Double grading ...

Discussion in 'General Taekwondo Discussions' started by ssiidd, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. ssiidd

    ssiidd Active Member

    Probably more for WTF practitioners (since I do WTF) but would still be interested in knowing opinions of other schools of thought ...

    This seems to me one of the biggest kept secret as none of the seniors I have spoken to have an answer (or are willing to provide). What can one do to be considered for double-grading? I certainly don't mean from a perspective of seeking shortcuts (if you fail me in a grading it will make me work harder not put me off) but the sense of achievement for having being considered, and the feeling your instructor thinks you are that good!

    So what do instructors generally look for when grading. The techniques that we practice hundreds of times (in a lot of the cases in front of seniors) are the same we perform grading time, what can we do more for that 'perfect' grading?

    I have at times been given an 'A' in my gradings and I have at times walked away with the feeling the grading couldn't have gone better but I am sure my instructors eye sees things differently. My last Kup grading approaches and I hope it to be the best so far

  2. Gazzer

    Gazzer Active Member

    Hi, Hope you do well in your last gup grading :) in 2 weeks I too will be grading for my last gup :eek:
    I unlike you dont feel like it will be my best as it is a hard grading to pass and realistically Id need a lot more time to improve but hey I can do that on 1st gup :cool: cant I?
    Anyway to your Question, I know nothing, probably the same as you about seeking answers But as I see it all the "double" gradings as you put it are mostly, as I have seen it, are people that have already got TKD experience and background where the instructor prefers to put the student in their level that they seem like they should be.
    UK-Student likes this.
  3. Bob McDowell

    Bob McDowell New Member

    My opinion is that I am against it. Actually I am against it strongly. I have always told my students, that its not a race to get to black belt. There should not be a hurry even if you excell at your current rank. My thoughts are there are always something that needs to be worked on and practised. Take your time. Even when you get to black belt your not done. That should just be 1 of your goals, to get to Black Belt. After that there is still much to learn. 15 years after my 1st Dan test Im still learning. So going from Green to Blue or jumping to Brown isnt really going to help you. You still have so much to learn. So, dont get in a hurry, just enjoy your life as a martial artist and continue to learn and become a better person everyday of your life.
    Mick King likes this.
  4. John Hulslander

    John Hulslander Active Member

    2x grading was available in our main school for some time, but it seems to have been discontinued.

    I have been with this Dojang since 1991. I have seen one student skip a gup, and that was an exceptionally skilled 9th gup.
    Thats 88 exams at an average of 70 per exam or a total of 6,160 exams taken with only one student skipping a gup.

    I know of one other person who says they skipped a gup, and that was in 81 or 82. (He is a fith dan now and would be at least a 6th if he did not take a decade off to raise kids.

    As to what we look for at exam time....
    First- that the student knows what the moves are.

    Second- that the student executes proper stances.

    Third- that the student executes proper technique. That is shape of foot on kicks, shape of hand on punches and blocks. Making sure blocks cover the targeted area.

    Fourth-that students understand timing and flow. That is, that they have punches land when the foot stops in a technique. (for the most part) Also that the student shows good tempo and changes gears as appropriate for the form.

    Fifth- Physical skills- That the student performs moves with sufficient power and height.

    Sixth-Consistency and focus- That the student performs the forms as if emulating a fight, and that they do this thorughout the form.

    Self Defense-
    Similar to above. First that they know what the moves are, then that they do the moves with good technique, finally that they work well with their partner.

    First that the student uses recognizable technique and not slop
    Second- that the student demonstrates good offense adn defense when fighting.
    Third- that the student shows confidence and strategy in the fight

    First that the technique is good. (i.e. shape of foot, proper extension, proper hip position, etc...)
    Then that the board(s) break(s).

    That the student knows their terminology and application thereof

    Based on instructor reference.
    Master Fahy and John McNally like this.
  5. John McNally

    John McNally Active Member

    On the subject of double gradings, its a no no !!! skipping a grade is a no no !!!! travel the road and evolve as a seed to the tree. weak roots and the tree is weak and will fall....
    Josh, Master Fahy and Mick King like this.
  6. Chris J

    Chris J Active Member

    The only time a student can double grade imo - the student will usually be considerably older than other students at the same level AND shows exceptional technique for that grade AND is no higher in rank than 9th Gup.

    John, I disagree in part with weak roots. I doubled from 10th to 8th gup. and currently 3rd Dan. Some students will show qualities that will separate them from other students attempting to test for the same grade.
    UK-Student likes this.
  7. ssiidd

    ssiidd Active Member

    Thanks for your responses. I completely agree with following the path and not seeking shortcuts, I personally am strongly against it. I just wanted to understand what instructors look for in students grading time and what separates exceptional from the average.
    @John - I found your response very helpful, thanks.

    I have heard (not seen) someone being double-graded in Dan grading which must be extremely rare. I was told it wasn't just that grading that was taken into account but the students entire journey (never double-graded but had A grade throughout)
  8. John McNally

    John McNally Active Member

    @Chris J, i see your stand point but i stand by mine, just my opinion :)
  9. Matt Parker

    Matt Parker New Member

    I'm against double grading, even if someone seems like their technique is great, once you have some experience, you'll see holes in their ability when they don't take the time to learn as per normal. The tiering is for a reason, so you can learn technique that builds and forms foundation for the next level of moves.
  10. John McNally

    John McNally Active Member

    One is not born as an adult, junior but as a beginner ready to learn.
    Beginners of life's journey may try to run but will fall over many times before learning to walk correctly.
    Another way to look at it is: be great at your abilities and don't rush to surpass these abilities and fail to keep a good standard of ability.
    Use the times between gratings to remain at peak of ability, grading times are guides not maximum times but opportunities to grade when you are truly ready.
  11. UK-Student

    UK-Student Active Member

    I am pro double grading....but realistically for them to already know the syllabus ahead of them they would have to be people with existing martial arts knowledge (as Gazzer pointed out at the top). Sometimes people can't grade because of political reasons or travelling and realistically in this case, you are just giving them the grade they are already performing at. In many cases, you are righting wrongs where people have been denied grades for purely political reasons.

    Let's remember that most of the Korean founders of TKD will have received their 1st degree black belt within 1 year as a professional soldier training daily (as a few do today as civilians). Most of the "standards" we have now are inventions, not true traditions. The main thing is to give people what they deserve and have worked for (most importantly the level they can perform at), not to put them through a frat house hazing process.

    I don't think I have ever seen anyone double-grade. I think it should be like a Fire Extinguisher. Kept on standby but used almost never.
  12. Master Fahy

    Master Fahy Active Member

    While serving in the USArmy in South Korea for 4.5 years I have observed that those in the military can and do most of the time get a black belt in a year of training. But, you should understand that they train for several hours each day (4 hours per day for me) 6 days a week. In Korea they kick and punch you for real, not like in other countries where you get lightly touched! We used no pads except a cup! The Master Instructors would beat you down and many students quit after only a few days, never to return to training! Master Fahy
    Josh likes this.
  13. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

    Exceptional students or not, I am against double grading for many of the reasons stated. I doubled from white to yellow in Kuk Sool Won. The reason is that I started at an odd time and had the time in. Otherwise, if one student is average and another exceptional, the potential for the people under the exceptional could cause issues. I have also seen too many people become arrogant with too many quick jump. My idea is to let them show their ability, but to progress no faster than they should.
  14. Charlotte Craig

    Charlotte Craig New Member

    I was never double graded however I was graded twice in the space on a week back when I was a 5th Kup. I personally did not think there was anything wrong with it at the time I worked very hard and got good marks in both tests. I felt the reason that I was allowed to do this is because I worked a lot harder than most in class and in my own training I believe my instructor felt I deserved to be a 3rd Kup and I feel I prover him right. I am not sure instructors have any specific things that they look for when deciding if they should double grade a student or not as to my knowledge its not often done perhaps sometimes its just a feeling they get about their students?
  15. John Hulslander

    John Hulslander Active Member

    Emphasis mine.
    Are you implying that everyone should progress at the same rate?
    Having engaged students is a must for a Dojang. Evaluating students progress and potential is a critical skill for any instructor/Master/Grandmaster. One that is often assumed.

    Let's say you have a student who has great physical skills. But on top of that they learn hyung(poomse) quickly. They master techniques quickly, they demonstrate the qualities you want. What is the value to you and them in artificially slowing their progress.
  16. Master Fahy

    Master Fahy Active Member

    I look at each and every student individually by grading them against themselves not against other students. There are some students who will be way above the others in their training and there are others who fall below their peers. I don't hold anyone back who meets or succeeds the standards. I do not promote anyone who doesn't meet the minimum standard for promotion to the next level. If you only promoted the highly skilled, then where would the other students be? The students who need it the most! If you graduated high school or college, don't you graduate even if you got a 2.0 average when some students received 4.0 average! You still get a diploma, right! I know some people are very book smart and can be very below average in the physical or hands on training. The exception to the rule is that they can do both, thus you have an exceptional student. A double grading/promotion only benefits the student financially (skipping the test fee) and boost their ego as well. The student still has to perform the skipped belt requirements before grading/testing again. I won't test anyone who asks me, "When am I going to test?" That will only delay your testing period. Master Fahy
  17. John Hulslander

    John Hulslander Active Member

    Two academic thoughts for you.

    I had one professor at University who refused to scale grades. His rationale was that your grade was your grade. He believed his exams fairly represented the material and if everyone fails, then everyone fails. Of course he was a hypocrite. First exam the class (400+ students) averaged 90+ percent. His reaction was to give everyone their A for the exam, but then to make the next exam more difficult.

    Second thought. The actuarial exam is one of the more difficult professional exams there is. The way they handle pass/fail is that they give the exam and only the top X% (not sure the actual number) pass. Now actuaries are applied mathematicians, so you have to think they have a good understanding of the risks of such a strategy.
  18. Master Fahy

    Master Fahy Active Member

    Like I said, I look at each and every student individually! I tell all of my students up front what to expect and I watch to see if they do the minimum standard or they exceed the standard. I have a physical standard as well as mental standard that they must achieve to pass the test....they know that going in to the test. I also look for who is giving or not giving their all. There are many different ways to look at grading/testing. I do test students who exceed the standards earlier then those who only do the standards. I also do like to challenge my students to exceed the standards to be the best that they can be. I do not grade on a curve, you meet the standard or you don't, which means you fail the test! I test the students the same every test, they know what I'm looking for them to do. I believe that my tests are hard but very attainable for those that are ready to test. I select them to test only when I believe that they are ready and can pass the test. In the Army I was a Drill SSG. and certified instructor who had to follow the standards for everyone, including myself. Master Fahy
  19. Mario Ray Mahardhika

    Mario Ray Mahardhika Active Member

    I personally only consider double grading allowed for students who didn't take the previous exam (due to financial issue, sick, whatever) but already possess the required skills to go on to the next level (train together with those who took the exam and show mastery in daily training).

    However, here in my country, some instructors (including my club's headmaster) tend to give double grading to students who win a (somewhat high level) competition. The idea is to encourage the students to train harder for either fighting or poomsae so that the club can get more and more achievements. The reason is most of the units in our club are based on formal schools which treat Tae Kwon Do as an extracurricular subject. In order to be recognized (and get higher financial support from the school committee) then we must get achievements constantly every year.

    I even had an experience in my previous 2 clubs where a yellow belt can go directly to red belt if he/she could win a competition by defeating red/black belt in the final. Sounds ridiculous but it really happened...
  20. Master Fahy

    Master Fahy Active Member

    My first Master instructor conducted tests every six months, if you missed the test for any reason, you waited for the next test (six months later), no exceptions! I was a green belt after three years. Now day's students would be black belts by that time! The train back then was totally different then it is now. You didn't do something right, the instructor would hit/kick you on top of punishing you! Skipping a belt was unheard of. Winning a tournament or competition was or is no reason to skip a belt. Why is it that everyone wants to skip over any belt? Maybe, I could just skip from 5th Dan to 9th Dan and be done with it! No, not really....I want to "EARN" what I get! I have never been given any promotion that I didn't earn.
    The red/black belt could have gotten skipped from yellow to red belt the same way! Did you ever think that the red/black belt was not so good or really at that level? Somethings are not always as they appear! Master Fahy

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