Egos as big as the doors

terryl965

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Have you notice that TKD has some of the biggest egomaniacs in all of Martial Arts? Why do you believe this to be, what can be done so the outer world can see those true warriors?
 

Drac

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Have you notice that TKD has some of the biggest egomaniacs in all of Martial Arts? Why do you believe this to be, what can be done so the outer world can see those true warriors?

That task falls to the individual..Schools can post all codes of conduct they want and make the students recite them, but until they the students embrace them I fear nothing can be done...
 

BrandonLucas

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Well, I am awesome...

Seriously, though, people with huge egos are going to continue to have huge egos until they get busted down a few notches. There's really nothing any of us can do about it, except maybe to be the person busting them down...but I wouldn't go out of my way to do that. If the opportunity arises, then sure, I'll do whatever is necessary for the situation, and if that takes them down a few pegs, then great. But I'll approach and complete the situation with the utmost humility, the way I was taught to do.

Until then, though, I'm content in knowing how great I really am...:)
 

granfire

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those egos are allowed to grow, and it's not bragging when you can back it up.

I consider those big egos have not yet found the one person who is bigger better and badder than they are (or carries a firearm)

Considering TKD as we know it is a result of clashing and domineering egos, are you surprised?
 

seasoned

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I seem to remember a hierarchy, a pecking order, in place, to combat any out of step egos. It served well when everyone was on the same page. Part of the promotion requirements, was humility. :asian:
 

tellner

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Before I say anything else, please keep something in mind. I'm not just an outsider bashing TKD. I could level a much more damning indictment of my own tradition and the people who practice it.

It's painful to say so, but I've noticed it. It's not just TKD. Every martial art has a big dose of that sort of crap. It's partly a function of the way the MA world divides itself into cliques each with its own special clothes and jargon. The way it gets marketed is by convincing the marks, err, students, that their clique is the best one in the world, that inside that clique there's nobody quite as special as the guy up in front with the fanciest clothes and that they can all bask in his reflected glory.

We all do it.

I think that one of TKD's special challenges in this regard is structural. The curriculum is designed with lots of gradations, each of which gives the ego a bit of a boost. You can get to instructor rank very quickly, so it really isn't necessary to develop a lot of skill, let alone have your face rubbed in the limits of your knowledge before getting The Prized Black Belt. And once you do, it really isn't that long before everyone has to call you Master or Grandmaster by virtue of an impressive-looking certificate with Korean writing that says you are.

What a particular title means is pretty arbitrary. It's just a bunch of words. But TKD is one of the worst offenders in rank inflation compared to the standards that applied in comparable systems in days past. It seems to have been a conscious marketing decision with unintended consequences.

The Olympics haven't helped either. They've put a premium short-term purely athletic prowess. They've changed the focus of a lot of schools, even ones which aren't Olympic-style WTF TKD (boy, there's a name with unintended associations :) ).

The explicit goal of making a sport which is bigger than Judo has come with a cost. It requires compromises in order to give the Art mass appeal, particularly to children. I haven't done a real in depth analysis of the particulars or precisely what I see different about kids who come out of a standard TKD background compared to young Judo or Karate players. But there is definitely some sort of qualititive distinction that keeps showing up. Someone with more experience in childrens' classes in several styles could tease doubtless tease it out.
 

Deaf Smith

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Ego, sadly comes with the belt.

The more a "McDojo" the more likely the Ego will be large, for in a 'hurry up and advance me" and "is it test time?" atmosphere, well it becomes all about me.

For just as schools push 'feeling good about myself' instead of self-respect, martial arts schools that push quicky black belts and are afraid to fail anyone give rise to egos without the grounding in respect. Respect for others and respect for oneself.

Deaf
 

mozzandherb

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I think every fighting sport will have people with big ego's...look at Mohammed Ali for an example, yet Ali was different, but he was still the greatest in his opinion. I also think there is a difference between having a big ego and being confident. Someone who is confident in a fighting sport might come across as egoistic, but in fact he/she may be the least egocentric person ever.
 

jim777

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Egos always remind me of this:

Whenever the name of Gichin Funakoshi is mentioned, it brings to mind the parable of "A Man of Tao (Do) and a Little Man". As it is told, a student once asked, "What is the difference between a man of Tao and a little man?" The sensei replies, "It is simple. When the little man receives his first dan (degree or rank), he can hardly wait to run home and shout at the top of his voice to tell everyone that he has obtained his first dan. Upon receiving his second dan, he will climb to the rooftops and shout to the people. Upon receiving his third dan, he will jump in his automobile and parade through town blowing the horn, telling one and all about his third dan". The sensei continues, "When the man of Tao receives his first dan, he will bow his head in gratitude. Upon receiving his second dan, he will bow his head and his shoulders. Upon receiving his third dan, he will bow at the waist and quietly walk alongside the wall so that people will not see him or notice him."
 

igillman

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I think every fighting sport will have people with big ego's...look at Mohammed Ali for an example, yet Ali was different, but he was still the greatest in his opinion. I also think there is a difference between having a big ego and being confident. Someone who is confident in a fighting sport might come across as egoistic, but in fact he/she may be the least egocentric person ever.

Ali does have a bit of an ego but a lot of what he did was for promotional aspects. He met a wrestler called "Gorgeous George" who told him that people will pay money to see a loudmouth get beaten.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wagner
 

bluekey88

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When you just Talk the Talk....that's egomania.

When you can back it up....that's confidence.

It's a fine line.

Peace,
Erik
 

tellner

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There's a real difference between having an ego and having an ego problem. If it gets in the way of seeing reality clearly and makes you do stupid things it's an ego problem. If you have a well-founded sense of your own worth and don't fall into those traps it's just an ego. If you believe in yourself others will, too. If they do they are less likely to give you trouble. It helps keep the flies off.

Many dojo warriors obsess about "humility" and "respect" but have enormous ego problems. That is because what they do is divorced from the reality of the rest of their lives. If you know that the next guy you cross could stick a knife in you you learn to respect the danger that any motivated person represents. Blind spots, especially self-induced ones, can be fatal.

If the closest you get is going to a club where you call yourself a warrior or street fighter and play make-believe, dress up and status games the connection of what you do to reality becomes very strained indeed. There are rewards for having an ego problem in that case. You feel good about yourself. You can get others to play into the fantasy, especially if they're worshipful students who are paying you money to be part of the story. The more they believe it the better you feel and the more money you get.
 

zDom

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When you just Talk the Talk....that's egomania.

When you can back it up....that's confidence.

It's a fine line.

Peace,
Erik

I agree with the first.
The second I would describe as "cockiness"

When you can back it up but aren't cocky, people can still sense it and THAT is confidence in a purer (purest?) form
 

bluekey88

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Goo dpoint.

SO..now we have:

When you just talk the talk...that's egomania
when you can back it up...that's cockiness
when you dont' have to...that's confidence.


I like it :)
 

BrandonLucas

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Everyone has an ego. Ego is self-perception. It's not something you can choose not to have...the ego is how you see yourself; how you think you appear to others.

Self confidence is basically knowing what you can and cannot do. It is a good thing to have self confidence...and some people have more self confidence than others. Having alot of self confidence is not a bad thing...it just means that you know yourself and your limitations very well.

An inflated ego occurs when self confidence gives way to self assurance...in other words, your limits are not taken into consideration, and all you consider are your strengths; your abilities and how well you can perform them.

Now, all that being said, I haven't actually run across too many people who had inflated egos. I know quite a few people who are very self confident, and that can sometimes appear to be egotistical. The difference there is if you speak with a self confident person, they will be able...sometimes glad...to tell you what they're good at. A person with an inflated ego will tell you...definitely gladly...what they're good at and why they're better at it than you.

What can sometimes be mistaken for an inflated ego is the lack of self confidence. You get to a point when you need others to recognize your strenght and abilities. It doesn't necessarily mean that you doubt your abilities and strengths...but you are no longer confident in them. So, since you are no longer sure of yourself, you need someone else to recognize your strengths so that you have some kind of validity of your own opinion of yourself. The compliments are called an ego stroke

The ego stroke can definitely cause an inflated ego...much like everything else, it's better in moderation. It always feels good to have someone compliment your abilities and strengths, but if you have someone or a group of people who constantly feed you compliments, then sometimes this can lead to an inflated ego. You start to believe the hype, so to speak...alot of the compliments may be padded to add extra compliments that may be less than accurate...and once you start believing what you're fed, you start to lose sight of your limits, and your strenghts and abilities are blown out of proportion.


I'm not saying that egotistical people are rare...not by any means. But alot of people mistake people who lack self confidence for people who actually do have an inflated ego...and there are more of these types of people out there.

And that's what I tend to see in the MA community...a lack of self confidence. That's what McDojo's play to.

"Don't feel confident enough to stand up for yourself? What if you come to class for an hour twice a week for 2 years and we give you a blackbelt? Now that we recognize you as a top dog, maybe you can see yourself that way."

That's why I have such a gripe with the organizations out there...honestly, what other purpose do they serve than to stroke the ego of everyone that has been handed a blackbelt? Why do I need an organization to tell me that they recognize me as a real blackbelt?

And, in that regard, the only reason rank should be used is as a place-holder...it lets you know where you stand within the martial art...not so others can see how high ranked you are.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Have you notice that TKD has some of the biggest egomaniacs in all of Martial Arts? Why do you believe this to be, what can be done so the outer world can see those true warriors?
First, no more kiddie black belts. A twelve year old with a black belt is getting way too much of an ego boost. My seventeen year old son who is a red belt in taekwondo asked one of the twelve year old pooms with a BB to behave herself (she was being disruptive during drills) and she said, "you can't tell me what to do, I'm a blackbelt." He told her that he'd get GM Kim to pair her up with him in sparring and she promptly shut up, but as a black belt, she never should have been disruptive in the first place and should never have made such a foolish comment either.

Second, do what they did in kendo recently and abolish 9th dan. Yes, current kendo 9th dans get to keep their rank, but no more new ones. That at least would cap how much one's rank could be inflated to.

2.1 But if they really wanted to do it right, cut it off at 5th or 6th.

2.2 If they really really wanted to do it right, they'd use that "Taekwondo is five thousand years old" nonsense to say that the belt system is from Japan and has no place in an ancient Korean art and get rid of it.

Third, get it out of the olympics. With no olympic gold to fuel the pipe dreams of parents with more money than sense, sport only schools would die off.

Fourth, eliminate all dan ranks for sport only schools. No black belts. Let sport only schools wear a red, white, and blue belt (yes, they do exist, I have seen them).

Fifth, and finally, require a trip to Korea to test at the Kukkiwon for 6th dan and up (unless of course they already went with my 2.2 above).

Lastly, have the Kukkiwon field a five man MMA team with tryouts and the requirement that taekwondo be their art. Train them against graplers and train them in the whole art of taekwondo, ditching this WTF/Olympic sparring. Have them train against all styles using just taekwondo. They'll get two hundred times the viewership that the Olympics did because the MA world would be, quite frankly, shocked and amazed that they'd have the guts to do it! They may not do well at first (or they may rock), but whatever the initial outcome, keep it going and be commited to it. It may take time to be competative, but if they even show well competing using just taekwondo, they'd have tons of respect.

How do those sound?

Daniel
 

BrandonLucas

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First, no more kiddie black belts. A twelve year old with a black belt is getting way too much of an ego boost. My seventeen year old son who is a red belt in taekwondo asked one of the twelve year old pooms with a BB to behave herself (she was being disruptive during drills) and she said, "you can't tell me what to do, I'm a blackbelt." He told her that he'd get GM Kim to pair her up with him in sparring and she promptly shut up, but as a black belt, she never should have been disruptive in the first place and should never have made such a foolish comment either.

Second, do what they did in kendo recently and abolish 9th dan. Yes, current kendo 9th dans get to keep their rank, but no more new ones. That at least would cap how much one's rank could be inflated to.

2.1 But if they really wanted to do it right, cut it off at 5th or 6th.

2.2 If they really really wanted to do it right, they'd use that "Taekwondo is five thousand years old" nonsense to say that the belt system is from Japan and has no place in an ancient Korean art and get rid of it.

Third, get it out of the olympics. With no olympic gold to fuel the pipe dreams of parents with more money than sense, sport only schools would die off.

Fourth, eliminate all dan ranks for sport only schools. No black belts. Let sport only schools wear a red, white, and blue belt (yes, they do exist, I have seen them).

Fifth, and finally, require a trip to Korea to test at the Kukkiwon for 6th dan and up (unless of course they already went with my 2.2 above).

Lastly, have the Kukkiwon field a five man MMA team with tryouts and the requirement that taekwondo be their art. Train them against graplers and train them in the whole art of taekwondo, ditching this WTF/Olympic sparring. Have them train against all styles using just taekwondo. They'll get two hundred times the viewership that the Olympics did because the MA world would be, quite frankly, shocked and amazed that they'd have the guts to do it! They may not do well at first (or they may rock), but whatever the initial outcome, keep it going and be commited to it. It may take time to be competative, but if they even show well competing using just taekwondo, they'd have tons of respect.

How do those sound?

Daniel

Seriously...

Awesome post. Awesome.

I would be 100% down with doing away with the belt ranking system all together. Show up to class in comfortable, flexible clothes and train.

Taking TKD out of the Olympics would be a huge, huge, huge, huge, huge, huge step in the right direction....same thing with nullifying the blackbelt rank for "sport" TKDer's. The only drawback to that would be having to listen to them whine about having to actually earn an actual rank....and technically, if all rank were done away with, then what would be the point for any of those people to do any of it? I'm sure they would all go do something else competitive with a ranking system, like selling Avon.

I would take it a step further, going along the same lines of your thinking, though...

Get rid of the organizations. All of them.

They are pointless and cause far more trouble than they are worth. It doesn't matter if you're learning the Chang H'on patterns, the Pal Gwae's, Song Ahm's...whatever...it's all TKD anyway. In fact, I think we should all learn all of the styles of forms for TKD.

The bottom line is that organizations exist to feed ego's...whether it's the student's ego, the instructor's ego, or the members of the boards of the organization's ego. I don't need somebody other than my instructor to tell me that I'm a valid blackbelt. And the only reason my instrutor should have to tell me that is to let me know that I'm ready to progress to the next level of learning, not so I can brag about it to my friends or use it as a social status or someway of marking a heirchary. So, I shouldn't need a belt for that...as long as my instructor approves me to start training more advanced techniques, that's all the confirmation that I need.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Brandon, I do see some good and valid reasons for the existence of an organization. To maintain and establish curriculum standards and to provide standards of certification is perfectly legitimate.

Now, here's a thought that would springboard from my comment about limiting dan ranks to fifth or sixth and would allow for the Olympic sport crowd to continue as they are:

Given how minimal the KKW curriculum is and that there isn't any new curriculum past fourth dan if I am not mistaken, I think that a major portion of the rank inflation and ego boosting could be done away with if they simply didn't have any rank higher than sixth dan. Anything above that could be posthumous. I disagree with awarding rank for promoting the art or doing wonderful things for the art. Awards and recognition should be given for such things, but not rank. Rank should be based on skill, time in grade, and above third, the ability to teach.

Here's how I see it: fourth dan is needed to sign dan certs. So unless one specifically wants to teach and/or run a school, there is little need for a fourth. Fifth dan would be required fo promote to fourth, so make fifth dan applicants go to Korea, take the instructors course, and take a full test on the Kukkiwon curriculum. It isn't as if there's that much, so the test should have very high standards. In fact, it should be as tough as the hachidan test in kendo (only 2% pass that out of between one and two thousand applicants per year).

Make the grandmaster of the Kukkiwon sixth dan, with all administrators who make policy on taekwondo being fifth. And also, only the grandmaster of the kukkiwon gets to be call grandmaster.

The physical blackbelts and poom beltsmust come directly from the Kukkiwon. Yudanja receive a black belt, gold stitching and all, along with a white KKW dobok with black collar. KKW schools cannot hand them out, and if the practitioner is under fifteen, the KKW sends them a black/red poom belt and poom dobok. That will eliminate the kiddie blackbelts. Require the child to take a comprehensive test at fifteen of the material for each and every poom rank that they wish to convert to a dan. The material is pretty much all forms anyway, so it isn't like a second or third poom student is being asked to that much. But mainly, make it an adult level test for a dan rank. Break the same number and size of board, spar adult opponents, etc. Then the KKW dans will be of much higher average quality.

Lastly, make self defense and hand techniques a more prominent part of the curriculum and creat a Kukkiwon style of sparring that allows for more hand techniques, sweeps and takedowns.
++++++++++++++++++++++++
Now for the olympic/sport aspect:

Take away USAT's ability to send in dan apps. Competitions should not be rank related at all. It should be gender, weight class, and record. Period. Install a competition rating like fencing, U, then E through A ratings. U is unrated, which if you've never competed is what you are. E-A is based on both your win/loss ration and the number of bouts you've fought and whom you've fought. A perfect record with only ten bouts against E rated fencers is not an A rating. Ratings are not permanent, but go up and down depending on how the athlete is performing, how many bouts they fight in a year, and the ratings of who they fight.

The WTF could easily install such a system and then USAT would have ZERO influence over belt rankings in the Kukkiwon.

The Kukkiwon should make a provision for a school to register as a sport only school to accomodate such schools. They should allow no rankings to sport only schools aside from that of athlete. Sport only schools should be required to wear a belt comprised of their nation's colors with their nation's flag on one end and the WTF logo at the other with ATHLETE above the flag and the logo at each end.

Lastly, call it either Taekwondo Kickboxing or Korean Kickboxing. But call it kickboxing because really, that is what WTF style is.
++++++++++++++++++++++++
Doing these changes will maintain the integrity of the kyu/dan system and provide an outlet for the existing athletic structure. Existing dans over sixth could keep their ranks, but no new ranks over 6th can be given out. When the current holders of 7th+ dan holders die off, the problem of inflated dans goes away and those guys get to be posthumous high dan legends.

Thoughts?

Daniel
 

mozzandherb

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Brandon, I do see some good and valid reasons for the existence of an organization. To maintain and establish curriculum standards and to provide standards of certification is perfectly legitimate.

Now, here's a thought that would springboard from my comment about limiting dan ranks to fifth or sixth and would allow for the Olympic sport crowd to continue as they are:

Given how minimal the KKW curriculum is and that there isn't any new curriculum past fourth dan if I am not mistaken, I think that a major portion of the rank inflation and ego boosting could be done away with if they simply didn't have any rank higher than sixth dan. Anything above that could be posthumous. I disagree with awarding rank for promoting the art or doing wonderful things for the art. Awards and recognition should be given for such things, but not rank. Rank should be based on skill, time in grade, and above third, the ability to teach.

Here's how I see it: fourth dan is needed to sign dan certs. So unless one specifically wants to teach and/or run a school, there is little need for a fourth. Fifth dan would be required fo promote to fourth, so make fifth dan applicants go to Korea, take the instructors course, and take a full test on the Kukkiwon curriculum. It isn't as if there's that much, so the test should have very high standards. In fact, it should be as tough as the hachidan test in kendo (only 2% pass that out of between one and two thousand applicants per year).

Make the grandmaster of the Kukkiwon sixth dan, with all administrators who make policy on taekwondo being fifth. And also, only the grandmaster of the kukkiwon gets to be call grandmaster.

The physical blackbelts and poom beltsmust come directly from the Kukkiwon. Yudanja receive a black belt, gold stitching and all, along with a white KKW dobok with black collar. KKW schools cannot hand them out, and if the practitioner is under fifteen, the KKW sends them a black/red poom belt and poom dobok. That will eliminate the kiddie blackbelts. Require the child to take a comprehensive test at fifteen of the material for each and every poom rank that they wish to convert to a dan. The material is pretty much all forms anyway, so it isn't like a second or third poom student is being asked to that much. But mainly, make it an adult level test for a dan rank. Break the same number and size of board, spar adult opponents, etc. Then the KKW dans will be of much higher average quality.

Lastly, make self defense and hand techniques a more prominent part of the curriculum and creat a Kukkiwon style of sparring that allows for more hand techniques, sweeps and takedowns.
++++++++++++++++++++++++
Now for the olympic/sport aspect:

Take away USAT's ability to send in dan apps. Competitions should not be rank related at all. It should be gender, weight class, and record. Period. Install a competition rating like fencing, U, then E through A ratings. U is unrated, which if you've never competed is what you are. E-A is based on both your win/loss ration and the number of bouts you've fought and whom you've fought. A perfect record with only ten bouts against E rated fencers is not an A rating. Ratings are not permanent, but go up and down depending on how the athlete is performing, how many bouts they fight in a year, and the ratings of who they fight.

The WTF could easily install such a system and then USAT would have ZERO influence over belt rankings in the Kukkiwon.

The Kukkiwon should make a provision for a school to register as a sport only school to accomodate such schools. They should allow no rankings to sport only schools aside from that of athlete. Sport only schools should be required to wear a belt comprised of their nation's colors with their nation's flag on one end and the WTF logo at the other with ATHLETE above the flag and the logo at each end.

Lastly, call it either Taekwondo Kickboxing or Korean Kickboxing. But call it kickboxing because really, that is what WTF style is.
++++++++++++++++++++++++
Doing these changes will maintain the integrity of the kyu/dan system and provide an outlet for the existing athletic structure. Existing dans over sixth could keep their ranks, but no new ranks over 6th can be given out. When the current holders of 7th+ dan holders die off, the problem of inflated dans goes away and those guys get to be posthumous high dan legends.

Thoughts?

Daniel
Actually there is no punching in WTF sparring so "boxing"could not be used.
Still I dont see making drastic changes having any effect on someone's ego. I could reverse the situation and say that by making it harder to get a BB will indeed fuel someone's ego even more because they will feel far superior to anyone who is not a BB. By having more BB then people wont think it's so special.
There are some good recommendations, they are well thought out and I don't disagree with them, I just see the same problems with ego's remaining because ego's are really an individual trait.
 

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