Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Tae Kwon Do?
- What is Hapkido?
- What is Kenpo?
- What is the difference between Tae Kwon Do and Karate?
- What ages are appropriate for studying Martial Arts?
- Does studying Martial Arts encourage violent behavior?
- Are students required to compete in tournaments?
- Can someone compete on the State and National Level?
- What is a belt for?
- What is belt testing?
- What do the students receive with testing?
- What are test fees?
- What does certification mean?
- How are the belts ranked?
- How long does it take to earn the rank of Black Belt?
- What is a Black Belt?
- What happens after reaching Black Belt?
- What is a Master?
- What is the role of the instructor?
- Why are students required to bow?
- Why learn Korean terminology?
- How does the instructor discipline when necessary?
- Can parents stay to watch their children's classes?
- What can students do to get the most out of their training?
- How much do students need to practice?
- What if a student wants to quit?
- Can a student fail?
- What if a student uses Tae Kwon Do to hit, kick, or otherwise injure someone?
What is Tae Kwon Do? Tae Kwon Do is a Korean martial art that develops self-defense, confidence, concentration, physical fitness, positive attitude, and self-esteem. Tae Kwon Do translated in to English means "way of kicking and punching."
What is the difference between Tae Kwon Do and Karate? In terms of simple geography, Tae Kwon Do is from Korea. Most Karate is from Japan, with a handful of derivative arts (such as Chinese Kenpo) finding roots in other Asian countries. The study of each of these arts carries with it cultural influences from their respective countries of origin. Tae Kwon Do is popularly said to consist of seventy percent kicking, thirty percent punching. The popular definition for Karate reverses that formula, so that it is seventy percent punching and thirty percent kicking. In practice, each art will be taught according to the instructor's requirements.
What ages are appropriate for studying Martial Arts? Martial Art training is appropriate for any individual who has dedication and focus. Children usually mature to the required level of mental concentration by age 8. Some children are ready at an earlier age. There is no upper limit to the age of a martial artist. Martial Art training provides refinement of ability for the individual. If a particular movement or exercise is inappropriate for a practitioner due to injury, the instructor will provide other appropriate exercise for the student.
Does studying Martial Arts encourage violent behavior? Quite the opposite, Martial Arts training cultivates a peaceful attitude in practitioners. Martial Arts training focuses on self-control, discipline, and self-defense. While children may emulate movies or television and play act violently towards each other, this behavior is frowned upon during Martial Arts instruction. Students quickly learn the power behind martial arts movements and appreciate the consequences that use of their training would entail.
Are students required to compete in tournaments? Tournament participation is not required of students. Tournament competition is offered because many students find it is an enjoyable addition to their regular practice in the gym. Students find the sense of competition heightens their mental focus and helps them push to new limits in their physical conditioning. The camaraderie that goes along with participation in a tournament team helps encourage togetherness and healthy competition among a gym's students.
Can someone compete on the State and National Level? Yes, tournaments are available for the student who wishes to push for higher levels of competition. State and Nationals are held yearly, and the training for these tournaments is very rigorous. This training helps greatly focus the student who chooses to pursue this level of competition.
What is a belt for? Belts exist for several reasons. They provide readily understood recognition of the achievements for a particular student. For the purposes of competition, belts allow a standard of measurement of a student's experience level. Belts give an instructor insight to a student transferring from another affiliated martial arts school. Perhaps most importantly, belts provide students a tangible goal to work towards in their training. Striving to complete the requirements for the next belt level helps many students focus on their progress as a Martial Artist.
What is belt testing? Belt testing is the process by which a student is evaluated for their next belt level. The student being tested is required to meet standard requirements set by their instructor for each belt level - higher belt levels require more challenging testing criteria.
What do the students receive with testing? Of course, students receive their next level belt. Students also receive a certificate of accomplishment that should be kept safe. These certificates bear the test examiner's signature and are proof of the successful completion of testing requirements. The full history of color belt certificates is required for black belt testing, to prove that the student has completed all levels of belt requirements leading to black belt.
What are test fees? Test fees are standard fees that students are charged by the examiner when testing for a new belt level. The fees cover the examiners time (and sometimes travel), materials used (boards for breaking, bricks, etc.), and their certificate upon completion. Test fees are charged only once per belt level - a student who must retest to successfully complete a testing requirement will not be charged additional fees. Test fees are due at the time of testing. Any special arrangements for test fees must be worked out with the student's instructor in advance of testing.
What does certification mean? Certification is proof of rank, attested to by the examiner who signs the rank certificate. It is proof of achievement within the Martial Arts school. Color belt certification is provided by the head instructor of the students' Martial Arts gym. Black belt certification is registered through the Kukkiwon, the official headquarters of World Tae Kwon Do located in Seoul, South Korea.
- White - 9th Gup
- Orange - 8th Gup
- Yellow - 7th Gup
- Green - 6th Gup
- Blue - 5th Gup
- Purple - 4th Gup
- Purple Trim - 3rd Gup
- Brown - 2nd Gup
- Red - 1st Gup
- Black - 1st Dan
How long does it take to earn the rank of Black Belt? Black belt is normally achieved in 3 to 4 years by a dedicated student. A dedicated student seldom misses classes, and takes the opportunity to practice basic martial arts outside of lesson times. Students should ask their instructor what is safe and appropriate to practice outside of class.
What is a Black Belt? A black belt is often seen as the "end goal" for many students of the martial arts. However, instead of being an end, a black belt marks the practitioner as a mature student. Black Belts are ready to continue their training in the martial arts for the rest of their lives.
What happens after reaching Black Belt? As a black belt student matures, their focus becomes greater than themselves and grows to include the instruction of new students. As a black belt gains greater degrees, they should be learning the art of teaching. The development of instruction skills will provide the practitioner further insight into their own abilities and technique.
What is a Master? As the name suggests, a Master is a black belt who has developed the ability and knowledge required to be able to instruct a new student entirely on their own. The title of Master is reserved for a black belt who has achieved a 4th degree or above. A Master has demonstrated their dedication to the continuing spread of the martial arts.
What is the role of the instructor? An instructor's role is to lead students through each workout and practice with the goal of development of the student. The instructor provides the feedback and leadership necessary for each student to seek out and conquer their own limits - mental and physical.
Why are students required to bow? Students bow to the flags, the instructor, and to each other to show respect. Class begins and ends with bows of respect. Similarly, before students work with each other they bow to indicate that the practice is performed with respect and the goal of mutual benefit.
Why learn Korean terminology? Learning Korean terminology is important as Korean is the universal language of Tae Kwon Do. Learning Korean provides a standard set of terms for all movements and techniques, allowing other instructors to visit a gym as guests. In the event that a student is able to travel to Korea for additional training, learning Korean will have help prepare them for the experience.
How does the instructor discipline when necessary? When a student fails to behave in an appropriate manner, disciplinary actions may include: push-ups, sitting out of class, or in extreme cases demotion or expulsion from the gym. Disciplinary action will be discussed with the student (and in the case of children, the student's parents) to ensure that the student understands the inappropriate behavior.
Can parents stay to watch their children's classes? Parents are encouraged to observe all classes. In addition to helping new students feel comfortable with Martial Arts training, parents' observation can help the student in their studies. An instructor can work with parents on appropriate exercises for practice outside of the gym.
What can students do to get the most out of their training? Come to class with a good attitude, listen carefully to the instructor, and practice appropriate techniques on their own as approved by the instructor. Training in the Martial Arts requires dedication and time.
How much do students need to practice? The rule of thumb is that the more practice that can be had, the better. Practice outside of the gym should only include techniques and exercises that have been approved by their instructor. Making it to all scheduled practices during the week is strongly recommended (of course). Outside practice can be as simple as 10 kicks of each type every day.
What if a student wants to quit? A student with concerns causing them to wish to quit should talk with their instructor. Life events always bring a natural cycle to training, and at one time or another almost all students are faced with the question of whether or not to quit. Parents with concerns about their student's training should always feel free to discuss their thoughts with the instructor.
Can a student fail? A student can fail only when they say "I can't". Many times a student may need further development of a particular technique, or more work on memory. These are normal hurdles that everyone faces during training. It is only when a student ceases trying that they will ever fail, because no development can occur when they give up.
What if a student uses Tae Kwon Do to hit, kick, or otherwise injure someone? The student's instructor should be told immediately, so that appropriate action can be taken. The instructor especially needs parents and teachers help in this case. The instructor will never teach a student who misuses martial arts training. If it is determined that a student acted out of malice and not in self-defense, the student will be dismissed from the gym and not allowed to train. Such action may be temporary or permanent, depending on the individual circumstances.