How frequently do/would you grade children training once per week?

andyjeffries

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At our club the children only train once per week (most of them, a couple who have black belts for parents train twice or more) and they grade once per year (from 6 years old until about 14 years old).

I personally feel that is too long between tests and actually has a detrimental effect on their performance. If they tested more frequently (say every 6 months) you would have the "polishing up before a test" period for more of the year and it's during that period that we see the most improvement. When they can coast for 8 months then polish up, their level has hardly improved since the last time.

What does the group think? How frequently would/do you test children training once per week?

If longer than 6 months, do you expect the same (level of performance) from an 8 year old as a 14 year old as a 24 year old?

Personally, I feel if you grade children every 6 months it's often enough to keep them training hard and so they keep motivated. If they keep training until adulthood then their physical ability/skill will increase naturally with time spent in the dojang (and beyond 14 I'd say they should be training a minimum of twice per week).

Also, I think if they got their 1st Poom at 12/13 for example and stopped training, I don't think they'd consider themselves of instructor level when they got to 24 and thought about opening a school and consider their 1st Poom (or changed for a 1st Dan at 15) as relevant.

I understand poom grades are given more easily in Korea than in the rest of the world (so I'm assuming by extension that coloured belts are also), I wonder if it's a good idea to keep children motivated/wanting to do Taekwondo so they can grow within the art and as a person for longer rather than losing interest.
 

Dirty Dog

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I'm not a big fan of timed testings, as such. I think that testing should be based solely on performance, regardless of age.
Of course, I don't look at testing as testing, either. I believe (and tell people) that they are being tested every single day. When you're invited to test, you've already demonstrated, on a regular basis, that you're performing at the next level. The "test" is just a demo; a chance to show the entire class what you can do, show off a little, have fun, and celebrate a little.
But that's based on performance, not time in rank.

Why do your kids only train once per week?
 
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andyjeffries

andyjeffries

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I'm not a big fan of timed testings, as such. I think that testing should be based solely on performance, regardless of age.

My instructor feels the same way. However, I'm feeling that it's not working as well as it used to when I was younger when we did have timed testings. The reason is that we never grade them early, only late - so there is no reason for the kids to pick up their game and improve faster for early testing.

Of course, I don't look at testing as testing, either. I believe (and tell people) that they are being tested every single day. When you're invited to test, you've already demonstrated, on a regular basis, that you're performing at the next level.

I completely agree with this. Kids do like the ceremony though (the event rather than just being handed a belt at the end of a lesson).

The "test" is just a demo; a chance to show the entire class what you can do, show off a little, have fun, and celebrate a little.
But that's based on performance, not time in rank.

Fair enough.

Why do your kids only train once per week?

Because that's when the instructor wants to teach them. I'm starting a new club on a weekend, but that will still be once per week. After a while I may add in a second session, but basically it's because it's a part-time thing for us and there's a limit to the amount of time our respective spouses will let us teach ;-)
 

Bruno@MT

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I think 2 or 3 times per year is better for kids. that way they can work their way up to it. They're kids. For them, a year is an eternity and it helps them keep focus on something they can relate to. IIRC when I helped teach kids jj classes, we graded before christmas, before easter and before the summer holiday.
Additionally, it's less of a problem if they miss the grading session (being sick or on holiday) or if they are not yet quite ready for the exam (meaning they wait only a couple of months instead of another year).

While I agree they should train seriously for the sake of trainign, they're also just kids for whom the new stripe on their belt is something that motivates them.

Why do your kids only train once per week?

I can't answer for him, but for young kids it is not easy to train multiple times per week, because the instructor has to be available multiple times per week, which is not always possible if the instructor has a day job + his own training schedule + adult classes.

Additionally, parents have to be able to bring their kids and wait during the training. This is worsened by multiple kids having different activities, and sometimes kids having more than 1 activity (my oldest is swimming, tumbling, and shortly ballet).

Then there is availability of the location on hours that are compatible with school, homework and sleeping schedules.

So Imo it is a matter of practicality that kids training schedules are limited to once per week. The only places I know with young kids having more than one training per week is where they have large groups which makes it worthwhile.
 

Earl Weiss

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Before answering let me explain how i changed the steps between grading. Kids had trouble moving a whole gup level. And 6 months for a kid is an eternity. So, since I had a requirement sheet for each gup used for training and testing, I split it in 2 - sort of.

I took some of the requirements and made them what was needed for a 1/2 gup test and promotion. (The stuff I know needs more "Seasoning I teach first) So, first, the kids learn the half gup material, and are tested on that, and if they pass they learn the rest of the material and then are tested on the entire gup level material.

I took the prior Gup level requirement sheet (They are given the new one as soon as they pass a test) and made some items bold faced and underlined. So they know the 1/2 gup test is the bold faced underlined items and the full gup is theentire sheet.

Using this system we test every three months, BUT we can review the requirements prior to the test and see if they are ready. They may or may not be given permission to test. They also use the sheets to review what they need to practice at home and a month before a test we start reminding them to look at their sheets and ask for help on anything they don't understand or need more help with.
 

rlobrecht

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Some context on our system before I give you my opinion on your question(s).

Our kids have class twice a week (45 minutes each.) We have a Black Belt Club, which adds 6 classes a month. Most kids aren't invited to BBC until about 7th Gup (we have 11 Gups.)

We have a striping system for kids to show progress towards being allowed to test. If someone has all their stripes a week or two before the scheduled test, they are allowed to pre-test in class. They have to pass the pre-test to be allowed to test.

Most kids take the two months for the first few belts, then it starts to slip to 3 or 4.

I think classes once a week isn't enough. These skills are hard, and there's a lot to remember (especially patterns.) Unless the kid has a parent in the program, most of them won't practice at home, which means they spend six days forgetting what you taught them.

I also agree that even six months is an eternity for kids. More frequent is going to keep their interest better.

What is your club's goal for training children?
 

dancingalone

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My thought is that children who only practice once a week are not learning and progressing sufficiently to merit rank advancement. At least in my conceptualization of what the belt ranks represent.

I personally would like to see 2-3 times a week with the accompanying progression of skills before I would consider any promotion opportunities.
 
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andyjeffries

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I think classes once a week isn't enough. These skills are hard, and there's a lot to remember (especially patterns.) I also agree that even six months is an eternity for kids. More frequent is going to keep their interest better.

For now, once a week will be all I can manage. I have a fair commute to get home from my day job. The class I currently train at begins the kids at 7:30 and I personally think that's too late for the younger ones (my boy is 8 and even now is a lot worse on a Wednesday morning after being out until 9pm, my little girl will be 6 in a couple of months and starting then).

So I'd like to add in a second day, but in reality it won't be much earlier than my instructor's childrens class.

What is your club's goal for training children?

If you mean my head instructor's club - I don't know, I am interested now so will ask him.

If you mean the club I'm starting, my goal/reasoning is simple. I want to help students have more confidence/discipline. I started Taekwondo because I was being bullied and it turned my life around. I am fortunate enough that I earn well from my day job so I don't need the money (wow, that sounds big-headed and I don't mean it that way), I want to help kids that may need self-defence skills now or later and will be able to make good use of the added discipline/self-confidence.
 
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andyjeffries

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My thought is that children who only practice once a week are not learning and progressing sufficiently to merit rank advancement. At least in my conceptualization of what the belt ranks represent.

This may be the crux of my question... does your conceptualization change depending on whether you're referring to children, teenagers or adults?

Once per week is not ideal, but it's what I can do, at least initially...
 

terryl965

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Here is the best answer when they know the material. To be honest once a week is not enough for childern that young they need more time on the floor, maybe three days a wekk for thirty minutes per dey for repitition.
 
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andyjeffries

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Before answering let me explain how i changed the steps between grading. Kids had trouble moving a whole gup level. And 6 months for a kid is an eternity. So, since I had a requirement sheet for each gup used for training and testing, I split it in 2 - sort of...Using this system we test every three months, BUT we can review the requirements prior to the test and see if they are ready. They may or may not be given permission to test.

Thanks for taking the time to post this Earl. I'm not sure how I feel about changing the gup ranks and adding new half-ranks in. I guess that may be insecurity as I'm a much lower rank than you, but I'd prefer to stick to the ranks I grew up with.

However, I like the idea of splitting the syllabus like this, so they concentrate on new things everything 3 months rather than just after the grade.

How often do your kids train and for how long (out of interest, as yours grade a full kup grade every 6 months)?

By the way, there would also be a minimum attendance requirement (so it's not just bum around and turn up every so often and test every 6 months) and it would be made clear to all students that I won't allow them to test if I don't think they're ready.
 

dancingalone

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This may be the crux of my question... does your conceptualization change depending on whether you're referring to children, teenagers or adults?

Once per week is not ideal, but it's what I can do, at least initially...


I don't think the age matters. I think most of us would adjust the curriculum considerably for children vs. older students, but the main idea remains that if you are only practicing once a week you will NOT retain the information taught to you in class, much less improve.

My TKD class meets twice a week for intervals of 1 hr with an optional sparring class to follow. I see real issues with material retention among most of the students as is and believe going to just once a week would result in a near complete collapse of the school pedagogically.
 

Manny

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Children must train 3 times per week, and kups examinations wehere every three times this means in one year a student must have 4 times examination however, this year sambonim has changed the things a little bit, now it's seems students must do examination every two monts!!! I think is because the economics thing.

IMHO testing every tow or three months is to much, giving this a student is graduating from Black Belt in less than 3 years and this is too soon!!

I think every diligent student who trains hard at least 3 times per week must change the color of his/her belt every 6 months minimun.

Manny
 
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andyjeffries

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Children must train 3 times per week, and kups examinations wehere every three times this means in one year a student must have 4 times examination however, this year sambonim has changed the things a little bit, now it's seems students must do examination every two monts!!!

Wow! That is frequent! Nice that your class for children runs so frequently though :)

I think is because the economics thing.IMHO testing every tow or three months is to much, giving this a student is graduating from Black Belt in less than 3 years and this is too soon!!

I agree it's too soon. I would personally be happy with adults who are training 3-4 times per week getting 1st Dan in 3 years. However, children should be more like 5-6.

I think every diligent student who trains hard at least 3 times per week must change the color of his/her belt every 6 months minimun.

Do you also feel that people should be trying to increase their dan rank within 6 months of being eligible for promotion?
 

Earl Weiss

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Thanks for taking the time to post this Earl. I'm not sure how I feel about changing the gup ranks and adding new half-ranks in. I guess that may be insecurity as I'm a much lower rank than you, but I'd prefer to stick to the ranks I grew up with.

However, I like the idea of splitting the syllabus like this, so they concentrate on new things everything 3 months rather than just after the grade.

How often do your kids train and for how long (out of interest, as yours grade a full kup grade every 6 months)?

By the way, there would also be a minimum attendance requirement (so it's not just bum around and turn up every so often and test every 6 months) and it would be made clear to all students that I won't allow them to test if I don't think they're ready.

That is kind of why I did it. I din't want to add new gup rans, so instead of 10-9-8-7, they go 10-9.5-9-8.5-8 etc. Our ranks were generaly white belt -10, then a yellow stripe on each end of the belt -9 (ITF only does one end of the belt). The a yellow belt -8. I just made it 9.5th gup - a yellow stripe on one end of the belt. 9th gup, a stripe on each end, 8.5th gup, a thrid stripe, which was a second stripe on one end and then yellow belt.

They train an hour once a week and in theory can test every three months. As they move up the ranks they may need to skip a test and when they get to 3rd or 2nd Gup they basicaly need to go to more classes by attending one or more a week at the other location.
 
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andyjeffries

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That is kind of why I did it. I din't want to add new gup rans, so instead of 10-9-8-7, they go 10-9.5-9-8.5-8 etc. Our ranks were generaly white belt -10, then a yellow stripe on each end of the belt -9 (ITF only does one end of the belt). The a yellow belt -8. I just made it 9.5th gup - a yellow stripe on one end of the belt. 9th gup, a stripe on each end, 8.5th gup, a thrid stripe, which was a second stripe on one end and then yellow belt.

That's an interesting way of doing it. I'll have a think about that...

They train an hour once a week and in theory can test every three months. As they move up the ranks they may need to skip a test and when they get to 3rd or 2nd Gup they basicaly need to go to more classes by attending one or more a week at the other location.

So you're effectively doing one full gup grade every 6 months based on once per week training, so what I was proposing isn't unreasonable...

I hadn't thought about what happens as they get higher up the gup grades, but by that point they'll be leaving the school I'm teaching at and going to secondary school. When the first students get to that point I might start pointing them towards also training at my instructor's club - or I may have started a second session each week by then.

Thanks for the input though - it shows I'm not crazy and gives me some food for thought...
 

Earl Weiss

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That's an interesting way of doing it. I'll have a think about
Thanks for the input though - it shows I'm not crazy and gives me some food for thought...

You will note a marked difference between those who practice at home and those who do not. I tell them I would like them to practice 10 minutes each night they are not in class This goes for those who are in the 2x per week program as well.
 

TKD Scotland

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I'm 16 years old and a first dan, and I've only ever trained once a week. I would like to train more often but my family's financial situation means I can only afford the 4 pound for one class a week.

To make up for only training one hour a week when my friends are training 4 or 5 hours per week, I practice more at home and use youtube to mirror patterns.

Anyway when I was a coloured belt gradings ran every 3 months, but typically students would only be ready to sit every other grading(So 6 months between each Gup and a year between each belt.)

Even though I only trained once a week I was still ready to grade with students who trained more frequently.
 

Manny

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My criteria is, for colored belts there should be a minimum of six months for examnination, I am talking about studentes who train a minimun of 3 times per week at least one hour per time, this gives me a time frame of 3 years minimum, to get the black belt 1st dan one full year this means 4 years of continus training to become a 1st dan black belt.

About the dans, from 1st dan to second dan minimun 2 years of continus training, from second to third dan 3 years of continum training and so on.

Manny
 
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