Gup rank and belt rank

IcemanSK

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As an instructor, I try to make the details of Taekwondo as easily understandable to my students as I can. This is especially true with my younger students. One thing that often comes up is what rank they are vs. their friends from another school. Since all belt orders are no the same across the board, I make sure my students understand what gup rank they hold in addition to the color of their belt. The difficulty I've found is that other schools use more than 10 (or 9 excluding white belt) colored belt ranks & ignore the gup system all together.

I'm just trying to help my students be able to make the connection that a 6th gup in our school is green belt, while a 6th gup in another school may be blue.
 

MBuzzy

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What ages are you referring to, sir? I've found that that is essential in how to relate something to them.
 

terryl965

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Tell them that you are held to a higher standard which is what the KKW and your association is all about. That either you or them can change what other school do, but when it is all said and done there gup and belts are worth more since there are with a true instructor and that would be you Iceman.
 
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IcemanSK

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I'm talking about kids from 8-12. They know that we have higher standards than a lot of other schools. I'm not worried about that piece. Having them understand gup rank has a two-fold purpose for me. 1) To help students (kids & adults, actually) understand their rank relative to other school's belt systems. 2) Keeping them connected with the gup system part of traditional TKD.

I appreciate your kind words, Terry!
 

Jai

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good ideas. More so since no two school are usually the same when it comes to what belt follows another. Even within TKD there are differences unless two schools belong to the same association.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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My oldest asked about the belts, as he was enrolled in Thomkins Karate when he was eight and nine years old. Thomkins is actually Tang Soo Do, and the belt system that he used was different from our school's, with red belt being roughly 7th geub, while in ours, it is 2nd geub.

My response to him was to focus on the geub; colors are abitrary. It really doesn't matter what color the belt is but what rank you are. Even schools with fewer geubs will often have a system of a tape stripe after a student has learned certain techniques within a belt rank, so a geub rank from one school can always be aproximated to ranks in another once you get past the superficiality of colors.

With kids, there is always a need to establish pecking order and to compete. 'I'm brown belt and you're only red belt', was said by one of the neighbor kids to my younger son when he had his kumdo red belt. Never mind that in our school, there is no brown and both students were second geub. Once that was pointed out to the neighbor kid, he still did not get it. My son then showed the kid his belts. Once the kid saw that my son had the same number of belts, just different color progression, he got it.

But that type of competition is what is at the heart of concern over colored belts. Honestly, who cares what color belt someone is? If you haven't reached blackbelt, then color uniformity is out the window to a certain extent. And isn't it more important to be a solid and competant 8th geub yellow belt than an unsure and barely keeping up brown belt? Or worse, an unsure and unable to effectively spar or do poomse blackbelt?

Daniel
 

MBuzzy

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It may take some time and effort, but a comparitive chart may help. It really hits a point home when you can see it visually. Much like we do for military rank, just make a matrix with Gup down the side and style across the top.

Then go out and find as many styles as you can and try to populate the table. This might actually be a fun project. This way a kid can find their style and their gup and locate their belt color, then just go across and see what colors are equal to that level in other styles and what styles they are in. You can just start with the schools in your area and maybe branch out to other styles...

Kind of like these....
http://www.defenselink.mil/specials/insignias/enlisted.html
http://www.21stcenturypaladin.com/extras/insignias/
 
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IcemanSK

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I had an item made that uses the keychain belts from Century. They hang by eye hooks with the corresponding gup rank under it. I can take off all the belts so the students can put the belts in order with the correct gup rank. It's portable so I can take it with me when I change class rooms.


I'll put up a photo of it when I can.
 

Deaf Smith

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Iceman,

Does your ranks go like 10th white, 9th white, 8th yellow, 7th yellow, or such as that to where there are basicly 10 steps?

If the other arts have the same number of steps it ought to be easy.

But also have your students ask the others how long it takes to make 1st dan. If it takes your school 3 years and theirs 4 years, well there will be some difference reguardless of the number of steps.

Deaf
 

StuartA

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There are so many different systems and times I have to ask.. why bother? Even with schools that follow the exact same belt and kup system you doesnt mean they are equal... depnding on timelines and indeed, how much they want from a grade!

I would simply say This is how we do it at this school.. others do it differently, but the destination is still the same!

Stuart
 
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IcemanSK

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There are so many different systems and times I have to ask.. why bother? Even with schools that follow the exact same belt and kup system you doesnt mean they are equal... depnding on timelines and indeed, how much they want from a grade!

I would simply say This is how we do it at this school.. others do it differently, but the destination is still the same!

Stuart

It's my attempt to be optimistic & upbeat. I've run a school for 2 1/2 years & my highest ranked students are 6th gup. They know I'm in no hurry to promote anyone. When they compare that to the 6th gup after signicantly less time, they'll see the difference. I want to focus on the positive for my students: ie. "a quality X gup looks like this." rather than "we're better than THAT school over there."
 

Kacey

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My oldest asked about the belts, as he was enrolled in Thomkins Karate when he was eight and nine years old. Thomkins is actually Tang Soo Do, and the belt system that he used was different from our school's, with red belt being roughly 7th geub, while in ours, it is 2nd geub.

My response to him was to focus on the geub; colors are abitrary. It really doesn't matter what color the belt is but what rank you are. Even schools with fewer geubs will often have a system of a tape stripe after a student has learned certain techniques within a belt rank, so a geub rank from one school can always be aproximated to ranks in another once you get past the superficiality of colors.

With kids, there is always a need to establish pecking order and to compete. 'I'm brown belt and you're only red belt', was said by one of the neighbor kids to my younger son when he had his kumdo red belt. Never mind that in our school, there is no brown and both students were second geub. Once that was pointed out to the neighbor kid, he still did not get it. My son then showed the kid his belts. Once the kid saw that my son had the same number of belts, just different color progression, he got it.

But that type of competition is what is at the heart of concern over colored belts. Honestly, who cares what color belt someone is? If you haven't reached blackbelt, then color uniformity is out the window to a certain extent. And isn't it more important to be a solid and competant 8th geub yellow belt than an unsure and barely keeping up brown belt? Or worse, an unsure and unable to effectively spar or do poomse blackbelt?

Daniel

It's my attempt to be optimistic & upbeat. I've run a school for 2 1/2 years & my highest ranked students are 6th gup. They know I'm in no hurry to promote anyone. When they compare that to the 6th gup after signicantly less time, they'll see the difference. I want to focus on the positive for my students: ie. "a quality X gup looks like this." rather than "we're better than THAT school over there."

Between the two of you, you have covered my opinion. Colors are, indeed, arbitrary; the only similarities are that most systems have a white and black; most also have a red or brown between white and black. It is gup rank - where you stand on the progression between white and black - that is the important factor. Likewise, it is the quality of the instruction and thus the quality of the students that is important - not the relative ranks between them.
 

StuartA

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It's my attempt to be optimistic & upbeat. I've run a school for 2 1/2 years & my highest ranked students are 6th gup. They know I'm in no hurry to promote anyone. When they compare that to the 6th gup after signicantly less time, they'll see the difference. I want to focus on the positive for my students: ie. "a quality X gup looks like this." rather than "we're better than THAT school over there."

I know, but like I said, there are so many differences, that only a general overview can be found ie. "10th to 6th kup are junior coloured belt grades, depending on the school each one can take up to X months to achieve.. here is usually around X months, but sometimes our gradings require a bit extra" or something! There is no level playing field, which I think is what your looking for and if you dont wanna sound like your saying "we're better/harder", then its an impossible task!

Stuart
 

MBuzzy

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I think that time might be the wrong way to go about it. Level would probably work better, just because there are such huge time differences.
 

tshadowchaser

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I have seen a couple of good ideas in this thread that would help your students understand the Gup system.
If they already know that you hold them t a high standard they just might understand that rank (gups) are only a way for each school to let people know how far they have traveled in that school and has no real relationship to what another school dose for ranking. It is the knowledge that each person gains along the path they follow that counts not the color of the belt or their rank as that changes from school to school
 

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