WHAT IS TAE KWON DO (Taekwondo)?
Tae Kwon Do is a form of martial art training from Korea that is over 2000 years old. It aims to achieve a student’s development of: courtesy, integrity, self confidence, self control, perseverance, commitment, and indomitable spirit.
Tae Kwon Do is NOT a cult or religious sect nor is it, as the movies depict, a violent militant group that teaches students to beat up people.
Tae kwon Do IS a very sensible method of consistent mental and physical training that is a year-round, lifetime system of self defense, exercise, and personal development.
WHAT IS A BELT FOR?
Belts are goals that are set for students to meet on their road to Tae Kwon Do training and personal improvement. To obtain the first belts, the goals are more easily met and involve more help from the instructor. Techniques are fairly simple early on and increase in difficulty as the students progress. Students will progress at the speed that’s equal to their personal abilities. There are nine color belts, or goals in the sequence starting with white through red, then on to, “the ultimate goal”, Black Belt for which there are ten separate levels (or degrees).
HOW ARE THE BELTS RANKED?
Rank Promotion Testings are conducted at the end of every session (approx every 9 weeks) from the beginning of a session. Our belts are ranked as follows; New students start at white belt, then the first belt tested for being orange and on to yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, red, red/black (1st degree black belt recommended), and finally, 1st degree black belt. Black Belt students will continue testing through the black belt rank degrees at the yearly rate equal to the degree of belt. For example, for each degree of black belt, the student must hold that rank for the same number of years as the degree of black belt before qualifying to test for the next degree, i.e., a Second degree Black Belt must hold that rank for two years before they can test for Third Degree, and so on. Black belts are required to test multiple times during a ranking period (called mid-term testing), the number of mid-term tests are dependent upon the black belt degree the student is testing for.
FMA students will rank promote in ‘half’ rank increments each testing period (example, orange ‘recommended’ may be awarded after the first session test, then orange belt decided is awarded upon successful completion of the next rank test at the end of the following session, and so on up through all color belt ranks. – Each belt is a solid color and once a full rank of the color is earned, a matching color Chevron is awarded for the student’s uniform indicating a full color rank is ‘decided’ and achieved by the testing student. Color belt ranks with a stripe in the middle of their belt indicates a Leadership Student.
WHAT IS A BLACK BELT?
A Black Belt is a student recognized for their commitment to Tae Kwon Do who has achieved a high level of proficiency and knowledge in the art of kicking and punching. This proficiency includes speed, accuracy, strength, and thorough knowledge of a large amount of technique; both theory and application, as well as information and history. A Black belt is worn by a person who possesses the quality of courtesy, integrity, self control, perseverance, and indomitable spirit in addition to demonstrating a knowledge and understanding of the aspects of Tae Kwon Do as presented to them by their instructor. A first degree black belt is awarded upon successful black belt rank testing after the student has already earned all previous color belts.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE INSTRUCTOR?
The instructor’s goals are to build and support the development of confident students. These students are individuals with goals, discipline, and a sense of proper direction in their lives. Students will also have needs and the instructors are there to see that those needs are met in the training to help students become better human beings. The method of training, in all aspects, is a goal-oriented system, which serves as a positive reinforcement to growth as individuals.
WHAT IS BELT RANK TESTING?
Promotion tests are conducted at the end of each session (approximately every 9 weeks). When the student has completed the required time and material training requirements, then he/she will be eligible to test. As in any educational institution, the instructors know when a student is ready to test so please trust their judgment.
The colored belt exams are open for family and friends to attend and watch. The student will perform the required material in front of the testing instructor, then finish by breaking the required ranking color board or boards, to advance to the next level. Beginner students are given assistance if needed to help them fulfill the requirements to earn their belt. This helps build confidence and teaches them to know what is expected of them. Advanced students are expected to complete the exam with little or no assistance.
CAN A STUDENT FAIL?
No. If a student continues to try, perseveres, then he/she will never fail. He/she may not complete all the requirements at the time of the test, but re-tests are always offered a week later on material missed for colored belts and a month later for black belts. Tae Kwon Do is not about failing, but succeeding. Instructors will see that each student can succeed no matter what it takes. In the studio, words like “can’t” and “don’t” are replaced with “can”, “do” and “try”. There is no giving up so there is no failing and students are always recognized for their accomplishments.
WHAT ARE TEST FEES?
There is a fee for each level of belt testing. This fee covers the costs of belts, boards, certification (if applicable), instructor’s fee, and in some cases, travel. There is a one-time fee for each rank. Test fees are due prior to testing and the session class registration fee must be current in order to test. Any special arrangements with testing fees must be made with the instructor prior to the test date. All color belt test fees are $50 and payable to FMA. Black belt fees vary and your instructor can provide you with the fee information prior to testing.
SHOULD MY CHILD BELT RANK TEST
CAN AND SHOULD PARENTS STAY AND WATCH THEIR CHILDREN IN CLASS?
Parents are always encouraged to stay during their children’s class and required to not be disruptive nor distracting. Most young beginners have very short attention spans and are easily distracted. We, as instructors want the students and parents to be comfortable with class, and can do our best job when we have the undivided and complete attention of the students, but if the child is continuously running to his/her parent, this could be a problem. A benefit for the children to having their parent watch is that the parents can help their children at home. By watching, the parents can pick up things a child might have missed, and the parents can write the techniques down for their children. Additionally, after each class is time for recognition and announcements both of which are very important for the parent to be present for.
CAN I DROP AND GO?
Parents are encouraged NOT to ‘drop-n-go’ and instead stay in class and observe their child’s participation. As a parent of a FMA student, you will learn much about the program to better assist your child’s learning as they progress as well as support practicing at home. It is also important for your child to see your involvement through encouragement, support and recognition of your child’s daily class experiences and achievements.
Should you need to leave class, or drop-n-go for any reason and your participating child is 10 years of age or younger, you must assure FMA Management that you have arranged proper supervision of your child with another parent or guardian (not an FMA instructor or other student) before leaving.
Additionally, no student of any age will be allowed in class unless there are at least two adult supervisory persons present, either instructors, or parents.
WHAT IF MY CHILD WANTS TO QUIT?
Some students reach this point periodically and need guidance and encouragement from their parents and their instructor. Each belt can be viewed as a short-term commitment and used as an evaluation point. The long-term commitment may be the black belt with the smaller goals established to get a student there. Tae Kwon Do is a means for learning how to establish, set, and achieve goals as well as setting new goals and creating long-term goals. Small set backs or frustrations should not deter a student from their short or long term goals. Many times a child is unable to make long term decisions like this. They are more concerned with the here and now.
Parents need to give their children guidance and not just let them quit and give up. On the other hand, we understand that it may be difficult to convince a child to continue to do something once their mind has been made up to quit. In this case have the child achieve or finish the short-term goal of their next rank and see if that accomplishment changes their mind. If not, take a break from training. It is very difficult to try to teach a student that does not really want to be in our studio training. In our experience once a student quits they do not return and the student that gives up generally wishes they would not have at some point down the road. Parents or students with concerns are always encouraged to talk to their instructor.
CAN WE TAKE A BREAK?
Yes! You may choose from time to time to take a break from class, perhaps skip a session. Often children have other activities or sports in their lives that conflict with the training schedule and will take a session off and then return for the next. You may take as much time off as you’d like and return at the beginning of any future session. However, should you choose to take a break longer than three sessions in a row, the Instructor may choose to do an assessment test to determine if the student has retained their previous level of proficiency in their training. If the student has forgotten their techniques or form, they may retain their current rank, however they may be required to to complete a second session before they can test for their next color rank.
HOW MUCH DO STUDENTS NEED TO PRACTICE?
As with anything, the more you practice the better you will be. As a beginning student it is not important to remember everything and expect perfection. If you can only remember how to do techniques, such as a kick, block, strike or stance and not a sequence or series of moves, then only practice the techniques you can, even this will make your ability better.
It is also important to note that the more the student practices, the better they will perform and as a result, the student may full rank rather than half rank at their next rank test.
WHAT IF STUDENTS USE THEIR TAE KWON DO ON SOMEONE OUTSIDE OF TRAINING?
The instructor needs to know about such behavior immediately. Whether it happens on the playground with classmates or at home with siblings, this should be addressed immediately and can only be done with your help. It is important to remember that Tae Kwon Do is for self-defense only, not malicious attacks or horseplay; someone could get hurt. If we find out that this was the case and not in self-defense the student will no longer be allowed to train. We will examine all of the circumstances before making a final decision. All students are repeatedly reminded of this policy from their very first day in class.
ARE STUDENTS REQUIRED TO COMPETE IN TOURNAMENTS?
It is not required, but strongly recommended that students participate in a tournaments if/when offered and if/when that student is ready and prepared as well as authorized by FMA to participate as such. FMA will hold in-studio tournaments as well as present opportunities to compete in outside tournaments.
WHAT CAN STUDENTS DO TO GET THE MOST OUT OF TAE KWON DO?
The most important thing students, as well as parents can do to ensure the best possible training available is to trust the instructors with the training for your child. The instructors work very hard to develop the best training programs they can with every step taken, every method used for a reason. Your confidence and support guarantees that you will get the most from your Tae Kwon Do training.
WHY IS TAE KWON DO SO POPULAR?
Tae Kwon Do’s popularity comes mainly from the fact that it is not a passing fad. It has withstood the tests of time. It is much more than self-defense skills training. It is a lifestyle of physical and mental training and challenges that encourage an individual to strive to do more and be more. The training is proven to develop an individual’s complete being, mentally and physically, joined by an indomitable spirit. Tae Kwon Do is a lifelong art.
Any other questions that may not have been addressed in the FAQs are always welcome at any time. Feel free to speak with your instructor in the studio before or after class or contact us with your questions or comments.