Going to check out a new school today

Dirty Dog

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I agree with most of your points. There are two I'd like to follow up on.

Like I said before, I can't imagine either of the other schools I've been a part of doing anything like this. The fact that he's even opened up to other schools and had them reciprocate is big for me.

I disagree with you on this one, it's actually a green flag.
The problem I have with it that it's too incestuous. So your KKW school goes and trains with another KKW school that does exactly the same thing as you in exactly the same way. What do you think you're learning?

One of the things we've done at our get togethers is play "what if". Throw out a scenario and have different systems show different ways to deal with it. Learning new things is awesome.
I think in this case he meant adults in the adult class or kids in the kids class.
It's still nonsense. I can spar with kids all day and it's perfectly safe. Because control. If his students don't understand the concept, that says something. And it's not a good something.
But I still agree with you on 5 of the 7. And internet meme is that 5/7 is a perfect score, so there you go.
I'll take it. You're wrong about the other two, of course, but that's ok. :)
 

HighKick

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I'd ask the owner first if that's an appropriate strategy for skribs, in that environment.
Of course. But if it is radically different or a long break has taken place (not in this instance), starting out as white (or some level of color belt) and jumping testing is a very good thing for both sides of the equation.
 

jks9199

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One of the things we've done at our get togethers is play "what if". Throw out a scenario and have different systems show different ways to deal with it. Learning new things is awesome.
That's a great way to see how different styles approach a situation; often much better than watching them spar each other, in my opinion. Sparring too often becomes a game of winning and losing and ends up an unclear mess, rather than showing the style. But responding to a situation lets you see how that style answers a question.
It's still nonsense. I can spar with kids all day and it's perfectly safe. Because control. If his students don't understand the concept, that says something. And it's not a good something.
I've seen some hard fighting schools and clubs. In some cases, the priortity gets put on hard fighting at the expense of control. It depends on what you're after... But I personally agree -- a black belt, especially a mid-level black belt, should be able to spar kids safely.
 
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skribs

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o your KKW school goes and trains with another KKW school that does exactly the same thing as you in exactly the same way.
What two KKW schools train the same thing the same way?
 
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skribs

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Red flag. Effective communication is a very important part of teaching.
Before I talked to him, I was willing to give him a pass, because sometimes information written in a non-native tongue doesn't come out right. After talking with him and hearing no discernible accent, I no longer give him that excuse.

Also, I know that some small businesses get set up with all sorts of pages by their IT guy that they then usually only keep one up to date. But the fact that they're all tough to follow is an issue.
 

Dirty Dog

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What two KKW schools train the same thing the same way?
Theoretically, all of them. At least insofar as the KKW curriculum.
In practice, it just isn't so, because there's no real quality control. They just do their own thing and pretend it's KKW.
 
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Theoretically, all of them. At least insofar as the KKW curriculum.
In practice, it just isn't so, because there's no real quality control. They just do their own thing and pretend it's KKW.
Even then, the KKW curriculum (that's required of schools) is very bare. As far as I'm aware, the only thing really codified is the forms. Everything else is up to the instructor to teach what they know. In my experience, folks add a lot from what they learned of Taekwondo from their Masters and just from martial arts in general.

You also have many schools that are hybrid schools and have multiple requirements.
 

HighKick

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Theoretically, all of them. At least insofar as the KKW curriculum.
In practice, it just isn't so, because there's no real quality control. They just do their own thing and pretend it's KKW.
There are only two real quality control vehicles I can think of.
One is when a Dojang is tightly involved with KKW and strictly adheres to the 'official' material. While a Lot of schools claim they do this is, in reality it is pretty rare. The instructor has to be the gauge and the feedback mechanism (which is the common case). It takes a good amount of time investment for a school or instructor do stay vested and current in this model, so it is not all that common. There are virtual tools that help but, not completely effective compared to human feedback. And it creates a Ton of problems, the most common being rote learning and subsequent teaching of material without any real depth into what the heck is being taught.

The second would be from organized competition. A true WT/KKW tournament looks like a bunch of lemmings. The poomsae are so tightly defined, it takes a good, experienced judge to see the differences. Training for this level of competition results in very tight quality control.
 

JowGaWolf

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I would have Pproached the school without telling my rank. I've find that ego is often personalized. By this I mean that we don't get the same Ego trip presentation. I wonder if he would have shown a different side to you if he thought you were new to the system.
 

wab25

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He didn't discuss me volunteering at all. It's possible it slipped his mind or that he wants to wait to see my skills and character beforehand. But he only talked to me about coming to the adult class
While I agree with most of the red flags shown.... the two item in bold above, are good things in my opinion.

Lets start with the kids class first... Parents have entrusted the instructor to train their kids. This involves lots of interaction and time spent with their kids. They have vetted the instructors of the school to their own liking and are comfortable. Now, some guy comes in from out of town and is immediately put with their kids or on track to be with their kids, in an authoritative role? I think its more of a red flag for someone to come to a school wanting to train and or work with the kids. I would rather have the new student show up expecting to be a student. Then the instructor can get to know the new student and then once relationships, personalities and other bits are established... then the instructor invites students he is comfortable with to work with the kids.

Adults are kind of the same.... they searched out this school, because they liked the way the class and training was being run by the instructor. Some new guy coming in from out of town, jumping in to run things, when nobody knows who they this new guy is... risks the existing students not liking the new dynamic.

I like new students coming in, not asking to work with kids right away and not wanting to jump into teaching / coaching as fast as possible. Come in, train, get to know everyone, get to know how we do things and show the humility to learn new ways and new things. Come in that way and I usually invite the experienced new student to share their version of things and move them along a little quicker.
 

Gerry Seymour

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My previous school, which didn't do the KKW forms for the longest time, started implementing them shortly before I left. I learned the forms there. I checked my learning and learned some new details at my brief stint at another local school. Although some of those details may be the WT way instead of the KKW way of doing things.

Other than that, there isn't much of a KKW curriculum, at least not one that's required for schools to teach. Many of the other things KKW teaches are part of their classes. I know how to kick, punch, and move.

Even if I do fly through the curriculum, there are time-in-grade requirements I wouldn't be able to bypass. But as @Monkey Turned Wolf said, I am already ranked in this organization. I don't even know if I could test for my 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree here, because I already have it in the organization.

How could offering to volunteer possibly be seen as threatening?

I offered to volunteer my time as an assistant instructor. I'm a 3rd degree black belt, he's a 4th degree black belt, so it's not like he's that senior over me. That's not to say I can't learn anything from him. But it's not like he's orders of magnitude more experienced.
I will say that I'd find it odd for someone who had never met me or seen my classes to offer to teach. I wouldn't email an NGA school and offer to teach (other than, perhaps, a seminar) without having met the instructor, especially if I was really contacting them about joining classes. I might be nit-picking, though, because I'd certainly offer to help however I could once I met the instructor and felt like I'd enjoy the place.

I'll definitely say it's not surprising he didn't bring it up in your first meeting. Unless I already knew the person and their ability, I wouldn't really consider (or want to discuss) them possibly influencing folks in my school until I saw their skill and how they interact with people.

I do see some potential red flags in some of his comments, though some may be lost in the 2nd-person text relay, so take that with a grain of salt. I'd probably watch a couple of classes before I'd be willing to step on the mats if I had this reaction interacting with him directly. It would be useful even to see kids' classes, because even if he's not good at teaching kids, you'll get a feel for how he might be as an instructor for adults. If he's really good with kids, you might not see how good he is with adults (very different approach, usually) but you'd at least have some confidence he's a reasonable instructor.

Consider offering to train as a lower rank for a few weeks while he evaluates you (giving him that explicit recognition), with the understanding that you probably don't need to re-test any of your attained ranks, unless there's something he sees that gives him pause.
 

Gerry Seymour

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I'm coming back to this one. Yesterday, I was thinking about this from the perspective of ego. That he's got the attitude of "our brand is good, other brands are bad". Which is ironic, considering he's set up a network of schools to crosstrain.

I was thinking of it along the same way that @Monkey Turned Wolf was when he said:
I'll say here that this is one of the red flags for me. While I've seen some decent instructors who had this attitude about other styles/schools, the person I got this most from was someone who had a dispute with his instructor and changed associations, then went on to trash-talk and compare his school to his former instructor's. It was a toxic attitude. The guy had been a friend (and sometime student) of mine, but I only went to his school once. He asked about us combing our programs, but we would have been wholly incompatible - aside from the fact that he joined under an instructor I no longer have any respect for.
But now I'm thinking about this: why would it be "dangerous" (his words) for the incoming student to be sparring in those classes? Do his students have a lack of self-control? Does he foster an environment where sparring is dangerous?

He knows of the other KKW school in the area that's incredibly soft. I've seen folks come in from other KKW schools that were woefully undertaught. Yet, I've gone to that other school and not hurt anyone in sparring. The students I've seen come in that are incredibly unprepared did not get hurt sparring at my old school.
It might be he's just rationalizing his dislike for other branches, or overstating the risk, because he's had a bad experience with someone from another school coming in and being inept (and perhaps a student saw their rank and went into sparring at the level they expected them to be able to handle).
 

Gerry Seymour

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Red flag. Effective communication is a very important part of teaching.
This one I'll disagree on. Teaching and marketing are very different. It's possible for someone to have very good classes and not get around to doing their social media. And the differences among those various sources could quite easily be that every year or so he does one, and just never gets around to updating it, so each one represents his best effort at the time, with his current focus, etc.

It could also be that he's slapdash about all of his organization and communication, but I don't think we can hazard that off this little information.
 

Gerry Seymour

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The problem I have with it that it's too incestuous. So your KKW school goes and trains with another KKW school that does exactly the same thing as you in exactly the same way. What do you think you're learning?
I'll agree it's not optimal, but any cross-pollenation and exposure to other students and instructors - even within the same style - is a benefit above just being exposed to what's in the one school. This was something I wish the NGAA had done a much better job with while I was training.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Before I talked to him, I was willing to give him a pass, because sometimes information written in a non-native tongue doesn't come out right. After talking with him and hearing no discernible accent, I no longer give him that excuse.

Also, I know that some small businesses get set up with all sorts of pages by their IT guy that they then usually only keep one up to date. But the fact that they're all tough to follow is an issue.
I'd guess he set them all up, himself, and not in the same time period.
 

JowGaWolf

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I like new students coming in, not asking to work with kids right away and not wanting to jump into teaching / coaching as fast as possible.
This is where Belt Color Is hoping to take back seat. As the owner of the school he can't just go on someone saying that they are a black belt. From initial reading it appears that he is wanting to be application heavy so a black belt with no application skills isn't going to be use for him.

When I ran the Sparring class the other instructor had to switch roles where he had to follow and learn from someone of a lower rank. If I were to open a school now, it would be application focused. I would most likely only accept an assistant instructor if they could show their ability to apply the techniques against none Jow Ga practitioners.

I would most likely fill that position from within the school because that person would have first hand experience with my training methods. An outside person of higher rank could only teach at my school if I get a chance to see them in action and have some discussion about fighting and setting up techniques. The only time I would allow someone to teach from go is if they have the reputation for being good at applying the techniques against those outside the system.

While Skribs is checking out the teacher, the teacher is going to be checking him out. I don't think knowing kata is going to get Skribs in a teaching position especially if his current students wears skribs out in sparring.

I believe in scholars who remember forms/kata and fighters who apply and understand Techniques. My fighters would never teach firm classes and my scholars would never teach my sparring classes. I find people fall on one side or the other very few do both at high levels.
 

JowGaWolf

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Another thing to take into consideration is that you may not know the forms / kata that he teaches. He may teach a variation of that Skribs doesn't know.

Belt Rank may not matter and may require learning a new variation of the forms /kata. This is normal for Kung Fu but may be a shock for Skribs.
 
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I will say that I'd find it odd for someone who had never met me or seen my classes to offer to teach.
Assistant instructor isn't necessarily teaching. At my main school it typically meant holding pads and helping set up and break down from drills, and keeping kids on task. Maybe lead warmups.

At the school I recently attended, it was expected of me and my parents to take a leadership role right away because of our rank.

In my BJJ school, anyone purple and up pretty much assumes a leadership role when they walk in, because at the very least they're going to be asked questions during rolls. Heck, as a blue belt, I've taken on a little bit of that role in the adult class. I'm coaching in the kid's class, and by "coaching" I mostly mean keep them on task and keep them from doing stupid stuff and hurting each other or themselves.

I had specifically said I wanted to volunteer as an assistant instructor, not that I wanted to start teaching classes.
 

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There's a local school in the small town I just moved to. I think it (like my town) is just starting up. The owner is a 4th degree black belt.

If I join, this will be the first martial art school I attend where I'm remotely close in level to the person running it. Even at my highest in my main school, I was 3 degrees underneath the Master. My BJJ professor has been doing BJJ 25 years longer than me. The other schools in the area I briefly attended were a Hapkido school with a 4th degree (I'm 1st in Hapkido) and a TKD school with an 8th degree black belt.

Here, I'm only 1 degree underneath him, and I was really close to getting my 4th before I moved. It will be an interesting experience.
Is it a KKW/WT school? Are you 3rd Dan KKW are from an unaffiliated school/system? This would be where the 'automatic' transferability of a KKW rank makes a difference.
Regardless, the 4th Dan is the school owner/operator. Deference should bd assumed and expected. On the surface, it sounds like it would be advantageous having you train there, but much of that would be on how you approach it.
Things would really, really go a lot easier for you if you didn't worry so much about rank.
 

Dirty Dog

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Is it a KKW/WT school? Are you 3rd Dan KKW are from an unaffiliated school/system? This would be where the 'automatic' transferability of a KKW rank makes a difference.
From what he's posted, it's a KKW school. @skribs is a KKW 3rd Dan from a KKW school that didn't follow the KKW curriculum. They used some forms that the owner made up. He claimed they were the Palgwae forms, but they're not.
Regardless, the 4th Dan is the school owner/operator. Deference should bd assumed and expected. On the surface, it sounds like it would be advantageous having you train there, but much of that would be on how you approach it.
Things would really, really go a lot easier for you if you didn't worry so much about rank.
Pretty much always good advice.
 
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