Thoughts on my curriculum plan

Dirty Dog

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I just don’t know much about tkd but I’m curious as i am about any MA. So more about how your training is affecting the whole person? I mean, that makes sense to me on multiple levels. A gauge if you will. How many students do you have? How many in say, the average adult class at one time?
Pretty much, yes. There are also some factual essays, like questions about the history of TKD and the MDK, but mostly about perceptions, views, attitudes, goals.
My teaching has always been free, in a YMCA-based program. I have zero interest in commercial schools.
Class size varies wildly. For the most part, the students are people who could never afford the financial or time commitment most commercial ventures ask for. So it's not uncommon for people to train sporadically. I think the smallest class I've ever taught was 5-6 people. The largest about 50. On average, I'd say 20-25 in a class would be typical.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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Pretty much, yes. There are also some factual essays, like questions about the history of TKD and the MDK, but mostly about perceptions, views, attitudes, goals.
My teaching has always been free, in a YMCA-based program. I have zero interest in commercial schools.
Class size varies wildly. For the most part, the students are people who could never afford the financial or time commitment most commercial ventures ask for. So it's not uncommon for people to train sporadically. I think the smallest class I've ever taught was 5-6 people. The largest about 50. On average, I'd say 20-25 in a class would be typical.
Wow 50 is huge. I can hardly imagine 20. Free is best. Let’s you concentrate on teaching. Thanks for the response.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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Pretty much, yes. There are also some factual essays, like questions about the history of TKD and the MDK, but mostly about perceptions, views, attitudes, goals.
My teaching has always been free, in a YMCA-based program. I have zero interest in commercial schools.
Class size varies wildly. For the most part, the students are people who could never afford the financial or time commitment most commercial ventures ask for. So it's not uncommon for people to train sporadically. I think the smallest class I've ever taught was 5-6 people. The largest about 50. On average, I'd say 20-25 in a class would be typical.
One more question, how long did it take to build to that number of students? We never have reached more than 50 total, let alone 50 in one class.
 

J. Pickard

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No. This may be true of your branch (I assume it is) but certainly not all. There are still those who believe that hogu are for kumdo.
We make all minors wear hogu for contact sparring, but if you are 18 plus you have enough critical thinking skills to make your own choice. Personally I hate wearing one so I don't but I always encourage it for our students when doing heavy contact in sparring. Face shields are a must though so we can practice punches to the face.
Now it's sitting closer to 50%, with a slight majority towards "no essay".
Have you thought of maybe a portfolio or notebook system? I always considered essays as a way to get students to take an introspective look at their development through the art but there are lots of ways to do that for those that struggle with writing. We don't require but do recommend students keep a notebook or martial arts portfolio/scrapbook of sorts. I personally have somewhere around 30 notebooks with various thoughts on MA that I've had over the years, things I learned during classes that I thought were important or as my instructor used to say "a gold nugget from the lesson", various quotes that I found connected with my training, etc. I have a student currently that does a scrapbook type portfolio filled with essays, rank certificates, photos, magazine/internet articles, and images of her training. It is basically her MA training through the years as a scrap book.

As far as forms training, why not introduce koryo at 1st gup? It's not really any more complex than Taegeuk 8, arguably less complex actually. I have seen some TKD schools in the past make it so that in between the last colored belt and 1st dan instead of learning a new already existing form they have to develop their own and explain the principles and philosophy of their form, maybe that can be an option too? Just a thought.

I never understood the time in grade thing either. Not a criticism, it looks like you have a good system laid out overall, but I don't get the idea of time being equated to any given rank. Rank should be representative of a students knowledge and skill in the art they are training and not everyone learns at the same pace. I know a lot of people who got fairly high up in rank just because they stuck around long enough but to be frank, they absolutely sucked and had no deeper understanding of any aspect of their art than an intermediate rank.
 
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Have you thought of maybe a portfolio or notebook system? I always considered essays as a way to get students to take an introspective look at their development through the art but there are lots of ways to do that for those that struggle with writing. We don't require but do recommend students keep a notebook or martial arts portfolio/scrapbook of sorts. I personally have somewhere around 30 notebooks with various thoughts on MA that I've had over the years, things I learned during classes that I thought were important or as my instructor used to say "a gold nugget from the lesson", various quotes that I found connected with my training, etc. I have a student currently that does a scrapbook type portfolio filled with essays, rank certificates, photos, magazine/internet articles, and images of her training. It is basically her MA training through the years as a scrap book.
I will definitely suggest students take notes. But I'm not going to tell them how to take them.

As far as forms training, why not introduce koryo at 1st gup? It's not really any more complex than Taegeuk 8, arguably less complex actually. I have seen some TKD schools in the past make it so that in between the last colored belt and 1st dan instead of learning a new already existing form they have to develop their own and explain the principles and philosophy of their form, maybe that can be an option too? Just a thought.

Considered, but don't want to. My Master doesn't require Koryo to get 1st Dan, but does require Keumgang for 2nd, and so on. One of the things I'm trying to move away from is the burden of memorization that my Master puts on folks.

The only reason I'd add in extra forms after black belt is that you're at that level for quite some time. 1 year to learn 2-3 forms is easier than 3 months to learn 1 form.

I never understood the time in grade thing either. Not a criticism, it looks like you have a good system laid out overall, but I don't get the idea of time being equated to any given rank. Rank should be representative of a students knowledge and skill in the art they are training and not everyone learns at the same pace. I know a lot of people who got fairly high up in rank just because they stuck around long enough but to be frank, they absolutely sucked and had no deeper understanding of any aspect of their art than an intermediate rank.

It's a minimum. If they're not ready in that time, then they can wait until they are. I don't want to promote someone if they can't even do the current material. Part of it is to give the instructors enough time to see how the student is doing before inviting them to test. That way decisions aren't made based on a snapshot. The student may have a good day, or an instructor may be in a lenient mood.

The black belt time-in-grade requirements are Kukkiwon's, so I'm pretty much stuck with those.
 

Dirty Dog

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One more question, how long did it take to build to that number of students? We never have reached more than 50 total, let alone 50 in one class.
The program had been in place for about 20 years before I joined, which was about 15 years ago.
 
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And I really don't get the whoe essay thing for martial arts... what are you trying to do with that?
Some of it is introspective. Some of it is to get them to think about things like self-defense, improving techniques, etc. Some of it is to make sure they know at least a basic history of the art, so you don't have people claiming that this is a 2000 year old art that the Koreans used for war.
The essay part sounds a little intimidating since I don’t write well. I wonder what topics and what is a passing grade?
I think some of the students may have had help with their parents. It's more about putting your thoughts onto the paper than anything specific. Now that I think about it, we did have one or two students that were exempted.
 
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On the same subject as the essays, my Master decided to do a new tradition recently, where the kids would do a video for their parents, where they could express their thanks. This was right after COVID lockdowns started, and parents were no longer allowed inside the school (except to conduct business). The first testing he did this, it went very well. The second...not so much. The kicker was this speech from one of the teenagers:

"I would like to thank my parents for paying for my Taekwondo. I wouldn't be able to go to class if they didn't pay for it. I would also like to thank them for paying for my black belt test. It's a wonderful opportunity that they paid for, and I wouldn't be able to test if they didn't pay for it."

For some reason, this wasn't the heartfelt message my Master was hoping for.
 

Ji Yuu

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I've been working on my own personal curriculum for several years now. I'm currently in major revision #4, minor revision #3 of the design, and I think I've got it mostly where I want it. I've gotten advice from a fellow classmate of mine (3rd Dan in my organization, 4th Dan in another, and with 20+ years of martial arts training in different arts during his military service), from my parents (2nd and 3rd Dans from my school), and from a friend who has no experience at all (which is the demographic that most of my students will fall into). I'm not going to go into all of the specifics here. What I will do is cover a high-level view, and maybe a medium-level view of my curriculum.

Belt System - While there is no standard in KKW for belts, it seems that the closest we have to a standard is what you see in KKW promotional material and in a lot of local tournaments. This is a ten keub system of White, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Red (before Black). Each color comes with two belts: a solid and a stripe.

Each belt color has a shared curriculum that includes punches, kicks, blocks, sparring, and a few miscellaneous items. Each individual belt has unique forms and self-defense concepts. In this way, a "white belt class" can work together as a whole class for 75% of the time, and in smaller groups for the other 25%. Black Belts will mostly follow suit, with 2nd and 3rd Dan being treated somewhat the same as stripes on a colored belt. There are new forms and self-defense ideas, but most of the basic techniques will be done by all black belts.

Colored belt requirement is 3 months time-in-grade before the next test. Tests will be held every month (either replacing a single class day, or in addition to classes, I'll figure that out when I get the schedule up and running). Tests would be the 3rd week of the month, as this will avoid the major holidays of Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and the 4th of July. This brings us to a minimum of 2.5 years to get your black belt, which I feel is enough time that it's not a McDojo, but also not so long that I'm sandbagging my students.

Techniques - The main concept of my design is that I am not doing rote memorized combinations. The only rote material in my curriculum is the forms. What I'm presenting here is an abridged version. Especially the self-defense, I'll be covering the themes, not the entire strategy at each belt
Belt ColorHand TechniquesKicksSolid Self-DefenseStriped Self-DefenseSparringWeapons
WhiteHorse Stance Punches
Basic Punches
Basic Blocks
Basic Hand Strikes
(Hammerfist, Chop, Palm)
Front Kick
Roundhouse Kick
Side Kick
Stretch Kick
Basic Strike Defense
Wrist Escapes
Basic Sweep
Basic Strike Defense part 2
Hip/Shoulder Throw
"Setting Anchors" for throws
Throw footwork
Non-Contact sparringN/A
YellowElbow Strikes
Spinning Strikes
Intermediate Blocks
Outside Axe Kick
Back Kick
Basic Jump Kicks
Basic Footwork
(Steps, Slides, Switches)
Punch Defense - Block & Catch
Arm Locks
Punch Defense - Take-Downs
Finishing Strike
Get Sparring Gear
Intro to Contact Sparring
N/A
GreenAdvanced Hand Strikes
Two-Hand Elbow Strikes
X-Blocks
Combination Theory
Hook Kick
Turning Roundhouse Kick
Basic Kick Variants
Intermediate Footwork
Jump Back Kick
Double Front/Round Kick
Intermediate Footwork
(Laterals, Kick while moving, finding rhythm)
Kick Defense: Sweeps
Grab Defense: Intermediate Sweeps
Wrist Locks
"Tap Out"
Kick Defense Finishing Strikes
Intermediate Throws
Hand Locks
Standing Armbars
Point-Break Sparring
Scoring Rules
Punching in WT
Basic Theory: Height & Reach
Basic Nunchaku
BlueBoxing Style Punches
Two-Hand Blocks
Crescent Kick
Spin Hook Kick
Tornado Kick
Check Side Kick
When to Lean In/Back
Strength vs. Speed
Advanced Footwork
360 Back Kick
Consecutive Kicks (Triple+)
Flowing Punch Defense
Grab Defense: Apply to new grab positions (arm, shoulder, lapel, grabbed from behind)
Goosenecks
Punch Defense: Evasion
Grab Defense: Rear Double Grabs
Advanced Details for Yellow/Green Techniques
2-on-1 Sparring
Age 14+: Headshots
Intermediate Theory: Stances, Feints, ?-Chamber, Push Kicks/Defense
Basic Bo Staff
RedAdvanced Boxing
Efficient Blocks
Advanced Crescent Kicks
"Whip Kicks" (point-sparring variants)
Swing Kicks (footwork on recoil)
Flick Kicks (multiple kicks without putting foot down)
Double Back Kick
Jump Spin Hook Kick
Kick Defense: Leg Locks
Ground Sweeps
Arm Ties
Body Grab Defense
Escrima Defense

Awareness/Avoidance/De-Escalation
Kick Defense: Ankle Locks
Rolling Toss
Armbar Take-Downs
Seated Armbars
Scenario Sparring (self-defense sparring situations)
3-on-1 Sparring
WT Clinch Basics
Advanced Theory: Setups, Beating Blocks, Advanced Range Management
Basic Escrima
Advanced Nunchaku

This chart doesn't cover the Black Belt curriculum, but the idea is the same. The general concept for self-defense is that techniques that are more difficult or more dangerous go later in the curriculum. I also tried to keep a theme for each belt color, so quite often striped belts will do very similar techniques to solid, but with the addition of a finishing move.

Forms - Compared with some schools that like to have a lot of forms, I want to focus on what students are likely to need to know when interacting with other schools, whether it's going to another KKW school, or going to a WT tournament. The only forms colored belts will do are Taegeuk forms. This will simplify the memorization requirements, and make it less confusing than learning two different styles of forms. Solid white belts will not have a form requirement. They will practice Taegeuk 1 with the striped white belts for familiarity. Striped white through solid red will do Taegeuk 1-8. Striped Red will be a review belt, to polish all of the Taegeuks before black belt.

I realize that Taegeuk 1 is a bit complex for the first form. But I also know that some other schools only do the Taegeuks with no Kibon form. I think it will be easier on the solid white belts to NOT have a form than to have a Kibon form (since they already have so much thrown at them), and it will be easier for striped white belts to learn a form they've already spent a few months dabbling with, than to transition from a Kibon form to a new form.

Black Belts will do the Yudanja form (Koryo, Keumgang, Taebaek) for their level. I may create some of my own forms using the styles I grew up with. I feel black belts have plenty of time to learn additional forms, and plenty of experience in the Taegeuks to not be too confused by a new style. Thus far, I have made 0 progress on creating these. It's on my to-do list.

Leadership - One of my goals is to create future leaders. Starting with green belts, they will learn how to hold a different target in each belt color. Starting with blue belts, there will be leadership skills built.
  • Green - Kick Shields
  • Blue - Elbow Pads, Lead Stretching
  • Red - Paper Targets, Assistant Instructor (hold targets, help keep kids on-task, setup and breakdown for drills)
  • 1st Dan - Paddle Targets, small groups w/ supervision
  • 2nd Dan - Class w/ supervision, small group solo
  • 3rd Dan - Class solo
Specific levels of responsibility may change depending on availability. For example, early on in my school's lifespan, mid-level colored belts may have more responsibility than I have written out. When the school is mature, I plan to follow this more closely.

Testing - There are two major phases to the test. The first is done in class. It's the "are you ready to test" test. The second is a formal test, which is held in front of a panel of judges. The informal test covers the entire curriculum, including self-defense, weapon skills, and a lot of the concepts and footwork that aren't going to be on the formal test. A student may be capable of passing the formal test, but if they are still working on some of the other material, they will wait to test until they are completely ready. I don't want students to be promoted if they aren't ready for the next level.

The formal test is a 14-step affair:
  1. Judge introduction and opening remarks
  2. Stretching
  3. Punches
  4. Kicks
  5. Blocks
  6. Breakfalls
  7. Combinations (rapid-fire round)
  8. Forms
  9. Line Drills
  10. Self-Defense
  11. Sparring
  12. Breaking
  13. Black Belt essays
  14. Closing remarks
Punches, kicks, blocks, breakfalls, and forms will be done in formation. Emphasis will be placed on individual techniques, not on combinations or footwork. White belts will only do single punches or kicks, where higher belts may do up to 3-4 punches in a combination, or 2 kicks in a combination. After white belt techniques are done, they will take a short break while yellow and up continue, and so on.

Combinations are a rapid-fire round of combining block + punch, kick + punch, or punch + kick. These will be called out rapid-fire, and students will be expected to do the correct technique right away. This is more a test of vocabulary and focus, as well as how to combine techniques together, than a test of the individual techniques.

Line Drills are drills moving across the mat. These will include freestyle combinations (show the student's confidence and expression), as well as jump kicks for yellow and up.

Self-defense - starting with blue, I will have students create their own one-steps to perform. Starting with black belt, students will also be tested on situational self-defense (i.e. their partner will be given an instruction on a grab or attack, and they will have to defend). This will take longer than rote memorized defenses if there are a large number of high-level students, but I also only plan to have them do 2, 3, or 5 (at blue, red, and black) instead of potentially 50-100 one-steps like you have in some curriculums, so it will balance out.

Sparring - sparring will be done at the level of the student. Non-contact for white belt, contact warmups for yellow and up, scored round for green and up, and 2-on-1, 3-on-1, etc. for blue and up. Scored round will be a motivation to do well, you're not graded on whether you win or lose.

Breaking - each belt has a specific break, as well as possibly some "review breaks" that come from previous belts. I haven't decided 100% if I want to do review breaks, as review breaks means more time and lumber. Breaks are chosen similar to self-defense - to be an increase in technical difficulty, based on my experience with various breaks. With the exception of white belt, I plan to not do "new" techniques for breaking. For example, yellow belts just learned back kick, so they won't break with back kick.

Black Belt essays - At my current school, black belts read their essays at the end of their testing. This takes a considerable amount of time. I'm 50/50 on whether I want to require essays. If I do, it will take less time, because black belt testings will be held more frequently, so there will be less students reading essays at each test.

This is the third or fourth version of my test, which has changed wildly. My original plan was to try to cover every technique and concept, but that just got confusing. Then I was just going to do forms, breaks, and sparring, but I wanted to emphasize the foundations of the techniques. I think I've struck a happy medium, where my test subjects are challenged, but not overwhelmed.

Conclusion - Thanks to anyone who made it this far. Some of my ideas and sanity checks came from this site.
Yours looks much like mine minus the weapons. I use TKD along with Hap Ki Do; I trained in both beginning in 1975. I also do not train or teach for competition. Self defense only. That means we target head to toe. We even use the same rank color scheme with stripes.
 

WaterGal

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The essay part sounds a little intimidating since I don’t write well. I wonder what topics and what is a passing grade?
We have our TKD black belt testers submit an essay. For first dan/poom, we're basically looking for something in the vein of "My Martial Arts Journey".

For the younger students, this is basically something like
"My name is [name], and this essay is about my journey to black belt. I started Taekwondo when I was 7 years old and I was shy and getting bullied at school. My parents signed me up for classes at [dojang] and I was nervous but found out that it was fun! I came to classes 3 times every week and worked really hard. Sparring was scary at first because people were kicking me. But then I got better at sparring and wasn't scared any more. This made me more confident. Sometimes I had a hard time remembering my form, and one time I failed a test and had to redo it! This taught me not to give up. I had some great coaches such as [name] and other [name] and they helped me a lot. Now after working hard for 3 years, I'm testing for my black belt today. That is my black belt journey. Thank you."

Teens and adults will usually write something more thoughtful and introspective, but it's still basically a personal essay about their experiences. Once people are going for higher dan levels, we start expecting them to write a bit about theory/history/ethics/etc, but so far we've left it pretty open ended. It's basically an exercise in thinking about Taekwondo and writing a page or three about it.
 

auntlisa1103

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My school doesn’t require essays, but we do go to the judges’ table to be interviewed at the end of our test. We are quizzed on form names, terminology, a little history, favorite/least favorite aspects of the art/training, constructive feedback on our performance, etc. That said, GM also tells us we earn rank every day in class and promotion test is more a ceremony/chance to show off.

We do have one husband and wife duo who require an essay of anyone who asks them to sponsor them for Temp Cho Dan before they will work with you (in order to test from first gup to Temp aka probationary Cho Dan you have to get three black belts other than GM to sign off that you are ready). But that’s not sanctioned by the school, it’s just them.
 

Dirty Dog

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We do have one husband and wife duo who require an essay of anyone who asks them to sponsor them for Temp Cho Dan before they will work with you (in order to test from first gup to Temp aka probationary Cho Dan you have to get three black belts other than GM to sign off that you are ready). But that’s not sanctioned by the school, it’s just them.
I don't want to be pedantic, but I think I am...
There are a lot of things that just do not translate well from Korean to English.
"Cho Dan Bo" means, literally, half a black belt. In context, it is translated as black belt candidate.
The term "Cho Dan" doesn't actually mean anything; it's incomplete. If you google it, you will find Cho Dan Bo, and a few people confusing Cho Dan with the Japanese term Shodan (1st degree black belt).
Saying "temp" or "probationary" Cho Dan Bo is redundant.
It's sort of like when people talk about "bo staff". Bo means staff, so talking about staff staff is just silly.

It's not a huge thing, as long as your school knows what you mean. It will, however, stand out to anyone who speaks even a little Korean.
When I first joined the Moo Duk Kwan, the chief instructor was called Sabumnim and assistant instructors were called Sabum. They didn't realize it, but this is actually an insult.
Sabum means teacher, must like Sensei. The -nim suffix is an honorific, meant to signify respect. I do not think you will EVER find a Korean adding -nim for themselves.
So Sabumnim means 'respected teacher' and Sabum means 'teacher' without the respect.

I agree 100% with your schools attitude towards testing. If someone is ready to promote, the instructor should know that.
In our system, it's not possible to fail. If you get nervous or something and can't perform some aspect of the test to an acceptable standard, your promotion is held. Given time, you'll try again right then and there. If not, then next class. Honestly, the only promotions I've ever held were low- mid-geup ranks (and mostly young or small students) who couldn't complete the break.
 

auntlisa1103

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Saying "temp" or "probationary" Cho Dan Bo is redundant.
I’m sorry, if I added the word Bo in my terminology it was a fat finger I didn’t get proofed out before I hit post. We don’t use Temp Cho Dan Bo and Cho Dan Bo. We use Temp Cho Dan and Cho Dan.

There was one test where GM allowed about three kids to test before they were ready. They failed and he made them wait one cycle to test again because he wanted them to gain some maturity and focus. I think he sent them on purpose (and may have had conversations with their judges) to wake them up.

By the same token we just had a first gup test to Temp after two years at rank because it took her that long to convince three black belts she was ready. It was hard to find any evidence she cared or had any focus when you watched her in class. Her little brother started as white and reached Temp during her time at first gup.

And then you have me. Who held myself back from testing to 7th gup because I couldn’t put a reverse side in the air, which was our board break. I never did get it there. But I just made Cho Dan.
 
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Dirty Dog

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I’m sorry, if I added the word Bo in my terminology it was a fat finger I didn’t get proofed out before I hit post. We don’t use Temp Cho Dan Bo and Cho Dan Bo. We use Temp Cho Dan and Cho Dan.
Yeah. That's kind of the point. "Temp Cho Dan Bo" is redundant. But "temp Cho Dan" is just incorrect. The rank is "Cho Dan Bo", if you're going to use Korean terminology.
 

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It was a decision our founding GM made, I believe. We have Temp 2nd gup and Temp 1st gup too. Originally according to my GM who took it over from him, 3rd to 2nd and 2nd to first had to wait an extra cycle and pay double for the testing fee. What he found was that people didn’t bother attending for the waiting period cycle then crammed the second cycle. So he created temp ranks and tested for them to keep people training. I can’t speak to his brain for Temp Cho Dan, but mine says if you are using Temp elsewhere, use Temp there too for consistency.

At any rate, I’m not going to tell an 8th Dan that our school’s namesake and the man who taught him all the MA he knows made a wrong choice with rank names, you know?
 
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Yeah. That's kind of the point. "Temp Cho Dan Bo" is redundant. But "temp Cho Dan" is just incorrect. The rank is "Cho Dan Bo", if you're going to use Korean terminology.
I think a lot of redundant terminology is intentional, or at least not a bad thing. The one I use at work a lot is "PIN Number". PIN stands for Personal Identification Number, so technically I'm asking for their Personal Identification Number Number. However, if I just ask for the PIN, I get this question 90% of the time: "The number or my password?" If I ask for PIN Number, I get that question maybe 5% of the time. It saves time by being redundant.
 

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It was a decision our founding GM made, I believe. We have Temp 2nd gup and Temp 1st gup too. Originally according to my GM who took it over from him, 3rd to 2nd and 2nd to first had to wait an extra cycle and pay double for the testing fee. What he found was that people didn’t bother attending for the waiting period cycle then crammed the second cycle. So he created temp ranks and tested for them to keep people training. I can’t speak to his brain for Temp Cho Dan, but mine says if you are using Temp elsewhere, use Temp there too for consistency.

At any rate, I’m not going to tell an 8th Dan that our school’s namesake and the man who taught him all the MA he knows made a wrong choice with rank names, you know?
I'd be very surprised to find out that he didn't already know he was using it incorrectly. Sometimes it's easier for people to use slightly wrong terminology, that the students will understand more easily. The bo is actually a perfect example of that. I know it's a bo, and staff is redundant. But I'd still use the term bo staff with a new student so they know what I'm talking about/avoid confusion. At some point I'd probably tell them they don't need the staff, and if someone asks me about it I'll fess up, but it's ultimately not a huge deal.
 

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I'd be very surprised to find out that he didn't already know he was using it incorrectly. Sometimes it's easier for people to use slightly wrong terminology, that the students will understand more easily. The bo is actually a perfect example of that. I know it's a bo, and staff is redundant. But I'd still use the term bo staff with a new student so they know what I'm talking about/avoid confusion. At some point I'd probably tell them they don't need the staff, and if someone asks me about it I'll fess up, but it's ultimately not a huge deal.
Exactly. GM Chung Kim was also going from teaching Korean military men to teaching American laymen and children. By his own admission he had to adapt some things to the American way of doing things. Some he felt made it better, and in his own words, “some less better”. For example you can’t drop an American teen with a face punch for leaving the word Sir off a response the way you could a ROK soldier in the 1960’s. But Americans also like to ask Why a lot.

But he was a shrewd enough business man to know what he needed to do, whether it was his first choice or not.
 
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WaterGal

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I think a lot of redundant terminology is intentional, or at least not a bad thing. The one I use at work a lot is "PIN Number". PIN stands for Personal Identification Number, so technically I'm asking for their Personal Identification Number Number. However, if I just ask for the PIN, I get this question 90% of the time: "The number or my password?" If I ask for PIN Number, I get that question maybe 5% of the time. It saves time by being redundant.

Yeah, and I think in the case of "bo staff"... if you just say "bo", English speakers may get confused and think you're talking about archery lol. Also, there are multiple traditions of staff fighting from different cultures, so if you want to specify the Japanese/Okinawan type of staff training it makes sense to qualify that. So even though it's redundant, I think it's still probably the best term.
 
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skribs

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Yeah, and I think in the case of "bo staff"... if you just say "bo", English speakers may get confused and think you're talking about archery lol. Also, there are multiple traditions of staff fighting from different cultures, so if you want to specify the Japanese/Okinawan type of staff training it makes sense to qualify that. So even though it's redundant, I think it's still probably the best term.
Also if you have someone named Bo. Gets even more confusing when they become an instructor...
 

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