What grades do you consider special?

andyjeffries

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Another question I've been pondering recently...

My instructor is a 5th Dan black belt and has always said that he's not interested in promoting further. His reasons are that when he was younger his instructor was a 5th Dan and he wanted to reach that same grade (his instructor is now a 9th Dan I believe) and also that at 5th Dan the Kukkiwon certificates changed from a pre-printed certificate with a pre-printed signature to a slightly different colour one with a hand-signature. There was also some discussion about whether Master grade is considered 4th or 5th Dan.

So this made me wonder what grades everyone considers special.

Personally I think 1st Dan is special because you can teach your own club at 1st Dan (in the UK). It's also symbolic to the wider community that you at least know something (and spend half your life correcting people that you are neither an expert, a highly trained killing machine or a master).

I think think both 4th and 5th dan are special - at 4th Dan you are considered a Master and can promote others to black belt through the Kukkiwon. This is a huge responsibility to ensure you only promote worth candidates that can teach Taekwondo correctly and an honour to be granted this rank. At 5th Dan you can make others masters through the Kukkiwon so it has an even greater responsibility to ensure you're only promoting worthy candidates...

What do you guys think? Any grades (that you have achieved or haven't) that you consider special?
 

Manny

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I consider especial the 1st dan black belt because its' the end of the kup lader and yhe begining of the yudansa lader, its the closure of a circle and the open of the new one, besides very few students go trought all the kups and become a black belt.

I consider each and every dan especial cause they denote hard work and comitment, however I think the third dan represents the maturity on the practicioner and the 5th dan denotes masterity and for me a 8dan black belt is one of the jighst rankes amoung martial arts.

However I think that maybe I will only reach third dan estatus and mysbe just maybe a 4th dan, I will be very happy earning my third dan in about three years ahead.

If I someday get a 5th dan in TKD I will feel blessed.

Manny
 

puunui

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I think 1st, 4th and 7th are the special dans, because they symbolize a new focus of training. I remember when I was promoted to 1st Dan, I was so happy I went out and framed that certificate and hung it up on the wall of my bedroom. Now the certificates stay in the same envelope in which I receive them, piled up on the top of one of my bookcases. 1st through 3rd Dan are physical dans, meaning the focus is on learning and developing the physical techniques.

4th Dan is important because it signifies that a Taekwondoin can independently teach and promote students, at least through the Kukkiwon. 4th-6th Dan are instructor dan, which are more mental. Learning to teach and opening your own school, becoming a good coach, all of that are primarily mental processes.

7th through 9th Dan are policy making dans. At these ranks, you should be thinking about the big picture and doing things to help Taekwondo prosper and grow by assisting in the determination of policies at the national or international level. Examples would be whether electronic scoring is viable, what rule changes should be made, etc. It is the rank of the decision maker. These are the, for lack of a better word, the "spiritual" dans, in which we set policy and make rules that govern the taekwondo experience.

So the nine dan are broken up into three groups of three, one group for body, one for mind, and one for spirit. Each group in my opinion is distinct and focuses on completely different objectives for the individual practitioner. Not that there isn't crossover, but the primary focus of each level should be the main objective. 1st through 6th Dan can be further broken down into more specific goals and objectives, which incidentally tie into each of the Kukkiwon yudanja poomsae. 7th through 9th Dan are more recognition toward certain leaders and their kwans for their leadership in the development of Kukki Taekwondo.
 

IcemanSK

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I think that all dan ranks have their "specialness" or uniqueness to them. When I was a gup student & early in my dan ranks, I saw some dan ranks as "cooler" than others. First dan is "cool" for the obvious reason. In my experience, 3rd Dan was "cool" because I trained with sevral young talented MAists. I wanted to be them.

Every dan rank after 2nd was thought to "cool" by my friends & me. It was hard to get there & it was important. The only BB rank that we didn't like was 2nd Dan. It seemed to be a rank (for us, at least) when we worked harder teaching & running errands, etc.

Now, I look at 4th & 5th dan as special because of what it represents within Kukki-TKD schools.
 

puunui

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The only BB rank that we didn't like was 2nd Dan. It seemed to be a rank (for us, at least) when we worked harder teaching & running errands, etc.


In my opinion, 2nd Dan shouldn't be assisting or teaching classes. They should instead be training hard. There is plenty of time for that later. I do believe that 3rd Dan can and should be assistant instructors, to help them understand the basics and to prepare them for when they open their own dojang as 4th Dan.
 

IcemanSK

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In my opinion, 2nd Dan shouldn't be assisting or teaching classes. They should instead be training hard. There is plenty of time for that later. I do believe that 3rd Dan can and should be assistant instructors, to help them understand the basics and to prepare them for when they open their own dojang as 4th Dan.


In an ideal world, that would have been nice. That was not my experience.
 

leadleg

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Dan ranks should have their own classes,BB only.
Otherwise they shoud be assisting the instructors, not only to help but to cement the knowledge in their minds. We all know teaching makes you formulate techniques differently in the mind.
It reminds me of weapon training, at one of my old schools you started weapons at 1st gup,but you were supposed to perform well at 1st dan. That is generally only one year, how can you possibly expect to be good with a weapon having only trained one year.
My point is get them going as soon as possible so they will be prepared to accept full instructor status at 3rd dan, then after a few years teaching they may be ready to open that other school.(for you):)
 

puunui

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In an ideal world, that would have been nice. That was not my experience.


I understand that. A lot of the school here have instructional staff comprised of only 3rd Dan and higher. Then there are school being run by 3rd Dan and lower. So we have that mix, with varying results. Generally here, the schools with the higher dan assistant instructors have higher quality students and students who tend to stay longer.
 

searcher

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Are we talking Dan ranks only? If that is the case, I think 1st Dan and 5th Dan are the truly special ranks for me(yes for me alone). 1st since it it a huge undertaking in our school and it is the most physically demanding test I administer. Along with the student being able to teach the basics and run classes on occasion. 5th Dan is special to as it is the rank I wanted to stop at. It has been said that, up to 5th Dan it is the system is giving to you and over 5th Dan is you giving back to the system. This may sound silly, but I believe it down deep in my heart.

If we are talking below BB ranks, I have always made the point that green belt in my school is a huge thing. It is when the student needs to be getting serious with their training and they get their first taste of what testing at higher ranks is like.
 

l_uk3y

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To me all of them are special. In particular though all the dan's for the already mentioned reasons.

I am actually in the process of building a display rack in my shed to display every single belt I've recieved in both styles. Every single one of them represents a level of efficiency and a requirement to be able to move onto a new challenge not to mention a great deal of hardwork and sweat.

Cheers. Luke
 
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andyjeffries

andyjeffries

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In my opinion, 2nd Dan shouldn't be assisting or teaching classes. They should instead be training hard. There is plenty of time for that later. I do believe that 3rd Dan can and should be assistant instructors, to help them understand the basics and to prepare them for when they open their own dojang as 4th Dan.

In the UK at least, these things happen a lot earlier. I was assisting in my high kup grades and had my own (small) club (for children) as a very young 2nd dan. My the time I got my 3rd Dan I felt quite confident that I could run a club (although I'd stopped running my club then and merged it with my Master's club).

The "4th Dan to run a club" is definitely a Korean thing, in the UK a lot of instructors run clubs at 2nd Dan and I'd say there used to be quite a few at 1st Dan.

Whether they should or not depends on your point of view, also on the skill level you think a 4th Dan should have...
 
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andyjeffries

andyjeffries

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Are we talking Dan ranks only?

As the OP - not necessarily...

If that is the case, I think 1st Dan and 5th Dan are the truly special ranks for me(yes for me alone). 1st since it it a huge undertaking in our school and it is the most physically demanding test I administer. Along with the student being able to teach the basics and run classes on occasion. 5th Dan is special to as it is the rank I wanted to stop at.

As you gave the same rank as my instructor - why did you want to stop at 5th Dan? What was special about that rank in your mind that when you were below 5th Dan you saw that as an end goal?

It has been said that, up to 5th Dan it is the system is giving to you and over 5th Dan is you giving back to the system. This may sound silly, but I believe it down deep in my heart.

That's a fair point. Is that why you wanted to stop at 5th Dan?

If we are talking below BB ranks, I have always made the point that green belt in my school is a huge thing. It is when the student needs to be getting serious with their training and they get their first taste of what testing at higher ranks is like.

I'd agree with that - there does seem a jump between 7th and 6th kup gradings.
 

KarateMomUSA

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For me I would say 1st degree - as you have grasped the basics & real learning can begin or take off.
The I would say 4th degree, as now you cross over to instructor & then 7th degree as that is master level inthe ITF.
 
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