My Introduction to the Politics of TKD

Gwai Lo Dan

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I learned about the politics of TKD early on:

Instructor (1st Dan): I"d really love to start my own school.
Me: So why don't you? I know you are only 1st Dan, but I am sure you could get Master to oversee your testing.
Instructor: Because I will be moving north to the town of ____.
Me: So why don't you open a school there?
Instructor: (almost shocked) Oh I can't open a school there. That is Master ____'s territory!

The 2 Master's/Grand Master's had split the area into 2 and each stayed in his zone.

My instructor also told me that before he tested for 1st Dan, he had to sign a non-compete agreement, forbidding him from opening a school in the area.

Does anyone else see this form of price fixing by Master's agreeing to not compete, and by requiring students to sign non-compete agreements?
 
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IcemanSK

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That may just be a "gentlemen's agreement" between two masters. As for one's master asking a student to sign a "non-compete" that says more about a master's insecurity, IMO.
 

d1jinx

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Years ago Maryland was segragated like that. One of the reasons My first Instructor said "F*** Kukkiwon" and stopped promoting through them. because he refused to pay into the Korean in charge of that area ansd the one who submitted the paperwork for that "district".

Those are the old days. The world wide web and technology has done away with that. The applications submitted to Kukkiwon used to be a close guarded secret that only a few knew and did. Today KKW has made it easier for any 4th dan to submit. The corruption that exsisted years ago by only a few persons controlling areas and requiring everyone to "pay" them to submit are long gone.

As for the NON disclosure agreement, Screw them and it. Bunch of mumbo jumbo people do to scare people into thinking they cant teach around them and prevent the competition. Tell your friend to go for it. Teaching KKW forms and curiculum isnt something that is owned or controlled by the instructor who had him sign a non disclosure. If he really concerned pay a laawyer a couple dollars to see if it is enforcable which i seriously doubt. He can give back his belt and certificate and VOID the so called agreement, them buy a new belt and submit to KKW for a replacement certificate.

As for getting promoted himself, it can be done with out that Master or GM. And you better believe they will loose that connection once they open up a school and teach without "kicking up".

Its all a bunch of ********.

After all, he doesnt have to offer KKW certificates. And if he does, there are a million ORGS out there he can join who will promote for him and himself. Most have yearly seminars with promotion tests he could attend. Its all legit and usually the few i know of have actually KKW Academy instructors performing the tests. This is the best way to be legit or there are Insturctors out there who will promote him for a couple dollars and an in person test or video test (not so legit and may be called a fraud depending on who is testing him). But if he is good at his stuff and knows it well, them who can say he didnt earn it no matter what course he takes.

this is Just another Master/Grandmaster afraid what they are teaching may be outdone and loose students/$$$$$$ so they try to scare people from doing so.

by the way, where is this at?
 
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Gwai Lo Dan

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Years ago Maryland was segragated like that....

Those are the old days. The world wide web and technology has done away with that.....

by the way, where is this at?

Thanks for the reply. I should have stated that it was in the early 1990's. It is taekwondo, in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. If you look at the website for the provincial association (http://www.saskwtf.ca/schools.htm) and with mapquest you will see the schools in the north of the province are still all "Kee's Taekwondo" where as the south is almost all "Master Kim's". There are no Kim's in the north, and no Kee's in the south.

I will add one more interesting story. I started training at a university club in the south (University of Regina), under a 3rd dan. The 3rd dan instructor told me that before I started, he would test students for colour belts, and would send the names of the students to his GM in Hong Kong, who would send back certificates. The local GM took exception to a 3rd dan testing students, so the 3rd dan stopped in order to avoid conflict. The really interesting part of the story is (I was told by the 3rd dan instructor) the GM came to the university club and told the 3rd dan he couldn't teach, and one of his students would teach. All of the university club students just sat down and refused to participate in the "takeover". Subsequent to that, the agreement was that the 3rd dan could keep teaching, but all testing was to be done by the local GM. Hence I was a white belt for my 8 months there - the only person I know who got up to taegeuk4 as a white belt!
 
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Gwai Lo Dan

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A point of clarification: there were 2 instructors at the university club, both university students. The 1st dan who wanted to open is own school was a student of the local GM. The 3rd dan who got "in trouble" for testing students was from Hong Kong and previously had nothing to do with the local GM.
 

andyjeffries

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Does anyone else see this form of price fixing by Master's agreeing to not compete, and by requiring students to sign non-compete agreements?

I've heard stories of it, but never seen it myself. My grandmaster opened up schools in the area with the express intention of handing them over (to me). Then later on, when I spoke to my instructor about opening up my club and checking he'd be OK with it (as we're in the same town of 80,000 people teaching the same age range) and he was absolutely fine and said that he's disappointed that no-one else has opened up their own club. I don't think anyone else knew he wanted them to, I only knew because I decided I wanted to and spoke to him about it.

Then again, my instructors both have always spent time with me ensuring I know not only how to do Taekwondo but how to teach, as if they always knew I'd be running my own clubs later in life. I've been talking with a senior grade recently about ensuring he's ready to open his own club when he feels ready.
 

Dirty Dog

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I've heard stories of it, but never seen it myself. My grandmaster opened up schools in the area with the express intention of handing them over (to me). Then later on, when I spoke to my instructor about opening up my club and checking he'd be OK with it (as we're in the same town of 80,000 people teaching the same age range) and he was absolutely fine and said that he's disappointed that no-one else has opened up their own club. I don't think anyone else knew he wanted them to, I only knew because I decided I wanted to and spoke to him about it.

Then again, my instructors both have always spent time with me ensuring I know not only how to do Taekwondo but how to teach, as if they always knew I'd be running my own clubs later in life. I've been talking with a senior grade recently about ensuring he's ready to open his own club when he feels ready.

This seems a more common attitude, at least in my experience.
My Master has made it clear that he is very disappointed that none of his students have yet opened a school of their own. He's got students who have been with him 20+ years, and he would dearly love to see one of them open a school.
 

Earl Weiss

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Firsta nd foremost laws vary and you will need to check with local counsel.

Secondly, as a rule, non compete clauses are enforceable if deeemed to be reasoneable in scope with regard to geographic and time limitations. In a densely populated city with schools every half mile, 2 miles might be unreasoneable, whereas in less dense areas it may be very reasoneable. A year might be reasoneable, 5 might not.

I have seen this happen to an instructor and if I was in the retaill kick and punch business I may do it as well. Trains a guy from white belt, guy learns everything they know from the instructor, naturaly develops friendships with other students, after several years there's a disagreement. Not only does he go into competition close by, but the student had a friend on the park board, so the board decided to terminate the Instructor who used it as a feeder for the regular program for decades and give it to the student.

This and something like it happened twice to my friend over the decades. Both times the student failed and the clubs folded in about 2 years, but it still drained students from the instructor who bever returned when the other guy failed.

I know protected territories are an iffy thing. But I still think a guy is a dick if they open a block from an existing school.
 

IcemanSK

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Master Weiss put it better than I. A non-compete is not completely unreasonable, within guidelines.
 

mxav

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the non compete was with his teacher though, not HIM.
 

chrispillertkd

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the non compete was with his teacher though, not HIM.

It is a bit odd since it seems that the non-compete agreement is between the two Grand Masters. I am unclear, however, if the Grand Masters themselves have "forbidden" their respective students from opening schools in the other Grand Master's territory or if that is something the black belt who wants to open a school has picked up from his instructor. In any event, it seems that a consequence of this "non-competition" agreement will be that the Grand Masters could end up competing with their own students instead of with each other.

Personally, I think competition between schools can be a good thing since it will force each school to do its best to attract students (and no, that doesn't mean turning into a belt mill).

Pax,

Chris
 
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Gwai Lo Dan

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I am unclear, however, if the Grand Masters themselves have "forbidden" their respective students from opening schools in the other Grand Master's territory or if that is something the black belt who wants to open a school has picked up from his instructor.

I don't know exactly the details of the non-compete agreement. I believe that although it was the 2 Masters/GM's who agreed to not compete in each other's territory, my instructor felt that was the rule for himself too since he was the GM's student. I don't know that it was in writing though.
 

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