My Grandmaster

rchurch

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About a year ago or so I came across this forum and responded to a thread about the price of black belts. Some of you may remember that discussion, others may not. I was new to martial arts and was interested in learning about running a martial arts school, as I had started one for my son. In the discussions about the price of black belts it seemed there was a great discrepancy in what everyone in the discussion paid and/or charged, and what I had paid for my son's belts. An interesting discussion was held on this subject, but it soon turned into Grandmasters and money. There were varying opinions, some good, some not so good. Now that some time has passed, and I have learned a great deal more about martial arts, there are some things, and one thing in particular, I would like to clarify and close this discussion that I feel was left openended.

At the time of the discussion, I didn't know my grandmaster very well, and didn't know the details involved in running a martial arts school. Since, I have spend a lot of time with my Grandmaster and have seen what it takes to have a school and qualified instructors. The money I paid for the belts included private lessons for my son, the Grandmaster coming to our studio at least twice a week to teach classes, which she has done for the past year, and also to help defray costs of Grandmaster Hae Man Park to visit the studio and present my son his 2nd Dan black belt. All of this became evident to me as time passed between when the discussion was held and now. I discovered that the money was money well spent after all. I'm sure many of you would agree that when you add all this together, the difference between $500 for a belt test and several thousand for everything I listed above added in makes more sense. Just having a Grandmaster teach at the studio is a tremendous honor.

The thing I want to clarify is during the discussion, there were questions raised about my Grandmaster being a true Grandmaster, was she qualified, etc. I want to say, and leave no doubt, that my Grandmaster is and always has been a Grandmaster in every sense of the word. She is knowledgable, a very able teacher, and, now that I have gotten to know her better, a true friend to her students and instructors.

As far as the school, we suffered major damage from Hurricane Ike, approximately 2 feet of water in the studio, but we re-opened 2 weeks ago and students are returning. As always, the students are our biggest concern, so we worked hard to get the studio open and back in business for them. We will continue to work towards having a studio that our students enjoy learning in and our Grandmaster is proud of.

I really don't want to open this discussion again, but I did feel I owe it to my Grandmaster to come back to the forum and make sure this issue is resolved and there is no doubt about her status as a true Grandmaster and friend
 

Twin Fist

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Glad you are happy, but you are wrong.

you got ripped off

she can claim to be whatever she wants to, but there is NO evidence anywhere that she is who and what she claims to be, and NO ONE has ever heard of her.

On this board, that means something, since we have people here from ALL levels of Martial arts from true grandmasters to rank beginners.

smarter more experienced people than me told you to run as far away from her as you could.

You have chosen not to, and as long as you are happy, I am happy for you
 

miguksaram

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Since I don't know what the original discussion was, can you inform me on who your grandmaster is? Do you have her full name? There are not a lot of female grandmasters so I would be interested in knowing who you are talking about. Also, Is GM Park her GM? Why did you have him come out to award your son his 2nd Dan? Again, just curious.
 

BrandonLucas

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About a year ago or so I came across this forum and responded to a thread about the price of black belts. Some of you may remember that discussion, others may not. I was new to martial arts and was interested in learning about running a martial arts school, as I had started one for my son. In the discussions about the price of black belts it seemed there was a great discrepancy in what everyone in the discussion paid and/or charged, and what I had paid for my son's belts. An interesting discussion was held on this subject, but it soon turned into Grandmasters and money. There were varying opinions, some good, some not so good. Now that some time has passed, and I have learned a great deal more about martial arts, there are some things, and one thing in particular, I would like to clarify and close this discussion that I feel was left openended.

At the time of the discussion, I didn't know my grandmaster very well, and didn't know the details involved in running a martial arts school. Since, I have spend a lot of time with my Grandmaster and have seen what it takes to have a school and qualified instructors. The money I paid for the belts included private lessons for my son, the Grandmaster coming to our studio at least twice a week to teach classes, which she has done for the past year, and also to help defray costs of Grandmaster Hae Man Park to visit the studio and present my son his 2nd Dan black belt. All of this became evident to me as time passed between when the discussion was held and now. I discovered that the money was money well spent after all. I'm sure many of you would agree that when you add all this together, the difference between $500 for a belt test and several thousand for everything I listed above added in makes more sense. Just having a Grandmaster teach at the studio is a tremendous honor.

The thing I want to clarify is during the discussion, there were questions raised about my Grandmaster being a true Grandmaster, was she qualified, etc. I want to say, and leave no doubt, that my Grandmaster is and always has been a Grandmaster in every sense of the word. She is knowledgable, a very able teacher, and, now that I have gotten to know her better, a true friend to her students and instructors.

As far as the school, we suffered major damage from Hurricane Ike, approximately 2 feet of water in the studio, but we re-opened 2 weeks ago and students are returning. As always, the students are our biggest concern, so we worked hard to get the studio open and back in business for them. We will continue to work towards having a studio that our students enjoy learning in and our Grandmaster is proud of.

I really don't want to open this discussion again, but I did feel I owe it to my Grandmaster to come back to the forum and make sure this issue is resolved and there is no doubt about her status as a true Grandmaster and friend

I understand your wish to not open another subject on this matter, but I think I may have missed the original thread...

Are you talking about paying your grandmaster for belts as in paying her to rank your son? Is your son actually performing the tests to be a 2nd dan, or are you saying that you're paying for the test to not be given but the rank given anyway?

It's hard to tell what you're referring to in your post, so that's why I was asking. I mean no disrespect.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Since I don't know what the original discussion was, can you inform me on who your grandmaster is? Do you have her full name? There are not a lot of female grandmasters so I would be interested in knowing who you are talking about. Also, Is GM Park her GM? Why did you have him come out to award your son his 2nd Dan? Again, just curious.
I also am curious about her and I missed the first discussion.

Daniel
 

bostonbomber

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I too wasn't part of the original discussion. Does a Grandmaster need to be famous to be good? I've met famous grandmasters, but some seemed to be simply masters of grand self-promotion. I obviously can't comment on yours.

I'm sorry to here about the hurricane damage. I truly wish you the best of luck getting your school back together.
 

BrandonLucas

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Thanks for supplying the link to that thread...I'm slow finding things this morning...

I only read post #73. I didn't even need to read the rest of it.

$7000 for 1st dan, $4000 for 2nd dan. Wow.

I briefly read Terry's post directly below that about how they could fly to Korea and study directly from someone of KKW lineage at the source and earn the rank for the same amount of money. I think that's spot-on.

I don't care how good this "grandmaster" is in the martial arts...she could probably take me on, and I'm not going to dispute that at all...but no 1st dan is worth that much money. Seriously, if you really and truly paid that much money for the ranks, then your son should be able to fly.

Do yourself a favor and don't study under any of the people that she's affiliated with ever again, and have your son evaluated by someone who is verifiably of KKW lineage to certify his rank...if he's able to earn it, that is. It's entirely possible that he needs to be retrained from whitebelt.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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At the time of the discussion, I didn't know my grandmaster very well, and didn't know the details involved in running a martial arts school. Since, I have spend a lot of time with my Grandmaster and have seen what it takes to have a school and qualified instructors. The money I paid for the belts included private lessons for my son, the Grandmaster coming to our studio at least twice a week to teach classes, which she has done for the past year, and also to help defray costs of Grandmaster Hae Man Park to visit the studio and present my son his 2nd Dan black belt. All of this became evident to me as time passed between when the discussion was held and now. I discovered that the money was money well spent after all. I'm sure many of you would agree that when you add all this together, the difference between $500 for a belt test and several thousand for everything I listed above added in makes more sense.
If you and your son paid the sum total of eleven grand to franchise a business, then yes, it would make sense. I did go to the original thread, however and after reading it in its entirety, that is not what you appear to have done.

You indicated that you set up the school on your own and that your son paid for the KKW instructor's certification class that is only offered in Korea without going to Korea, and for which he cannot receive said certification until he is fourth dan, but at present he is only second dan.

Seven years of training at my own school would not cost eleven thousand dollars, incidentally.

If you feel that you have received eleven grand worth of goods and services from your GM, then that is between you, your son, and she. From what I have read and from what you've said, I don't get that impression though.

Best wishes,

Daniel
 

jks9199

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I just re-read the relevant portion of that thread, too. A thought occurred to me, and I didn't spot it coming up before. That $7000 and $4000 for 1st and 2nd degrees might be reasonable -- if it's covering the entirety of the training. Figuring a year and half (typical first degree at many TKD schools in my area) or so for first degree, and then another year for the second... it's very expensive, but not completely outrageous. Especially if you figure that part of that would include the various testing fees over the time period.

I'm not suggesting that's the case -- but it's a legitimate possibility.

I'm still suspicious about the set-up, and my concerns about a kid running a school remain. But I wish 'em both luck.
 

BrandonLucas

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I just re-read the relevant portion of that thread, too. A thought occurred to me, and I didn't spot it coming up before. That $7000 and $4000 for 1st and 2nd degrees might be reasonable -- if it's covering the entirety of the training. Figuring a year and half (typical first degree at many TKD schools in my area) or so for first degree, and then another year for the second... it's very expensive, but not completely outrageous. Especially if you figure that part of that would include the various testing fees over the time period.

I'm not suggesting that's the case -- but it's a legitimate possibility.

I'm still suspicious about the set-up, and my concerns about a kid running a school remain. But I wish 'em both luck.

Going by that scenario (correct me if I'm wrong on any of this):

Assuming that testing fees for underbelts is $100 and 1st Dan testing is the $170 fee I saw in Terry's post, that comes out to $670 in testing fees.

Subtract that from the $7000 for the 1st dan and that leaves you with $6330. Divide that by a year and a half, or 18 months, and that gives you $351.67 per month.

So we have a total of $670 for all the testing fees and $351.67 per month tuition.

If this number sounds off, let me know, but if I'm paying $120 per month more than my car payment for TKD lessons, something's wrong.
 

Miles

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At the time of the discussion, I didn't know my grandmaster very well, and didn't know the details involved in running a martial arts school. Since, I have spend a lot of time with my Grandmaster and have seen what it takes to have a school and qualified instructors. The money I paid for the belts included private lessons for my son, the Grandmaster coming to our studio at least twice a week to teach classes, which she has done for the past year, and also to help defray costs of Grandmaster Hae Man Park to visit the studio and present my son his 2nd Dan black belt. All of this became evident to me as time passed between when the discussion was held and now. I discovered that the money was money well spent after all. ......
As far as the school, we suffered major damage from Hurricane Ike, approximately 2 feet of water in the studio, but we re-opened 2 weeks ago and students are returning. As always, the students are our biggest concern, so we worked hard to get the studio open and back in business for them. We will continue to work towards having a studio that our students enjoy learning in and our Grandmaster is proud of.

I really don't want to open this discussion again, but I did feel I owe it to my Grandmaster to come back to the forum and make sure this issue is resolved and there is no doubt about her status as a true Grandmaster and friend

You sound like an honorable individual trying to set the record straight. You feel the money was well-spent-your's is the only opinion that counts. You've stated there were private lessons plus other costs involved.

Sorry to hear of the hurricane-damage. I am glad you were able to get your dojang back up and running.
 

miguksaram

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Congratulations, you have been scammed. Sorry but you have. After reading this and the original thread I can wholehearedly say you have been scammed. First and foremost, as you have been told by others here, you paid way too much money for your testing fees. Now far be it for me to criticize someone from making some $$$ but she is lying to you as to why. KKW does not charge that much money as you have been told time and time again.

Secondly, I am assuming you are living in the US, but in the US you can open a school at any rank. Now whether or not people will learn from a 1st dan I don't know. If you want to be able to promote people in KKW Taekwondo, you have to be a minimum of a 4th dan (if you want to certify your students through the KKW). KKW also looks down upon a 1st or 2nd dan opening up their own school in the first place if they are teaching TKD.

Bottomline is that you should seriously think about what people are trying to tell you on this site. I am still interested in knowing your instructor's full name so we can do a background check on her.
 

Dana

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If your instructor claims KKW rank, all you need is their birthday and you can check the KKW site.

http://www.kukkiwon.or.kr/english/index.jsp

"Check for Poom/Dan"

Put in their nationality and name exactly as it shows up on their certificate (if you've ever seen one) and it will list their KKW rank and when they got it.

This of course will not display Kwan or personal certificates.

KKWs are inexpensive, relationships are not.

I believe his instructor's name is Grandmaster Myong Hui Munoz. I've never heard of her, but I can guarantee she's probably never heard of me either!!

Dana
 
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rchurch

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Thanks to everyone responding. Let me go over some of this and I think many of you will see where I'm coming from.

The school is not a franchise, but is under the GM. I run the business side of the school, so it is not just a kid trying to run it.

My son did not buy the belts, he very much earned them. We have a 4th Dan taekwondo instructor who teaches every night, along with a 3rd Dan instructor, so we do not have a 2nd Dan as the only instructor. The GM was teaching an average of twice per week for the first year we were open, but has slowed down some now. We have now been open for 15 months. Some of the money spent included her teaching the class. My son's first love is kung fu and he teaches that class. I think it is an honor for our students to have a GM instructing and that is part of what I paid for.

The money spent also included private lessons from the Grandmaster for both the 1st Dan and 2nd Dan belts. This was in addition to his kung fu lessons from her. I would think private lesons from a Grandmaster can be fairly expensive.

The grandmaster invited GM Park to come to our studio to present belts and allow our students the opportunity to meet him. I don't think he is her Grandmaster.

I don't know if I will ever know everything about my Grandmaster, but as I said in my post, now that I've gotten to know her I am satisfied that everything is good. I know that some of you won't agree, but I can honestly say now that time has passed and I see what all I got for the money, it comes out pretty cheap for the class lessons at the school, private lessons for my son, and his belt rankings, all from a Grandmaster, along with the presentation from GM Park. I appreciate the input from everyone and the wellwishes.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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RChurch,

You keep emphasizing that your son received private lessons and his rank from a grandmaster, as if this somehow makes a world of difference. For the record, I learn from a grandmaster and have received all of my ranks from a grandmaster, and I've spent far less than you have, and that includes lessons for my two sons.

Understand that 'grandmaster' in the states usually just means that they are a master with other masters working in their employ and in some cases, also own multiple schools or have students who have opened up their own schools but operate under the GM's auspices. Often, the title is used simply because of the wow factor with the buying public. But in most scenarios, you can repace the title of grandmaster with the title of general manager or owner.

After a practitioner passes the fifth dan mark, most of the rankings become administrative, thus a ninth dan isn't automatically better than an eighth dan in the practice of the art, but may hold greater responsibility or authority within the organization.

Which brings me to the fact that outside of an organization, the titles of master and grandmaster are unimportant; my grandmaster has no authority, or even rank, in the ITF. If this lady is a grandmaster in Kung Fu, then her title is meaningless in taekwondo aside from the fact that she owns a school. I'd be willing to bet that the fourth dan instructor is the one signing off on any taekwondo certificates as well, though I certainly could be wrong in my assumption.

So my question to you is this: what does it mean to you that she is a grandmaster? Having the title doesn't mean much these days, sadly, as many instructors break off from their core federations and promote themselves to grandmaster and ninth dan, while never attaining any rank above second or third. Some don't even have first dan. In what way, beyond being a school owner, does she qualify as a grandmaster? And holding dan ranks in multiple arts does not make one a grandmaster.

Thank you,

Daniel
 
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