In your opinion, is belt reciprocity a good or bad thing?

Flying Crane

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This puts a spotlight on different perspectives.

I view the term as Analogous to "Master" as used in the relationship of Master and apprentice. While you are correct that with many disciplines there may always be more to learn. However, within a finite defined system - not so much. There may always be things beyond the system.
Well, one can learn all of the formal curriculum within a finite defined system and yet struggle to use it intelligently and effectively. In that case, one still has much to learn without going beyond the system.

I suppose i am simply having a visceral reaction to the use of the title master. I have no problem with using the term as a form of acknowledgement, such as Jeff really is a master of Tae Kwon do, his skill is quite high. But I find myself cringing when the term is used as a title and when addressing someone directly, such as Master Jeff told me to work on my side kick or Master Jeff, when will we meet for training this week?

I find the cringiness amplified when the term is grandmaster.

That is my issue, of course. But I offer it as an observation from the outside.
 

auntlisa1103

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In my school/family of schools, Master denotes 6th and 7th Dan, and Grand Master denotes 8th and 9th. I dont see the Master designation as any different than addressing black belts as Mr/Mrs LastName while addressing colored belts as FirstName. Its showing respect for the work theyve put in. Both into TKD and into me.

If you show Grand Master the certificates you earned with your ranks (TKD to TKD), he will allow you to dress/line up at that rank, but before you can test out of it you have to learn our forms, one-steps and hosinsuls (grab defenses) all the way from white belt. If you come in from a different art he starts you at white belt.
 

Dirty Dog

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In my school/family of schools, Master denotes 6th and 7th Dan, and Grand Master denotes 8th and 9th. I dont see the Master designation as any different than addressing black belts as Mr/Mrs LastName while addressing colored belts as FirstName. Its showing respect for the work theyve put in. Both into TKD and into me.
It's mostly a western thing anyway.
If you show Grand Master the certificates you earned with your ranks (TKD to TKD), he will allow you to dress/line up at that rank, but before you can test out of it you have to learn our forms, one-steps and hosinsuls (grab defenses) all the way from white belt. If you come in from a different art he starts you at white belt.
Hosinsul does not mean grab defense. Like many Korean terms, it doesn't translate directly very well, but the closest concept would simply be 'self defense'. One-steps are hosinsul, at a very basic level.
 

auntlisa1103

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Hosinsul does not mean grab defense. Like many Korean terms, it doesn't translate directly very well, but the closest concept would simply be 'self defense'. One-steps are hosinsul, at a very basic level.
I know. I was more explaining what we do in what we call hosinsuls than defining the term We choreograph and number them like we do one-steps.
 

Earl Weiss

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It's mostly a western thing anyway.

Hosinsul does not mean grab defense. Like many Korean terms, it doesn't translate directly very well, but the closest concept would simply be 'self defense'. One-steps are hosinsul, at a very basic level.
While your definitions is accurate the organization I belong to specifies a definition of HSS for certain requirements and curriculum to differentiate it from the Striking aspects.
 

Hanshi

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A very large organization I belong to has what I consider a good policy. Someone joins and is evaluated on what their black belt skill & knowledge of THE ART THEY STUDIED. There is no "you must learn this or that". However there are opportunities to get ranked in other arts or go up to the dan next belt. If they are a black belt with problems in certain skills they retain their black belt but must train with sensei (and there are plenty) to get those skills polished. That done they are given a certificate from the org. Often they may even get a promotion in their (original) art at that point. Since the organization has sensei (schools) of many styles in membership they can learn and get promoted is anything from judo to kempo/kenpo and weapons. I followed this method when I had my own school.
 
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A very large organization I belong to has what I consider a good policy. Someone joins and is evaluated on what their black belt skill & knowledge of THE ART THEY STUDIED. There is no "you must learn this or that". However there are opportunities to get ranked in other arts or go up to the dan next belt. If they are a black belt with problems in certain skills they retain their black belt but must train with sensei (and there are plenty) to get those skills polished. That done they are given a certificate from the org. Often they may even get a promotion in their (original) art at that point. Since the organization has sensei (schools) of many styles in membership they can learn and get promoted is anything from judo to kempo/kenpo and weapons. I followed this method when I had my own school.

I kind of like this, but also kind of don't.

Let's say I open a TKD school. A Karate black belt comes in. This guy is pretty good at a lot of things, but needs to work on some of the flashier kicks and needs to learn our forms. It makes sense that this person would either start high or progress at an accelerated pace, because there are less things for him to learn than someone who is brand new.

Now I get a BJJ black belt, with no previous striking or TMA experience. This guy has trained for 4x the amount I expect my students to have trained when they get black belt. He has good flexibility, athleticism, and body control. However, he has no experience with what I would consider the two most important aspects of Taekwondo: kicks and forms. In that regard, he's essentially a beginner.

I say this because I did have a talk one day with my BJJ professor, and how much he appreciated me coming in and being humble and respectful about starting as a white belt. He said he didn't know if he went to a TKD class, if he could do the same. (I think he was being humble about how humble he is, I think he could).
 

Dirty Dog

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I kind of like this, but also kind of don't.

Let's say I open a TKD school. A Karate black belt comes in. This guy is pretty good at a lot of things, but needs to work on some of the flashier kicks and needs to learn our forms. It makes sense that this person would either start high or progress at an accelerated pace, because there are less things for him to learn than someone who is brand new.

Now I get a BJJ black belt, with no previous striking or TMA experience. This guy has trained for 4x the amount I expect my students to have trained when they get black belt. He has good flexibility, athleticism, and body control. However, he has no experience with what I would consider the two most important aspects of Taekwondo: kicks and forms. In that regard, he's essentially a beginner.

I say this because I did have a talk one day with my BJJ professor, and how much he appreciated me coming in and being humble and respectful about starting as a white belt. He said he didn't know if he went to a TKD class, if he could do the same. (I think he was being humble about how humble he is, I think he could).
In any of these cases, I'd let them wear either a white belt or their earned rank from whatever art. They'd still need to learn our curriculum regardless. The belt they're wearing is irrelevant.
 

Earl Weiss

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A very large organization I belong to has what I consider a good policy. Someone joins and is evaluated on what their black belt skill & knowledge of THE ART THEY STUDIED. There is no "you must learn this or that". However there are opportunities to get ranked in other arts or go up to the dan next belt. If they are a black belt with problems in certain skills they retain their black belt but must train with sensei (and there are plenty) to get those skills polished. That done they are given a certificate from the org. Often they may even get a promotion in their (original) art at that point. Since the organization has sensei (schools) of many styles in membership they can learn and get promoted is anything from judo to kempo/kenpo and weapons. I followed this method when I had my own school.
I have seen something similar nd quite frankly it was a mess. Hapkido org had / has a TKD division. Went to a Seminar mainly for the kickboxing notable hosted by the org. . During a break they announced that as part of a Test some TKD people would do a pattern. Pattern performance was virtually unrecognizable from the standard set forth by the founder and later learned that although the founder's standard syllabus required 3 patterns for that Dan Rank they only had to do one etc. etc.
 
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In any of these cases, I'd let them wear either a white belt or their earned rank from whatever art. They'd still need to learn our curriculum regardless. The belt they're wearing is irrelevant.
The big difference for me between someone transferring in from a "like" art and a more different one, is the like art they have all the puzzle pieces already, just need to rearrange them and sand them a bit.

Someone who does Tang Soo Do knows how to do forms, how to do the stances and techniques in them. They have experience learning forms. There might be some details different, like the stance or the specific style of technique. But overall they should be ready.

Someone who comes in from BJJ (assuming only BJJ and nothing else) has never had to memorize a form, or do blocks and strikes, or static stances. Every single thing is something to learn.

Same thing for kicks. There's more overlap from other striking arts like kickboxing or muay thai, but someone who does BJJ or wrestling has no kicking experience.
 

HighKick

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Does the KKW system have more to learn after reaching 4th Dan?
Yes, buuut it is somewhat diminished and more about refinement. If a school is purely KKW, you only have 4-5 forms left to learn IF a person has not jumped ahead, which is very easy to do since KKW has a very good Youtube page. This is a prime example of when it is better to be a hybrid school.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Yes, buuut it is somewhat diminished and more about refinement. If a school is purely KKW, you only have 4-5 forms left to learn IF a person has not jumped ahead, which is very easy to do since KKW has a very good Youtube page. This is a prime example of when it is better to be a hybrid school.
From an outsider perspective, this would be a prime example of when it's better to not be a hybrid school. I'm having trouble finding the KKW's time-in-rank requirements, so going to guess that if 1st dan takes a year, and on average 2 years each belt after, that would be about 7 years to get to 4th dan?

I fail to see how you would need to learn more forms after 7 years training any art, and your time wouldn't be better spent mastering the techniques/forms you already know.
 

Dirty Dog

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From an outsider perspective, this would be a prime example of when it's better to not be a hybrid school. I'm having trouble finding the KKW's time-in-rank requirements, so going to guess that if 1st dan takes a year, and on average 2 years each belt after, that would be about 7 years to get to 4th dan?
One year rank. So one year 1st to 2nd, 2 years 2nd to 3rd, 3 years 3rd to 4th, etc.
I fail to see how you would need to learn more forms after 7 years training any art, and your time wouldn't be better spent mastering the techniques/forms you already know.
Learning forms is not the goal. Forms are a tool to aid in mastering techniques and (more importantly) principles. Doing those movements in a different order does not in any way detract from the actual goal. If anything, it helps avoid training your mind to assume that X can only be done after Y.
 
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If it takes a year to get 1st, then my end number was correct even if my math was wrong
1 year per rank, per rank. 1 year from 1st to 2nd. 2 years from 2nd to 3rd. Minimum of 6 years from 1st to 4th.

The minimum time to get black belt varies. Most KKW schools I believe 2-3 years is common. Some schools are 1 year. This also assumes the student is not accelerated in some way. (I got mine in 23 months, despite it taking minimum 30 months at my school).

These are also just that: minimums. For example, at my old school, the testing schedule was:
  • 2 months minimum in-between each of 9 color belts (up to red), for a total of 18 months
  • 4 months minimum for each of 3 red belt ranks, for a total of 12 months (30)
  • Additional wait times based on when you started (i.e. if you started the week after February testing, you're not eligible for April testing, so you wait until June testing)
  • Additional wait times based on when you got your "Jr. Black Belt" (highest red belt), if you got your Jr. Black Belt in February or August, you could test for black in June or December. If you got your Jr. Black Belt in April or October, you would have to wait 8 months for the next June or December testing in which you have 4 months. (Exceptions made for students who were moving, or who missed test due to injury).
Based on when you start, the minimum could actually be up to almost 36 months.

This also assumes students test every time they're ready. It was very common for young kids to miss 2-3 tests because they're not meeting attitude requirements. Or for adults to skip 1-2 tests because they want to make sure they have everything correct. A good rule of thumb is that students averaged a delay of 2 months per test, and ended up with around 3.5-4 years to get black belt. At least, students who were consistent in their training. Add in those who were inconsistent, and the average is probably 3-5 years.

The same thing happens after black belt as well. I would say that while 1 year is the minimum to go to 2nd dan, very few did it in a year. Mostly it was 1.5-2 years. 3rd dan was much rarer and it's hard to get an accurate picture. These are usually the most dedicated folks anyway, so it skews the results from what the average student is capable of.

I honestly don't think it's possible for someone to get 4th dan in my Master's system. The problem is it's entirely built on memorization, and even he doesn't remember the 3rd dan stuff, because there's so much of it and it's been a while since he's done it. (He even admitted to this). Of course, if he teaches you X one week, and expects Y the next week, it's your fault for doing X instead of Y. It's one reason why I left, because I figured I was never going to be able to learn his stuff if I'm spending more time tracking changes, and then even on the test day I wouldn't trust that what I trained is what he wanted. This wasn't a problem at all for the kids curriculum through 1st dan (to get 2nd dan), and wasn't a problem 99% of the time for the remainder of the adult colored belt curriculum or the 2nd dan, but it was 50/50 with the 3rd dan stuff.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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1 year per rank, per rank. 1 year from 1st to 2nd. 2 years from 2nd to 3rd. Minimum of 6 years from 1st to 4th.

The minimum time to get black belt varies. Most KKW schools I believe 2-3 years is common. Some schools are 1 year. This also assumes the student is not accelerated in some way. (I got mine in 23 months, despite it taking minimum 30 months at my school).
I was saying 7 years to get to 4th dan. Not to get from first dan to 4th dan. I'm aware of schools that have 1 year to get to 1st dan (and would be highly suspect of a school that allows that in less).
So 1 year to first. 1 more year to 2nd puts us at two years. 2 more years to 3rd puts us at 4 years. 3 more years to 4th puts us at 7 years to get to 4th dan from beginning of training.
But I was also just using that as a base minimum. My point was that at 7+ years you shouldn't need to be learning new forms; you should have more than enough info to train and master already. Personally, I think that should be true after 3-5 years, so long as its not a grappling focused system, and you attend regularly.
 

Hot Lunch

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Sure. I'm also not much of a fan of hard-coded time in rank requirements. I prefer guidelines to rules.
It could be worse. I've moved on from a dojo that has a minimum training hours requirement, and the number of hours required to test in the next cycle often end up interfering with people's lives outside the dojo.
 

Flying Crane

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It could be worse. I've moved on from a dojo that has a minimum training hours requirement, and the number of hours required to test in the next cycle often end up interfering with people's lives outside the dojo.
Im not a fan of counting hours. However, I believe a willingness to put in training time on ones own, outside of the time spent in class in the dojo, is essential if one wishes to develop significant skill. As a beginner, a student needs constant guidance for a while. But as one progresses it becomes more important that they take ownership of their training and the time spent training on their own becomes more important than the time in the dojo. Class time is for learning. Training time outside of class is for putting in the reps and the hard work required for progress.

And even a beginner ought to be training at home, from day one.

Becoming skilled in the martial arts requires a commitment including a willingness to shape ones life around the training. It should not take over your life, but it will be a significant part of how you spend your time and energy, even outside of the school.
 
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