Testing question

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Ninja01, May 18, 2016.

  1. Ninja01

    Ninja01 Becky

    This question is in regards to my Taekwondo testing, but I figured having a response from different perspectives in the martial arts world, rather then simply the TKD section may help me with my decision.

    My school is actually a sister school, my Master was the student of our Grand Master, Kang (pronounced Kong). All testing is still done in front of Kang, he still deligates the prices, etc. I've been training at my school for over twelve years.

    At my dojang it takes about three years to receive a black belt, although every individual varies so it could take longer. An additional 2 for 2nd, an additional 3 for third, and so on.

    I received my black belt in 2007, and my 2nd Dan in 2009. Training 5 days a few, a few hours a day. Both tests are ridiculously expensive. It's just under $200 for 1st, and just under $300 for 2nd. You get the idea. Therefore, I've put off testing. According the timeline I should be going for 4th by now, but I can't justify the cost. I just love training, I appreciate all martial arts, but TKD is my roots.

    My instructor has been asking me more frequently if I ever plan on testing, and I haven't decided. I've told him it's the cost, but also the time, I haven't been doing my forms as consistantly.

    Let me get to the point, I'm babling...He offered me another option: he could test me individually, and it would be half the cost. His test would be significantly different from GM Kang's. Through Kang it's more curriculum based, over the years the physical portion has been watered down to meet societies standards.. I guess people don't want to work hard anymore? His test would require sparring, kicks and board breaking, but it mostly focus's on the black belt forms.

    Through my instructor it would be more physically grueling. I would only need my main black belt form, plus the other self defense requirements, and breaking, as usual. But would also require a lot of technique drilling, tons of combos, push ups within a time limit, etc. Plus sparring five people at once (spar one person for 1 minute, then a second person joins in for a minute, then a third, and so on).

    The second option sounds much more appealing to me, however, I'm not sure if this is the right way to go about it. I asked him if it would still be legitamate, considering it wouldn't be through Kang, and he assures me it wouldn't make a difference. Although, somehow I feel like I'd be cheating, even if the second option sounds mote like what I would think a 3rd degree test should be!

    What are your thoughts? Every school is different and has a completely different way of doing things, so I want your opinions.
  2. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Pffft. Just tell them both "lolno". What's the point in grading now? Other than an ego boost? I might be wrong but isn't any grade over 3 Dan purely ceremonial? Surely they will continue teaching you everything they know?

    Sounds like they both just want money from you.
  3. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    I've trained in arts I've never graded in. If you're there for shiny stripes on your belt then go for it. If you're there for effective combat skills keep training hard and don't worry about the rank. You've already got a 2nd dan and if you can beat the tar out of people ranks above you then they either need to promote you right away or they need to train a LOT harder :D
  4. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Unless you want to compete in 3rd Dan and above forms, or reach international instructor status (4th Dan), then testing is a 'nice to have' rather than a 'need to have.' I want to give your instructor the benefit of the doubt in regards to his intentions by offering you an alternative grading format for a cheaper price, but it does appear somewhat financially motivated. Do what is right for you.
  5. Ninja01

    Ninja01 Becky

    I really just wanted other martial artist's thoughts on this, and that's what I got. I agree with everything stated above, lol. I will train no matter what, and as a personal goal I may test for 3rd one day, but it isn't a necessity.

    Yes it's most definitely money. I know my instructor has the passion to teach me, and others, but at the end of the day it's still a business.

    Thank you for your comments, I'm in no hurry to get another gold stripe embroidered onto my belt.
  6. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    Just to weigh in with an alternative view, why not test?

    You should know your whole curriculum anyway, you're a black belt. You should know everything from 10th kup upwards, that's a given.

    But pushing yourself, testing yourself under a bit of pressure and strutting your stuff, that's a great thing to do. The mental and physical effort that you put yourself through in order to pass a grading is what gives it its' worth, not the stripe or the title! :)

    So yes, why not grade?

    Now, as to the question of cost. It's a red herring. Some people will tell you they have never paid for a grading, or that it's just about your Instructor making money. Those people generally pay 2 or 3 times the price for a lesson, or have never tried to teach MA with its associated costs :D

    What is NOT a red herring is whether you can genuinely afford a fee of $300 or so for your first grading in 7 years. If you can't afford to save the $50 a year for a future grading that those figures imply, then talk to your Instructor. If I had a student who was with me that long and was struggling so much, I'd want to help them out. For example, I have a guy who is a student and who needs a new dobok. He's skint, and already paying for Instructor's courses etc because he's really keen. Dude needs a helping hand, so I've offered him a free dobok if he helps out in class with a bit of teaching. The fact that this will help his development as an Instructor is purely coincidental of course :)

    If the cheaper grading provides a suitable challenge and is cheaper, then go for it, but in some ways it actually sounds easier. Not demonstrating your knowledge of the full curriculum but doing a ton of press ups is not a tougher challenge in some ways.

    In addition, I'd want to know that Master Kang was happy with it.

    Just my thoughts :)

  7. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    You know you chose to put "Sifu" in your screen name, right? :D

  8. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    I was doing that to try to improve search results for that as a phrase... shhhh don't tell the mods :D

    And Sifu isn't a rank anyway. It's a descriptor of a relationship. It would be more like me putting "teacher Ben" as opposed to putting "PhD Ben." Subtle difference.
    Last edited: May 18, 2016
  9. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    Yeah. Student Ben? Busted :D

  10. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    You've gone so far down the rabbit hole you've lost me with your train of thought mankinious one.
  11. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    Never mind, I was probably poking too much fun anyway :)

  12. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    You can NEVER poke too much fun :D
  13. Ninja01

    Ninja01 Becky

    And that is why I'm undecided. I like the defering views here, thanks everyone.

    And Mitch, honestly, if I did test with my instructor, I was mauling around the idea of doing the full curriculum, otherwise I'd feel like I cheated in some way. But I also want to do all the physical stuff as well.

    As far as Master Kang's thoughts, I'm actually not sure. I'm not sure he would be for it. That's the one thing I forgot to ask about.
  14. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Well if we are throwing around "why nots" and "you should push yourself"....

    OP should take a k-1 fight. Pretty much everything Mitch said except st the end of it they pay YOU :D

    But he's also right about gradings. I don't pay for gradings, and I pay £50 a month for classes. I don't think that's a lot but I might be wrong.
  15. liero

    liero Valued Member

    Do you have any intention of becoming a tkd instructor? Particularly if your doing kukiwon tkd you need a 4th Dan to start officially grading people.

    I'd go for it if it was me, but I'm planning on teaching in the future
  16. Knee Rider

    Knee Rider Valued Member Supporter

    I just slip my coach an extra tenner every other month and he tells me I've got great legs and bigs me up on the mats. I then sew my own stripes on for handsomeness.
  17. Latikos

    Latikos Valued Member

    Due to circumstances I'm in three clubs and pay for all of the together not even £40 a month.
    I'm really glad we have the system we have :eek:

    On topic: I don't see anything wrong with doing a grading, as long as the reasons "fit".

    My Sensei did his grading for his 5.Dan a few weeks back.
    He knew, that no one would care whether he has 5 or two stripes on his belt; he knew it wouldn't change his training, the seminars he goes to or anything.

    He did it for himself.
    Not to show off, but to prove to himself, that he can do it, because it's (sort of) fun...
    ("Sort of" because he got so nervous, that for some moments the fun went a bit unnoticed ;) )

    Since the grading was in a private association it was also rather expensive, considering the costs that came *in addition* to the grading fee (sports physician check up; some certificates; ... he even paid my mat shoes :eek: ).
    But he decided it was worth it, but at the same time said, that if the grading fee itself were to be more expensive he would have flipped them the bird.
  18. raaeoh

    raaeoh never tell me the odds

    I neither pay for gradings nor my classes. Of course my school is more of a co op.

    When it does get brought up that to test for first dan I will likely have to pay. I always say then I will never be first dan. I am still allowed to train, I always will be. In 20 years if stay at at it I likely will have just as much or even more skill than a 4 th dan. (Average time to 4 th dan in my style) sure don't get the coffee cup and invites to the round table, but does it reall matter.
    I can go buy any belt I wanr, if I want one. Imho a ranking is more of a mind trip to yourself and prospective students. Unless you have a goal of being a grand master in title don't waste your money.
  19. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Nice, but I also have the option of training with possibly the best martial artist in Britain. I'm happy to pay :p
  20. Latikos

    Latikos Valued Member

    Oh, don't get me wrong, that wasn't supposed to be criticizing!
    I'd surely pay the same, as long as I'd like the training and everything around it ^^

    From my perspective it's just amazing, how expensive a lot of schools in their countries are (the £50 actually seem to be on a lower scale compared to other prices I heard about), compared to most schools and clubs here - but that's due to our "club system" (I don't know the proper translation, if there is one).

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