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  #16  
Old 22-Jul-2012, 02:14 PM
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monkeywrench monkeywrench is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce W Sims View Post
I also think there is a huge difference between how Asians see a BB and how it is viewed in the West. It seems that Asians consider the BB as a start while many Westerners would then wonder what the two years learning and passing though GEUP was all about. Perhaps there is a need to re-examine what it is that would reconcile these two very different POV.

Best Wishes,

Bruce
That's a good point. As the saying goes, "life is learning". I'll bring up BJJ (and no, I don't practice it but I have heard quite a bit about the belt system) as an example. In BJJ, you may earn your black belt after many years of training or you may get it faster if you have proven your skills and mastery by winning matches.

Some styles can get you to black belt in two years. I'm not sure how that works...but it happens.

I've been training for almost six years and don't even have a brown belt. I have taken time off for various things, but still. I'm not worried about the belt. Belts just hold your pants up.
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  #17  
Old 05-Aug-2012, 11:55 PM
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a black belt to me means you have mastered the moves and are ready to understand how to use them
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  #18  
Old 07-Aug-2012, 06:20 AM
tdparisi83 tdparisi83 is offline
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Ideally, (and this is not always the case) a Black Belt is awarded to a student who has displayed a certain proficiency and skill. Unfortunately, many schools in TKD set the bar for black belt much lower than others.

Sadly, I would say TKD as a martial art generally sets the bar for black belt much lower than other styles. In BJJ or Karate it takes 5-10 years to get to black belt, but in many TKD schools, it can take 2.

I don't say this to down Taekwondo. I have a 3rd Dan, and I am proud of the rank that I earned. I looked at where the bar is set, and I know that I can just do enough to buy the belt. But I didn't stop there. I tell myself that a Black Belt student should be the best of the best. While the bar was set lower for the group, I set it higher for myself. That's why I give my all at every training session. I strive for constant improvement. I set challenging goals, and I work toward those goals every day.

And no, my goals are not just to get the next rank. Some goals involve learning a new technique, or refining an old one. Other goals include conditioning and performance.

Earning a Black Belt should be a new beginning, as several of you have noted. There is a Black Belt mindset, whether some of you want to believe it or not. However, not all people who wear the belt really take this to heart.

Many of you are correct. At some schools, in some styles, a black belt means nothing. It is just a piece of cloth that someone waited 2 years for, and paid enough money for. I've seen the "Belt Factories" and "McDojos." It is a sad truth when a master forsakes his teachings of discipline, honor, and service for the short win of a belt testing fee.

It is the choice of each student, master, and practitioner to decide what your black belt means, and to either rise above, or settle for "good enough."
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  #19  
Old 07-Aug-2012, 04:41 PM
Bruce W Sims Bruce W Sims is offline
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I think that is a HUGE difference, TD. I would also add that BB does not mean the same these days as it did when, say, Koreans first started training in TKD.

Used to be that noone attached much significance to the GEUP rankings. They were essentially just enough to keep the newbies out from under foot of the advanced classes. I think starting to teach kids gave the GEUPs greater emphasis. This probably explains why many of the old-timers buzzed right into BB after about a year when now it can take two or three years to make it through the GEUP ranks.

The art provides the structure, but its the practitioner that gives that structure meaning.

Best Wishes,

Bruce
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  #20  
Old 16-Aug-2012, 01:38 AM
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brisrocket brisrocket is offline
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Great topic.

The journey to black belt provides skill, knowledge and character.

I think that Black belts can motivate students by modelling the results of travelling that journey of their martial art.

For the black belt rank holder, it sets the expectation to maintain a certain level of conduct.

It's all good!
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  #21  
Old 18-Aug-2012, 07:03 AM
pydades pydades is offline
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Dojunim

I read these words and saw my own philosophy and way of teaching in them. Thank you for stating them so eloquently.
Ter-Jo Elliott
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  #22  
Old 18-Aug-2012, 06:36 PM
TKDstudent TKDstudent is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdparisi83 View Post
Ideally, (and this is not always the case) a Black Belt is awarded to a student who has displayed a certain proficiency and skill. Unfortunately, many schools in TKD set the bar for black belt much lower than others.
Sadly, I would say TKD as a martial art generally sets the bar for black belt much lower than other styles. In BJJ or Karate it takes 5-10 years to get to black belt, but in many TKD schools, it can take 2.
I don't say this to down Taekwondo. I have a 3rd Dan, and I am proud of the rank that I earned. I looked at where the bar is set, and I know that I can just do enough to buy the belt. But I didn't stop there. I tell myself that a Black Belt student should be the best of the best. While the bar was set lower for the group, I set it higher for myself. That's why I give my all at every training session. I strive for constant improvement. I set challenging goals, and I work toward those goals every day.
And no, my goals are not just to get the next rank. Some goals involve learning a new technique, or refining an old one. Other goals include conditioning and performance.
Earning a Black Belt should be a new beginning, as several of you have noted. There is a Black Belt mindset, whether some of you want to believe it or not. However, not all people who wear the belt really take this to heart.
Many of you are correct. At some schools, in some styles, a black belt means nothing. It is just a piece of cloth that someone waited 2 years for, and paid enough money for. I've seen the "Belt Factories" and "McDojos." It is a sad truth when a master forsakes his teachings of discipline, honor, and service for the short win of a belt testing fee.
It is the choice of each student, master, and practitioner to decide what your black belt means, and to either rise above, or settle for "good enough."
I think you post brings up many good points that highlight contradictions & are at times seems like you are contradicting yourself.
If a BB is only the beginning, why does it take 5-10 years in karate or BJJ to earn a BB? Does one have to spend 5-10 years as a beginner?
Certainly there must be some base level of talent, skill, attitude & performance, right? But how that standard is applied is another thing of course, won't you agree? I can set the standard, you can meet it or not. If you do & I award you a BB, you have earned it. If you didn't, but I still award the BB, you have purchased it or I have sold out.
You really end with wonderful words!
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  #23  
Old 18-Aug-2012, 06:45 PM
TKDstudent TKDstudent is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce W Sims View Post
I think that is a HUGE difference, TD. I would also add that BB does not mean the same these days as it did when, say, Koreans first started training in TKD.
Used to be that noone attached much significance to the GEUP rankings. They were essentially just enough to keep the newbies out from under foot of the advanced classes. I think starting to teach kids gave the GEUPs greater emphasis. This probably explains why many of the old-timers buzzed right into BB after about a year when now it can take two or three years to make it through the GEUP ranks.
The art provides the structure, but its the practitioner that gives that structure meaning. Best Wishes, Bruce
I think you bring up a great point about the guep levels & linking it to the commercial schools in the West.
Also to me it is fairly obvious that training in Korea, in the old days was very basic, led by Koreans who learned basic karate abroad in Japan or from a book. There are accounts with little talking in the class, virtually no questions & copying what the instructor or senior was doing was pretty much common. Today the training is mostly for kids & then elite players who develop success in competition or wish to pursue TKD as a career.
In the old days, it was for SD, in an almost lawless society, where toughness ruled. So the training was more about toughness than anything else. They did few basic things, but they did them over & over again, which developed a level of talent & skill. The focus was not on sport, nor did they have the expanded number of techniques & scientific training methods.
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  #24  
Old 18-Aug-2012, 06:50 PM
TKDstudent TKDstudent is offline
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SYSTEM OF RANK
(Dan Gup Jedo)
In Taekwon-Do, character development, fortitude, tenacity, and technique are graded as well as individual capacity. The promotional scale is divided into nineteen ranks - 10 grades (Gups) and nine degrees (Dans.) The former begins with 10th grade (Gup) the lowest and ends at first grade. Degrees begin with the first degree (Dan) and end with the ultimate ninth degree.

There is, of course, a certain significance in the numbering system. With degree, the number 9 is not only the highest one among one digit numbers but also is the number of 3 multiplied by 3. In the Orient, three is the most esteemed of all the numbers. The Chinese character '3' contains three lines: the upper line symbolizes the heaven; the middle line, mortals; and the bottom line, earth.

It was believed that the individual who was successful in promoting his country, fellowmen and God, and able to reach an accord with all three would aspire to become King. The Chinese character for three and King are nearly synonymous. When the number three is multiplied by itself, the equation is nine, the highest of the high; therefore, ninth degree is the highest of the high ranking belts.

It is also interesting to note that when the numeral 9 is multiplied by any other single digit number and the resultant figures are added together, the answer always equals 9, i.e. 9x1=9; 9x2=18, 1+8=9 and so on up to 9x9=81, 8+1=9. Since this is the only single digit number having this property, it again points to the number 9 as being the most positive of figures.

Taking the use of the number three one step further, the degrees are further divided into three distinct classes. First through third degree is considered the novice stages of black belt. Students are still merely beginners in comparison to the higher degrees. At fourth degree, the student crosses the threshold of puberty and enters the expert class. Seventh through ninth is composed of Taekwon-Do masters -- the elite who fully understand all the particulars of Taekwon-Do, mental and physical.

There is perhaps one question that remains; why begin with the lowest of the two digit numbers, '10' why not begin with the lowest one digit number and proceed from first grade to ninth grade, and then begin again for degrees? Though it would certainly be more logical, the 10 to 1 and 1 to 10 numerical system in the Orient is ageless. It would be impossible, if not even a bit impertinent, to attempt to change a practice that is even carried into children’s games.

Perhaps there was an initial logical reason for it; however, it seems to have been lost in antiquity. Anyhow, the number '10' is the lowest existing two digit number; consequently, a beginner must start at this number rather than 11 or 12 which is numerically higher.

CRITERIA FOR GRADE AND DEGREE
This criteria is based on the total number of hours and days required for the student to obtain first degree black belt, and years for the further black belt degrees.
There are actually three programs a beginner may follow:

An 18 month course; an hour and a half per day, six days per week for a total of 702 hours.
A 30 month course; an hour and a half per day, three days per week for a total of 585 hours.
A 12 month course; four hours per day, six days per week for a total of 1248 hours.

Significance of first degree
First Degree---Expert or Novice
One of the greatest misconceptions within the martial arts is the notion that all black belt holders are experts. It is understandable that those unacquainted with the martial arts might make this equation. However, students should certainly recognize that this is not always the case. Too often, novice black belt holders advertise themselves as experts and eventually even convince themselves.

The first degree black belt holder has usually learned enough technique to defend himself against a single opponent. He can be compared to a fledging who has acquired enough feathers to leave the nest and fend for himself. The first degree is a starting point. The student has merely built a foundation. The job of building the house lies ahead.

The novice black belt holder will now really begin to learn technique. Now that he has mastered the alphabet, he can begin to read. Years of hard work and study await him before he can even begin to consider himself an instructor or expert.

A perceptive student will, at this stage, suddenly realize how very little he knows. The black belt holder also enters a new era of responsibility. Though a freshman, he has entered a strong honorable fraternity of the black belt holders of the world; and his actions inside and outside the training hall will be carefully scrutinized. His conduct will reflect on all black belt holders and he must constantly strive to set an example for all grade holders.

Some will certainly advance into the expert stages. However, far too many will believe the misconception and will remain novice, mentally and technically.

BY:
Ambassador Choi Hong Hi (Major-General Retired), The Principle Founder of Taekwon-Do, Author of the 15 volume Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do, from which the above is taken.
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  #25  
Old 18-Aug-2012, 09:40 PM
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monkeywrench monkeywrench is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TKDstudent View Post
I think you post brings up many good points that highlight contradictions & are at times seems like you are contradicting yourself.
If a BB is only the beginning, why does it take 5-10 years in karate or BJJ to earn a BB? Does one have to spend 5-10 years as a beginner?
Certainly there must be some base level of talent, skill, attitude & performance, right? But how that standard is applied is another thing of course, won't you agree? I can set the standard, you can meet it or not. If you do & I award you a BB, you have earned it. If you didn't, but I still award the BB, you have purchased it or I have sold out.
You really end with wonderful words!
It can take that long because once you get a promotion, it's my belief you should stay at that rank for a while. Not just long enough to get promoted again. But long enough to actually have your new techniques become ingrained and second nature. I've trained in a system that tested and got you to BB in a relatively short time. I was about halfway to BB with a head full of techniques that I scantly understood. I began to struggle with new techniques when previously they all came easily.

There's no rush.
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  #26  
Old 18-Aug-2012, 09:57 PM
TKDstudent TKDstudent is offline
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Originally Posted by monkeywrench View Post
It can take that long because once you get a promotion, it's my belief you should stay at that rank for a while. Not just long enough to get promoted again. But long enough to actually have your new techniques become ingrained and second nature. I've trained in a system that tested and got you to BB in a relatively short time. I was about halfway to BB with a head full of techniques that I scantly understood. I began to struggle with new techniques when previously they all came easily.
There's no rush.
No I agree there should be no rush. But for me TKD is a lifelong pursuit, so I am not in a rush, nor do I advocate rushing. But it seems far too many people get hung up on the color of a belt.
To me, if you & I trained diligently for 10 years our skill set & experiences should be fairly equal, if we had similar talent to begin with. Would you not agree?
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  #27  
Old 19-Aug-2012, 02:00 AM
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Journey to My Black Belt

I have been in training off and on since 1978... I owned and ran my own school for over 10 years.. One of my greatest accomplishments was to see my Children and Some Students surpass even the skills that I have attained...I am now disabled due to a head injury..Work related not from Martial Arts....I still maintain the Black Belt attitude...It is a way of Life now...an integral part of my being.
Terri Jo Elliott
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  #28  
Old 19-Aug-2012, 02:16 PM
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monkeywrench monkeywrench is offline
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Originally Posted by TKDstudent View Post
No I agree there should be no rush. But for me TKD is a lifelong pursuit, so I am not in a rush, nor do I advocate rushing. But it seems far too many people get hung up on the color of a belt.
To me, if you & I trained diligently for 10 years our skill set & experiences should be fairly equal, if we had similar talent to begin with. Would you not agree?
Yes, belt color shouldn't even come up in your mind very often when training. I'm glad to read your views on not rushing your training.

I would generally agree with your last statement, yes. Any caveats I might bring up would take a whole thread, so I'll save those.
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  #29  
Old 27-Aug-2012, 11:25 PM
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Nice article mate, only scruple is including Anne Frank and Mother Theresa, one kept a diary (which Ive read so im not being ignorant)
The other well... she was a friend of poverty not the poor she thought being poor brought you closer to god....
All she wanted all along was to establish her own order which she did, then... she goes and have a crises of faith and is like "oh maybe im wrong"

Sorry for the potential "hatin" you might see with this reply, just something i find annoying.
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  #30  
Old 19-Apr-2013, 06:31 PM
tryst72008 tryst72008 is offline
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I just started taking tae kwon do at age 35 my son is 4 and just started i agree with the original poster on the majority of the points and the other posters on their points i definitely agree that a black belt is just the beginning my instructor is 4th dan and it took him 24 yrs to get there. I respect anyone that has the time and patience to make it that far and only hope i can attain mine to honor my sensei and i would love to see my son attain his.
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