Teaching cert and price


Master Black Belt
Apr 1, 2002
Reaction score
Rochester area, NY
Hiya all. I need your oppinion on something. Anyways here goes:

My school has a teaching cert program, which is good, but here's my problem. Normally in our school it takes 4 to 5 years to get BB. But with this teaching program, it takes 2 years (3 years for 2nd dan). They "rush" you for $900 (yes I said $900). but they offer classes (Leadership training classes) on teaching, and training you to teach as well.

BUT, at red belt, you are required to take these classes anyway (without plopping down the bucks). If you take the course for $900, you can start at green belt.

I'd love to take this course to get certified, but I can't afford that kinda money. I think it's kinda pricy in my opinion. Plus I seen two people are taking it, and they are having a rough time trying to keep up with all the material.

But yet, in my TSD school, you didn't have to pay that kind of money to learn to teach. You were called to teach by the instructor and he watched as you did your thing. You learn by trail and error, and he would correct you if needed to help you along. I have taught many classes (or assisted) many times that way. But there was no cert for it, but fun anyways.

Opinions anyone?
Personally, I would say "don't rush".

What's the point in rushing through? Getting a BB sooner, or being "qualified" to teach? Either way, the rush ain't worth the price, IMHO.

Getting your Black is a personal journey, not a set timeline. Some people can do it in 2 years, others (like myself) take much longer. That is a personal decision between you and your instructor. Amount of money spent should have nothing to do with it.

As far as teaching goes, good teachers are *developed*, not cranked out. I don't care how much you read or get "certified" with classes--if you don't have the in-class experience, being taught by other teachers and getting to know your school's "personal" system, then you won't get the right skills.

Do you really need the cert? If not, and you are allowed to teach, then go for it. Follow your heart, not anyone's telling you what you "need" to do. If you get the classes later with no cost, take them then. You will have plenty more experience to bring to the table.

If given the opportunity to advance more quickly, in my opinion, you are often given the opportunity to short-change yourself. Take the path that matches your own goals and price range. *Learn* the skills you need, don't let someone try to flood or spoon-feed you.

Just my 2 cents' worth.....


A quote: "If someone offers you the world on a silver platter, take the platter"
BB in two years 2nd in 3???? Sounds a little fishy to me.

Despair Bear
Thanks Tonbo :) I think you are so right. Thanks for the advice. I'll just stick with the monthly fee, and just LEARN the techniques, not rush. Because I know I can teach. I've done it. I've even had people come up to me in both schools asking me to show them stuff .... I'm not patting myself on the back, but that's what is happening.

Anyone else?
That sounds like cash for belt to me. Espeacially starting at green belt. If your brand new how can you possably deserve to wear a green belt except for the fact that you forked over $900?

There is no way you could be a decent 2nd Dan just as a student in 3 years, never mind a good instructor. Even if you trained 8 hours a day you wouldn't have the experience that time brings. Took me 9 1/2 years to get my 2nd Dan. (Bearing in mind I started at age 7.)

I think you've got the right idea, just be patient, learn all you can and show those "2nd Dan's" who really deserves there rank.;)
Listen, Karate Kid..... I run my own TKD school so when I tell you this its because I know what other instructors are doing and why. GET OUT OF THAT SCHOOL NOW! Any school that gives faster rank based on more money you give them is a farce and a McDojo. They are not interested in you or your skills only your money. In about 10 years you will finally realise what I'm telling you on your own but by then its too late.

Damian Mavis
Honour TKD

I'm not new to the martial arts. I was a green belt once before and I busted my a$$ to get there. But I agree with you about being a decent 2nd dan thing. It takes YEARS of training.


Thanks for your advice. Other than this $900 crap for the teaching cert, my dojang is pretty good. We train hard, and the instructors are pretty good. Some of the kids that go there aren't serious about their training (which pisses me off, because why be there if you don't take training seriously), but I am. We had a very cool self defense class yesterday, so the REAL classes are fine in my opinion. But I still think the $900 thing is a little steep.

BUT, I won't let them sucker me for that kind of money. I'll just train hard, not rush, and prove that I wanna teach the old fashioned way :D
I'm glad thats the only thing they seem to do that looks greedy. Keep your eyes open for anything else in the future though. So how old are these kids that dont train hard?

Damian Mavis
Honour TKD
The kids that I'm talking about are 12, 14, 16, and 17 I think. There's a few of them. But yet there's 10 year old white belts that take it more serious then them (and they have better tech too). So I switched to day classes to train with adults that take it more serious. Most of the folks in the day class are really cool, and they train really hard, which is fine with me.
Well I'll tell ya, I don't offer any classes were adults train with children for that very reason. What adult wants to train with kids? Kids for the most part are on a completely different mental level than adults and just want to do "fun" stuff while adults want to learn and train seriously and adults think fatigue and pain are "fun". I'm not surprised you don't like training with kids, I AM surprised that you have some kids at the school that train seriously enough for you to take notice and think that is normal for kids because its not! haha Kids are kids. Sure I've got some kids that are serious and I cherish them, because they are not your average kid, they are definately special.

Damian Mavis
Honour TKD
I think an instructor charging a student to teach is rediculous. Every time I've taught a class, its been because my instructor is giving a private lesson, couldn't make a class, was on the phone, or had to talk with a student, so I'm doing him a favor by covering the class. I like teaching, and I learn a lot, but most of the time, if you end up teaching (and are not getting paid), you are doing the owner/instructor a favor and shouldn't get charged for the priveledge. Now, if they're certifying you to teach private lessons, or paying you to teach group classes, that may be a different story, but for the scenario you described, it seems more like you're paying for rank and/or the priveledge of teaching. Someone should teach because they're qualified, not because they paid an extra $900 bucks. Its a priveledge that should be earned, not bought.
I agree, Damian. I think they should raise the "adult" age for the adult class. You have to be 12 to be in the adult class. I think it should be 16. For one, you can't test for a BB (only junior BB) till you're 16.

I also agree with you, Night. That's how it was in my TSD school. We were not "charged" to teach. We were asked to. And it was an honor for me to be asked to teach. Because the first time I was asked, I was only a green belt (6th gup/kyu). I didn't think I had the right stuff to teach. I told my instructor that later, and he said that he wouldn't have asked if I didn't.

So, I do totally agree with you on that :)
Sounds like a good idea to me but not well executed.

I don't have the experiene of running a school so Damian's advice is well-worth listening to.

But I think:
1. The program is too expensive
2. It starts too late. I mean, if it is free one belt later, why pay the money at all?

I have a plan to develop a Black Belt club which sounds similar to what you are being offered but my plan is more or less like this and it is subject to change:
1. Regular classes will be 2hrs, twice a week.
2. For more money up front, and less money per month and a contractual obligation I will teach these guys an extra 30mins per day. We will go through everything faster and together. We will focus more on the curriculum and less on conditioning. I will rush these guys through as fast as they can go. I will see them every day, well 4 days a week. Maybe 5.

This may sound like the previous bad idea, but here is my motive.

I will be starting as a club and taking only about 20 students. I want to pick 8-12 for this Black Belt club and teach them as fast as they can learn in addition to the regular classes.

I want to get them to Black belt in 4 years so I can open a larger school and have 8-12 black belts in place. I will be looking at them to see that they can do what I need them to do.

That is my plan.

But to offer a "Black Belt Club" at Brown Belt for example would seem silly and it seems like what they are doing at your school.

My need is to speed some people along to be able to teach when I'm open. Teaching has always been part of the program where I have been. It does not cost extra. You are required to start teaching at Brown an learning to teach is part of how you get to Black Belt so it seems funny that they may have this separated out for you.

Also, I take it you are not at a TSD School now? Is TSD=Tang Soo Do? What are you studying now?
Just my 2cents.
Hiya Doug.

No, I don't take TSD (Tang Soo Do) now :( I moved, and I couldn't find a dojang, so I chose TKD (the closest art to TSD ..... actually Shotokan is, but couldn't that either).
Well, if 4 years 5 days a week is rushed.....how long does it normally take to get black belt in your art? And your idea for getting 10 to 12 black belts ready in 4 years is a good one but talking from experience, you're going to find out that people are really committed at first but only 15% actually stick it out to black belt. Maybe you'll have a few more than that stay with the program for 4 years but....I can't imagine the exact same 12 you pick now will all still be there in 4 years. I've never seen it done but maybe it's possible!

Damian Mavis
Honour TKD
Originally posted by Damian Mavis

Well, if 4 years 5 days a week is rushed.....how long does it normally take to get black belt in your art? ....I can't imagine the exact same 12 you pick now will all still be there in 4 years.
Damian Mavis
Honour TKD

I agree. I usually post in the Kenpo section so I wasn't thinking you wouldn't know I was talking about Kenpo.

It usually takes 4-5 years to get a Black Belt in Kenpo. Depending on the school 2 classes a week for about 2 hours may be enough, if you are practicing on your own at least 5 hours a week. I don't know. I have been going sporadically, but we had a guy that trained 4hrs/day for 4 years and Almost made it to Black. It depends on the school, but whatever the program I don't think most American Kenpo schools have many black belts that got there in less than 4 years.

I also agree that I won't keep the same 12, but I hope I can start with 12 or more and have at Least 4 by the time I'm done. I expect to maybe pick-up 1 or 2 after we get going, and have to drag them along. I want to have them teaching 1 class each, M-Th and maybe have 3-5 classes/day M-Sat. So as long as I can start with 4 I will make it work.

By the way, is there an average time to get to black belt in TKD? Does it depend on the type of TKD? How many types are there?
Yes, the average time in the 2 major federations (ITF and WTF) for black belt is 3 years. And honestly if you do traditional TKD then 3 years is good for becoming fairly proficient at the techniques since there arent alot of them. (mostly various kicks and a few punches, ridge hand and knife hand) However, my black belts after 3 years really suck in traditional TKD compared to other schools. Not because they lack skill or I'm not a good instructor but because instead of spending 3 years focusing on just kicking drills I spend half the classes doing grappling or knee, elbow and headbutt strikes. Then sometimes we are doing weaponry and panic attack drills. I teach TKD as a street defence art and that would be impossible without incorporating other ranges that traditional TKD does not deal with.

Damian Mavis
Honour TKD
I do WTF TKD, and it takes 4 years in my school. They do a lot of self defense, some weapons, some "realistic" training once in a while, ect. Most of it is "WTF" TKD at first. We work a lot on basics, then move to the good stuff in the advanced class.

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