Dojang owner, "grandmaster" 8th dan, olympic head coach, international referee???

Discussion in 'Tae Kwon Do' started by Valentinus, Jun 18, 2015.

  1. Valentinus

    Valentinus New Member

    Hello everyone,

    This is my first post and I am brand new to martial arts. I am an adult who has been meaning to get started for quite a while but various things have prevented that.

    As I am now getting started at my local TKD club, I find myself a little skeptical of the claims being made by the owner. He is Korean and older, but I can't verify that he was ever an olympics head coach, nor where he got his 8th degree black belt from.

    He signed me up for a 18 month contract at three 45 minute classes/week, suggesting that I might be a deputy BB by that time. He said my height (6'4") will help me progress.

    I know there is a lot of talk of Mcdojangs and I was very clear when speaking to him that I wanted to learn "traditional" TKD as well as the sparring rules. He assured me that TKD is "all encompassing" and then showed me a couple joint locks.

    Here is the website of the club. There is no mention on the website of affiliation, but the school's business card says U.S. TKD Union. From what I understand, this is the same as TeamAmerica, but their website does not show this school as a member.

    I would appreciate a little guidance here as I am new and want to make sure I train at the right place. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
  2. Prizewriter

    Prizewriter Moved on

    Hello and welcome. Okay some thoughts:

    Sorry to say but 18 month contract would be a red flag...

    Suggesting you will have a belt within a certain time frame before you've really began training is also a red flag...

    From what I can tell, Amerstate University is not an accredited college in the USA. So his masters degree could be of dubious quality. Another red flag....

    If you enjoy it though keep at it.
  3. Unreal Combat

    Unreal Combat Valued Member

    45 minute classes? Personally I wouldn't have even bothered.
  4. Valentinus

    Valentinus New Member

    Thanks for the reply and your input!

    The 18 month BB thing doesn't sit well with me, but this was after my "free" class. My balance and flexibility are good from Tai Chi and Yoga but I'm certain it doesn't qualify me for an 18 month DBB.

    I think I will enjoy it, but the 45 min classes just seem very very short after 15 minutes of stretches, reciting creeds and then drills after.

    Does it sound like it would be worth giving it the 18 months to learn basics and then reevaluate whether I should continue at a different school? That's what I'm thinking anyway. I am skeptical of this school, but I figure I can put in extra work and request some extra training and attention from him.
  5. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Valued Member

    There is an entry in He Youn Kimm's history book about Hee Sup Lee beginning witha 1971 entry of him going to Brazil, and 1981 ij the USA.

    Is that what the H S Stands for or something else?
  6. Prizewriter

    Prizewriter Moved on

    If you have signed a contract your options are limited anyway I suppose... although there are ways of getting out of those contracts.
  7. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Valued Member

    My standard advice is watch 3 classes at any school you are considering. At any given class for a variety of reasons only one or two subject areas may be addressed and this would not give an overall idea of what it's like in the long term.

    After doing this at all schools under consideration decide who is teaching what and how you wish to learn.
  8. Valentinus

    Valentinus New Member

    I have three more days within the cancellation period, though I would be out the first month and uniform fee.
  9. Valentinus

    Valentinus New Member

    It appears Hee Sup Lee worked from Texas (I'm in south Florida). There's a picture of him HERE but it's not the same guy.
  10. Prizewriter

    Prizewriter Moved on

    If it were me and based on what you said.... I would opt out but that's just me. There seems to be plenty of other TKD schools near you!!
  11. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    Hi Valentinus, Welcome.

    Here a MAP, although we encourage people to come on board and discuss the legitimacy of a school, we try not to bash indiscriminately

    I have had "my share" of studying in such schools, that now, I know what to look for.

    Please allow me to address your post per sectional;

    There isn't really a "set time/age" to start. The sooner you start, the sooner you will realize what you have been missing

    It is always good to be skeptical. One of my instructors (now deceased) told me to "question everything", including him. I had a few Korean instructors, and one was a charlatan making outrageous claims. Back then, the internet did not exist, but research was painstakingly done and with a lot of persistency, some things can be verified. If you want me to go into details, please chat in PM

    First, a 18 month contract seem a bit too much. Second, I do not like the term "Deputy Black Belt". I have a idea that this is a teaser rank just to lure and keep people

    Anyone can show a couple of joint locks. And for the record, back in the 70's a lot of Koreans came to the U.S. looking for work. A scant few opened a martial art school with little to no experience realizing that occidentals were gullible and naïve to believe that anyone Asian could fight and teach fighting. This phenomenon was also fueled by the popularity of Bruce Lee. A good reference to non Asians thinking all Asians can fight, is in a Movie titled; "They Call Me Bruce?", starring a Korean Comedian-Johnny Yune

    A lot of respectable TKD instructors have lineage to the Kukkiwon. Almost to say there are 2 major TKD orgs out there: WTF and ITF. Other orgs had branched off from those, but any lineage could be traced back. Any respectable TKD instructor out there should be able to be verified in some type of lineage. Anyone claiming to be a Olympic Coach can be verified through "The Olympic Committee. Research, learn, and "Know Your TaeKwonDo".

    A good place to start:

    Are there any other martial art schools in your area?
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2015
  12. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Run. Opt out of the contract and just run.

    Find a good school. People here could suggest and quite you better.
  13. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Contracts arnt always a bad thing, but a decent free trial is a must.

    Everything else seems dodgy as hell, I'd walk if I were you.
  14. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    What to you think is the average/reasonable period of a contract?

    Some fitness gyms have 6 or 12 months
  15. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    I have no issue with contracts.

    I have a BIG issue with a guaranteed BB in 18 months. That is the very definition of a McDojo to me. A BB you can be guaranteed in that time frame is a BB not worth having.

    Also having trouble finding out about the lineage is a warning sign. Hopefully someone with TKD experience can help answer that question. But a legitimate lineage shouldn't be all that hard to trace.

    I would back out before you are stuck with this contract. Don't be rushed into it. You can always resign later if your research makes you want to sign up.
  16. GaryWado

    GaryWado Tired

    That bit makes me cringe the most!
  17. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Our gym gives a free month trial, 12 month contract but only a one month equivalent charge for early finishing, and free early finish for loosing job, moving away etc. They also do payg if needed.
  18. kuntaoer

    kuntaoer Valued Member

    In the dealings Ive had with commercial schools with contracts, I have had one belief with this.. Run, don't walk away from any school that offers a contract with a guarantee that you will be any sort of a blackbelt within 18 months.. Basically it sounds like a money pit to me, but the choice is yours.. It seems that the majority of times when an instructor leaves the asian theater, he steps on the plane as a 1st or 2nd dan blackbelt, but by the time the international DAN line is crossed, their history of promotion is including being a national or olympic coach, promotion to 8th or 9th dan and was a member of the national exhibition team or a member of their country's special operations command.. I would tread lightly around this contract and IMHO, like I said, RUN don't walk from this school as I expect to see a picture of it with golden arches and a happy meal when you get your certificate as a blackbelt.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2015
  19. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    The wording was "Deputy Black Belt". I wonder if this is the same as a :junior Back Belt", in any case, they seem to be a bait tactic
  20. Giovanni

    Giovanni Well-Known Member Supporter

    for me, the contract would be a non-starter to begin with. but if you do like the gym--and even i have signed a contract--then signing the contract should not be a problem.

    i would say to do more research. what else is available in your area? how do you like this gym so far? are there any other gym or "arts" you'd be interested in trying? if so, have you scoped out those other establishments?

    an interesting thing about can actually edit the contract right then and there BEFORE signing. if you don't like the cancellation terms, negotiate. if you don't like the terms period, negotiate, write the changes on the contract, and then sign and make copies. just because a contract is there, does not mean you can't negotiate any of the items in it--in other words, not set in stone. really too, you should never sign anything unless you fully understand it.

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