When Is the Title of Sabun Earned?

andyjeffries

Master of Arts
Joined
Sep 25, 2006
Messages
1,975
Reaction score
282
Location
Stevenage, Herts, UK
His criticism was something to the effect of "How can you be a "Master" of a system when you have not yet learned parts of the system?"

I felt the criticism had merit.

I see your point. Personally I feel Master doesn't mean the be all and end all of grades, any more than I think 1st Dan is "expert" level.

Personally I'm more of the option that Master should mean you are capable of training someone to black belt level and judging when someone else is black belt worthy and have been in the art long enough to be trusted to promote them to black belt.

The Kukkiwon (currently) says that's 4th Dan - whether I agree or not is difficult, I've been kind of conditioned to accept it so much that it seems reasonable. What I means is, I've come up through the ranks thinking that a 4th Dan is worthy of that so now it seems right by conditioning.

I'd say if it was when you master a system completely, then why bother having grades beyond it? Surely if you've mastered it (in that sense), there's nowhere else to go.
 
OP
dancingalone

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,322
Reaction score
280
I'd say if it was when you master a system completely, then why bother having grades beyond it? Surely if you've mastered it (in that sense), there's nowhere else to go.

Political or administrative ranks. Also to show recognition to those who have contributed to the art in some way.

I like how some Japanese/Okinawan styles separate dan rank from teaching/advanced recognition with the renshi, kyoshi/shihan titles.
 

Rumy73

Black Belt
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
588
Reaction score
10
Location
Washington, DC
I'd also heard (from a Korean language teacher a while ago) that it's mildly offensive if you show that respect to a junior. After discussions with her (and with Grandmaster) it seems that you are supposed to show less respect to your juniors (for example with not using the -nim suffix, not bowing as deeply) than to your seniors, otherwise it reduces the level of respect your showing the seniors. In effect, if I treat a low ranked individual and a high ranked individual the same, then I'm not showing an appropriate deference to the senior.

Do you agree with this?

Personally in a wider context I prefer to treat everyone with respect until they prove unworthy, but in a Taekwondo context I am more mindful of the feelings of my seniors than my juniors (particularly as they are often from a different culture) so will do what is required to help their kibun (I don't know if help or be nice to would be more appropriate here).


If you are not living in a Korea or in a Korean community, I would say I would not stress over this point. It is one of subtly and culture. My wife is Korean and I have studied the language. Your Korean teacher was very correct in stressing the great lenghts Koreans go to when establishing hierarchy. Even in casual meetings, Koreans ask each other age and profession in order to establish a pecking order for the conversation.
 

andyjeffries

Master of Arts
Joined
Sep 25, 2006
Messages
1,975
Reaction score
282
Location
Stevenage, Herts, UK
If you are not living in a Korea or in a Korean community, I would say I would not stress over this point. It is one of subtly and culture.

As a fairly senior grade in my club I sometimes get asked about these thing, so it's nice to know. Also, as I said, it's more important to my seniors than my juniors so I'd like to behave correctly for the, taking subtlety into account.

My wife is Korean and I have studied the language. Your Korean teacher was very correct in stressing the great lenghts Koreans go to when establishing hierarchy. Even in casual meetings, Koreans ask each other age and profession in order to establish a pecking order for the conversation.

I know they also ask more invasive questions than that ;-)
 

puunui

Senior Master
Joined
Dec 7, 2010
Messages
4,378
Reaction score
26
Surely though they'd still have a teacher or they wouldn't progress in rank to be able to get the title that comes at around that rank?


You would be amazed at the number of practitioners out there, at least in the US, who have strained or no relationship with their teacher, and thus no opportunity for rank advancement. Or their teacher has no Kukkiwon rank or is unwilling to give Kukkiwon rank and the student desires it.
 

puunui

Senior Master
Joined
Dec 7, 2010
Messages
4,378
Reaction score
26
His criticism was something to the effect of "How can you be a "Master" of a system when you have not yet learned parts of the system?" I felt the criticism had merit.


The title "Master", as translated from the word "Sabum" in Korean, does not mean that one knows everything. I think a better translation for "Master" is "Instructor". Basically what that person is doing is using the translated word "Master" and then substituting the english definition of the word, rather than going to the root Korean word and trying to understand that. People do the same thing with the translated english word "Art" and create all sorts of opinions or platitudes about that, rather than looking at the original word or Chinese character that the translation came from.
 

puunui

Senior Master
Joined
Dec 7, 2010
Messages
4,378
Reaction score
26
If you are not living in a Korea or in a Korean community, I would say I would not stress over this point. It is one of subtly and culture.


But when interacting with seniors in the Korean martial arts world, it inevitably becomes a Korean community. Even when addressing non Korean born seniors within the martial arts context, those seniors also expect to a certain degree that their non-Korean juniors both understand the proper Korean protocols towards seniors and to abide by them, even if they say otherwise.
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
270
Location
Olney, Maryland
The title "Master", as translated from the word "Sabum" in Korean, does not mean that one knows everything. I think a better translation for "Master" is "Instructor". Basically what that person is doing is using the translated word "Master" and then substituting the english definition of the word, rather than going to the root Korean word and trying to understand that. People do the same thing with the translated english word "Art" and create all sorts of opinions or platitudes about that, rather than looking at the original word or Chinese character that the translation came from.
Not to mention that there is more than one use in English for the word 'master.'

I had read somewhere that Sabeom translates to teacher-father. Not sure if that is accurate, though.

Daniel
 

andyjeffries

Master of Arts
Joined
Sep 25, 2006
Messages
1,975
Reaction score
282
Location
Stevenage, Herts, UK
But when interacting with seniors in the Korean martial arts world, it inevitably becomes a Korean community. Even when addressing non Korean born seniors within the martial arts context, those seniors also expect to a certain degree that their non-Korean juniors both understand the proper Korean protocols towards seniors and to abide by them, even if they say otherwise.

That was my understanding too. Also that while they may give some leeway to foreigners, a little effort in customs and language goes a long way...
 

IcemanSK

El Conquistador nim!
MT Mentor
MTS Alumni
Joined
Nov 7, 2005
Messages
6,482
Reaction score
180
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Based on what's been said here, sa bum seems to be a more appriate term then "master" that we English speakers often use.

I wonder if the origins of the term master (or the popularity of it) stemmed from the "Kung Fu" tv show & Master Po. Americans figuring it must be the definition of Sa Bum. And it rolls off the tongue better to call the instructor "Master Lee" than Lee Sa Bum nim. That's my guess. I might be wrong. But, it's been a long day & that's all I've got.
 

Balrog

Master of Arts
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
1,738
Reaction score
424
Location
Houston, TX
The title "Master", as translated from the word "Sabum" in Korean, does not mean that one knows everything. I think a better translation for "Master" is "Instructor".
I was taught that Sabum means instructor, not Master. When you refer to another, you use the honorific -nim, but not when referring to yourself.

We use the term in our school to denote whoever is in charge of the class. If I'm teaching it, it's me. If it's one of my juniors, even though I am the high rank on the floor, we bow out to whoever lead the class by saying "Sabumnim, kamsahamnida."
 

andyjeffries

Master of Arts
Joined
Sep 25, 2006
Messages
1,975
Reaction score
282
Location
Stevenage, Herts, UK
Even in casual meetings, Koreans ask each other age and profession in order to establish a pecking order for the conversation.

Just as a slight deviation, we were talking about this before class last night and one of my students asked an interesting question. I know they often also ask about if they have kids. Who would be higher in pecking order - a 50 year old with two grown children (one of each), but in a fairly lowly/menial job or a 50 year old, unmarried, no children but a director of a large company?

What about a 40 year old on a good salary/job versus a 50 year old on a menial salary/job?

I guess one thing is more important than the others, then the rest are used to narrow it down between equals - and I would have guessed at age being the main one (in a Taekwondo context rank) then other items being used to distinguish between equals (but in what order).
 

MSUTKD

Purple Belt
Joined
Jun 13, 2005
Messages
388
Reaction score
15
Location
Michigan
Not to mention that there is more than one use in English for the word 'master.'

I had read somewhere that Sabeom translates to teacher-father. Not sure if that is accurate, though.

Daniel


Sabum actually translates to, teacher of teachers. Saboo is teacher like a father.
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
270
Location
Olney, Maryland
I was taught that Sabum means instructor, not Master. When you refer to another, you use the honorific -nim, but not when referring to yourself.
I don't think that any of the commonly used Asian MA honorifics actually translate to master.

Daniel
 

IcemanSK

El Conquistador nim!
MT Mentor
MTS Alumni
Joined
Nov 7, 2005
Messages
6,482
Reaction score
180
Location
Los Angeles, CA
What would be the proper Korean term for an 8th Dan (let's say KKW)? Certainly SBN would not be inappropriate, but is there a better title? KJN certainly works if they are a dojang owner. I'm wondering if there is a more fitting title for the higher ranking folks.

For example: A few years ago I got met GM LEE, Kyu Hyung at the Hanmadang here in the US. It dawned on me that I was unsure of the most appropriate respectful term in which to call him.
 

puunui

Senior Master
Joined
Dec 7, 2010
Messages
4,378
Reaction score
26
There is nothing wrong with addressing him as Sabumnim.
 

leadleg

Blue Belt
Joined
Aug 11, 2009
Messages
280
Reaction score
3
I am curious when it is appropriate for your students or yourself to use the title of sabun? Is it based on dan rank or something else such as opening your own school? I suppose the answer depends to an extent from which group you are a member of?
The answer for the WTF style schools will be when you are 4th dan, I do not see it that way, if you are a junior learning to instruct we say Jokyonim, if you are over 18 and are learning to teach we say kyosanim, if you are teaching classes while the master instructor is present we say su-sabumnim,if you teach classes while the master instructor is away we say sabumnim. You must have completed the KKW instructor course to be a master instructor,you must be 4th dan or above. We hold bi-monthly instructor classes,they are free,anyone red belt or higher may be invited.The only time I see a problem is while closing, if there is a jokyo,kyosa,su-sabum,sabum, it can take a lot of bowing:)
 

ralphmcpherson

Senior Master
Joined
Sep 6, 2009
Messages
2,200
Reaction score
48
Location
australia
The answer for the WTF style schools will be when you are 4th dan, I do not see it that way, if you are a junior learning to instruct we say Jokyonim, if you are over 18 and are learning to teach we say kyosanim, if you are teaching classes while the master instructor is present we say su-sabumnim,if you teach classes while the master instructor is away we say sabumnim. You must have completed the KKW instructor course to be a master instructor,you must be 4th dan or above. We hold bi-monthly instructor classes,they are free,anyone red belt or higher may be invited.The only time I see a problem is while closing, if there is a jokyo,kyosa,su-sabum,sabum, it can take a lot of bowing:)
What is the kukkiwon instructor course? Does it take long to do, is it difficult, does it cost much, are all instrutors required to do it? Just curious.
 
Top