Why is WTF/KKW TKD More Expensive Than Other Arts?

WaterGal

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What do you say to someone like me, I cannot remember the forms, and frankly lost interest in doing them. I prefer to avoid jumping kicks and rarely sport spar anymore. Am I no longer a blackbelt? That being said, I kick with lots power and flexibility, remain in good shape, and incorporate pieces or forms to something I find useful.

You still earned your black belt at whatever time you earned it. (Presumably at some point, you did know your forms and did do sparring.) That can't be taken away from you, even you don't practice or remember that stuff much anymore. It's like getting a college degree. But we wouldn't award a black belt to someone who didn't remember their forms and didn't do sparring, because they haven't earned it.
 

Dirty Dog

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What do you say to someone like me, I cannot remember the forms, and frankly lost interest in doing them. I prefer to avoid jumping kicks and rarely sport spar anymore. Am I no longer a blackbelt? That being said, I kick with lots power and flexibility, remain in good shape, and incorporate pieces or forms to something I find useful.

You can wear whatever belt you want, but if you wear a black belt in a dojang, you'll look like an idiot.

It is tkd, what do you think?

I think you make lots of ignorant, whiny, excessively global statements that border on art bashing.
 

Rumy73

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You can wear whatever belt you want, but if you wear a black belt in a dojang, you'll look like an idiot.



I think you make lots of ignorant, whiny, excessively global statements that border on art bashing.

You are completely out of line.
 

Dirty Dog

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You are completely out of line.

In what way? If you've earned a black belt, you're welcome to wear it. But if you can't perform the required material while wearing it, you'll look like an idiot.

In general, it's a bad idea to ask a question if you don't want to hear the answers.
 

Rumy73

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In what way? If you've earned a black belt, you're welcome to wear it. But if you can't perform the required material while wearing it, you'll look like an idiot.

In general, it's a bad idea to ask a question if you don't want to hear the answers.

Lame.
 

skribs

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When I see someone wearing a black belt, I know they're someone I can go to for advice and look to as an example. If you've forgotten the forms, that sets a precedent for me to do so as well. There was actually one point in my school where the black belts were watching the white belts to follow along with Kibon Il Jang, because they had forgotten how to do it (although these were 1st Dans and you don't do much teaching at my school, especially with specifics like forms, until much later). So, it's not imperative IMO that all black belts know the forms, but it does set an example.

You say you don't spar. Well, that's understandable. Some people can't for medical reasons or don't want to because they're getting older. However, can you give sparring tips? Can you do light/no contact sparring drills?

You say you focus on the more practical kicks and less on the flashy kicks. I don't see a problem with that.

I will say I can understand where Dirty Dog is coming from. If I saw a black belt that didn't spar, didn't know any forms, and didn't do much besides the basics, I'd kind of wonder what you were doing with that belt on your waist. The forms are the kicker for me more than anything.

---

Watergal, that's what I'm saying. If your goal is to get "black belt" or to get "2nd Dan" (etc), then the longer it takes the more you pay in tuition. However, if you are going to continue with your studies and practice until you either get bored, burn out, or move, then stretching it out means you simply have fewer test fees along the way.

With that said, the method the school uses for pricing is less important than the prices. For example, I could...

Charge $100/mo for tuition, test every 2 months for $50 (average 125/mo)
Charge $75/mo for tuition, test every month for $50 (average 125/mo)
Charge $125/mo for tuition and make tests included

You probably get the point.
 

Dirty Dog

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When I see someone wearing a black belt, I know they're someone I can go to for advice and look to as an example.

That is certainly one part of what a black belt should mean.

If you've forgotten the forms, that sets a precedent for me to do so as well. There was actually one point in my school where the black belts were watching the white belts to follow along with Kibon Il Jang, because they had forgotten how to do it (although these were 1st Dans and you don't do much teaching at my school, especially with specifics like forms, until much later). So, it's not imperative IMO that all black belts know the forms, but it does set an example.

I'd say that if these people are actively training, but do not know the lower belt material, that is more than setting an example. It's absolutely reprehensible. If you don't do something for a while, you'll forget it. OK, that's just being human. But if you're actively training and do not know the material you already had to perform for your rank, then maybe you should ask yourself if you actually deserve that rank.

I took an extended vacation from training and (being human) forgot forms and such. When I started training (in a related, but not identical system) I sure as hell wasn't about to walk in there in a black belt (although the schools Master offered me that option). I strapped on a white belt and I learned the system. No, I wasn't sparring with other white belts. No, I didn't kick like a white belt. But as I've said before, it's better to wear a white belt and have people wonder why, than to wear a black belt and have people wonder why.

You say you don't spar. Well, that's understandable. Some people can't for medical reasons or don't want to because they're getting older. However, can you give sparring tips? Can you do light/no contact sparring drills?

We have a 62 year old 10th geup with a fake knee, a 70 year old 3rd geup with a pacemaker and a 60 year old 1st geup with 2 titanium thoracic vertebrae. They all spar. No, none of them are going to compete against a 20 year old, but they spar. There are very very few medical conditions (actually, I can't think of any...) that would allow a person to train without allowing them to spar.

You say you focus on the more practical kicks and less on the flashy kicks. I don't see a problem with that.

Any school that focuses on "flashy" kicks is probably teaching more gymnastics than martial arts. Yes, I will teach people to do tornado kicks. No, they're not a focus, nor will we spend much (if any) class time on them. A student is more likely to be told "ask me between classes" if/when they ask about kicks like that, and they will certainly be made aware of the lack of applicability of these kicks to real world practice.

I will say I can understand where Dirty Dog is coming from. If I saw a black belt that didn't spar, didn't know any forms, and didn't do much besides the basics, I'd kind of wonder what you were doing with that belt on your waist. The forms are the kicker for me more than anything.

The forms are only a prime consideration within the system that awarded the rank. If you learn the Chang Hon forms and then come to our Moo Duk Kwan school, you're not going to know the forms. On the other hand, if you're a competent black belt, you ought to be able to learn forms quite quickly. When I decided to add a KKW Dan rank, it took me about a month to learn the taegeuk forms.

Watergal, that's what I'm saying. If your goal is to get "black belt" or to get "2nd Dan" (etc), then the longer it takes the more you pay in tuition. However, if you are going to continue with your studies and practice until you either get bored, burn out, or move, then stretching it out means you simply have fewer test fees along the way.

With that said, the method the school uses for pricing is less important than the prices. For example, I could...

Charge $100/mo for tuition, test every 2 months for $50 (average 125/mo)
Charge $75/mo for tuition, test every month for $50 (average 125/mo)
Charge $125/mo for tuition and make tests included

You probably get the point.

The YMCA charges $40/month for members, $60 for non. And scholarships are available to those who can't afford these rates. We have testing monthly, if there's someone ready to be promoted. On average, people will be able to test every 2-4 months at lower ranks, and will generally spend a year (or more) at rank for the higher geup ranks.

Yes, we promote slowly. On the other hand, even though we're not a tourney-oriented school, when our students do decide they'd like to compete, they clean house, routinely beating higher ranked students from other schools in sparring, breaking and forms competition. Two of our girls (a 14 year old 2nd geup and a 22 year old 3rd) decided to compete at an open AAU tourney in Denver this month. The 14 year old got bumped to the 16-20 year old black belt class for sparring (she's a very tall girl, and very powerful). She took gold. Also a gold in forms. The 22 year old 3rd geup took gold in sparring, forms and breaking; she competed in the 20-25 year old black belt class. Evidence that it's true when people point out that rank is meaningless outside the school that awarded it.
If you want to learn the art of Taekwondo, I like to think we're a good choice. If you just want a certificate for your wall, we're not.
And since it's not a commercial school, there's no profit incentive. There's nothing wrong with commercial schools, mind you, but I am glad we're not one. We have an awful lot of students who could never afford training at a commercial school.
 

Gnarlie

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A black belt doesn't have to know everything, but they should acknowledge what they don't know and try to fill those gaps. Deliberately disregarding aspects of the art goes against the black belt self improvement mentality. If you 'throw away' parts of the syllabus because you don't like them, you might be a black belt in something, but I'm not sure it's Taekwondo. I also have to wonder whether you would teach the aspects you don't like. Isn't part of being a black belt teaching? Wouldn't it be deceiving a student to conceal part of the art from them just because it might not meet your personal tastes/criteria?

Gnarlie
 

skribs

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I'd say that if these people are actively training, but do not know the lower belt material, that is more than setting an example. It's absolutely reprehensible. If you don't do something for a while, you'll forget it. OK, that's just being human. But if you're actively training and do not know the material you already had to perform for your rank, then maybe you should ask yourself if you actually deserve that rank.

In defense of the black belts I mentioned, we do the Kibon forms for the first 4 belts in my school and Palgwe forms after that. So they probably hadn’t practiced the Kibon forms in the past 5 years. On their forms, they knew what they were doing. They are basically the advanced students, not instructors, so I don’t expect them to remember the form. Although I remember all testing requirements so I can help people if they ask.

We have a 62 year old 10th geup with a fake knee, a 70 year old 3rd geup with a pacemaker and a 60 year old 1st geup with 2 titanium thoracic vertebrae. They all spar. No, none of them are going to compete against a 20 year old, but they spar. There are very very few medical conditions (actually, I can't think of any...) that would allow a person to train without allowing them to spar.

When I said “spar” I meant full contact. My mistake.

The forms are only a prime consideration within the system that awarded the rank. If you learn the Chang Hon forms and then come to our Moo Duk Kwan school, you're not going to know the forms. On the other hand, if you're a competent black belt, you ought to be able to learn forms quite quickly. When I decided to add a KKW Dan rank, it took me about a month to learn the taegeuk forms.

Yes, but “I’m used to a different set of forms” is different from “I’ve forgotten the forms.”

---

The point I was making about the prices is that how often you test isn’t what makes the difference. It’s what the prices are. A better example would be:

If tests are all $50, then…
Tuition $50, test every month
Tuition $75, test every 2 months
Tuition $85, test every 4 months

It doesn’t matter how often you test, they’ll get their money one way or another :p
 

Dirty Dog

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In defense of the black belts I mentioned, we do the Kibon forms for the first 4 belts in my school and Palgwe forms after that. So they probably hadn’t practiced the Kibon forms in the past 5 years. On their forms, they knew what they were doing. They are basically the advanced students, not instructors, so I don’t expect them to remember the form. Although I remember all testing requirements so I can help people if they ask.

That's the problem. The Kibon forms are "their forms".
Our required curriculum includes 6 Kicho and 8 Palgwae forms, with the taegeuks being an option for those who want KKW Dan rank instead of or in addition to MDK Dan rank. You don't learn a form, take a test and forget it.
View attachment $Um-Yang Trigrams.JPG
Each of the gwae (trigrams) is linked to a form (in both the palgwae and taegeuk systems), starting with Keon and ending with Gon. They are traditionally shown arranged in a circle, not in order, but paired with their opposite (Keon = Heaven and Gon = Earth). Why a circle? Because what you learn today should be applied to what you've learned before. This constant return to the beginning allows us to refine and enhance what we've practiced before. And in doing so, we find that our understanding of those techniques improves. The people you are describing are obviously not doing this. You should expect them to know every bit of the curriculum required to earn whatever belt they're wearing. More importantly, your instructors should expect them to know that material. And most important of all, they should expect themselves to know the material.
 

skribs

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Considering the amount of material we cover, I'm going to respectfully disagree that every student needs to remember every form on the way up. I will agree that if you are an instructor you should have the full set.
 

Rumy73

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A black belt doesn't have to know everything, but they should acknowledge what they don't know and try to fill those gaps. Deliberately disregarding aspects of the art goes against the black belt self improvement mentality. If you 'throw away' parts of the syllabus because you don't like them, you might be a black belt in something, but I'm not sure it's Taekwondo. I also have to wonder whether you would teach the aspects you don't like. Isn't part of being a black belt teaching? Wouldn't it be deceiving a student to conceal part of the art from them just because it might not meet your personal tastes/criteria?

Gnarlie

I no longer go to a dojang. Price gouging in my area was the main reason. When I did, I actively sparred and practiced forms. However, I increasingly became selective about who I would spar with. If someone was an unknown quantity, I would politely pass. The reason being, I had enough experiences with guys out to prove something or guys who tried to hurt others. Full contact sparring, to me, should be controlled and respectful. I did the forms for many years, after my last contract ended, I never looked back at them. I go to a regular gym now. I use bits of all that I learned. I happily pay about $150 bucks a year to workout versus the thousands I was forking out.
 
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Gnarlie

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I no longer go to a dojang. Price gouging in my area was the main reason. When I did, I actively sparred and practiced forms. However, I increasingly became selective about who I would spar with. If someone was an unknown quantity, I would politely pass. The reason being, I had enough experiences with guys out to prove something or guys who tried to hurt others. Full contact sparring, to me, should be controlled and respectful. I did the forms for many years, after my last contract ended, I never looked back at them. I go to a regular gym now. I use bits of all that I learned. I happily pay about $150 bucks a year to workout versus the thousands I was forking out.

So are you still trying to improve your skills, from a martial perspective? Or have you plateau'd? I agree with you on the sparring point, by the way.

Gnarlie
 

Rumy73

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So are you still trying to improve your skills, from a martial perspective? Or have you plateau'd? I agree with you on the sparring point, by the way.

Gnarlie

I work on the basics all the time. I have left all the spinning and most jump kicks behind. I stay very flexible and strong. I can kick at head level easily. I spend time looking at my footwork, learning to move the least amount possible while avoiding a threat. Thereby, keeping myself in range to counter. I develop combinations, work on flow. Things like that.
 

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