Scam or no?


Brown Belt
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Nov 27, 2001
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The 7th layer of Hell. Wisconsin, to the rest of y
There's something about my school that I'm not sure is a scam or not. When we test for 1st degree, we get certified by the Kukkiwon, or the Korean council on Tae Kwon Do. Now, to actually get our Kukkiwon ID, we have to stay within the school for a year after the test is passed. Is this a scam, or is this probationary period sanctioned?
This is actually standard for the TKD world. I have seen people waiting 4,5 and even 6 yrs to get their certification. This is done to keep your money rolling in. If you quit you will not get your certificate.
As an idea, call a few other TKD schools and ask them how their program works. Do it anonymously though. :)
The 6 month to 1 year probationary period is not uncommon. I don't know if it's a money-making method or not.
Seems suspcious to me I would take Kaith's advice and check around anonymously.
I think the Kukkiwon is the main headquarters for either the WTF or ITF. If this is the case, and they are actually sending your information there, then it may not be bogus. I'm guessing it would be like registering a Shotokan black belt with the JKA.

Kukkiwon is used for WTF. There's no need as far as I'm aware that you should have to stay at your school for an extra year after passing your grading. You may however have to wait a few weeks to recieve your certificate as it's got to be sent from Korea and recorded etc. I can only assume this is bogus as durring my time at my club, we've had two black belt gradings and they got their Kukkiwon without having to wait. We sent off for them and then they came within the month.
Originally posted by white dragon
Kukkiwon is used for WTF. There's no need as far as I'm aware that you should have to stay at your school for an extra year after passing your grading. You may however have to wait a few weeks to recieve your certificate as it's got to be sent from Korea and recorded etc. I can only assume this is bogus as durring my time at my club, we've had two black belt gradings and they got their Kukkiwon without having to wait. We sent off for them and then they came within the month.

Whoops! I forgot that the original post stated that he would have to stay at the school for a year. That part definitely sounds like a load of dung. Sounds like someone who has had a lot of his newly minted black belts leave soon after promotion.

It's really sad reading all the little scams that happen to people, even little things like that. :( I'm happy to say that as far as I know I'm not getting scammed for anything.... but you never know, sadly...
It is a scam.The instructor is just worried about you leaving and becoming his competition.
My old instructor would make you wait one to 2 years for certification after getting your black belt and you know why? If you quit in that time he just pocketed a few extra hundred dollars that were supposed to go to the federation. Sleazebag.

Damian Mavis
Honour TKD
A few extra hundred dollars?!? What was that money meant to be for!?
Well i'm going to play devil's advocate a little.

This may be a scam, but why assume it is just because you have to wait?

The probationary period is instituted in a lot of places I've been to, talked about, or heard of. It can be a valuable tool for the instructor to determine whether you're going to act like a black belt once you test for it, or, in my opinion, act like an ungrateful brat and walk out the door. part of beinga black belt involves loyalty. part of being a black belt is contributing something back to your instructor and the school that got you there. So ask yourself, if i can't wait 6 months to a year, do I really deserve it?

Ou mentality nowdays seems to be the whole "fast food" situation: I paid my dues, now give it to me, and give it to me now. I think that's sad, personally.

I don't know if I really argued my point well, but i have to ask what's so bad about waiting? why do you want to run out the door as soon as you get your black belt anyway? That mentality just confirms the reason for the probationary period. If you're going to walk away from your trainingas soon as i hand you the belt, why did i even bother letting you test?

Think about waht your instructor and your school has invested in you.

now, with all that said, I don't know all the details. If they are charging you ridiculous fees for extras along the way, then look out for a scam. But if they say we want to see how you conduct yourself before you get promoted, well that doesn't necessarily spell out scam to me.

By the ay, the way it's always been usedin my system is that you get the belt after you test, but you don't get official certification until you've passed through 6 months of probation. It's a matter of giving someone the belt and the authority and seeing how they use it. Fogive me if this frame of reference has led me to misunderstand what others are saying.
Why give a belt to someone you're unsure is worthy of wearing it? Why not first wait 6 months or so then decide if they will conduct themselves in a manner respectful to the belt, THEN grade them. Rather than making someone pay for a grading, giving them a belt THEN making up your mind if they deserve to wear it.

The probation idea is good, but BEFORE you grade, not after so you have to pay more fees to the club. Some people CAN'T stay at their current club for another year after grading, people move, have children, doesn't mean they haven't earned their belt. My main club is a university club, people stay with us for 3 to 4 years normally. Some make it to black belt, but because they won't be at the university any longer we can't expect them to stay around for another year after getting a black belt, if they've earned one.

I kind of understand about not giving the certificate till a while after and making sure they're ready, but if you had yout doubts why grade them?
I can understand 6 month waiting period but not 1 to 2 years which is what my instructor was doing.

After I left he made some changes.... people were always complaining they wanted their certificate when they got their black belt so he would make his own school certificate and if they wanted an official federation certificate they had to pay another $ he basically doubled the price for something that was only supposed to cost a one time fee of $350

THEN.... people complained about that so he just started making his own "official" federation certificates that cost a couple dollars to make and gave those out with the black belts without ever having registered them through the federation or giving any money to the federation. YIKES

Damian Mavis
Honour TKD
What the F*#k?!? You pay how much for a grading?!? I don't care even if it is for a blackbelt. He's grading you right, how can he justify charging that much to grade you?!? What is he doing that's worth paying $350 for? Do you get a free wide-screen tv with your belt or something??? And then asking for $350 more for your certificate is just plain WRONG. The cost of an official certificate is next to nothing, you may have to pay a little for postage but that won't be much as it'll just be a light poster tube.

Our club gives out certificates for all gradings, so that people have something they can keep as a momento. We also have grading/insurance books which are signed the day you grade, stating you've graded. This is proof of your grading and will be accepted in any club. If you want an official certificate for Kup gradings we do give them out but they'll take a couple of weeks to come in and we'll ask about 瞿1.50 for it (just to cover the cost of postage). For a BB grading we always give out the official certificate, free. But again these will take a couple of weeks to come through.

I can't see how that guy can even justify asking for the prices he expects you to pay. It's people like him that are giving TKD a bad name.
The cost of an official certificate is about $200..hardly next to nothing haha.

Well... what federation are you with? $350 Canadian is standard for black belt in Canada.... most of that money goes to the headquarters in Vienna (or used to until recently), it's what the federation charges for the "official" certificate...that's what they charge everybody... I think it's like $200 Canadian goes to federation and the rest goes to the tester who sits there testing you for 2 days at 6 hours each day. So..... either your instructor isn't giving out official certificates OR things are completely different for the UK ..OR your in another federation?

As a side note.. (and I'm sure that all WTF isn't like this but) the only WTF school in my city is controlled by a 9th degree.... which means he sets his own prices, he charges $1000 for a black belt. AND PEOPLE PAY IT! yikes

Damian Mavis
Honour TKD
I'm with the WTF, actually to be fair I thinking abot it I think you do actually have to pay more for a BB certificate, something like 瞿50 or so, but our club covers that in the cost of the grading. The grading by the way is 瞿9, same as any other belt, although you will be there for a LOT longer :) As far as I know this is pretty standard. A friend recently had to go to take his 4th Dan and paid something like 瞿200 for this, including certificate. This was because 2 people needed to be flown in from Korea and the coast of them coming over to grade was devided out between the people grading that day. So if there had been more grading it would have cost less. Just luck of the draw really. I think if it gets any more than 瞿250 they push it off for another 3 months or so, so more people can take the grading.

$1,000 for a black belt? Yikes indeed! Man that better be worth the money, for that much I'd expect to be like Jet Li! :)
Sounds like you guys get a pretty good deal going on in WTF in your part of the UK..or maybe just at your school. The WTF school here run by a Grandmaster no less, is totally scamming by charging such outrageous prices....but he can do it because he controls the whole city for WTF. Any other WTF school is shut down or put out of business by him ( he has the power and influence to do this because hes 9th degree) So if you want WTF Tae Kwon Do, you pay his prices...thankgod im ITF.

Damian Mavis
Honour TKD
Yet more corruption! It sounds stupid that in modern times people can still have other clubs shut down because they have the influence. It sounds just like being a gangster!

I know personally I do have a sweet deal due to the type of club I go to. But my other club (when not at uni) charges a bit more for lessons (only about 瞿3 a lesson) and all gradings up to 3rd Dan are free, including certificates.

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