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IcemanSK
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Posts: 1084
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Styles: Taekwondo Chung Do Kwan

PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FWIW, in Kukki-TKD the 8th & 9th Dan poomsae are considerably more physically difficult than the 1st-3rd Dan poomsae. Considering that one is not eligible for 9th Dan Kukkiwon until one is at least 53 years old, one must keep up one's skills if they are to perform them well. Testing for 8th & 9th Dan can only be done by traveling to Korea & testing at Kukkiwon itself.

The way Kukki-TKD is set up, ideally, one would open a school at 4th Dan & be producing BBs by the time they hit 5th Dan. So, it's a bit different than sensei8's scenario. But as I said, what I described was an ideal. Under the close eye of a grandmaster (7th-9th Dan) it's possible to open a school at a lower rank than 4th Dan in the US...but not in Korea.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14265
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IcemanSK wrote:
FWIW, in Kukki-TKD the 8th & 9th Dan poomsae are considerably more physically difficult than the 1st-3rd Dan poomsae. Considering that one is not eligible for 9th Dan Kukkiwon until one is at least 53 years old, one must keep up one's skills if they are to perform them well. Testing for 8th & 9th Dan can only be done by traveling to Korea & testing at Kukkiwon itself.

The way Kukki-TKD is set up, ideally, one would open a school at 4th Dan & be producing BBs by the time they hit 5th Dan. So, it's a bit different than sensei8's scenario. But as I said, what I described was an ideal. Under the close eye of a grandmaster (7th-9th Dan) it's possible to open a school at a lower rank than 4th Dan in the US...but not in Korea.

Solid post!!

A testimony of the varying variables of the MA.



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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1703

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The most sensible approach to this issue is undoubtedly to follow the advice of one's own teacher. There is a norm, however and that is 5th dan to run a dojo and 3rd dan to teach under supervision.

This is still just a guideline and the finer details depend on the individual and the instructor's decision. A student who respects and trusts an instructor's judgement will not question or refuse the tasks and roles expected; nor the responsibilities given. Maybe this is an old-fashioned an foreign point of view, but it makes sense and it works fine.
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Lupin1
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 15 Dec 2009
Posts: 1603
Location: NH USA
Styles: Isshinryu

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say part of the issue is the differences in what the Dan ranks mean from school to school. If you have a school that's three years to 1st Dan, another year to 2nd, and another two years to 3rd, that 3rd Dan has six years experience. If you have a school that's ten years to 1st Dan (they exist), another five to 2nd Dan, and 5-10 more to 3rd Dan, that third Dan can have up to twenty years experience! Or you could have someone who's teacher moves or passes away and is not part of an organization, so that person trains for thirty years and never gets promoted past Shodan because there's no one to promote them (that's actually my fear for myself. Or rather, for my future students. I'm fine with never going past Shodan, but it means I'd never be able to promote a student to Shodan).
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Nidan Melbourne
KF Sempai
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Joined: 21 Aug 2013
Posts: 2202
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Styles: Goju-Ryu, BJJ, Balintawak Arnis

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lupin1 wrote:
I'd say part of the issue is the differences in what the Dan ranks mean from school to school. If you have a school that's three years to 1st Dan, another year to 2nd, and another two years to 3rd, that 3rd Dan has six years experience. If you have a school that's ten years to 1st Dan (they exist), another five to 2nd Dan, and 5-10 more to 3rd Dan, that third Dan can have up to twenty years experience! Or you could have someone who's teacher moves or passes away and is not part of an organization, so that person trains for thirty years and never gets promoted past Shodan because there's no one to promote them (that's actually my fear for myself. Or rather, for my future students. I'm fine with never going past Shodan, but it means I'd never be able to promote a student to Shodan).


I agree with what you said. Because every school is different for requirements and how long it takes to earn your Black Belt (Many grade from 1st Kyu straight to Shodan whilst many do 1st Kyu to Shodan-Ho).

At my old school they said you could earn your Shodan-Ho in three years, but that meant in reality training 5-6 days per week and not missing any classes and not failing any in-class tests etc. For me it took around 7 years to earn my Black Belt, this was due to training 2-3 days per/week often 5 day per week. But also due to having school camps, injuries/surgeries and school sport to contend with.

But for all dan grades it meant you had to spend that grade you're attempting for + 6 months. So for a Shodan-Ho to be eligible to grade for Shodan meant you had to spend 18+ months at that rank, also be training actively for that time frame. For Nidan it is 2 1/2 years so on and so forth.

For me this year is my 15th Year of training (wow!) and am content where i am at with my training, but will always push forward to become not only a better martial artist but a better person.

I know many instructors who stopped grading after attaining either Yondan or Godan because they're happy with that and don't feel like they would gain anything out of grading again. But that doesn't stop them from promoting students to Nidan or Sandan, because these instructors have the experience and knowledge of say a Nanadan or Hachidan.

IMHO I feel like when people say you can't grade someone to this rank purely because of you not being 2 grades higher is a touch silly! with an explanation of course: Say a person is a Nidan who has been at that rank for 30 years, continually working on the entire curriculum taught to them and they know the applications and able to perform better than say a Godan in the same club. Why would you stop them from grading a student to Shodan or Nidan themselves. I know when I reach my Godan, i'll be content and may or may not want to grade again. But I will never stop a student from attempting their sandan or yondan grading.
I know there would be critics out there for it, but I would be ok with it because i would be knowledgeable in what to look for, and if i wanted the assistance i would ask my sensei to come to the grading and assist for an external opinion.
End of rant of my lonely opinion.
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
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Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1703

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just like the concept of the belt system itself, teaching dan ranks are an arbitrary thing which is only relevant in the group or organization using them. Things really can get confusing when one trains under an instructor who has no governing body or becomes independent. Even more so if/when that instructor passes away without giving any recommendations.

The whole belt system and the very idea of "teaching dan grades" assumes some sort of governing body. The only viable solution if one deems advancement in rank so important is to go through an evaluation by a group of senior practicionners if such people are available. Again, this is often one of the biggest sources of political conflicts and bickering within and between different governing bodies for every "style".

Some choose to refuse any grading beyond what their own instructor last gave them if that teacher has passed away. Not being graded does not mean that one has stopped improving. Better a great 5th dan, than a lousy 8th dan.
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IcemanSK
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Posts: 1084
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Styles: Taekwondo Chung Do Kwan

PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spartacus Maximus wrote:
Just like the concept of the belt system itself, teaching dan ranks are an arbitrary thing which is only relevant in the group or organization using them. Things really can get confusing when one trains under an instructor who has no governing body or becomes independent. Even more so if/when that instructor passes away without giving any recommendations.

The whole belt system and the very idea of "teaching dan grades" assumes some sort of governing body. The only viable solution if one deems advancement in rank so important is to go through an evaluation by a group of senior practicionners if such people are available. Again, this is often one of the biggest sources of political conflicts and bickering within and between different governing bodies for every "style".

Some choose to refuse any grading beyond what their own instructor last gave them if that teacher has passed away. Not being graded does not mean that one has stopped improving. Better a great 5th dan, than a lousy 8th dan.


Well said.

Standardization is a hard thing to do, even in small organizations, because each practitioner has different strengths & weaknesses. 5th Dan "A" may have a perfect side kick, but struggles a bit with the technique that 5th Dan "B" excels at.

You posed a great issue with those folks who go independent or are no longer with their instructor (for whatever reason). If they stop testing by choice or out of necessity or circumstance, it may eventually limit their students' options for advancement. Say a 6th has an 8th master in an independent organization. The master dies & the 6th Dan (Master #1) decides that he won't seek out advancement from other folks out of respect for his master. Master A runs a successful program and is able to produce 5th Dan Master #2. Master #2 is a faithful student & reluctantly accepts a promotion from Master #1 also to 6th Dan. Master #2 is a good instructor his students love & she too has a 5th Dan student that she promotes to 6th Dan. So, the highest ranking members of this program that dates back to 1965 when Master 8th Dan took in Master #1 as a student. Good stuff happens on the floor every night, yet the self-imposed limitation in rank (due to circumstances, & choices of Master #1) do not express the depth of learning the leaders have achieved.

I trained under a man who (I discovered details later) misrepresented himself at almost every turn. He was 4th Dan from his grandmaster, with whom he had a falling out. But he was so arrogant that he opened up a school directly across the alley from his old GM & promoted himself to 6th Dan in not one, but 2 Arts! In the 80's, he claimed to be a member of the PKA (because that was popular). Then, he magically became a 6th Dan in Aikido when Steven Seagal did his 1st film. He also claimed to be the state director of a large TKD org, but he would actually bring in the man who WAS the state director to do seminars for us.

My point in bringing this man up is not to point out this man's failings, but to say what I learned in this event. Before I showed up at this guy's school, I received 1st Dan in a large organization from a master who moved out of state. The magic 6th Dan tested me for 2nd Dan & gave me a bogus cert. from the org he claimed to be state director. After all this bogus stuff came out, I realized the value of credentials from organizations (& legitimate ones at that) rather than ones from an instructor only.

In Korea, there are government regulations about who can teach what & at what ranks. Some people struggle under the narrowness of it (even Korea). In the US, we have the opposite...no regulations of any kind what so ever. Anyone can claim anything or nothing & put mats in a room & teach. I'm thinking that some kind of middle ground is needs where regulations of some sort are required of instructors. Heck, it's like that for teachers or yoga, strength training, Zumba, etc. Why not us MAists?

end of rant.
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Nidan Melbourne
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 21 Aug 2013
Posts: 2202
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Styles: Goju-Ryu, BJJ, Balintawak Arnis

PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IcemanSK wrote:
Spartacus Maximus wrote:
Just like the concept of the belt system itself, teaching dan ranks are an arbitrary thing which is only relevant in the group or organization using them. Things really can get confusing when one trains under an instructor who has no governing body or becomes independent. Even more so if/when that instructor passes away without giving any recommendations.

The whole belt system and the very idea of "teaching dan grades" assumes some sort of governing body. The only viable solution if one deems advancement in rank so important is to go through an evaluation by a group of senior practicionners if such people are available. Again, this is often one of the biggest sources of political conflicts and bickering within and between different governing bodies for every "style".

Some choose to refuse any grading beyond what their own instructor last gave them if that teacher has passed away. Not being graded does not mean that one has stopped improving. Better a great 5th dan, than a lousy 8th dan.


Well said.

Standardization is a hard thing to do, even in small organizations, because each practitioner has different strengths & weaknesses. 5th Dan "A" may have a perfect side kick, but struggles a bit with the technique that 5th Dan "B" excels at.

You posed a great issue with those folks who go independent or are no longer with their instructor (for whatever reason). If they stop testing by choice or out of necessity or circumstance, it may eventually limit their students' options for advancement. Say a 6th has an 8th master in an independent organization. The master dies & the 6th Dan (Master #1) decides that he won't seek out advancement from other folks out of respect for his master. Master A runs a successful program and is able to produce 5th Dan Master #2. Master #2 is a faithful student & reluctantly accepts a promotion from Master #1 also to 6th Dan. Master #2 is a good instructor his students love & she too has a 5th Dan student that she promotes to 6th Dan. So, the highest ranking members of this program that dates back to 1965 when Master 8th Dan took in Master #1 as a student. Good stuff happens on the floor every night, yet the self-imposed limitation in rank (due to circumstances, & choices of Master #1) do not express the depth of learning the leaders have achieved.

I trained under a man who (I discovered details later) misrepresented himself at almost every turn. He was 4th Dan from his grandmaster, with whom he had a falling out. But he was so arrogant that he opened up a school directly across the alley from his old GM & promoted himself to 6th Dan in not one, but 2 Arts! In the 80's, he claimed to be a member of the PKA (because that was popular). Then, he magically became a 6th Dan in Aikido when Steven Seagal did his 1st film. He also claimed to be the state director of a large TKD org, but he would actually bring in the man who WAS the state director to do seminars for us.

My point in bringing this man up is not to point out this man's failings, but to say what I learned in this event. Before I showed up at this guy's school, I received 1st Dan in a large organization from a master who moved out of state. The magic 6th Dan tested me for 2nd Dan & gave me a bogus cert. from the org he claimed to be state director. After all this bogus stuff came out, I realized the value of credentials from organizations (& legitimate ones at that) rather than ones from an instructor only.

In Korea, there are government regulations about who can teach what & at what ranks. Some people struggle under the narrowness of it (even Korea). In the US, we have the opposite...no regulations of any kind what so ever. Anyone can claim anything or nothing & put mats in a room & teach. I'm thinking that some kind of middle ground is needs where regulations of some sort are required of instructors. Heck, it's like that for teachers or yoga, strength training, Zumba, etc. Why not us MAists?

end of rant.


That would have been extremely frustrating when you found out he was bogus, clearly wanted to just make money and to get payback on his old instructor whilst making students suffer at the same time.

But I agree where Person A may be good at a certain technique whilst Person B may not be proficient at the same skill. For instance a friend of mine is also a 2nd Dan is better at Side Kicks and I am not. But I am better at low kicks than he is.
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IcemanSK
Black Belt
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Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Posts: 1084
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Styles: Taekwondo Chung Do Kwan

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That would have been extremely frustrating when you found out he was bogus, clearly wanted to just make money and to get payback on his old instructor whilst making students suffer at the same time.

[/quote]

Here's the weird part of the story...he charged $15.00 per month in the 1980's when everyone else was charging $35-$50. Belt testing was roughly the same as others at the time. I think it was more ego than anything else. His wife (who also taught as well, but was also blindsided by his lies) made great money at her job & was the face & personality of the school. They could afford to break even on the school. I honestly think that doing what he did made him feel like a man, when he was couldn't get that respect in the rest of his life.
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