Improving TKD's Image

Jusus

White Belt
Joined
May 31, 2007
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
Location
Columbus Ga.
i agree somewhat. that's just it. you cannot fault TKD for having child black belts. it's the requirements of the certain schools within the system that is at fault, however, that doesn't apply to all TKD schools. i am sure there are some out there that do not fall into that category. they are just fewer in numbers. there is a standard to everything. some are lower than others, especially with the all mighty dollar at stake.
I'd like to tell my story. I trained for a year with a highly respected 7th dan. However he did not own the school that I was training at. The owner came back, a guy of questionable morals and business pratices. I should have know something was wrong when we no longer did Katas, and I got promoted to red belt anyway. One day up out of the blue he tell us to report to another school, and that he would be closing, we were all under contract to him for another year. (trying to get out of a contract is got to be the most difficult thing in MA,) However the year that I trained I did learn the importance of being fit, and working out, I was previously a serious couch patato, and I did lose 15 lbs. I am now seeking a new instructor. and mulling over the fact that I'm not really a red belt and that I only paid for one, some how the instructor never did furnish the certificate that was suppost to come with the new rank. So in closing I would like to tell everyone to be carefull, check check and double check the business practices, and the moral of the person that teaches you MA. And never sign a contract.
 

cbursk

Yellow Belt
Joined
Oct 10, 2005
Messages
29
Reaction score
0
I'm going to have to go with Steel Tiger on this one.

I'm sorry to have come to this discussion so late, but I would like to offer a few observations from the perspective of a non-TKD practioner.

On the surface, to a layperson, TKD would not appear to have an image problem. It is massively popular, gives practioners the chance to win the super-kudos of an Olympic medal, and has a strong governing body. All looks pretty good to mr and ms Joe Average.

As a martial artist I can see that there are problems and they form an interesting set. Firstly, there is the fact that the governing body is favouring one aspect of the art rather than the art as a whole. Then there is the fact that there are actually a number of governing bodies with conflicting approaches. But these things can only be seen by those who have some understanding of them, that is, martial artists in general and TKD proponents in particular.

So to the question of improving TKD's image I have to ask which image? The ultimate public image is actually very good. It encourages thousands of people to take up the art each year. Or is it the practioner's image? The one that martial artists can see. I think that many people have already given good examples of how to deal with this image issue.

To the general public, TKD - at least in my experience - it has a great image. In fact I would bet that the average joe doesn't even know the difference between TKD and Karate. The only time I hear anyone putting it down is by another martial artist. At the end of the day isn't it all about getting people to do something to improve themselves and hopefully have some fun doing it?

Also the whole child BB thing is a problem for any art that teaches children, not just TKD. How should we handle children who have satisfied every item on a schools curriculum but are only 7, 8 or 10? Tell them that because a 14 yr old 40 lbs heavier can still hurt them that they don't deserve their belt? If that's the case then I guess every 40+ year old red belt who passes their BB test doesn't get one either because they can't hang with the 20 year olds?

Just a few things to consider...
 

Cirdan

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 31, 2006
Messages
2,494
Reaction score
440
Location
Oslo, Norway
How should we handle children who have satisfied every item on a schools curriculum but are only 7, 8 or 10?

Frankly I find the concept of a 7 year old mastering the basics of a martial arts system humorous. An exceptional 14 year old, perhaps. And in this case wait until he is 16 or 18 and then let him grade for Dan rank.

Face it, there is one reason for 7 year old black belts; MONEY!
 

cbursk

Yellow Belt
Joined
Oct 10, 2005
Messages
29
Reaction score
0
Frankly I find the concept of a 7 year old mastering the basics of a martial arts system humorous.
Ok - :) maybe using the example of a 7 year old was a bit extreme. But the real question is were do you draw the line and if a school has an established curriculum - do you hold people back from rank because of age/size? At the school were I teach we have both extremes:
  1. Children - many who have been there from when they are 4 years old or even younger. For example I currently have two students who started when they turned 4 and if they keep their current pace would have gone through the belt rankings and be up for BB testing as the ages of 9 and 10 respectively. Granted, when the children test we do call it a Junior BB and the belt is half white and half black. When they turn 15 and go through another test we then upgrade ther belt to an adult BB.
  2. Seniors - we get many "life experienced" individuals who come in to train as well. They can get through the forms and self defence curriculum pretty well - but many of them no longer have the hips and/or flexibility to do some of the different types of kicks.
 

rogerclf1

White Belt
Joined
Jun 17, 2007
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
I have an idea. Get rid of these so called masters from Yong In University. I have had enough of these people claiming they teach Hapkido when all it is Yong Mu Do, Charge way over $100.00 a month for 2 45min classes a week, and "Deputy Belts". Don't even get me started with that. Also the testing cost between $60.00 and 100.00 per test. These people are only in it for the money and I have to say they have met their goal, along with destroying the Korean arts.
 

Cirdan

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 31, 2006
Messages
2,494
Reaction score
440
Location
Oslo, Norway
Ok - :) maybe using the example of a 7 year old was a bit extreme. But the real question is were do you draw the line and if a school has an established curriculum - do you hold people back from rank because of age/size?

Each school has their own standards, requirements and philosophy. That is really all there is to it. Making a rank system that fits is really not the big issue.

Both clubs I train at have black belts who graded well into their 60s and 70s. They were able to get to this level because they had the will to go trough it and I wouldn`t want to face any of them in a fight. High kicks are not really a rquirement tho.. having the skill and will to take somone out is.

We don`t have any kid black belts because Dan ranks are not tested for until 16 (18 in JJ). Also we don`t train kids under the age of 7 because they don`t have the neccecary coordinationt to learn the arts yet. If we did train them it would be play and little else. Getting a black belt takes a dedicated student 7 years and a kid who does well will train with the adults from the age of 13. Learning the extra material in the adult curriculum takes a lot of time. Those who have to wait a year or more extra for their Dan test are exceptional students and are definately not in the Dojo for the belts anyway.
 

tellner

Senior Master
Joined
Nov 18, 2005
Messages
4,379
Reaction score
240
Location
Orygun
What needs to be improved?

TKD was designed to promote Korean nationalism. It does that admirably.

It was set up and heavily promoted to become an Olympic sport. Check.

It was pretty much explicitly put together in ways guaranteed to give it greater numbers and more recognition than Judo. It's done that.

As long as its reach doesn't exceed its grasp and it doesn't try to be anything that it's not it's all good. If the Powers That Be in TKD were promoting it as a weapons or grappling art or put it forward as the answer for serious self defense there would be problems. But aside from a few teachers who are a little over exuberant about their marketing that doesn't happen much.

Iron-clad contracts, a heavy drive towards recruiting kids, optimization for athletic contests, safety constraints, and many levels of rank given out at regular intervals are marketing and retention tools. If you want commercial schools to stay in business that's what you have to do. And without those commercial schools TKD wouldn't have accomplished its institutional goals.

Belts are pieces of cloth that hold your uniform together. They don't have any intrinsic meaning. The original purpose was to break with Japan's past while giving a teacher a quick way of assessing the skills of people he'd never met. TKD's goals are not necessarily Judo's goals. Some tweaking has occurred that makes the means (belts) better serve the ends.
 

Steel Tiger

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 4, 2007
Messages
2,412
Reaction score
76
Location
Canberra, Australia
Also the whole child BB thing is a problem for any art that teaches children, not just TKD. How should we handle children who have satisfied every item on a schools curriculum but are only 7, 8 or 10? Tell them that because a 14 yr old 40 lbs heavier can still hurt them that they don't deserve their belt? If that's the case then I guess every 40+ year old red belt who passes their BB test doesn't get one either because they can't hang with the 20 year olds?

The thought that springs instantly to mind for me is, "A child of 7, 8, or even 10, should not be able to satisfy every item on a school's curriculum." There simply should be some things that are not possible for someone who is still developing physically, and there certainly should be some things they cannot understand intellectually.

Recently we heard of a very cute little girl who had achieved a 2nd degree at the age of six or seven. It makes people go "ooh" and "aah" but when they stop and think about it they might be thinking, "Is TKD so easy to learn that a child can have a 2nd degree black belt? Aren't Blacks belts supposed to represent mastery or something?" What does that do for TKD's image?

I know that most of these children's programs have a simplified syllabus and are designed to draw in new students, but it cannot be good for TKD's image even if it is good for individual schools' bank balances.
 

terryl965

<center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR
MTS Alumni
Joined
Apr 9, 2004
Messages
41,259
Reaction score
338
Location
Grand Prairie Texas
The thought that springs instantly to mind for me is, "A child of 7, 8, or even 10, should not be able to satisfy every item on a school's curriculum." There simply should be some things that are not possible for someone who is still developing physically, and there certainly should be some things they cannot understand intellectually.

Recently we heard of a very cute little girl who had achieved a 2nd degree at the age of six or seven. It makes people go "ooh" and "aah" but when they stop and think about it they might be thinking, "Is TKD so easy to learn that a child can have a 2nd degree black belt? Aren't Blacks belts supposed to represent mastery or something?" What does that do for TKD's image?

I know that most of these children's programs have a simplified syllabus and are designed to draw in new students, but it cannot be good for TKD's image even if it is good for individual schools' bank balances.


Can I just add a few things here about what the Kukkiwon says about childern BB, they are called poom belts for anybody under the age of 14, some refer to them as a Bodan belt while other call them a probationary belt until they reach that golden age.

He is another scenerio, gymnis can be only 9-10-11 and compete at the Olympic level just like adults, I do relize that this age cannot compete against adults fighting. My point is they are called wonder childern for all there hard work and people are amazed by there talent. There are some childern that train everyday for five, six or seven years and by the time they are 9-10-11 deserve to have this belt, now with that being said do they know everything an adult knows NO, but they are where they need to be to have that poom rank.

I Know some of you are going to just ridacul me about this but there are some that have meet my sons and knows about there talent at there current ages. I will end with this tought, why should a student be held back if they train like an adult and put the time in and why should adult be promoted when they cannot and should not be given a second look.

I wish the world was perfect but it is not and there are flaws in every system and TKD needs alot of good PR work to get back the respect they once had. But it is these so called Belt factories that are only there to make money and not give a crap about the students.
 
Top