or connections I'm looking for. I've reached out to them in the hopes that it is. In the meantime, I'd like to learn about them. If anyone here has experience with CDK, what can you tell me about the way they train? How much standardization is there from school-to-school (in other words: how much freedom does each individual Master have)? How do they compare with other organizations, specifically KKW or ATA?
I expect you will get some CDK specific responses, but you have been trying to short-cut this process for some time. Long enough to have completed the process had you stayed with the KKW school I imagine.
Joining a Kwan school will give you a more well-rounded training experience. But if no Kwan schools are in your area, why pursue this avenue?

Go back to the local school you were not crazy about the training and work at it. Even if the rest of the class is slacking, that is not excuse for you to do the same. Often times it just takes that one person training super hard to raise the level for the rest of the class. Quit worrying about what you think a class/school 'should' be and just use it as a means to an end.
Close out all your 'want toos' and preconceived notions and just train.
Yes, it is really that simple.
You could have already started your school while you pursue your next Dan level.
 
I expect you will get some CDK specific responses,
So far I haven't, so I'm not getting my hopes up.
but you have been trying to short-cut this process for some time. Long enough to have completed the process had you stayed with the KKW school I imagine.
No, it probably would take a minimum of 3 years. I'm not sure, because I got mixed signals from him. It's possible he might have fast-tracked me because of my previous experience as a 3rd degree. But he also didn't really accept anything other than my 3rd degree, and said at some points that I would probably have to go through the minimum 3 or 4 years and do all of his "level tests" in-between. Which there are either 2 or 8 of. I'm not sure. Like I said, lots of mixed signals.

If I would have stayed there, I would have been there less than a year by now. Your math is way off, and you have no authority for when he gives out degrees.
Go back to the local school you were not crazy about the training and work at it. Even if the rest of the class is slacking, that is not excuse for you to do the same. Often times it just takes that one person training super hard to raise the level for the rest of the class. Quit worrying about what you think a class/school 'should' be and just use it as a means to an end.
If you train harder you get scolded. He is so afraid of injury or burning people out. I hold pads for people and I can barely feel them kick, he comes by and says, "Tell them not to kick so hard." A "workout" is 3 pushups, 2 jumping jacks, and 1 situp. Well, 2 sets of that. 90% of what we do is roundhouse kicks, so I'm not really practicing much.

I get more of a workout playing video games at home, because at least I need to run up and down the stairs to grab drinks.

Seriously, going to this school would be like having high school students read a single Dr. Seuss book each week. And if they read anything more difficult, they get told to take it easy.
Close out all your 'want toos' and preconceived notions and just train.
I'm currently training BJJ 6 days per week. Every day I was at this Taekwondo school, it was taking away from BJJ mat time. So yes, I am training. I'm training somewhere where I actually learn something. Where I actually get a workout. And where my knowledge and experience are valued more by people who are training a completely different martial art than by the art where I'm ranked 3rd degree black belt.
 
So far I haven't, so I'm not getting my hopes up.

No, it probably would take a minimum of 3 years. I'm not sure, because I got mixed signals from him. It's possible he might have fast-tracked me because of my previous experience as a 3rd degree. But he also didn't really accept anything other than my 3rd degree, and said at some points that I would probably have to go through the minimum 3 or 4 years and do all of his "level tests" in-between. Which there are either 2 or 8 of. I'm not sure. Like I said, lots of mixed signals.

If I would have stayed there, I would have been there less than a year by now. Your math is way off, and you have no authority for when he gives out degrees.

If you train harder you get scolded. He is so afraid of injury or burning people out. I hold pads for people and I can barely feel them kick, he comes by and says, "Tell them not to kick so hard." A "workout" is 3 pushups, 2 jumping jacks, and 1 situp. Well, 2 sets of that. 90% of what we do is roundhouse kicks, so I'm not really practicing much.

I get more of a workout playing video games at home, because at least I need to run up and down the stairs to grab drinks.

Seriously, going to this school would be like having high school students read a single Dr. Seuss book each week. And if they read anything more difficult, they get told to take it easy.

I'm currently training BJJ 6 days per week. Every day I was at this Taekwondo school, it was taking away from BJJ mat time. So yes, I am training. I'm training somewhere where I actually learn something. Where I actually get a workout. And where my knowledge and experience are valued more by people who are training a completely different martial art than by the art where I'm ranked 3rd degree black belt.
Im assuming that there are no other TKD schools within a reasonable distance?
 
Im assuming that there are no other TKD schools within a reasonable distance?
Correct.

In my town, there's a school that may be a Karate school (they have no information on their Google Maps page, but the name sounds Karate), and then the TKD school that sounded incredibly unsafe. I thought there was an MMA gym, but I'm not finding it right now.

I'm in a very new development. My entire neighborhood is still a big pile of dirt on Google Maps. Half the lots on my block are just dirt, and my block is one of the earlier ones built in my subdivision. We're also further away from a city than where I've ever lived before.
 
Correct.

In my town, there's a school that may be a Karate school (they have no information on their Google Maps page, but the name sounds Karate), and then the TKD school that sounded incredibly unsafe. I thought there was an MMA gym, but I'm not finding it right now.

I'm in a very new development. My entire neighborhood is still a big pile of dirt on Google Maps. Half the lots on my block are just dirt, and my block is one of the earlier ones built in my subdivision. We're also further away from a city than where I've ever lived before.
I feel your pain, Im in the middle of a national forest. The U.S. association that I was affiliated with were absorbed into a larger organization while I was out of the country. The new organization doesnt teach the traditional system, so they were not an option for me. I did look into joining other associations, but havent found one yet. From my experience with other associations, they will likely require some type of in-person interview and will enforce strict standards. However, they generally allow you to train your students the way that you choose in order to meet those standards.
 
I feel your pain, Im in the middle of a national forest. The U.S. association that I was affiliated with were absorbed into a larger organization while I was out of the country. The new organization doesnt teach the traditional system, so they were not an option for me. I did look into joining other associations, but havent found one yet. From my experience with other associations, they will likely require some type of in-person interview and will enforce strict standards. However, they generally allow you to train your students the way that you choose in order to meet those standards.
I have created my own system, including the curriculum, forms, 1-steps, etc. I'm not trying to make a grandiose claim here, I used what I've learned before as a template. I'm rebuilding with Legos, not creating them from scratch. I'm open to learning someone else's system, but it would have to be a significant improvement over what I've created for me to want to switch.

There was a thread started by @Raistlin last year, who was in a somewhat similar circumstance as me (nobody above him in his style). However, he has a much stronger legacy than I do, including already holding a much higher rank, and having a council of folks at the Master level who can help legitimize his promotions. Unfortunately for me I have neither of those advantages.
 
I have created my own system, including the curriculum, forms, 1-steps, etc. I'm not trying to make a grandiose claim here, I used what I've learned before as a template. I'm rebuilding with Legos, not creating them from scratch. I'm open to learning someone else's system, but it would have to be a significant improvement over what I've created for me to want to switch.

There was a thread started by @Raistlin last year, who was in a somewhat similar circumstance as me (nobody above him in his style). However, he has a much stronger legacy than I do, including already holding a much higher rank, and having a council of folks at the Master level who can help legitimize his promotions. Unfortunately for me I have neither of those advantages.
Sounds like you have a tough road ahead of you. Best of luck to you, sincerely.
 
I'm still on the search for remote mentorship or consulting as I prepare to open my own school. One suggestion I've received is Chung Do Kwan. There isn't anything near me (I looked at the US CDK Association website and found the nearest school is over 10 hours away). They mention on their website:



I wonder if this means that they might offer the kinds of services or connections I'm looking for. I've reached out to them in the hopes that it is. In the meantime, I'd like to learn about them. If anyone here has experience with CDK, what can you tell me about the way they train? How much standardization is there from school-to-school (in other words: how much freedom does each individual Master have)? How do they compare with other organizations, specifically KKW or ATA?
Yes. My dojang is former USCDKA. I have very bittersweet feelings about this organization. Here is my take, but take it with a grain of salt as there is clearly some bias in my opinion.
The Pros.
- They have a very thorough and concise curriculum and testing protocol that leaves nothing open to interpretation (even if it's not always followed) including video and books to help supplement your training.
- They offer certification through themselves, but also offer World Chung Do Kwan Federation and Kukkiwon certification
- They have connections to help network with Taekwondo dojang across the globe.
- They have an active tournament circuit that is one of the most fairly judged tournaments I have ever been to and even offer special divisions for younger kids (5 and under) that would normally be to young to compete
- They are super nice and some of the friendliest people I have met. Even though we haven't been a part of the USCDKA for about 5-6 years, we are still invited to participate in many of their local events.
- Gm Brenda Sell is super approachable and eager to talk to and help anyone who asks.

The Cons.
- Cult mentality. The organization was founded by the late GM Edward Sell who has a lot of accolades to his name. Due to this he is put on a huge pedestal within the association and everything is about what "GM Ed Sell says". There is little unique thought or analyzing of the art outside of what is in Ed Sell's books or what he has publicly said. He is honored to the point of practically being an idol in the association
- They are a religious organization first, taekwondo second. Both the Late Ed Sell and GM Brenda Sell are ordained christian ministers and their main focus is using TKD to spread that faith. Everything they do focuses heavily on how you can use TKD to strengthen your faith and to proselytize to others. While some might be okay with this, I personally don't join martial arts associations to do anything other than to further my training and knowledge in that art.
- They have their own way of doing forms. Most of the Taegeuk and yudanja poomsae they do are different from how KKW teaches them. Because of this if you want KKW certification you basically have to learn the forms twice in two different ways.
-They upcharge for additional certification. If you want World CDK or KKW certification you can get it but they upcharge for their service in helping you get those certifications.
- They don't practice what they preach. I am specifically talking about in their training. They make claims about being "the best of the best" (one of their actual slogans) but seem to promote black belts more on involvement in the association rather than how well they actually know their material. Like many large associations, their standards are inconsistent and vary from school to school. I participated in a black belt seminar where GM Brenda Sell herself led a course "black belts only" on how to punch with a straight wrist, not how to teach this, but how to do it which in my mind is not something a black belt should be spending time on as that is white belt material.

Like I said, this has just been my personal experience.
 
Yes. My dojang is former USCDKA. I have very bittersweet feelings about this organization. Here is my take, but take it with a grain of salt as there is clearly some bias in my opinion.
Why did your dojang leave USCDKA?
The Pros.
- They have a very thorough and concise curriculum and testing protocol that leaves nothing open to interpretation (even if it's not always followed) including video and books to help supplement your training.
I like the idea of a concise system, although as I said in my previous post, I want to teach what I've come up with.
- They have connections to help network with Taekwondo dojang across the globe.
This would be a big help for me.
- They have an active tournament circuit that is one of the most fairly judged tournaments I have ever been to and even offer special divisions for younger kids (5 and under) that would normally be to young to compete
This is probably not going to be too much help for me, based on the fact that the nearest USCDKA is over 10 hours away. I don't anticipate traveling that far to compete, let alone expect my students to want to.
- They are super nice and some of the friendliest people I have met. Even though we haven't been a part of the USCDKA for about 5-6 years, we are still invited to participate in many of their local events.
- Gm Brenda Sell is super approachable and eager to talk to and help anyone who asks.
Sounds good. They haven't gotten back to me yet. Maybe they don't monitor their email, or maybe they're waiting to have the right answer for my very specific situation.
The Cons.
- Cult mentality. The organization was founded by the late GM Edward Sell who has a lot of accolades to his name. Due to this he is put on a huge pedestal within the association and everything is about what "GM Ed Sell says". There is little unique thought or analyzing of the art outside of what is in Ed Sell's books or what he has publicly said. He is honored to the point of practically being an idol in the association
Huge con. One of the things I'm trying to get away from is this cult mentality. I'm also so far removed from him that I wouldn't hold him in nearly the same regard, and that might cause problems.
- They are a religious organization first, taekwondo second. Both the Late Ed Sell and GM Brenda Sell are ordained christian ministers and their main focus is using TKD to spread that faith. Everything they do focuses heavily on how you can use TKD to strengthen your faith and to proselytize to others. While some might be okay with this, I personally don't join martial arts associations to do anything other than to further my training and knowledge in that art.
I share your opinion on this.
- They have their own way of doing forms. Most of the Taegeuk and yudanja poomsae they do are different from how KKW teaches them. Because of this if you want KKW certification you basically have to learn the forms twice in two different ways.
I also have my own way of doing forms, which is based on the more traditional style. I'm curious if my style is similar to theirs, or if theirs is another style in addition to the ones I've learned.
-They upcharge for additional certification. If you want World CDK or KKW certification you can get it but they upcharge for their service in helping you get those certifications.
Not surprising.
- They don't practice what they preach. I am specifically talking about in their training. They make claims about being "the best of the best" (one of their actual slogans) but seem to promote black belts more on involvement in the association rather than how well they actually know their material. Like many large associations, their standards are inconsistent and vary from school to school. I participated in a black belt seminar where GM Brenda Sell herself led a course "black belts only" on how to punch with a straight wrist, not how to teach this, but how to do it which in my mind is not something a black belt should be spending time on as that is white belt material.

Like I said, this has just been my personal experience.
Unfortunate, but doesn't really apply to me. In fact, it might help me if they have lower standards, that it would be easier for me to achieve higher ranks with my own style and ways of doing things. But in terms of how I teach my students, the QC of their schools won't affect it.

Training multiple times per week at a local school and giving up on BJJ mat time was hurting me. If I had lower standards to get my 4th degree on stuff I train on my own in my off-time, I'm not super worried about that. And it would be more legitimate for me to have a CDK 4th degree than to have a self-signed certificate.
 
So far I haven't, so I'm not getting my hopes up.

No, it probably would take a minimum of 3 years. I'm not sure, because I got mixed signals from him. It's possible he might have fast-tracked me because of my previous experience as a 3rd degree. But he also didn't really accept anything other than my 3rd degree, and said at some points that I would probably have to go through the minimum 3 or 4 years and do all of his "level tests" in-between. Which there are either 2 or 8 of. I'm not sure. Like I said, lots of mixed signals.

If I would have stayed there, I would have been there less than a year by now. Your math is way off, and you have no authority for when he gives out degrees.

If you train harder you get scolded. He is so afraid of injury or burning people out. I hold pads for people and I can barely feel them kick, he comes by and says, "Tell them not to kick so hard." A "workout" is 3 pushups, 2 jumping jacks, and 1 situp. Well, 2 sets of that. 90% of what we do is roundhouse kicks, so I'm not really practicing much.

I get more of a workout playing video games at home, because at least I need to run up and down the stairs to grab drinks.

Seriously, going to this school would be like having high school students read a single Dr. Seuss book each week. And if they read anything more difficult, they get told to take it easy.

I'm currently training BJJ 6 days per week. Every day I was at this Taekwondo school, it was taking away from BJJ mat time. So yes, I am training. I'm training somewhere where I actually learn something. Where I actually get a workout. And where my knowledge and experience are valued more by people who are training a completely different martial art than by the art where I'm ranked 3rd degree black belt.
Your math is way off, and you have no authority for when he gives out degrees.
What I meant is if you count the time since you acquired your 3rd Dan and had continually trained (somewhere), I am guessing you would be getting close to 4th Dan testing time requirements.

Yes, this TKD school sounds like a crappy environment. This is what I mean by "a means to an end". Somehow, some way, you have to start moving toward your goal again. Even if some of the path there is not ideal.
 
I expect you will get some CDK specific responses, but you have been trying to short-cut this process for some time. Long enough to have completed the process had you stayed with the KKW school I imagine.
Joining a Kwan school will give you a more well-rounded training experience. But if no Kwan schools are in your area, why pursue this avenue?

Go back to the local school you were not crazy about the training and work at it. Even if the rest of the class is slacking, that is not excuse for you to do the same. Often times it just takes that one person training super hard to raise the level for the rest of the class. Quit worrying about what you think a class/school 'should' be and just use it as a means to an end.
Close out all your 'want toos' and preconceived notions and just train.
Yes, it is really that simple.
You could have already started your school while you pursue your next Dan level.
Not at all certain why you downgrade me here. Never intended to be offensive.
Can you please explain?
 
Yes. My dojang is former USCDKA. I have very bittersweet feelings about this organization. Here is my take, but take it with a grain of salt as there is clearly some bias in my opinion.
The Pros.
- They have a very thorough and concise curriculum and testing protocol that leaves nothing open to interpretation (even if it's not always followed) including video and books to help supplement your training.
- They offer certification through themselves, but also offer World Chung Do Kwan Federation and Kukkiwon certification
- They have connections to help network with Taekwondo dojang across the globe.
- They have an active tournament circuit that is one of the most fairly judged tournaments I have ever been to and even offer special divisions for younger kids (5 and under) that would normally be to young to compete
- They are super nice and some of the friendliest people I have met. Even though we haven't been a part of the USCDKA for about 5-6 years, we are still invited to participate in many of their local events.
- Gm Brenda Sell is super approachable and eager to talk to and help anyone who asks.

The Cons.
- Cult mentality. The organization was founded by the late GM Edward Sell who has a lot of accolades to his name. Due to this he is put on a huge pedestal within the association and everything is about what "GM Ed Sell says". There is little unique thought or analyzing of the art outside of what is in Ed Sell's books or what he has publicly said. He is honored to the point of practically being an idol in the association
- They are a religious organization first, taekwondo second. Both the Late Ed Sell and GM Brenda Sell are ordained christian ministers and their main focus is using TKD to spread that faith. Everything they do focuses heavily on how you can use TKD to strengthen your faith and to proselytize to others. While some might be okay with this, I personally don't join martial arts associations to do anything other than to further my training and knowledge in that art.
- They have their own way of doing forms. Most of the Taegeuk and yudanja poomsae they do are different from how KKW teaches them. Because of this if you want KKW certification you basically have to learn the forms twice in two different ways.
-They upcharge for additional certification. If you want World CDK or KKW certification you can get it but they upcharge for their service in helping you get those certifications.
- They don't practice what they preach. I am specifically talking about in their training. They make claims about being "the best of the best" (one of their actual slogans) but seem to promote black belts more on involvement in the association rather than how well they actually know their material. Like many large associations, their standards are inconsistent and vary from school to school. I participated in a black belt seminar where GM Brenda Sell herself led a course "black belts only" on how to punch with a straight wrist, not how to teach this, but how to do it which in my mind is not something a black belt should be spending time on as that is white belt material.

Like I said, this has just been my personal experience.
I never met Edward Sells personally, but he does have quite vibrant story, at least in the writing of it.
He built quite a dynasty that still thrives today, so I aver he did more right than wrong.
 
What I meant is if you count the time since you acquired your 3rd Dan and had continually trained (somewhere), I am guessing you would be getting close to 4th Dan testing time requirements.
I already had 4 years time-in-grade at my old school, had completed 4-out-of-5 tests towards the belt. I had tested on items above the KKW requirements to get 4th degree. But that doesn't matter, because I wasn't able to complete it there.

At a new school, it doesn't matter what progress I had at my previous school. My timers are reset. This is based on what happened here. Yes, I could go to a new school and say "I'm almost 4th degree, just let me test", but most likely they're not going to let me. Case-in-point: this school told me that my level tests at my previous school didn't matter, that I need to go through 3rd degree at his school.

My experience at 3rd degree (and more than just what I listed here) would be my justification if I did go down the self-promotion route. But it doesn't seem to hold much weight when I join a new school.
Yes, this TKD school sounds like a crappy environment. This is what I mean by "a means to an end". Somehow, some way, you have to start moving toward your goal again. Even if some of the path there is not ideal.
If it's going to make me a worse martial artist and worse instructor, it's not worth it.

Not at all certain why you downgrade me here. Never intended to be offensive.
You gave bad advice that you presented like an easy and obvious solution. It was a combination of the bad advice and the ego behind it that made me decide to give you the thumbs down. If I went with your "as simple as that" plan, I'd be worse off. Hence, I disagreed with your suggestion.
 
My experience at 3rd degree (and more than just what I listed here) would be my justification if I did go down the self-promotion route.
I am missing something here. You seem to be saying that you must be 4th degree black belt in order to teach and that there are only 2 ways to get that 4th degree: test in some organization that will award you a 4th degree black belt or self promote to 4th degree....

Why do you need to be 4th degree? Sure, if you want to be a KKW school, you would need to be 4th degree. But, you want to teach your own art.... the stuff you came up with and even the forms the way you want to teach them.

A bunch of us are suggesting that you start teaching, as a 3rd degree black belt. Start at a community center or YMCA, and teach your art. When you get a good size school going and are winning tournaments with your students then you can approach KKW about joining. Maybe between now and then, an opportunity will come along where you ca get your 4th degree. But, you want to teach. There is not a lot of good TKD in your area (going by what you say...) and you really want to teach your own version of TKD.... A bunch of us here are hoping you will go out and start teaching... What am I missing?
 
I am missing something here. You seem to be saying that you must be 4th degree black belt in order to teach
Must be? No. But if someone looks up my school and asks a friend who knows TKD, or posts on r/Taekwondo, or something like that, then that friend might look at my website and say, "He's only a 3rd degree? That's a bit sus." I know, because I would say that in response to people asking me.

The majority of TKD organizations that I've seen, you need to be at least 4th degree in order to be a Master and run your own stuff. Anything below that is usually operating under direct supervision of a Master (i.e. if I were to run a franchise under a Master). The only times you would see someone running their own school is if there is no other option. There are other options in my area (I just don't like them) and so people would probably get suggested to go to those schools where they have "legitimate" masters.
and that there are only 2 ways to get that 4th degree: test in some organization that will award you a 4th degree black belt or self promote to 4th degree....
Do you have another option?
A bunch of us are suggesting that you start teaching, as a 3rd degree black belt. Start at a community center or YMCA, and teach your art. When you get a good size school going and are winning tournaments with your students then you can approach KKW about joining.
I specifically left KKW. I'm not going back. My KKW rank is what legitimizes me as a 3rd degree. It's nothing more than that to me.
Maybe between now and then, an opportunity will come along where you ca get your 4th degree. But, you want to teach. There is not a lot of good TKD in your area (going by what you say...) and you really want to teach your own version of TKD.... A bunch of us here are hoping you will go out and start teaching... What am I missing?
I think it might be a bit too early in my area. I don't know that it's built up enough yet. We don't have a YCMA yet or anything like it. I think our "community center" is a park. I also think a lot of folks in my area right now are "new house poor", because it's all brand new suburban development. My street is still just a big pile of dirt on Google Maps, half the lots on my street are still just dirt, and my street is one of the most built in the subdivision. A block over in either direction and it's all dirt. Even when it's finally built, most of the folks are going to be recovering from closing costs and moving expenses and probably won't have the disposable income for luxuries like extracurricular activities.

I myself am still settling in.
 
Must be? No. But if someone looks up my school and asks a friend who knows TKD, or posts on r/Taekwondo, or something like that, then that friend might look at my website and say, "He's only a 3rd degree? That's a bit sus." I know, because I would say that in response to people asking me.
Looking through the forum here... when people ask about training under teacher X or teacher Y.... the suggestions are always, go try both classes, and go for the one that you fit in best with. Some may even follow up with, watch the other students and see if they are able to learn what the teacher is teaching... are the brown belts better than the green belts... are the green belts better than the white belts... No one has said pick the one with the highest rank.

I think it might be a bit too early in my area. I don't know that it's built up enough yet. We don't have a YCMA yet or anything like it. I think our "community center" is a park.
Use the park. Pick a regular time, and go out for an hour and do your forms and other drills in the park. You will most likely, eventually get people asking you questions.... maybe even wanting to try it out. As your community grows, you will be in position to get into a community center first.

If you are not part of an organization and don't want to be part of that organization... then their rules do not apply. Be honest with you training history, stay away from self promotions, let people try a few classes free and don't get into the high pressure / used car salesman and you should do fine.
 
Looking through the forum here... when people ask about training under teacher X or teacher Y.... the suggestions are always, go try both classes, and go for the one that you fit in best with. Some may even follow up with, watch the other students and see if they are able to learn what the teacher is teaching... are the brown belts better than the green belts... are the green belts better than the white belts... No one has said pick the one with the highest rank.
How many of those have someone who isn't high enough rank?

Let's take this further: what if the school was being run by a green belt? Would you suggest someone try that school out?
 

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