Question regarding black belt rank

ralphmcpherson

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At our school we go from 1st gup/kup (3rd red belt) to black belt and then after a year we grade for first degree black belt. I have spoken to a lot of people who have never heard of a 'straight' black belt and say that they go from 1st gup to 1st degree black belt and others I have spoken to have said they also have a year at black belt before grading for 1st degree. It does seem strange to me that we have a year at black before becoming first degree because surely 1st degree black belt would mean the first of the black belts. For this reason I look at black belt at our club as a sort of 'probationary' black belt that you hold prior to first degree. I was just wondering how other clubs do it, particularly those that train at kukkiwon clubs (as we are not kukkiwon). Do you guys go straight from 1st gup to first degree black belt? Im just curious.
 

ATC

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Well if your belt is black then you are a black belt and the first black belt is 1st Dan.

However I understand what you school is doing. We do the same but we just added a brown belt after the red belt levels, (also 3 of them) and you will be at brown belt for 1 year before your actual Dan testing. Basically the same thing but why give out a black belt if you are not a black belt yet?
 
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ralphmcpherson

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Well if your belt is black then you are a black belt and the first black belt is 1st Dan.

However I understand what you school is doing. We do the same but we just added a brown belt after the red belt levels, (also 3 of them) and you will be at brown belt for 1 year before your actual Dan testing. Basically the same thing but why give out a black belt if you are not a black belt yet?
Thats what I was wondering. Our school does not "recognise" the student as a black belt until 1st dan when you receive a dan certificate etc. When you receive your 'black belt' it is just like any other test and no certification is handed out so if you went to another club you wouldnt have any documentation saying you are a black belt and that is why I view it as more of a probationary black belt. In saying that, I have met people from other tkd (or karate) clubs who do something similar with the black belt before 1st dan thats why I was curious.
 

Chris Parker

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Within a number of systems (Japanese) a Shodan-ho rank is used. This sounds like what you're talking about here (preliminary, or junior version of a black belt, sometimes refered to as a probationary black belt). Does this sound like what you mean Ralph?
 
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ralphmcpherson

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yeah that sounds right chris and thanks for the info. It would make sense to me if the club called it a junior or probationary version of the black belt rather than the fact it technically is just referred to as "black belt".
 

sungjado

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In this regard (KMA) it would be called a Cho-dan Bo or Temporary BB. In my place, after 1st Gup/Kup/Keup comes 1st Dan/Degree.
 

dancingalone

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I have never liked the junior black belt or the probationary black belt. It seems like an odd concept. If you don't want to give out a "real" dan rank, then don't. I agree with ATC; keep the student at red/brown.
 

phfman

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Back in the 70's (when I was still teachning TSD) I would award a Youth Grade Black Belt, complete with a Youth Grade BB Diploma, when a student was under 16 at time of promotion. This in no way reflected a diminished technical skill level but rather a maturity/age level that I expected from my Adult BB holders. When he/she turned 16 if they had remained consistent with their training they were awarded the Adult BB Diploma. BTW, there was no difference in the testing requirements for either of them.
 

granfire

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I have never liked the junior black belt or the probationary black belt. It seems like an odd concept. If you don't want to give out a "real" dan rank, then don't. I agree with ATC; keep the student at red/brown.

but the power of the color!

It's the outward sign, as you can see just telling inside the community you have a BB, you might get an 'atta boy/girl' but not much more.

The outside is impressed.

But I don't get it either:
In the beginning we had the plain BB as probationary rank, no embroidery. You were handed that thing with the caution that you had to test for decided within 12 month or get bumped back to sr red (red with black stripe)
Then - right when I was getting to that mile marker - they changed it to give you the 'half-and-half' belt, half red, half black. I guess it looked too much like the Sr red belt, now they changed it to the 'oreo belt' black with white stripe. Still, you have to test for the next rank to get the good belt, with embroidery.

I am assuming that it is a purely $$ decision. The BB is to most not a mile marker but the end of the destination (part of the playboy checklist?): got it, done. So maybe in giving you a BB and not giving it to you they keep you around for another little while, maybe re-ignite the flame and keep you for longer after that.

On the other hand, I think that they are nice to have around while it lasts, but why would you want to go through great length catering to people who are not committed...
 

d1jinx

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if you went to a competition within that first year, what would you compete as?

I seem to remember one year some students wearing BBs in the advanced division (non-BB)... many people were confused when they saw them and most protested. I even think a few went and purchased Red belts and put them on.

So just curious, what do your people cpmpete as if they compete during that time??
 

granfire

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if you went to a competition within that first year, what would you compete as?

I seem to remember one year some students wearing BBs in the advanced division (non-BB)... many people were confused when they saw them and most protested. I even think a few went and purchased Red belts and put them on.

So just curious, what do your people cpmpete as if they compete during that time??


Good question, are they BBs or not...
 
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ralphmcpherson

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if you went to a competition within that first year, what would you compete as?

I seem to remember one year some students wearing BBs in the advanced division (non-BB)... many people were confused when they saw them and most protested. I even think a few went and purchased Red belts and put them on.

So just curious, what do your people cpmpete as if they compete during that time??
Generally we dont compete as our club is not affiliated with any orgs. We do however have 'inter club' competitions (we have several thousand members spanning the east coast of the country) and at these events the black belts compete at the black belt level. It first got me thinking because our black belts are referred to as "cho dan bo" and our 1st dans are referred to as "cho dan". I went and researched what cho dan bo meant in korean and apparantly it means "the rank directly below black belt" which had me a little confused. I agree with most sentiments here that you shouldnt be wearing a black belt until you reach 1st dan/degree. We are a very old club and have done it this way since the early 70's (before I was even born), so I wasnt sure if it was just an "old school" way of doing things.
 

jks9199

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I don't know... this seems to be a TKD thing. While we may have a lapse between formal initiation and earning the black belt, you're a black belt from the day you pass the test. Time things just right, and you could actually earn 2nd level before you're initiated...

It just doesn't make sense to me that you test for black belt, then sit on it for a year, though I guess it helps fight black belt flight, or at least delays it for a year.
 
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ralphmcpherson

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I don't know... this seems to be a TKD thing. While we may have a lapse between formal initiation and earning the black belt, you're a black belt from the day you pass the test. Time things just right, and you could actually earn 2nd level before you're initiated...

It just doesn't make sense to me that you test for black belt, then sit on it for a year, though I guess it helps fight black belt flight, or at least delays it for a year.
The funny thing is that many students get to black belt and then never train again but because the club doesnt call it a probationary or junior black belt the student actually thinks they are a black belt. They compete at club events as black belt, they can attend black belt class or 'black belt only' events so they dont know any different. Im sure if the student was made aware that they are not a 'real' black belt then they would stick around longer. Its only because Im curious on such things that I did some research and ended up quite confused.
 

terryl965

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Question for all of you, (What is a real Black Belt)? I mean if somebody awardsyou a BB then you have most likely meet that requirement so for them they are a BB in that school, but for GOD sake please refarm from saying they do not even relize they are not a BB.

Sorry things like this is open to interpitation from each andd everyone of us, ,y BB standards maybe higher than yours and vise versa. Now if you want to say that school BB would not be one inmy school go a head because I even say that but I never try totell someone that the BB they earned though their instructor is worthless because to them they did everything that was ask of them. :asian:
 

granfire

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Question for all of you, (What is a real Black Belt)? I mean if somebody awardsyou a BB then you have most likely meet that requirement so for them they are a BB in that school, but for GOD sake please refarm from saying they do not even relize they are not a BB.

Sorry things like this is open to interpitation from each andd everyone of us, ,y BB standards maybe higher than yours and vise versa. Now if you want to say that school BB would not be one inmy school go a head because I even say that but I never try totell someone that the BB they earned though their instructor is worthless because to them they did everything that was ask of them. :asian:

*shrug*
it's like the tootsie pop question, the world may never know.

I have seen kids, teens, carry themselves well as full BB, I have seen (or rather been impacted by, indirectly) high ranking BBs behave in somewhat questionable manner. Is it the skill, or the demeanor that makes a BB, or just that piece of cotton, covering no more than 2 inches of your backside?
 
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ralphmcpherson

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Question for all of you, (What is a real Black Belt)? I mean if somebody awardsyou a BB then you have most likely meet that requirement so for them they are a BB in that school, but for GOD sake please refarm from saying they do not even relize they are not a BB.

Sorry things like this is open to interpitation from each andd everyone of us, ,y BB standards maybe higher than yours and vise versa. Now if you want to say that school BB would not be one inmy school go a head because I even say that but I never try totell someone that the BB they earned though their instructor is worthless because to them they did everything that was ask of them. :asian:
The reason I said they "are not a real black belt" is because the club refers to them as cho dan bo meaning "the rank before black belt", so despite the fact they wear a black belt their title suggests otherwise, thus my confusion. Also, the fact that if they wished to change clubs (for instance) they dont actually have anything saying they are a bb, they may own a black piece of material but the club has not given them any sort of certification/documentation saying they are a black belt until they reach 1st dan/degree. Im certainly not suggesting they got their black belt easily or through lowered standards, in fact there are many, many clubs that will give you a black belt easier than our club will, but just that they have a "conflicting title" because on one hand they are considered a bb and on another they arent.
 

Steven Craig

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It could be something some of the TKD clubs did when they came out to Australia. As I am in the same situation as Ralph. There are some clubs here that have a half red half black belt as their Cho Dan Bo. The club I train at has a straight black they call Cho Dan Bo after red third and no black belt certificate is awarded for it. Most (but not all) the instructors call this a probationary black belt, but the certificates for Black Belt start at first degree.
Those who join just to get their BB head off after this level. In a way it separates those who are just doing it to get their BB and those who take the training more seriously as they are the ones who stick round after that level. I thought that my club was a little different doing it this way, but my neighbour who is from Korea claims that there are clubs over there that use a straight black as well over there (but I don't know if like mine it is Cho Dan Bo).
Realistically each and every organisation has a different level bar for what they think a BB is and what you need to obtain to get there. I must admit I did not feel like a BB until I achieved a stripe on my BB, even though I had been wearing a straight Black for 12 months.
 
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ralphmcpherson

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It could be something some of the TKD clubs did when they came out to Australia. As I am in the same situation as Ralph. There are some clubs here that have a half red half black belt as their Cho Dan Bo. The club I train at has a straight black they call Cho Dan Bo after red third and no black belt certificate is awarded for it. Most (but not all) the instructors call this a probationary black belt, but the certificates for Black Belt start at first degree.
Those who join just to get their BB head off after this level. In a way it separates those who are just doing it to get their BB and those who take the training more seriously as they are the ones who stick round after that level. I thought that my club was a little different doing it this way, but my neighbour who is from Korea claims that there are clubs over there that use a straight black as well over there (but I don't know if like mine it is Cho Dan Bo).
Realistically each and every organisation has a different level bar for what they think a BB is and what you need to obtain to get there. I must admit I did not feel like a BB until I achieved a stripe on my BB, even though I had been wearing a straight Black for 12 months.
That does sound quite similar to the set up where I train. Probably the only real difference is that very few of the instructors refer to the "straight" black belt as probationary/junior etc. The only way I thought something seemed strange was when I researched what cho dan bo meant and it seemed to conflict with the wearing of a black belt. In hindsight, if the club just called it a junior black belt it probably would have avoided any confusion from my end.
 

Balrog

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I am assuming that it is a purely $$ decision. The BB is to most not a mile marker but the end of the destination (part of the playboy checklist?): got it, done. So maybe in giving you a BB and not giving it to you they keep you around for another little while, maybe re-ignite the flame and keep you for longer after that.
Well.....

If the instructors have been doing their jobs right, the student should already be looking past 1st Degree by the time of their testing. In our school, we start them out using 1st Degree as their first long-term goal, but I always tell them that it's like setting a goal to graduate from high school. It's a great goal, but your education doesn't stop. The journey from White Belt to 1st Degree is learning the basics of Taekwondo. The journey from 1st Degree onward is learning the art of Taekwondo.
 
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