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

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Top down style schooling. If you want to get better you have to grade to learn the better things.
Only if that stuff is needed to actually get better, and not just learn more stuff. If you learn basic punches and kicks, you've already got plenty to spend another 3 months to improve upon.

The only exception I could see is if sparring isn't allowed to lower ranks, which is a different issue and also pretty dumb to me.
 

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Top down style schooling. If you want to get better you have to grade to learn the better things.
Two things I'm seeing, the second being somewhat of a shocker to me. First, the level of asceticism and self-denial that I'm seeing. Which I can see as understandable if they've met their personal milestones at other places, and this isn't their first rodeo. The second, which is surprising to me, is that they find it completely odd and abnormal that others don't have the same level of asceticism and self-denial as they do.
 
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Top down style schooling. If you want to get better you have to grade to learn the better things.
To some degree, this makes sense. If I have two white belts in the white belt class, and one of them can easily do a passable roundhouse kick, but the other struggles with it, I'm going to focus on the one struggling.

If I have two upper belts, and one can do a passable kick and the other can do an amazing kick, I'm going to focus on the one who can do a passable kick.

The degree to which I will devote attention to a student is relative to their position in the curriculum, and expectations I have based on that position.

Edit to add: think of it like the difference between rolling woth a white belt vs. blue belt (or at least, how I understand purple and brown belts commonly do).
 

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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.
I think the key words here are 'to master'.
 

andyjeffries

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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.
I find using a title for black belts as weird as others outside Taekwondo for Master/Grandmaster. For me, 1-3rd are still beginner ranks, so aren't worthy of any particular title.
 
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I find using a title for black belts as weird as others outside Taekwondo for Master/Grandmaster.
I really must apologize, but I've read this sentence like 7 times, and I still don't know what you mean by it. Can you rephrase it?
 

andyjeffries

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I really must apologize, but I've read this sentence like 7 times, and I still don't know what you mean by it. Can you rephrase it?
Sure, I just meant personally hearing coloured belts call black belts "Mr/Mrs/Miss X" really strange, and others have said that hearing "Master/Grandmaster X" strange too. Make more sense?
 

andyjeffries

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If the org has standards and enforces them, then reciprocity makes sense.
The KKW has standards, but there is no real enforcement, which makes it silly.
I've skimmed through this thread, but may have missed it. I just wanted to add some information that may help know the latest situation on this.

Previously (before last year?) an 8th or 9th Dan could promote someone to 7th Dan or below (it's always been phrased as "recommend" but in reality they promoted them, and Kukkiwon accepted it without enforcement).

From this year, 6th and 7th Dan candidates must send a video of each part of the test to Kukkiwon, where they will make the actual promotion decision. From next January, 4th and 5th Dan candidates must do the same.

I would assume if the same examiners keep sending many failures to Korea, they'll be forced to undertake recertification as a Kukkiwon International Master (and passing that course is necessary from earlier this year, in order to recommend ANY rank to Kukkiwon).

That would only leave 1st to 3rd Dan candidates with no oversight/enforcement, which given that these are considered beginner ranks, probably makes sense...
 
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Sure, I just meant personally hearing coloured belts call black belts "Mr/Mrs/Miss X" really strange, and others have said that hearing "Master/Grandmaster X" strange too. Make more sense?
That makes more sense.

In my experience at every school I've been, 1st - 3rd degree black belts (and often higher rank color belts) have some degree of assistant instruction as part of their duties. So it makes sense to me that these would hold a more formal title than say a green belt, but a less formal title than a Master rank.

The school I recently joined has it spelled out by degree:
  1. Assistant instructor
  2. Instructor
  3. Assistant master
  4. Master
BJJ tends to be less formal, but they use the Professor title for their black belts, and I would equate a BJJ black belt to around a 4th degree in TKD, in terms of how long it takes to get there and how much respect there is for those respective ranks. But you would still call a purple or brown belt "Coach" if they're teaching.
 

andyjeffries

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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.
Out of interest, does whatever style of martial art you do (as you said "outside") have any titles? Sensei, Hanshi, Sifu, etc?

Do you have the same cringey reaction to those titles?

Do you have the same cringey reaction if the Korean (almost) equivalents were used? Jeff Sabeomnim or Jeff Kwanjangnim. They aren't direct equivalents (and I can explain further if anyone cares), but for this purpose, they'll do.

Just wondering if it's the word Master and potential negative connotations, or the use/overuse/abuse of a title
 
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I've skimmed through this thread, but may have missed it. I just wanted to add some information that may help know the latest situation on this.

Previously (before last year?) an 8th or 9th Dan could promote someone to 7th Dan or below (it's always been phrased as "recommend" but in reality they promoted them, and Kukkiwon accepted it without enforcement).

From this year, 6th and 7th Dan candidates must send a video of each part of the test to Kukkiwon, where they will make the actual promotion decision. From next January, 4th and 5th Dan candidates must do the same.

I would assume if the same examiners keep sending many failures to Korea, they'll be forced to undertake recertification as a Kukkiwon International Master (and passing that course is necessary from earlier this year, in order to recommend ANY rank to Kukkiwon).

That would only leave 1st to 3rd Dan candidates with no oversight/enforcement, which given that these are considered beginner ranks, probably makes sense...
This is news to me as well.

I get what Kukkiwon is trying to do. But my problem is that you have an organization that's allowed so much diversity in teaching style and curriculum, that trying to reign it in affects the identity of the individual schools.

As a simple example, I know KKW is coming out with a self-defense program, and part of that includes groundfighting. Based on my experience before I started BJJ, I would not be qualified to teach groundfighting, and it wouldn't make sense for me to include it in my curriculum based on a KKW self-defense seminar, compared to the Hapkido techniques that I'm extensively trained in. Now that I've started BJJ, and will likely have been doing it for a few years before opening my own school, I might find myself over-qualified on groundfighting compared to what KKW expects, and might have different opinions than what the KKW curriculum is at that point.

Kukkiwon is trying to tighten down the screws on a ship that's already left the harbor, and it doesn't really work like that. I've seen the same thing in my day job, when a local business network is getting taken over by the headquarters enterprise network. It's too late to change the business processes, so all the enterprise does is create more chaos when they're trying to reign it in.
 

andyjeffries

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That makes more sense.

In my experience at every school I've been, 1st - 3rd degree black belts (and often higher rank color belts) have some degree of assistant instruction as part of their duties. So it makes sense to me that these would hold a more formal title than say a green belt, but a less formal title than a Master rank.
I guess I've been lucky that in general the club I've trained at and others I've visited have enough masters to not need any duties for lower dans. We try to give them teaching experience (e.g. I have a few 2nd Poom kids that help out with a kids class on a Saturday morning), but it's not expected of them or a duty.
The school I recently joined has it spelled out by degree:
  1. Assistant instructor
  2. Instructor
  3. Assistant master
  4. Master
I find those titles strange personally. We would call a lower rank black belt helping out an assistant instructor (when talking about them), but wouldn't use it as a title with their name. They would just be Skribs, not Assistant Instructor Skribs (for example.
BJJ tends to be less formal, but they use the Professor title for their black belts, and I would equate a BJJ black belt to around a 4th degree in TKD, in terms of how long it takes to get there and how much respect there is for those respective ranks. But you would still call a purple or brown belt "Coach" if they're teaching.
Yeah, I agree that BJJ Black Belt is around 4th Degree. Let me ask a question that may show a difference.

If you go to a BJJ Dojo and the instructor is a purple belt, I agree you'd call them Coach. If they had a black belt in attendance but asked "Jane" to come and help you and a few others with a technique, would you call her Coach during that teaching, or just Jane?

Personally I'd just use her name.

And the same with Taekwondo. Use of a title with a low Dan is strange to me, but if I went to a school and there were no masters there, I'd understand the use of some title a little more. Because the coloured belts students still need to get used to "title + name", because so many visiting masters may be offended if they don't. It's part of the etiquette of Taekwondo (because it's Korean etiquette to constantly use job titles outside of family and friends).
 
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Just wondering if it's the word Master and potential negative connotations, or the use/overuse/abuse of a title
Background info #1: The rule at my old school was that if the exercise was too much and you had enough, you weren't supposed to complain, but to say "Thank you Master."

Background info #2: My Master would sometimes "threaten" the kids with a big foam block, that if they messed up on the obstacle course, he would spank them. (And his version of spank was to the hip or the leg, again with a big foam block).

This sometimes led to a very awkward back-and-forth. I wondered if I should have talked with him and explained why it was so wrong. However, the students' parents were in attendance, and they didn't have any issue with it, so who am I to judge? The back-and-forth:
Master: What do you say if I spank you?
Kids: Thank you, Master!

I put in the background info because I want to be clear there was no grooming, this was most likely a bit of lost-in-translation. But it cracked me up every time.
 

andyjeffries

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This is news to me as well.

I get what Kukkiwon is trying to do. But my problem is that you have an organization that's allowed so much diversity in teaching style and curriculum, that trying to reign it in affects the identity of the individual schools.
I agree it's a little late, but requiring a (short) course on how to do the basics properly and passing a test on it is a step in the right direction. And I think it's fair to say that if people want to issue the certificate, they shouldn't have that much diversity in technical standards (thinking of the use of the word to mean "definition" rather than "level").
As a simple example, I know KKW is coming out with a self-defense program, and part of that includes groundfighting. Based on my experience before I started BJJ, I would not be qualified to teach groundfighting, and it wouldn't make sense for me to include it in my curriculum based on a KKW self-defense seminar, compared to the Hapkido techniques that I'm extensively trained in. Now that I've started BJJ, and will likely have been doing it for a few years before opening my own school, I might find myself over-qualified on groundfighting compared to what KKW expects, and might have different opinions than what the KKW curriculum is at that point.
Absolutely. The book of the syllabus is online somewhere, but I wrote a script to download every page and combine to a PDF and didn't keep the original URL.
Kukkiwon is trying to tighten down the screws on a ship that's already left the harbor, and it doesn't really work like that. I've seen the same thing in my day job, when a local business network is getting taken over by the headquarters enterprise network. It's too late to change the business processes, so all the enterprise does is create more chaos when they're trying to reign it in.
Well, it's causing waves, but it's happening. We'll see what happens in 2-3 years when the dust has settled.
 
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I guess I've been lucky that in general the club I've trained at and others I've visited have enough masters to not need any duties for lower dans. We try to give them teaching experience (e.g. I have a few 2nd Poom kids that help out with a kids class on a Saturday morning), but it's not expected of them or a duty.
The school I was at as a kid, the Master at the time I believe was just a 4th degree. I took classes at the YMCA, which were led by a 2nd degree (his wife). I think this may be a similar phenomenon as BJJ has had more recently, where it used to be that most schools were run by a purple or brown belt, because black belts were so rare. But now that BJJ is more mature, most schools are run by a black belt.

My second school was run by a KKW 6th dan and his 4th dan wife. The Master was not really good to his staff. One of his long-time students got an internship at the hospital I worked at. I bought her lunch one day. She told me that I had already lasted way longer than any other instructor under him. I had only been there 2 years at that point. I also think it's impossible to get 4th degree under him. He has so much in the curriculum that for the 3rd degree material, he can't even keep it straight. He showed me Sword Form #5 ten times, and he showed me ten different ways of doing it (but would expect me to do it "right" on the test).

The current school I'm at is run by an 8th dan and his wife. I'm not sure of her exact rank, but I know she's a Master as well. They have one more Master on staff. This school is relatively new, as he moved to my area around 8 years ago. So they have not yet built up their core group of leaders. In fact, my Dad and I have come in as the highest ranking students, the current highest are 2nd Dans. I've worked with two of them so far. Both have been very nice to me, except one of them admitted she was a bit salty about how fast I got to 3rd Dan at my old school.
If you go to a BJJ Dojo and the instructor is a purple belt, I agree you'd call them Coach. If they had a black belt in attendance but asked "Jane" to come and help you and a few others with a technique, would you call her Coach during that teaching, or just Jane?
Depends on the school. My professor (4th degree) doesn't care what you call him. Most people call him Professor. I often use his first name, because it's the same as mine, so it results in some fun back-and-forth.

Even though he doesn't care if people call him by his name, or use "sir", or call him coach or Professor, he refers to the other black belt (no degree) as Professor. Most of us do as well. Some of our folk call the brown belt Professor when he's leading class.

Often times I'll use pronouns so I can avoid using the wrong title or honorary.
 
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Absolutely. The book of the syllabus is online somewhere, but I wrote a script to download every page and combine to a PDF and didn't keep the original URL.
I would be very interested in a copy of that PDF, if you were willing to share it.
Well, it's causing waves, but it's happening. We'll see what happens in 2-3 years when the dust has settled.
There's a couple pieces to this. First, the waves may be that folks leave Kukkiwon so they aren't bound by new restrictions. One of the reasons I had originally wanted to go with Kukkiwon when I open my own school is because if my requirements for my school are just Taegeuks and sparring, then I could easily work around that. But now I want to go unaffiliated, so I don't have to deal with drama above me.

Second, will the dust settle in 2-3 years? Or will there be more requirements? Or will someone say "this isn't working" and undo it, and then 2-3 years more later will they start doing it again?

The Kukkiwon reminds me very much of the officers in the US Army. In the Army, every officer has to implement something at every posting they are assigned, so that they can put on their reports how much of an impact their leadership had. So you get things that replace programs that already existed. Or would replace them, if we didn't keep the old program too, because "we've always had that." So now you have two programs that do the same thing, because of all sorts of politics at the upper levels.
 

Tony Dismukes

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BJJ tends to be less formal, but they use the Professor title for their black belts
FYI, that's mostly a Brazilian thing (because "professor" just means "teacher" in Portuguese). Almost everyone who has called me Professor has been Brazilian.

At our gym, we mostly go by our first names, but I do get called "coach" a lot. I think it may be partly due to my age and students wanting to show a bit of extra respect to an instructor who is old enough to be their father or grandfather.
 
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