New guy here, and I do ATA...

Balrog

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From what I understand, the ATA has about the same number of belts as most other schools, which seems to be between ten and twelve these days (including white, ildan and dan bo). I know that the ATA has recommended and decided versions of each belt.

Are there two separate tests (one for recommended and one for decided), each with associated testing fees? Or does it work differently?
The recommended/decided ranks are used in a variety of ways. The decided rank is 1/2 rank higher than the recommended.

For example, it is the "norm" in our school to promote a full rank at a time from White Belt up to Purple Belt. At that point, the students slow down and promote a half-rank at a time because the material is more difficult and more things are covered.

However, let's say that I have a student do an absolute "walk-on-water" testing. It is possible to promote that student a rank and a half, let's say from Orange Belt Rec. to Yellow Belt Dec. At the same time, we might have a student who has put forth effort but isn't quite ready to promote. We can bump him a half rank to Orange Belt Dec. and he spends another cycle on the material.

The testing fees are paid per test, not by the outcome of the test. There is no difference in the testing fees paid until the First Degree Rec. and Second Degree Rec. tests, which are lower than the Dec. tests.
 

granfire

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Does the ITA use recommended and decided ranks?

Daniel


Well, it has been a while since I set foot in the school, they changed around more since I wasn't looking, but it used to be you had from green on 2 ranks. It was just not called recommended and decided. You had green and Sr Green for example. Nothing really changed except you had to do your stuff better at Sr lvl than as just plain color belt. So you spend about 4 month at a color in both ranks before you moved on to the next.

Now I think they added another lvl to each color (don't get me started, it also included only teaching half forms to jr students and ythe 2nd half at the 3rd lvl as I understood.)

Black belts they used to call it probationary, decided and senior, but then they made each rank into 4 lvls switching to a new form on the 3rd lvl. So you now have 1st degree lvl 1 (2, 3, 4) 2nd degree, lvl 1(2, 3, 4) etc...

(I can't quiet get my head wrapped around the new changes, I think they suck, but some people like them and claim they are good, but what do I know, my seniority in the art is not that great.)
 

Balrog

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Ok let me clear this up my point is this can a few do it sure but they are the exception not the rule. I cannot see any mature instructor making a 6-8 year old do the same test as the adults except if the adult test in waterdown.
Why not? They present any required forms, spar however many rounds are required against people their own rank and age grouping (if possible) and break boards that are sized appropriately. Why water the test down at all?
 

Balrog

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I want a limb from that money tree... yeesh...
Money tree? I wish. I should raise my testing fees. The ITF school down the road from me charges $150 per colored belt test and they test about the same number of times that we do. I only charge $60.

Besides, we don't get to keep it. A big chunk goes into headquarters; that's how the HQ operation is funded.
 

Balrog

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What exactly do you get with the license? Just the right to use the ATA name and forms plus access to ATA tournaments? If so what was the appeal to go with ATA as opposed to KKW Taekwondo or any other TKD school?
The Songahm style of Taekwondo makes it worthwhile, not to mention the tremendous support that we get from the headquarters staff.
 

msmitht

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The Songahm style of Taekwondo makes it worthwhile, not to mention the tremendous support that we get from the headquarters staff.

What about the songahm style makes it worthwhile? I have seen many different types of tkd styles. Itf has good hyungs and the honor of being the first tkd system. Wtf/kkw is the largest world wide, has the best kickers and is an olympic sport (imagine charlie sheen "WINNING").
What does the songahm style offer that is original and or on par with the itf/wtf? Krav maga/hagannah from israel, tae bo/aerobic kickboxing, Xma from mike chat, ata mma (lol...well at least they are trying) and stick fighting from the philippines. It appears to me that ata schools are about fads.
When someone asks me about learning a martial art I push tkd. It is my first art and I teach/love it. If they tell me they want to learn bjj I send them to gracie barra. When they want to learn real sword play I send them to a kendo/fencing school. Unless the instructor has studied what they are offering for a long time, 4-10 years, they cannot possibly grasp how to teach it effectivley to others especially when it comes to teaching diverse age groups.
And having 6-7 year old black belts are why tkd has a bad rep...and is just plain wrong.
 

clfsean

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Money tree? I wish. I should raise my testing fees. The ITF school down the road from me charges $150 per colored belt test and they test about the same number of times that we do. I only charge $60.

Besides, we don't get to keep it. A big chunk goes into headquarters; that's how the HQ operation is funded.

Wow... <insert joke referring to Madoff or Ponzi>

Maybe I should start testing... or just charging to teach period...
 

miguksaram

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The Songahm style of Taekwondo makes it worthwhile, not to mention the tremendous support that we get from the headquarters staff.
So then all you get is the right to use their style of TKD. Does support cost extra? In other words, if you need some marketing ideas can you call up HQ and they will send you some ad slicks that you can use or do you have to subscribe to their service in order to get that?

From what you state here, it was the forms of ATA that prompted you to go with them as opposed to ITF or KKW. Is my understanding correct?
 

SahBumNimRush

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Unless the instructor has studied what they are offering for a long time, 4-10 years, they cannot possibly grasp how to teach it effectivley to others especially when it comes to teaching diverse age groups.

I know this is off topic here, but while experience is helpful, I don't believe it necessary. I remember when our KJN had opened the branch school where I teach now, he was traveling 70 miles to teach. Obviously he could not come every class, so a 1st gup was teaching the class (approximately 3 years experience). To take it one step further, at the beginning of the school the next highest rank at the branch school was a 7th gup. He is now a 7th dan, and recalls teaching classes as a 7th gup, and while he admits it wasn't ideal, it was what was required at the time. Anytime you are teaching someone of lower rank and experience, there is something to be offered and something to be learned (both ways).

The school I began under had a similar situation, my Sahbumnim was travelling 45 miles to teach at the school I started under. He had produced a couple of 1st dans, that happened to quit. That left my father (a 3rd gup at the time) as the highest ranking student there. He took over teaching, and we were travelling 45 miles once a week to receive instruction. Now he is a 6th dan.

While I see your point, I don't believe it is necessary to have 4-10 years of experience to adequately teach the art. Is it helpful, yes, required, no.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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I know this is off topic here, but while experience is helpful, I don't believe it necessary. I remember when our KJN had opened the branch school where I teach now, he was traveling 70 miles to teach. Obviously he could not come every class, so a 1st gup was teaching the class (approximately 3 years experience).
Yes, but in that scenario, you have a one-step-below-BB with three years experience running a class most of the time with a high dan coming in regularly.

To take it one step further, at the beginning of the school the next highest rank at the branch school was a 7th gup. He is now a 7th dan, and recalls teaching classes as a 7th gup, and while he admits it wasn't ideal, it was what was required at the time. Anytime you are teaching someone of lower rank and experience, there is something to be offered and something to be learned (both ways).
I've seen what happens when a 7th geub teaches. No thank you. I'm sure he got better, but I suspect that students he taught suffered in their development. And if the school is charging 100 plus dollars per month plus testing fees, that is absolutely unacceptable.

The school I began under had a similar situation, my Sahbumnim was travelling 45 miles to teach at the school I started under. He had produced a couple of 1st dans, that happened to quit. That left my father (a 3rd gup at the time) as the highest ranking student there. He took over teaching, and we were travelling 45 miles once a week to receive instruction. Now he is a 6th dan.
But as you say, this was not an ideal situation. You are bringing up example of 'in a pinch' with effort being made to rectify the situaiton.

Regardless of organization, I suspect that most of the instructors of unusual or exotic add on arts are seminar trained and that the classes have been added for the express reason of retaining students past black belt.

While I see your point, I don't believe it is necessary to have 4-10 years of experience to adequately teach the art. Is it helpful, yes, required, no.
Depends on the art. For taebo or cardio kickboxing? Of course not. XMA isn't really a separate art, so I'd agree with you there.

Krav Maga and MMA, yes, I think that I'd like for the instructor to have about that amount. For Krav Maga, I'd want them in Krav Maga as an art for some time prior to teaching it. It has nothing to do with TKD. Attending seminars, however, is what I suspect most add on Krav Maga instructors have for their credentials.

With MMA, again, I'd like the person to have enough experience in arts commonly used in MMA plus experience in MMA. Again, not something that you can get from a seminar.

Daniel
 

dancingalone

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What about the songahm style makes it worthwhile?

I would imagine the majority of people just pick a school and go with it. They don't research the various styles of TKD available and even if they did, the real content is close enough across styles to where I can't imagine it making much of a difference at all. The sole exception is if someone wants to try Olympic rules competition.

Forms, kicking, sparring, one steps, some self-defense - you're pretty much going to get this diet anywhere you go. I don't think the style of TKD is as important as the particular teacher/coach.
 

SahBumNimRush

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Yes, but in that scenario, you have a one-step-below-BB with three years experience running a class most of the time with a high dan coming in regularly.

Yes, I suppose my experience is a bit different than the scenario proposed above.


I've seen what happens when a 7th geub teaches. No thank you. I'm sure he got better, but I suspect that students he taught suffered in their development. And if the school is charging 100 plus dollars per month plus testing fees, that is absolutely unacceptable.

While I agree it's never a "good" idea, students were still learning something, albeit stunted as you say. We have never been what I consider a commercial school, and have never charged even close to $100/month. Maybe I should re-examine our fee schedule, haha!

But as you say, this was not an ideal situation. You are bringing up example of 'in a pinch' with effort being made to rectify the situaiton.

Exactly.

Regardless of organization, I suspect that most of the instructors of unusual or exotic add on arts are seminar trained and that the classes have been added for the express reason of retaining students past black belt.

Yes, I agree. The situations are completely different. "Add ons" should never be taken lightly, and if you are going to be charging more money on top of you normal dues to learn these add ons, you better have a solid foundation.

Depends on the art. For taebo or cardio kickboxing? Of course not. XMA isn't really a separate art, so I'd agree with you there.

Krav Maga and MMA, yes, I think that I'd like for the instructor to have about that amount. For Krav Maga, I'd want them in Krav Maga as an art for some time prior to teaching it. It has nothing to do with TKD. Attending seminars, however, is what I suspect most add on Krav Maga instructors have for their credentials.

With MMA, again, I'd like the person to have enough experience in arts commonly used in MMA plus experience in MMA. Again, not something that you can get from a seminar.

Daniel

I've witnessed people trying to bring in things they've learned from Krav Maga, MMA, etc. seminars, and none of it worked. I whole heartedly agree with you on this one. If you are trying to TEACH things that you picked up in a weekend seminar, chances are you're teaching something that isn't going to work and you don't fully understand.

My biggest pet peeve is weapon defense coming from Krav Maga that someone picked up piece meal. I'm sorry, but unless I know the instructor has extensive training in firearms defense, I'm not going to buy it. Too much to risk there.. . We've had black belts approach us in our school with these ideas in the past, and they've been shot down. Many of our senior instructors are military (retired), LEO's, marshals, etc.. . People that have real experience in these things, but we only approach these topics in rare occasion in black belt classes. It is still something that I don't feel confident about.

I suppose I was responding to the blanket statement rather than the context of the statement. I agree with the context, just not the totality of the statment.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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I suppose I was responding to the blanket statement rather than the context of the statement. I agree with the context, just not the totality of the statment.
On the other hand, most other fields will require either a four year degree or a masters degree for a teaching position, and will probably want experience on top of that. A school teacher is required to be a student for thirteen years, plus go to college as a student for an additional four to six years, before being able to be an assistant teacher for a period of time (I'm pretty sure that you aren't handed your own classroom right out of college).

A high school PE teacher, at least in my area, will need at least a four year degree in PE. Again, this is after having been a student in school system for thirteen years plus four years plus of college.

Put in that perspective, less than four years seems rather brief. I suspect that the four year comment is based on many schools being four years to black belt. In those that are not four years to black belt, four years puts you half way between second and third dan.

By contrast, in Japanese kendo, you are not considered an instructor until about fourth dan. The equivalent to sabeom is usually higher than that. Yes, there are kendo clubs with second and third dans instructing, but these instructors have a sensei of fourth dan or higher who most likely is visiting the club periodically (much like the scenario with your father). But in Japanese kendo, you are usually looking at four years to black belt, and first kyu and higher grades require testing before a panel of judges from outside the school, so no dojo-dans.

In taekwondo, the average seems to be two years, and the ATA seems to follow suit. Chances are, an ATA instructor in ATA Krav Maga or stick fighting has much less time in the add on than they do in Songahm taekwondo.

Auxilliary, Balrog, or anyone else ATA, at what rank is a Songahm practitioner considered eligible to instruct?

And with the add ons, am I accurate in the notion that these are certifications picked up through seminars or substantially shorter periods of training time than the core art?

Daniel
 

chrispillertkd

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Put in that perspective, less than four years seems rather brief. I suspect that the four year comment is based on many schools being four years to black belt. In those that are not four years to black belt, four years puts you half way between second and third dan.

By contrast, in Japanese kendo, you are not considered an instructor until about fourth dan. The equivalent to sabeom is usually higher than that. Yes, there are kendo clubs with second and third dans instructing, but these instructors have a sensei of fourth dan or higher who most likely is visiting the club periodically (much like the scenario with your father). But in Japanese kendo, you are usually looking at four years to black belt, and first kyu and higher grades require testing before a panel of judges from outside the school, so no dojo-dans.

In taekwondo, the average seems to be two years, and the ATA seems to follow suit. Chances are, an ATA instructor in ATA Krav Maga or stick fighting has much less time in the add on than they do in Songahm taekwondo.

Hmm, I'm not sure what you're using to qualify your statement of "In taekwondo the average seems to be two years..." but that is decidedly not the experience I have. 3 to 4 years to I dan is common from what I have seen.

Like your statement regarding kendo, you're not considered an instructor until IV dan. You can end up teaching at a lesser rank but you can't actually be certified as an International Instructor until IV dan and that is required to rank students with the ITF. The bb's I have seen that run their own schools have either been 1) under a higher ranking instructor, or 2) at least having a relationship with the head of the national organization they belong to which is, if not strictly student-instructor, one where the senior is seen as a mentor to the junior.

Using the above time to I dan as a guide that means most people will reach IV dan after around 10 years of continuous training, sometimes (usually?) more.

[edit: cross posting this in the new thread.]

Pax,

Chris
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Hmm, I'm not sure what you're using to qualify your statement of "In taekwondo the average seems to be two years..." but that is decidedly not the experience I have. 3 to 4 years to I dan is common from what I have seen.
2-3, closer to 2 is common from what I have seen. Perhaps it is a federation difference, though to read posts on the web, you'd think that the average time is about sixteen months.

Like your statement regarding kendo, you're not considered an instructor until IV dan. You can end up teaching at a lesser rank but you can't actually be certified as an International Instructor until IV dan and that is required to rank students with the ITF. The bb's I have seen that run their own schools have either been 1) under a higher ranking instructor, or 2) at least having a relationship with the head of the national organization they belong to which is, if not strictly student-instructor, one where the senior is seen as a mentor to the junior.
You're getting bogged down in an unrelated topic, though your statement does support the 4-10 year statement made earlier.

My point was not to compare kendo to taekwondo, or to make a statement about who takes how long to get to black belt, but to support the comment made that instructors of add on arts should have four to ten years of experience in those arts.

There is a reason that fourth dan seems to be the general breaking point for 'certified instructors' and that is that fourth dan is eight to ten years of experience, first as a student, and then as an assistant instructor and perhaps even as a second or third dan running their own classes. Just like that student going for his teaching degree likely interns and gains experience prior to earning their masters degree.

Requiring four to ten years of experience to teach an unrelated art, who's movements and stances may be very different from those of TKD, is not at all unreasonable.

Since we're talking ATA, from what I have seen from ATA posters and posts about the ATA, the average is apparently two years (I make no value judgement). That being the case, a third dan instructor will have no more than five years in. How much time can they have realistically spent in an add on art if they did not practice it prior to taking up TKD? Likely not enough to be qualified to instruct a program of any meaningful value.

I'm generally not a fan of add on arts in organizations where instructors receive a 'certification' in the add on along the way. I see these as money making gimmicks rather than meaningful enrichment.

Daniel
 
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auxiliary

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So many questions so I will try to answer them all to the best of my ability.

First, the ATA is very helpful. We have a website that offers us quarterly material for camps, activities, seminars, new student specials and what not. Very similar to MAIA. You don't have to use the stuff but it's there, and done for you. You change the date/time to fit your school, print it off and you have posters for events.

Each quarter they break down marketing/instruction/management. It's helpful. If you have run a successful martial arts school it's a no brainer and a lot of it you would already be doing. If you're not as business savvy or just busy, it's a great resource. I use the banners/posters all the time. So much easier than reinventing the wheel.

Ok, instructors.

The ATA has an instructor manual that is given to students when they decide they want to start being an instructor. Students beginning to train in their collar are given a red collar to start with. This is considered an instructor trainee.

There are three levels after that:
Red/Black - Level 1
Black/Red/Black - Level 2
Black Collar. - Level 3 (Certified)

Students who test for red/black have to know all the curriculum from white belt-yellow belt. Level 2 is knowing everything from white to purple belt and level 3. certified is doing all of the color belt curriculum and up to what ever rank of black belt you are. To add on, not only curriculum but also class room management skills and teaching concepts.

Most of these tests are done nationally through the ATA. ATA does allow your instructor to certify you for the first 2 levels if they have done the proper training and have the proper rank. To be certified black collar you have to either do it at a national event or have it done by someone who is a master.

To be a level 3 certified instructor you have to be the minimum age of 18 and have completed the previous two levels. Again, every ATA school is different in what they allow and not allow to teach at their school. This is not only ATA as I can imagine.

Some schools may allow a red/black collar to teach some classes, some may allow a red collar. A lot of time students/instructors will know past the curriculum they are "collared" for but since you are only allowed to test one collar per time it takes a while to get Black.

After you receive your Black Collar you are supposed to recertify. This has to be done before you can test for your next rank.

I hope that clearly answers the question. Mainly, the ATA has training, a rank system, and a manual for instruction.
 

andyjeffries

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The ATA has an instructor manual that is given to students when they decide they want to start being an instructor. Students beginning to train in their collar are given a red collar to start with. This is considered an instructor trainee.

There are three levels after that:
Red/Black - Level 1
Black/Red/Black - Level 2
Black Collar. - Level 3 (Certified)

Students who test for red/black have to know all the curriculum from white belt-yellow belt. Level 2 is knowing everything from white to purple belt and level 3. certified is doing all of the color belt curriculum and up to what ever rank of black belt you are. To add on, not only curriculum but also class room management skills and teaching concepts.

Most of these tests are done nationally through the ATA. ATA does allow your instructor to certify you for the first 2 levels if they have done the proper training and have the proper rank. To be certified black collar you have to either do it at a national event or have it done by someone who is a master.

OK, so can you be a master (6th Dan in ATA, right?) and not be a certified instructor? If not, are you restricted from becoming a master until you certify, or automatically certified upon reaching a certain grade? If you can be a master but not instructor certified, are you not allowed to teach. Does the same apply to an 8th Dan, for example, if they are uncertified?

Thanks for the info...
 

dancingalone

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OK, so can you be a master (6th Dan in ATA, right?) and not be a certified instructor? If not, are you restricted from becoming a master until you certify, or automatically certified upon reaching a certain grade? If you can be a master but not instructor certified, are you not allowed to teach. Does the same apply to an 8th Dan, for example, if they are uncertified?

I'd like to know myself. I had the impression that promotion in the ATA after a certain rank was dependent on you running a school and promoting a certain ratio of students yourself. Thus, a person who just wants to practice and improve themselves could not advance. Likewise if you're not a school or club owner, but you are a senior BB in a school, you also could not advance beyond a certain point.

Correct me if I am wrong.
 

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