Student Instructor Relationship
Students need to study the Taekwondo tenets in particular loyalty. A student can only ever have ONE instructor and by the time they get to black belt they will have trained with that person for years. As discussed before a good student is the combination of both the student’s attitude and the level of instruction they receive. One cannot survive without the other therefore the respect needs to be shown both ways. A good instructor will always respect a good student and visa versa.
An instructor has produced a good black belt when they are a useful, knowledgeable, positive and helpful member of the club. For an instructor to invest his/her years of knowledge into a student for them to leave at black belt level is soul destroying. That is why education is the key and instructors need to instruct in other areas apart from physical technique. If students have no concept of loyalty and the Taekwondo tenets and why they are practicing they will definitely leave at some stage which is a sheer waste for themselves, the instructor and the club.
Once you reach black belt you have a special bond with your instructor, which can never be broken. Your instructor is the one that has taught you physically, helped and advised you, seen you sweat, given you that extra bit of instruction and encouragement or given you a reality check when you’ve needed it. You have to remember that your instructor has invested their time, effort and knowledge and care into your instruction, so therefore you are in debt and respectful to this person, hence you bow to them at all times.
Yet to respect someone in this way is different to liking someone. Your instructor’s job is to pass on their knowledge to the best of their ability and to get the best out of you which will mean hard work, constructive criticism and dedication. It is not their job to ensure you like them every second of the lesson. Of course it helps if your instructor can convey their message in methods that are different and that are easy to understand.
What Happens After Achieving Black Belt?
It is easy if you don’t have education and guidance from your instructor to become content after gaining your Dan grade as for many students that is the overall aim of their training. Often unintentionally students stop listening and communicating with their instructor and find themselves wandering off the Taekwondo path.
The key to having longevity in the martial arts is constant progression. Your Taekwondo life is something you can do until you die. If you are ever satisfied with your own training or not willing to push the martial art forward and stand still you will inevitably quit your training.
A Master once described to his student the attitude of approaching their training with an empty cup. Basically translated this means to imagine every time you step onto the floor to train you become a white belt again wanting knowledge to fill your cup. Can you remember when you first started training and listened carefully and craved knowledge? It is easy at black belt level to stop listening because you think you know it all already. This mentality is not only big headed but detrimental to your training whatever your grade. Remember your instructor is your eyes and no matter how long you have been training you will always have faults that need correcting. You must always strive for better technique.
True black belt training is as basic as you can get. If you have excellent basics you will have strong foundations to build the rest of your martial art including poomsae, free sparring and one-step sparring. How good you are at Taekwondo is 100% down to how much you practice, like everything else in life it’s not magic but repetition and practice.
The period of two years between 1st and 2nd Dan is a crucial point in a new black belts career. Many become bored at doing the same technique and by the time you get to black belt there are actually very few techniques that you don’t already know. How black belt training differs from that of kup grade is that black belt training is all about having the confidence and self control to put the techniques into realistic situations.
Black belt mentality, as mentioned earlier, is to train hard and never be satisfied with your technique always be over critical.
To many kup grades the martial art is nothing more than kicking your legs about and trying to advance physically. But to black belts it should be a complex and very difficult way of life and not something to be messed around with or treated light-heartedly.
The martial art is a very dangerous weapon if not treated with respect and those students who are not willing to live the Taekwondo way of life should not become a black belt. If you practice the martial art both inside and outside the Dojang Taekwondo being a black belt is not just something you wear it is a way of life and a huge part of you.