Frequently Asked Questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MARTIAL ARTS IN GENERAL 
AND AMERICAN MARTIAL ARTS ACADEMY SPECIFICALLY

 

Q: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KARATE AND TAE KWON DO?
A: KARATE IS A MARTIAL ART WHICH DEVELOPED IN JAPAN AND UTILIZES 70% HAND TECHNIQUES AND 30% FEET TECHNIQUES. TAE KWON DO DEVELOPED IN KOREA AND UTILIZES 70% FEET TECHNIQUES AND 30% HAND TECHNIQUES.
 
Q: WHY DO WE HAVE TO BOW?
A: BOWING SYMBOLIZES RESPECT. IT IS AN INDICATION OF CHARACTER AND SHOWS HUMILITY BY SURRENDERING AN ARROGANT ATTITUDE.
 
Q: WHY DO STUDENTS OF MARTIAL ARTS YELL? 
A:THE “KI-HAP” PROVIDES THE FOLLOWING BENEFITS:
  1. INCREASES POWER
  2. HELPS THE ADRENAL STRESS RESPONSE
  3. CAN SCARE THE OPPONENT
  4. HELPS IN BREATH CONTROL
  5. PROTECTS THE ABDOMINAL MUSCLES IN THE EVENT OF AN ATTACK
Q: DO I HAVE TO BE IN GOOD SHAPE TO TAKE TAE KWON DO? 
A: BECAUSE TAE KWON DO IS LEARNED IN SMALL PORTIONS OR IN PROGRESSION, YOU NEED NOT BE IN SHAPE TO BEGIN. YOU WILL NOTICE SUBTLE DIFFERENCES IN YOUR ENDURANCE AND STRENGTH AS YOU PROGRESS. 
 
Q: HOW OLD SHOULD A STUDENT BE TO BEGIN MARTIAL ARTS? 
A: AMAA OFFERS LITTLE DRAGONS CLASSES FOR 4-6 YEAR OLD CHILDREN. THESE CLASSES ARE DESIGNED TO HELP THE YOUNG STUDENT UNDERSTAND WHAT MARTIAL ARTS IS ABOUT UTILIZING A LESS TRADITIONAL FORMAT. THESE STUDENTS WILL LEARN THE MARTIAL ARTS PROTOCOLS (MANNERS)AND TECHNICAL SKILLS THROUGH VARIOUS GAMES AND AGE APPROPTIATE PROCESSES. CHILDREN 7 AND OLDER ARE ABLE TO STAY ON TASK FOR A MORE TRADITIONALLY FORMATTED CLASS. 
 
Q: DO BLACK BELTS HAVE TO REGISTER THEIR HANDS WITH THE POLICE? 
A: NO, THIS IS NOT A LAW IN THE UNITED STATES. THIS MAY HAVE BEEN A PRACTICE AT ONE TIME IN JAPAN. 
 
Q: WHAT IS THE PROPER WAY OF BOWING? 
A: IT IS PROPER TO:
  1. STAND AT ATTENTION.
  2. BEND AT THE WAIST 45 DEGREES
  3. LOOK UPWARD AND GREET THE PERSON EITHER WITH A TRADITIONAL SALUTATION.

Q: HOW DOES A PERSON ADVANCE IN RANK? 
A: A STUDENT ADVANCES IN RANK AFTER THE INSTRUCTOR HAS RECOMMENDED THEM TO PARTICIPATE IN A SCHEDULED EXAM. THE STUDENT MUST BE PROFICIENT IN ALL REQUIREMENTS IN ADDITION TO MEETING THE ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS.

Q: WHAT IS THE RANKING ORDER IN TAE KWON DO? 
A: AMAA USES THE TRADITIONAL RANKING SYSTEM DEVELOPED BY THE FOUNDER OF THE INTERNATIONAL TAE KWON DO FEDERATION (ITF), GENERAL CHOI, HONG HI. GENERAL CHOI IS KNOWN AS THE FATHER OF MODERN DAY TAE KWON DO. 
THE BELT SYSTEM IS AS FOLLOWS: 
  • WHITE BELT……………………………………………………… 10 GUP
  • WHITE BELT WITH A YELLOW STRIPE………………………9 GUP
  • YELLOW BELT……………………………………………………… 8 GUP
  • YELLOW BELT WITH A GREEN STRIPE………………………7 GUP
  • GREEN BELT…………………………………………………………6 GUP
  • GREEN BELT WITH A BLUE STRIPE……………………………5 GUP
  • BLUE BELT……………………………………………………………4 GUP
  • BLUE BELT WITH A RED STRIPE……………………………… 3 GUP
  • RED BELT……………………………………………………………… 2 GUP
  • RED BELT WITH A BLACK STRIPE………………………………1 GUP
  • BLACK BELT………………………………...FIRST TO NINTH DEGREE
Q: WHAT IS THE MINIMUM TRAINING TIME BETWEEN RANKS?
A: THE RANKS FROM YELLOW STRIPE TO RED STRIPE ARE BETWEEN 9 AND 12 WEEKS.FROM RED BELT TO BLACK STRIPE IS 6 MONTHS AND FROM BLACK STRIPE TO BLACK BELT IS ANOTHER 6 MONTHS. 
THE DAN RANKING SYSTEM IS AS FOLLOWS: 
  • 1ST DAN TO 2ND DAN……….. 2 YEARS
  • 2ND DAN TO 3RD DAN……….. 3 YEARS
  • 3RD DAN TO 4TH DAN……….. 4 YEARS
  • 4TH DAN TO 5TH DAN……….. 5 YEARS
  • 5TH DAN TO 6TH DAN……….. 6 YEARS
  • 6TH DAN TO 7TH DAN……….. 7 YEARS 
  • 7TH DAN TO 8TH DAN……….. 8 YEARS
  • 8TH DAN TO 9TH DAN……….. 9 YEARS

Q: WHY IS THERE SUCH A LONG WAITING PERIOD FROM RED BELT TO BLACK BELT? 
A: THIS IS A TIME FOR THE STUDENT TO TRAIN AND PERFORM TECHNIQUES TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITY. IT IS A TIME TO HONE SKILLS AND WORK ON TEACHING OTHERS. THIS IS A VERY TRYING TIME FOR THE STUDENT SINCE THE WORK GETS HARDER, AND THE PROGRESS SLOWER. THE STUDENT MAY FEEL AS IF THEY ARE STAGNATING AND BECOME DISCOURAGED.
WHEN PROGRESS DOES COME, IT COMES IN GREAT LEAPS, BUT THESE ARE FAR APART. THIS IS A TIME FOR THOSE WHO LACK PERSEVERENCE TO QUIT. IT IS A TIME FOR THOSE WHO HAVE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT TO CONTINUE. THIS IS A VERY GOOD WAY TO DETERMINE WHICH STUDENTS WILL MAKE EXCEPTIONAL BLACK BELTS. 

Q: WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET BORED DURING MY TRAINING? 
A: THE MOST COMMON REASON FOR BOREDOM IS THAT THE STUDENT IS NOT PUTTING FORTH THE EFFORT NECESSARY FOR IMPROVEMENT. THE STUDENT MUST REALIZE THAT EACH TECHNIQUE MUST BE MASTERED BEFORE THEY CAN MOVE ON TO THE NEXT. 
 
Q: SHOULD I BE LEARNING FROM BOOKS AND VIDEOS? 
A: BOOKS AND VIDEOS ARE AN EXCELLENT RESOURCE FOR BLACK BELTS AND INSTRUCTORS WHO HAVE GONE THROUGH SEVERAL YEARS OF FORMAL TRAINING. HOWEVER THEY CAN BE HARMFUL TO STUDENTS WHO HAVE NOT YET MASTERED BASIC CONCEPTS UNDER THE GUDIANCE OF A QUALIFIED INSTRUCTOR. 
 
Q: WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO SHOW MY SCHOOL REPORT CARD AND HAVE A HOME REPORT CARD? 
A: AT AMAA, WE ARE NOT JUST CONCERNED WITH YOUR PERFORMANCE IN THE MARTIAL ARTS, BUT IN ADDITION THE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT WHICH TAE KWON DO SUPPORTS AT HOME AND IN SCHOOL. SCHOOL AND HOME REPORT CARDS ARE A REQUIREMENT FOR STUDENTS UNDER THE AGE OF 18. 
 
Q: WHAT ARE THE MEANING OF THE TAE KWON DO TENETS? 
A: THE MEANING OF THE TENETS ARE AS FOLLOWS: 
 
COURTESY: TO BE HONEST IN RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS. TO BE POLITE TO OTHERS, TO ENCOURAGE A SENSE OF JUSTICE IN ALL DEALINGS, TO DIFFERENTIATE THE INSTRUCTOR FROM THE STUDENT AND THE SENIORS FROM JUNIORS, AND TO SHOW RESPECT TO ONESELF AND TO OTHERS
 
INTEGRITY: : INTEGRITY MEANS TO BE HONEST. ONE MUST BE ABLE TO DIFFERNTIATE RIGHT FROM WRONG, AND HAVE THE COURAGE IF WRONG, TO MAKE IT RIGHT. SIMPLY STATED, THE TAE KWON DO STUDENT MUST NOT LIE, CHEAT OR STEAL, OR PERFORM ANY OTHER ACTION WHICH COULD JEOPARDIZE THE STUDENT’S HONESTY OR CHARACTER. 
 
PERSEVERANCE: :IN TAE KOWN DO, PERSEVERANCE MEANS TO HAVE PATIENCE. THIS TENET IS CLOSELY RELATED TO THE TENET OF INDOMITABLE SPIRIT, BUT IT PERTAINS TO THE MENTAL APPPLICATION OF THE COMMITMENT, WHERAS INDOMITABLE SPIRIT PERTAINS TO THE PHYSICAL PERSISTENCE NECESSARY TO COMPLETE A TASK. PERSEVERANCE IS PERHAPS THE MOST ABSTRACT OF THE TENETS AS WELL AS ON OF THE MOST IMPORTANT CONCEPTS IN TAE KWON DO. 
 
SELF-CONTROL: THIS TENET IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE DO-JANG. SELF-CONTROL MEANS TO EXERCISE CONTROL OVER ONE’S PHYSICAL ACTIONS AS WELL AS OVER THE EXPRESSION OF ONE’S EMOTIONS OR THOUGHTS. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE TAE KWON DO PRACTITIONER IS TO BECOME A NON-FEELING CREATURE. FEELINGS ARE CIRTICAL TO BEING HUMAN, AND EVENTS WILL OCCUR WHICH WILL MAKE A PERSON FELL HAPPY, SAD, AFRAID, HURT, ETC.. THE MARTIAL ARTIST HAS THE RIGHT, JUST AS ANYONE ELSE DOES, TO CRY, REJOICE, AND EXPRESS BOTH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE FEELINGS IN AN ACCEPTABLE WAY. THE IDEA IS TO DISCOVER AND LEARN THROUGH TRIAL AND ERROR THOSE METHODS OF EXPRESSING EMOTION WHICH ARE NOT HARMFUL TO THE STUDENT OR TO OTHERS. 
 
INDOMITABLE SPIRIT: INDOMITABLE SPIRIT IS THE PHYSICAL ACTION AND MENTAL DISCIPLINE WHICH ENABLES A PERSON TO FACE A DIFFICULT SITUATION WITHOUT GIVING UP. ONE OF THE MOST DRAMATIC EXAMPLES OF INDOMITABLE SPIRIT OCCURRED IN 1836 AT THE ALAMO WHERE 183 MEN, INCLUDING SAM HOUSTON, DAVID CROCKETT AND JIM BOWIE FOUGHT A MEXICAN ARMY NUMBERING MORE THAN 3,000 MEN. 
 
Q: HOW MANY CLASSES SHOULD I ATTEND A WEEK? 
A: TAE KWON DO STUDENTS SHOULD ATTEND 3 CLASSES PER WEEK. IF THE STUDENT IS UNABLE TO ATTEND 3 CLASSES, THEY ARE REQUIRED TO PRACTICE A MINIMUM AT LEAST 10 MINUTES PER DAY IN ADDITION TO THEIR ATTENDANCE. 
 
Q: IF OUTSIDE THE DO-JANG, IS IT IMPORTANT FOR THE STUDENT AND INSTRUCTOR TO EXCHANGE BOWS. 
A: YES, IT IS A SIGN OF RESPECT TO EACH OTHER. THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO BE DONE FORMALLY AS IN THE DO-JANG, BUT IT SHOWS RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER AND FOR THE ART. 
 
Q: HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL ACTUALLY MAKE IT ALL THE WAY TO BLACK BELT? 
A: IT IS ESTIMATED THAT 75% OF NEW STUDENTS WILL QUIT WITHIN 6 MONTHS OF BEGINNING TRAINING AND ONLY 1 IN 10 WILL PERSIST UNTIL REACHING THE RANK OF BLACK BELT. IT IS ALSO ESTIMATED THAT 80 TO 90 PERCENT OF THOSE WHO MAKE IT TO FIRST DEGREE BLACK BELT WILL STOP THERE. 
 
Q: AM I EXPECTED TO CONTACT THE SCHOOL IF I WILL NOT BE ATTENDING CLASSES? 
A: THE STUDENT IS REQUIRED TO CONTACT THE SCHOOL WHEN THEY ARE UNABLE TO ATTEND CLASSES FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME. 
 
Q: DO I ALWAYS ADDRESS THE INSTRUCTOR AND BLACK BELTS BY THEIR SIR NAMES?
A: THE PROPER PROTOCOL IS TO ALWAYS ADDRESS THE INSTRUCTOR AND BLACK BELTS BY SIR NAMES. 
 
Q: DOES EVERYONE WHO ENTERS THE DO-JANG NEED TO REMOVE HIS OR HER SHOES? 
A: ANY ONE WHO WALKS ON THE TRAINING FLOOR SHOULD NOT HAVE THEIR SHOES ON. 
 
Q: IF I KNOW THE INSTRUCTOR HAS MADE A MISTAKE SHOULD I CORRECT IT? 
A: IF THE STUDENT BELIEVES THE INSTRUCTOR HAS MADE A TECHNICAL MISTAKE THE PROPER PROTOCOL IS TO ASK A QUESTION OF THE INSTRUCTOR, RATHER THAN POINT OUT THE MISTAKE. 
 
Q: AM I ALLOWED TO CORRECT A STUDENT IF I KNOW THEY HAVE MADE AN ERROR? 
A: RED AND BLACK BELTS ARE THE ONLY STUDENTS WHO HAVE PERMISSION TO TEACH.THESE STUDENTS HAVE BEEN COACHED ON CURRICULUM AND TEACHING METHODS. IT IS AGAINST TAE KWON DO PROTOCOL TO CORRECT, TEACH, OR CRITICIZE ANOTHER STUDENT. AS STUDENTS BECOMES MORE PROFICIENT, IT IS TEMPTING TO CORRECT ANOTHER STUDENT OF THE SAME OR LESSER RANK. WHILE THIS MAY BE AN HONEST ATTEMPT TO HELP A FELLOW CLASS MATE, IT CAN BE CONFUSING TO THE STUDENT AS TO WHAT IS CORRECT PROCEDURE AND TECHNIQUE. IT IS HOWEVER ENCOURAGED TO WORK TOGETHER IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF PARTNERSHIP AND CAMARADERIE. IT IS NEVER ACCEPTABLE TO CORRECT A STUDENT OR ATTEMPT TO TEACH OR COACH ANOTHER STUDENT WHILE THE INSTRUCTOR IS IN THE PROCESS OF EXPLAINING TECHNIQUE TO A STUDENT, REGARDLESS OF RANK.