Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Intro vs. Basic vs. "the club"

I've mentioned some of the progression of how we were indoctrinated into Taekwondo. It's all marketing really. The "Introductory" program was an "afterschool enrichment" program through my kids's school. I'm not sure exactly how the kids learned about it but they wanted to try it. It was a pretty cheap price ($40/person) for 5 weeks. We signed our kids up and then I got roped in. After the initial experience, we then signed up for the 6 month basic program.

The "Intro" and Basic program are structured the same way. We can come in twice a week for 40 minute classes. In those 40 minutes, we do the warmup and stretching exercises and then learn how to do taekwondo kicks, punches, blocks in combinations and sets. The uniform was a basic white uniform with our name written on the lapel in both Korean and English. The name thing is really just so the instructors can get to know us. After 40 minutes of this, the basic and introductory programs are dismissed.

This leads us into the idea of the Black Belt Club. My dojang has in large letters on the wall "We Are A Black Belt School". Their goal is to get you to commit to becoming a Black Belt. Paraphrasing Master Lee, "Do you say 'I want to be a Blue Belt!' No. That's just ridiculous. You say 'I want to be a Black Belt!'

The Black Belt Club gets to practice an extra 20 minutes. In that 20 minutes, the club members do weapons training, one step sparring, board breaking and self defense. The club members also get to come as often as they like during the week, as long as it's to a class for their belt rank. This also includes access to the sparring and forms classes. Note that the sparring and forms classes are classes that are "focused" on those specific aspects of Taekwondo. We do forms in normal class as well.

Once a person has tested through to green belt, my dojang does not allow the person to continue coming unless they commit to the Black Belt Club. That whole commitment process will need to be for another post though.

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