Transferring from ATA to WTF

Eastpointvet

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Hello all!

I'm new to the forums after scouring the threads over the past week. I'm delighted to join the community and I hope to be apart of the many interesting conversations that take place here.

In summary, I have a young daughter and she recently began her journey in Taekwondo (ATA). After 7 years of training, I myself earned a black belt in Taekwondo (ATA) as a teenager before opting out of my training to play high school sports. My daughter has a natural affinity for TKD and has aspirations to reach black belt someday. Her eagerness has motivated me to return to martial arts training as well but the ATA has changed drastically from what I can remember. Even though I'm satisfied with her current instructors, I've recently came across a slew of negative reviews about the ATA as an organization in the last 20+ years since I ended my training. Among other things, what startles me the most is the lack of recognition of ATA ranks outside of the organization itself. This is what bothers me most of all when it comes to my child's long term success in martial arts.

My concerns: Should I remove my daughter from the ATA in favor of a more global friendly organization like the WTF/ITF? Will my old rank hold any weight in another organization (WTF) or martial art discipline or will I have to start over at white belt regardless of my choice? I am currently considering training in Shotokan Karate if my rank does not hold up in TKD outside of ATA.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


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IcemanSK

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First, welcome to MT.

You said that you've read negative things about the ATA in recent years since you've trained. Are they about the school where your daughter is now, or the organization in general? If it's the org. in general, there are plenty of solid ATA folks out there (MT's own Balrog, for example, is ATA &, by all accounts a quality MAist.) I'd encourage you to focus on what your daughter's instructor is like & the quality of instruction that he brings. If you're concerned with that, then you may want to look elsewhere. If you like wat you see at that school, I'd see no reason to change.

As far as recognition of your BB goes, it differs from school to school. In some schools, they would recognize you as a BB, but you would need to learn forms and the way things are done at that school before they'd consider you ready to teach &/or test at that school. Some schools would require you to be a white belt again. Talking it over with the instructor will give you a better idea what they require.

My best to you and your daughter in your MA journeys.
 
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Eastpointvet

Eastpointvet

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Thanks for the quick reply!

To answer your question, I've read negative things about the organization in general and not about my daughter's individual school. I've monitored her instructors and I'm satisfied with their level of skill and dedication. However, at her recent exam for example, I was surprised to see group testing rather than the individual testing I was accustomed to. There was not a distinction between the kids who lazily executed their form compared to the kids who's dedication was quite apparent. The whole procedure felt like an informality rather than a test of skill as if just showing up guaranteed a promotion. The modern ATA appears very commercialized. TKD taught me discipline and respect at an early age so I'd like to see it taken more seriously from its practitioners. My peers, not just my master, pushed me to excel. My daughter is performing well, but I worry about her development if her classmates are not taking it seriously. That is a huge concern when I think about her training from an organizational stand point. Thats just one example from a handful of long term issues that may rise.

As far as my BB, thats great to know. I have no issue re-learning the forms or even starting at another rank since I've been out of practice for a long time. I've read that WTF forms are entirely different than ATA or even ITF for that matter. I'm just gathering the information I need since the landscape has changed so much in my city when it comes to MA.


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Earl Weiss

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................ There was not a distinction between the kids who lazily executed their form compared to the kids who's dedication was quite apparent. The whole procedure felt like an informality rather than a test of skill as if just showing up guaranteed a promotion.

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My thoughts:

1. Seems like the above would sound warning bells about the school irrespective of any organization.

2. Search for a good school, then consider the org. HU Lee, founder of the ATA was a Chung Do Kwan guy, then he was with the ITF and used the Chang Hon / ITF forms albeit with a CDK flavor and some old line ATA people did those forms. So, you may or may not do those forms already.

3. Ignore # 2 as far as what you now choose. Due to the long abscence advise any new school you choose of your history. If it is a good school and your knowledge and skills warrant you should be able to progress faster than the average white belt, but the most important is that you have the white belt perspective.
 

kitkatninja

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I'd would like to start by saying that I have no experience with the ATA organisation and the following are my general views only
...My concerns: Should I remove my daughter from the ATA in favor of a more global friendly organization like the WTF/ITF? Will my old rank hold any weight in another organization (WTF) or martial art discipline or will I have to start over at white belt regardless of my choice? I am currently considering training in Shotokan Karate if my rank does not hold up in TKD outside of ATA....

Depends on a variety of things... Are you happy with your childs performance and the school's delivery of the martial arts? Will you be be going abroad? Do you need a more globally recognised association/organisation? Saying that, the ATA do have branches outside the US, eg the Songahm Taekwondo Federation, World Traditional Taekwondo Union, ATA-Xtreme (Xtreme Martial Arts) and the Korean Taekwondo Council.
As for whether or not your rank holds weight in other organisations, it would depend on the other organisation. Some may accept your rank, some may conditional accept your rank, others may not. Even between the WTF and the ITF, from what I've read, rank recognition isn't automatic.

The same thing goes for other arts and styles, for example in Shotokan karate, I was awarded my 1st Dan by one international organisation, however due to work commitments and moving away, I looked at transferring to another international organisation. However they would only conditionally accept my rank and I would have to retest for my 1st Dan within a year - then they would either keep the same grade for me, award a lower grade or promote me to a higher grade. Even though both associations were/are affiate members of Karate England and the WKF.

...As far as recognition of your BB goes, it differs from school to school. In some schools, they would recognize you as a BB, but you would need to learn forms and the way things are done at that school before they'd consider you ready to teach &/or test at that school. Some schools would require you to be a white belt again. Talking it over with the instructor will give you a better idea what they require...

Agreed :)
 

Dirty Dog

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As far as my BB, thats great to know. I have no issue re-learning the forms or even starting at another rank since I've been out of practice for a long time. I've read that WTF forms are entirely different than ATA or even ITF for that matter. I'm just gathering the information I need since the landscape has changed so much in my city when it comes to MA.

Others have addressed your other concerns, so I'm only going to comment on this.

If you've been out of it for 20 years, you aren't really a black belt any more, are you? Sure, you may find a school that will let you wrap a black piece of fabric around your waist and look like one. Until you move.

Would you rather have people see you in a black belt and wonder why, or see you in a white belt and wonder why?

Strap on a white belt and go to work. You'll quite likely progress faster than others.
 

dancingalone

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My concerns: Should I remove my daughter from the ATA in favor of a more global friendly organization like the WTF/ITF? Will my old rank hold any weight in another organization (WTF) or martial art discipline or will I have to start over at white belt regardless of my choice? I am currently considering training in Shotokan Karate if my rank does not hold up in TKD outside of ATA.

Merry Christmas!

The organization really only matters if you think your daughter will pursue TKD beyond the hobbyist & lifestyle level. For example if she intends to pursue the Olympics, she will need to earn a Kukkiwon black belt. Of course, both of the other groups you've mentioned (ITF & ATA) both have their own international level competition opportunities, but the WTF avenue is the largest if this is important to you. I've been on both sides of the fence, earning my first couple of dans in TKD in Jhoon Rhee American TKD (somewhat related to ATA as Jhoon Rhee and HU Lee were both Chung Do Kwan guys), but then switching over to the KKW world as an instructor/dojang owner. As someone who is not involved in competition training, I don't find the brand of my certification to be incredibly pertinent, but on the other hand I have met and trained with some impressive taekwondoin as a result of my affiliation. That to me is most important. Pick the association that will give you the best training opportunities locally for your daughter. She can always 'transfer' later into another group if her circumstances and goals change.

Ranks don't always transfer automatically. That's really up to the school owner that accepts you in as a new student. My own policy is to let new students keep their old rank if they wish. They simply don't advance further however until they are up to speed on my own in-house requirements. Most dojang operators are similar in this respect. We all love new students and respect any prior learning they have undertaken, but keep in mind martial arts ranks aren't as universal as say a GED certificate. Any move and transfer will involve some realignment of technique and study focus. It's just the nature of the beast.

As for Shotokan...By all means give it a shot if the TKD doesn't work out for you. I always say the quality of the teacher is more important than the art itself.
 

Gorilla

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If you are planning on competing in a truly global Tkd organization WTF/KKW is a good choice! Depending on the school your rank might hold up! What area are you in I might be able to recommend a school!
 
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Eastpointvet

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Thank you everyone for the comprehensive replies!

My thoughts:

1. Seems like the above would sound warning bells about the school irrespective of any organization.

2. Search for a good school, then consider the org. HU Lee, founder of the ATA was a Chung Do Kwan guy, then he was with the ITF and used the Chang Hon / ITF forms albeit with a CDK flavor and some old line ATA people did those forms. So, you may or may not do those forms already.

3. Ignore # 2 as far as what you now choose. Due to the long abscence advise any new school you choose of your history. If it is a good school and your knowledge and skills warrant you should be able to progress faster than the average white belt, but the most important is that you have the white belt perspective.

I agree with points #1 and #2. As for point #3, this is the scenario I'm mentally preparing for.

Depends on a variety of things... Are you happy with your childs performance and the school's delivery of the martial arts? Will you be be going abroad?


I'm happy with her performance but I'm fearful that she may not receive the most optimal training experience if her school is so cavalier with it's testing requirements. My family has a long term plan to live abroad.

If you've been out of it for 20 years, you aren't really a black belt any more, are you? Sure, you may find a school that will let you wrap a black piece of fabric around your waist and look like one. Until you move.

Would you rather have people see you in a black belt and wonder why, or see you in a white belt and wonder why?

Strap on a white belt and go to work. You'll quite likely progress faster than others.


All valid points! No, I do not mentally consider myself a black belt and my ego will not prevent me from strapping on a white belt again if that is required. However, I just wanted to gather a few opinions from more experienced practitioners. I like to have an idea of what to expect.

The organization really only matters if you think your daughter will pursue TKD beyond the hobbyist & lifestyle level.

Merry Christmas! I totally agree. That concern is what brought me here. My daughter recently tested into orange belt. Her progress, dedication and level of interest has motivated us to place her into an organization that will maximize her training goals no matter how far she chooses to take it. As a teenager, I ended my training due to the exclusive nature of the ATA and my lack of admiration for most of the adult black belts aside from my teacher. I would prefer she sees TKD on a global level rather than just on an American level. I've personally decided that I will join a WTF oriented organization or pursue training in Shotokan. As for her, we are still undecided but I would prefer she jumps over to the WTF. I've been studying their Poomsae and sparring events as of late and I'm highly impressed.
 
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Eastpointvet

Eastpointvet

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If you are planning on competing in a truly global Tkd organization WTF/KKW is a good choice! Depending on the school your rank might hold up! What area are you in I might be able to recommend a school!

I would prefer for my kid to have the option to compete globally if we reach that point. I do hope that my rank holds up but I'm excited about the learning process regardless! I am in Atlanta, GA. More specifically the Roswell/Alpharetta/Norcross area of the city.
 

dancingalone

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My daughter recently tested into orange belt. Her progress, dedication and level of interest has motivated us to place her into an organization that will maximize her training goals no matter how far she chooses to take it. As a teenager, I ended my training due to the exclusive nature of the ATA and my lack of admiration for most of the adult black belts aside from my teacher. I would prefer she sees TKD on a global level rather than just on an American level. I've personally decided that I will join a WTF oriented organization or pursue training in Shotokan. As for her, we are still undecided but I would prefer she jumps over to the WTF. I've been studying their Poomsae and sparring events as of late and I'm highly impressed.

Ah. Well, if you plan to live abroad eventually, then I would indeed endorse studying the KKW style above all others in taekwondo. Keep in mind though that the KKW has no real oversight over colored belt students, so pick a reputable/notable master in your area, since you'll be joining his/her school rather than an abstract organization in principle. I can't help with a recommendation in Atlanta, but I am sure someone else will chime in or will contact you via PM. You probably want to pick a school that has had success in training tournament champions.

Good luck.
 

msmitht

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Hello all!

I'm new to the forums after scouring the threads over the past week. I'm delighted to join the community and I hope to be apart of the many interesting conversations that take place here.

In summary, I have a young daughter and she recently began her journey in Taekwondo (ATA). After 7 years of training, I myself earned a black belt in Taekwondo (ATA) as a teenager before opting out of my training to play high school sports. My daughter has a natural affinity for TKD and has aspirations to reach black belt someday. Her eagerness has motivated me to return to martial arts training as well but the ATA has changed drastically from what I can remember. Even though I'm satisfied with her current instructors, I've recently came across a slew of negative reviews about the ATA as an organization in the last 20+ years since I ended my training. Among other things, what startles me the most is the lack of recognition of ATA ranks outside of the organization itself. This is what bothers me most of all when it comes to my child's long term success in martial arts.

My concerns: Should I remove my daughter from the ATA in favor of a more global friendly organization like the WTF/ITF? Will my old rank hold any weight in another organization (WTF) or martial art discipline or will I have to start over at white belt regardless of my choice? I am currently considering training in Shotokan Karate if my rank does not hold up in TKD outside of ATA.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!




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There are good and bad schools in all styles. In the tkd community the ATA has a bad rep. While looking for a new school watch out for the bad ones too. Watch a few advanced classes and see what the end product looks like. Most other schools will not honor your rank but only a few will make you start over completely.
 

Gorilla

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I would prefer for my kid to have the option to compete globally if we reach that point. I do hope that my rank holds up but I'm excited about the learning process regardless! I am in Atlanta, GA. More specifically the Roswell/Alpharetta/Norcross area of the city.

You live in an area in which I have no contacts...sorry about that....but you just gave me an idea...Atlanta is a great city that just might be under served!!!!
 
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Eastpointvet

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You live in an area in which I have no contacts...sorry about that....but you just gave me an idea...Atlanta is a great city that just might be under served!!!!

True! So far my search has only revealed about 3-5 WTF/Olympic sparring oriented schools in Atlanta. Only one of those is in my suburb. ATA is very dominant here.


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Earl Weiss

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FWIW I view MA training / looking for schools like looking for an ice cream store. Different people like diiferent flavors. If a store has the best Chocolae in the world and you don't like Chocolate, than it's not for you.

For me, and any referral I would make, sparring without punching to the face is like not liking that chocolate.
 

granfire

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I missed the part where you said how old your kid is.

Personally, in the beginning a good instructor in an ATA style school might help (some) girls more than a hard hitting place. I trained in an ATA offshoot organization. You can always cross train with a harder hitting club IMHO.

Oh, and don't worry about the sloppy kids. They stay around for a couple of years, maybe get the BB, then vanish. In the meantime, their attendance pays the bills and keeps the door open.

A few years ago I would have pointed you in the direction of a friend who used to own a school outside of Atlanta, be he since left TKD...

(as to your BB...I had taken a hiatus for some personal reasons, when I came back I wanted to hide my belt in my bag, stand in the back of the field. The instructor made me stand up front, put that black belt on...and I was sooo out of shape! Take the chance to start back up being in the back of the class! It's worth it)
 
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Eastpointvet

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I missed the part where you said how old your kid is.

Personally, in the beginning a good instructor in an ATA style school might help (some) girls more than a hard hitting place. I trained in an ATA offshoot organization. You can always cross train with a harder hitting club IMHO.

Oh, and don't worry about the sloppy kids. They stay around for a couple of years, maybe get the BB, then vanish. In the meantime, their attendance pays the bills and keeps the door open.

A few years ago I would have pointed you in the direction of a friend who used to own a school outside of Atlanta, be he since left TKD...

(as to your BB...I had taken a hiatus for some personal reasons, when I came back I wanted to hide my belt in my bag, stand in the back of the field. The instructor made me stand up front, put that black belt on...and I was sooo out of shape! Take the chance to start back up being in the back of the class! It's worth it)

She'll be 8 years old next month. She's at the same age as I was when I started TKD. Good point about the other kids.

Thats a very interesting take on the BB issue from your experience. Ill keep that in mind. I've stayed in shape over the years thankfully lol.



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Dirty Dog

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FWIW I view MA training / looking for schools like looking for an ice cream store. Different people like diiferent flavors. If a store has the best Chocolae in the world and you don't like Chocolate, than it's not for you.

For me, and any referral I would make, sparring without punching to the face is like not liking that chocolate.

I have to agree with this, as regards WTF sparring. We do offer KKW rank. We do not generally spar using the WTF ruleset.
 

Dirty Dog

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I missed the part where you said how old your kid is.

Personally, in the beginning a good instructor in an ATA style school might help (some) girls more than a hard hitting place. I trained in an ATA offshoot organization. You can always cross train with a harder hitting club IMHO.

Oh, and don't worry about the sloppy kids. They stay around for a couple of years, maybe get the BB, then vanish. In the meantime, their attendance pays the bills and keeps the door open.

A few years ago I would have pointed you in the direction of a friend who used to own a school outside of Atlanta, be he since left TKD...

(as to your BB...I had taken a hiatus for some personal reasons, when I came back I wanted to hide my belt in my bag, stand in the back of the field. The instructor made me stand up front, put that black belt on...and I was sooo out of shape! Take the chance to start back up being in the back of the class! It's worth it)

I agree. Much better to have people look at you and say "Why the hell is he still wearing a white belt?" than "Why the hell is he wearing a black belt?"

When I returned after a long hiatus from training, I declined to mention ever having trained. I strapped on a white belt. When the instructors specifically asked me if I'd had other training, I said something along the lines of 'I watch a lot of action movies...'. My wife ratted me out, but I still refused to put the BB on until I'd earned it again.
 
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Eastpointvet

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When the instructors specifically asked me if I'd had other training, I said something along the lines of 'I watch a lot of action movies...'. My wife ratted me out, but I still refused to put the BB on until I'd earned it again.

Lol funny story. What was your reason for intentionally hiding your previous experience?



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