Tae Kwon Do Black Belt Requirements

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The requirements of obtaining a black belt in tae kwon do are directly related to quality of technique, as opposed to quantity of material. Discover how to focus on particular techniques to become a black belt in tae kwon do with help from an eighth-degree black belt in this free video on martial arts belts.

Part of the Video Series: Martial Arts Belts
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Video Transcript

Hi everybody I'm John Graden from the Martial Arts Teachers Association at martialartsteacher.com. My first ten years of training was in tae kwon do, I earned my black belt in 1978 in tae kwon do. But since then, since about 1985 I have traveled the world and worked with martial artist from all different systems. I've really helped schools restructure their curriculum. When I earned my tae kwon do black belt we had to know close to thirty different forms. We had to know basics, we had to spar, we had to break boards with our fists. Fly through the air and kick boards, we had to fight multiple opponents, the exam went on for hours. It was almost like it was measured by how many ambulance calls you had. It was really torturous. And I'm not saying that a black belt exam ought to be easy, it's an exam, it's a test. But from my way of thinking is simply this, in those days here was the curriculum. As a white belt you learn all kinds of stuff, lots and lots of stuff. As a orange belt, green belt, and as you go through the years it gets smaller and smaller until at the very end you have very little to work on. We're teaching school now to adapt a more vertical model. So there's an equal amount of material all the way through to black belt. And this is really important to make sure you're still coming to this school as a black belt. So now the requirements for black belt are less about quantity of material, as opposed to quality of technique. More is not better. Knowing more techniques does not make you better at any of them. If I have fewer techniques to work on, if I only have eight forms to learn instead of thirty-eight, I'm going to be a lot better at those eight forms, because I'll be able to spend more time on each one of them. If I have ten kicks to learn, instead of forty kicks to learn, my kicks are going to be a lot better on those, and I'll be able to adapt to the others a lot quicker. So the modern way of thinking about curriculum in tae kwon do is to take the pyramid make it more of a parallel horizontal so that each rank gets approximately the same amount of material. And reduce the amount of material and reduce the amount of techniques, reduce the quantity of techniques, and focus on the quality of techniques. I'm John Graden from martialartsteachers.com. Thanks.


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