How many times a week should my child or I come to class?
Students should attend a minimum of 2 classes a week (3 is best). Setting a schedule and being consistent is important. It is better to do 2 classes every week than missing a week and then trying to make it up the next week. Additionally, students that do not come to class consistently often feel out of place and then do not want to come to class. Students that do come on a consistent basis feel better and actually look forward to coming to class.
We focus on the same material all week long, so you will not miss out if you don’t come to class on one particular day.
What are the Uniform requirements?
Each student is issued an official Taekwondo America Uniform upon enrollment. All students are required to wear either their full uniform or their uniform pants, a souvenir Taekwondo America T-shirt from an event or a Valley Ranch TKD T-shirt and belt. Female students should wear a plain white T-shirt under their uniform jacket when in full uniform. Uniforms should be clean, free of holes, and long enough to cover the student’s ankles.
What is the belt system?
All students begin at the rank of white belt. From there, our traditional program uses the following belts: yellow, orange, senior orange, green, senior green, purple, senior purple, blue, senior blue, brown, senior brown, red, senior red, and then probationary black belt. There are two provisional levels of black belt – probationary (black with a white stripe) and recommended (black with a red stripe). If a student quits training at either of these levels, he or she will eventually regress to a senior red belt. First Degree Decided is the level at which students first receive their name embroidered on the belt and it is permanent. There are numerous levels within black belt as well, but we will save those for a later day.
Are the belts different based on age (i.e. a “junior” black belt)?
No. The Taekwondo America curriculum is designed so that all students, regardless of age, perform the same achievements in order to earn their rank; therefore, the ranks are the same. Of course, we do have different expectations for students based on their age and individual ability levels.
Should students practice at home?
Practicing at home is not required provided that students attend 2 or more classes per week. However, if students wish to practice at home, it should be done in an approved area with plenty of space. Board breaking should not be done until the student is taught how to do it in class. Parents can help by holding a target, watching forms, and asking questions, but please, don’t try to teach. That will actually create confusion.
How do I find out what is happening in the school?
Every month, the school publishes a newsletter so that all of the students (and parents) know the dates and times for upcoming events. The newsletter is e-mailed out, published on the website, and we print paper copies which are available at the front desk. With the wonders of technology, we also have this wonderful web site and a Facebook page, all of which we use to keep you updated.
What if my child uses Taekwondo at home or at school?
Tell Mrs. Lacy IMMEDIATELY. While I understand that students can be a little over anxious to share and show off, this can be dangerous. Please inform me, or Ms. Lacy, as soon as possible so that we can take steps to correct the situation.
What do the instructors expect from the students?
All of the instructors and I expect our students to give their best effort. Technique at the early stages of training is not as important as a positive attitude. If a student tries hard and has a good attitude, they will develop better technique over time because they are listening and learning.
How do the students earn “stripes” in class?
Each stripe is earned in class for achieving a short term goal that breaks up the requirements for advancement from one belt to the next. There are eight stripes per belt, one for each week of the testing cycle.
What is testing?
Testing is a process where we evaluate the skills of the student to determine whether they are ready to progress to the next level of training. What is expected of students depends on the rank, age and physical ability of the student. What is required to pass testing increases dramatically as a student increases in rank. Testings are held every 8 weeks and as long as a student attends class consistently (2-3 times per week), he or she should be ready for testing.
How long does it take to become a Black Belt?
It is mathematically possible to become a Black Belt in just under 2.5 to 3 years. However, it takes most people longer to attain that rank. But remember, Black Belt is the beginning – not the end – of serious training. Black Belt indicates that the wearer is a serious student of the art and a master of the basics.
What do the stripes down the pants mean? What do the different collars mean?
The different colored collars signify the certification level the instructor has attained. The thin red collar indicates that the instructor has passed the physical test to enter our instructor training program as a level 1 instructor. They know all the material and are now learning how to teach it. The thick red collar indicates that the instructor has graduated through teaching and training to be a level 2 instructor, has passed a written and oral exam, and can teach slightly more autonomously. The thin black collar indicates a level 3 instructor and means that the student has passed a second strict physical exam and has attended various national training seminars and can teach autonomously. The thick black collar indicates that the instructor is a level 4 instructor. A level 4 instructor is the highest instructor level short of Master and indicates that the instructor has passed all national certification requirements and has attended several national training conferences. Level 4 Instructors are capable of and may now open a school of their own if they wish. Lastly, there is Master Instructor. I don’t think I need to explain that one. Masters are at least 6th Degree Black Belts given a black stripe down the arm of the uniform. The stripe down the leg of the uniform indicates that the students is a 4th Degree Black Belt or above.
How much should I be involved in my kid’s training? When should I make them practice at home?
You shouldn’t do either! The hardest thing for parents to do in martial arts is to give up control and let us handle it. All you need to do is get them in class (which is the hardest part). Then just trust our judgment.
If I have a question, who do I ask?
For routine matters, the web site is full of information and for particular matters Ms. Lacy can help you. Mrs. Lacy is an amazing instructor and can answer any questions about your child’s training and progress. If you can catch her when she’s not teaching, feel free to ask her about anything that takes place on the workout floor, but please, please, please do not ask her about information in the newsletters, to place an order, to register for an event, or basically anything that does not happen on the workout floor. Anytime Ms. Lacy steps away from the counter and a parent asks Mrs. Lacy for help, Ms. Lacy ends up spending the better part of the rest of the day trying to figure out exactly what Mrs. Lacy did, whether she did it for the correct student, and if she accidentally left out a step or not. Please do not call out onto the mats for any reason, even if you need help at the counter. That kind of distraction really takes away from our primary focus, helping the students learn.
Why don’t you wear Chest Protectors when sparring?
Because students let the chest protector do the job of blocking and don’t learn good defense. The very thing that frustrates the kids most, getting hit, is what they need most. Every time we get hit, it motivates us to focus on defense and learning to block.
Does my son/daughter have what it takes to become a black belt?
Yes or we would not have taken him/her as a student. I promise that it won’t be easy, but if they have the desire, the commitment and a positive attitude, they will become black belts and hopefully more.