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Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 16 Jan 2013
Posts: 53

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 2:50 pm    Post subject: Weird Observation Reply with quote

I just managed to settle my life down after a year and a half of studying and being unemployed, and so the first thing I did was look up a TKD class. There was one literally down the road - ITF too! - led by a prominent instructor in the area. I went to a taster class and it felt amazing, and I'll be going back.


...while there, I trained with the only other two students at my level, two young kids (about a decade younger than me, late teens/early 20s.) They were quite sloppy, both in patterns and three-steps, to the point where I spent most of the class giving them basic pointers like 'block higher', etc. I thought they may have just graded, and be as confused as I was when first tackling Chon-Ji and three step sparring. However, at the end of the class I saw them be given grading forms for the upcoming belt grading (next week) leading me to believe that soon they will outrank me.

Now...granted, when I stopped practising I was borderline for grading (in fact, the only reason I didn't was that I missed the grading due to a late bus), and therefore can be considered a 'high' 9th gup. With that said...I haven't set foot in a TKD dojo in two and a half years. And I was way crisper than those kids who practice weekly.

Should I be worried? Or do I just chalk it up to my previous sabumnim being particularly amazing?
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Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Dec 2009
Posts: 1632
Location: Texas USA
Styles: Isshinryu

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They're kids testing for a very low belt. I wouldn't sweat it.

I know many places don't see it this way, but my instructor sees everything below 1st Dan as pretty much made up ranks to help motivate people and structure their early learning. When he first started, it was just white, green, brown and black belt. He split the white belt into three belts and green belt into two belts to keep kids motivated. He'll move people (especially kids) through the first few ranks pretty quickly as he still views everything under green as just white belts. They're beginners. They're supposed to make mistakes.

When you get up a little higher, you start realizing that low ranks are low ranks. Karate is a lifetime journey and expecting two kids testing for yellow belt to be perfect is silly. Yellow belt just means you're not an absolute beginner anymore. We don't really expect people to stop making basic mistakes until green belt. Even a brown belt making a basic mistake here and there is expected, though given a hard time about it. Shodan means you have all your basics down, not yellow belt (and even dan students make mistakes. We're still human).

Look at their Shodans. If their Shodans are sloppy and making many basic mistakes, that might be a red flag.

Likewise-- also realize that as an adult, you're going to be held to different standards than the kids. Don't expect the kids to perform at the same level as you even at the same rank. There's a reason many systems (including ITF) do junior black belts-- kids aren't expected to perform at the level of adults.

I'd say focus on your own journey. If, in a few months time, you don't feel like you're learning properly, find another school. Don't get too hung up on belts and ranks.
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KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6249
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lupin1 is spot on. At that kind of rank it's all pretty arbitrary. I wouldn't sweat it until you start looking at the 1st kups or 1st dans and upwards.

You mentioned you're currently 9th kup? At that rank to be honest you wouldn't have been training for very long. I would trust in your instructor's experience to know about who should be what rank. Best is just to be concerned with your own training and concentrate on what you're doing.

If I remember correctly you're in the UK, free free to PM me the instructor if you want as chances are I might know them or know of them.
"Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it." ~ Confucius
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KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28182
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2016 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. Watch and see how things are with the higher ranks. If you see similar issues there, then you might be worried.
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White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 19 Jan 2016
Posts: 18
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Six months on, how did this pan out?
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