Does your school misrepresent the black belt?

Lynne

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At my level, we haven't discussed too much regarding what it means to be a black belt.

I only know this:

--I respect black belts because I know that they have trained extremely hard and that they have had exemplary focus
--I know that black belt is just the beginning and there is so much more to learn though I can't comprehend the work/joy/pain involved

Martial Arts is painful physically. It's hard mentally. I can't imagine what it's like at black belt level.
 

Tames D

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I would never attend a school run by a 1st Dan. Kukkiwon regulations state that only after you attain 4th Dan may you operate a class inependently. Believe me, teaching is a big responsibility, one I would never entrust to a 1st-3rd Dan without instructor supervision.
When Jhoon Rhee first taught, the Kukkiwon didn't exist, so it's a moot point.
Different styles and organizations have different policies, but I still don't believe a 1st Dan or 2nd Dan should be allowed to teach independently. They simply do not have the experience or maturity to do so.
My rank is not in TKD so I'm speaking in general terms. I easily meet your criteria for teaching. However there is only one glitch, I'm not a good teacher, I admit it, I lack the patience. Teaching is not for everyone.

I consider myself a lifelong practitioner of the arts and leave the teaching for those that are better at it. A good teacher doesn't always make a good fighter and a good fighter doesn't always make a good teacher.

I personally know 1st and 2nd's that are excellent teachers and I would trust them to do a better job than I could.
 

geezer

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I would never attend a school run by a 1st Dan. Kukkiwon regulations state that only after you attain 4th Dan may you operate a class inependently. Believe me, teaching is a big responsibility, one I would never entrust to a 1st-3rd Dan without instructor supervision.
When Jhoon Rhee first taught, the Kukkiwon didn't exist, so it's a moot point.
Different styles and organizations have different policies, but I still don't believe a 1st Dan or 2nd Dan should be allowed to teach independently. They simply do not have the experience or maturity to do so.

I don't know your system or what the "Kukkiwon" is, so I will refrain from commenting directly. But in the systems I've studied, anyone with the equivalent rank to 2nd or 3rd Dan has a great deal of experience and maturity. Whether or not they have the ability, temperment, or desire to teach is an entirely separate issue. If you are correct in asserting that you'd need at least a 4th Dan to be qualified to teach independently in your system, you are implying that your system's ranks don't mean very much. Are you sure that's what you want to say?

BTW one of my current instructors has no certified "Black belt" rank in any style. But several of his students, myself included, do have such certification, and we have many decades of experience between us. Yet we chose to study under him. Because he's that good. If somebody would rather go to the neighborhood McDojo full of tacky, five-foot tall tournament trophies and a zillion kiddie black-belts to study with some pre-packaged umpteenth dan, more power to 'em. I'll stay where I am.
 

kidswarrior

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My rank is not in TKD so I'm speaking in general terms. I easily meet your criteria for teaching. However there is only one glitch, I'm not a good teacher, I admit it, I lack the patience. Teaching is not for everyone.

I consider myself a lifelong practitioner of the arts and leave the teaching for those that are better at it. A good teacher doesn't always make a good fighter and a good fighter doesn't always make a good teacher.

I personally know 1st and 2nd's that are excellent teachers and I would trust them to do a better job than I could.
Excellent point, Q-G. In an even further break from the specifics of TKD, I used to teach Teacher Certification courses, for those who wanted to become secondary teachers (7th -12th grade). Some of my students were better teachers than I (and I've been told I'm not bad ;)) before sitting through one class. They just 'had it'. Others could have taken enough coursework for a PhD, and still would have sucked at teaching. Imho, it's an art, and only a little of it can be taught to someone who doesn't have the raw ability up front. Now those who do, still need training, don't get me wrong.

After five years of that, I quit because the government/and their minion educational-powers-that-be could not grasp that fact; all they counted was how many hours a candidate had in the teacher ed classroom, and how many tests they could pass (which keep increasing in number, btw).

Now here's a fun addendum I just remembered, speaking of bureaucracy (and I hope this isn't seen as too OT, cuz it is about who qualifies to be a teacher, and how they are promoted). When it came time for me to move up a grade on the pay scale of my full time teaching gig, I needed six semester units of teacher ed course work. I assumed that teaching 15 credits a year for the last several years would qualify me. But noooo, I had to take the courses, couldn't teach them. So I asked the question: You mean if I sat in two of my own classes, I'd qualify, but since I taught them--and learned ten times more--I don't qualify? That's right, they replied.

So, I don't get too worked up over whether someone approves of my pedigree, or whatever. The proof of the puddin' is in the eatin'.
 

YoungMan

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I never said a 1st-3rd Dan could not or should not teach. I was teaching when I was a 2nd Dan. A 1st Dan can teach basics. What I meant was a 1st Dan or 2nd Dan should not teach their own class independent of their instructor.
I see way too many cases of junior black belts who decide to teach on their own for whatever reason and decide they don't need their instructor's supervision. That's what I have a problem with. As long as it is under the supervision and guidance of a higher ranked instructor (preferably Master-level), then a 1st Dan black belt can teach in a limited capacity. I just don't think they should run their own class.
 

terryl965

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I never said a 1st-3rd Dan could not or should not teach. I was teaching when I was a 2nd Dan. A 1st Dan can teach basics. What I meant was a 1st Dan or 2nd Dan should not teach their own class independent of their instructor.
I see way too many cases of junior black belts who decide to teach on their own for whatever reason and decide they don't need their instructor's supervision. That's what I have a problem with. As long as it is under the supervision and guidance of a higher ranked instructor (preferably Master-level), then a 1st Dan black belt can teach in a limited capacity. I just don't think they should run their own class.


Could you please point out where on the KKW website it states you must be a 4th to start a school. This really intrigues me when I see stuff like this or was this your instructor telling you?

Thanks
 

tshadowchaser

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Once upon s time anyone wearing a black belt was looked upon as an expert by all in the martial arts community. That changed when people starting getting rank with 2 or less years of practice and with the influx of many high ranks that got off the boat but were low ranks when they got on. It changed even more with all the new systems that gave rank to make their systems look like they had been around longer. Oh yes, the belt factory schools and the mail away systems also helped to change how the martial arts community view black belts.
Even in the old days a black belt (1st) might be thought of as an expert by those not of that rank but he felt that he still had a long journey before becoming a expert.
The general public has always been told that the black belt was the sign of a person becoming an expert. I know of no way of changing this perspective.
 

Kacey

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I never said a 1st-3rd Dan could not or should not teach. I was teaching when I was a 2nd Dan. A 1st Dan can teach basics. What I meant was a 1st Dan or 2nd Dan should not teach their own class independent of their instructor.
I see way too many cases of junior black belts who decide to teach on their own for whatever reason and decide they don't need their instructor's supervision. That's what I have a problem with. As long as it is under the supervision and guidance of a higher ranked instructor (preferably Master-level), then a 1st Dan black belt can teach in a limited capacity. I just don't think they should run their own class.

I'm sorry you feel that way... and all the students I've had since I was a I Dan would probably feel that way too. I've been in TKD for 21 years; I've been an instructor (as in, had my own class) for 15 years. Do you really think that the 6 years of experience I had as a student, along with 2 years as an assistant instructor, were not sufficient to teach? Because it took me less time to get my teaching license (4 year BA and 1 year of licensure-specific classes and internship) than it did to start my own TKD class.

As far as supervision... well, my sahbum has always been involved with my class, as a testing instructor, as a guest instructor, as my instructor who continues to teach me and influence my abilities - and he was right there to help me when I started my own class, and has been there the entire time I've been in TKD. But supervision? No... he would not have supported my starting my own class unless he felt I could do it properly.

Being overseen by a master-level instructor; well, I come from the ITF (although we're not with them now) and master level is VII Dan - and when we left there were only 2 or 3 in the whole US, so that wouldn't have been likely. Perhaps my perspective is different because my sahbum started teaching as a II Dan - and he's an incredible instructor who has continued to improve his own skills, and his instruction, over the 21 years I've been his student.
 

terryl965

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I'm sorry you feel that way... and all the students I've had since I was a I Dan would probably feel that way too. I've been in TKD for 21 years; I've been an instructor (as in, had my own class) for 15 years. Do you really think that the 6 years of experience I had as a student, along with 2 years as an assistant instructor, were not sufficient to teach? Because it took me less time to get my teaching license (4 year BA and 1 year of licensure-specific classes and internship) than it did to start my own TKD class.

As far as supervision... well, my sahbum has always been involved with my class, as a testing instructor, as a guest instructor, as my instructor who continues to teach me and influence my abilities - and he was right there to help me when I started my own class, and has been there the entire time I've been in TKD. But supervision? No... he would not have supported my starting my own class unless he felt I could do it properly.

Being overseen by a master-level instructor; well, I come from the ITF (although we're not with them now) and master level is VII Dan - and when we left there were only 2 or 3 in the whole US, so that wouldn't have been likely. Perhaps my perspective is different because my sahbum started teaching as a II Dan - and he's an incredible instructor who has continued to improve his own skills, and his instruction, over the 21 years I've been his student.

Exactly Kacey we each must have apath, we must al follow some sort of linage but to besupervised bt one means you are not ready for teaching on your own. I for one have been teaching since I was twenty three so at that time I have been studying for 19 years, I believe I was qualify to teach and so did my instructors. A book or someone opinion is just that there and does not represent the main stream of good old folks doing the right thing.
 

tshadowchaser

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This really breaks down to what requirements there are in the system for black belt. I know of one system that requires black belts to know 80 percent of all forms and 100 percent of self defense techniques taught at that time in the mother school. On the other hand I know schools that require only a minimum of forms and maybe 50 SD techniques for the same rank. In the first school it takes between 8 and 10 years to make black belt , in the 2nd it takes 2. Each system and school seems to have a different standard and it is hard to judge what a black belt means in each. That fact alone has been a problem for a long time and the more schools and system that are out there compound the equation.
 

terryl965

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This really breaks down to what requirements there are in the system for black belt. I know of one system that requires black belts to know 80 percent of all forms and 100 percent of self defense techniques taught at that time in the mother school. On the other hand I know schools that require only a minimum of forms and maybe 50 SD techniques for the same rank. In the first school it takes between 8 and 10 years to make black belt , in the 2nd it takes 2. Each system and school seems to have a different standard and it is hard to judge what a black belt means in each. That fact alone has been a problem for a long time and the more schools and system that are out there compound the equation.


This is so true with me, my test is three days and it is a *****. While others are only two hours and mean very little.
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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When I was studying in Japan my teacher told me not to worry about Belts and rank but just train. If you are attached to the ranks and belts how will you ever learn to let go of technqiues and act naturally?
 

YoungMan

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My instructor (9th Dan Kukkiwon) told us that you must be Kukkiwon 4th Dan to be eligible to teach your own class. I've also heard this from other Kukkiwon instructors. Undoubtably other organizations have their own policies, but to be recognized by Kukkiwon that is the policy. Otherwise, you are teaching for your instructor as an assistant. If I am a 2nd Dan teaching a class 500 miles from my instructor, it is still considered his class. It is not my class until I make 4th Dan.
 

terryl965

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My instructor (9th Dan Kukkiwon) told us that you must be Kukkiwon 4th Dan to be eligible to teach your own class. I've also heard this from other Kukkiwon instructors. Undoubtably other organizations have their own policies, but to be recognized by Kukkiwon that is the policy. Otherwise, you are teaching for your instructor as an assistant. If I am a 2nd Dan teaching a class 500 miles from my instructor, it is still considered his class. It is not my class until I make 4th Dan.

No Youngman that is wrong, you must be a fourth to obtain certificates though the KKW, but nowhere in the bylaws does it state this. I am sorry but we must speak actual facts. The KKW say you may have another fourthsign off on students if they pass the requirements of that instructor. They could give a damm if Joe blows opens a school and uses someone from another country to issue certificates as long as they get there money. This is what is so wrong with all of this people would believe stuff that just is not so, just because there G.M says so. I commend you by sticking by your G.M. statement but always remember you can open a school and run it ang the KKW would never care. :asian:
 

Daniel Sullivan

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However, ask the average person on the street, any country, regardless of demographic, the question, "What is a black belt?" What do you think the answer would be? I think that you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who would answer other than that a black belt is a martial arts "expert."

I believe there's a huge gap, and so I'm wondering where that gap came from. Has it always been there? Did Kano award black belts for other than demonstrable skill? Did the teachers of other arts as they adopted the belt system in the early 1900's? Are modern MA schools actively contributing to the misunderstanding?
I remember when having a blackbelt really meant that you could fight. Most people still think this, and Hollywood portrayals of eight year olds smashing walls has prevented the general public from being disuaded in this belief when they see eight year old blackbelts.

I couldn't tell you what Kano awarded blackbelts for aside from demonstrable skill. I can tell you that it was many years before I ever saw a blackbelt who did not have a great degree of demonstrable skill, though I separate that from being an expert martial artist.

The public perception of the blackbelt being an expert comes from the inability to differentiate the dan ranks visually. Few dan rank practitioners that I recall in my youth, teens, and early twenties had gold stitched stripes to indicate dan rank. Stitching, if it were there at all, tended to be limited to their name and title in whatever language the art was associated with. Or it was in English. But the public perception is also equally poor in other martial areas; if you tell someone that you're a golden gloves boxer, many people will equate that in their minds as being expert the same way that they do blackbelt.

People have similar misconceptions regarding a whole host of other things, both martial and non-martial. Its the whole reason that auto manufacturers put spoilers and wings on cars that are otherwise unremarkable economy cars; it gives the perception of performance whether or not it exists.

As to the question asked in the title of the thread, I believe that our school represents blackbelt as having attained a certain level of proficiency in a specific set of basic techniques. Master Kim always tells beginning students that blackbelt is not the end, but just the beginning.

Daniel
 
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snoack

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Blackbelt at my school is a representation that you have mastered the basics. The real training begins at this point.

Our exam is divided into 3 parts-

conditioning with specific requirements

curriculum, which is responsibility for all currciulum taught at our school from white belt basics through rank

the 3rd part involves giving a speech of at least 2 minutes on what earning a blackbelt means and why you feel that you deserve that rank.

I believe that my school has an excellent sense of the true meaning of what it means to e a blackbelt.
 

terryl965

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Blackbelt at my school is a representation that you have mastered the basics. The real training begins at this point.

Our exam is divided into 3 parts-

conditioning with specific requirements

curriculum, which is responsibility for all currciulum taught at our school from white belt basics through rank

the 3rd part involves giving a speech of at least 2 minutes on what earning a blackbelt means and why you feel that you deserve that rank.

I believe that my school has an excellent sense of the true meaning of what it means to e a blackbelt.


Sounds like a great test
 

Phoenix44

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There is another way of looking at this. Why SHOULDN'T the general public think a black belt is an expert? It's the general public. Compared to the general public, black belts DO have a certain level of expertise in a particular field, and there's the realization that the individual with a black belt has a certain level of commitment as well. People do realize that you have to train several times per week for several years, and maintain a level of fitness that is far beyond that of the average individual, and that most of us have a life--job, partner, kids--in addition to training.

People feel that way about every demanding pursuit. If you're 1 hour out of med school (4 years), you're called "Doctor," though you're not ready to open your own practice. A flute player who took lessons 3-4 times/week, and practiced in between, for 5 years or so probably sounds pretty good to the general public, though he may be no Ian Anderson.

WE know what a first degree black belt means in the martial arts world. If we're so inclined, we can help impart that information to the general public.
 

geezer

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Blackbelt at my school is a representation that you have mastered the basics. The real training begins at this point.

Our exam is divided into 3 parts-

...conditioning ...curriculum ... giving a speech of at least 2 minutes...

That's all good, but you don't have a sparring component that shows the candidate can actually apply their technique... under stress? Or perhaps this is done a bit earlier as a brown or "pre-black belt" requirement?
 

terryl965

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That's all good, but you don't have a sparring component that shows the candidate can actually apply their technique... under stress? Or perhaps this is done a bit earlier as a brown or "pre-black belt" requirement?

I would take it that it was part of the curriculum.
 
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