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msmitht

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So I got a call from a lady who said her son and his friends recently tested for their black belts in tkd. The problem is that the instructor was unable to secure kkw certification for them. She assured me that the kids knew their stuff so I set up a meeting to evaluate them.
OH MY GOD!
I spent an hour with the 3 who could make it. I had fun with them at first to lighten the mood. Stances were non existant (poomsae). No foot/hip rotation on round/side/hook kicks. Had no idea what a back kick was. Good push/crecent kicks. No solid foot positions. They all had floppy feet.
Good discipline though. Thought they were gonna make me deaf with their yells.
When I asked. to see sparring one of the boys started to cry. They had not sparred in over a year.
I ended the session with flying side kicks, which were good except for the landings, and sent the kids to change. Their parents came up to me with checkbooks in hand asking "how much for the certs?" I told them that their children needed some work before I could do that, mabye 6 months or more. They were outraged. I asked them to sit and watch one of my kids, 2nd poom, demonstrate his techniques. After 10 min of drills, poomsae and light sparring motions I saw faces change.
The next day a very upset instructor called me and demanded to know why his top students turned in their belts and quit. Turns out he has no ranking in tkd. He is an okinowa te black belt who was hired by some gm to run a school. He learned the taegueks, incorrectly, and that is all. He broke ties with that gm and is running a tkd school on his own. Total fraud... he tried to bribe me for their certs...LOL! Anyone who knows me would laugh. I would live on the street b4 selling out.
So my dilemma is : what level do I start the kids at? It is not their fault but I can not give them poom.
 

hilly1981

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To help them meet the standards of your school, would it just be worth starting them off from white belt again?

I think this is a case of they may be a black belt at one school, but in yours they have just not earned rank yet. I think it was a smart move to have the parents observe your 2nd poom student, and have them come to a conclusion on their own.

Maybe convey to the parents that yes their children are still black belt that was awarded from that particular school, and nobody can take that away from them. However they can use their existing skills and further improve these at your school, and work towards having another black belt - yet being more skillful etc.. something along those lines anyway. Depends on if the parents are still focusing on the colour of the belt or not. Not to mention the students themselves...

Will be interested to hear how this plays out..
 

dancingalone

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Let them keep their belts but stress they must come up to standard before promoting again, noting that this could take months, even years. This might discourage the kids however.

You can be fair but generous by suggesting they start over at white but allow them to promote quickly if qualified, perhaps even with a waived testing fee.
 

IcemanSK

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I've seen this too. I don't envy your position. I know you to be a no B.S. type of person, so it's not like you'd pretend there's no elephant in the room. If you feel you could allow them to wear the poom & learn TKD to your standard, do that. If not, start them at whie belt.

Did you explain to the parents what the other instructor admitted to you? In explaining that to them, and being willing to take them under your wing, you might be able to bring them in as your students. I fear that no matter how understanding you are, they might feel so ripped off that they are lost to TKD, altogether. And that is not really in your control, sadly.

My hope is that they stay with you & learn TKD (what they missed out on previously).

As I said. There is little you can do to make this a good situation. You're in a lot of ways, just the bearer of the bad news that they got hosed.
 

rlobrecht

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We had one persocome to our school who had been a brown belt in some kind of karate. There was nothing near us where he could continue his training. Our sabumnim started him at white, but let him move as fast as he could. No minimum time in rank, and he was allowed to test more than one belt at a time. For the early belts he was learning 4 to 5 patterns in a month and testing. He was black belt in a year.

Your situation isn't quite the same, since some of their technique is sloppy and non-existent, but this strategy could work. The problem I see with letting them stay black belts is that they probably can't help with any level of instruction.

Good luck with your new students.

Rick
 

ralphmcpherson

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I applaud your stance on this. I would just start them at what ever level your students are at when at their stage. If they are the equivelent of one of your yellow belts then start them at yellow.
 

d1jinx

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I would not set them back to white. Even if thier skills are lacking, to send them back to scratch may be dis-hearting and cause them to loose interest. I would bump them 1 or 2 belts below Black Belt.

Reason is, you dont know how quickly they may pick up the proper material. I would place them around red, and let them know until they caught up to YOUR standards, they would not progress any higher.

Bumping them back to a very low rank may also be seen as a money thing to the parents, which it aint, but in thier eyes they paid for this all before and now the next guy wants it again... I know what you mean by it, but in the end, the training they have done or thought to have done should count for something.

Who knows, you may set them at RED and they pick up the material very quickly as opposed to the few years between white and up.

In the end, I think they will appreciate the Black Belt test more when you test them.

good luck.
 

KarateMomUSA

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I think that there have been some very nice suggestions. However I would ask some more questions:
How old are the kids, how long have they trained at that school, have they trained elsewhere & have they ever competed in any tournaments?

I think that you need to 1st uphold the good reputation that you have worked hard to establish & keep for your school. That being said, you also, as you know, need to open your door wide for these potential new students & not solely or even mainly for money reasons. You have a great opportunity here to really do what the martial arts have been given to us to safeguard, opportunities to make people's lives better. What you will do next will not only impact, you, your school, your students, these new kids, but their parents & possible more students who may find their way to your school.

Kids are kids & they are going to want their belts. Some parents, while they may now see & know the difference, may still just want to pay for the piece of paper & may not be as open or flexible with their star children starting at white belt.

I would respectfully suggest that you discuss some options with their parents & then you yourself with these new students.
One option would be for them to start at white belt & move up as fast as they can, meaning you can adjust them freely at any point & at any time interval, inside or outside of a formal test, with or without any fee, or a reduced fee etc.
Another option would be that since they have already "earned" their black belts, that they should frame or hang them in their homes. At your school, they call wear a half white & half black belt. While this is what the ITF uses for their junior black belts, I would not say that, but tell them that this belt indicates that they are black belts, but are starting as beginners at your school. They will progress at their own rate & you can add on a color stripe indicating each color belt as they absorb your material & reach your standard. Once they make it to black, you can award them their Poom half red & half black belt, with your school name on it.
I would also try to see if you can have their 1st Poom certificate dated to coincide with the date that they tested at their other school. This way, if they really tried hard & worked to your satisfaction, they time they put in at your school, catching up to what they should have had at the other school, won't be lost & can be applied to their 2nd Poom or 2nd Dan, depending on their age. This may provide a satisfactory compromise for all involved.

As to telling the parents what the karate instructor from their TKD school told you over the phone, I would not say a thing. I fear that anything said along those lines may come back to make problems between the schools. The parents are always free to speak to that instructor on their own. I would not get in the middle of that.
Good luck to you, as these situations are troublesome to say the least & seem to happen far to often. I wouldn't be surprised if they do not stay or drop out quickly, as it is often hard to teach an old dog new tricks, even if those old dogs are young pups!
 

Kacey

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That's a tough one... as others have said, depending on what you think they can pick up, and how fast, I would either let them keep the black belt with the understanding that they have to learn everything they're missing before they can test again, or set them back to the rank they perform at while letting them move faster through the ranks if they're able. Given that these are kids who, through no fault of their own, were given bad instruction but performed in good faith, I lean toward letting them keep the black belts and catching them up.
 

ralphmcpherson

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How long did it take for them to achieve black belt rank at their previous club? How long does it take to achieve black belt at your club?
 

bushidomartialarts

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I would treat them like any other student who comes to my school with rank from another:

Let them wear the rank their previous instructor gave them until they surpass it with yours, but start them at the beginning of your curriculum. That way they don't feel they've been demoted, but you get to train them up.

I've also been known to waive my programs "time in rank" requirements for students in such a case.

Just my two cents. You've hit the nail on the head. It's not their fault their previous teacher was a fraud, but you don't want to devalue their respect and dedication to what they had been taught.
 

Kacey

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I would treat them like any other student who comes to my school with rank from another:

Let them wear the rank their previous instructor gave them until they surpass it with yours, but start them at the beginning of your curriculum. That way they don't feel they've been demoted, but you get to train them up.

I've also been known to waive my programs "time in rank" requirements for students in such a case.

Just my two cents. You've hit the nail on the head. It's not their fault their previous teacher was a fraud, but you don't want to devalue their respect and dedication to what they had been taught.

This is what I meant - but stated more clearly. I was a little tired when I was posting last night.
 
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msmitht

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Ty for all of your replies. It is a difficult situation. Think I will gove them red belts to wear in class. They used brown so it is not really a step backwards. Don't think I will share my conversation either. Received emails from parents and they are bringing the children in next week to start classes. They were surprised that I care more about teaching real martial arts than a big check.
 

Balrog

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Ty for all of your replies. It is a difficult situation. Think I will gove them red belts to wear in class. They used brown so it is not really a step backwards. Don't think I will share my conversation either. Received emails from parents and they are bringing the children in next week to start classes. They were surprised that I care more about teaching real martial arts than a big check.
I think you're handling it correctly. Integrity goes a long, long way.

May I suggest something? For each of them, make a "sign-off" sheet from White Belt up to the rank you are going to start them at. Explain to them that you want to make sure that they have all of their basics so that they have the solid foundation they need and whenever they are ready to show you the next low-rank form (or forms), and they do so successfully, make a big deal about signing off their progress on their sheet. When the sheet is filled in completely, they will be ready to continue, and they will have gotten the positive feedback and constructive criticism that they needed during the preparation.
 

ETinCYQX

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Let them keep their belts but stress they must come up to standard before promoting again, noting that this could take months, even years. This might discourage the kids however.

This would be my preferred solution but this

We had one persocome to our school who had been a brown belt in some kind of karate. There was nothing near us where he could continue his training. Our sabumnim started him at white, but let him move as fast as he could. No minimum time in rank, and he was allowed to test more than one belt at a time. For the early belts he was learning 4 to 5 patterns in a month and testing. He was black belt in a year.

Your situation isn't quite the same, since some of their technique is sloppy and non-existent, but this strategy could work. The problem I see with letting them stay black belts is that they probably can't help with any level of instruction.

Good luck with your new students.

Rick

Is a very fair solution as well that I'd be very happy with in OP's position or in the parent's position.
 

puunui

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I'm not into demoting people. What I have done in the past is let them keep their rank and go from there.
 

ralphmcpherson

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I'm not into demoting people. What I have done in the past is let them keep their rank and go from there.
The only problem I have seen in doing this is that it can cause a bit of embarrasment for the student at a new club, around new people, in a new environment and on top of all that they are prancing around in a belt which clearly does not reciprocate their skill level. In this case you have to tell all the blackbelts to go and work on something but then call them back and have them work with the red belts despite the fact they are wearing a black belt or you have them work with the black belts where its clear they are way out of their depth which can make them feel a little uneasy. Also, where do you draw the line? If a black belt in shotokan karate goes and starts at a kyokushin karate school Im sure they dont wear a black belt, despite both schools having 'karate' emblazoned on the front door. So in this case both schools may have the word tkd on their front door, but going by what the OP said they seem very different schools, so their rank at the former club really has no real relevence to the new club. In saying this though, you clearly have experience dealing in this area and I dont, so this is just my 2 bobs worth.
 

puunui

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I try to emphasize the concept of non-judgmentalness in class. If someone comes in from another school or instructor, then we all try to help that person become acclimated as possible. I have joined many schools in the past so I can appreciate the challenges that transfer students face and try to use that experience when dealing transfer students of my own.
 

ralphmcpherson

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I try to emphasize the concept of non-judgmentalness in class. If someone comes in from another school or instructor, then we all try to help that person become acclimated as possible. I have joined many schools in the past so I can appreciate the challenges that transfer students face and try to use that experience when dealing transfer students of my own.
So tue. Usually the unease comes from the student being in a new environment and not that the other students are judgemental. I remember my first class as a white belt, I felt very nervous and uneasy despite the fact that all the other students made me feel very welcome and were very approachable. I think its natural to feel a little strange when starting martial arts, its probably easier as a white belt because you are not expected to know anything, but coming from another club and wearing any coloured belt other than white you would feel that all eyes are on you, even though that couldnt be further from the truth.
 

bushidomartialarts

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Does your school have separate classes for separate belt ranks?

If so, this should avoid that issue. They'll wear their belt from the other teacher, but attend the beginners' class until they're ready to move up. Advantages:

  • They're (hopefully) good enough to impress the white belts
  • They'll move quickly through the beginning ranks, which should help their confidence
  • By the time they're in with advanced ranks, you'll have made them ready
  • Call the move policy - it's not because they suck, it's what every new student does
 
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