Promotional Authority

Discussion in 'Tae Kwon Do' started by Spookey, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. Spookey

    Spookey Valued Member

    While each organization has its own criteria for promotion (I'm speaking in relation to Taekwondo) I am interested to obtain your individual opinion concerning promotions.

    Specifically, I am referencing Dan ranks. For instance, some organizations allow you to promote up to half your own rank (i.e. A 4th can promote to 2nd), while other systems accept a promotion as legitimate so long as the senior is at least one rank higher than the junior (i.e. A 6th Dan promoting a student to 5th Dan).
    Additionally, you have the potential ability for a 9th Dan to promote others to 9th Dan. Yet another may require a panel promotion, and in some instances panels of lessor ranks may promote their leader (i.e. Grandmaster "X" was promoted by the senior members of organization "X".

    What are your beliefs and/or standards concerning legitimacy of promotion and promotional authority?
  2. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Promotion between organisations is extremely subjective (more so between styles) because of the sheer scope of testing standards and requirements. Politics plays a huge part too, e.g. my dan grade in Kyokushin is validated by the IKO but is not accepted by the BKK and IKF, because of a falling out years ago between my teacher and instructors from the BKK over (you guessed it) money.
  3. Spookey

    Spookey Valued Member

    Regardless of organizational politics, what is your personal belief regarding promotional authority?
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
  4. Spookey

    Spookey Valued Member

    Deleted by poster
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    For dan ranks, we've always followed the whole 'promote up to one level under you' rule (so a 4th dan could promote a person to 3rd dan).

    That said, we generally followed the idea that you had to be at least 4th dan to promote anyone to a color belt or dan rank. In the early days when we had 1st and 2nd dans running schools, the overall grandmaster had to give permission to those instructors to conduct color belt tests... dan tests were done by a testing board, of which the head had to be at least a 4th dan and at least one rank ahead of the highest rank being recommended.

    Regardless, one thing that I liked in our TKD program was that whoever the ultimate promoting authority was had his name embroidered on the belt ("Presented by GM XXXX") so everyone knew who had promoted you.
  6. Spookey

    Spookey Valued Member

    Thomas, this is exactly the input I was looking for. Acknowledging the broad spectrum of standards I'm very appreciative of the "this man's opinion" and "our group does "X"" type of answer. Hopefully more will contribute there ideals as well!
  7. raaeoh

    raaeoh never tell me the odds

    Rethinking post will repost
  8. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Valued Member

    In the olden days when the earth was cooling and dinosaurs roamed. (OK, maybe not that long ago) the rule was to promote up to half of ones rank.

    That falls apart after about 4th Dan and in some cases there were few if any readily available above 7. So as time passed there were promotions up to 2 ranks below the top guy around. As it now stands in the USTF this is pretty how much it is up to 8ths promoting to 6. I anticipate all 9ths will be allowed to promote to 7th with 8th and 9th being reserved for Sr. GM Sereff or whomever he leaves in charge at some point.

    ITF V requires 7th to be tested at an Instructors cous with the people conducting that course doing the testing. Don't know if there is a test for 8, and I think 9th is by approval of whoever is in charge.
  9. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Valued Member

    FWIW AFAIAC it's only since the round eyes have been administering TKD (disclaimer - Not related to KKW) that hard and fast promotion guidelines were widely enforced. Stories abound about "Airplane Promotions" or crossing the international "Dan Line" somehwere over the ocean and advancing in rank before landing in the west.
  10. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    I think the person holding the authority should be able to do everything they ask of the person taking the test. Sadly this is not always the case, people getting fat, lazy and whatnot.
  11. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Valued Member

    Once again VZ and I will agree to disagree.

    Anyone who says they are as good at 60 as they were at 20 was not very good at 20.

    I have been on many a test board where people are asked to perform techniques (So long as they can perform them safely. ) I can no longer do or would not attempt due to various issues.

    One prime organizational example for us is that breaking requirements are reduced at certain ages. Some loss of bone density as we pass certain age is unavoidable.
  12. raaeoh

    raaeoh never tell me the odds

    Due to shoulder injuries I can no longer do the shoulder rolls. I did them well a in the past. In my 40s expected to get full use agian at around 49. That means my mobility will reach my age.

    My instructor can no longer spar due to a genetic issue. he was the perfect picture if health but still had a heart attack.

    I do agree if you are in your early 30s. Or have had no significant injuries. You should hold all tested to a standard you as a tester can reach.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
  13. Spookey

    Spookey Valued Member

    Good information from all. I hope more will add to this thought process and share their perspectives of acceptable practice.

    I know there are many standards, but think the majority of Sabum would accept most practices so long as honorable in nature. Additionally, we all should recognize the journey of the individual. All ranks are not "equal" in my opinion and not just due to skill and standardization, but rather outlying factors.

    For instance, the instructor who has been a 6th Dan for 30 years, I personally would not hold issue with him promoting someone to 5th Dan, or even "leaving" his 6th Dan to someone in his passing away.

    I like the diversity, and while I miss the uniformity of old, how uniform was it really. These varying traditions are what give the Kwan feel to things as opposed to a corporate vibe, but as with everything, can cause their own issues.

  14. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    Our group has generally held pretty strongly to "time in grade" as well, for dan ranks, this means your current grade in years before you can test for the next grade (so 1 year to 2nd dan , 2 years to 3rd, 3 years to 4th, etc).

    Of course, it always means 'longer'.... because we weren't allowed to test until we had the full 'time in grade' in, then it would be submitted to Kukkiwon where it would take from 6 months to a year to get your actual dan certificate. But we didn't count the time in grade as beginning until the date on your certificate (so add 6-12 months).
  15. Spookey

    Spookey Valued Member


    I agree, for me personally, time in rank is a good standard to maintain. Consistently training during that time is pertinent as well!
  16. Xanth

    Xanth Valued Member

    In Kuk Sool Won, we have instructors (1st and up) test and give colored belts. Only the Grand Master promotes people to Dan ranks.
  17. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Valued Member

    I don't know how old is "Old" but IMO if you look at time in grade of Dan Ranks of many pioneers it was less than what many round eyes spend today.

    The fact that they were "Pioneers" did not give them any special abilities and if you look at today's information availability versus even what was out there in the 1960's it is far superior now to what it was then.

    Still we have those who mistake 30 years of experience for the same experience repeated for 30 years.
  18. raaeoh

    raaeoh never tell me the odds

    i have been struggling with this.

    I wanted to ask when and why did the so called masters of old become masters? and what gave them the authority to grant rank? what keeps me with over 10 years, and many thousands of hours of training from granting a 1st dan?

    I in no way feel that I am at that level but still am far better than most bbs i meet
  19. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Valued Member

    Only 2 things really;

    1. Your feelings about integrity

    2. Possible consequences by some authority penalizing you for violating their rules.
  20. miles

    miles Valued Member

    I recently had a run-in with an organization claiming to be "traditional." I was told that my tests were improper because I failed to have a board of high ranking masters test my students. I was told by this American master that only by having a board were the tests valid. I was told by not having a group of masters administering the test, it diminished the integrity of Taekwondo. For the record, I promote my students through the Kukkiwon. My highest ranking students are 5th dan.

    I know in my heart that my students are promoted based on their abilities, knowledge, and their heart. I don't have a commercial school and have very little overhead. My dojang is in my house, built by my wife while I was in Korea taking the Kukkiwon Foreign Instructor Course. I offered to train with the gentleman claiming my actions were denigrating the integrity of Taekwondo to show him I am sincere in my beliefs and confident in my ability, but he refused. I found out later he is a "suit", an organizational figurehead who likely hasn't put on a dobok in years. Oh well.

    The "tradition" of dan ranks is not that old. Ranking authorities and requirements have varied widely. In his book, "Okinawa Goju-Ryu II", Master Seikichi Toguchi wrote, "Since Miyagi (Chojun) died suddenly the following year (1953), none of us (his senior students) received dan ranking from him. The truth of the matter is, that we, his senior students, promoted each other in an effort to promote goju-ryu." (Pgs 24-25).

    In "Shotokan: A Precise History", author Harry Cook says, "Until 1964 the highest grades awarded in Shotokan had been 5th dan, but by May 1964 both Masatoshi Nakayama and Minoru Miata were graded to 8th dan, and many other seniors were awarded 6th and 7th dans." (Pg 175).

    In over 40 years of training, I've met all kinds of folks claiming all kinds of rank. I can't worry about them, I need to worry about me and my training.

    Great thread!

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