I feel bad for the blackbelts

Discussion in 'General Taekwondo Discussions' started by Scotty P, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. Scotty P

    Scotty P Member

    All they ever get to do is help with class. There are no black belt specific classes. A few are there every single class, several make it once a week and a few every once in a while. Our classes have been pretty large so it ends up getting split up and the black belts each take a group. I think some enjoy it, but I know some that would love to workout and participate. I think to myself is this where I'm headed? Once I reach my goal of 1st Dan am I then relegated to being a teacher rather than a student?
    Melody likes this.
  2. CristyK

    CristyK New Member

    Part of being a black belt is teaching. I know our Masters are looking forward to the 6 of us Red Blacks becoming black so we can help more with the classes they teach.
    Mstr Gallagher likes this.
  3. Melody

    Melody Member

    I've noticed this too. I'm an adult beginner and have just received my orange belt. I've been struggling to define what "blackbelt" even means as it seems they are given to students who have not yet met the extraordinary demands and years of study I've come to associate with the term. As a lifelong musician, I've come to approach TKD the same way as I've done with musical training where the series of colored belts are merely a preparation of bodily training, technique, knowledge and skill that will set the foundation for your Martial Arts training. Blackbelt= beginning. In music this training will also take years but then that foundation will set you up for a professional life in musicianship which includes teaching others foundational skills, because when you teach you learn. I agree with you though, as a blackbelt the training must be intense or you will actually lose technique and will lose it quickly.
  4. Tc Liming

    Tc Liming New Member

    In my school the black belts who are apart of the Master club who are working towards their Master degrees are required to help teach class, help with inner and outer school compatitions, ect. We have tried to hold classes for just black belts but not enough of them show up for the class so that class is usely striped down to color belt classes. I see that the younger students who are 1 dans and above like to help and teach but not so much the adult Black Belts who have a life outside of the Dojang with families and work.
    Mstr Gallagher likes this.
  5. Mstr Gallagher

    Mstr Gallagher New Member

    Do not feel bad for the black belts, they were once colored belts and someone dedicated time to their training and advancement. Black belt rank means you have covered the basics, additional training consists of mentoring and training others. This is also why it takes significant effort to achieve higher black belt ranks. You must attend even more classes in order to find the time to train for yourself. You may even have to attend training at other schools with GrandMaster level instructors. I also recommend that schools try to find a time to hold "black belt only" classes for the purpose of providing training to the black belts.
    Master Mark Gallagher - 5th DAN Kukkiwon Registered
    Tc Liming, Melody and Narcsarge like this.
  6. Narcsarge

    Narcsarge New Member

    Well said Mstr Gallagher. As with anything we do well in, the better we become, the more is expected of us which cuts into our growing. If you school doesn't have a Black Belt class, see about starting one. If the school owner won't open the dojang for training, train at home, a field, but train with other Black Belts some how. I am not a black belt yet but I've been an assistant instructor many times and having to cover classes keeps my skills sharp and teaches how to help all students. My Black Belt instructors help me to improve and they improve, as Mstr Gallagher stated, by training with other black belts, Masters, and Grand Masters to keep improving. Progress may slow as you advance but that's normal.
    Melody and Mstr Gallagher like this.
  7. John Hulslander

    John Hulslander Active Member

    We make sure to have black belt specific classes. Only we don't advertise them to the gups. Kind of a wasted message.

    It is distinctly possible that your Dojang does the same.

    I would add this, leadership is an important part of being a dan. And the best way to demonstrate that in TKD is by teaching whether coaching up a student, running warmups, teaching a class or even developing a program.

    As a side note in our Black Belt Oath, the first line is that "I will train as hard as I did before I earned my black belt" It is an expectation I have for the black belts I work with.
  8. CristyK

    CristyK New Member

    As an adult student (started in my late 30's) as soon as I got color on my belt I found that I was asked to help with the Little Dragons (4-7 year olds). As I reached my brown belt I was asked more and more to help in my own class with the lower ranks. Now as a Red Black, one step from black, I spend a lot of time helping other students. But I will be the first to admit that all the time I've helped with the Dragons improved my own technique tremendously. What better way to perfect your own technique then to break it down to teach it to a 7 year old. I have found breaking down a technique to the core exercises in it is an awesome way to improve. Plus you slow down.
  9. UK-Student

    UK-Student Active Member

    You're entirely right.

    Teaching does help develop self analysis which can be a great tool but they will progress far slower in the main TKD syllabus than anyone who has access to black belt classes (or better to say an advanced class).

    I was in exactly this position myself, and though enthusiastic to help out, that can't be the be-all and end-all of your training. If the students are teaching, they aren't increasing their fitness and will increase their technique only very slowly. They may be getting slightly worse, even as the rest of the class gets better. I have certainly seen people that were below average for their grade, improved for the black belt grading and then returned to their former slump for a long long time because there was no-one around them pushing them to achieve higher standards on a consistent basis. After some time, further grading for this student becomes out of reach because they have to increase their performance to their own grade level and then push beyond to get to another grade, which generally isn't possible.

    Many schools are set up as great environments to get to 1st degree and then really the conveyer belt cuts out and really forces you to train in your own time or ask for additional sessions or really reach a plateau. I could not criticise a black belt who at this point goes to another teacher who can better teach someone at this level. They may not wish to do this out of personal loyalty but they could not be criticised for their choice if they talk to everyone involved in the right way and make sure that some kind of arrangement cannot be made. Choi Hong Hi agreed in his encyclopaedia that instructors should not try to teach students who they cannot take any further and I think this applies to their teaching intent as well as their actual teaching ability. The teacher has a responsibility to all students, not just the beginners.

    Helping out with the class is nice, but for the early dan grades to be asked to do it on a consistent basis should be optional, not compulsory. If someone is teaching a class on a permanent or semi-permenant basis, they should get a tuition discount or some sort of monetary reimbursement (assuming the club is profit making and especially true if the instructor is a full time martial artist).
    Ted Martin likes this.
  10. Ted Martin

    Ted Martin Member

    I am open to teach any time there is an emergency at my club but officially this is a volunteer position. Remember most facilities are still businesses. If a club is reliant on a black belt to provided regular services there should be an equal level of reimbursement (this doesn't need to be monetary in all cases, it could be free floor time). Under staffed clubs often have inconsistent trainers and teaching methods which eventually can tarnish a clubs reputation.

    I should also note helping is not teaching in my mind. Helping is a fundamental responsibility for all Dans to assist with classes with a master or higher level black belt still running the session (all black belts should participate at this level of responsibility). Teaching is when you are the sole individual directing the class and primarily responsible for the well being of the students (only a very few black belts are this type of individual).
    UK-Student likes this.
  11. Scotty P

    Scotty P Member

    Yes, this is what I see in our class. With all due respect to our black belts I see them as going backwards, losing flexibility and fitness level, forgetting forms etc. We have dans that can't kick above waist level, 4th dans even. I did ask my instructor about black belt classes and he said they used to have them, but not for some time now. Maybe they just don't have time. Also ours is the only Taekwondo school in the area so changing schools is not an option. I don't mind teaching, I do help out now and then, but once I reach my fist dan I don't want to stop training. Maybe we can get something going. We do have a bunch of red belts that are testing for black stripe this month and shouldn't be too long before they test for their first dan. If enough of us are willing maybe we can get a black belt class going.
    John Hulslander and UK-Student like this.
  12. John McNally

    John McNally Active Member

    Black belt only classes are a must, i do hold these sessions and the black belt enjoy them as much as i do, i also teach in these classes many thing that the coolour belts do not get to pratise like Bo and short sword.
    They also get to practice the advanced executions of techniques taught as colourbelts.
    Its an evolution and still on the ladder, also they develope themselves all the time.
    Teaching in class to some degree is a must because it re-itterates what they have learnt and help to re-eductae yourself at the same time.

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